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thermore, that the elected ones were chosen, not for their benefit alone, but for the good likewise of those who were not elected..
We may now look for a moment, and see if this doctrine of election agrees with the scriptures generally and with reason. The doctrine of election according to the views we have taken of it, supposes that those who are elected, are elected for the benefit of those who are not elected. The prophet Isaiah in the 42d chapter speaks of an elect of God as follows ; 'Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.- LI the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.” This elect of God is the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of the world, of whom the Apostle John says ; we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” This elect of God is the One Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time.” Thus it is evident that this elect was designed for the benefit of the whole world.
The Saviour also himself had an elect. He chose his Apostles and ordained them to preach his grace and salvation to the whole world. Go
into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." This elect therefore, was for the benefit of the whole world.
Being one of the elect, and having received a dispensation of the gospel of reconciliation, St. Paul said to the Romans, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise." Here we see that what the world lacked, the Apostles of Jesus had for it, what the wise and the unwise lacked St. Paul had for them. The Apostles were not chosen to be the exclusive pai takers of the grace which they received, but were commanded by the divine Master to bestow as freely on others, as they had received. It seems a fair conclusion from the facts noticed, that the grace of God which is specially communicated to his elect is ultimately designed as much for those who are not elected as for those who are.
This doctrine is perfectly consistent with the dictates of reason and is analogous with the prudent management of civil community.
In all societies a few are elected for the benefit of the whole. They are never chosen to monopolize all the blessings of society to themselves, but to make as equal a distribution of burdens and favors, of expenses and profits as possible. Look at the elected officers of the town; they see for the blind, they hear for the deaf, they walk for the lame, they have wealth for the poor, they provide for those who cannot provide for themselves. Notice every officer in the general government of our country, up to the presidency; men are elected to fill all these places, not for their exclusive benefit, but for the good of the whole union.
Let us ask, where in the vast creation, did the wisdom of this world find the Calvinistic doctrine of election and reprobation? Does the sun shine to light himself alone? Are his fervid beams designed to warm his own bosom only? And in the mild rays of the queen of night does she alone rejoice? Do winds blow to refresh themselves ? Are rivers designed for their own benefit? What element, what vegetable, what animal exists for itself only ?
“All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
To conclude. Let us duly notice the moral tendency of divine truth, as seen in the subject under consideration. God is good to all, his tender mercies are over all his works. This truth demands of every rational being the exercise of that diffusive benevolence which embraces the whole creation. Those whom God chooses to enlighten by his grace, while others are blinded, are appointed to administer the riches of
the manifold wisdom and goodness of God to such as lack the knowledge of his ways. The spirit of Christ is love to enemies, his grace is the salvation of sinners; if therefore, we partake of his spirit and enjoy his grace we shall be led thereby to love our enemies and to administer saving grace to those who walk in sin. Is it not a fact that limited views of the goodness of God have limited the charity of those who had them ? and have not those opinions, which maintain that the Father of our spirits will execute unspeakable vengeance on a large proportion of the human family eternally, effectually hardened the hearts of those who have been led by them, and rendered them in too many instances, unreasonable enthusiasts and violent persecutors of those who have not conformed to their superstitions ?
Not only does the impartial grace which we have seen in the doctrine of election lead us to love all men, and to do good to all men, but it shows us that we are no better than those who are blind respecting this divine and glorious system of truth. This doctrine naturally leads the believer to pity the blindness of those who do not see; but it gives the consoling anticipation of the final reconciliation of all things through Jesus Christ our Lord. It fills the heart with gratitude to God, who so wisely planned and so graciously designed the blindness of the house of Israel, that thereby salvation might come unto the Gentiles; and has so ordained in his impartial goodness, that the blinded Jews shall eventually obtain the mercy now enjoyed by the Gentiles. Thus of the twain, the wisdom of God makes one new man, so making peace. Therefore we read ; “Rejoice ye Gentiles with his people. And again, praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him all ye people."
GOD RECONCILING THE WORLD UNTO HIMSELF, THROUGH
II. CORINTHIANS, v. 18, 19, 20.
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses untu them; and hath_committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you hy us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
It is a peculiar and distinguishing characteristic of the gospel dispensation, that it exhibits a new order of things, brings the glad tidings of better things than were before understood, sheds a clearer light on mental vision than was before enjoyed, makes a brighter manifestation of the gracious designs of the wisdom of God than was made by the legal dispensation, and creates new views, new desires, and new affections of heart. The gospel of God our Saviour, contemplates the world of mankind as being in a state of death, from which state its divine efficacies were designed to quicken man into newness of life by the spirit of truth. These suggestions seem to be embraced by the Apostle in our context where he says; “The love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead : and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore, henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away ; behold, all things are become new.
Applied to the Jewish converts, these words of the Apostle are designed to notice the passing away of the legal dispensation with all its rites, and the introduction of the better covenant and more excellent ministry of the gospel; and as they apply to Gentile believers they reregard the total overthrow of all the idols and idol worship among the heathen, and their reformation to the knowledge, laws and ordinances of the gospel of Christ.
To these new things the Apostle alludes in our text, and says; "all things are of God, who hath reconciled us unto himself,” &c.
The first particular subject of our text is what is embraced in the reconciliation of the ambassadors of Christ to God. Concerning this subject the Apostle's testimony makes the following things evident. Ist. That they had been in a state of unreconciliation. 2. That the whole process, from the beginning to the end of the work of their reconciliation was of God. 3d. That this work was effected by Jesus Christ. Perhaps no man was ever more unreconciled to God, to Christ, or to the gospel than the author of our text had been ; and it was well known to him that he was not the author of those means by which he became reconciled. He well knew that the knowledge of Jesus, in the excellency of which he afterward so much rejoiced was by no means the object of his enquiry or pursuit at the time and on the occasion to which he refers when giving an account of his miraculous conversion to christianity. He often adverted to his views, his designs, and to his conduct while opposed to the gospel, but in no instance did he give any intimation that he obtained the grace of the Saviour in consequence of his own faithful exertions. Similar remarks may justly be made respecting the Apostles who were chosen by our divine Redeemer during his personal ministry. Some he called from a lucrative office under the Roman government, others from the laborious employment of fishermen; but it is evident that the Saviour made his own selections without regard to the wisdom or will of his chosen, for he informed them as follows ;