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part, that he might be just and the justifier of him that believeth, then he did not merit any thing at the hand of God for himself, or for mankind.” What connexion this has with the doctrine of the discourse, we have not sagacity enough to discern. The opinion expressed in the so called inference, is shocking to the pious mind. It denies that there is any merit in either the obedience or sufferings of Christ. The pretext for this bold and impious opinion is, that pardon is a mere act of grace, and therefore cannot be the result of merit in any one. But may not that be graciously given to the sinner, which was dearly purchased by the Saviour ? Why may not the merit of Christ be the ground of our free justification ? " In whom," says the apostle, “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” But there is no need to argue this point. The opinion here given is abhorrent to the feelings of every Christian. Perhaps Dr. Emmons was the first who ever made an assertion like this, “that Christ did not merit any thing from the hand of God for himself, or for mankind." And again: "As Christ did not merit pardon for believers by his sufferings, so he did not merit a reward for them by his obedience."*

The other inferences are less offensive, but equally arbitrary with those considered ; except the fourth, which is a mere truism, that if the atonement of Christ was necessary, it is absurd to suppose it merely expedient. The last inference, however, deserves a passing remark, viz.: “ That none can come to Christ and accept pardoning mercy, on account of his atonement, without accepting the punishment of their iniquities." The true import of this phrase when used by Emmonites, is, unless they are first willing to be damned. But how this can be inferred from the doctrine of the sermon, we know not.

The opinions of Dr. Emmons, on the atonement, may be further learned from his sermon, entitled “The purchase of Christ's blood.' In volume v. p. 32, we find the following decisive remarks : “ Christ did not purchase salvation for us in a literal sense. He did not pay our debt of punishment, nor our debt of obedience. Though he suffered in our stead, yet he did not suffer the punishment which we deserve, and which the law threatens to us. He never transgressed the law, and so the law could not threaten any

* Volume v. p. 25.

punishment to him. His sufferings were no punishment, and much less our punishment. His sufferings were by no means equal in degree or duration to the eternal sufferings that we deserve, and which God has threatened to inflict upon us.

So that he did in no sense bear the penalty of the law which we have broken and justly deserve. But supposing he had suffered the same things, in degree and duration, that the law threatens to us, yet his sufferings could not pay the debt of punishment which we owe to divine justice. For his sufferings could not take away our desert of suffering. They cannot dissolve our obligation to suffer, nor pay our debt of suffering.” “Nothing, therefore, that Christ did or suffered here on earth, can satisfy God's distributive justice, or pay the debt of suffering which we owe to him. Christ did not literally purchase, or buy, or ransom, or redeem mankind from the punishment which they deserved, and which God in his law threatened to inflict on them. His sufferings and death did not literally pay the debt to divine justice which we owe.” All this is plain enough; and if it be not subversive of the scripture doctrine of atonement, then we confess that we have read the sacred volume in vain. But where are the testimonies from scripture in support of these anti-evangelical opinions ? Our question is however somewhat hasty. Dr, Emmons is not in the habit of referring to scripture for the proof of his doctrines; nor frequently does he condescend to offer any reason in support of his opinions. He simply asserts that the thing is so, and can be nothing else. Of himself he used to say, that he had spent his life in making joints : it might more truly be said, he spent his life in making assertions. In no period of the church, from the days of the apostles until our time, was such a view of the atonement ever entertained, unless by such as denied the essential Godhead of our Saviour. Nor is it saying too much, to declare, that these opinions are in direct hostility with the uniform testimony of the sacred scriptures, as well as of the orthodox church in all ages. It is, indeed, another gospel. Yet multitudes, in our country, have swallowed these doctrines with avidity, not only as great improvements in theology, but as Calvinism !

But what, according to Dr. Emmons, is the atonement ? What is to be understood by the purchase of Christ's blood ? Let us hear the doctor's own words: “By Christ's purchasing salvation for us, or ransoming, and redeeming us, we

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VOL. XIV.—NO. IV.

are to understand, that he made a proper atonement for sin, which rendered it consistent for God to offer salvation to all mankind, and to bestow it upon all believing, penitent, returning sinners." But what does he mean by “a proper atonement for sin ?" The Redeemer did not bear the punishment of our sins. He did not satisfy Divine justice for sinners. On what account then did he suffer ? Or, what possible end could his sufferings answer ? An innocent person is subjected to an ignominious and inconceivably painful death, when neither law nor justice demands his death. He dies for sinners, and yet he bears no part of the punishment due to sinners; and no sin is imputed to him. Men may give what meaning they please, and sufferings under such circumstances may be called “a proper atonement for sin," but from such sufferings every proper notion of an atonement is excluded. There is nothing like an atonement in the whole transaction; nor can any satisfactory account be given of such a transaction. But this is not the place to argue this matter. We have fully discussed this point in some former articles of this work.

Having taken a brief view of our author's opinions on the atonement, we will now inquire what views he entertained on the important subject of Justification. And here we can be at no loss, for we have a sermon on this very subject; and our author never covers up his meaning, as is the custom of some, in clouds of ambiguous terms. He always comes directly to the point, and lets his reader know, without equivocation, what he would be at. We admire this candid, manly boldness; but nothing can be a sufficient excuse for the promulgation of error. And perhaps, as hinted before, Dr. Emmons's peremptory, clear, and dogmatical style of writing has had no small influence in giving a temporary currency, in certain quarters, to his most extravagant opinions.

“ We are to consider," says he, “how God justifies, pardons, or forgives true believers. The Assembly of Divines say, 'justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins,' &c. But have we any evidence that he does or says any thing, when he justifies or pardons believers? Do they see any thing done, or hear any thing said, when they are justified? Or is there any reason to suppose that God puts forth any act, or makes any declaration, at the time of their justification ? But if he does neither, we have still to inquire how, or in what manner he justifies

believers. To this question, a plain and satisfactory answer may be given. God justifies all true believers by will. He has formed and published his last will and testament concerning mankind, in which he pardons all true believers, and makes them heirs of salvation," &c. As the doctor called for evidence of the truth of the answer, 'What is justification ?' in the Shorter Catechism, we would venture to ask him to bring forth his strong testimonies to prove that this is done merely by will. There is no passage of scripture where God is said to have made a last will and testament: and no intimation that when he justifies a sinner, he performs no act. The gospel propounds the doctrine of justification, and informs us in what way it is attained, but it is no where said that the gospel justifies. " It is God that justifieth,” and if he justifies, he surely performs the act of justification. When a sinner believes, he passes from a state of wrath and condemnation to a state of favour. God is now reconciled to one, towards whom his displeasure was directed; is there no act of God in all this? Dr. Emmons not only departs from the old system of Calvinistic orthodoxy in numerous particulars, but he seems to take a pleasure in dissenting from these venerable standards; so that he makes a point of difference, where indeed there is none. We do not, in any case, pretend to explain how God acts. All our language respecting this incomprehensible Being is inadequate, and expresses no more than a distant approximation to the truth, which in its fulness is far above our feeble conceptions. But to take advantage of this, to raise objections to important doctrines of the gospel, savours much more of a cavilling self-sufficiency, than of a sincere love of the truth.

The next particular in which our author departs from sound doctrine on this cardinal point is, in maintaining that justification, when it does take place, is conditional ; so that it is not complete until the believer has done something else. “ Although believers are justified, pardoned, and accepted, as soon as they believe; yet if we look into his last will and testament, we find that their full and final pardon, or title to their eternal inheritance, is conditional.” . The condition of a full and final pardon is perseverance in holiness to the end. Justification will not, therefore, be complete and absolute until the believer has finished his course of obedience. This doctrine of conditional justification depends on the rejection of the imputed righteousness of Christ;

for if this were admitted, it would necessarily follow that the moment when a sinner believes, his justification before God is as complete and absolute, as it ever can be. But the New Divinity teaches that while the sufferings of Christ procure for him (not merit for him) pardon; yet the title to a reward in heaven depends on his own personal obedience, as will appear immediately. In the sermon, entitled, · Forgiveness for Christ's sake, one head of the discourse is to show, “That forgiveness is the only favour, which God bestows on man, on Christ's account.” The title to eternal life is not therefore given on Christ's account, nor the gift of the Spirit for our regeneration, sanctification, support, and consolation. Christ has neither merited these rich blessings for his people, nor are they given on his account, or for his sake. Believers are therefore under far less obligation to Christ than has commonly been supposed; and they have from the commencement of Christianity been guilty of a great mistake in their prayers and thanksgivings; but they mảy plead in apology that they were misled by the very words of Christ himself, and by the words of the apostle Paul. For Christ's declaration was, “ Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name he will give it you." "Ask and ye shall receive.” And Paul says, “ Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” These texts seem to have puzzled the doctor a little, but his ingenuity is greatest in overcoming those difficulties which depend on scripture testimonies. He says, “ To ask, or do a thing in Christ's name, very often means nothing more or less than asking or doing a thing for the honour and glory of Christ. And to ask or do anything for the honour and glory of Christ, is entirely consistent with an asking for and obtaining forgiveness for Christ's sake, in distinction from all other favours." This explanation, however, seems not to have satisfied the doctor himself; for in the next paragraph he gives another : “ But we readily allow that there is a propriety in asking for every favour for Christ's sake, though God only grants forgiveness on his account. The propriety lies here. We always need forgiveness, when we ask for any favour; and to ask for any favour for Christ's sake, is to ask for forgiveness first, and then for the favour we request.” On this reasoning we shall offer no remarks: let the Christian reader judge; but if this doctrine is true, Christ has been honoured in the church entirely too much. Who will venture on so great a blasphemy?

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