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Made vocal by your friendly voice,
Notice The General Convention of Universalists will be holden, this year, at Claremont, N. H. the third Wednesday and Thursday in September; and the Northern Association, in Reading, Vt. the fourth Wednesday and Thursday in the same month.
DEVOTED, PRINCIPALLY, TO DOCTRINE, MORALITY, AND RELIGIOUS
BY SAMUEL C. LOVELAND.
In my Father's house are many mansions.-- JESUS.
SERMON. NO. 11. ROMANS, v. 10. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son : much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
A RECONCILIATION always presupposes no less than two parties, which in some way or manner. are divided from each other. A fault must, likewise. exist in one or both of the parties to be reconciled. If in both, they are to be reconciled to each other ; but if in one only, the whole work of reconciliation is confined to the defaulted party.
Our text represents the two parties to be the Creator and his creatures, the Supreme God and Ruler of heaven and earth, and his subjects, the numerous progeny of Adam's family. It teaches us that the reconciliation is effected on the part of the creature, exclusive of the Creator. Hence we read, " we were reconciled to God.” But if God were to be reconciled as well
No. 2. Vol. 1.
as man, it would doubtless have read, we and God were reconciled to each other. Nothing like this is found in any part of the New Testament..
Enemies to God are described as being such by alienation and wicked works; (Col. i. 21.) an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God; (Heb. iii. 12.) by a foolish heart; (Rom. i. 21.) and, to use one general term, by sin, the transgression of the law, (1 John, iii. 4.)
It should be observed that the Apostle expresses a known and acknowledged idea conditionally, to infer an evident consequence, which many have not so clearly discerned. “If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son ; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” This reconciliation embraces, what is called in the next verse, the atonement; and includes, according to scripture, and the almost general consent of mankind, all men without exception. St. Paul, speaking of the Mediator between God and men, says, 6. It pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven," Col. j. 20. In this passage we find the peace through the blood of the cross, to be the reconciliation of all things to himself; in another “ he gave himself a ransom for all;" and in a third, “ he tasted death for every man.” Thus we have the universality of atonement or reconciliation by the death of Christ, established by scripture.
The reconciliation of all to God by the death of Christ, according to the views of Christians in gener. al, is not the actual salvation of all, but it opens a
tion. This exhibits universality in the plan of salvation, but embraces only ari uncertain number in the end. The force of the Apostle's argument is calculated in favor of the plan, but against the uncertain
effects. Had this common opinion been the sentiment of the Apostle, he would have been likely to have said in our text, “ For though, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son ; it follows not of certain consequence, that being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." But instead of this, he represents salvation by the life of Christ to be much more evident, than that reconciliation should be effected by his death. As if he should say, If you believe that men, when enemies, were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, you ought, by no means, to doubt that they will be saved by his life. To this effect we likewise find the language of the Savior :
For which of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king going to make war with an apother king, sitteth pot down first, and consulteth, whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand ?” Luke xiv. 28–31.
Our text represents reconciliation by the death of Cbrist, but salvation by his life. This is worthy of particular notice. When an enemy learns, that the object of his disregard is his greatest friend; when he finds that this friend voluntarily yields to death for him, and otbers of a like unreconciled character, what can have a tendency to operate more powerfully to reconcile his heart to the feelings of his friend ? In this way is the death of Christ communicated to a world of sippers. - For when we were without strength,' in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die ; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." The two next verses, one of which is placed at the
head of this discourse, describe the conseqüences. “ Much more then," says the Apostle, “ being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were recon. ciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
The life of Christ seems to be that divine energy of love that communicates its own principle, by the force of that testimony which accompanies it through his death. Nothing can be fairer than the conclusion of · another Apostle, who says, “ We love him, because
he first loved us." Salvation is life. It is not, therefore unreasonable that the sinner should be saved by the life of Christ.
Reconciliation and salvation appear from our text, to have a meaning, not exactly synonymous. Reconciliation is a calm submission to the will of God; salvation embraces an active engagedness in his will. Reconciliation induces the sinner to lay down the weapons of his warfare ; salvation destroys those weapons. Reconciliation is, by the death of Christ, exhibiting the force of the divine testimony; salvation is, by his life, the finishing effect of reconciliation.
It appears to be taken for granted in our text, that men, when enemies, are reconciled to God. According to the natural import of reconciliation, this seems to imply a paradox; but may be considered strictly true, according to the language of God to Abraham, who calleth those things that be not as though they were, Rom. iv. 17. No person while continuing to be an enemy, can be in actual reconciliation, but as the sufferings and death of Christ are already completed, the ground or cause of reconciliation is finished and manifested, so that in view of this, enemies, who shall be the subjects of this reconciliation,are accounted reconciled to God by the death of his Son, though the reconciliation has not actually and fully taken place.