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think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings how shall ye believe my words.”
That God has given no law to man, since the apos. tasy, requiring sinless obedience in order to salvation, will more abundantly appear from the examination of particular passages of Scripture:-and,
i. We find an argument for the support of the proposition under consideration in Genesis iv, 3.-7. "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof. And the Lord God had respect to Abel, and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering, he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord God said unto Cain, why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” The last question which God put to Cain, affords evidence, that, if Cain had done well, he would have been accepted. Abel did well, and he was accepted of his God; for to him, and to his offering the Lord had respect. Now, I inquire, why was not Cain accepted? Was it because he was not sinless in his general conduct? or, because he was not sinless in his particular conduct of bringing an offering to the Lord? Was the love of God in his heart? was be a subject of godly sincerity? was it because he fell short of perfect holiness that he was not accepted? was he rejected of God because his obedience was not sinless? And if so, why then was Abel accepted? Was it because he was perfectly righteous? If Cain was rejected because he was not sinless, then, Abel must have been accepted because he was sinless. It must be acknowledged that Cain, instead of being sinless, was, in a moral sense nothing but sin: he was in no degree righteous: he was a wicked man. “Cain was of that wicked one, and slew his brother-because his own
works were evil and his brother's righteous." Hence we see why one of them was accepted and the other not. The works of Cain were evil, and the works of Abel were good. No person was ever rejected of God, or missed of salvation, who had the least degree of that love to God in his heart, required in the moral law. This was the character of Abel; he loved God, he was a righteous man. And his bringing his offering to God in faith was a proof of his righteousness. “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts.” The sacrifice of Abel was excellent, because he brought it with a good mind. And the sacrifice of Cain was not excellent because his heart was not right with God. It cannot be that Cain on the whole was a good man, but was rejected because he brought of the fruit of the ground, instead of the firstlings of the flock.
Abel was accepted of God; he was a righteous man. But was he perfectly righteous? was he a siniess character? It is granted that he was a just man. But, “Titere is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not." Abel had been a sinner as well as Cain, but he was converted. For, as by the disobedience of his father Adam he was made a sinner; so by the obedience of the Antitype of Adam he was made righteous. This being the case he was prepared to obey the law of sacrificing; and, by faith in the Seed of the woman, he offered up unto God an excellent sacrifice. He was made righteous by the precious blood of the Lamb of God, who was slain from the foundation of the world. Abel was a righteous man, and because he brought his offering in faith, he obtained witness that he was righteous God testifying of bis gifts. He was not justified by faith without righteouness, but, by bringing his offering in faith, he obtained witness that he was righteous.
Righteous men were always ready to bring offerings unto the Lord, by faith in the promised Messiah. All those who believed in Moses brought their offer
ings unto God by faith in the Mediator. Of the Jews in general it might be said, that the love of God was not in them. They would not therefore come to Christ that they might have life. But those Jews, who believed Moses, in whose heart was the love of God, readily embraced Jesus Christ, as soon as he was manifested to Israel. The next day after his manifestation to Israel by his baptism, "Looking upon Jesus as he walked, John stood, and said, Behold the Lamb of God. And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” We see also the faith of the just and devout Simeon, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, before the manifestation of the Saviour. “And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for him after the cusiom of the law, then he took him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy Saivation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” Thus it is evident, that let a man be righteous, let his heart be right with God, and there is nothing to obstruct his way to Christ, and therefore nothing to hinder his safe arrival to heavenly glory, and finally to be crowned with life eternal. If a man have that love of God in his heart, required in the moral law, he will come to Christ. And him that cometh, He will in no wise cast out.
“If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Every penitent will obtain forgiveness, and
, finally be admitted to glory.
There is no proposition which can be more completely proved from the Bible than that God will save the righteous. Of this Abraham was fully convinced. And in this conviction originated the dialogue between him and Jehovah, concerning the destruction of Sodom,
God intended the destruction of Sodom. "And Abraham drew near and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradven- . ture there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the piace for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to destroy the righteous with the wicked; and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Hence, it is evident, that God will not destroy the righteous with the wicked. God will destroy those who live in sin. But he will save the righteous. But do the righteous whom God has promised to save, mean those who have no sin? No. And who are the wicked whom God will destroy with an everlasting destruction? whom will he tear in pieces and there shall be none to deliver? Does the Bible mean by the wicked man, one who has a great degree of real religion, but has some sin remaining in him? Though a person has ever so much righteousness, faith and love, yet if he fall short of sinless perfection, is he a wicked man? This is not the Bible representation of the righteous and the wicked. Will not God save the righieous, in the sense in which Abel was righteous? and in the sense in which Lot was righteous? and in the sense in which Caleb and Joshua were righteous? These questions must be answered in the affirmative. It follows, then, that there is no divine law requiring sinless obedience in order to happiness. For, Thou Lord wilt bless the right
“ eous; with favour thou wilt compass him as with a
To elucidate the subject more fully we proceed in reasoning out of the Scriptures.
2dly. When the Pharisees had heard that Jesus had put the Sadducees to silence, “one of them who was a lawyer asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great com- . mandment: and the second is like unto it, Thou shal: love thy neighbour as thyself, On these two com
mandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Hence, it is evident, that every thing required in the moral law and by the prophets, is comprehended in these two commandments, love to God, and love to man. And will any one say, that the meaning of these two great commandments is such as that nu man since the tail has fulfilled them? Does loving God with all the heart, soul, strength and mind in the sense of the command exclude all sinning? Did Christ mean that we must love God and our neighbour perfectly, without ever comınitting another sin in order to obtain the favour of God, and in the end life everlasting?
Did the prophets teach the necessity of sinless obedience in order to salvation? “The Lord God,” says the prophet Isaiah, “and his Spirit hath sent me—Thus saith the Lord thy Redeemer-Oh that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace þeen as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea,” or, according to Dr. Lowth, "and thy blessedness as the floods of the sea," It cannot be the meaning of the prophet, that the obedience of the people of Israel must be sinless in order to peace, or that they could not be saved unless they lived a sinless life. That this was not the prophet's meaning is evident, because, if
so, it would place the moral Law on the same ground upon which the law to Adam stood. This would be the same as to say, that we can no more be saved by the moral law, it being once violated, than by the law given to Adam in Paradise, the language of which is, In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Such is not the language of the moral law: for the penitent though guilty of many offences, shall be saved. Adam could not eat without dying a spiritual death: but cannot his posterity transgress the inoral law in one instance without dying an eternal death?
Perhaps some will object and say, that no one is sared by loving God; but by believing in Jesus Christ. To this I reply, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” We will say then, Here is a person, who has been born of God, in the