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The common opinion supposes Jesus Christ acts the part of an advocate, by pleading our cause before God, to incline him to show mercy. This is totally erroneous. The advocacy of Jesus is expressed thus: "Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in hrist's stead be ye reconciled to God." Thus we have an advocate with the Father who pleads with us to be reconciled to God; not with God to be reconciled to us, for "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses."

That the character which we attribute, by these arguments, to the divine Being, is really what is due to him, may be made to appear by referring to his providence. This we are specially authorised to do, by the example which the Saviour has furnished in our context, and which was evidently designed by him to inculcate what these arguments are designed to prove. He directed the attention of the people to two sensible objects, which the divine providence continually holds out to our view; the sun and the rain. "For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. By these ocular proofs the divine teacher inculcated the impartial love and goodness of our Father in heaven toward all men of every description of char



It may be necessary to notice, in this place, what an objector might be disposed to urge against this impartial goodness of the divine Being toward the evil and the good, the just and the unjust.

Objection: If God be equally as good to the evil as he is to the good, to the unjust as to the just; and if he love his enemies as well as he does his friends, then there is no difference between the reward of righteousness and unrighteousness. To this objection the candid hearer will accept the following reply.-Keeping in view the character of God, as set forth in the passage under consideration, as our Father in heaven, we say that a father may love his obedient and disobedient children impartially, and yet, in relation to their con

duct, may treat them as differently as they conduct one from another. But however different the treatment may be, it must, in every case, proceed from the same principle of impartial love in the parent.

To illustrate this, we may observe that the parent who is visited with sickness among his children will naturally love those who are sick as well as he does those who are in health; and yet, from this equal undiminished love, he will treat them as differently as will exactly correspond with their different degrees of health. -Now, you who are parents are called on to determine whether it be right, and consistent with your character as parents, to love your children and to do good to them when they are disobedient? If you decide in he affirmative, as you most surely will, then you justify the argument, against which the objection we have noticed was stated.

If the objector should be disposed to contend, that we extend our argument too far by endeavoring to prove that the sinner is equally the object of divine love as the righteous, we rejoin by referring the objector to the full extent of the evidence already adduced, and to the consideration of the following remarks.

First; If we carefully examine the conduct of the divine Being toward Adam before and after transgression, shall we find any thing to justify the belief, that Adam was not equally the object of divine favor after he sinned as he was before? Whose voice did guilty Adam hear in the cool of the day, expressive of parental solicitude, crying Adam, Adam, where art thou? It was the voice of the Lord God. In that memorable hour of retribution was there the least sign that God's love towards his offspring had suffered any diminution? Does not the promise, that the seed of the woman shold bruise the serpent's head, bear date from this eventful period? Surely this was a time of love.

Secondly; Was it when the world was righteous, or when it was " in wickedness" that God so loved it, as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life?" Was Saul less the object of the divine favor before his

conversion than afterward? Were we less beloved by him, "who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood" before he washed us, than afterward? The hearer will easily perceive that these queries all tend to show, that no change in man can effect any change in God.-And

Thirdly; The acknowledged unchangeability of the divine Being furnishes sufficient proof, that his love to his creatures can never increase nor decrease. Entertaining a hope, that what has been offered, designed to explain our meaning respecting the dispensation of divine grace flowing naturally from God, may be acceptable to the candid hearer, we will briefly state what we mean by saying, that this dispensation of grace flows necessarily from the nature of God; and offer some argument in its support.

What we mean by this part of our general proposition is, that if we take a careful view of the nature of the divine attributes, as they are revealed in creation, providence, and grace, even as short sighted as we are, we become convinced that all the ways of God, all his works, all his mercies, and all his judgments are unalterably established in truth and righteousness which never vary. It is not consistent with the attributes of God, to suppose, that he can design to do any thing, and afterward alter his determination. Nor is it any more consistent with the divine attributes to suppose that any of the designs of God, which in different ages of the world have been revealed to man, were less ancient than the design of creation; which carries us as far back as is of use to our researches. When the Almighty was pleased to reveal himself to Abraham, and call him from his people, and promise him, the land of Canaan, and to multiply him, and to bless him, and to bless all the families of the earth in his seed, however new and unexpected this might be to this "friend of God," it could be no new thing with the God of Abraham. And so we may say of any other particular manifestation of the wisdom of God. "Known unto God are all his works from the foundation of the world," and he declares "the end from the

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beginning." It is furthermore said, that he "cannot lie," and that "he cannot deny himself."

Having presented the hearer, in our imperfect manner, with this short account of the foundation of the doctrine of Jesus, the attention of the audience may, for a few moments, be devoted to the consideration of the following inferences, drawn from premises already proved.

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1. As we have seen, that the grace by which man obtains salvation and eternal life, flows naturally and necessarily from the nature of God, and is known by its peculiar characteristic of love to sinners, we infer that this salvation will eventually be as extensive as the love of God, from which it proceeds. If the love of the divine Being ensures salvation to any of the sinful race of Adam, it equally favors the salvation of all men, as all are equally the objects of divine love. This inference relies on the fact, that the same cause will always produce the same effects. A parent has a number of children, all needy and dependent on him, he loves them all equally, it is granted that this love will certainly favor and support some of these dependent offspring; the conclusion is, that it will grant the same favor and support to the whole. Should the speaker, this evening, inform you, that there is a parent of great respectability in this town, who has a numerous. family of sons and daughters, that he is vastly rich, has all at its command that heart can wish, that he most tenderly and affectionately loves his children, and loves them impartially, that this parent has favored your servant with a knowledge of his domestic economy and government, that he often invites him to partake of his bountiful board, and of the refreshments which his generous favor constantly provides, would you not reply that all this is very probable, and that you know of many such families in the circle of your acquaintance? But should the account proceed and state, that of this numerous family of children only a fourth part were ever indulged with the society of their parent, that the other three fourths were the most wretched beings ever seen, that they were as nearly

starved the whole of the time as they could be and live, that they were excluded the society of the favorites, and that their extreme misery was for the honor and glory of the merciful parent, and to enhance the unalloyed happiness of the others, could you freely give your candid assent to the probability, the consistency and propriety of this account? Would you not say, that if one part of the story be true, the other must be false? You certainly would contend, that if the parent were impartial in his love to his children, he never would make the distinction reported; you would revolt with horror at the declaration,, that the extreme misery of the greatest part of the family was necessary for the honor of the parent, and to enhance the felicity of the happy few. Such doctrine as this, you would say, is totally without foundation, is a superstructure having nothing for its support, and is proof positive that the mind of the reporter is derang ed or corrupted. Why then will you contradict your own candid reasoning, and contend that our Father in heaven loves his offspring impartially, even his enemies, that his divine fullness is infinitely extensive, but that by some special grace which has been made known to you, you are authorised to believe and say, that but a small part of the human family will ever be made partakers of the rich bounties of salvation in Christ, and that far the most numerous part of Adam's posterity are doomed to unspeakable tortures eternally for the glory of God and to promote the happiness of a few? It is charitably believed that your candor will lead to an impartial decision of this momentous subject, and will incline you to admit what is so fully and clearly proved by the unerring testimony of truth.

2. We infer from our general subject, that the common doctrine which teaches that our Father who is in heaven, loves those who love him, but has treasured up everlasting vengeance against his enemies, is subversive of the gospel and religion of Jesus, which he preached on the glorious foundation of the divine love to sinners; and equally subversive of our duty as disciples of Christ. The common doctrine,

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