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equalities. This objection then amounts to nothing and is very much of a piece with the preceding. In short the argument for a future retribution which is drawn from the nature of sin and holiness
appears to my
mind a perfect demonstration. I know that attacks may be made
upon this as upon every thing else, even the existence of the Divinity. But it seems to me when I read such attempts like aiming to prove that there is no sun in the heavens, because there are some spots on its disc, and because it is sometimes obscured by an eclipse.
Thus, my dear sir, I have given you a few of the arguments from reason for a future retribution. They appear to my mind conclusive. More might be stated did my limits permit me to make them intelligible to the common reader. These however are sufficient to give an outline of this mode of reasoning, and this is all I expect to accomplish in my present publication. In proof of the correctness of my several conclusions I appeal to the common sense of mankind.
MY DEAR SIR,
I will now direct your attention to the nature and means of christian salvation. I have often thought that erroneous notions upon this subject were at the foundation of your system; and as I have before given it a thorough investigation, and as I am under the necessity of introducing it in order to a full discussion of the question of divine rewards and punishments, I shall offer no apology for making free use of my former publication.
I. What then is christian salvation? It is deliverance from ignorance, error and sin; and the possession of christian knowledge, virtue and piety. Perhaps I can render this definition more clear by a familiar example. Suppose then that a learned heathen now stood before me; one who worshipped idols; one who had heard of Jesus and believed him to be an impostor; one whose conduct was openly immoral. I undertake to convert him to christianity by rational argument and evangelical motives. I first convince him of the existence of one infinite Creator, Governor and Father. You perceive that he would then be saved from his ignorance concerning the nature and perfections of the Supreme Being; as well as from the darkness and folly of idolatry. I next convince him that Jesus of Nazareth is the divinely commissioned Savior of the world. You perceive that he would then be saved from his erroneous opinions respecting the one Mediator between God and men; as well as from an evil heart of unbelief. I further convince him that if he would be a true christian, he must obey the instructions, imitate the example and imbibe the spirit of the great Author and Finisher of our faith. When his actions give evidence of a reformation of heart and life, you perceive that he would be saved from his iniquities; as well as blessed with a righteous and holy character. When these things are accomplished, you must admit that he has experienced christian salvation. Now from this illustration, you may learn four most important gospel truths. First, that christian salvation consists in deliverance from ignorance, error and sin; and in the possession of christian knowledge, virtue and piety. Secondly, that this salvation takes place whenever a person becomes a practical christian. Thirdly, that so long as any one continues a practical christian, he is in no danger of punishment. And fourthly, that divine pardon can be obtained only by forming a christian character. The truth of these four propositions I will now endeavor to prove, from reason, observation and the scriptures.
1. I am first to prove that christian salvation consists in deliverance from ignorance, error and sin; and in the possession of christian knowledge, virtue and piety. Look then to the scriptural argument. Why was our Savior called Jesus? “Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins.” Why did he appear on earth? - The son of man is come to save that which was lost;" lost in darkness, doubt and
depravity. Why did he commission Paul to visit the gentiles?
eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan unto God." Why did he give himself a ransom for sinners? “ To redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” And who are the subjects of his saving power? “ He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.' If then a person is turned from heathenism, to the service of the living God; if he is redeemed from his iniquities, and rendered zealous of the good works of the gospel; he is surely saved from his religious blindness and depravity, and possessed of christian instruction and holiness. Many more passages of a similar import might be quoted, but these are sufficient to prove the truth of the first proposition.
2. I am secondly to prove that this salvation takes place whenever a person becomes a practical christian. Look again at the argument from revelation. What did Jesus
say to the penitent female who anointed his feet at the house of Simon the Pharisee? " Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.' Hath saved thee; not will save thee at some future period; but, hath even now secured thy salvation. His miraculous powers enabled him to know that her repentance was sincere, that her reformation was commenced, and that her belief in his divine mission would influence her to strive for christian perfection. What is the exhortation of Paul to his beloved Timothy? "Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the power of God, who hath 'saved us. Hath saved us; not will hereafter confer salvation; but hath already saved us, by aiding us in becoming obedient disciples of Christ Jesus. What is his testimony concerning God in his letter to Titus? According to his mercy he saved us."
He saved us.