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Here the concluding question is no more than the necessary termination of the argument contained in the former ones; and I think it may be fairly asked of the objector, what idea he can form of a Saviour, who requires nothing of men but that they believe in his name, and who yet perhaps may not save those who believe in him. But the principal scope of the objection against the use of the word "salvation" is, that salvation is a thing future; and two quotations are given from the New Testament to shew that the word is there used in this sense. It is true, that the future state of blessedness of the believer in Christ is thus spoken of, as in these passages in addition to the two quoted by the objector: "Now is our salvation (awrnpia) nearer than when we believed" (Rom. xiii. 11.) "He that endureth to the end shall be saved." (owŋoɛrai) (Matt. x. 22.) "We shall be saved (ow nooμeda) from wrath through him." (Rom. v. 9.) But by far the most general use of the word salvation, is to denote a thing present, or even past, being employed to indicate the completeness of the atonement of Christ, the clearness of the evidence of acceptance through him, in the mind of the believer, and the perfect certainty of the future accomplishment of all that God has promised to every one who believes in his Son. Thus it is said, "Who hath saved (owoavros) us, and called (kaλeGavroc) us with an holy calling" (2 Tim. i. 9). "Unto us who are saved." (σwoμεvois) (1 Cor. i. 18). “According to his mercy he saved us." (eowoɛv) (Tit. iii. 5). "By grace are ye saved." (oεowopero) (Eph.ii. 5, 8). "He that hath the Son hath life (Exe). (1 John v. 12). "Receiving (koμoμevo) the end of your faith even the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet. i. 9.) &c. &c. The objector is certainly unguarded in the introduction of the word "conditional ;" for the Scriptures do not speak of salvation as in any degree or manner conditional. If they did so, it could only imply, that man
can in some way or degree save himself; and, just in so far as this is the case, no other Savour is necessary for him. On the contrary, salvation itself, and all the steps that lead to it, are unequivocally declared to be the free, gratuitous, and unconditional gift of God, "by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Eph. ii. 8). The quotation which is adduced from 2 Pet. i. 10, as proving the conditional nature of salvation, is not to the purpose; for it implies no condition, but a simple affirmation. The original is ravтa yap TolovVTES" for, doing these things," or "seeing ye do these things," just as properly as "if ye do these things."
The contradictory positions which are alleged to be contained in M. Malan's book are, as far as I can gather them from the passages quoted, that while he distinctly asserts that good works are not a procuring cause of salvation, which is given by the free grace of God to as many as believe, he at the same time asserts, what no one will question, that those who have believed to the saving of their souls, will exhibit the fruit of good works more abundantly than any others. Now taking M. Malan's first assertion to hinge entirely on the existence of real belief in the heart, I see no contradiction in these positions; but I readily grant, that if he had said, or implied, that a mere affirmation of belief with the lips was alone requisite, there would have been in this a contradiction, not to himself only, but to the whole tenor of Scripture. He has not said this however, nor any thing like it; but has, on the contrary, guarded, in the most careful manner, against the risk of any one substituting a speculative or verbal faith for the actual belief of the promises of the Gospel.
In regard to the quotation which is given from pp.80, 81, of the translation (original, p. 46), I can imagine only two reasons which can have withheld the objector from
stating at length his objections here, as well as in other places; namely, either that he supposed the error of M. Malan's statements so self-evident as to render it unnecessary, or that he felt an objection to the sentiments contained in this passage, without being very well able to tell why. M. Malan has stated his argument fairly, and in the words of Scripture; and he stops short in the explanation of a difficulty when he reaches a point which God has not seen proper to reveal; and surely, this being the case, it is not sufficient that the objector shall say, "I think these observations exceptionable."
B. W.'s objection against the use of the word "irresistible," in the allegory of the Traveller, is the most specious one that I have yet encountered. Yet even here there is no solid ground for it. The force is irresistible, because, as the objector observes, "the sinner has been made willing in the day of God's power:" Now although this is not said in so many words by M. Malan, yet a reference to all that he has before said, of belief and its effects, will satisfy any careful reader, that it is fully implied in what immediately precedes the clause in which the word objected to occurs. "Le voyageur a cru; il etend le bras; il a frappé" (p. 47; translation, p. 83). Had the traveller turned a deaf ear to the invitation, "Knock and it shall be opened;" or had he contented himself with saying that he believed so, no such power as M. Malan alludes to would have been exerted in his behalf. The danger which is apprehended in the remark, that the falls of the believer, however deplorable, happen within his father's house, does not seem to be fairly chargeable on it. Those who, after believing for a time, have fallen away, may have, for a time, exhibited evidences of faith, of piety, (though piety is itself an evidence of faith,) to others, yet the sentence remains true,"by their faith ye shall prove them;" and if they fall away when
persecution cometh, they evince that they had no root,-that they wanted the life-giving principle, the watering of the Spirit.
If M. Malan's account of the imputation of our sins to Christ be unscriptural, I am constrained to conclude, that more than one of the Apostles and Prophets are unscriptural too, for they state precisely the same thing which he has done; for example, I Pet. ii. 24: "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body." 2 Cor. v. 21: "He made him to be sin for us." Heb. ix. 28: Christ "was once offered to bear the sins of many." Isa. liii. 6: «The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all." Ver. 12, "He bare the sin of many." It is to be observed, that, although the objector insinuates as much, M. Malan does not say that the Saviour became the sinner, which would have been absurd; neither does the illustration of which he makes use, point to any such conclusion; but he came in place of the sinner, just as the minister is supposed to have come in place of the child,-not that the minister was guilty of the child's transgressions, but he bore the punishment of them in the child's stead.
At page 58 (translation, p. 101), M. Malan says, "Croyez vous ce qu'il dit que Christ est mort pour vous, c'est à dire, qu'il a été puni de Dieu a votre place? (Les Enf.) Oui, monsieur; nous croyons bien cela. (Le Min.) Eh bien, cheres Enfans, si vous le croyez dans votre cœur, vous avez la foi, et cette foi vous unit à votre Sauveur: alors vous pouvez lui demander le Saint Esprit. ...Il faut demander ce Saint Esprit mes Enfans."-This passage,-which I should be disposed to render thus: "Do you believe what he says, that Christ has died for you; that is to say, that he has been punished by God in your place? (Children) Yes, sir, we do believe it. (Min.) Well, dear children, if you believe this in your heart, you have faith; and this faith unites you to your Saviour; and you are able to ask him for the
Holy Spirit." "You must ask him for this Holy Spirit, mychildren,"-is in some parts differently translated: thus the word "believe" is twice introduced without the pronoun indicating the object of belief, which is expressed in the original; and the word "alors" is rendered "then," which, being supposed by the objector to be emphatic, has led him, as I apprehend, to a total misconception of the author's meaning; while "vous pouvez❞ is made to imply privilege or allowance, and not ability. Any one, however, who reads the original passage, will at once see, that the word "alors" is not emphatic, and that the words "vous pouvez" cannot imply, that they are now at liberty to do what would have been formerly unlawful for them to have done, -- but that the belief of Christ's having suffered for their sins would embolden them to ask him for the Holy Spirit to enlighten and purify their souls; which before they could not have done, because they would not do it. The man who believes that God "spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all," has in this belief a full guarantee that he will "with him also freely give us all things," and will therefore with confidence apply to him for the Holy Spirit, as well as all things else that are necessary to his progress in the Christian course; but he who does not believe that Christ has died for him, cannot have any confident hope that the Holy Spirit will be given to him if he should ask for it, if indeed we can suppose such a man really to believe that it is of any consequence to him whether there be any such Spirit or not. The last part of the sentence which I have quoted above from the Conventicle, is altogether omitted in the quotation made by the objector, though it serves, in no small degree, to remove the ambiguity which he supposes to attach to the first part of it.
M. Malan had written what is there expressed, he would have been much to blame; but on reference to the original (p. 69), it will be seen, that the passage (which I quote in its connexion, because its meaning depends on, and is shewn by, that connexion) runs thus: " Ce ne sont plus des Papistes, ou des Protestans, qu'il s'agit d'emôler. Qu'emporte, d'étre fer, ou cuivre si l'on n'est pas or? Mais ce sont des Chrêtiens, que le Seigneur cherche et appelle." Now, the meaning of this passage appears to me to be as follows: "It is no longer the object to enrol men as Papists or Protestants. What avails it to be iron, or copper, if one is not gold? But it is Christians, that the Lord seeks for and calls;" and the term "Christians" is here evidently used, not to vindicate the state of men previous to their being sought and called by God, but to denote the effect produced on them by this call, in making them disciples of Christ, and not, as is noticed in the next sentence, followers of Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or Luther, or Fenelon, or Calvin.
With regard to the passage quoted from p. 119 of the translation,-if
The points of sound doctrine which the objector subjoins, appear to me to be in several respects eroneous: thus, in the fourth, it is said, that "the covenant of grace, that is, the Gospel, freely offers the redemption that is in Christ Jesus to the whole world, on the terms of repentance and faith." Now, a free offer can have no terms; for it ceases to be free the instant any conditions are attached to it. The offer of salvation through Christ is freely made to all; and as many as believe that the promise applies to such as them, and therefore to themselves, do so because they have been enabled by him to receive Christ, not merely as the Saviour of the world in a general sense, but as their own Saviour, "who was delivered for their offences, and raised again for their justification; " (dialoσvvv) (δικαιοσυνην) (Rom. iv. 25), and "whom God hath
exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins" (Acts v. 31).
If it were possible to conceive, that these terms of which the objector speaks, are implied in any part of the covenant of grace, as conditions to be complied with, pre, vious to our being enabled or permitted to receive the redemption which is in Christ, what meaning could we attach to such passages as the following?" Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price." (Isaiah Iv. 1.) "Let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will let him take the water of life freely." (Rev. xxi. 17.)
The fifth point is equally objectionable. The Lord says (John v. 24)," He that heareth my words, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life." Now, in this and a multitude of similar passages, the simple fact of" believing the record that God gave of his Son," is made the criterion of our spiritual state, and I am quite unable to imagine, on what grounds any other criterion is supposed to be necessary, or admissible, than that which has been declared by the Lord of life and the Spirit of truth. The sixth point appears to me to have no better foundation than a criticism about the meaning of a word. The salvation of men will not of course be finished, until God has accomplished the number of his elect; but salvation is in Scripture constantly viewed as relating to individuals; and in this view, the work of salvation was finished by Christ when he rose from the dead, and though much remains to be done by the sinner, (who, by believing in this salvation, has become a partaker of it,) as the fruit of his renewed state, yet it is altogether wrong to suppose, that
any thing which he is called on to do, can in any way contribute to finish that which is perfect and complete in Christ Jesus.
The concluding observations of the objector evince, as it appears to me, the cause of most or all of the objections which he urges against the doctrines of M. Malan's book; namely, a degree of confusion in his own mind, respecting the nature, object, and influence of belief. He says, "I find satisfaction, consolation, and practical influence, only in believing the faithful saying worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.' I am a sinner, therefore I believe that he came to save such as me. He that believeth on him shall not perish.' The question then is, Do I believe?" Now, if I understand aright the meaning which is intended to be conveyed in these words, the writer has employed the word "believe" in two different senses, the one precise and intelligible, the other vague and undefined; for he says that he finds comfort, &c. in believing the faithful saying, and that he believes that Christ came to save such as him, and yet he conceives it necessary to ask himself the question, "Do I believe?" It appears to me, on the other hand, that the principal question to be addressed to the mind of every man to whom these things are proposed, is, "Are they true?" But this question he has already resolved, in as far as he is concerned, by declaring his belief of them; and it is clearly superfluous to inquire of himself afterwards, whether or not he believes what he has acknowledged to be true. The mistake here arises, I think, from a tendency which most men must have felt in their own minds, to turn from the object of contemplation, to the examination of the process by which the mind contemplates it; and just in so far as this tendency is indulged, it is obvious that, for the time, the attention must be withdrawn from
the object to which it ought to be directed.
Let me then, in conclusion, implore the objector to M. Malan's doctrines, not to concern himself with the question, whether he believes or not; but, as he declares that he has received into his mind, and believes, the great truths of the Gospel, that Christ came to save sinners, and therefore to save such as he is, I would entreat him to keep his mind steadily fixed and settled on them, in full assurance, that as long as he admits their truth, and receives comfort from admitting it, he must believe them;-and if he would not rob the Saviour of his glory, let me beseech him to ask himself," then why not to save me?"
If he believes that the atonement of Christ is all-sufficient, and that the offers of the Gospel are free, he must see that nothing can be required of him, to supply the deficiencies of the former, or in compliance with the conditions of the latter; but that Jesus Christ is his Saviour, even his own Saviour, if he will receive him as such.
I have to apologize for the length of this communication, and also for much repetition and tautology which occurs in it. In excuse for the former, I may be permitted to plead the importance of the subject; and the latter has been caused by my being obliged, in following the ob jector through his objections one by one, to traverse the same ground oftener than once, though in somewhat different directions.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. Not having had the opportunity of seeing the little work of M. Malan which your correspondent B. W. has animadverted on, in your last Number, I would not be considered as appearing in the character of an advocate for the author, though I have been disposed to look up to him with a feeling of reverence, on account of the trials he has sustained in defending the cause of true religion in Switzerland. On CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 305.
the contrary, I suspect from the passages extracted by B. W., and from what I have learned from other quarters, that a species of theology runs through the publication which to me appears very unsatisfactory. But in proportion as my views approximate to those of B. W., I regret to observe in his paper any statements which may counteract the object the writer wishes to effect. As however there are one or two things of this nature, I trust I shall be excused if I venture to point them out to the notice of your readers generally, and of the writer himself particularly.
In the fifth division of B. W.'s remarks, he says, "It is unscriptural and dangerous to speak of salvation as already granted and obtained." And after extracting a few clauses from "the Conventicle of Rolle," certainly sufficiently crude in their statements, he proceeds: "The sacred Scriptures never speak of salvation as already obtained, but simply as an object of hope and future expectation. He that believeth shall be saved. (Mark xvi. 16.) He that endureth to the end shall be saved." These Scriptures speak of salvation, not as matter of present possession, but of eventual and conditional attainment. ment. But when B. W. says the sacred Scriptures never speak of salvation as already obtained, he must have forgotten such a passage as this: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life." (John v. 24.) Surely no words can express the idea of "salvation already granted and obtained " more clearly than these. He "hath everlasting life; "he shall never come into condemnation;" he "is passed from death unto life." In conformity with this language of our Saviour, St. Paul says (1 Cor. i. 18), "For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolish. 2 M