THE BENEFITS OF OUR REDEMPTION EXPLAINED.
Q. What are the benefits which we receive from the Redeemer?Return to Table of Contents
A. They are all comprehended in these three general heads, to wit, satisfaction or propitiation, redemption and impetration. That is to say, that, by the infinite merit of what he did and suffered for us, he fully satisfied the Divine justice for our sins; he rendered God propitious to us, and inclined to mercy; he redeemed us from sin, from the tyranny of the devil, and from the torments of hell; and he obtained for us all spiritual benedictions and graces in the kingdom of heaven in the life to come.
THE MERITS OF CHRIST.
Q. Were the merits of Christ of infinite value?Return to Table of Contents
A. By the word merit, is understood the right or title that one person acquires by his services, to receive any favor or reward from another. This right may be either a right of congruency, or a right in justice. A right or title of congruency is, when the person to whom the service done, is nowise obliged to reward it, by any promise or agreement of his own; but is at liberty to reward or not, as he pleases, and to reward it in what manner or proportion he sees proper, according as the services done may deserve, and as gratitude and decency shall dictate to them. A right in justice is, when the person to whom the service is done, is bound by promise or agreement to reward it; for by this the other who does the service, acquires a full right and just title to the reward. Now, what Jesus Christ did and suffered for the glory and service of his Father, was of infinite value in itself, and deserved an infinite reward; and his eternal Father himself laid these sufferings upon him and engaged, on his undergoing them, to give them the reward which he demanded for them, both in regard to himself and use. Hence the merits of Christ were of infinite value; and he has acquired a full title in justice to every thing he demands from his Father in reward for them.
Q. How comes the merit of what Christ did and suffered to be of infinite value in itself?
A. This arises chiefly from three causes:
First, The infinite dignity of his person; for the more exalted any person is, the more meritorious and valuable is any act of obsequiousness which he does to please another.
Second, The infinite value of what he gave and dedicated to the service of his Father, which was no less than the actions, sufferings, life and death of God made man.
Third, The fervor of his charity and love with which he served his Father; for, from the moment he was conceived in his mother's womb, till the moment he expired on the cross, every thing he did, said, and suffered, was all done out of the most perfect obedience to his Father's will. Thus, "when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not; but a body thou hast fitted to me: Holocausts for sin did not please thee. Then said I, Behold I come, in the head of the book it is written of me, that I should do thy will, O God," Heb. x. 5. And this his fervent charity to do the will of his Father, was so agreeable to him, that St. Paul immediately adds, "By which will we are sanctified by the oblation of the body of Jesus Christ once, ver. 10. This perfect obedience he carried on through the whole of his life, in every thing he did; so that it was "his meat to do the will of him that sent him, and to perfect his work," Jo. iv. 34. "I do nothing of myself," says he, "but as the Father has taught me, I speak these things - for I do always the things that please him," Jo. viii. 28. And he laid down his life at least, in the midst of torments, from the same Divine motive of obedience to his heavenly Father; "he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," Phil. ii. 8. now, a person of such dignity offering to his Father a gift of infinite value, and employing himself with such infinite love, and through such dreadful sufferings for his Father's glory, most certainly deserves an infinite reward for such services; and, therefore his merits are in themselves of infinite value.
Q. How does it appear that God the Father laid all the sufferings of Christ upon him, and promised him a reward for them?
A. This is expressly declared by the prophet Isaiah, who also assures us that this was done in punishment for our sins, to make up our peace with God, and heal our bruises, "Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows, and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted, but he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed - And the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all - for the wickedness of my people have I struck him - and the Lord was pleased to bruise him in infirmity." Then follows the promise of the reward, "If he shall lay down his life for sin, he shall see a long-lived seed, and the will of the Lord shall be prosperous in his hand. Because his soul hath labored, he shall see and be filled; by his knowledge shall this my just servant justify many, and he shall bear their iniquities; therefore will I distribute to him very many, and he shall divide the spoils of the strong." Isa. liii.
Hence Jesus Christ claimed from his Father an infinite reward as his due for what he had done for him, to wit, the eternal glorification of his human nature in heaven, promised in the words of the prophet, "he shall see and be filled. I have glorified thee on earth," says, he, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do; and now glorify thou me, O Father, with thyself, with the glory which I had, before the world was, with thee," Jo. xvii. 4. And he made the same demand for all his faithful followers, who should believe in him. "Father: I will, that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may be with me, that they may see my glory which thou hast given me," verse 24.
Q. What is properly meant by the satisfaction and propitiation of Christ?
A. To give satisfaction for an offence committed, is to offer to the person offended some gift or service which is equal or more agreeable to him that the offence was disagreeable. The rigor of justice demands that the satisfaction be equally to the displeasure given by the offence; and, if it be more so, the satisfaction is superabundant. In either case, the person offended is appeased and satisfied, and willing to be reconciled with the offender, and to forgive the offence.
What Jesus Christ did and suffered, was of infinite value in the eyes of his Father, and therefore infinitely agreeable to him; and, as it was the condition required by the Divine justice, to satisfy for the sins of men; therefore, his satisfaction was not only equal to the offence, but infinitely superabundant; and, on that account, full appeased the wrath of God against man, made him willing to be reconciled with man, and to forgive the offence received by his sins. Inasmuch as this satisfied the demands of justice, it is properly called satisfaction; and, inasmuch as it rendered God propitious, or inclined to mercy, it is called propitiation.
The scripture every where proposes the sufferings and death of Christ as a satisfaction to the Divine justice of God, and on that account taking away the effects of his justice against man, and, as a propitiation for our sins, appeasing the wrath of God, and reconciling us with him.
Thus St. Paul declares, that "God hath set forth Jesus Christ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to the showing of his justice through the remission of former sins through the forbearance of God, for the showing of his justice in this time," Rom. iii. 25. but that justice being now satisfied by the sufferings of Christ, he hath "blotted out the hand-writing of the decree that was against us, and he hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross," Col. ii. 14. St. John also says, "Jesus Christ the just, he is the propitiation for a propitiation for our sins," 1 Jo. iv. 10. "When enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son," Rom. v. 10. "All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Christ," 1 Cor. v. 18. "Christ is our peace," says St. Paul, "and died both for Jews and Gentiles, that he might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross," Ephs. ii. 14, 16. "It hath well p leased the Father through him, to reconcile all things to himself, making peace through the blood of his cross," Coloss. i. 20. "The God of our fathers," said St. Peter to the Jews, "hath raised up Jesus, whom you put to death, hanging him upon a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins," Acts v. 30. In Christ, "we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins," Eph. i. 7.
REDEMPTION BY CHRIST.
Q. What is understood by the redemption of Christ?Return to Table of Contents
A. To redeem is, properly speaking, to buy any thing again, which was formerly one's own, but had gone from him to the possession of another; and, when applied to men, signified to buy one out of slavery, who had been formerly free. God, at the beginning, created man in a state of freedom, serving God indeed, but with voluntary obedience, and out of love as a son, not by force, and out of fear, as a slave; for to serve god is the only true liberty. But man, by sin, withdrawing himself from the easy service of God, became the servant of sin, according to that of our Saviour, "Amen, amen, I say unto you, that whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin," jo. viii. 34. and was so tyrannized by that cruel master, that "all the thoughts of his heart was bent upon evil at all times," Gen. vi. 5. "without his being sufficient of himself, as of himself, to think any good," 2 Cor. iii. 5.
Besides, as in committing sin, he had been overcome by the devil, and obeyed him in preference to God; therefore he was also enslaved to the devil; for "by whom a man is overcome, of the same also is he the salve," 2 Pet. ii. 19.; and, "to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey," Rom. vi. 16.; "and being by this means entangled in the snares of that cruel master, "was by him held captive at his will," II Tim. ii. 26. Not that God had lost his supreme dominion and power over man; but that he justly delivered him over to be tyrannized by sin and Satan, as the executioners of the Divine justice, in punishment of his voluntarily leaving the easy and delightful service of his heavenly Father. Nor did the miserable slavery of man end with this life; for, as by sin he had become an object of the Divine vengeance, he was condemned by the justice of God to suffer the eternal punishment of hell in the life to come, under the never ending tyranny of Satan.
From this miserable and never ending slavery, Jesus Christ came to redeem us, by paying a price for us of infinite value to the Divine justice; for "you were not redeemed with corruptible things, such as gold or silver - but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled," Pet. i. 18. "But Christ being come - neither by the blood of goats, nor of calves, but by his own blood entered once into the holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled to the cleansing of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the Holy Ghost, suffered himself without sport to God, cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Heb. ix. 11.; "for he also partook of flesh and blood, that through death he might destroy him who had the empire of death, the devil; and might deliver them who, through the fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage," Heb. ii. 14.
EFFECTS OF REDEMPTION.
Q. What is the principal effect of our redemption by Christ?Return to Table of Contents
A. As the first cause and source of our slavery is sin; because by sin we are enslaved to the devil, and condemned to hell; so the principal effect of our redemption by Christ, is the delivering us from sin, by which we are, of course, delivered both from Satan and Hell. Hence the scripture always speaks of this as the greatest of benefits, and Christ is styled our Redeemer and Savior chiefly on this account. Thus the angel Gabriel declared to St. Joseph, before he was born, "thou shalt call his name Jesus, (or Savior;) "for he shall save his people from their sins," Mat. i. 21. "A faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners," 1 Tim. i/ 15. For this he was raised up and exalted by his Father; for "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins," Acts v. 31. "To him all the prophets gave testimony, that through his name all receive remission of sins who believe in him," Acts x. 43. "Be it known, therefore, to you, men and brethren, that through him remission of sins is preached to you, and from all the things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses," Acts xiii. 38. "Him God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood - for the remission of former sins," Rom. iii. 25. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins," Eph. i. 7. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin," 1 John i. 7. "But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. vi. 11. "The blood of Christ cleanses our consciences from dead works," Heb. ix. 14. Jesus Christ "hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood," Apoc. i. 5.
Whereas "our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rules of the world of this darkness, against the spirit of wickedness in high places," Eph. vi. 12. Against "the devil, who goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour," 1 Pet. v. 8. And whereas, "for this purpose, the Son of God appeared, that he might destroy the works of the devil," 1 John iii. 8. by delivering us from our sins; consequently, by so doing, he also has delivered us from the tyranny of that cruel master, and took our nature upon him, "that through death he might destroy him who hath the empire of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage," Heb. ii. 14. And, therefore, he himself declares, "now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out," Jo. xii. 31. In consequence of this we are also delivered by him from that eternal punishment to which we must otherwise have been condemned for our sins; for "Christ died for us; much more, therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him," Rom. v. 9. "who hath delivered us from the power of darkness," Col. i. 13. and "who hath delivered us from the wrath to come," 1 Thes. i. 10.
Q. Was it necessary that Christ should do and suffer as much as he did, in order to purchase this redemption for man?
A. Far from it; for, considering the infinite dignity of his person, and the ardent charity with which he always acted according to his Father's will the smallest action or suffering of his was of infinite value in itself, and sufficient to redeem ten thousand worlds. But such was the will of the Almighty, that he should do and suffer so much, and at last die on the cross, and shed the last drop of his precious blood for us, that by this means he might the more efficaciously demonstrate the greatness of his love for us; for, "greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friend," Jo. xv. 13.; and "God commanded his charity to us; because, when as yet we were sinners - Christ died for us," Rom. v. 8. Also that he might the more abundantly glorify his eternal Father, by the supereminent greatness of his merits, and the more perfectly accomplish the work his Father gave him to do, in redeeming mankind; and that he might the more effectually encourage and excite us to love him, and repose a perfect confidence in his infinite goodness.
Hence we find it expressly declared in scripture,
First, That what Christ did for our redemption, was not only sufficient, but superabundant. Thus Jesus Christ, "is the propitiation for our sins; and nor for ours only, but also for those of the whole world," 1 Jo. ii. 2. "With the Lord there is mercy, and with him plentiful redemption," Ps. cxxix. 7. "By one oblation he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified," Heb. x. 14. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, according to the riches of his grace, which hath superabound in us," Eph. i. 7. "But not as the offence, so also is the gift: for, if by the offence of one many have died, much more the grace of God and the gift in the grace of one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many - where sin abounded, grace hath abounded more," Rom. v. 15, 20. "God, who is rich in mercy, for his exceeding great charity wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead by sins, hath quickened together in Christ - that he might show, in the ages to come, the abundant riches of his grace, in his bounty towards us in Christ Jesus," Eph. ii. 4.
Second, That it was the express decree of the Almighty, that he should lay down his life in order to procure the redemption of mankind. "If he shall lay down his life for sin, he shall see a long-lived seed," Is. liii. "This same Jesus being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you, by the hands of wicked man, have crucified and slain," Acts ii. 23. said St. Peter to the Jews in his first sermon.
"For a truth," said the whole church to God, "there assembled together in this city, against thy holy child Jesus, who thou hast anointed, Herod and Pontius Pilate, and the Gentiles, with the people of Israel, to do what they hand and thy counsel decreed to be done," Acts. iv. 27. Hence Christ himself speaking of his passion to his apostles, always speaks of his sufferings and death, as what he must undergo. "From the forth, Jesus began to show to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things - and be put to death," Matth. xvi. 21.; and to the disciples, after his resurrection, he said, "thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise again the third day," Luke xxiv. 46. That it was on this condition he was to bring forth much fruit by the redemption, of mankind, and enter himself into glory, shows in these texts: "The hour is come that the Son of Man should be glorified: Amen, amen, I say unto you, unless the grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, itself remaineth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit," John xii. 24.; and, "ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory?" Luke xxiv. 26.
SPIRITUAL BENEDICTIONS AND GRACES.
Q. What is meant by the benefit of Christ's impetration?Return to Table of Contents
A. It means that Christ, by the infinite merits of his passion and death, obtained for us all spiritual benedictions and graces in this life, all the means necessary for obtaining eternal happiness, and eternal happiness itself in the life to come. Insomuch that it is only in and through him that any favor, grace, or blessing is bestowed upon us by God, or that any thing we can do can be agreeable or acceptable to by God, or conducive to our eternal salvation. Hence we find it declared in scripture, that all the graces we receive from God, and our salvation itself, flow only from this source.
First, With regard to all graces in general, St. Paul says, "He that spared not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, now hath he not also with him, given us all things?" Rom viii. 32. And therefore, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ," Eph. i. 3. For, "of his fulness we have all received, and grace for grace," Jo. i. 16; " and in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and you are filled in him, who is the head of all principality and power," Col. ii. 9. "As all things of his divine power, which appertain to life and godliness, are given us through the knowledge of him who hath called us by his own proper glory and virtue, by whom he hath given us most great and precious promises, that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature," 2 Pet. i. 3.
Second, The grace of our election; for "he hath chosen us in him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity, who hath, predestinated us not the adoption of his children, through Jesus Christ," Eph. i.4.
Third, The grace of our vocation; for "he hath delivered us and called us by his holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the world," 2 tim. 1. 9. - "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Jesus;" Heb. iii. 1. "For God is faithful, by whom you are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord," 1 Cor. i. 9. "In whom we are called by lot, being predestinated according to the purpose of him, who worketh all things according to the counsel of his will," Eph. i. 11.
Fourth, The grace of justification, to with, that sanctifying grace, which applying to our souls the fruits and efficacy of the blood of Jesus, washes and cleanses them from all the defilements and pollutions of sin, adorns us with the heavenly beauty of holiness, and makes us just before God; for "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sins," 1 John 1. 7.; but "we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," Rom. iii. 24. who "by one oblation, - perfected for ever them that are sanctified," Heb. x. 14. indeed, "such some of you were, (to wit, guilty of many crimes) but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. vi. 11. "Who is made to us from God wisdom and justice, and sanctification, and redemption," 1 Cor. i. 30.
Fifth, Habitual grace, by which we remain in Christ, and he is us, which dignifies all our good works, and makes them acceptable and agreeable to God, and consequently meritorious of eternal life, and by which they become the works of Christ himself, as the fruit produced by the branches are chiefly the fruit of the vine from which the branches receive their nourishment. "Abide in me," says Christ, "and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine; so neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for without me you can do nothing," John xv. 4.
What that fruit is, St. Paul tells us, saying, "but now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end everlasting life," Rom. vi. 22. "For the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth," Eph. v. 9.; to wit, all manner of good works: and therefore, St. Peter exhorts us to labour the more, that by good works, we may make our calling and election sure," 2 Pet. i. 10.
Sixth, Eternal glory in the salvation of our souls, which is represented to us as the end of all these other graces, and the ultimate effect in us of our redemption through Jesus.
"Christ died for us, when sinners, much more, therefore, being now justified through his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him," Rom. v. 9. For, "whom he predestinated, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, then he glorified," Rom. viii. 30. "According to his mercy he saved us by the laver of regeneration, and the renovation of the Holy Ghost, whom he hath poured forth upon us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we may be heirs, according to hope of everlasting life," Tit. iii. 5. The grace of God is life everlasting in Christ Jesus," Rom. vi. 23.; "for God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to the purchasing solvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that we may live together with him," 1 Thes. v. 9. "And being consummated he became the cause of salvation to all that obey him," Heb. v. 9.; and therefore we have a confidence in "the entering into the Holies by the blood of Christ, a new and living way, which he hath dedicated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh," Heb. x. 19, 20. Lastly, that Jesus Christ alone is the source of our salvation, is expressly declared by St. Peter: "neither is there salvation in any other," says he, "for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved, but the name of Jesus only," Acts iv. 12. And, as "there is" but "one God," so there is but "one Mediator of God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all," 1 Tim. ii. 5.
CHRIST, THE MEDIATOR.
Q. Why is Jesus Christ called the Mediator?
A. Because he is truly "the Mediator of God and man" in the most perfect sense of the word. A mediator is one who acts between two, either to obtain pardon from the person offended to the offender, or to obtain some benefit from the one to the other. Now a mediator may procure this pardon or benefit either by paying an equivalent price for it, and so obtaining it in his own right through justice, or by the force of intercession and prayers as a favor.
Man, by sin, had grievously offended God, and was an object of his wrath and indignation; Jesus Christ appears as a Mediator to obtain pardon from God to man; to purchase this he paid a price of infinite value, the merits of all his sufferings, and death upon the cross, by which he acquired a right a title, in justice, to demand the pardon from his father, and all other graces for us; but that nothing might be wanting to the perfection of his mediatorship, to his sufferings and death he also joined most fervent prayers for the same end.
Hence the scripture says, "therefore he is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of his death for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former testament; they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance," Heb. ix. 15; and, "in the days of his flesh, offering up prayers and supplications with a strong cry, and tears, to him that was able to save him from death, was heard for his reverence," Heb. v. 7. By the former he is a mediator of redemption, and the only mediator between God and man; by the latter he is also a mediator of intercession, but so that he has a right in his own person, to claim what he ask for us as his own due.
When one man intercedes with God for another, he is also a mediator of intercession, but such a one as has no right or title in himself to demand what he prays for, but must expect to be heard only through mercy and favor; yea, this every mercy and favor he can look for only in and through the merits of Jesus Christ; so that all good to man must come from that source alone, whatever be the immediate instruments or means of applying it.
Q. As Jesus Christ has done so much for the salvation of mankind, will all mankind be saved?
A. Far from it; on the contrary, the light which the holy scriptures give us on this point expressly declares, that "many are called but few are chosen;" which alarming truth Jesus Christ repeats on two different occasions, and further assures us, in the plainest terms, "that wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who walk therein! but oh, how narrow is the gate," says he, "and strait the way, that leadeth to life, and few there are who find it!" Matth. vii. 13. By which it is plain, that the number of those who are damned is much greater than of those who are saved.
Q. How comes this? Does not God will all men to be saved?
A. He certainly does. St. Paul declares it in the plainest terms; "God will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth," 1 Tim. ii. 4.
Q. Did not Christ die for all mankind?
A. Most assuredly; "Jesus Christ gave himself a redemption for all," 1 Tim. ii. 6; "and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world," 1 Jo. 11. 2.
Q. How comes it then that such numbers will be lost?
A. From their own fault alone. To understand this, we observe, that as God created man a free agent, he therefore required from him a free and voluntary service, as we have seen above at large, Chap. iii, qu. 18. But, man abusing his free will, rebelled against his God, and in this life, with all title to that eternal reward which he had prepared for him in the life to come; and also became utterly incapable of taking the smallest step towards the making up his peace with his offended Creator.
Now, through Jesus Christ, by what he did for us, fully satisfied the divine justice for the offence committed against God, rendered him propitious, and willing to be reconciled with us, and obtained grace to enable us to do on our part what should be required of us to complete our reconciliation; yet it is manifest, that, if we still continue in our rebellion against God, and refuse to return to his service and to perform the conditions which he requires on our part for being received again into favor, it is impossible the fruits of the merits of Christ should be applied to our souls, so as to reinstate us in the favor of God, or secure our salvation. We lost his favor by the voluntary abuse of our free-will, and it is impossible to recover it without our voluntary performance of what he requires from us for that end. Though Christ died for all, and obtained so many benefits for us all, yet he forces none to accept of these benefits against his will; nor will all he did be of any service to us, except the fruits of his merits be applied to our souls; which will never be done so as to bring us to heaven, unless we, of our own free-will, perform the conditions which he requires, and use the means which he has appointed for this purpose.
The scripture expressly declares, that "Christ is become the cause of eternal salvation to all that obey him," Heb. v. 9. Now, as God wills all to be saved, and as Jesus Christ died for all; therefore God, through the merits of Christ, gives to all men, in the way he sees proper and suitable to their state, the necessary helps of his grace, to enable them to perform the conditions he requires from them, and by that means to secure their salvation. But, alas! the greatest number continuing to abuse their free-will, refuse to co- operate with that grace; and hence, as they do not perform the conditions required, they are therefore lost forever!
Q. What are the conditions which God requires of us to be saved?
A. They may all be reduced to two general heads: 1. To believe what Christ teaches; and, 2. To obey what he commands; or, in other words, Faith and Love; for by Faith we believe, and by Love we obey. Hence St. Paul lays down these two conditions as the only means by which we can reap any benefit from the redemption of Christ: "In Christ Jesus," says he, "neither Circumcision availeth any thing, nor Uncircumcision, but Faith that worked by Charity," Gal. v. 6.
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