[This is part two - pages 26-47.]
Indeed sir, all your free agents should be fools, to make your theory good, if fools be without motives in volition and action; for then, and only then, will the human mind be free from the influence of a reason, or cause, in the exercise of volition and agency.
You take it all along for granted, that a necessary influence of motive upon the mind, destroys freedom of will and free agency; and if repetition would prove it, you seem to offer abundant argument. We shall now attend to that point.
If you be an honest man, will not honorable motives have a necessary influence upon you at all times to direct your mind? Can you as an honest man, resist their influence? Does not the apprehension of a powerful enemy pursuing you, ready and able to take your life, necessarily induce you to flee out of his way? And are you not very free in so doing? When a man feels hungry, and nature craves a refreshment, he is necessarily lead [led] to use food, and in proportion to the necessity, so is his freedom or willingness -- If a man discover a house in flames over his head, will not the impeding evil and the desire of life necessarily operate upon him as irresistable motives to make his escape? And is he not entirely free and willing in executing his escape? So it is evident that a strong necessity imposed in the motive, instead of destroying, increases our freedom to act. This will always be the case, while we possess the faculty of reason, and the more perfect our state of rationality, reason, or cause will have a more certain influence on the mind, in the production of will and agency.
It seems very surprising that so great a pretender to reason as you are, should accuse other men, with denying free agency and making men machines, because they consider man as a rational creature, possessed of a mind that must necessarily be actuated by reasons, or causes in determining and choosing which way to act. Though a motive be considered a reason for choice and action, why should any man be so perverse as to infer hence, that the motive must be the agent? that is, that the cause of an action, is the action itself? This mode of arguing may darken cousel; but will never elucidate a subject.
"It will not, you hope be affirmed that an agent may act from deliberation and choice, and yet be a necessary and passive agent." Surely when he acts from deliberation and choice, the agency must necessarily be connected with choice. The apparent character of the object sways the mind, and in this respect it is passive. Necessity and passiveness in a qualified sense, do not take away the freedom of the agent. If the judge upon the bench be an honest man, his judgment
is formed by the stron power of the law, it operates upon him as a necessary cause in his deliberations. To the influence of this cause, he is passive; but active in giving his judgment and ordering it to be executed. -- Should he be partial and corrupt, this partiality and corruption might predominate, and rule him into a wrong judgment. -- In this case he would be passive and active alike.
A man is passive to the influence of argument, evidence and oratory, and they may serve as irrestible motives to determine his mind, to induce a choice, and to excite his affections; but in the agency which follows, he is active.
Of Virtues and Vices Regarded as Qualities.
For the sake of a specimen I will return to the 27th page, where you seem to indulge yourself in high terms of contempt, and no small share of misrepresentation, in treating the sentiments of other men, respecting the characters of virtue and vice. Those whom against you write suppose that virtue and vice are qualities of the mind; and that men act virtuously, or vitiously, according to the predominance of these qualities in their heart.
To destroy this view of the subject, you tell us, that "by virtues and vices is intended the legitimate use, or the voluntary abuse, of powers or capacities: that men of learning may be acquainted with a class of moral virtues and vices resulting necessarily from certain powers denominated, (by them) graces. -- Should there be a class of things, (for I will not call them graces or virtues) that sprung up of necessity in the human mind, from heat and moisture; yet why should the men be rewarded or punished for them? Would it not be as just as just and reasonable to reward and punish them, for the color of their hair, &c."
A man who pretends to reason, and treats a subject in this way, is like a person who covers the field of his neighbor all over with brush and rubish, and then points at him with the finger of scorn as being slothful, and a bad manager.
Your definition of virtue and vice, appears to need an explanation to make it intelligible, more than the terms which you attempt to define. "Virtue is the legitimate use of power." --
A man uses his power legitimately, by cutting timber, making rails, and building houses; but may not this be done without any thing of virtue in the will or agency? And may not a man abuse his powers by exposure, hard labour, extra-ordinary exertions and close study, and not be vitious in so doing? He may act from the best intention imaginable, and be quite voluntary also. Your definition which ought always to be plainer than the thing to be defined is vague, and obscures the subject. But I suppose from your connected remarks, you mean that virtues consist in the lawful acts of men, and vices, in their unlawful acts; their minds being in a state of indifference with reference to virtue or vice, or free from the intrinsic influence of them, considered as qualities of mind. I know you are forced to take this kind of position on the present ground, in order to maintain your theory of free will, and to preclude the predominant influence of good or bad qualities in the nature of man, that would go to bias the mind; but one absurdity will never serve to maintain and rationalize another. God never recognizes virtue and vice in mere acts: the principle or quality must be found in the heart.
You very decorously accuse men of learning, with being acquainted with vices and virtues, that result from what they call "graces." Is it a vice to appear inviduous, and state things as fact which are not so? A due consideration of this question, would perhaps, enable you not to charge a whole order of men so ungenerously. Who ever, learned or unlearned, imagined that vice resulted from grace? Men of piety are acquainted with a class of virtues, styled by the Apostle, the fruits of the spirit, which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentlenes[s], goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, (Gal. v, 22, 23) and the same writer recongnizes vices in the human heart, some of which are hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, envyings -- but he does not ascribe them both to the same source, as you unjustly represent your learned men doing -- and there are men, without much learning, that use the words, virtues and graces in the same sense, and wonder that you would think of putting your jumble of words in the mouth of learned men.
Are you not without argument, and ought you not to be more apprehensive of departing from the truth, when you represent some of the most pious and judicious men in the world, who have always been able to give good reasons for their sentiments, as denominating a class of things, moral virtues and graces which spring up in human nature by heat and mosture? As to vices, they abound in the heart of men: The scripture hath not said in vain, that the spirit (or disposition) which is
in us, lusteth to envy -- you may account for it as you please. But the moral qualities of the soul, which are called graces or virtues, are implanted there by the divine spirit: Of his fulness have all we received (says John) and grace for grace. -- These are nourished, not by the heat and moisture of nature; but by the sanctifying influence of the God of nature.
When you empty the mind of man, of the moral qualities, called virtues or evil, right or wrong: therefore, it is impossible for the mind to make choice of the one or the other, while it remains in that condition. The act which results from it in that state, cannot be virtuous or good; because the mind has no love to virtue or goodness when it acts, if it acts at all; but the truth is, it cannot act in any shape by a will, as the supposed indifference does not admit of choice. This cuts off all voluntary agency of a moral character.
Again, if your way of reasoning be correct, it follows, that if a man's mind be entirely virtuous, pure and holy, so that every effort of his will is pure and holy, as a consequent [consequence] of his nature, he is not a free agent nor a virtuous man. On the other hand, should a person be wholly ruled and acuated by evil qualities of nature, or if you choose vices of heart, as a consequence of his whole nature being full of evil, he would be no free agent, neither could he be deemed wicked. Of course it would be as just ot punish him for the color of his hair, as for his wickedness and guilt.
The cause of the infernal millions might be plead by arguments of this description, and if they could give credit to their validity, it would be to them a gospel.
The inhabitants of the celestial world, from a consequence and necessity of the unmixed holiness and perfection of their nature, are lead [led] freely as a stream from its fountain to the performance of their holy agency: the very qualities of their nature incline them thus to act, while the vituous qualities of evil spirits influence them, so that they, with a strong will to evil, go forth as a roaring Lion, seeking whom they may devour. But will you say that glorified spirits are not free agents? And the subjects of a just coneendation? -- That evil spirits are blameless and ought not in justice, to be punished? These would be the conclusions according to your maxims.
But does not common sense commend a man for the good
and virtuous qualities of his mind, which are so predominant, that they influence him to will and practice a virtuous course of action?
And does not common sense deem a man more deserving of punishment, whose will is actuated by rooted, vitious qualities of heart to bad actions, than if the same actions should happen, without the supposition of such vitious qualities in the heart?
Take the case of murder: and if you ascertain the existence of malice propense, and that the act was induced by hatred, covetousness, envy, and rooted vengeance of mind, with deliberate evil intention, and if you please the influence of Satan; will it not be deemed murder of the first grade, on account of the antecedent bad qualities in the heart of the agent considered as the cause of the actions? But according to your honor's reasoning, the murderer should be exempt from blame and punishment, because so many bad qualities of mind had conspired to rule his will and prompt his agency; it would be as just to condemn him for the color of his hair, or the strength of his arm. He cannot therefore be a free agent.
As to what you say about making man a machine for supposing that his mind is influenced in volition, by motive or some cause, and that the will is biassed by the qualities of his nature, it may be observed, that the same argument would make the supreme Being a Machine: for his will in all things must be directed by the prefections of his nature; and he made man in his own likeness with a capacity of being influenced by causes and the qualities of his being.
On the Imputation of Christ's Righteousness
I have to leave your honor in the empire of your self determining power and occult capacities of grace, that I may bestow a little attention upon what you have advanced on the imputation of Christ's righteousness, brought to view in 37 p. of your book. After your usual respects to the Doctors, you inform us, that, "The doctrine of imputed virtue, or righteousness is to you a matter of great mistery [sic] and curiosity; to suppose a man righteous at the judgment seat of God, for
[p. 31] what another has done for him; that he is to be judged by deputy, or in the person of another, and being judged in the person of his friend -- he is to be declared righteous, independently of his own faith and obedience. -- This is really mysterious -- his friend they say, has fulfilled the law and made it honorable, and what he hath done himself the judge will not enquire, because he is to be viewed in the person of his friend, &c."
It would have been more generous to have given us a quotation out of some book, written by the learned Doctors. Then we might with greater certainty judge of their real sentiments. You mean to treat their doctrine with a high degree of contempt; but you ought to recollect that the doctrines of the cross were treated with contempt, before the specimen which you have given. The great body of the Jewish nation rejected these doctrines, and the vain reasoners among the Greeks, accounted them foolishness. Thomas Pain[e], and a tribe of kindred writers, vilified the doctrine of imputed righteousness, because they did not know its value: you are not therefore, singular in your remarks, upon the subject. You vilify and reject this doctrine, though you pretend to believe the scriptures!
Infidels have acknowledged this doctrine to be taught in the scriptures, and have abused it as a scripture doctrine; but neither they, nor you can destroy it, or remove it, from the sacred Volume: there it stands legible to the eye and acceptable to the heart, which feels the sting of sin, the fiery serpent. You think it very curious, "that a man should be supposed righteous at the judgment seat of God, for what another has done for him." If he be vested with this righteousness, and therfore accounted righteous any where else, why not at the judgment seat of God?
Righteousness by Our Own Agency, in the View of the Law is Impossible
The scripture tells us, that by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be jsutified in his sight, (i.e.) the sight of God: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Rom. 3, 20) Again, That no man is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident. (Gal. 3, 11,) For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Gal. 2, 22) The law is seems, only
gives us aknowledge of our sin, we cannot become righteous by it -- our natures are too depraved, to fulfil[l] its righteousness; therefore, Paul says that the commandment which was ordained to life, he found to be unto death. Justification by the law then, or our own works is out of the question.
2. Where then will sinful man find a righteousness, and with what righteousness will he be vested in justification?
The gospel abundantly answers this question, when it states that, in the Lord we have righteousness and strength -- that the name by which Christ shall be called, is the Lord our RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Isa. 45, 24. Jerem. 23, 6) This righteousness can be no other than that which was wrought by Jesus Christ in observing the divine law: for the intrinsic justice of God, when viewed as an essential attribute of Deity, cannot in any sense, be called they righteousness of the creature; neither can the Lord be called our RIGHTEOUSNESS in any point of view, but that of fulfilling the law in our place, and the imputation of the righteousness which he thus procured under the law, to us; for the essential righteousness of God, must be employed in condemning the sinner; and of course instead of claiming it as the ground of peace and comfort to his soul, it is to him the cause of the most tremendous apprehensions and terror. The imputation of Christ's obedience, as a righteousness, is expressly declared in Rom. v. 19th: for as by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous." How could they be made righteous by the obedience of another, but by the imputation of this obedience to them? If it had not been imputed or accounted to them, they could never sustain the character of being righteous by it. This is the evident conclusion of reason, upon the passage before us, whatever pretenders to reasoning may say upon the subject. The Apostle has guarded against the construction, which makes the obedience of Christ as only serving to justify sinners from the solitary transgression of Adam, and not from all their personal sin; when he says, that the judgment was by one to condemation; but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. (Rom. v, 16) In this respect, grace much more abounds, as it saves the sinner not only from the one transgression of Adam; but all his own personal sin and guilt, and through the righteousness of Christ reigns to eternal life.
Again, Christ is made of God, unto us wisdom and righteousness. -- He hath made him to be sin, or a sin offering, for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (1 Cor. 1, 30-2 Cor. 5, 21) Hence the Apostle was solicitous to be found not have his own righteousness,
which is of the law; but that which is by the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God. How is Christ made righteousness to us, if he did not fulfil[l] the law in our room as a substitute? And he could not be made so unto us, without the imputation of this righteousness. He was made sin for us because he bore our sins in his own body on the tree; he obeyed the precept, and endured the pebalty of the law. The possession of the righteousness of God, is by the faith of Christ; but faith itself is not this righteousness: it is only the act by which we take hold of it.
3. The consideration of Christ's coming to the world to fulfill the law, would not be admissible, but upon the principle, that his obedience to the law, was intended to be a righteousness, imputable to those who were under the obligation of law, which they could not fulfill. Therefore we are informed, that "When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeed them that were under the law. -- (Gal. 4, 4) Christ was not under the law previous to his incarnation; of course, owed no obedience to it: the obligation which devolved upon him, this obedience arose from the singular case of his being appointed under the law, to perform a righteousness, which the objects of his redemption were unable to effect for themselves, It would be the height of folly to perform a righteousness in the character of a mediator, if this righteousness were not a nesessary part of the work of mediation, and to be employed in the way of imputation for sinners, who were to be saved; and if it be employed in any shape that effects the person of sinners, it must be imputed to them, or regarded as if it were the real property of those whom God, by the constitution of grace, admits to an interest in its merits.
4. The death of Christ is not alone employed in our salvation: for we are also saved by his life, which doubtless includes the idea of his obedience to the precepts of the law. -- Roms 5.
You may consider this doctrine with as much contempt and curiosity as you please; but I cannot admire the intellect of those who think you reason fairly upon the scripture; neither can I see what apology you are able to make, for violating the law of truth and candor, when you alledge that those who hold the justification of a sinner to be on account of the righteousness of Christ imputed, have no regard to faith and morals, and that they consider themselvves at liberty to violate the divine law with impunity; and no longer feel obligation
to it, as a rule by which their life is to be regulated. This false, heavy, and slanderous charge is made upon them, because they will not agree with you, and the ancient Jews, in going about to establish a righteousness of their own in justification. Should a juvenile preacher, who knows nothing but the malignance of party zeal, make such assertions, it might be connived at; but it appears quite incongruous in a man of age and professed knowledge, when it is a fact which every man of reading knows, that the great body of the protestant churches hold the doctrine of justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ. It seems to me a matter of great curiosity how you could connect yourself with the Baptist church, which holds this doctrine, while you treat it with such a supercilious air of contempt, and regard them as a synagogue of Epecurians.
The word justification, in scripture, is taken in a forensic sense, and set in opposition to condemnation: it means the defence or deliverance of a person from the sentence of the law: therefore, it is said by correct writers, that God justifies men by pardoning their sins, and accounting and accepting their persons as righteous for Christ's sake alone. But those who take this gospel ground of the justification of the sinners, invariably connect with it their sanctification, as a part of the constitution of grace, & never consider the obligation of law to holiness of life cancelled, in any other sense, than as the ground of hope and slavation
Of Redemption From the Curse of the Law and the Guilt of Adamic Sin
You seem to admit that Christ has redeemed men from the curse of the law, and the guilt of Adamic sin, as you term it; but his active obedience to the precept of the law, has no share in the salvation of sinners; and every individual, according to you, is then redeemed.
The curse of the law, signifies the penalty or the evil which the law denounces against the transgressor. Redemption signifies a deliverance from the evil, by paying a price.
What now? The natural conclusion is, that none of the race of Adam can, in justice, be subjected to the penalty of the law, or the evil denounced against sinners. But they have no personal righteousness to justify them: for they are all sinners. How than can they be glorified in the presence of God, who admits nothing unclean to enter his kingdom? Whether will you send them to Limbo or Purgatory, to be prepared for Heaven? You will not suffer the righteousness of Christ to be imputed to sinners: yet you will impute the merit of his subjection, to the curse of the law yourself, in order to redeem men. It is a pity that so wise a person as your honor, would contradict himself in so plain a case. Pray sir, will you show me the great reasonableness and justice of the position which you have taken, more than that doctrine which you have just now consigned to infamy and condemnation? Is not reason as much in favor of the performance of a duty incumbent on another, and the acceptance of this second person's services, as it is in favor of a second person's suffering, who is innocent, instead of the guilty, by a voluntary substitution? Surely it is, and by no means so repugnant to the common sense of mankind. If the merits or benefits of the suffering of Christ be employed to relieve the sinner, it must be accounted to him. Is not this the same thing as being imputed to him? Why then do you treat the doctrine of the imputation of Christ's active obedience to the sinner, as if it were a monster in the moral world, when the fulfillment of law in ordinary cases, by a substitute is admitted in behalf of and accrues to the benefit of the principle person? The sinner who is destitute of a perfect legal righteousness of his own, needs such a righteousness to complete his character and establish his standing in the view of judgment as much as a substituted suffering to absolve him from the penal obligations of the law.
What you design by redemption, is truly a thing of a curious nature: for according to you, unless all mankind without exception, be the subjects of this redemption, God is partial and unjust. But it is evident from the scripture, that all men are not saved -- that some live and die under the dominion of sin, and sink under the heavy curses of the law, in the day of judgment. What then does your redemption amount to? It is mere sound without idea, and empty thing, illusive, and unavailing: it saves from nothing, it causes nothing, it has no effect. But when we apply the term redemption, to the deliverance of a sinner from the guilt and dominion of sin, and consider it of equal extent with sanctification, we have an idea of what it signifies, and our minds are not like clouds without
water floating in the winds. Christ gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works. (Tit. 2, 14th) Surely Christ did that which he designed in giving himself for us. This work of redemption must, therefore extend to all the inquity of those who are the objects of it.
Whenever you extend redemption beyond the idea of an effective and productive work, you strip it so far of the glory and character which is proper to it, as the work of God. It must then, be considered more suitable to the character of God, to view redemption just as extensive as the salvation of men, and productive of that salvation, than to speak of it as infinitely diffused, like empty space without ascribing any certain and operative power to it. Here we may introduce fact, your test of Theory to witness against you as it cannot be a truth, that all men are condemned under the law to endure its curse forever.
As to the redemption of mankind, from the guilt of Adamic sin, since you will not allow of the justice of imputing this sin, to Adam's posterity, I would be glad to know, how they came be the subjects of it: for if the thing was unjust in itself, the Great Sovereign of the world would not do it; and if it was just, that the posterity of Adam should be subjected to the guilt of his sin, why should the effects of justice be counteracted in this case more than another, by the Great Author of grace? It will not do to say, that the posterity of Adam were passive and not active, in becoming the subjects of this guilt: for guilt is guilt, and justice is justice, in whatever shape you view them. We can never conceive of sinless guilt and unjust justice. Whenever you view the posterity of Adam, as the subjects of guilt, they must be regarded as subjects of the just demerit of guilt, and no good reason can be given, why redemption should be employed in that case, more than any other, excepting the good pleasure of the Sovereign: for the throne of righteousness, is under no obligation to exercise any thing else, but justice upon the subjects of sin and guilt.
Again, if the posterity of Adam, are all redeemed from the guilt of this transgression, I want to know how the human family came to be left through all ages, under the effects of that sentence, which was pronounced upon Adam: for it seems to me, that if the guilt of the sin which Adam committed, while he stood as the representative of his posterity, was obliterated, they could not be the subjects of those dreadful
consequences, which resulted from the fall of man. It will not be to the purpose to say, that Adam begat sons in the likeness of his depravity: for that supposes the curse still to remain upon them; of course they could not have been redeemed from the guilt of the sin in question: for if you suppose them to be redeemed from this guilt, and the effects of Adam's sin, to have still remained and prevailed, it follows that the redemption was n ot accepted by the Savereign, or else that redemption made no difference in their obnoxious condition; and in either of these cases, they cannot be said properly to be redeemed from guilt. Here stubborn and invincible facts come forward to evidence against your notion of redemption from the guilt of Adamic sin: the sentence has actually prevailed. For by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Rom. v, 12) Thus by nature and by law all men are sinners, and dead in tresspasses and sins thorugh every successive generation. The sentence could not have been abrogated nor yet suspended. Adam died to all enjoyment of God, in the Garden, and God affirmed the sentence of condemnation, when he banished him from the Garden into an accursed world, with all his posterity, to endure sorrow, toil and pain, and under this heavy load of woe their material part was doomed to sink by successive dissolution into the original matter, from which they were created. That God affirmed the sentence of the threatened penalty, after the fall appears from his declaration to Adam, when driven out of the Garden. Because thou hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of it, -- in the sweat of they face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground. (Gen. 3, 17, 19) Here we have the sin of Adam and the penal effects of the law, without a single intimation of that pardon or grace to himself and posterity, which is taken for granted in your doctrine of redemption from Adamic guilt.
But I have heard it said by some, that though sin and death reigned from Adam to Moses, the space of time before the law was issued from Mount Sinai, sin was not imputed -- yet sin with its effects prevailed over all the race of Adam, infantile and adult. Here they mistake the apostle's design, in saying sin is not imputed when there is no law: for his object was to prove from the facts of sin and death, the existence of the moral law or covenant of works, which was made with Adam, and the obligation of it upon his posterity. The law worketh wrath says the apostle: for where no law is, there is no transgression. (Rom. 4, 15) That is, sin and the punishments
which are due to sin evidence the existence of law, and that God holds the person guilty who does not fulfil[l] it; hence we are the children or the subjects of divine wrath, ona ccount of our sinful natures, a want of conformity to the law, is sin as well as the transgression of it.
It is evident therefore, that the race of Adam are held sinful and guilty, from the very commencement of their existence, and that the supposed redemption of the whole family, from the guilt of Adamic sin, so as to stand justified before God, is a mere creature of men's imagination
If your honor shoud demand more proof of this, we shall gratify you, hoping that you will not presume to deny the strong evidence of facts, which shew that even the infantile race of Adam, are not all the subject of redemption and justification.
1. No one will deny, that the world abounded in infants at the time God destroyed the sinful race of man, with the deluge: yet not one of those infants was found righteous, or the subjects of grace, in the sight of God; Noah was the only person who found grace in the eyes of the Lord; and of him alone, it was said, Thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. (Gen. 6, 8; 7, 1) The rest were all declared corrupt. (Gen. 6, 12) But upon the supposition that the whole race of Adam, were redeemed and justified in infancy, this statement could not be true; for all infants were righteous, and the whole genration had found grace in the sight of God, as well as Noah.
2. Again, when Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord promised if there should be ten righteous persons found in these cities, they should not be destroyed; but there must have been many thousand infants in those cities; had they been the subjects of redemption, grace and justification, there would have been thousands of righteous persons found in Sodom and Gomorrah; of course these would not have been destroyed.*
* Those arguments are not intended against the salvation of those of the human race, who die in infancy; for God may regenerate them, and make them the subjects of grace and mercy, as well as those who have come to maturity of age. This we may infer from what Christ said the infants, whom he took into his arms. Their angels are said to behold the face of God in heaven, and angels are ministering spirits to those who ar heirs of slavation; but this salvation is not in consequence of any general pardon, secured to them in Adam. -- They may or may not be the subjects of slavation, consistently with divine justice. Tho' the facts recorded of the infants in Sodom, and those who were drowned by the Deluge, go to prove that, as infants they are not in the way of general stipulation, the subjects of grace and justification; yet God may have saved their soul in the very articule of dissolution through the power of Christ.
Your notions of the redemption of all men, from the guilt of Adamic sin, and the capacities and faculties of grace, which were given to all men in Adam, are of a like character; similar to the gods worshiped by the prophets of Baal, they are inert, they do nothing for the salvation of those who trust in them.
Of Judgment and Justification
Your honor condescends, at last, to agree that "the doctrine if imputed righteousness, when rightly understood and properly applied, is a divine truth, when misunderstood or misapplied, it becomes a delusive error." (p. 38.) This is very true; but in the name of sense, how do you understand it, when you will not suffer the righteousness of Christ to be imputed at all, and have already loaded the doctrine with a volume of contempt. -- You add "men are jsutified by grace; but they are not to be judged for grace."
Whoever, except yourself, used the awkward expression judged for grace? But, pray sir, is it not God that justifies; and can he justify or condemn without the exercise of judgment? Why should you separate the judgment of God, from the act of justification, when the scripture says, that God hath set forth Christ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness -- that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth. (Rom. 3.) Here it is fairly implied, that when the believer is acquited in the last day, there must be a refernce to the blood of Christ, to make the sentence just. If God acts upon another principles with respect to believers in the judgment of the great day, he varies from his own declaration.
But you will have men "judged for their works." Here is another expression of your own making: the scriptures
say, judged according to their works. Though believers are not perfect in the eye of the law; yet they possess a comparative righteousness, which is the work of grace in their hearts; they are created in Christ Jesus, unto good works: Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it -- that he might sanctify and cleanse it, and present it to himself a glorious church -- holy and without blemish. (Eph v.) Qualified thus by regenerating and sanctifying grace, they shall be pronounced righteous in distinction from the wicked. These are the holy millions which John saw before the Throne, clothed in robes, washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev. 1, 5, 7. 9, 14) The persons of believers being accepted thorugh Christ, it is the good pleasure of God to except [accept] and reward their sincerity and faithfulness in his service, and thus they shall be distinguished with a well done good and faithful servant in the last day, by way of description and discrimination from unbelievers; but justification by the righteousness of Christ, is at bottom, and the efficacy of his blood is recognized in heaven, as the cause of the holiness of saints. But as to their standing in the last day, upon the merit of their own works, and obtaining the reward of everlasting life upon that ground, it requires the self-righteousness of a pharisee to entertain such a notion.
You ask, where is it said that a judge is to judge men for the favor bestowed upon them by the Redeemer? No where: the writers of the scriptures had more sense, than to use such an expression. It is the providence of the judge, to pronounce sentence upon the person, according to his condition in law, and if it be agreeable to the order of the Divine Throne, to accept a sinner as justified, on account of the righteousness which is in Christ Jesus, he may be adjudged righteous upon the principles of grace; but not without a righteousness: for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, and God hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. If another sinner who is not interested in Christ, be condemned in judgment, upon the ground of law -- God is not partial in this act, for it is agreeable to the righteous order of his throne, and justice is duly employed in both cases.
You add that, "a man is not to be judged in the last day even by faith." I must remind your honour, that the judge of all the earth, is not like a Kentucky judge, with a troop of lawyers at his bar to form and again to change his judgment by the constructive teachnically of law & terms: he is of one mind and who can turn him? And what his soul desireth, even that
he doeth. (Job 23, 13) The Divine Judge has informed us, that he who believeth, shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned. Has not this a future reference to the judgment? And will not this be the mind and judgment of God, in the last day? Will the nature of his sentence or the gound of it be changed from this declaration whenmen shall stand before him in the judgment?
A celebrated English writer in his polemical career, says that we cannot be justified by faith in the last day, because faith shall then have no existence, it being lost in vision. But will not the judgme[n]t be predicated upon the past probationary life of man, and is not that character to be formed in this world, by which men are to approved or disapproved in the last day? Why then should such writers insult common sense, in saying that men are justified by faith in this world, but by works in the day of Judgment? The works effected in this life will be as much absent in the day of judgment as faith itself.
When you say we are saved, justified and redeemed from original sin by grace, if you include in original sin the depravity of our nature, which the common acceptatione of the word includes, and as your plan of grace equally affects every men, all are free from evil dispositions of heart, and the nature of man is pure as when first created. In that case, all men must be regenerated or creatred anew in Christ Jesus; or else there is no such thing as regeneration, and there is no distinction between the righteous and the wicked. The report of God, is very different from yours, when he says respecting the anti-deluvians that every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart was only evil continually, (Gen. v, 5) and that the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.
When you tell us that as actual sinners, we are justified by faith I would think it nearer the truth, had you said as actual sinners we are condemned; but when believing with the heart unto righteousness we are to be justified through our Lord Jesus Christ. And last of all in the judgment according to you we are to be judged by our works. Thus we are to be split and divided, and after all that, Jesus Christ has done for us our own works must be the medium by which we are saved. This is your doctrine of imputation rightly understood and properly applied.
Had you made the scripture your criterion you would have taught us that the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin, that
Christ saves his people from their sins -- that he is the propitiation for our sins -- and that he redeems his people from all iniquity. This is the style of the spripture. There is no sin excepted, and all the sins of those who are made the subjects of redemption are included. You speak of justification by faith, as if faith possessed the intrinsic and abstract power of justification. But what are we to believe? Are we not to believe that Jesus Christ died for sinners -- that he suffered for our offences, and that he rose again for our justification? Faith itself must recognize the obedience of Christ the real cause of our justification.
How can mortal man enlightened by the word of God, talk of justification by his good works, before a Holy God in judddgment, when the most righteousn of the human race must adopt this language: All our righteousnesses are as filty rags, enbter not into judgment with they servant: for in thy sight shall no flesh living be justified. -- if I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me; if I say I am perfect, it shall also prove me proverse [perverse]. (Isa. 64, 6; Psal. 143, 2; Job: 9, 20.)
Remarks on Election
I suppose your honor had not adopted the precautionary note at the bottom of your last page, when you indulged yourself in the following polite style, respecting those who believe that by the grace of God, they shall stand justified in the last day, and cannot calculate upon the perfection of their own works: "Some full bred Docts. deny that there is to be any judgment. This is certainly consistent with the general scheme of our partial divines, who are for limiting the favor and grace of God, to their own party; or if you please the elect." (p. 41)
Whether these Doctors be bred from English or Brabian blood, I will leave you and the jockey club to determine. But I must remind you, that no set of divines are more partial to their party, than those who advocate the Romish doctrine of the merit of good works. And you do yourself the honor of enlisting in the cause of the red Dragon, who has shed the blood of millions for holding the doctrines of grace. If men are partial for believing that the saving grace of God, is confind to the elect, the writers of the inspired scriptures are partial for
teaching that doctrine. By what Doctor is the election of sinners to grace and salvation more clearly, and certainly taught, than Doctor Paul, when he says: "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect. That the purpose of God, according [to] election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth -- even so at this presen time, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more works: otherwise, grace is no more grace." (Rom. 8, 33; 9, 11, 7) The scriptures abound in sentences of this kind, and they cannot be broken. It is vain to speak of men's being elected, because they have merited more than others, by the improvement of their faculties, when we are told it is an election of grace, and that an election of grace does not consist in a choice made for the merit of works; for then would it be no more grace. It is not possible to deceive the elect; and God will send his angels at the last day, to gather together his elect from the four winds. (Math. 24, 24, 31)
I wold have you to beware sir, lest your mind be intoxicated by some prejudice upon this subject, which leads you to fight against God. The denial of a judgment you are certain, is consistent with the belief of this doctrine. Perhaps it is more consistent to suppose you wish to blacken the character of those men, who are advocates for the doctrine of election by grace.
On the other hand I am of opinion that this scheme makes a judgment more necessary, than if there were no grace employed toward men; God need not set [sit] in judgment to acquaint himself with the characters of men, and to obtain evidence of facts: for all things are naked and disclosed to him in every corcumstance previous to that scene. The judgment is intended to mainfest the perfections of his nature to the intelligent orders of being, which he has made capable of being affected by the discovery; and as election, grace, redemption, mercy and justice, are all employed in the salvation of a sinner, Justification is more complicated than upon the simple ground of works or law; therefore the assemblage of worlds to see the ways of God, is more necessary.
Your honor takes another happy position, when you ask: "How is it that the sacred judge judging the very same order of being. should apply two rules of judgment or codes of law: does not the same reason apply to the whole?"
Be so good as to inform us, how came you to apply three rules of judgment in justifying the same individual; 1. you employ redemption to do away original sin; 2. you justify
men in this life by faith; 3. you apply the strong arm of law to justify the same in the last day; but neither redemption nor faith must then be mentioned.
Is it your pleasure to fabricate difficulties, where there are none? I am sure such works will not commend you in any just trial. Where are those two codes of law? Is it not the same law that Jesus Christ fulilled and suffered under, in behalf of believers to make an atonement for them, by which the unbeliever shall be judged in the last day and condemned? The believer is releaved [sic] from the penal sentence of the law; he is therefore not under the law, but under grace, being interestd by faith in the righteousness of Christ. There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. (Rom. 8, 1.) They who are not in Christ by faith, reject the Redeemer, and of course, must be judged by the law. The law being just and good, the judge of all the earth does right in judging men by it, though every mouth be stopped and all the world became guilty before him. Though God show grace and mercy to those for whom Christ has answered the end of this law, there is no injustice done to such as do not accept the remedy. The rule of judgment is one; but believers and unbelievers stand in different attitudes, with respect to it. The labourers in the vineyard who wrought the whole day had no injustice done to them when they received the stipulated sum though the person who laboured but one hour got as much as they did. Our Saviour laid down this mixim to justify the ways of grace against cavellers and murmurers. I do thee no wrong -- Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good. (Math. 20, 10; 15)
It is extremely arrogant to impute a crimnal partiality abd respect of persons to the sovereign good pleasure of God on account of a diversity in the administration of grace. God observes a variety in the communication of benefits in the works of creation and providence from the Arch angel down throughout all nature, to the oister [oyster] upon the shore. Why is one man made wiser than another, and why is one nation or individual, more happily situated than another? Hath not God made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitations? (Acts 17, 26) The Kingdom of grace is administered with similar variety. God has not told us why the gospel was not preached to Tyre and Sidon, though we are informed they would have been more benefited by it, than Choraison and Bethsaida where most of his mighty
works were performed -- and why the way of salvation was revealed to Babes; but hidden from the wise and prudent. It seemed good in the sight of God, is all the reason given, and all that we should require.
The expression God is no respecter of persons, is spoken of him with respect to the administration of justice, and not in reference to the administration of grace, and if he treats responsible beings upon the correct principles of law, they have no cause of complaint against his judgment, though as the sovereign of the world, he may bestow grace and employ mercy upon whom he pleaseth.
I now come to your last page, and in this also, you seem to take great delight in placing the sentiments of either men in a distorted and colored light. Your good works in the page, and most of the preceding, though indeed they are works of supererogation, will hardly secure you the sentence of, well done good and faithful servant. When you have palmed upon other men, the notion of making God a partial judge, and a respecter of persons, you put foolish, ignorant and subterfugitive sayings in their mouths, to make, to make them appear ridiculous.
Had you stated the sentence of Christ in the judgment on the righteous and the wicked from either parable of the sheep and goats, or from the parable of the servants and talents at large, the doctrines of grace would appear natural; but when you garble the scriptures, and place ideas in their improper relations, you triumph in this disfigured state of the subject, as though the system which you oppose were demolished by being thus unfairly treated. Why did you not say, come ye blessed of my father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you, from the beginning. Then it would have appeared, even in the sentence of the judge, that the righteous are adopted into the family of heaven, through the blessing of God: it was God the father, that made them blessed and not their own good works. The true character of this blessedness, we may learn from Romans iv, 7, 8; Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. The atonement made by Christ, is the medium by which their sins are covered and the cause of sin not being imputed to them. The Kingdom is a free donation, which it is the father's good pleasure to give them.
But when you say, "well done good and faithful servants, (for, behold your master hath done all things well; therefore) enter thou into the joy of thy Lord;" you give a perverted view of the Divine parable: the intention of it was to mark
the characteristic difference, between the moral qualities of the good and the bad servants or the pious and the wicked, and by assigning the good conduct of the master as a ground of approbation, you distort the parable from the object intended. Yet it is a truth, that the master had done all things well and in consequence of his doing all things well, in behalf his people, God sends the spirit of his son into their hearts by which they are disposed to goodness and faithfulness; but these qualities being made the properties of some of the servants, only they must obtain the commendation due to the subjects of such properties. And we ought to remember that these things are not to be made the rhime of scorn.
When you repeat the sentence: "Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels," you have the true cause of condemantion expressed, which is the curse of the divine law, brought upon themselves by sinning. But when you add with a view to ridicule the scheme and advocates of grace; "ye have had nothing effectual wrought for you;" you state a most certain truth: for if any thing effectual had been wrought for these sinners to deliver them from sin and the curse or vengeance of the law, it would have effected that end; yet the want of this effectual work, is not assignable, as the cause of the condemnation, though indeed had it been done, it might be assigned as the cause of salvation; but the want of it neither constitutes an excuse to sinners, nor does it afford any reason for reflection upon the justice and clemency of the judge.
I shall not pursue the enquiry whether you design to enlist prejudice and ignorance, in favour of your book, and the doctrines which it contains, when you introduce an unlettered man, with mouth and eyes opened and gaping in astonishment, at the judge of all the earth, for employing grace and mercy in the salvation of the believing throng, who obtain redemption in Christ; and at the same time employs justice and law, in the condemnation of those who are not in Christ. Yet I cannot but be surprised, that a man who has been selected on account of his learning in the law to be a judge, should appeal to the astonished ignorance of a gaping clown, to correct the ways of judgment observed by the infinitely wise God, when I presume he would not think a plurality of such persons constituted into a court of appeals competent to correct his own decisions.
Your attempt to fix an odium upon the doctrines of grace, by styling them the Divinity of the schools, will never induce your intelligent reader, to abandon those doctrines, while he
finds them in his bible. Be it known to you sir, that the very doctrines which you advocate, are found in the Holy decisions of the Council of Trent, and that they are carefully fostered in all schools of his Holiness, the Roman Pontiff.
[Archibald Cameron, A Defence of the Doctrines of Grace in a Series of Letters To Judge [Henry] Davidge, in Reply to that Gentleman's Publication Addressed to the "Advocates of a Partial Gospel", published in Shelbyville, KY, 1816. This document and bio information on Cameron were provided by my son, James K. Duvall, via WorldCat; it is available on microfilm at Northern Kentucky University, Steely Library. - jrd]
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