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promised blessing is interpreted by Universalists, it would be looked upon, by them, as a new thing under the sun. It is true, that God promised unto Abraham a blessing, in him and in his seed. What is this blessing? The final salvation of our race as of infallible certainty ? This needs proof-strong, unequivocal and Bible proof.
1. This promise of God, was a covenant promise made to Abraham. That this is a covenant, is conceded by all parties. Well, what is a covenant? A covenant, is a contract entered into by two or more parties under certain conditions, limitations and obligations, and whenever the regulations and reciprocal duties are faithfully carried out, then all the benefits held to view in the covenant shall be realized; but if otherwise, the covenant becomes null and void. These are the common-sense features of all secular and moral contracts, and they enter into all the contracts of God with man, requiring the moral agency of the latter. So that, whatever the blessing promised to Abraham was, it was a conditional one, provided it required the agency of Abraham. That this was the case, is undeniable, for it required him to believe in God, as it also requires faith in all the posterity of man, in order to attain the blessing promised and become the heirs of God.
2. This covenant included the possession of temporal Canaan, and that his posterity should be very numerous. This is plainly specified in the promise.
3. That from him should spring the Lord Jesus as a direct lineal descendant, who should set up the gospel kingdom, and open the door of light and truth to a bewildered world, and execute a plan by which the children of men might be redeemed from the curse of the law and become the children of God by faith. The covenant of works was set aside, and the covenant of grace and faith was introduced as its more glorious substitute. Every where it is spoken of an unalterable condition, that men should believe in Christ, and that all those who have faith in Christ, are Abraham's seed and heirs according to promise. This blessing was made, not as the legal privileges of the Jews, which were wholly confined to them and their proselytes, but they were to be available to all the kindreds of the earth, to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. Though Christ was a great blessing, yet there was a blessing included in the pro. mise which should come to the Gentiles “through Christ.” The promise was not only made to Abraham, but also and particularly to Christ—the Seed. Gal. iii. 16—19.
It is true, that God sent Jesus to Israel first, preaching repentance and conversion for the remission of sins, so that they might be blessed in turning every one from his iniquity. Acts iji. 26. This was the great object of Christ and of the gospel institutions. That many blessings might be specified as the result of Christ's entrance into this world, is unquestionable ; but the result contemplated by Universalists and for which they quote the promise, we summarily deny. No such promise is made and no such result is rendered infallibly certain, as the necessary holiness and final salvation of the entire human race. This result can alone be obtained by FAITH, repentance and conversion to God, if therefore the Universalists were correct in the interpretation and application of the promise, they could not realize it, seeing they reject the very conditions and means for its attainment. If the promise could only be enjoyed by faith, and faith is rejected, then the promise must fail. This is evident. Thus Universalism destroys the very promises on which it builds.
What is the particular blessing promised in the Abrahamic covenant? Is there a source of any definite information on the subject? The promise itself would indicate a Spiritual blessing, but what one in particular is not sug
gested. If the New Testament does not declare, then our opinion will rest on mere probability. Paul speaks much of this covenant and of the faith of Abraham, and it is altogether likely, that he understood it better than Universalists do. What does he say the blessing was? Examine Gal. iii. 14. “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” This learned and clear-sighted apostle declares, that the thing in which all the kindred of the earth shall be blessed through Christ, is the "promise of the Spirit.” Not Universal salvation, but the quickening influences of the Spirit. We are satisfied from the Scriptures, that this blessing was chiefly eyed in the Abrahamic covenant. There is a regular chain of promises from Abraham unto the end of apostolic teaching in reference to the Spirit of God. Let us take a glance at these promises, and see how full and complete they are. Is. xxxii. 15. “ Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.” xliv. 3. “ For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.” Acts i. 4, 5. “ And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me : for John truly baptized with water; but.ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.”, John vii. 38. “ He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, &c.”) xvi. 13. “Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth, &c.” xiv. 16, 17. “ And I will pray the Father, and he shall send you another comforter, that he may abide
with you forever; even the Spirit of truth, &c.” Those who wish to investigate the subject more extensively may read the following passages in addition. Is. lix. 21. Jer. xxxi. 33., xxxii. 40. Ezek. xi. 19., xxxvi. 27, John xvi. 7. Eph. i. 13.
The above quotations seem to constitute a conclusive proof, that the prominent blessing of the Abrahamic, or gospel covenant was the promise of the Holy Spirit. There is another Scripture peculiarly applicable to this · point found recorded in John xvi. 8. “And when he is come, [the Spirit] he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” Where is the kindred, or nation of the earth, which is not convinced of sin, and of a great lack of substantial happiness, and of not being the favorites of heaven? What mean all the heathen rites, sacrifices and self-tortures ? Are not all these demonstrations of the fact, that the world is convicted of sin, of righteousness and of judgment? And whenever mankind shall follow the leadings of that Spirit, and receive him by faith, he shall prove to be a sanctifier. Though a man may be convicted of sin by the Spirit, yet he cannot become cleansed and sanctified unless he receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. Paul says, this blessing came upon the Jew and the Gentile through Christ by faith. Paul makes the inquiry in Gal. iii. 2. “Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” The Savior says: “he that believeth on me, as the Scriptures have said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive." John vii. 38, 39.
From all we have said, it is evident, that the gospel promise to Abraham and to Christ, instead of teaching and insuring the final holiness and salvation of our entire race, affords quite a different blessing, the influence of the Holy
Spirit, and that the prominent object of the influence and convictions of the Spirit, is to SANCTIFY BELIEVERS BY FAITH. And since Universalism rejects faith as absolutely necessary to attain holiness and heaven, therefore they are excluded from the glorious and lasting benefits of the gospel covenant; 0, repent ye, and be converted, that ye may enjoy the times of refreshing from the Lord !
5. Universalists affirm, “that the mission of Christ absolutely insures the salvation of all men.” We have heretofore shown that Universalism does not attribute the holiness and salvation of saints in heaven to Christ, or to any thing he has done; but that all the benefits of “his mission and teaching” are wholly confined to this life. This position we proved by numerous quotations from their own writers, therefore when they come before the world and proclaim the salvation of all men as a necessary result of the mission of Christ, they flatly contradict themselves and prove themselves unworthy of confidence. It is no less true of them than of any one else, “that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."
But what proof do they seem to have, which satisfactorily shows, that the mission of Christ renders the final holiness and salvation of all men infallibly certain? While speaking of the mission of Christ and the conditions of the gospel, Mr. Grosh feels some embarrassment in view of man's ability and the conditions of the gospel, he makes the following remarkable declarations : “It is called, "the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation'-because it is just as true before the sinner believes, as it is afterwardsthe only difference heing, that the unbeliever has not the knowledge of his salvation till he believes the gospel, and is, therefore in darkness and condemnation.” That is, that the unbeliever has just as much, and is just as certain of salvation, as the believer; the only difference, the unbeliever