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ETERNAL LIFE THE GIFT OF GOD
ULTIMATELY TO ALL.
Therefore, as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one, THE FREE GIFT CAME UPON ALL MEN UNTO JUSTIFICATION OF LIFE.
Paul's Epistle to the Romans. .
“Ημεις, δε, της λογικής φύσεώς, φαμεν, όλης κρατήσαι ποτε τον Λογον, και μεταποιήσαι πασην ψυχην εις την εαυτου τελειοτητα.. Και φαμεν, ότι ουκ εστιν εικος, ώσπερ επι των εν τοις σωμασι νοσημάτων και τραυματων τινα των συμβαινοντων ισχυροτερα εστι πασης ιατρικής τεχνης: όυτως επι των ψυχων ειναι τι της αποκακιας αδυνατον, υπο του 'επι πασι Λογου και θεου θεραπευθηναι: παντων γας των εν τη ψυχή κακων δυνατώτερος ων ο Λογος, και η εν αυτώ θεραπεια, προσάγει κατα βουλησιν θεου έκαστη αυτην ΚΑΙ ΤΟ ΤΕΛΟΣ ΤΩΝ ΠΡΑΓΜΑΤΩΝ ΑΝΑΙΡΕΣΘHNAI ΕΣΤΙ THN KAKIAN.
ORIGENES contra Celsum.
It is with extreme regret that, after having travelled so long and so far with Mr. Barclay, I now find myself obliged to part company with him. I say, with extreme regret; on account of the respect almost approaching to veneration in which I hold the man. The high moral worth which, in his personal deportment, he exhibited ; and the deep tone of genuine spirituality and ardent piety, springing from an intimate acquaintance with the word of God, which breathes throughout his writings ; would of themselves have disposed me to make any
sacrifice, rather than be found in the ranks of his opponents. And when in addition to all this I consider, that he has been my best and most efficient EARTIILY instructor in divine things ;—that to the doctrine of the divine testimony, when understood, of itself necessarily, infallibly, and for ever, speaking peace to the conscience, so admirably developed and demonstrated by him from the scriptures, I owe my emancipation from innumerable popular prejudices and delusions ;-and, that it is principally by means of weapons furnished by himself, I have been enabled to combat some of his own positions, and to fight my way to views of truth still clearer than those which he himself possessed ;—the pain which I feel in announcing publicly, that I differ from him on a point of the utmost importance, is such, as only those who have been similarly circumstanced can conceive. But the sacrifice of private feeling must be made. Shall I, a follower of the faithful and the true witness, allow myself to be surpassed by the Ileathen, who could proclaim: amicus Plato, amicus Socrates, sed magis amica veritas ? Can I forget, that it is my business as a Christian to call no mun master upon earth? Nay, can I forget, that it was Mr. Barclay's own recommendation to those to whom he had been rendered useful, that they should be as ready to receive farther measures of light from others, as they had shewn themselves to receive a certain measure of it from him? And that the grand reason upon which he founded his recommendation was, the circumstance of no man or body of men having yet “penetrated into the whole counsel of God ;” and, of there being “more truth yet to break forth out of His holy word.” True, we are with much propriety cautioned by him, to “take heed what it is that we receive as truth ;" and, by a careful examination, consideration, and comparison with the scriptures, of any new views which may be presented to us, to guard against having error palmed on us under specious pretences.* But if really superior views of truth, duly authenticated to be so, should be set before us, however much they may militate against present prejudices, and long-cherished opinions, can we, as new-born babes desiring the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby, err in welcoming them with avidity; and in doing all that in us lies to communicate the knowledge of them to others ?
These remarks are intended to be introductory to the consideration of a question, which it is probable has already suggested itself to many of my readers, and which it now becomes necessary to discuss.
- If eternal life be the gift of God, or be unconditionally bestoned, must it not be the portion of every human being ? It is commonly supposed both by Arminians and Calvinists, that none but believers, or those by whom the divine testimony is apprehended,—whatever sense may be attached by these parties respectively to the term belief,—shall partake of everlasting life. But is not belief, according to this view of matters, the condition of eternal life? and is not eternal life, upon this principle,
• See Preface to Barclay's assurance of faith vindicated, 1st and 2d editions, towards the end.
conditionally bestowed, just as decidedly, as if ten thousand or ten million conditions of enjoying it were to be interposed ? In reasoning with the Arminian, it will not avail the Calvinist to say, that, according to him, eternal life is not conditionally bestowed, because belief here is, in his apprehension, as much the gift of God as eternal life hereafter : for, as the Arminian, while he contends for good works no less than faith here being essential to eternal life hereafter, does not hesitate to admit, that these good works flow from divine grace, or are the gift of God, who perceives not, that although the Arminian increases the number of the conditions of eternal life, the Calvinist is actually, as to the principle of some condition being requisite, taking up the very same ground with him? The question, be it observed, is, neither as to the number of the qualifications here upon
which eternal life is conceived to depend hereafter, nor as to the way in which we come to acquire these qualifications; but, are there any such qualifications at all ? To express the matter simply: is there any thing, over and above the fact of their partaking of human nature, requisite to be possessed by mankind here, in order to their possessing eternal life hereafter ? If any such qualification be requisite, call it faith, or call it faith and good works,-suppose it to be the result of the unaided efforts of the creature, or the free gift of the Creator,—is it possible, by any distinctions which may be invented, to do away with the fact that such a present qualification must be to all intents and
the condition of everlasting life ?”