Alexander Campbell - The Christian System - Remission of Sins I - VII

But the gospel can be obeyed or disobeyed, and therefore in it there is a command. Hence, always, in ancient times, the proclamation of the gospel was accompanied by some instituted act proposed to those whose views were changed. Alexander Campbell, Restoration Movement.

Remission of Sins.

[153] Luther said that the doctrine of justification, or forgiveness, was the test of a standing or falling church. If right in this, she could not be very far wrong in any thing else; but if wrong here, it was not easy to suppose her right in any thing. I quote from memory, but this was the idea of that great reformer [The reformer also said: "If the article of justification be once lost, then is all true Christian doctrine lost." Preface to the Ep. Gal, Phil, ed. 1800.] We agree with him in this as well as in many other sentiments.

Emerging from the smoke of the great city of mystical Babylon, he saw as clearly and as far into these matters as any person could in such a hazy atmosphere.

Many of his views only require to be carried out to their legitimate issue, and we should have the ancient gospel as the result.

The doctrine of remission is the doctrine of salvation: for to talk of salvation without the knowledge of the remission of sins, is to talk without meaning.

To give to the Jews,

"a knowledge of salvation by the remission of their sins," [Lu 1:77]

was the mission of John the Immerser, as said the Holy Spirit.

In this way he prepared a people for the Lord. This doctrine of forgiveness was gradually opened to the people during the ministry of John and Jesus,

but was not fully developed until Pentecost, when the secrets of the Reign of Heaven were fully opened to men.

From Abel to the resurrection of Jesus, transgressors obtained remission at the altar, through priests and sin offerings;

but it was an imperfect remission as respected the conscience. "For the law," says Paul, (more perfect in this respect than the preceding economy)

"containing a shadow only of the good things to come, and not even the very image of these things, never can, with the same sacrifices which they offer yearly forever, make those who come to them perfect. Since being offered, would they not have ceased?

because the worshippers being once purified, should have no longer conscience of sins." [Heb 10:1,2]

The good things to come were future during the reign of Moses and his institution. They have come; and a clear, and full,

and perfect remission of sins is the great result of the new economy

in the consciences of all the citizens of the kingdom of Jesus.

The perfection of the conscience of the worshippers of God under Christ, is the grand distinguishing peculiarity in them compared with those under Moses. They have not only clearer views of God, of his love, of his character, and of immortality;

but they have consciences which the Jewish and Patriarchal ages could not produce.

[154] If faith only were the means of this superior perfection and enjoyment,

and if striking symbols or types were all that were necessary to afford this assurance and experience of pardon,

the Jewish people might have been as happy as the Christian people.

They had as true testimony, as strong faith, and as striking emblems as we have. Many of them through faith obtained a high reputation, were approved by God, and admired by men for their wonderful achievements.

The difference is in the constitution. They lived under a constitution of law--we under a constitution of favor. Before the law their privileges were still more circumscribed. Under the government of the Lord Jesus there is an institution for the forgiveness of sins, like which there was no institution since the world began. It was owing to this institution that Christians were so much distinguished at first from the subjects of every former institution.

Our political happiness in these United States is not owing to any other cause than to our political institutions. If we are politically the happiest people in the world, it is because we have the happiest political institutions in the world. So it is in the Christian institution.

If Christians were, and may be, the happiest people that ever lived, it is because they live under the most gracious institution ever bestowed on men.

The meaning of this institution has been buried under the rubbish of human traditions for hundreds of years.

It was lost in the dark ages, and has never been, till recently disinterred. Various efforts have been made, and considerable progress attended them; but since the Grand Apostacy was completed, till the present generation,

the gospel of Jesus Christ has not been laid open to mankind in its original plainness, simplicity, and majesty. A vail in reading the New Institution has been on the hearts of Christians, as Paul declares it was upon the hearts of the Jews in reading the Old Institution towards the close of that economy.

The object of this essay is to open to the consideration of the reader the Christian institution for the remission of sins; to show by what means a person may enjoy the assurance of a personal and plenary remission of all his sins. This we shall attempt to do by stating, illustrating, and proving the following twelve propositions:

PROP. I.--The Apostles taught their disciples, or converts, that their sins were forgiven, and uniformly addressed them as pardoned or justified persons.

John testifies that the youngest disciples were pardoned. "I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you on account of his name. [1 John 2:13] The young men strong in the Lord and the old men [155] steadfast in the Lord, he commends for their attainments; [1Jo 2:13,14] but the little children, the youngest converts, he addressed as possessing this blessing as one common to all disciples, "Your sins are forgiven you, on account of his name."

Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews, asserts, that one of the provisions of the New Institution is the remission of the sins of all under it. "Their sins and iniquities I will remember no more." [Hebrews 10:17 ]

From this he argues, as a first principle, in the Christian economy,

"Now where remission of these is, no more offering for sin is needed. Hebrews 10:18

The reason assigned by the Apostles why Christians have no sin offering is, because they have obtained remission of sins as a standing provision in the New Institution.

The same Apostle testifies that the Ephesian disciples had obtained remission. "Be to one another kind, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you." Eph 4:32 Here, also, in the enumeration of Christian privileges and immunities under Christ, he asserts forgiveness of sins as the common lot of all disciples.

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his favor. Eph 1:7 In his letter to the Colossians, he uses the same words--"By whom we have the forgiveness of sins." Col 1:14

Figurative expressions are used by the same Apostle, expressive of the same forgiveness common to all Christians. "And such (guilty characters) were some of you;

but you are washed; but you are sanctified; but you are justified
by the name of the Lord Jesus, and
by the Spirit of God. 1Co 6:1
Peter, also, is a witness here.
"Seeing you have purified your souls
by obeying the truth through the Spirit. Ro 5:9

But there is no need of foreign, or remote, or figurative expressions, when so literally and repeatedly the Apostles assert it as one of the adjuncts of being a disciple of Jesus. Had we no other testimony than that found in a single letter to the Colossians, it would be sufficient to sustain this position. The command as given in Col 3:13 assumes it as a principle. "As Christ forgave you, so also do you." But in the second chapter Col 2:10-13 he makes this an inseparable adjunct of being in Christ. "You are complete in him--circumcised--buried with him--raised with him--made alive with him--HAVING FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESPASSES."

These explicit testimonies from the most illustrious witnesses, sustain my first proposition. On these evidences I rely, and I shall henceforth speak of it as a truth not to be questioned, viz.; that all [156] the disciples of Christ converted in the apostolic age, were taught by the Apostles to consider themselves as pardoned persons.

PROP. II.--The apostolic converts were addressed by their teachers as justified persons.

We know that none but innocent persons can be legally justified; but it is not in the forensic sense this term is used by the Apostles. Amongst the Jews it imported no more than pardoned; and when applied to Christians,

it denoted that they were acquitted from guilt--

discharged from condemnation, and accounted as righteous persons in the sight of God.

Paul, in Antioch in Pisidia, assured the Jews, that in or by Jesus all that believed were justified from all things, (certainly here it is equivalent to pardoned from all sins,) from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses.

The disciples are said to be justified by faith. Ro 5:1 By favor or grace. Ro 3:24 or by the blood of Christ. Ro 5:9 By the name of the Lord Jesus. 1Co 6:11 By works. Jas 2:24. It is God who justifies. Ro 8:33

Christians are said to be justified by God, by Christ, by favor, by faith, by the blood of Jesus, by the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God--also by works. Pardon and acquittal are the prominent ideas in every application of the term. God is the justifier. Jesus also, as his Messiah, justifies, and the Spirit declares it. As an act of favor it is done, by the blood of Jesus as the rightful and efficient cause--by the faith as the instrumental cause--by the name of Jesus the Lord as the immediate and connecting cause, and by works, as the demonstrative and conclusive cause. Nothing is more plain from the above testimonies than that all Christians are declared to be justified under the Reign of Jesus Christ.

PROP. III.--The ancient Christians were addressed by the Apostles as sanctified persons.

Paul addressed all the disciples in Rome as saints or sanctified persons. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he addresses them all as the sanctified under Christ Jesus. "To the congregation of God which is at Corinth, to the sanctified under Christ Jesus." [1Co 1:2] Paul argues with the Hebrews that "by the will of God we are sanctified by the offering of Jesus Christ once only." [Heb 10:10] "For by this one offering he has forever perfected (the conscience of) the sanctified." [Heb 10:14] So usual was it for the Apostles to address their disciples as sanctified persons, that occasionally they are thus designated in the inscription upon their epistles. Thus Jude addressing indiscriminately the [157] whole Christian community, inscribes his catholic epistle--"To the sanctified by God our Father and to the preserved (or saved) by Jesus Christ; to the called." [Jude 1:1] "The sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one family," says the Apostle to the Gentiles. And therefore the sanctifier addressed the sanctified as his brethren, and the brethren the disciples as sanctified. But once more we must hear Paul, and hear him connecting his sanctification with the name of the Lord Jesus. He says, "But now you are sanctified by the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1Co 6:11

PROP. IV.--The ancient Christians, the apostolic converts, were addressed as "reconciled to God."

Paul repeatedly declares that the disciples were reconciled to God. "When enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.. Ro 5:10 To the Corinthians, he says, "God has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ;" 2Co 5:18 and to the Colossians, he asserts, "It pleased the Father by him to reconcile all things to him, having made peace by the blood of his cross; I say whether they be things on the earth, or things in the heavens. Even you [Gentiles] who were formerly alienated in mind, and enemies by works which are wicked, he has now, indeed, reconciled in the body of his flesh through death. Col 1:19-22 To the Ephesians he declares, that though "once they were without God and without hope in the world, far off, they are now, through the blood of Christ, made nigh." [Eph 2:12,13] He has made the believing Jews and Gentiles one, that he might, under Christ, reconcile both in one body to God, through the cross, having slain the enmity between both thereby. [Eph 2:16] ndeed, he represents God as in Christ, reconciling a world to himself; [2Co 5:19] and so all under Christ are frequently said to be reconciled to God through him; [Ro 5:10 1Co 5:18] which was the point to be proved.

PROP. V.--The first disciples were considered and addressed by the Apostles, as "adopted into the family of God."

This adoption is presented by the Apostle as the great reason which called forth the Son of God.

"God," he says, "sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might buy off those under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." [Ga 4:4,5] "And because you are sons, he sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father." Ga 4:6 "You are, therefore, now sons of God."

Indeed, the same writer, in his letter to the Ephesians, goes still farther, and represents this adoption of Jews and Gentiles into the [157] rank and dignity of the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, as the great object contemplated in God's predestination. "Having," says he, "predestinated, or beforehand determinately pointed us out, for an adoption into the number of children by Jesus Christ, for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. Eph 1:5 Another testimony must suffice on this point. "Beloved," says the Apostle John, "now are we the sons of God; [1Jo 3:2] and what manner of love God has bestowed upon us, that we should be called sons of God!" [1Jo 3:1] "If sons, then we are heirs of God--joint heirs with Christ." [Ro 8:17]

PROP. VI.--My sixth proposition is, that the first Christians were taught by the inspired teachers to consider themselves as saved persons.

Because of some ambiguity in the popular import of the term saved, when applied to the disciples of Christ, we shall define it as used in this proposition. I need not here descant upon the temporal saviours and temporal salvations which are so conspicuous in sacred history. I need not state that Noah and his family were saved from the judgment inflicted upon the Old World; the Israelites from the Egyptians, and from all their enemies--that Paul's companions were saved from the deep, and God's people in all ages, in common with all mankind, from ten thousand perils to which their persons, their families, and their property have been exposed: It is not the present salvation of our bodies from the ills of this life;

but it is the salvation of the soul from the guilt, pollution, and dominion of sin.

"Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." [Mt 1:21] It is the salvation of the soul in the present life of which we speak. And here it ought to be clearly and distinctly stated that there is a present and a future salvation, of which all Christians are to be partakers. The former is properly the salvation of the soul, and the latter is the salvation of the body, at the resurrection of the just. There are few professing Christianity, perhaps none, who do not expect a future salvation--the glory of salvation to be revealed in us at the last time. Peter who uses this expression in the beginning of his first epistle, and who invites the saints to look forward to the salvation yet future, in the same connexion reminds them that they have now received the salvation of the soul. [1Pe 1:3-9]

Indeed, the salvation of the soul is but the first fruit of the Spirit, and but an earnest until the adoption, "the redemption of the body" [Ro 8:23] from the bondage of corruption. It was in this sense of the word that salvation was announced to all who submitted to the Lord Jesus, and hence it is in this connexion equivalent to a deliverance of the soul from the guilt, pollution, and dominion of sin. Having thus defined the present salvation [159] of the soul, I proceed to the proof of my sixth proposition, viz.; that the first Christians were taught by their inspired teachers to consider themselves as saved persons.

Peter, on Pentecost, exhorted the Jews to save themselves from that untoward generation, by reforming and being "immersed for the remission of their sins, in the name of the Lord Jesus." [Ac 2:38]

Luke, in recording the success attendant on Peter's labors, expresses himself thus: "And the Lord added, daily, the saved to the congregation." Ac 2:47

Those who obeyed the gospel, were recorded by Luke as "the saved." The King's translators, supplied out of their own system the words "should be." They are not in any copy of the Greek Scriptures. Such is the first application of the words, "the saved" in the Christian scriptures.

Paul uses the same words in the first letter to the Corinthians, and applies them to all the disciples of Jesus. "To the destroyed, the doctrine of the cross is foolishness; but to us, the saved, it is the power of God. 1Co 1:18 In the same letter, he says of the Gospel, "By which you are saved, if you retain in your memory the word which I announce to you. 1Co 15:2 In his second letter he uses the same style, and distinguishes the disciples by the same designation: "We are through God a fragrant odor of Christ among the saved, and among the destroyed." [2Co 2:15] The Ephesians he declares are saved through favor; [Eph 2:7] and to Titus, he says, "God has saved us not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his own mercy"--by [Tit 3:5] what means we shall soon hear Paul affirm. Promises of salvation to the obedient are to be found in almost every public address pronounced by the Apostles and first preachers. For the Saviour commanded them to assure mankind that every one who believed the gospel, and was immersed, should be saved. [Mr 16:16] And, connecting faith with immersion, Peter averred that immersion saved us, purifying the conscience through the resurrection of Jesus. 1Pe 3:21

While the Christians are taught to expect and hope for a future salvation--a salvation from the power of death and the grave--a salvation to be revealed in the last time--they receive the first fruit of the Spirit, the salvation of the soul from guilt, pollution, and the dominion of sin, and come under the dominion of righteousness, peace, and joy.

This is what Peter affirms of all the Christians in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor, and Bithynia, to whom he thus speaks: "Jesus, having not seen, you love; on whom, not now looking, but believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the reward of your faith, the salvation of your souls.. 1Pe 1:1 ,8, 9 [160]

These six propositions being each and every one of them, clearly sustained by the unequivocal testimony of God, now adduced, and, as is well known to the intelligent disciple, by many more passages, equally plain and forcible, not adduced; we shall now engross them into one leading proposition, which we shall in this essay consider as not to be questioned--as irrefragably proved.

The converts made to Jesus Christ by the Apostles were taught to consider themselves pardoned, justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, and saved; and were addressed as pardoned, justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, and saved persons, by all who first preached the Gospel of Christ.

While this proposition is before us, it may be expedient to remark that all these terms are expressive

not of any quality of mind--

not of any personal attribute of body, soul, or spirit;

but each of them represents, and all of them together represent a state or condition. But though these terms represent state and not character, there is a relation between state and character, or an influence which state has upon character, which makes the state of immense importance in a moral and religious point of view.

Indeed, the strongest arguments which the Apostles use with the Christians to urge them forward in the cultivation and display of all the moral and religious excellencies of character, are drawn from the meaning and value of the state in which they are placed. Because forgiven, they should forgive; because justified, they should live righteously; because sanctified, they should live holy and unblameably; because reconciled to God, they should cultivate peace with all men, and act benevolently towards all; because adopted, they should walk in the dignity and purity of sons of God; because saved, they should abound in thanksgivings, praises, and rejoicings, living soberly, righteously, and godly, looking forward to the blessed hope.

As this essay is designated for readers of the most common capacity and most superficial education, I trust I may be permitted to speak still more plainly upon the difference between state and character.

Childhood is a state; so is manhood. Now, a person in the state of childhood may act sometimes like a person in the state of manhood, and those arrived at the state of manhood may in character or behaviour resemble those in a state of childhood.

A person in the state of a son, may have the character of a servant; and a person in the state of a servant may have the character of a son.

This is not generally to be expected, though it sometimes happens. Parents and children, masters and servants, husbands and wives, are terms denoting relations or states.

To act in accordance with these states or relations is quite a different thing from being in any one of these states. Many persons enter into the state of matrimony, and yet act unworthily of it. This is true of many other states. Enough, we presume, is said to contradistinguish state and character, relations and moral qualities.

It is scarcely necessary to remark here, that as the disciples of Christ are declared to be in a pardoned, justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, and saved state, they are the only persons in such a state; and all others are in an unpardoned, unjustified, unsanctified, unreconciled, unadopted, and lost state.

When, then, is a change of state effected, and by what means? This is the great question soon to be discussed.

We are constrained to admit that a change in any one of these states necessarily implies, because it involves, a change in all the others. Every one who is pardoned is justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted and saved, and so every one that is saved is adopted, reconciled, sanctified, justified, and pardoned.

To illustrate what has already been proved, let us turn to some of the changes which take place in society as a present constituted. A female changes her state. She enters into the state of matrimony. So soon as she has surrendered herself to the affectionate government and control of him who has become her husband, she had not only become a wife, but a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece, &c.; and may stand in many other relations in which she before stood not. All these are connected with her becoming the wife of a person who stands in many relations. So when a person becomes Christ's, he is a son of Abraham, an heir, a brother, or is pardoned, justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted and saved.

To be in Christ, or under Christ, then, is to stand in these new relations to God, angels, and men; and to be out of him, or not under his mediatorship or government, is to be in, or under Adam under. It is to be in, what is called "the state of nature," unpardoned, unjustified, unsanctified, unreconciled, and an alien from the family of God, lost in trespasses and sins.

These things premised, the question presents itself,

When are persons in Christ?

I choose this phrase in accommodation to the familiar style of this day. No person in a house, in a ship, in a state, in a kingdom, but he that has gone or is introduced into a house, into a ship, into a state, into a kingdom; so no person is in Christ but he who has been introduced into Christ.

The scripture style is most religiously accurate. We have the words "in Christ," and the words "into Christ," often repeated in the Christian Scriptures; but in no place can the one phrase be substituted for the other.

Hence in all places, where any person is said to be in Christ, it refers not to his conversion, regeneration, or putting on Christ, but to a state of rest or privilege subsequent to conversion, [162] regeneration, or putting on Christ.

But the phrase into Christ is always connected with conversion, regeneration, immersion, or putting on Christ. Before we are justified in Christ, live in Christ, or fall asleep in Christ, we must come, be introduced, or immersed into Christ. Into belongs only to verbs implying motion towards; and in to verbs implying rest, or motion in. He eats, sleeps, sits in the house. He walks into the field; he rides into the city. "Into Christ" is a phrase only applicable to conversion, immersion, or regeneration, or what is called putting on Christ, translation into his kingdom, or submission to his governmen. NOTE:

NOTE: To prevent mistakes, I shall here transcribe a part of a note found in the Appendix to the second edition of the new version of the Christian Scriptures, p. 452.

"I am not desirous of diminishing the difference of meaning between immersing a person in the name of the Father, and into the name of the Father. They are quite different ideas. But it will be asked, Is this a correct translation? To which I answer most undoubtedly it is. For the preposition eis is that used in this place, and not en. By what inadvertency the king's translators gave it in instead of into in this passage, and elsewhere gave it into when speaking of the same ordinance, I presume not to say. But they have been followed by most modern translators, and with them they translate it into in other places where it occurs, in relation to this institution: For example: 1Co 12:13 For by one spirit we are all immersed into one body; Ro 6:3 Don't you know that so many of you as were immersed into Christ, were immersed into his death? Ga 3:27 As many of you as have been immersed into Christ, have put on Christ. Now, for the same reason they ought to have rendered the following passages the same way. Ac 8:16 Only they were immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus. Ac 19:3 Into what name were you then immersed? When they heard this, they were immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus. 1Co 1:13 Were you immersed into the name of Paul? Lest any should say I had immersed into my own name. 1Co 10:1 Our fathers were all immersed into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

Now in all these places it is eis and en is clearly marked in the last quotation. They were immersed into Moses--not into the cloud, and into the sea,

but in the cloud and in the sea. To be immersed into Moses is one thing, and in the sea is another. To be immersed into the name of Father, and in the name of the Father, are just as distinct. "In the name" is equivalent to, "by the authority of." In the name of the king, or commonwealth, is by the authority of the king or commonwealth.

Now the question is, Did the Saviour mean that the disciples were to be immersed by the authority of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? If by the authority of the Father, for what purpose were they immersed?

The authority by which any action is done is one thing, and the object for which it is done is another. Now who that can discriminate, can think that it is one and the same thing to be immersed in the name of the Lord, and to be immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus. The former denotes the authority by which the action is performed--the latter the object for which it is performed. Persons are said to enter into matrimony, to enter into and alliance, to get into debt, to run into danger. Now to be immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus was a form [cont on p. 163] of speech, in ancient usage, as familiar and significant as any of the preceding. And when we analyze these expression, we find they all import that the persons are either under the obligations or influence of those things into which they are said to enter, or into which they are introduced. Hence those immersed into one body, were under the influences and obligations of that body. Those immersed into Moses, assumed Moses as their lawgiver, guide, and protector, and risked every thing upon his authority, wisdom, power, and goodness. Those who were immersed into Christ put him on, and acknowledged his authority and laws, and were governed by his will:

and those who were immersed into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, regarded the Father as the fountain of all authority--the Son as the only Saviour--and the Holy Spirit as the only advocate of the truth, and teacher of Christianity. Hence such persons as were immersed into the name of the Father, acknowledged him as the only living and true God--Jesus Christ as his only begotten Son, the Saviour of the world--and the Holy Spirit, as the only successful advocate of the truth of Christianity upon earth."

[163] Presuming on the intelligence of our readers, so far as to suppose them assured that this is no mere verbal criticism, but a discrimination that detects one of the pillars of an apostate church, I proceed to another preliminary proposition, which I choose to submit in the following word, to wit:

PROP. VII.--A change of views, though it necessarily precedes, is in no case equivalent to, and never to be identified with, a change of state.

In all the relations of his life, in all states or conditions of men, we feel the truth of this; and I would to Heaven that our readers could see as plainly what is of infinitely more importance to them, that no change of heart is equivalent to, or can be substituted for, a change of state! A change of heart is the result of a change of views, and whatever can accomplish a change of views may accomplish a change of heart or feeling, but a change of state always calls for something more.

Note: State here has respect to the whole person. It may be argued that state is as pertinently applied to the mind or heart as to the whole person; and

that when the state of the mind is changed by a belief of God's testimony,

the subject of that change is brought into as near a relation to God as he can be in this life;

and as the kingdom of Jesus is a spiritual kingdom, he is as fit for admission into it, and for the enjoyment of its blessings, whenever his heart is changed from enmity to love, as he ever can be; nay, in truth, is actually initiated into the kingdom of Jesus the moment his mind is changed--

and that to insist upon any personal act as necessary to admission, because such acts are necessary to admission into all the social and political relations in society,

is an over-straining the analogies between things earthly and things heavenly. Not one of our opponents, as far as we remember, has thus argued. We have sometimes thought that they might have thus argued with incomparably more speciosity than appears in any of their objections.

[Cont on pg 164] But without pausing to inquire

whether the state of the heart can be perfectly changed from enmity to love,

without an assurance of remission on some ground, or in consequence of some act of the mind prerequisite thereunto;--without being at pains to show that the truth of this proposition is not at all essential to our argument, but only illustrative of it; we may say, that as Christ has redeemed the whole man, body, soul, and spirit, by his obedience even to death--

so in coming into his kingdom on earth, and in order to the enjoyment of all the present salvation, the state of the whole person must be changed; and this is what we apprehend Jesus meant by his saying,

"Unless a man is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God," [Joh 3:5] and what we mean in distinguishing a change of heart, or of views and feelings, from a change of state.

[164] Lavinia was the servant of Palemon, and once thought him a hard master.

She changed her views of him, and her feelings were also changed towards him;

still, however, she continued in the state of a hand maid.

Palemon offered her first his heart, and then his hand,

and she accepted them. He vowed and she vowed before witnesses, and she became his wife.

Then, and not till then, was her state changed. She is no longer a servant--she is now a wife.

A change of views and of feelings led to this change in state; but let it be noted that this might not have issued in a change of state;

for Maria, who was another handmaid of Palemon, and changed her views of him and her feelings towards him as much--nay, more than did Lavinia;

yet Maria lived and died the servant maid of Palemon and Lavinia.

William Agricola and his brother Thomas, both Canadians, were once much opposed to the constituted government of New England. They both changed their views, and, as a matter of course, their feelings were changed.

William became a citizen of Rhode Island;

but Thomas, notwithstanding his change of heart, lived and died a colonial subject of a British king.

John and James Superbus became great enemies to each other. They continued irreconciled for many years.

At length a change of views brought about a change of heart:

but this change for more than a year was concealed in the heart, and by no overt act appeared.

They were not reconciled until mutual concessions were made and pledges of a change of feeling were tendered and reciprocated. From enemies they became friends.

A thousand analogies might be adduced, to show that though a change of state often--nay, generally results from a change of feelings, and this from a change of views, yet a change of state does not generally follow, and is something quite different from, and cannot be identified with a change of heart.

So in religion, a man may change his views of Jesus, and his heart may be changed towards him;

but unless a change of state ensures, he is still unpardoned, unjustified, unsanctified, unreconciled, unadopted, and lost to all Christian life and enjoyable.

For it has been proved that these terms represent states and not feelings, condition and not character; and that a change of views or of heart, is not a change of state.

To change a state is to pass into a new relation, and relation is not sentiment nor feeling.

Some act, then, constitutional, by stipulation proposed, sensible, and manifest, must be performed by one or both the parties before such a change can be accomplished.

Hence, always, in ancient times, the proclamation of the gospel was accompanied by some instituted act proposed to those whose views were changed,

by which their state was to be changed, and by which they were to stand in a new relation to Jesus Christ.

This brings us to "the obedience of faith." From the time the proclamation of God's philanthropy was first made,

there was an act of obedience proposed in it by which the believers in the proclamation

were put in actual possession of its blessings,

and by conformity to which act a change of state ensued.

To perceive what this act of faith is, it must be remarked that where there is no command there can be no obedience. These are correlate terms.

A message or proclamation which has not a command in it, cannot be obeyed.

But the gospel can be obeyed or disobeyed, and therefore in it there is a command. Lest any person should hesitate in a matter of such importance, we will prove [In Prop. VIII-IX}

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