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rians, in their north-west voyage of discovery, have lighted on: which comes with observation, “with power and great glory," so that ' every eye
shall see it,” (for so these words are applied,) accompanied with the vials of wrath, the out-pouring of indignation, and the blood of the unfaithful, with all that can express the terrible approach of God in his might, the shaking of the earth, the rock, ing of the heavens, the resurrection of the dead; and surely a greater contrast cannot exist, than that between this kingdom of millenarians and the kingdom of our Lord, which comes without observation.” Thirdly-it is described by our Lord himself as a spiritual kingdom, and not of this world—“ my kingdom is not of this world ; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I might not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from thence." (John xviii. 36.) He describes it as within or among us, showing that it was of a spiritual nature; and as his kingdom is thus spiritual, so is the king in a spiritual
sense, and Christians his subjects in the same sense, and the throne on which he sits, spiritual likewise. How different is this from that kingdom which the millenarians have invented as being without us, and not within us, as belonging to this world, instead of being “not of this world !” Fourthly it is described in Scripture as eternal, “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and of his kingdom there is no end;” its duration is described by every possible phrase to denote eternity, for Jesus Christ will reign eternally over his faithful people here below, and over the same faithful ones above ; there can be no end to his kingdom. Now, this description cannot apply to the millennial hypothesis of his kingdom existing only for a short time; it is admitted to have a prescribed end—the very name millennium implies it; it limits the duration to a thousand years; and, therefore, this cannot be that true and only kingdom of Christ, “ of which there can be no end." Thus do we see that the kingdom of Christ, of which the Scriptures are so full, is very different indeed from the newly-discovered kingdom, of which the millennial writings are so overflowing, and with this wide difference before us (and it is as wide as heaven from earth,) there will be but little difficulty in answering the argument of J. K. in reference to the throne of David.
That there is thus a spiritual kingdom, of which Christ declared himself to be the King and Head, is unquestionable, and that this spiritual kingdom is composed of his spiritual subjects, that is, his believing people, the members of his church, is equally unquestionable; so that the kingdom of Christ and the Church of Christ, are the same. Now, from this very simple and evident truth, it is easy to discover how Christ sits on the throne of David. There was of old but one people composing the Church of God—the Jews—they were the Church, and the only Church; now, David was appointed as “ head over the tribes of Israel”-he ruled this Church-he was head or king over Israel, which was the Church, apd when Christ is said to sit on the throne of David, it must mean that Christ is the King of God's people, the Head of the Church : here, then, is the answer to that reiterated millennial question," what was the throne of David ?"-it was the headship of the Churchthe reigning over God's people. The peculiar mode of expression is easily accounted for, thus : David was a type of Christ, and therefore Christ is sometimes called by the very name of his type, David. (Jer. xxx. 9.). So also Israel was a type of the Christian Church, and therefore the Church is sometimes called by the very name of its type, Israel. (Gal. vi. 16.) And in like manner the throne of David over Israel was typical of the throne of Christ (the spiritual David) over the Christian Church (the spiritual Israel ;) and therefore this throne of Christ is sometimes called by the very name of its type, the throne of David. This at once accounts for the mode of expression, as it is no more than analogous to other cases.
This view of the throne of David seems capable of demonstraţion, when we examine one of the many promises made to that king; it was explicitly promised on several occasions that“ he never should want a man to sit on his throne" — he should for ever have a successor-it should never be vacant. This is an especial and important promise respecting the throne of David. Now, the question arises, was this his mere literal throne over a subject people? Certainly not-for this literal throne has been vacant. David has been without a man to sit on it-he has no successor on it, it has been long, and still, even to this hour, is vacant: so that if the prophets spoke this promise of his literal throne, then they " have been found false witnesses of God,” in testifying that this "literal throne of David was never to be vacant, when it has been, and still is vacant. Let millenarians collate the names of those who date on the literal throne of David from the Babylonish captivity to the coming of Christ, and then let them tell the catalogue of his successors to this hour-who placed them there ? who sits there now?, Is it not manifest from this that there is another throne of David besides his mere literal throne, on which he has always had a successor ? It is plain that the promise must be fulfilled in some sense ;
and as it has not, and cannot possibly mean his literal throne over a subject people, so it must mean his spiritual throne, his headship over the Church. In this capacity be typified Christ, and on this throne he has never been without a successor-it has never been vacant, it ever has been, and ever will be filled by “ the Son of David.” In this sense we can understand the prophecy that “ God would give unto Christ the throne of his father David; any other constructions will make void the promises of God.
Having thus occupied, at perhaps too great length, the pages of the Examiner, in examining the arguments of J. K., it is high time to conclude, observing, that when the matters alluded to, and just touched on by him at the close of his article, shall be stated explicitly and tangibly, it will then be time sufficient to enter on an examination of them.
A CONNAUGHT CURATE.
ERSKINE ON JUSTIFICATION,
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER. SIR-T perceive that Mr. Erskine's opinion respecting pardon, as being antecedent to faith, has more advocates than I supposed. In the second number of “The Morning Watch," page 256, the editor has written as follows:-“ Mr. Erskine wishes to state this highly important fact, namely, that "By the incarnation of the second person in the Trinity, the whole creation (i. e. limiting the word creation to this planet and the beings who inhabit it,) is become beneficially interested in the work of Christ.' This fact he expresses by saying, that the world is pardoned by the incarnation of Christ.”
The Editor of “The Morning Watch" complains bitterly of the strong language employed by a cotemporary journal, when speaking of Mr. Erskine's doctrine of pardon: but, after all, he himself acknowledges that Mr. Erskine has not employed a term very well adapted to express what he meant.
“ Here also,” says be, as in the case of Doctor Molan, we are not prepared to contend that the expression“ pardon” is the best which could possibly have been chosen to express the idea which Mr. Erskine meant to convey.”. A concession cautiously worded, but sufficient to establish the fact, that if Mr. Erskine meant "pardon" in its ordinary acceptation, the objects of his censure were not much mistaken in saying that “there was not an atom of evidence for it in the sacred volume.” The Editor, after having given up the word in question, proceeds to explain what he holds, and what he considers to be the meaning of Mr. Erskine, namely, “ that by the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity the whole creation (quere-human race?) has been brought into such a state, that the Father can without any violation of the most rigid justice, take any individual whom he wills to eternal glory, sending the Holy Spirit, &c.". I have two observations to make on this passage, and, in making them, I shall have an opportunity of saying all that I think necessary in respect to this branch of the subject.
First, then, it appears to me, that, while the Editor is charging the Editors of the Magazines with “not only misunderstanding Mr. Erskine, but as scarcely able to comprehend a single sentence of his writings,” he discovers some ignorance himself on the subject. That Mr. E. does state and defend the above-mentioned proposition, I do not deny; but that this is what he has principally in view, may, I think, be fairly questioned. The great drift of Mr Erskine's reasoning is to prove, that pardon is irrespective of faith; at least, if I understand his intention aright. And, in order that this should be the case, nothing more is necessary than to show that pardon takes place before the faith of the individual has any exist
It is pretty evident, then, that if Mr. E. has chosen an improper term to express his meaning, his whole hypothesis rests upon an unsound foundation. Mr. Erskine's notion of “the free
ness of the Gospel” evidently turns upon this point, as might be shown by a variety of quotations from his book; and if so, it is pretty clear that the writer in “The Morning Watch” has misconceived his meaning altogether. If pardon, in its proper sense, does not belong to the individual previous to his faith, and independent of it, then is the Gospel not free, according to Mr. Erskine. The same person who holds in the fullest sense the opinion expressed above, namely, “ that the Father can, without any violation of the most rigid justice, take any individual whom he wills to eternal glory,” may yet dissent entirely from the theory of Mr. E: respecting pardon as preceding faith, and as being irrespective of it. If Mr. E. meant no more by writing his book than to prove
“ that by the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity, the whole human race has been brought into such a state that the Father can, without any violation of the most rigid justice, take any individual whom he wills to eternal glory," I, for one, should never have thought of questioning the correctness of the statement as far as it goes.
But if Mr. E. bad said, either that such a statement was inconsistent with a limitation of the value of the atonement, or that this is the good news, I should certainly in this case have excepted against the justness of his views upon the subject. Though the writer in “The Morning Watch” has given the above statement as opposed to what he calls “that shopkeeping divinity which would set a limit to the value of the work of Emanuel,” it must be pretty evident to any one who considers its meaning, that there is no necessary opposition between the two things. It might be the pleasure of the Father to take precisely such a number of individuals “to eternal glory” as would correspond with the precise value of the atonement, and his having the power of doing this, “ without any violation of the most rigid justice," would by no means prove the value of the atonement to be unlimited, unless the demerit of the individuals thus brought to eternal glory were (which no one pretends) infinite. The author's proposition, then, is not necessarily at variance with the opinion which he proposes to controvert. They may be both true.
Admitting, as I have done, that the statement in question is true, as far as it goes, I must deny that it goes far enough to have any influence
upon the hope of any individual. The personal interest of the question does not turn upon the point, what God may do, in a sovereign way, in virtue of the harmonizing operation of the atonement; but on this point, whether there is any impediment in my way, as a sinner, to hinder me from enjoying the benefit of that atonement. It does not follow, because God can save whom he pleases, on account of the atonement, that there may not be an insurmountable obstacle in the way of my salvation." My hope must rest
the fact, not that he can save whom he pleases, but that he can save, and will save every human being who, as a sinner, "flies for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before him ;" or, in other words, “who believes the Gospel." The interesting and practical truth then is, that in virtue of the atonement, and the assurances founded upon the value of that atonement, any one of the human race may enjoy forgiveness, according to the saying, “that he might be just and the justifier (not of him whom he pleases, but) of him which believeth in Jesus."
But to return to the subject of pardon. The writer in “The Morning Watch seems to hold the understanding of his opponents at a very low price. Defending Mr. Erskine's opinion, he proceeds thus :-“The Editors (i. e. of the Magazines) have heard of criminals in prison being pardoned by the king. They hear now of the world being pardoned. They suppose the cases to be exactly parallel, and never seem in their lives to have analyzed the ideas belonging to these two different categories. When the king pardons a criminal, there is, first, the grace of the king ; secondly, the promulgation of that grace; thirdly, its revelation to the culprit ; fourthly, its acceptation by the culprit. In ordinary cases all these four acts are signified in the single term of “ pardon.”—“But in the other category the case is very dissimilar. The first act, indeed, has taken place, namely, the grace of the King in pardoning the world: the second also, inasmuch as its promulgation has gone forth : but thirdly, there are great numbers of culprits to whom it has never been declared : and fourthly, the majority of those to whom it has been offered reject it.”
Now, Sir, allow me to say, that there is no analogy between the case, as it stands in the dealings of God with man, and the supposed case of the king granting pardon to a convicted criminal. No
one, I believe, ever heard of the king, on such occasions, sending an earnest entreaty to the object of his clemency, in order to overrule the objections that he might raise to his enjoying the benefit of the royal mercy. And the manifest incongruity of such a proceeding is in itself a sufficient evidence that the two cases are of a character essentially distinct from each other. It is presumed, as a matter of course, that when the king grants a pardon to one condemned to die, the object of his merey is prepared to receive the communication in question with a feeling in full accordance with the nature of the intended benefit; and this presumption is founded upon an acknowledged law of our nature, which leads every human being to wish to escape a painful and ignominious death. No one ever thinks of taking into his calculation in such a case the mere possibility of such an anomaly occurring as the rejection of the pardon granted. In the other case, the very oppo. site presumption is recognised and acted upon. “Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech by us, we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Any attempt to establish an analogy between two cases so different in their nature, must only produce confusion in the process,
and in the conclusion.
In truth, Sir, the good news is not what Mr. E. represents it, and what the writer in “The Morning Watch” supposes it. It is not the announcement of pardon granted, but of the removal of all obstructions in the way of pardon. It is the message of a