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of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Now if the heathen nations were in a perishing condition in the days of the apostles, they are in the same condition at this day. For all the nations whom the gospel has not reached, are still without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world. And if the apostles had a right to believe and say that the heathens would perish without the light of the gospel, then we have the same right to believe and say that those who still live and die without the gospel, will be turned into hell.
5. God has told us that he intends to convert all the heathen nations, and that he intends to do it by the instrumentality of the gospel. God promised to Abraham that in him all the families of the earth shall be blessed. God said to Christ, in the second Psalm, “ Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” God said to his ancient church by Isaiah, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." The angel said to the shepherds, at Christ's birth, “ Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." Simeon said, when he took Christ into his arms, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before ihe face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” Paul, speaking to the believing Gentiles concerning the unbelieving Jews, says, “ Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid; but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness? For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, that blindness, in part, is happened unto Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in : And so all Israel shall be saved.” It appears, from these passages of scripture, that God intends to convert all the heathen nations in some future period. He has already cast away the Jews, in order to convert Gentiles; and he will call them in again, to answer the same purpose. The time is coming when all nations shall be converted. But this great and desirable event is to be brought about by the instrumentality of the gospel. This is plainly and repeatedly predicted in the scripture. Paul, speaking upon this subject declares, “ There is no difference VOL. VI.
between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How, then, shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? and how shall they hear without a preacher?— So, then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” If all nations are ever converted, it must be by the spread of the gospel, and the diffusion of divine knowledge. Hence the universal spread of the gospel is connected with the universal conversion of the heathen nations, in the Revelation of John. " And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” Thus it appears that so long as God withholds the gospel from the heathen nations, so long they will remain in a perishing condition, and there can be no hope of their salvation.
1. If God will not save the heathen who are destitute of the gospel, then we have no reason to think he will save the Jews, while they disbelieve the gospel. The Gentiles were given up for rejecting the true knowledge of God, and the Jews were broken off for rejecting the true knowledge of Christ. And so long as they continue to reject Christ, as the promised Messiah and Saviour of the world, there is no reason to think that God will show mercy to them. Though they have uniformly and tenaciously maintained their belief in the divine inspiration and authority of the Old Testament; though they profess to believe and obey the laws of Moses; though they do externally obey those laws, as the Scribes and Pharisees did; yet this affords no good evidence that God will accept their services, and save them from suffering that eternal death which they deserve, and from which he cannot consistently save them on any other ground than the atonement of Christ. We are constrained to believe this, by what Christ expressly said to them on this subject : “ Except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” The Jews, ever since their dispersion, have been more or less of them mixed with Christian, as well as with heathen nations, and have had opportunities of hearing and reading the gospel, and of examining the arguments by which Christian writers maintain the divinity of Christ and the fundamental truths of the gospel ; but this is no excuse, but a great aggravation of their unbelief of the gospel. It demonstrates that they both see and hate both Christ and his Father;
which is a tenfold aggravation of their obstinate infidelity. So Christ said of their fathers : “ If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin." Though the Jews were once addicted to idolatry, yet, ever since their captivity in Babylon, they have become more bigoted to their own religion than any other nation in the world. They have generally rejected Deisin, and almost universally rejected Heathenism, Mohammedanism, and Christianity; and amidst all the national revolutions in which they have been involved for ages, they have rigidly adhered to Judaism. They are more opposed to Christianity than to any other religion; just as the heathen are more opposed to their religion than to any other which is not so unsocial. If the Jews were not extremely blind and obstinate, it seems as though they would readily believe the gospel ; for they have the law in their hands, which was designed and calculated to be a school master to bring men to Christ, that they might be justified by faith. Both the moral and ceremonial law show the necessity of an atonement for sin, and the moral impossibility of sinners' being saved without their renouncing their self righteousness, and relying alone upon the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. Paul told the Jews that they must perish if they rejected Christ. “ Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” There is no reason to believe that God will now, any more than in the apostle's day, save the Jews, so long as they abide in unbelief of the gospel.
2. If God will not save the heathen, who are destitute of the gospel, then.we have no reason to believe that he will save atheists, deists, and those who deny the fundamental principles of Christianity. There have been some men in the world who have called themselves atheists, and have been called so by others. They have openly denied that there is an eternal, self existent Being, who has created, upholds and governs all things in the natural and moral world. They have not only denied the existence of the only living and true God, but employed their learning and ingenuity to disprove his existence. There have been many men in the Christian world, who have acknowledged the being of God, but denied the inspiration and authenticity of the Bible. These have been called deists. Among these, there have been men of celebrity for learning and talents, which they have often displayed in their infidel writings. And there is another and more numerous class of men among nominal christians, who profess to believe the existence of the Deity, and the inspiration of the scriptures, but deny many, if not all of the peculiar and fundamental doctrines of the gospel. These are called by the orthodox, heretics. It must be acknowledged that some atheists, some deists, and some heretics, exhibit a fair moral character, superior talents, great erudition, and are extensively useful in civil society. But can we suppose that God will give up the terms of salvation, which he has proposed in the gospel, in favor of such men, any more than we can suppose that he will give up the terms of salvation in favor of learned and virtuous heathens ? The heathen are undoubtedly as sincere in their idolatrous notions, as atheists, deists, and other erroneous men are in their heretical, and unscriptural, and absurd opinions. Atheists, deists, and heretics are far more criminal than heathens ; for they resist greater light, violate stronger obligations, and exercise greater enmity and opposition to God, to Christ, to the Holy Spirit, and to the highest good of the universe, than heathens do, or can do, in their dark and unenlightened condition. Accordingly, the apostle expressly declares that such as become atheists, deists, and heretics under the full blaze of the gospel light, shall be doomed with heathens to endless punishment. He says: “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” If the ignorance of the heathen, who know not God, will not save them from future and everlasting punishment; much less will the knowledge of infidels and heretics save them from the same fearful doom. There is no other name given under heaven among men, whereby any can be saved, but the name of Jesus Christ. No other foundation can any man lay than that which God has laid in Christ, for the salvation of sinners; and whoever build on any other foundation, will find it will fail, and involve them in hopeless ruin. To deny the fundamental principles of the gospel in any way, is inseparably connected with eternal destruction.
3. If God will not save the heathen, who are ignorant of the gospel, then we have no reason to imagine that he will save any under the gospel, merely on the ground of their external obedience, morality or virtue. There is reason to fear that there are a great many under the light of the gospel who are whited sepulchres, and who appear beautiful unto men and unto themselves, whose hearts are far from God, and totally unreconciled to his character, and opposed to the humiliating terms of salvation; who yet hope and expect to be saved by their good works. But why should God save them for their mere good works, rather than Socrates, or Seneca, or Plato, or Cato, or Cicero, or any other amiable, virtuous heathens? Or why should God save them for their exterior virtues and obedience, rather than the young man in the gospel, who had kept externally all the divine commands; or Paul, who as touching external obedience to the law, was blameless? I know that some say that Peter taught a different doctrine when he said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him.” Peter said this in respect to Cornelius, a Roman officer, who actually embraced the gospel. And Paul made the observation in respect to other heathens who embrace the gospel; “ There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” God will save all believers in Christ, whether Jews or Gentiles; but he will save no others, however beautiful and amiable they may appear in their mere external conduct. Men may do a thousand amiable, virtuous actions, while they have not the love of God in them, and while they are total enemies to the cross of Christ; and their amiable and virtuous conduct may create that self righteousness and self dependence which is the greatest obstacle to their cordially submitting to God, and relying on Christ alone for pardoning mercy. “For the whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” Many seem to think they are christians, because they have had Christian parents, have had a Christian education, and have lived in a Christian land; just as the Jews thought they were the people of God and were interested in his gracious covenant, because they were of the seed of Abraham, had been circumcised at eight days old, and had outwardly conformed to the laws of Moses; though they were inwardly enemies to the God of Israel. Paul says that he built his hopes of heaven on this false and sandy foundation; and his own deception led him to warn others against it. He tells his brethren, " He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." There is not, perhaps, a more common and dangerous practical opinion among the better sort of sinners, than a belief that they gain pardon and acceptance with God by their good desires, good prayers, and good deeds, while they retain all the deprav