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estrangement, consequent upon its first rebellion, but so far reduced to order by time, experience, and the efforts of the few loyalists still remaining, and of those who, for the special purpose, had been sent amongst them, as to afford reasonable hope that, though they knew not how to come forward of themselves, a considerable portion of the population would gladly accept a proffered amnesty, and return to their allegiance. At the time of which the inhabitants had long been forewarned, and accompanied by all those circumstances which had been previously described to them, as marks by which they should recognize him, the son of the monarch appears amongst them, proffering a full and complete amnesty to all who would accept it, and take an oath of allegiance to him as the re
1 This part of my example may perhaps be considered as too much at war with the doctrine of human corruption. But it will hardly be denied, that the Jews had been regularly conducted, as by a system of education, (alluded to by St. Paul), up to the particular crisis of fitness for the Revelation intended. The point achieved had been that of entirely conquering their former most unaccountable tendency to idolatry, which, after their reestablishment, was unheard of. Pagan nations, by the side-wind of moral philosophy, however imperfect, had also received a certain preparation for the same event. Their civilization had attained its highest pitch; all, or nearly all belief in their ancient systems of mythology was exploded, and they were all agape for expected truth.
presentative of his father. Here, forgiveness and reconciliation are the consequences-of what? Not loyalty, certainly, for they were either in a state of actual rebellion, or, at best, estrangement, from their sovereign,—but it was to be the consequence of a conviction of their state of guilt, and a sincere desire of reconciliation, leading them to use the means so graciously appointed by their sovereign, and by which alone he had promised to accept them. Now, what was necessary to all this? First of all, that they should acknowledge their rightful liege lord. Secondly, that they should believe in the identity and authority of him who brought the amnesty. Thirdly, that they should perform the further conditions of that amnesty as far as they then could, namely, take the oath of renewed allegiance, with sincere purpose of abiding by it. They were then received into the amnesty, their former rebellion forgiven, and their reconciliation to their sovereign complete, as far as at the moment it could be. This was their primary reconciliation," a free gift of grace," of which active loyalty was to be the "effect," but certainly had not been the cause, as the only loyalty they had to offer was a promise, and if this was sincerely made, probably they would endeavour to perform it. For such as the sovereign might order at the moment to his court, this certainly was all-sufficient;
but for those suffered to remain, all was by no means ended. They had, in accepting the amnesty, taken an oath of allegiance, which they were bound upon their fealty to obey, and which, if they did not obey, the amnesty became for them, ab initio, null and void. The law, moreover, which they had sworn to obey, told them this, that such of them as accepted the amnesty, and proved their sincerity by obeying the laws, and living as faithful subjects, should, in consequence of performing their oath, by the very terms of the amnesty, be received at the court of their sovereign, with such degree of favour as the zeal and sincerity of each should be found to merit (this is their final or ultimate acceptance); while those who refused, neglected, or broke the proffered amnesty, should be left to perish in the conflagration of their city.
Objectionable as I fear this explanation will appear to you, yet I see not why you should condemn us. We equally acknowledge your's and your objector's definition. Man was justified and reconciled to God by Christ, upon the simple conditions, as Mr. Locke-whom I am heartily glad to see, in another place, you recognise as a Christian -has abundantly proved, upon the simple conditions of acknowledging him as the Messiah, and accepting him as his Lord and Master. This "opened the door of mercy freely to the greatest
penitent sinner." "Holiness was to be the effect," of course, as, at the moment of reconciliation, man had it not to offer as a "cause." But if faithful and sincere, the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit was promised, to enable him to free himself from former errors and misconceptions, and the trammels of deeply-rooted corruption, to quicken an adequate motive and inducement, and to "bring forth," as you term it, "the fruits of righteousness."
Thus far, I hope, although you may not like my style of expressing myself, we are mainly agreed. But are we to stop here, and look no further? If man could have closed his existence here, all were well, as with the penitent thief on the cross, to whom this free gift was then (probably) for the first time offered, and offered, be it remembered, by the Redeemer himself, who, as has been well observed, "left us this one example that none might despair, and but this one, that none might presume."
Excuse this little digression: but having quoted the example, I would guard against misunderstanding, lest I might be supposed to favour certain doctrines concerning death-bed repentances, nearly allied to your style of argument about religious affections!
To proceed :-Man did not cease to exist upon his acceptation of Christianity; and we must look to its operation upon him as an individual! Holi
ness, as you say, was to be the effect! But then, if in any one instance holiness did not happen to be the effect, the whole became, to that individual, null and void. Holiness, then, as an effect, was indispensable to the completion of his final acceptation with God, to the perfection of his reconciliation. Therefore, I think, you need not so very severely condemn us, even if we should imagine it to be a cause. If you say to your child at school, "You have been very naughty, idle, and inattentive, but your mother has interceded for you, and will convince you of your misconduct; and therefore I forgive you, if you will attend to her and be good: and, moreover, I will then give you a pony when you come home for the holidays ;"-your reconciliation to the boy is a free gift, not for his good conduct, for he had been naughty. His goodness is to be the effect of his attention to his mother! But effect, as it may be, it surely may be considered as the cause of his receiving the promised pony, inasmuch as that, if it is not the effect produced, he will not receive the pony. Is it, moreover, to be supposed, in this instance, that the child is not to hope for his reward, much more, that the forgiveness he has received by anticipation will be withdrawn, if his exertions should not altogether come up to the full measure of perfection which his good mother had probably inculcated? Would