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ten to the Jews.”* The same is intimated by several passages in the epistle itself. The fathers to whom he writes (ch. ii. 13, 14.) knew Christ from the beginning. In verse 18. of the same chapter, he appears plainly to refer to our Lord's prophecies concerning the awful end of the Jewish nation, and to the false prophets that should come into the world previous to that event. He insists much upon Christ's being come in the flesh, which was a truth more liable to be denied by the Jews than the Gentiles. Finally, the term itself, which is rendered propiciation, plainly alludes to the Jewish mercy-seut. Many things in it, 'tis true, will equally apply to Jews and Gentiles. Christ is the advocate of the one as well as the other; but that is no proof that the epistle is not directed to be lieving Jews, as the same may be said of many things in the epistle of James, which also is called a catholick or general epistle, though expressly addressed to the twelve tribes, who were scattered abroad.t
After all, I wish it to be considered whether the text refers to any other than believers of either Jews or Gentiles. In my opinion it does not; and if so, the argument from it in favour of the universal exa tent of Christ's death is totally invalidated. My rea
* Preface to his Annotations on First Epistle of John.
+ Had not an argument been drawn from the title of this epistle in favour of its being written to both Jews and Gentiles, I should have taken no notice of it, as these titles I suppose were given to the epistles by uninspired writers.
sons for this opinion are as follow—The term propi. tiation is not put for what Christ is unto us considered only as laying down his life, and offering himself a sacrifice; but for what he is unto us through faith. He is “ set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood."* He cannot therefore, one should think, be a propitiation to any but believers. There would be no propriety in saying of Christ, he is set forth to be an expiatory sacrifice through faith in his blood, because he was a sacrifice for sin prior to the consis deration of our believing in him. The text does not express what Christ was, as laying down his life, but what he “is” in consequence of it. Christ being our propitiation, certainly supposes his being a sacrifice for sin; but it also supposes something more: it includes the idea of that sacrifice becoming the medium of the forgiveness of sin, and of communion with God. It relates not to what has been called the impetration but the application of redemption. Christ is our propitiation in the same sense as he is The Lord our righteousness, which also is said to be through faith; but how he should be a propitiation through faith to those who have no faith, is difficult to conceive.
The truth seems to be this, Christ is that of which the Jewish mercy-seat (or propitiatory) was a type the Jewish mercy-seat was the medium of mercy, and communion with God for all the worshippers of God (of oldt-Christ is that in reality which this was but
* Rom. iii. 25.
† Exod. xxv 22. T
in figure, and is not like that confined to a single nation-He is the medium through which all believers, of all ages, and nations have access to God, and receive the forgiveness of their sins. All this perfectly agrees with the scope of the apostle, which was to encourage backslidden believers against despair.
Though it is here supposed the apostle personates believing Jews, and that “the whole world” means the Gentiles; yet, if the contrary were allowed, the argument would not be thereby affected. Suppose
our sins” to mean, the sins of us who now believe, whether Jews or Gentiles, still it amounts to the same thing; for then what follows is as if he had added, and not for ours only, but for the sins of all that ever came, or shall come unto God by him from the beginning to the end of time.
P. objects the want of other passages of scripture in which the terms “ whole world signify the elect, or those that believe, or those that are saved, or any thing contradictory to the sense he has given.”(81.) "The terms whole world are certainly used in a limited sense by the apostle Paul, when he says of the christians at Rome, that their “ faith was spoken of throughout the whole world.”* Though Rome at that time was in a sort the metropolis of the known world, and those who professed christianity in that famous city were more conspicuous than those who professed it in other places; yet there were many
* Rom. i. 8.
countries not then discovered, in which the news of their faith could not possibly have arrived. Besides, it is evident from the drift of the apostle, that the faith of the Romans was spoken of in a way
of commendation, but it is not supposcable that the whole world universally would so speak of it. By the (I whole world” therefore can be meant no inore than the believing part of it in those countries where christianity had began to make its way. Farther, Christ is called “the God of the whole earth.”* The whole earth must here mean bclievers, as it expresses not his universal government of the world, but his tender relation of a husband, which it was here foretold he should sustain towards the Gentile as well as the Jewish church. Again, The gospel of Christ preached in the world is compared to leaven hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened. This doubtless implies that the gospel, before it has finished its operations, shall spread throughout the whole world, and leaven it. But this will never be true of all the individuals in the world, for none but true believers are leavened by it.
But P. thinks the phrase “ whole world,” in 1 John ii. 2. ought to be interpreted by a like phrase in ch. v. 19. and yet be himself cannot pretend that they are of a like meaning, nor does he understand them so. By the “whole world” in the one place he understands all the inhabitants that ever were or
should be in the world, excepting these from whom they are there distinguished: but in the other can only be meant the wicked of the world, who at that time existed upon the earth.
The most plausible argument advanced by P. is, in my opinion, from 2 Cor. v. 15, on which he observes that the phrase "they who live," is distributive, and must therefore include only a part of the " ali” for whom Christ died. (78.) Whether the following remarks are sufficient to invalidate the argument of P. froin this passage, the reader is left to judge.
1. The context speaks of the GENTILES being interested in Christ as well as the Jews. “Henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." Verse 16, 17, compared with Gal. vi. 15.
2. It does not appear to be the design of the apostle to affirm that Christ died for all that were dead, but that all were dead for whom Christ died. P. wonders, and it seems has much ado to keep up his good opinion of my integrity, for what I said in a note on this subject before. (26.) That it is the main design of the apostle to speak of the condition of those for whom Christ died, I conclude, partly from his having been describing the condition of sinners as subject to the terrors of divine vengeance, verse 11. and partly from the phraseology of 14. The apostle's
“ If one died for all, then were they all