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by Dr. John Thomas
"He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life".
The fact of a divine religion being instituted is proof of the love He bears the human race.
He seeks to appease men by His goodness, which invites them to repentance.
His love is manifested in all that He has done for the world.
He has sought to enlighten it, and to exalt it to a participation in the divine nature by the ameliorating influences of the truth.
He has sent messengers to it with their lives in their hands, ready to lay them down in the divine work of beseeching mankind to be reconciled to God.
Is it not strange that men should besiege heaven with vain and clamorous repetitions, "praying and beseeching" God to "come down and convert these soul-stricken penitents" whom they are "bearing up in their arms before a throne of grace"; representing them as quite ready and willing to be reconciled if He would only grant His spirit, and so assure them that all was peace between them: -- is it not extraordinary, I say, that this should be the order of things in the face of the revelation that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them"; and so "winking at the times of their past ignorance"?
The case is exactly the reverse of the pulpit theory.
This represents the world as reconciled, while God is unreconciled and hard to be persuaded.
Hence, the world is full of religions, all of which have been invented, and continue to be observed for the purpose of appeasing His wrath, and disposing Him to peace.
He is represented by pulpit orators as in a rage; as ready to launch mankind into the flames of hell, and only prevented from hurling His thunderbolts at them by Christ seizing Him by His arm, as it were, and pointing to his wounds!
But this is purely mythological.
God stands in no such attitude to the world, nor Christ to Him.
The Lord Jesus is not contending with the Father upon any such principle.
There is no antagonism between them.
They agree in one; and what God conceived is committed to the Son to execute.
The world is not reconciled to God; nor has it the least disposition for reconciliation upon any other principles than it has itself decreed.
These principles are subversive of His supremacy in the universe; they are annihilative of His truth; they demoralize His character -- therefore He will accept no homage predicated upon them.
He has long since proclaimed the conditions of peace, which He is waiting to ratify in every case where they are accepted.
This proclamation is styled "the Word of Reconciliation," which, saith the apostle, "God hath committed unto us".
Not, be it most distinctly understood, to me; nor to the ecclesiastics of any sect, party, or denomination, extant.
The Word of Reconciliation hath been committed to no man, or set of men now living.
It was committed to the apostles and their divinely inspired co-labourers, and to them only.