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unwearied labour; who could go in mean clothing, live on little, and travel on foot, trampling on this world as dirt. He was very indefatigable in his ministerial Jabours, in which he never sought any one's assistance, but would preach and pray almost the whole week, as he had opportunity, in season and out of season. While he had liberty, he constantly kept a public fast in his congregation every month; as also a private one in his own closet and family every week. He usually set apart one afternoon every week to visit the families of his congregation, to catechise their children and servants, and to discourse with them personally about spiritual affairs. His visits were short, but edifying. He managed them like one, who was a good husband of his time, and seldom parted without prayer. He governed his family with great strictness and prudence. Every morning, in his family worship, after he had briefly implored the divine assis- s] tance, a psalm was sung, then a chapter in the Old Testament (and in the evening one in the new) was read, which he expounded; pointing out the several parts, of which it consisted; then giving an account of th substance of it in as few words possible; then explaining chief difficulties in it; concl ing with useful instructio He then spent a quarter o hour in prayer and praise, u ly improving much of the ter read, as matter for bot was eminent in all the p prayer; but commonly ed most in the confession in admiring all the divi lencies, and in praising

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ave been led Dastruction of ripture: 1-Deut. ae secret things The Lord our God; ngs, which are re ong to us and to our orever." This passage, should keep us at the distance from the docof the Trinity, the divine es, &c. These are the sethings which belong unto God, not to us. However unacountable it may seem, this reasoning is adopted by many, who will not deny that these very doctrines are contained in the Bible. But if contained in the Bible, they - are certainly among those things which are revealed, and which, acthe cording to the very words cited,

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e further, ctice should th the state, bject is left by, at the sublime subjects of religir illuminated, is us gratitude to the ights. That in cerles they are still envel obscurity, should exhumblest submission. God's word communicates ict knowledge, the want of his rebellion. Beyond the unds of that knowledge, anx.ous curiosity springs from pride, and ends in profanation.

In this number some notice: will be taken of the most injurious ve representations of the doctrine of ex- election, and the most popular objections against it. This doctrine, which is contained in the faith of the reformed churches in general, and, as many of its enemies acknowledge, in the holy scriptures, implies that God, in the eternal purpose of his wis dom and grace, determined, that a certain number of human of fenders should be the subjects of holiness and final salvation. In the larger catechism it is thus expressed; "that God, by an e ternal and immutable decree, out of his mere love, &c. hath in Christ chosen some men to eternal life, and the means thereof."

sts in the But in > triune, or ists in unity, The same obto the decree ng the salvation That their future allibly included in rpose of the divine arly revealed. But ular persons the puralvation embraces, and embraces them, and not is not revealed. That is such a thing, as a divine III. No. 3.

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The statement of this doctrine frequently given by its enemies

the peculiar doctrines of revelation, that they are mysterious in their nature, attended with many perplexing difficulties, and exceed ingly liable to be misunderstood. But this argument must be weighed. Suppose certain Christian doctrines are mysterious. Is this a reason why they should be passed over in silence? Because they are mysterious, are they therefore incapable of being fairly stated? And are the propositions, which contain them, necessarily unintelligible? According to this reasoning, we ought to maintain perpetual silence on the divine character. For what subject is so incomprehensible, as the self existent, the eternal, the infinite GOD? And yet this subject, which is attended with higher mystery than any other, is the very subject, in which we are most deeply concerned, and on which it is our duty, with the warmest emotions, to meditate and converse. In the propositions, which relate to this most încomprehensible subject, are involved our everlasting interests. To understand these propositions, though imperfectly, constitutes our most valuable attainment in knowledge. The peculiar doctrines of the gospel derive their mysteriousness from their relation to those boundless objects, which finite minds cannot comprehend. But that same relation renders them exceedingly interesting, and capable of the most extensive utility to mankind. Shall such doctrines be suppressed? Does a religious truth, which is mysterious, admit no homage, but that of silence and neglect?

It is argued, that because the doctrines referred to are attended

with perplexing difficulties, and liable to be misunderstood, it is safest to let them rest in silence. But the truth evidently is, that their being attended with perplexing difficulties, and being liable to be misunderstood are reasons for the most luminous and thorough explanation that is possible. An important subject, on which people are greatly exposed to mistake, should be guarded against false constructions by the whole strength of improved reason, and surrounded with all the light, which divine revelation affords. The mysterious doctrines of the gospel are most misunderstood, where they are most neglected. Where they are frequently and ably exhibited, serious, attentive minds obtain more clear and satisfactory conceptions, are perplexed with fewer difficulties, and are able to improve their knowledge to more important purposes.

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Many persons have been led astray by the misconstruction of the following scripture. Deut. xxix. 29.

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God ; but those things, which are re vealed, belong to us and to our children forever." This passage, it is said, should keep us at the greatest distance from the doctrines of the Trinity, the divine decrees, &c. These are the se

cret things which belong unto God, but not to us. However unaccountable it may seem, this reasoning is adopted by many, who will not deny that these very doctrines are contained in the Bible. But if contained in the Bible, they are certainly among those things which are revealed, and which, according to the very words cited, belong to us and to our children før

ever. The connexion of the passage shows, that it was designed to check the fruitless curiosity of the Israelites respecting those great and awful events, which Moses had just predicted. One or two brief observations may set this matter in its proper light. 1. As far as any thing is revealed, it ceases to be a secret. That there are intelligent creatures superior to man is revealed, and therefore their existence is not a secret, but a well known fact. That the awful events predicted by Moses would take place, was no secret, but a certain truth. But 2. Things may be revealed, in some respects, which are not revealed in others. This was the case with the things referred to in the words above cited. That such distressful events would take place was abundantly declared. But the time, and other circumstances of those events, were concealed. As to

the number, and many particular qualities of the angels, we have no knowledge, though their existence is put beyond doubt by the word of God. The same is true of the doctrine of the Trinity. That a Trinity exists in the ONE GOD is revealed. But in what manner God is triune, or how divine Trinity exists in unity, is not revealed. The same observation applies to the decree of God respecting the salvation of his people. That their future felicity is infallibly included in the eternal purpose of the divine mind, is clearly revealed. But what particular persons the purpose of salvation embraces, and why it embraces them, and not others, is not revealed. That

election of some persons to eternal life, is written on the page of inspiration in the most legible. characters. But who are the particular objects of God's discriminating love will not be certainly known, before the all-revealing day.

I shall only observe further, that our views and practice should accord precisely with the state, in which every subject is left by revelation. That the sublime and inscrutable subjects of religion are so far illuminated, is matter of pious gratitude to the Father of lights. That in certain attitudes they are still envel oped in obscurity, should excite the humblest submission. Where God's word communicates distinct knowledge, the want of faith is rebellion. Beyond the bounds of that knowledge, anxious curiosity springs from pride, and ends in profanation.

In this number some notice: will be taken of the most injurious! representations of the doctrine of election, and the most popular objections against it. This doctrine, which is contained in the faith of the reformed churches in general, and, as many of its enemies acknowledge, in the holy scriptures, implies that God, in the eternal purpose of his wis dom and grace, determined, that a certain number of human of fenders should be the subjects of holiness and final salvation. In the larger catechism it is thus: expressed; "that God, by an e ternal and immutable decree, out of his mere love, &c. hath in Christ chosen some men to eternal life, and the means thereof."

The statement of this doctrine

there is such a thing, as a divine frequently given by its enemies

Vol. III. No. 3.

Q

is in substance this: It represents that God beheld all mankind through Adam's fall imputed to them as their sin, rendered obnoxious to his eternal wrath, and utterly unable to escape it; that although he saw no reason to extend favour to any of them, rather than to all, yet he arbitrarily and absolutely determined to have mercy on a few only, leaving the far greater part under the dire neces sity of perishing, for the offence of their forefather Adam, committed long before they had a being. This is the light in which the doctrine is exhibited by Whitby, its ablest opposer.

To all who are in any meas ure acquainted with controver sy, it must have frequently oc curred, that men of subtle minds can, by the assistance of perverse misstatement, very easily distort and entangle a moral or theological subject; and that much care and labour are often necessary to unravel the perplexity, and present the subject in a fair and unexceptionable. light. The misstatements frequently made of the doctrine of election are involved in difficulties peculiarly hard to be removed, and very hurtful to unwary minds, because they contain an imposing compound. Part of the ideas really contained in the doctrine are united with others, which are foreign and heterogeneous. So many ideas of the former kind are introduced, as may lead one to suppose that the statement exhibits the real doctrine in its own form; and yet so many of the latter are interwoven, as to give the whole the appearance of absurdity and

error.

To the summary statement of the doctrine above mentioned, there are several weighty objec tions. 1. The statement sig nifies that the reason why God did not include, in his gracious purpose, the salvation of those who are to be finally excluded from heaven, is the offence of Adam. But although the confused manner, in which some Calvinistic writers have expressed themselves, has given occa sion for such a statement, we utterly reject it. The supposi tion, that the guilt of Adam's sin is transferred to his posterity, is deemed an absurdity tod palpable to need refutation. The connexion between the first man and his descendants, though exceedingly important in its nature and consequences, implied nothing inconsistent with the nature of things, or with the unchangeable rule of righteousness. But on this particular subject, which has been so ably and satisfactorily treated by Edwards and others, I shall not enlarge.

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2. The statement given of the doctrine intimates, that the moral condition of mankind is rather unfortunate, than criminal; that future punishment will be the effect of sad necessity, rather than of voluntary transgression; an unavoidable evil, rather than a just recom pense. Here our complaint of misrepresentation might be urged very strongly.

3. In such a statement, as that now under consideration, it is signified, that God's decree of election was arbitrary, or that he had no proper reason for it, aside from mere will. Here we repeat the charge of misstatement.

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