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unwearied labour; who could go all his benefits. On al in mean clothing, live on little, he
he was importunat and travel on foot, trampling on church of God, ani this world as dirt. He was very largement of the indefatigable in his ministerial Christ. labours, in which he never
uncommonl sought any one's assistance, but his charity, consi would preach and pray almost tracted circums the whole week, as he had op- pendous. Havi portunity, in season and out of his own, he fr season. While he had liberty, family three < he constantly kept a public fast in dren, whom his congregation every month; clothed at hin as also a privaté one in his own instructed in closet and family every week. gion. T! He usually set apart one after he catechi noon every week to visit the plaining e families of his congregation, to the easies catechise their children and ser- When vants, and to discourse with them ercise h: personally about spiritual affairs. he peri His visits were short, but edify. in his ! ing He managed them like and di one, who was a good husband of to u his time, and seldom parted with. er pe
to imput prayer. He governed his
to more family with great strictness and day prudence. Every morning, in th:
ve been led his family worship, after he had
sidstruction of briefly implored the divine assis
1. Deut. tance, a psalm was sung, then a I
it secret things chapter in the Old Testament
e Lord our God ; (and in the evening one in the
gs, which are re new) was read, which he ex
ng to us and to our pounded; pointing out the sev.
rever.” This picesaga, eral parts, of which it consisted ;
should keep us at the then giving an account of a
distance from the docsubstance of it in as few words
f the Trinity, the divine possible ; then explaining
78, c. These are the sechief difficulties in it; conce
ihings which belong unto God, ing with useful instructii
not to us. However unacHe then spent a quarter !
runtable it may seem, this reahour in prayer and praise, Soning is adopted by many, who ly improving much of the
will not deny that these very docter read, as matter for bol
trines are contained in the Bible. was eminent in all the
But if contained in the Bible, they prayer ; but commonly ::
are certainly among those things ed most in the confession
which are revealed, and which, acin admiring all the divin Iencies, and in praising
the cording to the very words cited,
Yong to us and to purchildren for
election of some persons to eter-
e further, ctice should ith the state, bject is left by at the sublime subjects of religar illuminated, is ous gratitude to the lights. That in cerudes they are still envel.
obscurity, should exte humblest submissions me God's word communicates inct knowledge, the want of she is rebellion. Beyond the sounds of that knowledge, anxious curiosity springs from pride,
and ends in profanation. to In this number some notice lart will be taken of the most injurious have representations of the doctrine of air ex- election, and the most popular oubt by objections against it. This doc
same is trine, which is contained in the of the Trin- faith of the reformed churches
exists in the in general, and, as many of its sted. But in enemies acknowledge, in the ho
is triune, or ly scriptures, implies that God, y exists in unity, in the eternal purpose of his wis.
The same ob- dom and grace, determined, that les to the decree a certain number of human of ecting the salvation fenders should be the subjects of
That their future holiness and final salvation. In infallibly included in the larger catechism it is thus
purpose of the divine expressed ; "that God, by an e. is clearly revealed. But ternal and immutable decree, out particular persons the pyr- of his mere love, &c. hath in
of salvation embraces, and Christ chosen some men to etersy it embraces them, and not nal life, and the means thereof." chers is not revealed. That The statement of this doctrine there is such a thing, as a divine frequently given by its enemies Vol. III. No. 3.
the peculiar doctrines of revela- with perplexing difficulties, and tion, that they are nysterious in liable to be misunderstood, it is their nature, attended with many safest to let them rest in silence. perplezing dificulties, and exceed- But the truth evidently is, that ingly liable to be misunderstood. their being attended with perBut this argument' must be plexing difficulties, and being liweighed. Suppose certain Chris- able to be misunderstood are reatian doctrines are mysterious. Is sons for the most luminous and this a reason why they should be thorough explanation that is pospassed over in silence ? Because sible. An important subject, on they are mysterious, are they which people are greatly exposed therefore incapable of being fairly to mistake, should be guarded stated ? And are the proposi- against false constructions by the tions, which contain them, nec- whole strength of improved reaessarily unintelligible ? Accord- son, and surrounded with all the ing to this reasoning, we ought light, which divine revelation to maintain perpetual silence on affords. The mysterious doctrines the divine character. For what of the gospel are most misundersubject is so incomprehensible, stood, where they are most negas the self existent, the eternal, lecred. Where they are frethe infinite God? And yet this quently and ably exhibited, serisubject, which is attended with ous, attentive minds obtain more higher mystery than any other, clear and satisfactory concepis the very subject, in which we tions, are perplexed with fewer are most deeply concerned, and difficulties, and are able to imon which it is our duty, with the prove their knowledge to more warmest emotions, to meditate important purposes. and converse. In the proposi
Many persons have been led tions, which relate to this most astray by the misconstruction of încomprehensible subject, are in- the following scripture. Deut. volved our everlasting interests. xxix. 29. • « The secret things To understand these proposi- belong unto the Lord our God; tions, though imperfectly, con- but those things, which are restitutes our most valuable attain- vealed, belong to us and to our ment in knowledge. The pe- children forever.” This passage, culiar doctrines of the gospel de- it is said, should keep us at the rive their mysteriousness from greatest distance from the doctheir relation to those boundless trines of the Trinity, the divine objects, which finite minds can- decrees, &c. These are the senot comprehend. But that same cret things which belong unto God, relation renders them exceed- but not 10 us.
However unacingly interesting, and capable of countable it may seem, this reathe most extensive utility to soning is adopted by many, who mankind. Shall such doctrines will not deny that these very docbe suppressed? Does a religious trines are contained in the Bible. truth, which is mysterious, ad- But if contained in the Bible, they mit no homage, but that of si- are certainly among those things lence and neglect ?
which are revealed, and which, acIt is argued, that because the cording to the very words cited, doctrines referred to are attended belong to usand to our children før.
ever. The connexion of the pas- election of some persons to etersage shows, that it was designed nal life, is written on the page to check the fruitless curiosity of of inspiration in the most legible. the Israelites respecting those characters. But who are the pargreat and awful events, which ticular objects of God's discrimiMoses had just predicted. One nating love will not be certainly or two brief observations may set known, before the all-revealing this matter in its proper light. day. 1. As far as any thing is revealed, I shall only observe further, it ceases to be a secret. That that our views and practice should there are intelligent creatures accord precisely with the state, superior to man is revealed, and in which every subject is left by. therefore their existence is not a revelation. That the sublime secret, but a well known fact. and inscrutable subjects of religThat the awful events predicted ion are 80 far illuminated, is by Moses would take place, .was matter of pious gratitude to the no secret, but a certain truth, Father of lights. That in cerBut 2. Things may be revealed, tain attitudes they are still envele in some respects, which are not oped in obscurity, should exo revealed in others. This was cite the humblest submission. the case with the things referred Where God's word communicates to in the words above cited. distinct knowledge, the want of Thàt such distressful events faith is rebellion. Beyond the would take place was abundantly bounds of that knowledge, anxdeclared. But the time, and ious curiosity springs from pride, other circumstances of those and ends in profanation. events, were concealed. As to In this number some otice the number, and many particular will be taken of the most injurious: qualities of the angels, we have representations of the doctrine of no knowledge, though their ex- election, and the most popular istence is put beyond doubt by objections against it. This docthe word of God. The same is trine, which is contained in the true of the doctrine of the Trin- faith of the reformed churches, ity. That a Trinity exists in the in general, and, as many of its one God is revealed. But in enemies acknowledge, in the ho. what manner God is triune, orly scriptures, implies that God, hou divine Trinity exists in unity, in the eternal purpose of his wis. is not revealed. The same ob- dom and grace, determined, that servation applies to the decree a certain number of human of of God respecting the salvation fenders should be the subjects of of his people. That their future holiness and final salvation. In felicity is infallibly included in the larger catechism it is thus: the eternal purpose of the divine expressed; " that God, by an e! mind, is clearly revealed. But ternal and immutable decree, outwhat particular persons the pur- of his mere love, &c. hath in pose of salvation embraces, and Christ chosen some men to eterwhy it embraces them, and not nal life, and the means thereof." others, is not revealed. That The statement of this doctrine there is such a thing, as a divine frequently given by its enemies Vol. III. No. 3.
is in substance this: It repre- To the sum mary statement sents that God beheld all mankind of the doctrine above mentioned, through Adam's fall imputed to there are several weighty objecthem as their sin, rendered obnox- tions. 1. The statement sig. ious to his eternal wrath, and ut- nifies that the reason why God terly unable to escape it ; that als did not include, in his gracious though he saw no reason to extend purpose, the salvation of those favour to any of them, rather than who are to be finally excluded to all, yet he arbitrarily and abso- from heaven, is the offence of lutely determined to have mercy Adam. But although the conon a few only, leaving the far fused manner, in which some greater part under the dire nedes- Calvinistic writers have expresssity of perishing, for the offence of ed themselves, has given occatheir forefather Adam, committed sion for such a statement, we long before they had a being. This utterly reject it. The supposi. is the light in which the doctrinetion, that the guilt of Adam's is exhibited by Whitby, its abiest sin is transferred to his posteropposer.
. ity is deemed an absurdity too To all who are in any meas- palpable to need refutation. The ure acquainted with controver- connexion between the first man sy, it must have frequently oc- and his descendants, though excurred, that men of subtle minds ceedingly important in its nature can, by the assistance of per. and consequences, implied nothverse misstatement, very easily ing inconsistent with the nature distort and entangle a moral or of things, or with the unchangetheological subject; and that able rule of righteousness. But much care and labour are often on this particular subject, which necessary to unravel the per- has been so ably and satisfactoplexity, and present the subject rily treated by Edwards and othin a fair and unexceptionable ers, I shall not enlarge.'tt po! light. The misstatements fre- 2. The statement given of quently made of the doctrine of the doctrine intimates, that the election are involved in difficul- moral condition of mankind is ties peculiarly hard to be remov- rather unfortunate, than crimed, and very hurtful to unwary inal ; that future punishment minds, because they contain an will be the effect of sad necessiimposing compound. Part of ty, rather than of voluntary the ideas. really contained in the transgression.; an
unavoidable doctrine are united with others, evil, rather than a just recomwhich are foreign and heteroge- pense. Here our complaint of Deous. So many ideas of the misrepresentation might be urga former kind are introduced, as, ed very strongly. may lead one to suppose that the 3. In such a statement, as that statement exhibits the real doc. now under consideration, it is trine in its own form ; and yet signified, that God's decree of so many of the latter are inter- election was arbitrary, or that he woven, as to give the whole the. had no proper reason for it, aside appearance of absurdity and from mere will. Here we reerror.
peat the charge of misstatement.