« PreviousContinue »
salvation, as it is in his power, as they insinuate,) why does he not treat them all as he did Saul of Tarsus, when he was on the way to Damascus ? Why does he not smite them all to the ground, as he did him? Why does he not send Holy Angels from heaven, and every day warn sinners of their danger? There is no doubt but he has millions of them at bis command, and this might have a great effect, if the will has a self-determining power.
Or if the Lord has ultimately such a desire to convert as many souls as he can, (as they tell us,) why did he not go to the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon? He knew, and said that if the mighty works which he did in Jerusalem, had been done there, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
Besides, what would they gain in favour of God's character, if it were admitted that their doctrines were true ? They say
that He sees all eternity at one view;" and say farther, " that He foreknows all men's believing or not believing.” If so, why did he create those men whom he knew would never believe, but would finally be damned? Or if he knew that he would never be able to convert and save them, why did he not cut them off by death in their infancy, and not suffer them to live to treasure up to themselves wrath against the day of wrath? Or if, on the contrary, he did not know whether they would ever believe or not, why does he cut off so many thousands of
them, and send them to hell in their youth; when he did not know but what if he had spared them a little longer, they might have repented ?
Again--we pray for revivals of religion, and they sometimes come into one congregation, and not into another; and multitudes of people within the congregation where they come, become willing to repent. If this willingness to · repent arises from within the people themselves, why should we pray to the Lord to send a revival ? Or what was the reason it did not come before the time it did ? We trust that every pious reader will say, it is God that sends these revivals. If so, why does he not send them into every congregation ? And where he does send them, why does he not make one willing to believe as well as another, when it is within the reach of his power? Here is what some would call partiality in things pertaining to eternity, manifested before our eyes ? The pious reader can reflect and judge for himself.
Further, God in his word hath promised a millennium, in which all the inhabitants of the earth shall serve him for the
a thousand years. We trust that this is agreed to by us all. If so, how does the Lord know that all these people will be willing to serve him, if he has not power to give the will, or make them willing? Or does he intend to create them with better dispositions than what we have ? And if so, why did he not create all men with
such dispositions, if he ultimately desired their salvation ? But the truth is, we are taught, in Rev. xx. that one step towards this great work was, that an angel came down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand, and bound the devil for a thousand years, that he should deceive the pations no more, till the thousand
should be fulfilled. And after that he must be loosed a little season. This was evidently done by the command and power of Almighty God. Now here we ask, why He did not do this before, if he wished to save as many of the children of men as he could ? We cannot presume to think, that the Lord has been getting stronger, or gaining power these six thousand years past, so that he only then became able to do this mighty work. For if so, why should he loose Satan at the end of the thousand years, to tempt the nations of the earth again ?
Once more : The Methodists say that some men, yea many, became true Christians in this world,—they afterwards apostatize, and are finally damned. If God sees all eternity at one view, (as they tell us, and we grant it,) and wishes to save as many as he can, (as they say) why did he not cut off these Christians by death, and take them to heaven before they did apostatize, or fall from grace? When he knew they would do so, why did he let them live to secure their own destruction ? Men do not act as simple as this. If they have any property which they know they will lose, if they try to keep it, they will take care to use it while it is serviceable.
If the reader will seriously ponder on the questions which we have put in this section, and prayerfully meditate on all the scriptures which we have quoted for his instruction, we trust that by the blessing of God, to remove the obstinacy of the heart, he will be able clearly to see the absurdities of the freewill scheme of salvation. He may certainly know for himself, as a rational man, that let what will be found right in the day of the. Lord, surely the Methodist scheme will not be, because it not only contradicts the scripture, but it is contrary to every principle of reason.
The Methodists often object to our free grace, (or Protestant) system of divinity, because there are mysteries in it. We grant that God hath revealed to us some things in his word, (and we believe them,) which are as difficult for us to comprehend in our present state of existence, as it would be to comprehend, or explain, bow a man conceives ideas in the soul, and communicates them to others by the use of the tongue; or how, at the impulse of the will, he lifts his hand, or moves his feet. We know not how a grain of seed-corn grows through all the different stages of vegetation, so as finally to produce an hundred more seeds like itself: we see the same mystery in all the works of nature ; yet in all these things, there is nothiog
absurd or contrary to reason, although they are all beyond our reason or comprehension.
If, then, that system of divinity, which we believe God has taught in his word, contains mysteries in it which are incomprehensible to us, this is but a mark of himself; yet, when it is rightly understood, we can see nothing in it, that is absurd, or contrary to reason and plain facts. Therefore, if we wish to get clear of rational difficulties, and even absurdities, it is surely very unwise to abandon the Calvinistic system, and adopt the Methodist scheme ; for that will make but a miserable substitute, because it clearly appears, that where our system has one mystery, theirs has more than fifteen ; and many of them are not only mysteries, but real absurdities, contrary to scripture, reason, and plain facts.
Every person who will carefully study on all these questions, when they read Methodist wri. ters, or hear their preachers, they will soon perceive, that according to reason, these are unanswerable objections to their system ; because they are continually meeting them, and when they do, they frequently turn away from them with an exclamation against some other denomination, and manifest a great zeal to get the mote out of their eyes, lest the people inight perceive that there was a beam in their own eye. And in doing this, they generally either very materially alter the sentiments of others, and make thein erroneous, so that they