« PreviousContinue »
But if, on the other hand, the reader should prefer his reason to the express declarations of God's word, because it contains a mystery to him, then let him turn to the questions put in our third section ; let him ponder upon each one, and see what rational answer can be given to them. He will soon find, that if he will not believe what the Bible says, because there is a small mystery in it ; yet if he embraces the freewill scheme, instead of a mystery, he must embrace a multitude of absurdities in his plan; and according to every principle of logical reasoning and fair inference, be must either turn and contradict himself, or else he must be driven into all the wild mazes of Atheism.--Therefore, before we conclude this section, permit us to warn the reader, who values his immortal soul, to be careful, and not hastily give up his name, and thereby pledge himself to contend against those doctrines of the gospel, which, we have clearly shown in this section, were compiled in the days of the persecution, and believed by all those whom God, in bis word, hath styled the saints and martyrs of Jesus.
That the reader may know a little of the troubles experienced by these saints and mar. tyrs in the time of the persecution, out of a multitude of historical facts which might be produced, we will present a short account of the Irish massacre, taken from Burk’s Theological Dictionary.
« Ireland has likewise been drenched with the blood of the Protestants, forty or fifty thousand of whom were cruelly murdered in a few days, in different parts of the kingdom, in the reign of Charles I. It began on the 23d of October, 1641. Having secured the principal gentlemen and seized their effects, they murdered the common people in cold blood, forcing, many thousands of them to fly from their houses and settlements naked into the bogs and woods, where they perished with hunger and cold. Some they whipped to death, others they stripped naked and exposed to shame, and then drove them like herds of swine to perish in the mountains; many hundreds were drowned in rivers, some had their throats cut, others were dismembered," &c.
The same historian, when speaking of the persecution in England, says, “ Hooper and Rogers were burnt in a slow fire. Saunders was cruelly tormented a long time at the stake before he expired. Taylor was put into a barrel of pitch, and fire set to it. Eight illustrious persons, among whom was Farrar, bishop of St. David's, were sought out and burnt, by the infamous Bonner, in a few days. Sixtyseven persons were this year burnt, amongst whom were the famous protestants, Bradford, Ridley, Latimer, and Philpot. In the following year 85 persons were burnt : women suffered and one in the flames, which burst her womb, being near the time of her delivery, a
child fell from her into the fire, which being snatched out by some of the observers more humane than the rest, the magistrate ordered the babe to be again thrown into the fire, and burnt. Thus even the unborn child was burnt for heresy!"
We cannot now write a full bistory of the martyrs; we only inquire, what was this heresy, for which all these protestants were burnt, and even the unborn infant ? If the reader will turn back to the articles of their faith, which we have already recorded in this section, and which they compiled at the time of this persecution, he will see what those doctrines were for which these saints were martyred. If it is asked, who were the murderers ? We
answer, as a body of people, they are called by different names ; but (as we have shown already,) that they beld to the freewill scheme of salvation, and were zealous to support those doctrines. Therefore they maliciously destroyed those who opposed their scheme, by teaching a different way of salvation.
Only two years (the Methodists say five) after this Irish massacre, the protestants, in that region of the world, met together at Westminster, and compiled those articles of doctrine, which are found in the Presbyterian confession of faith. It appears, from the dates, that the French and Dutch protestants were much earlier in compiling theirs ; the former by near one hundred years.
The Methodists now rage
against these doctrines with almost as great fury, as the Roman Catholics did against the men who compiled them. The book of doctrinal tracts, written by the General Conference, in their cool deliberations, is a proof of this.
This age of the church in which we live, God hath taught us in his word, that it shall neither be clear nor dark; it will be with difficulty that the honest inquirer will be able to find the truth. There will be many false prophets who will cry lo, here! and another lo, there! many blind leaders of the blind, both of whom shall stumble and fall into the ditch. But the Lord for us, at this day, hath kindly marked this rock of danger. The reader who falls upon it to his everlasting cost, cannot be greatly pitied, because his fall must be wilful indeed, and obtained by resisting the greatest light.
In this section we design to show the dangerous tendency of the doctrines of the freewill scheme of salvation.
An unbelief of the truth is always dangerous, and especially in the things of eternity ; because a man will generally act, in some good measure, according to bis belief. Therefore we will,
First, show, that the propagation of the doc. trines of the freewill scheme, is dangerous to the peace and well-being of civil society
And, second, we will show that it is dangerous to the enternal interests of sinful men.
Let it still be remembered that we hope and believe that there are many pious people in the communion of the Methodist church, who are founded on the iron doctrines of truth, which are sometimes taught in it. Against these doctrines we do not contend.
But Mr. Wesley, in his discipline, in support of the freewill scheme, hath said, “ that God, by the promise of a Saviour, graciously restored to mankind liberty, and power to accept of proffered salvation.” So say the General Conference also. This doctrine is a main pillar of the freewill scheme. Every reflecting man must perceive that the one cannot exist without the other; and it opens a door for roguery and wickedness of every kind.
For the sake of illustration, we will suppose, dear Methodist reader, that two or three sailors were forcibly to enter your dwelling, commit the most horrid outrage in the family, plunder the house of its contents, and then tell you, "we expect immediately to sail for Europe ; therefore we defy any punishment from the civil authority.” If you would remind them of a day of judgment, in which they must account for their conduct before God, and they should answer, “ conscience told us of that before ; but we find, that according to your disci