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persuasion of men, the unwary man flatters himself that all is well- it is time enough to turn and exercise his power to accept of proffered salvation. Many times he will even trust it to a dying bed, flattering himself that his power will then remain. On this sandy foundation sinners build their hopes for eternitytime strides away, until suddenly they drop into the pit. Those who are in the habit of visiting the sick and dying, can witness how many poor creatures leave this world, bearing testimony to this deception with their dying breath. Although they have a will at that time, it, and all the other powers of the soul are as active as they ever were, and with this will the dying sinner is willing to escape punishment : Yet the power to use this will, so as to accept of Jesus Christ on the terms of the gospel, and salvation through him, is wanting.
O Christian reader! why will you lend aid in support of a doctrine so fraught with evil consequences ? Are you grieved to see the fraud, oppression, and vice, which is daily practised in our land ? Here you may perceive The fountain from which it issues. Are you a parent? You may live to see the evil of this doctrine among your children. When you attempt to admonish or advise an ungodly son, who may be bringing down your gray hairs with sorrow to the
youFather, you have taught me to believe that
I have power to accept of proffered salvation : the doctrine is good, and I firmly believe ittherefore, at present, I wish to enjoy the pleasure of sin in my youth-hereafter I will turn and repent; and if I should even come to a dying bed, it will then be time enough to exert my power— have no proof to the contrary.”—Thus all is well--danger is afar off. Yes, parent ! you may yet live to wipe the cold sweat from the dying brow of an ungodly child, who has acted upon this principle, and with his dying breath you may hear him curse the doctrine which hath cost him his immortal soul.
You may have been taught to think that the opposite scheme is more dangerous than yours. But, dear reader, if words are of any use to understand a meaning, you can plainly see that God hath taught the protestant doctrines in his word, and he hath honoured the men who believed them with the title of saints and martyrs of Jesus. He whose understanding is infinite, knows best what doctrines are most for his own glory, and the good of his creatures.You must surely perceive, that doctrines which plainly. contradict both themselves and the Bible, and when we compare them with reason, they are full of absurdities, and fraught with evil consequences, have never come from a wise and holy God.
Besides, trace the fruits of them in the pages of history ; see the effects of the freewill
scheme among the Roman Catholics, Årminians and others : bow apt is it to terminate, either in a bare form of godliness, or in downright Atheism.
Witness the commencement of the French revolution, when, in the midst of other wickedness, it was posted on the doors of the church, that death was an eternal-sleep. And, according to the observations of the author, there are, among Americans, but few professors of religion in the Methodist church who are an ornament to their profession, that have been educated in the freewill scheme from their youth. Most of those in that communion, who appear to be truly pious, have been educated by protestant parents, and are still strongly tinctured with that doctrine,
2dly. The doctrines of the freewill scheme are not only calculated to give peace to the careless, but they are also dangerous to the awakened sinner.
There are much pride and stoutness in the heart of man, by nature, which must be thoroughly subdued and broken down, before the sinner will ever come to the Lord Jesus Christ on the terms of the gospel. This humiliating work must be performed through the instrumentality of the truths of God's word. Is not my word as fire ? saith the Lord, and like a hammer, that breaketh the rock in pieces ? As long as a man is persuaded in his own mind that he has power to accept of salvation, or has power to do any thing which will induce or
bind the Lord to pardon his sins, so long he never will, or never can accept of Christ on the terms of the gospel. And there is nothing which is so calculated to humble him before God, as a convincing and firm belief of these doctrines, which the Methodists deny in their freewill scheme. The awakened sinner (if he is saved) must be brought sensibly to feel the truth of what the Lord bath told him: O Israel! thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help. He must be brought to feel the truth of the prophet's declaration,“ Can the Leopard change his spots, or the Ethiopian his skin ? Then may we also, who are accustomed to do evil, learn to do good. Then, and not before, will he be willing to cast himself at the feet of Jesus, saying, with his whole heart, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Then, and not until then, will he truly receive the spirit of adoption, which will enable him to cry, - Abba, Father!” and to such a one, the Lord Jesus is a physician who will heal his leprosy, so that it will not return.
The awakened sinner stands upon more critical ground than he ever did before, although it is more hopeful--because his spirit is wounded, and he, in some measure, resembles a wounded man in the material world, who is afraid to endure a painful operation, prescribed by a skilful surgeon, which may be deemed necessary for a thorough cure ; but on the contrary, he had rather trust to the advice of' a quack, who would propose a cure by which relief might be obtained by an easier method : accordingly, a plaster is applied, which will slightly heal the wound for the present, but afterwards it breaks out with double rancour, and becomes a hopeless case.
So it is in spiritual things : the soul is wounded and it seeks relief; but the sinner fears to hear and believe the whole truth, because it is calculated to discourage him, and increase the pain of his wounded spirit. At this time the true character of Jehovah, as a sovereign, just and sin-avenging God, begins to present itself to view. If this awakened and unconverted sinner can now be persuaded to believe that the Lord is not such a one as he truly is ; or that he himself is not in such a lost condition as the Scriptures represent; but that God has given him power to help himself, this is a slight and easy cure for his wounded spirit. Or, if he can be made to believe, that in consequence of a reformation of life, or any thing that he can do, God will love him, and Cbrist will save him, he is easily induced to love God for this kindness, and undertake the work assigned him in order to accomplish his salvation ; but however much zeal, or love may arise from this motive, it will all be found, at last, to be of no avail before God. It is nothing but a selfish religion, arising from selfisb motives, which are always natural to wicked men of every descrip. tion.