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destroy.just whom he pleases; and that He exercises his own good pleasure and wisdom in pardoning, or punishing for their sin, whom he will. This is a blow at the root of the sinner's pride. The devil promised man, at the fall, that he should be as God, and until now this man thought that he was so ; but now he learns that the Lord is Master, and he rebels against the idea.
This is the time for awakened sinners to put their names on the class-paper, and join in rebellion against that sovereign God who reaps where he did not sow, and for which the wicked servant hated him. And what makes the malady still worse, is, that if they return to their folly, they can seldom be persuaded to believe the truth of the apostle's expression, they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." But, on the contrary, like the foolish virgins in the parable, of whom our Lord says, that they took no oil in their lamps, with them they will say, we had oil, but our lamps are gone out: or, in other words, we had religion, but we have lost it. And, from the doctrines which they have imbibed, they are generally impressed with an idea, that they have left their religion only a little behind them, and can at any time return and get it. Here a multitude of souls are lost: and many who are saved, would perish in eternal death with this delusion, if it were not that a merciful God still pursues them with sharp
convictions, until they are made to submit to his government as their sovereign Master. To this they must be brought, if they ever enter the New Jerusalem; "for there," says John, "I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."* Hence all may perceive the great necessity of regeneration; and that it essentially consists in being reconciled to God as our Master, as well as being made to love holiness.
Therefore, the reader can perceive, from the testimony of the Bible, that to represent God as possessing a different character from what he does, and to persuade the awakened sinner that he is reconciled to God, while his heart rises in rebellion against his sovereign authority, is only to delude him with a vain hope: it is healing his wound slightly, and building him up upon a sandy foundation, which will not endure the day of trial.
Lastly. The reader can plainly perceive, that this protestant system of doctrine for which we contend, has a direct tendency to place the Lord on the throne of the universe, with a sovereign right to dispose of all his creatures, and all events, as seemeth good in his sight.The freewill scheme consists in opposing this idea, and in denying the doctrines which are
* Rev. xix. 6.
taught to that effect. The one or the other must be found wrong at last. Therefore let us, then, for a moment examine the consequence of this deception.
It must be granted on all hands, that love to God constitutes the essence of true religion; and that God doth require good works, not only as a natural fruit, but also as a proof of this love. Then let us ask, what is the test of love towards our rulers among men? Surely, if we esteem a ruler as a wise, just, and good man, we are always willing to trust him with power, knowing that he will not abuse it; and the higher our estimation of him rises, the more power we are willing to put into his hands. Supposing then, that two Russians were contending about the emperor Alexander : the one wished to give him the sole power and government of that nation, to lay all his plans, and execute them as he pleased; to give laws to all, and to punish or pardon offenders as he saw fit. But the other Russian was highly opposed to this measure. If Alexander knew this, he would easily determine which of those two men loved him best, or was his truest friend.
Therefore, according to this rule, if it should be found of us at last that we were wrong in our doctrine; that we had had too great a zeal for the Lord of Hosts; and, in the midst of this our infatuation, with an exalted opinion of his wisdom and goodness, we had earnestly con
tended, that all power and authority were, and ought to be, in his hands, to dispose of all events and of all his creatures as he saw fitcould the Lord be displeased with us for this? Even provided we should be mistaken -would it not be manifest that our mistake arose from an excessive love, or estimation of the excellency of his character? Here let the reader, whom we expect to meet in the eternal world, pause and reflect for himself. We repeat our old assertion, that it is not belief, but truth, must at last stand the test.
O! dear Arminian, whose heart rises against the sovereignty of God-do you not perceive, that when the Lord shall open the secret thought of every heart-when the core of this festering wound is brought to view-then there will be danger that this opposition, so natural to fallen man, will be found to have its seat in a deceitful, wicked, selfish heart, which by nature is always enmity against the true God. If you are disposed to jeopardize your own soul, we pray let others attend to what the Lord hath so plainly and repeatedly declared in his word, and not cherish a doctrine so opposed to the Bible, full of absurdities, and fraught with evil consequences. The Protestant Christians, whom the Lord calls the saints and martyrs of Jesus, whose doctrines we have laid before you, have generally been a pattern of piety and of good works. Why then would you oppose them? You must certainly perceive, that it
you should be found right at last, they cannot be very wrong; because, if the Lord is infinitely good in all his attributes, there can surely be no danger in trusting him with too much power; neither can this disposition to trust him with it, in any way be considered as an evidence of secret enmity against him.
In this section we intend to notice some of the sophistry which is used in the Methodist discipline, calculated to mislead the unwary. Whether it has been intentional or not, will be known in the day of judgment.
Some of this sophistry has been noticed already by Whitfield, in his letter to Wesley. But there is some more which claims our attention, in order to do justice to the plain, humble inquirer, who wishes to know the truth. As to the obstinate and self-wise, we have but little hope of reclaiming them.
We will first notice Mr. Wesley's manner of wresting the Scripture.
In order to prove that God did not mean what he said in his word concerning election, Mr. Wesley has recourse to a very singular method. He quotes a text found in Róm. iv. 17., in which the inspired writer informs us, that God, in pursuance to his determination, in