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hope they will bear with me. My own experience, and the experience of many others, and the express declarations of God's word, prompts me to this task. When I look back upto that fatal rock on which my own soul had well nigh made shipwreck, I cannot help but fear for the multitudes who are resting upon it. Therefore, I will endeavour to lay before the reader such facts as by the blessing of God may be the means of delivering him from an error which might otherwise prove fatal botlı to himself and his posterity.
SECTION 1. In this section we will compare the views of Mr. Wesley, the Pope, and the Bible, concerning personal election and reprobation, and decrees.
There are a variety of religious sentiments among men in the Christian world ; yet they may be generally divided into two important branches ; first, those who hold to the doctrine of free grace; and second, those who hold to Ne doctrine of free will. Let men be divided into as many religious streams as they may, the close examiner will find, that every stream will taste of one or the other of these two fountains. Therefore, before we proceed any further, it will be necessary to make a brief statement of some of the fundamental principles of each, that the reader may perceive the dif
ference between them, and which will appear more fully hereafter.
Ist. Those who hold to the doctrines of free grace, maintain, that by the fall, man became dead in 'trespasses and sins ; and until he is regenerated by the Spirit of God, he remains in this depraved state. He has no disposition to will, or do any thing acceptable to God, until God puts the will within him, by his special gift or grace. Neither the promise, or the gift of a Saviour to mankind, by any means removes this depravity from any person : it only makes it possible for God to do it, consistent with his
other attributes. Therefore, when we consi: der all mankind as sinners, who deserve punishment for their sins, which in consequence of their evil nature they are always free and
willing to commit, God is free, as a ruler, to : punish whom he will for those sins ; and he is
also free or at liberty to bestow his favour or grace on whom he will, by giving them that special illumination, which the Protestants term effectual calling ; which awakens them to a sense of their danger, and brings them 10 repentance and salvation through Jesus Christ. This favour is a gift which God bestows on whatever sinners he pleases, without any previous merit on their part.
The reader may easily discern from this statement, that the doctrine of total depravity, of election before faith, of effectual calling, and the perseverance of true believers in good
works and final salvation, all stand closely connected together on one basis. These were the distinguishing doctrines of the reformation ; and called by the Protestants the doctrines of free-grace; because, God gives this gift, or fayour freely, to whom he will.
If any person is at present willing to repent, and believe in Jesus Christ, consequently, he he has got this will, and the promises of the gos. pel meet him ; we say, that it was God whol gave him this will when he awakened him, and gave him a new heart. He could have done this for another, and left him without it, if He had seen fit. This is a brief outline of the freegrace system of doctrines.
2nd. The Free-willers are those who hold that the will of man has a self-determining power ; that is, that God, either by the promise of the Saviour, or in some other way, has given to man the power of determining his own will to do good, and left him to do so, or be damned. They say, that God gives to every man the general call of his word, &c. and the common operations of his Spirit, to assist him in obeying this call; and gives to none any other calling : they deny the doctrine of special or effectual calling. We know of no better word, by which to express this principle, than Mr. Wesley has used in his discipline ; section third, page twenty-seven, he says, “we believe that in the moment Adam fell, he had no freedom of will left; but that God, when of his own free-grace he gave the promise of a Saviour to him and his posterity, graciously restored to mankind, a liberty and power to accept of proffered salvation." Here the reader may see, without note or comment, that according to this doctrine, God has given inherent grace to every man, and that every man has power within himself to improve on it, so as to be saved.
The Pelagians, the Roman Catholics, the Armenians, the Methodists, and all who deny the doctrines of Election, Decrees, Perseve. rance, &c., have ever been building upon this foundation. This fact Mr. Wesley appears to have known; because, when he first broached the doctrine of free-will in his discipline, he says, “O then you are an Armenian ; you are a free-willer ; you hold to free-will in man!" he does not deny the charge to be true ; but, by the manner in which he attempts to plead pity when he introduces it, almost any man can perceive, that he knew that this doctrine of free-will was a distinguishing doctrine of the Roman Catholic church, and that it was odious among Protestants. We are told by historians, that this point, (viz.) whether the will had a self-determining power, or not, was debated six days at one time, between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants in the time of the reformation.* The Catholics were loath to give up this point, because it lay at the foundation of their system. If that were gone, the reflecting reader can easily perceive, that the doctrines of total depravity, election, effectual calling, and final perseverance, would readily take its place ; but, on the contrary, if that stood, the other doctrines must fail before it.
* See Milner, vol. 4, cap. 4, cent. 16.
We have now given a general outline of the two systems ; and have proved, that the Roman Catholics and the Methodists are united in the last. For further proof of this, we intend to Jay before the reader some extracts, taken from the writings of each. We will not do this, be. cause the Roman Catholics are dispised in America ; but we do it, in order to uncover the spare into which the unwary may have ignorantly fallen. In all the extracts that we shall make for argument, we will take little or nothing from private persons, but only from the writings of Mr. Wesley, and from the book of doctrinal tracts which the general conference bave published ; and which, from its appear ance, we expect they intend, at some future day, to supply the place of the present discipline, because there is much of that in it, verbatim. Let nonę say (as I haye heard has been said,) that there is no such book of doctrical tracts in existence, because I have two edilions of it before me, while I write; the one published in the year 1814, and the other in the year 1817. It was done by order of the General Conference; and is the expression of their united sentiments, in their cool and friend