Page images

teen, and they have not produced. The Bi. ble every where speaks of the elect, or chosen of God; and every time it tells when they were chosen or elected, it says, from the beginning, from the foundation of the world, that they should be holy, &c.

It is true, they have endeavoured to draw some inferences by their own reason, to prove that the Lord did not mean what he said. We grant, that inferences may sometimes be drawn, in order to find the true meaning of the word; but they are never to be drawn in such a manher as to contradict the express declaration of the Most High. If our neighbour were to make a statement of any fact to us, by an express declaration in plain words; and we were to attempt to draw an inference, in order to make it appear, that he did not mean what he had solemoly declared ; he would consider us as attempting to charge him with a lie, and treating him with the highest kind of insult. As for ourselves, we dare not erect our reason for a standard against the word of God: we dare not venture in this awful manner, to rush upon the thick bosses of Jehovah's buckler We should consider it safer and much more consistent, if the Bible did not suit our feelings, to deny that it was the word of God. Dr. Dwight says, that there are two kinds of people in the unbelieving world ; the one denies the Bible altogether, and the other will not believe what it says. He thinks that the first is most consistent.

Besides, if we must stand forth and defend the Lord from having told a falsehood, we shall endeavour to show in another section, that this reasoning with which men withstand him, is sophistical and unjust. I am aware, that some of my readers, who have been strongly prejudiced by their teachers, may be led to detest me for what I write. But why this wrath ? Dear reader, let us wait until we meet our God in judgment; I trust, that then you will be among the first to acknowledge that I was your true friend.

2d. We shall quote a few texts of scrip. ture, to show what the Lord hath spoken concerning the doctrine of reprobation.' Against this doctrine the General Conference have written a great many pages : all their artillery consists in their reason and inference ; in both of which there is the greatest fallacy. They say, it is contrary to the whole word of God, and for proof of this, they attempt to produce only one direct scripture text; and that one is not in the Bible. They refer the reader to Psalm cxlv. 9 ;-mark the quotation, and read it thus : “ The Lord is loving unto every inan; and his mercy is over all his works." The Bible reads, “The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works.” When men are driven to such extremities, every person may know that they are in difficulty.

[ocr errors]

Yet they seem to rage against those who maintain this doctrine, in one of the most abusive strains that I ever read. It contains neither true argument nor wit. Among other things they say,* " This premised, let it be observed, that this doctrine represents our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, the righteous, the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth, as an hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity. For it cannot be denied, that he every where speaks as if he was willing that all men should be saved. Therefore, to say that he was not willing that all men should be saved, is to represent him as a mere hypocrite and dissembler.” Again, “ to say that he did not intend to save all sinners, is to represent him as a gross deceiver of the people.'

Now hear the Pope representing the Lord as speaking to the wicked, at last, in the day of judgment.

Pope. “ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels. I created you, and destined you to enjoy eternal happiness in heaven ; but you preferred to indulge your shameful passions,” &c.t General Conference.

" If then you say

he calls those who cannot come, those whoin he knows to be unable to come, those whom he

* Tract 2, page 37.

+ Mari's Only Affair, p. 36.

can make able to come but will not, how is it possible to describe greater insincerity ?"

Pope, (to the unbeliever). “God has your salvation intimately at heart,"' &c.*

The reader has seen what the general conference and the pope say on this point, he can now hear the

Bible. Prov. xvi. 4. " The Lord hath made all things for himself :-[but what has he made the wicked for?)—Yea even the wicked for the day of evil.1 Pet. ii. 8, the apostle says, Christ is become a stone of stumbling and rock of offence even to them which stumbled at the word, being disobedient ; (hear) whereunto also they were appointed.Jude i. 4. 1. For there are certain men crept in wares--[did they creep in by chance, withont the knowledge of God ?]——who were before of old ordained to this condemnation (who were they ?) ungodly men,” &c.

Read Rom. ix. from the 10th to the 20th ver. inclusive. The last of it reads, " For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose

have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee; and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom, he will have mercy, and whom he will, he hardeneth. Then thou wilt say unto me,-[O Freewiller)--why dost thou yet find fault? for


* Man's Only Affairs, p. 166.

who hath resisted his will ? But nay, 0 mana who art thou that repliest against God ?"

We would say to all such, If you can lay your hands upon your hearts, and say before God that you have never sinned, or that you bave never thought, or even said or done, any thing which you knew to be wrong, or which you could not even help doing ; let such a oné object to what the Lord hath said. But as for such as cannot do this, let them be silent, and remember, that the supreme rulers in all governments claim to themselves the prerogative of pardoning whatever offenders they please. And let me warn the reader, to be careful how he replies against the word of the Lord, lest he increase his guilt before him. Wo to him that striveth with his Maker! saith the Lord.

3dly. We shall now notice the doctrine of Decrees. This doctrine is expressed in our shorter catechism by these words, " The de crees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his own will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” The reader will observe, that which comes to pass is the decree, not what is threatened.

The decrees of God are the rule by which he regulates his own conduct in his government, They are known to us when they come to páss, and not before, except such of them as he is pleased to reveal to his creatures by prophecy. But the commands of God are the rule

« PreviousContinue »