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If the freewill scheme be true, this last supposition must be admitted, because it cannot consistently be true without it. Besides, in our opinion, it perfectly accords with much that they have written. And we grant that some texts of Scripture may be bent to favour this scheme, but many more will contradict it; and the Bible must be made to agree with itself.
But when we admit our supposition, then the Bible will tell us a straight story. One reason why we think so, is, because the Lord, who gave the Bible, hath considered himself as Master in the universe--the Lord Almightywho will let the devil have no more than he pleases. If Satan gets the people of Jerusa lem, we will not dare to tell the Lord Jesus (as the General Conference have) that he "wept crocodile tears over them," provided he had it in his power to save them, and did not do it,--because he knew, when he made them, what would be their final doom. No doubt, many humane princes have caused criminals to be executed, and have wept at the sightand at the same time had it in their power to relieve the sufferers, if it had been consistent with the general good. But if any of their subjects had told them that they wept crocodile tears, they would have made them know, to their sorrow, what they had said.
Again the General Conference have vir*ually called the Lord Jesus Christ a deceiver,
an hypocrite, and a man void of common sincerity, provided he hath commanded the gospel to be preached to all men, and hath not determined or intended to save them all.They themselves say, in the same book, that "whatever good is in man, God is the author and doer of it," and that he works irresistibly in some souls :† they say he cuts down some at camp-meetings, and converts them, and not others; and yet, after all these concessions of their own, they lodge these awful charges against the Holy Jesus.
We are taught in the Bible, that there is nothing too hard for the Lord; that he is the Lord Almighty; and that the king's heart is in his hand-as the rivers of water, he turneth it whithersoever he will. Perhaps none but an atheist will deny but that the Lord has almighty power; consequently, he can convert and save as many as he pleases. It is agreed by us both, that all men are not saved; and it is likewise agreed, that God, in his word, hath given a general invitation to all sinners, to come to Christ and be saved; therefore it ought to be satisfactory to every man who fears God and believes the Bible, that these two things must be consistent truths, seeing God hath plainly taught them both. But lest some others might be led to speak unadvisedly, we will attempt to remove this objection a little further.
* Doct. p. 37,
↑ Doct. p. 183
God says he hath made all things for himself; "yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” We conceive it possible that some of the principal designs of an all-wise God, in permitting sin to enter the universe, were, first, that all intelligent beings throughout immensity, might be warned of the awful consequences of rebellion, by means of the eternal sufferings of the damned; and thus greater evil among them be prevented. And a second reason was, that God might make a display of his mercy.* If sin had never entered the universe, the mercy of God never could have been displayed, or illustrated by facts, before intelligent beings; because it is no mercy for a king to pardon those who have never offended.— Therefore, to manifest this mercy, (as well as justice,) Christ died for his enemies; says the apostle, "for a good man, some would even dare to die." See Rom. v. 7-10. If these sinners had been willing to come and be reconciled unto God whenever they were invited, the mercy would not appear so great. Angels, and other intelligences, would not have known that they were such enemies to God: but when he gives them all an invitation to come, and be reconciled to him through Jesus Christ, and tells them by the gospel that all things are
It is evident that sin and misery have entered the universe, and that the Almighty could have prevented it. If any object to these reasons for it, and will render any that are less exceptionable, we shall be glad to hear hem.
ready, every necessary provision is made for their salvation; he persuades them by the word, warns them of an after judgment, by their own conscience and yet they, who are rational creatures, endowed with the light of a natural understanding, "all, with one consent, begin to make excuse,” and not one will come. Then it will be seen how great the mercy of God was then it will be seen what bitter enemies sinners were to him; that they would not be reconciled unto him until the Lord was obliged to display another act of his power and grace, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. This compulsion consists in enlightening the mind, and changing the heart, which makes them willing in the day of God's power.†
These are the reasons we give, why God has commanded the gospel to be preached to those who are finally lost. This much at least is evident, that he commanded the gospel to be preached to some of those Jews, of whom he says, that he had blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest the light of the glorious gospel should shine unto them.
Again When God gives this invitation to sinners, we suppose that he is willing, on his part, that they should come; but at the same time, he knows perfectly well that none of them ever will be willing to come until he makes them so: and who of them he will make willing, he himself knows.
*Luke xiv. 23.
+ Psalm cx. 3,
This short remark may be sufficient to blow away all that dust which the general conference have raised on this point. We presume that they have not yet studied that text in 2 Pet. iii 9, which they so often quote. It says, God is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, &c. The word says to us-ward -what" us?" Answer, the elect; whom the Father hath given to the Son for a seed. (See Isa. liii. and others.) Some of these had not yet repented; others were not yet born; therefore, if the day of judgment should come at that time, these would fail of their eternal happi
Now why should any object to this doctrine? If it was not for this last act of conquering grace, the gift of a Saviour, the preaching of the gospel, and all other acts of God's mercy, would be of no avail to fallen men, because none of them would be willing to accept of proffered salvation.
2d Objection. Some have made sport with the idea of God's having a secret will, which is distinct from his commandments revealed to men. To this we reply: God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac in sacrifice; yet it appears that it was God's secret determination, or will, not to let him do it; that is, if God saw all eternity at one view, as we all say; or if he is of one mind, as the Bible says. Again: God commanded Pharaoh to let Israel go; yet he says,