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hay possibly compel a rational carnal man te believe it; but his soul must be truly regenerated, and humbly conformed to the image of God, before he will love it: no external form of religion, however fair, will answer the purpose; this is a fact known to true believers, not only from the word of God, but also from their own experience.
Therefore, before we close this section, permit us to suggest a word of caution to the humble inquirer after truth. Possibly he may find the eyes of his understanding beginning to open, so that he feels himself to be truly a sinner in a lost condition. If so, dear reader, you will be apt to feel the enmity of your carnal heart rising against these doctrines of the gospel; you may very possibly find a disposition. within you, either to close your eyes upon them, or to wrest the word which contains them, into an unnatural meaning; because they destroy your self-confidence, and increase the pain. of your wounded spirit. Now you come to the fatal pinch, and stand in the most imminent danger, here you meet the stone of stumbling, and rock of offence, on which thousands make shipwreck of their immortal souls. Remember, that this enmity is a strong evidence, that you are not yet reconciled to God and his law you are not yet willing to submit to the government of God, as your master, and have him reign over you. Then, while one may cry, lo, here! and another, lo, there! let me
exhort you, closely and prayerfully to attend to the word of the Lord; and be careful how you take up arms against the Almighty, lest he might give you over to strong delusion to believe a lie; and thereby you might seal your own damnation.
I. In this section, we shall compare the Bible with the doctrine of freewill, as the Methodists hold it.
11. Compare it with the assertion, "that God has commanded nothing but what every man has power to perform." And,
III. Compare it with the assertion, that “every man has a measure of light, and saving grace.”
Lastly, answer some objections.
I. We are to inquire whether the will of fallen man has a self-determining power to do good, in his natural state. This is a point of great importance: it is the main pillar of the freewill scheme; it cannot stand without it, as we have observed before; historians tell us, that this point was debated with great force between the protestants and the Roman Catholics, in the days of the reformation. Our materials from which we select documents, in order to
show the Roman Catholic sentiments on all these points, are very scanty: we have seen but few of their writers. But from what we have, we can produce sufficient to convince the candid reader, that Mr. Wesley and his brethren of the General Conference, and the Pope, were all of one opinion on this important and distinguishing doctrine.
Wesley says, "6 we believe that in the moment Adam fell, he had not 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." So say the General Conference also. Wesley again," God promiseth salvation to no man whether he will or no; but leaveth them to everlasting destruction who will not obey the gospel." General Conference, "we only assert, that there is a measure of freewill supernaturally restored to every man "
Pope. It depends on yourself to gain this same happiness. Again, he says of Augustine, "he contemplated and meditated on these words; and the reflection he then made entirely accomplished his conversion." It is in your power also, to cause it to produce the like hap
We wonder who dragged him away, to hide, against
+ Dis. section 3, par. 27. Man's Only Affair, p. 30. Do. 14. Do. 11. Do. 165.
Tract 5, p. 140.
py effects on you. Again, "when God foresaw that you will be saved, or that you will be damned, he foresaw at the same time, that this would happen by your own free choice.."†
It is needless to multiply words; the quotations we have already made, are sufficient to show, that these men were all of one opinion on this point. They all believe that it is in the power of fallen man, to accept of proffered salvation; so says Wesley. And here the Pope lays down a rule by which it can be done.
Pope.t "To the Catholic reader," "Whosoever shall devoutly say this ensuing prayer, in honour of the most sacred passion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and in honour of his blessed mother the Virgin Mary, and continue to do the same for the space of thirty days, may hope mercifully to obtain his lawful request, as has been often experienced."
If this should sound hard, the Methodist brethren cannot say, that it is unfair. Because, they usually direct their hearers to get religion in a similar way. I myself heard one of them say in public preaching, "my life for yours, if ye seek, ye shall find." Christ says, many shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able." And further they have been known to tell their hearers publicly, "that if they would pray fervently for the space of one month
Tract 5, p. 140.
* Dis. sec. 3, par. 27.
(exactly the time here specified) they would get religion.* Likewise, we do not see any other method by which they can have power to accept of proffered salvation, consistent with their plan, except by this rule, or some one like it. Besides, we find on examination, that the religions made by these methods of prayer and meditation, have a near resemblance; the writers of both parties speak much of loving God, because he hath been good to them, or to me, as they say. This, dear fellow-sinner, is a selfish love; and we advise every man not to trust his soul upon it for eternity.
We trust that the reader plainly perceives that the Methodists hold that wicked men have the power of determining their own wills to do good, The General Conference say, "stand forth, Freewill, and let us see whether that or p reprobation is most for the glory of God," and then they undertake to defend it. We say, stand forth, Bible, and let us see whether the Lord thinks he has the power of determining the will of man, and whether He is not the best judge of what will be most for his own glory.
Prov. xxi. 1. The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord as the rivers of water, He turneth it whithersoever he will. Psalm cv. 25. (of the Egyptians, he saith) He turned their hearts to hate his people; to deal subtlely with his servants. Rev. xvii. 17. For God hath put it into their hearts to fulfil his will, to give their. This I can prove.