Page images
PDF
EPUB

book. But the naked assertions of a fallible man, will not satisfy candid and inquisitive minds; and a system which manifestly contradicts a fact so evident as the freedom of man, cannot command the belief of the serious and rational inquirer after truth.

3. You next make “ an attempt" to rescue your doctrine from the charge of partiality. That “a part may be either regarded or disregarded, from a desire to promote the general good,” is admitted.-But what have the comparisons which follow, to do with your doctrine ? p. 67. "We may separate a limb from the body, when its continuance would endanger the body.”—Granted. But what should we think of a man who would make an incurable wound in one of his limbs, under pretence of promoting the good of his whole body? When a putrifying limb is amputated, is the good of the whole hody obtained ? Is not a limb lost? And can the body be as perfect without this limb, as it would have been with it? We

that as man has unnecessarily brought himself into this disordered state, God may justly cut off some of the human family forever, as a punishment for their own avoidable disobedience. But on your principle it is absurd to talk about amputating a limb, because it is unsound; for this unsoundness itself, according to your notion, was produced by the Almighty. What would be said of a physician who should wound the body of a perfectly healthy person, so as to make the amputation of one half of his limbs necessary to preserve the other half, under pretence of promoting the greatest good of the whole” of this man's body. Would he not be deemed a knave or a fool ? “ When fire breaks out in a city, they may pull down a certain building,—with a regard to the good of the whole city.” Ibid. True. But what would be said of a magistrate who should order a city set on fire, under pretence of seeking the welfare or general good of the whole city? What! burn a part, to promote the good of the whole! Such “consummate folly” does your doctrine attribute to the infinitely wise God,

grant

4. Ibid. “Impartiality"_“does not require that all guilty persons should be pardoned.That is not so clear. If all are equally guilty and ill-deserving, and all stand precisely in the same relation to God, impartiality requires that if one he pardoned, all should be pardoned. Strict justice will not require any to be pardoned. But if one among the many, who are all equally guilty, deserve commiseration, the doctrine of impartiality and justice teach, that all deserve commiseration. The only question is then, Whether all are equally guilty and ill-deserving? To this query you furnish a direct answer in page

- The human race all possess one character, and that is a wicked, ill-deserving character.” Again, p. 63, “ For this was equally true, concerning those who are saved,” (see the preceding line) “ until by the power of God, they were made willing to subunit.” Now, sir, I ask, does not common sense dictate, that if one of these

.60.

You go on,

6.But on sup

be pardoned without any condition previously performed, and not the other, it is partiality? All are equally guilty, and equally helpless and miserable, and therefore impartiality declares as much in favour of one as another. position, that extending pardon to the whole of this character, would diminish the happiness of the community at large, it would be a proof of partiality if they were all to be pardoned ?" p. 67. Permit me to retort this argument,—But on supposition that the introduction of sin into the world, would diminish the happiness of the community at large, it would be proof of not only partiality, but also of injustice and unmercifulness to introduce it. But, sir, you suppose an impossible case on your system. For, you think, that those who are once pardoned, are perfectly secure, and will be everlastingly happy. How then could it diminish the happiness of the community at large, to make every individual member of such community forever happy? This is like your inconclusive reasoning about the “greatest good of the universe.” You think it “ agreeable to the common sense of mankind, that a sovereign has no right to put a difference between his obedient subjects.” Is not this a mistake ? May he not raise some to higher dignity than others! Or do you mean, he has no right to make such vast difference between them, as you suppose God makes between the elect and reprobate. Hold to this, and your jarring system is ruined. Were not all the Angels, and Adam, God's obedient sub

jects ? And yet you hold that God put such a vast difference between some of the Angels, as to doom a part of them to everlasting perdition, merely because he would ? And why did the Almighty constitute Adam guilty, by an eternal decree, while he was yet innocent ? Here then is a difference as wide as heaven and hell, made among God's obedient subjects. It will be of no use to reply, That they rebelled. For according to your doctrine, the decree of reprobation was made antecedent to their rebellion; and their rebellion was “ brought to pass by God himself,” that they might thereby be fitted for eternal misery. Here therefore is an instance of the most glaring partiality, to make this eternal difference, by an irrevocable decree, while all were obedient subjects. And what had poor Esau done before he was born, to deserve eternal punishment? Do not say, “He sinned after he was born, and therefore his sin was the"-"immediate, deserving cause of his death.” This is coming over to the scripture doctrine, supposing him to be miserable, which is much doubted. You do not allow, that the decree of reprobation is founded on wickedness foreseen. This would be giving up the point. The means are decreed, as well as the end. God therefore decreed Esau's wickedness, that he might answer the end of his reprobation ! It is not possible, sir, to rescue your doctrine from the charge of partiality. It is true you quote a precious text of scripture to prove that God is no respecter of persons ; and

you might have quoted

an hundred more without benefiting your cause any. so long as you hold to your first principle. We know God is no respecter of persons, and that in every nation he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him. And we also know that your “ view of the doctrine" fixes the reproachful blot of partiality upon his just character; and therefore your doctrine is unscriptural and irrational,

5. Your next" attempt" is, to obviate the objection, “ That this view of the doctrine of election is calculated to encourage sin, and the neglect of the means of grace," p. 69. Instead of answering this objection, you simply assert, that “means are not thereby rendered unimportant." You then quote some scripture to prove that we are chosen through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth; and to recite some examples to prove that souls have been benefitted by the ministry of the word. But what is all this to the point ? This we know is scriptural. But it is not a consequence of your doctrine. So far from it, that if your scheme be correct, means are always unavailing. If sinners are regenerated by an irresistible, almighty and secret influence, in which the sinner is entirely passive, outward means and external motives, are completely superceded. Indeed this you affirm in plain terms. Page 74,“ No arguments that can be used will persuade rebels to submit, and sue for mercy upon the self-denying terms of the Gospel. The ablest preacher is as unable to persuade

« PreviousContinue »