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ing to Dr. Hopkins, whom, it seems, you do not like to contradict, sin is the cause of the greatest good. And certainly you cannot suppose that he is displeased with that which is the cause of the “greatest good of the universe." If he be not displeased with sin, is it holiness he is displeased with ? It would seem, according to your system, that he is not pleased to see holiness in the hearts of his rational creatures in this life, for you plead hard for the necessary continuance of “indwelling sin” during the term of life. It is somewhat curious that you should assert, that all the parts of the plan of Hopkinsianism are just as God would have them, perfectly. according to the counsel of his will, and yet that there are some parts with which he is not pleased. I would seem from what you have said, that God cannot satisfy himself with his own works. And why not? Because he lacks wisdom? or power? But the building you have described was never crected by the divine architect. His system is perfect, when it is viewed in the aggregate, or by parts, all being according to his mind and pleasure and therefore he saith, My counsel shall stand ; I will do all my pleasure. But your system cannot hang together, because the different parts oppose each other-they cannot harmoniously unite, bex cause it was never designed, nor wrought by the Almighty, all of whose works are perfect. It carries too distinctive marks of human weakness, to be of eternal origin, or of eternal duration. Old Calvinism, you have tried to patch up with Hopkinsianism, but it is like putting new cloth to an old garment, the rent is only made worse.
That we may be led into all truth, and exhibit in our lives a practical comment upon the pure and consistent doctrines of Jesus Christ, is Sir, the sincere prayer
obedient servant for Christ's sake.
Rev. S. WILLISTON, Durham, N. Y.
Rhinebeck, March 30th, 1815.
6 foundation work” be laid in the sand of error, as I think it is, the superstructure which you have erected thereon, may be removed with greater facility.
I. 1. The first thing noticeable in your second sermon is, the misstatement of the question which was debated. You say, p. 29, “ It was the second question in the debate, Whether men, in their natural state, previous to regeneration, are totally sinful or depraved.” This, I believe, is erroneous. If I am not greatly mistaken, the question stood thus—Is man totally depraved until he is justified ?
2. Although I might object to the word total, when applied to man in a state of initial salvation, yet when he is considered abstract from all the provisions and benefits of redemption, none hold to human depravity stronger than we do. And if men be viewed merely in a state of nature, or “in their natural state," as you have expressed it, they are anquestionably totally depraved. But this is not the question in debate, whether men are totally
and also rep
depraved in “ their natural state, previous to regeneration;" but whether any one, previous to actual sin, may be considered as wholly destitute of the benefits of redemption; and whether, they remain totally depraved until justified.
Taking the negative side of the question, I plead that there is a quickening power of divine grace, by which the sinner is awakened, his heart softened, and by which he is brought to see and feel the necessity of repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, before he is justified. Any candid person therefore, may see that your manner of stating the question, gives the reader an erroneous idea of the controversy, resents our doctrine in a different light from what a fair statement would.
If you should say it makes no difference, I think the following remarks will convince you to the contrary. You affirm the public debate at Durham Was mutually agreed upon two months previous to its commencement. Well then, says Mr. Benedict, the length of time from such agreement, remained precisely two months, until it actually took place. I say no; the time when the agreement was made, was, it is true, two months previous to its commencement; but the time shortened continually until the 2nd day of May, 1810. You say man is totally depraved previous to regeneration. To this I agree, if men be viewed merely in a state of na. ture, and totally destitute of all the benefits of Christ's death and resurrection. It follows, then,