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of good and evil; and therefore they are not, nor cannot be, consistently with justice and mercy, condemned on account of Adam's sin.* Sinners coming into the world under the light of the gospel, living in neglect of its requirements, and thereby hardening their hearts against the convictions of truth and love, finally become so totally hard, that they are beyond the reach of mercy. Here again is total depravity. Such are given over to a hard heart and a reprobate mind. Having
Having filled up the measure of their iniquities, they are justly condemned of God; because when he called they refused to an
8. Adam being the representative of all mankind, and the stamina of all the human race, all
were, according to their then mode of existence, involved in his condemnation. And as Christ was promised to Adam, who was our representative, all who were then in his loins, were included in his reprieve and justification. All are born into the world under the distinguished privileges of the covenant of grace. Not that we inherit a sanctified nature by natural generasinful ; LETTER III.
* That the above observations
give an impartial view of our doctrine on this subject, will be seen by the following quotation from our Discipline, published in 1808. p. 74. “We believo, that in the moment. Adam fell, he had no freedom of will left; but that God, when, of his own free grace, he gave the promise of a Saviour to hiin and his posterity, graciously restored to mankind a liberty and power to accept of proffered salvation. And in all this, man's boasting is excluded; the whole of that which is good in him, even from the first mo. ment of his fall, being of grace and not of nature."
tion. On the contrary, this nature is corrupt and
and when viewed in relation to the Adamic law, deserves the wrath of God; but when man is viewed in relation to the covenant of
which was ratified by Jesus Christ, we see how those who have not actually sinned may be justified unto life, and being sanctified by the blood of the covenant, are qualified for eternal glory. This appears to us the scriptural representation of human depravity. That we may so believe in Jesus Christ, as to be delivered from the curse of the law, and be justified unto life, is, dear sir, the prayer of yours, &c.
Rev. S. WILLISTON, Durham, N.Y.
Rhinebeck, April 25th, 1815.
t. 1. On entering upon the doctrine of election, it is proper to notice the tendency of some of your remarks upon this important point. Your labouring to prove that election is not founded upon works foreseen, is calculated to impress the reader with an idea that we believe it is. This sentiment you know was not advocated in the debate ; and you also know that the “ disputant on the” Hopkinsian
side," laboured to force me to assert and defend the doctrine, that election to eternal life depends on our works. His efforts, however, were unavailing. So far from believing this sentiment, we continually maintain that the election of souls to eternal life, is predicated of the goodness of God; and that, if it depended wholly upon works, no one would see life. It was pure love that moved God to give his Son, and that moved the Son to suffer and die for
It is pure love that moves the Holy Trinity to begin, carry on, and perfect the work of salvation in the hearts of sinners. But such is the order of God, and the economy of grace, that this work
of salvation is not effected without the co-operation of the free volitions of man. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Neither are we justified here as penitent sinners by works, but by fạith. With the heart man believeth unto righteousness. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved. Nor does it follow by consequence from our doctrine, that election to eternal life depends upon our works as its cause. It is true, we believe, from the undeviating testimony of scripture, that by the evidence of our good works, which are the fruits of justifying faith, we are justified in the sight of men here, and in the sight of God at the great day. By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Was not Abraham our father justified by works? Seest thou how faith wrought together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect.
2. In order to shew the inconsistency of your scheme of election, it is necessary to attend to the general scope and design of the Apostle Paul, in writing his epistle to the Romans, out of which
your text is taken. From a careful attention to the whole epistle, it appears to me to have been the principal design of the Apostle in that epistle, to prove, 1. That all men, Jews and Gentiles, were sinners, and therefore stood in need of forgiveness. 2. To convince them, from this consideration, of the necessity of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, to make it conşistent with the character of God, and the nature