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The protection and deliverance extended to them, caused them to conclude that all other nations were reprobated, and that all their nation were elected. This erroneous sentiment our Lord combated in the sharp controversy he held with their learned Doctors and Scribes. When the Apostles were sent out to preach the glad tidings of salvation to Jews and Gentiles, who, in consequence of believing the report, were collected into the Church, and enjoyed its distinguished privileges, they adopted the same phraseology, denominating all the members of the visible church the elect, the chosen people of GodAnd when speaking of the Gospel method of salvation, which was invariably the same to Jews and Gentiles, they sometimes called it God's predestination, appointment or determination.* This predestination, or predetermination of God respects the means of salvation, the foundation of pardon and acceptance, which is Christ Jesus, and the qualification for heaven. These are immutably the same, and can never vary to suit the whim and caprice of mutable man-man must bend to them, or atherwise he must suffer the fearful consequence.
God is enthroned in uncreated wisdom and goodness, by which he was led to establish the most wise and benevolent method to rescue man from the thraldom of sin. Having fixed the terms on which sinners must be saved, if saved, his gracious determination is, never to recede from them. Thus he
• See the Appendix.
hath appointed all obedient believers to everlasting life, and all disobedient unbelievers to eternal death. Here we may behold the beneficent predestination of God; and also see the reason why those terms are used to designate the people of God. Personal and individual election and reprobation appear to have been strangers upon earth in the Apostles' days. By an abuse of their phraseology these doctrines have sprung up in the Christian Church, by which the minds of the simple are led astray, being continually tormented with doubts and fears, which are engendered from erroneous conceptions of the divine character.
In the following sheets, I have attempted to explain some of those difficult passages, which have been supposed to favour the doctrine of eternal and individual election, and other sentiments intimately connected with it; and to answer some of the arguments which have been used to establish those points. How far I have succeeded, is not for me to determine. I must beg the reader's indulgence for any errors he may discover; and also intreat an interest in his prayers, that I may experience that deliverance from sin, and that perfection of love, which qualifies the soul for eternal happiness.
To hold the truth in unrighteousness, would only expose us to greater shame and contempt. While, therefore, we strive after accurate ideas of God, and of his truth, let us seek a conformity to his will and image in all things. Speculative knowledge alone only puffeth up the soul with self-conceit; while charity, love, edifieth. O that both writer and reader may so improve the day of our merciful visitation, that we may at last inherit eter'nal life.
ERRORS OF HOPKINSIANISME,
Rev. Sir, Not long since I had an opportunity of reading your sermons which were occasioned by the public debate between Mr. Benedict and myself, in Durham, May 2d, 1810. After an attentive perusal of them, I hesitated whether I ought to take any public notice of them or not. This hesitation, however, did not arise from any conviction of their truth, nor from any supposed difficulty in refuting the erroneous sentiments you have attempted to establish; but partly from an aversion to controversies of this nature, and partly from an apprehension that the manifest contradictions, the glaring absurdities, and the many misapplications of scripture, were sufficient to carry their own confutation. But when it is considered that the subtilty of error insinuates itself often imperceptibly into the human mind, by which the judgment is perverted, and a wrong bias given to the whole train of thinking, unless timely checked in its progress by the barrier of