« PreviousContinue »
Zi, be ledhat contracted, to rejoice in this doctrine (countable for neglecting to gather in
saved to cry forever, "Not unto us, 0 them; but it must also be granted, that consequat
. Lord, not unto us; but to thy name there may be this consistency, and will be dire 'give glory.” He will learn them the yet, I may not discover it. Should ber from their force of that exhortation, "Work out this be the fact, it would be, not at all, -raken be tete your own salvation with fear and trem-||admirable. It is unreasonable to exithout any e bling; knowing, it is God who worketh pect, that creatures, so prejudiced aexeite, in 2 in you, both to will, and to do." He gainst the truth, as we are, should st timelk: will make us know that we cannot comprehend all the consistencies there rmine
, bet think one thought of ourselves, but that are among things, and more especialue. Dat he is all, and in all, it is, therefore, ly between those things, in which our
desirable, that this kind of despair proud independent spirits are so much The doctor should be excited, and that it should concerned. It may be, that God obtendency reign in every heart. Indeed, this is serves a perfect consistency between despair
. de one professed aim of almost all preach-| these, though we do not. Tet we ing which claims the character of chris
Moreover, it may be, that in a nearat , and is tian. If this be true, then the doctrine | er and more particular view of this sed tori of God's decrees stands fairest to be matter, the objection may disappear. sensei chosen as a mean to produce this ef- Free agency consists in acting roluntaand, ble fect; because it is, perhaps, the like-rily. Now, does it appear impossible, mru agai
liest to prove the most speedy, and for God, at once, to decree some par-e is no tie thoroughly effectual, of any that canticular action, and that we shall do it Lake [[Ex
be used: Yea, more, it has the strong-voluntarily? We can as easily conof God be est tendency to banish from the mind ceive of this, as of the action itself,
that despair which is undesirable; and, apart from the decree. It must be Em usinate on the contrary, to inspire the highest confessed, that the decree of God doth, shonteret possible degree of that confidence in some instances, deprive men of free
which is to be wished for by immortal agency; and whenever this is the case skulent creatures ; namely, a confidence that, they are not accountable. If
, in conin every instance, God will do what is sequence of the divine decree, a man best to be done. There is no truly is necessarily confined to his bed by pious mind too enlarged, none too sickness, or a broken limb, he is not acwhen it is once understood. It has in his harvest with his own hand, though
It is it should perish in the field. But
TDI ets the
babes; the sincere milk of the gospel. (act voluntarily, in a certain instance,
Objection 4. These doctrines are in- it would be very absurd for me to say, consistent with the free agency of man, that I am not accountable. The only and consequently with his accounta-thing which would seem to excuse me, ableness.
is the consideration, that the supposed Answer. Perhaps this is a mistake. voluntary action was fixed and deterThey may, indeed, be really inconsis-|| mined by something besides itself ; it tent with my idea of free agency: and matters not, whether by God or any
may also be, that my idea of free other being or thing, either without or agency is false. If this be so, the in-within me. If the action be, in fact, consistency of these doctrines with it, determined, it matters not by whom, is so far from proving their absurdity, nor by what. The shew. of excuse is that it is an intimation of their truth.the same. So that, if my action did Again, perhaps thi
inear not determine itself to be what it is, I to me, to be i
am not accountable for it. But how agency, of
uld it determine itself ? It cannot ject, and
termine itself after it exists, for then is already what it is. It must have een fixed and determined, or its be
may on this."
ing what it is ensured before it exist-|| as being expressive of a disposition in ed; but the action itself could not do God, unreasonably severe, and inflexithis. It could not influence and ope-bly capricious, while at the same time, rate before it had existence. Yet it we indulge ourselves in fancying they will be acknowledged, that it absolute-clothe him in sullen majesty. DocJy depended on some thing, both for its trines implying this, would be odious existence, and its particular mode of indeed. But the doctrines under conexistence. Now see the sum of the sideration do no other than represent objection, and the answer it affords to the ever blessed God, as being most itself. “I cannot be accountable for carefully, tenderly, zealously and conany action which is absolutely depen-stantly resolved to employ all his pow.dent on God: Not because it is depen-ers for the best good of the universe. dent on God; but because it is abso-|| In this view these doctrines are infinlutely dependent. But every action itely endearing and precious. must, of necessity, be as absolutely de VI. From what has been said, opdent on some thing or other, as the position to God appears to be a very doctrine, objected against, supposes it wicked thing. By opposition to God, to be on God. Of consequence, I can is here meant, any temper of mind be no more accountable for this action, wbich is in itself, and in its tenon any other supposition, than on this, dency, contrary to those views which that it is dependent on God. If, there-influence the divine conduct; or, any fore, there be any scheme on which I dissatisfaction with the dealings of God, may feel myself to be accountable, I in any instance. If there be any such
thing as wickedness, it will be found Farther,-Though this reasoning here. For what can be so vile and should not prove satisfactory, yet two hateful, as to oppose so perfectly glorithings are true; first, that we feel our |ous a being, who is worthy of all posselves to be free agents, and account-sible imitation ? It matters not whence able creatures, and therefore, nothing this opposition is derived, since its nacan convince us we are not. Second-ture is still the same. Oppose some ly, that God is infinitely wise, good and thing deformed and ugly to an exquipowerful, and, therefore, he certainly sitely beautiful exhibition, and its ugwill take effectual measures to secure liness will appear the more distinctly. the best good, in every instance; espe So it is in this case. Here the sinfulcially in things of a moral nature, whichness of sin stands obvious to every are really the most important. There-eye. If I oppose God, by doing things fore, though we may not be able to contrary to his nature, and am dissatsee the consistency of those two max- isfied with his government, it is a sure ims, let us depend on the truth of both, sign that, had l power to frustrate his and leave the reconciling of them with designs, I should do it, that is, I should God.--To return.
frustrate the best designs, and overIt is desirable that the distinguish-| throw the best of all devices. ing doctrines of the gospel should be litical matters, we see an almost untrue; because they lodge the man- paralleled odiousness in such a dispoagement of all things in the hands of sition, though in this case no more that being, who will certainly conduct than the good of some temporal state is them in the best manner; and if these in question, and shall we, or rather, can doctrines be true, it is best they should we shut our eyes to the infinitely more be much insisted on, and pressed home horrid deformity of opposition to the on the mind with great plainness : He glorious purposes of God, which comwho doth it, still taking special care to prehend the universe, and are designbuild, and sapport them on the divineed for eternity ? perfection as the foundation. We are How extremely perverse would a too apt to conceive of those doctrinesllson appear, who should be always
murniuring, dissatisfied, and faulting|| madness, the height of madnes. Behis father's conduct; while, at the cause we are sure, not only, of not same time, his father, a person of pro-succeeding, but also, of involving ourfound sagacity, actuated by the high-selves in difficulties amazingly great est affection for his whole family, is and inextricable. Let the briars, the constantly and zealously engaged, to thorns, and the stubble array themconduct every thing, in a manner the selves against the raging flame, driven best calculated to advance its highest on by the fierce northern blast-What interests ? Should such a parent be wit- will be the result? Why, the more ness to all his son says and thinks ;
-closely they are arranged, and the Should he condescend to expostulate more strongly they are connected, the with him in terms full, at once, of pa- more easy and complete will be cheir terpal tenderness, and powerful con- overthrow. So it is in our opposition viction ? Yet, after all, have the morti- to God. At any rate, if final opposers fication to find, that all he says, and all of God, we must be destroyed; and he does, proves an occasion of strength- the horrors of our destruction will arise ening the restless' spirit of his son :- in proportion to our opposition to God. How must he feel towards the frow-What dreadful depravity and madness, ard conduct, and perverse character of then, cloth it argue, for us to continue this unworthy part of his own body.- in rebellion against so good and so gloWhat sensations must have been exci- rious a God! ted in the prodigal's father, by the IX. Fron what has beer said we selfish, morose, sullen temper mani- may learn what it is to live by faith.-fested by the elder brother, at the re-By faith the soul discovers the perfecturn of the Prodigal? Did he not, in spite tion of God to be a present reality, and of paternal affection, despise and abhor choosing that all things should be consuch a characters? How then must the ducted by such perfection, it freely unsubmissive, haughty, complaining, leaves itself, and all its concerns, in the rebellious temperj& conduct of men ap- handls of God; resting assured, that he pear to the heart-searching and all-see-will conduct so as to aggrandize and ing God, who has never done any thing i endear his character to all such as love that did not tend to the highest good what is truly great and good. Being of his universal family; and who has friends to God, those who live by faith done such wonders, of wisdom and are zealous to have him acquit himself goodness for his creatures ? Especial- with honor, in a manner that will bear ly, after he has expostulated withi us so the nicest scrutiny, and, after all, apmuch, and so long, in a manner so af- pear to be, not only unblemished, but fectionate and convincing ? No wonder gloriously great and godlike. They, sin is the thing which God's soul hateth! without reserve, believing he will do
VII. From what has been said, it so, rest joyfully satisfied in this their appears to be great folly in us to op-hope, which is an anchor to the soul pose God. We always act a foolish | sure and steadfast—this hope, which part when we attempt what cannot be maketh not ashamed.
Have you no performed; and in all our opposition son, husband, brother, father, friend, to God, we must finally fail of success, who stands in some conspicuous place? though, for a season, we may seem to be If you have, have you not an earnest successful. We shall spend our strength desire he should conduct so as to do for nought, & our money for that which himself real honor ? If you can depend is not bread. We may, for a while, on his doing so, do you not rest satisficompass ourselves with sparks of oured in this expectation, and look forown kindling, but must, at last, lay our-ward, with pleasure, to the day when selves down in sorrow.
he shall stand distinguished, and reVIII. It is not only wickedness and ceive die applause due to his merit ? Cally in us to oppose God, but it is also. God is unspeakably dearer to the be
liever than the nearest and dearest rel- could not satisfy our souls, while we ative in life; and his confidence that God neglect that benevolent interest which will acquit himself so as to merit the will, most certainly, be found by such highest reputation and esteem, is as as seek it; and will, completely, satismuch stronger, and better supported. fy their boundless appetites! God grant
The believer has no interest but that us hearts to turn from the deceitful of the universe. This is too precious, paths of folly; and betake ourselves in his esteem, to be trusted in any | to that fountain of living waters, which hands but those of an all-perfect God. proceeds from the throne, the supreme In God he sees such perfection as war-government of the Most High. rants and secures their security and highest improvement. For the sake
DOCUMENTS of the greatest general good of the uni-Relative to the Dismission of LORING D. verse he is willing to be crossed, and Dewey from the Theological Semidisappointed, and distressed ; and
nary in New-York knows, at the same time, that God doth
ADVERTISEMENT. not cross, or afilict him wantonly, or It is deemed necessary, to a fair underfor any other purpose, than that of per-|| standing of the following documents, to fecting the highest good. Such is the present to the public a brief statement of state of his mind, that the first senti-| the facts which preceded my dismission ment excited by adversity is, that God, York.
from the Theological Seminary in Newin his infinite wisdom, has ordered it The discoarse which procured this disfor purposes altogether glorious. mission, was prepared to fulfil in my turn, Through the medium of divine provi- my part of the ordinary duties that devolve dence, he sees that his present adver- on the members of a private Theological sity is necessary in bringing about his Society composed solely of the students of grand pursuit; and therefore he freely pose of Theological investigation. The
the seminary, and instituted for the pursubmits. It gives him pleasure that|Society, believing my views erroneous, ap. the disposition, neither of himself, nor pointed two of their number a committee, any thing connected with him, is in bis to request the discourse for examination,
and to make a report to the Society. It own hands; but in those which are much more worthy of confidence. The contain many and dangerous errors, the
was given them, and being represented to glory of God is his food, and he feeds Society directed their committee to lay on it by faith. Faith teaches him that the report before the Professors of the God is continually glorifying himself, Seminary: The discourse being requested though he frequently does it in ways condemned as heretical and contradictory,
by the Professors, for examination, was wholly unnoticed by reason, and seem- || in a conversation I had with them; and a ingly repugnant to it. He knows the few days after the letter of dismission was vanity of sensible things. They are, received; which, as it contains the grounds therefore, no food to him. His soul of dismission, is published as one of the
documents. To that letter a reply, expants for something more substantial. Faith alone can give him the present ||tain the opinions I do, was made; as at
plaining some of the reasons why I mainpossession of this; and this can be that time I had no contemplation of pubdone, yea, is done by faith. O, what sinishing the discourse. The reply, that the folly and madness is it in us, to refuse public may know all relating to my disto commit ourselves and all, into the mission, will also be found in the following hands of this faithful creator! What pages. But as the dismission is necessa
rily public, and as it necessarily exposes sin, folly and madness not to make theme to obloquy, wherever it is known, espeglory of God—the good of the uni- || cially while each is left to form his own verse, the great object of our pursuit ! conjectures, with no data to judge by, the What loss do we bring on ourselves, by natural conclusion being, that if a person is spending this short life, in pursuingly, if from a Theological Seminary, there
dismissed from any Seminary, and certain. that selfish interest, which we never must be some just cause, and one of course can obtain; and which, if obtained, ll reproachful to the person dismissed.; it is
z dute .
estituralis. concurred to strengthen my own, in favopstate of those is who are justified, I do, tais “How should man be just with God!" declares the sinner just in such a sense
thought jost, both to the Seminary anel to his. Hence the inquiry, what does the
in reference to the acceptance of the
may wish to pass through a course of you must perceive to be the subject of Theological study in this Seminary,
the present inquiry ; for the first needs To chis I may add, that the opinions of several most respectable gentlemen have no investigation. We know what the of publication.
whether they be the just made perfect, All which is respectfully submitted. or those still warring with their de
L. D. DEWEY.
pravity. But the other use has affordNew-York, 1816.
ed ground of controversy. One says,
it is a sentence which pronounces the DISCOURSE.
sinner just, truly and wholly so, and ROMANS J!I. 24.
thus entilles him to all the joys of
heaven. Another says, it is a sentence Being justified,
of pardon, a grant of all the favors of TRESE words, you perceive, are ta- God, even the gift of eternal life. ken from St. Paul's exposition of the Which of these does the apostle mean? doctrine of justification. The use I for, that he meant one of them, I think intend to make of them is to place can be easi!y shown. Which of these is tiem as the basis of an investigation the true interpretation ? One contends into the scriptural idea of this doctrine.for the literal, judicial sense of the As it is an exclamation long ago made, word; although it (the sentence that
Fort to the
the Preta Collse bertas
and as the apostle applies these words does not result from the sinner's own to man, sinful man, it is intended to merits, but from the merits of another, show what he meant by thein. That|lr" made his."] The other contends he meant literal justification, we do not for a figurative sense of the word, suppose ; for Paul was no opposer of meaning unlimited pardon, granted for the doctrine of human depravity. Man|the sake and intercession of another. being sinful, can never present himself The latter was the faith of the Westbefore his God, and say, I am clean ;| minster Assembly of Divines, as apthere is no fault in me." This, welpears from their Confession of Faith know, would be his literal justification; and Catechism.
“ Justification,” say For! this, we also know, can never be they, " is an act of God's free grace,