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you to avoid. But he has uttered, it would be unassailable by means; and with the kindest intention has it would destroy accountableness; recorded, the most awful retribu- and sinners would be objects intions upon those “ who acknow- deed of pity, but not of blame and ledge not God, and obey not the punishment. But, since it is a Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” moral inability, lying only in the He has denounced " indignation dispositions and inclinations of the and wrath, tribulation and anguish, soul, it is in its own nature REupon every soul of man that doeth MOVEABLE. eyil.”_" He who believeth not, Now reflect, if you wished to the wrath of God abideth on him: remove any prejudice, any inju- he is condemned already, be- rious antipathy, any wrong dispocause he hath not believed in the sition or mental habit, from any only begotten Son of God. Ex- person under your influence;cept ye believe that I am he," how would you proceed ? Cersaid the benevolent Redeemer, tainly, you would take - all the “ ye shall die in your sins.” methods in your power that were
Thus the testimonies of reason likely to weaken the wrong prinand conscience, of the universal ciple, and to introduce and feelings and conduct of mankind, strengthen its opposite. You and of the Holy Scriptures, unite would urge the person in question, to declare that man's moral impo- to reflect much and closely upon tency, to obey the just will of his the false and hurtful character of Divine Sovereign, being no other the prejudice under which he lathan a 'rooted antipathy and en- boured, and upon the truth, goodmity of heart, is no extenuation of ness, and value of the opposite sin, no excuse for continuing in principle: you would place him, the state of unbelief and hardness as much as you could, under the of heart; but is, on the contrary, influence of evidence and impresa most awful aggravation of your sions calculated to produce a conguilt. Othat ye would lay this viction in his mind in favour of to heart, all ye who are persever- your object: and, if you could ing in impenitence, and promising once see in him any symptoms of yourselves impunity! You are right feeling, any appearance of a treasuring up for yourselves wrath disposition to renounce his wrong against the day of wrath, and reve- inclination, any indications of a lation of the righteous judgment sincere desire to be set right, you of God; and what will ye do when would form pleasing anticipations its tremendous accumulation shall of success. Then let me entreat burst forth upon you? How will you to derive, from this easy and you stand at his spotless tribunal ? reasonable supposition, a rule of How will you meet the eye of his conduct for yourselves. Your justice? : 0) will you not now stir state of crime and misery is botup all your capacities of attention tomed upon a sinful bias of nind, and inquiry, to ascertain whether a wrong inclination, a wicked will, that awful catastrophe can be a love of sin, and hatred of holiavoided ?
ness. Othen, take the methods Consider, then,
best calculated to strike at the III. That this condition is a root of the evil, a wicked and proper and suitable object for the obstinate will. Meditate seriously employment of means, in order to and constantly upon the great its removal. . ?
truths of God's holy law and gosIf this impotency of man to pel, their evidence, their importperform the commands of God ance, their solemn relation to you! were a natural and proper inability, Be assured that your state of mind,
hitherto, has been founded on false- fects of his sins against heaven, hood and injustice towards infi- but who is stretching forth his imnite truth and goodness; that your ploring hands, while the Author of distaste to holiness is vile and salvation passes by? If you beg wicked;' that your sinful disposi- for mercy with the sincere acknowtions, your pride, selfishness, ava- ledgment that you deserve it not, rice, voluptuousness, or whatever that mercy will most certainly else they may be, are every way be shown to you; but if you have wrong, and should be instantly in your heart the opinion of merit, forsaken with the deepest sorrow claim, or deserving, you will be and repentance. ( set the Lord sent empty away. always before you; read, with But, while these are the means deepest attention, the most im- and instruments which the Lord of portant and affecting parts of his mercy generally uses in effecting holy word; flee from all scenes the conversion of sinners, let us and occasions of temptation, and ever recollect that they are only break off every sin; diligently fre- means and instruments, and that, quent the means of grace and religious instruction to which you IV. The effectual blessing must have access: and cry with earnest come from the sovereign power, and constant prayer to the God of grace, and mercy of God. infinite grace and mercy, that he The harmonious connexion of may change the disposition of our duty in the use of means, and your heart, and emancipate your the unrivalled efficiency of divine soul from its guilty thraldom. power in producing the effect, are “ Seek ye the Lord, &c. Ask, set before us, in the clearest manand ye shall receive ; seek, and ner, in that instructive and importa ye shall find ; knock, and it shall ant passage, “ Work out your own be opened unto you. Labour not salvation with fear and trembling; for the meat that perisheth, but for for it is God who worketh in you, that which endureth to everlasting both to will and to do of his good life, which the Son of man will pleasure.” He is the omnipotent give unto” those who truly seek it. Lord of all hearts. He only can Isaiah lv. 6, 7. 1. Tim. i. 15. subdue the dreadful prejudices of But, in all this, ( beware of the our fallen nature, conquer our false and dangerous imagination, enmities and aversions, and enthat you are meriting the divine throne right affections and holy mercy, that you are preparing inclinations within us. He alone yourself for Christ, that you are can draw the souls of men to the putting upon him some sort of Saviour; and blessed be his name! obligation to grant you salvation. he does it with the persuasive cords Nothing can be more unfounded, of a man, with the winning bands in fact, nothing more dangerous of love. The mighty acts of his in tendency, than such self-righ- converting grace are no compulteous and presumptuous expecta- sion of the mind, no forcing of the tions. They are in direct and to- will; but he gives a right direction tal opposition to the whole con- to the feelings and faculties of the stitution of the Gospel, and they soul, and all its powers then say, cannot but be completely preven- « Turn thou me, and I shall be tive of any well-grounded hope of turned; for thou art the Lord my salvation.-Ah! What are all your God! Create in me a clean heart, seekings, what all your strivings; O God, and renew a right spirit but the outcries of a terrified crimi- within me!” This he does. He nal, a wretched suppliant, who sprinkles the clean water of his deserves to suffer all the dire ef- holy influences upon the soul. He
takes away the heart of stone, and before it could have an existence gives a heart of flesh. He causes in reality. The power which conour souls, till then wandering in verts the material to answer a cerguilty wretchedness, to walk in his tain end, operates in direct substatutes, and keep his command- serviency to a fixed design, which ments, and do them. He grants is indebted purely to mind for repentance unto life. He shines its existence. This is so in all the into the heart, and gives the light works of men. And it is too maniof the knowledge of his glory in fest to need proof, that a correthe manifestation of Jesus Christ. spondent connexion must exist beOld things are passed away. All tween all the designs and producthings are become new : and all tions of the infinite mind. Every things are of God.
production, worthy of God, both in Do you not now see, O procras, the material and the moral world, tinating and deluded sinner, that must have been antecedently moyour proposal of living the slave delled in his own mind. All real of sin for a period, and then laying existence is nothing else than the hold of the everlasting salvation, evolutions of his eternal deteris a scheme as big with folly as it minations. " Known, unto God is with impious presumption ? I are all his works from the beginentreat you to renounce for ever ning.” To deny this, virtually this project of wicked infatuation; amounts to atheism. and, feeling yourguilt, your misery, . Now, the noblest production of your helplessness, to submit your- which we have any knowledge, in selves to the drawings of divine the present state, is the soul of power, and flee for refuge to the man. Its sinfulness, indeed, has hope set before you.
debased and polluted it,--but this And how unspeakable is the is not of God, while its powers mercy, that salvation is of the and capabilities constitute the Lord, “ by grace, through faith; most striking resemblance of himand that, not of ourselves, it is the self. As every existence, how, gift of God!" What encourage- ever minute, has a place in his ment to seek this heavenly gift! decrees, it will not be denied that What support and consolation to every intelligent being must be those who, through his rich grace, included in them; and since have found it! " He who hath countless multitudes are destined begun in them the good work, to eternal happiness, though in will perform it, unto the day of their sinful state morally disJesus Christ. He will keep them qualified for it; and it is plain from falling, and present them that their restoration to sanctity faultless before the presence of his and the love of God is due entireglory, with exceeding joy." ly to his sovereign grace. There
is nothing that more prominently
forces itself on the attention of the ON THE COUNTERACTION OF
reader of the Bible, than the two
important facts,--that man is in ANTINOMIANISM.
a state of moral ruin, and that In effecting any object of utility his salvation is entirely from the among men, nothing is more ob- Lord. Man is the subject of total vious than that it must have ori- depravity; and he must undergo ginated in some prior contrivance as total a transformation, and be of the mind. It is a maxim recog- “ created anew unto good works nized by every person of common in Christ Jesus." Hence as cersense, that every work of art must tainly as any individual shall dwell have had an existence in thought with God in heaven, so surely shall
it become the subject of a rege- deny that their actual existence nerating and sanctifying process was preceded by any intention in on earth; for “ without holiness the divine mind concerning them? no man can see the Lord.” Now, This they must do, if they deny in every soul where there is such the eternity of the intention, since a spiritual process going on, we no purpose can at any moment are sure its tendency and end is exist in the divine mind, which to eternal life. But what can be was not there from eternity. This conceived a greater, a mightier, is sinking Deity beneath the standand more important event, than ard of a man, seeing man ever the delivering of a soul out of so operates according to a preconmuch sin, and guilt, and con- certed scheme. But this is an demnation ? That man who is error only on one side of the naturally in close alliance with question. Satan, and might be for ever a While there is a numerous class companion with him in suffering, of professing Christians who feel should be not merely rescued from a strong repugnance to the docall real evil in a future state, but trines of divine sovereignty and be made to dwell for ever with free grace, and whose creed would God, must be admitted to be an go a long way to mar, or at least event which not only requires the to diminish, the supremacy and energies of Deity to accomplish, independence of Deity, there is but far transcends, in point of im- another class of professors who portance, all that is visible of his place themselves directly on the power in the material universe, opposite ground. The data more And it is certain, that this is done peculiar to these are, that “ God for an innumerable multitude of has an elect people; that he has the human species. But it is decreed all the rest to eternal miequally obvious, that this is not sery; that sinners ought not to be done for all of them. Multitudes any more exhorted to repent than harden themselves and perish in if they were inanimate," &c. Now, their sins, while others are plucked these are wont to consider themas brands from the fire. There is, selves as the exclusive advocates then, a difference made, and that of free grace. “Free grace men” is difference is made by God him. one of their own appellations. There self. Hence, those who are sanc- are generally seen about them tified, prove, by their sanctificasuch a dogmatism, confidence, tion, that they are the objects “ of and assurance of being in the coa divine purpose.”
venant of God, as lead them into And it seems strange, pass- a mode of thinking and talking on ing strange, that any should be the most sacred and mysterious found, professing faith in scripture things that is in the highest degree and divine influence on the mind, unbecoming and irreverent. They and yet controvert and deny the talk about the arcana of God in above doctrine. Do they believe a way bordering on profane and that a Being of infinite intelli- unhallowed familiarity. Be it far gence and power created them ? from us not to allow the privilege Do they believe that that curious of assurance to the people of God. machinery of animate materialism It is an unquestionable fact, that which makes up their visible ex- many of the saints have no doubt istence, with all the heaving of of their salvation; and more might, the lungs, the circulation of the were they duly careful to “ keep blood, and every moment's pulsa- themselves in the love of God," tion, was brought into being by and as anxious for the presence of one great Agent? And do they the Lord, as they are for the interests of the world. But mark! most that is made of it is, “ a serthey who are most really assured mon of superfine morality, without of an interest in the covenant of one word of the Gospel.". It is an God, are most humble and self- ingredient in their faith, that “to denying, and dead to this world, exhort men to repentance is the and to all its enticements. Such, way to make hypocrites and forindeed, truly live " quite on the malists, and implies that man can verge of heaven.” When such save himself, and that it is in dipersons speak of a holy con- rect opposition to the divine defidence, there is no reason to sus. crees.". . pect them, since their confidence It is not here my intention to go is the effect of a growing sancti- largely and elaborately into the fication and communion with God. errors of this class of professors. But when we hear of a confident I take it for granted they are well boast of salvation associated with known to most readers of the Cona carnal, worldly, avaricious, and gregational Magazine, especially licentious mind and conduct, it to them to whom it principally demonstrates a state the most pertains to correct them. I would deadly and dangerous that can rather request permission to sugexist on this side the regions of gest a few hints how to counterdarkness. Such boast of the pri- act both classes of these pernicious vilege of saints, yet without any errors. . thing of the true character of 1st. It should be remembered, saints. They have yet to learn that while this system of exclusive the first maxim of religion—that doctrinalism contains many things holiness and happiness are ne- which are decidedly unscriptural, cessarily connected. Now, when there is also blended with them once the mind reposes in such a a considerable portion of truth. refuge of lies, it seems to be given Now, the danger of the system lies up to its own delusions. “Sin can in uniting good and evil things todo the saints no harm;"_" The gether; and there is difficulty in sins of the elect were pardoned properly distinguishing between from eternity;"_" God never saw them. It is here, therefore, that any sin in the elect !!” What the skill and ability of the chrisfatal perversions of gospel truth tian minister must be evinced. I and christian privileges.
cannot but think that many young Now, as the end of all the com- ministers adopt a method of saving mands of the Gospel is directly their hearers from the Antinomian opposed to the infirmities and cor. heresy, which becomes the occaruptions of the flesh, and as the sion of actually making them Ansummary of the whole is, “ If ye tinomians. They will preach most love me, keep my command- virulently against such heresy, ments,” how can such unhallowed and dwell altogether on the pracprofessors endure a practical mi- tical department of religion, but nistration of the Gospel ? The very seldom advert to the pecuspirit of every precept stands out liarities of the Gospel. But this directly against all their tenden- will never secure the end intended. cies. The only Gospel which suits For instance, suppose there be in their taste, is that which contains a place of worship an indiviprivilege exclusively. They candual, as there not unfrequently is, not endure practical exhortation. whose conscience has been recente In every sermon, the preacherly awakened to a due sense of sin, must serve up to them a full feast who feels the condemnation of the on election, predestination, eternal law bearing on him in all its overjustification, &c. otherwise the whelming accusations. Now, such