« ForrigeFortsæt »
But he asks again, “ But is God under obligation to convert them ?" I answer, yes, if it is possible for him to do it unconditionally; for he is loving to every man, and his tender mercies are over all his works;" and he is not willing that any should perish.” If then none are rejected only from
entirely within himself, the same love that obliges him to save one, would oblige' him to save all; and did not men prevent their own salvation by sin, all would be saved, and of course the Calvinistic doctrine of eternal reprobation is without foundation.
But again he asks, “Would he after he has freely offered them,” (the reprobates)“ salvation, and they have rejected, be unjust to leave them to their own choice ?" Plausible as this question may appear at first view, it is easy to discover that it is utterly irreconcilable with the other parts of the Calvinistic scheme. Here the reprobates are represented as being finally lost, as a consequence of their having “ rejected the free offer of salvation ;" būt pray is this the only or even the main reason why they are finally lost ? Does 'not Mr. H. subscribe to the sentiment, that “God hath ordained whatso. ever comes to pass ?” And if so, does he not believe that God has unalterably decreed, that the reprobates shall reject the offer of salvation,” and be lost? Where then is the justice of their condemnation? “Their own choice,” it seems, was his choice toa, unless he chose one thing and decreed another !
Again, Mr. H. tacitly gives up his doctrine of eternal de crees, by saying that those who are lost, were not "left to their own choice," till "after" he had freely offered them salvation, and they had rejected it. This is all we ask for. We also believe, that it is just in God to "give sinners over to a reprobate mind," and to send them strong delusion, &c. that they all might be damned who have pleasure in unrightCousness," after they have had the offer of salvation, and
have rejected it! But if it was not done till after the offer was made and rejected, it certainly was not done by an eternal decree.
Bat our author strenuously contends, that in electing some to everlasting life, God's choice was not influenced in the least by a foresight of the compliance of the elect with the terms of the gospel ; and does he not as firmly believe, (though perhaps not so willing to have it known) that in the reprobation of all the rest of mankind, His choice was not in the least influenced by a foresight of the non-compliance of the reprobates with the terms of salvation ? And if so, why does he talk of their being “left to their own choice” as the just reward of their having rejected the offer of salvation ?-Does he expect to persuade an enlightened public to believe, that God has from all eternity unalterably decreed the dam. nation of a part of the human family, and to secure the end decreed that the reprobates shall “ reject the offer of salvation,” and yet that they are justly condemned to everlasting burnings for those sins ? At one time he will have it, that God has unalterably decreed the damnation of a part, and all the events leading to that end; and at another, that their be ing finally lost, is because they reject the offer of salvation ! Reconcile this who can! Again he says, “It is presumed that no one will contend, that it" (the doctrine of election) “ will operate unjustly, in reference to the righteous.” No; but with great partiality and respect to persons, on the Cal. vinistic system of theology. But he attempts to obviate the objection by a reference to the Scriptures." Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine
evil because I am good ?” Matt. xx. 15. p. 163. Whoever duly considers the design of our Lord, in the parable in which this text is found, will at once see, that nothing like unconditional election and reprobation can be gathered from it.
The fact is, the Scribes and Pharisees, were great advocates for the doctrine of election. Their cry was, “ The people of the Lord are we, the people of the Lord are we.” When our Lord therefore manifested his design to grant unto the Gentiles repentance unto life, they complained of the good man of the house and said, “ This man receiveth sinners," &c. “ These last (the Gentiles) have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us (the Jews) who have borne the burden and heat of the day.” To reprove them for their narrow views of his goodness, he answers one of them in the above language." Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own; is thine eye evil because I am good ?” Viewed then according to the original design of the parable, it so far from forming any support to the system of our opponents, is directly against it.
But to the question, Is it not lawful for Him to do what * He will with His own ? I answer, yes; for He “wills that all should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth;.' and for this purpose has made it possible for all to be saved. Hence He has done what He would with His own; and it is lawful for Him so to do. And should
had been rendered near-sighted by a warm attachment to a par-ticular creed, begin to complain of the good man of the house, saying, Thou art no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth thee and worketh righteousness is accepted of thee; thou hast not unconditionally elected any man, but it is necessary that even Christians should give all dilligence "to make their calling and election sure,"-I say, should any begin thus to complain, the above answer of our Lord to the murinuring Jews will be equally applicable to them.
The last question upon this subject contains nothing but a few unimportant assertions without proof: one of them is the following :-"Every real Christian, whatever may be
his views in this world, when he arrives at the kingdom of heaven, will come cheerfully into this doctrine.” p. 163. Now suppose that I should assert that every real Christian, however Calvinistic his views may be in this world, when he arrives at the kingdom of heaven, will come cheerfully into the doctrines of Methodism.-People would probably say, Why it is at most only the opinion of Mr. L-Eternity alone can decide that. Precisely the same answer would we give to Mr. H. I as much believe the one as he does the other, but shall not assert at present that it will be so !
Again, speaking of the elect, he observes, “ He will there? (in heaven)“ delight to ascribe his conversion, sanctification, and complete redemption entirely to God; and it will not detract in the least from the greatness of the mercy he has received, because he who bestowed it upon him, meant to do it, and eternally meant to do it.”
By the assertion, "eternally meant to do it," I suppose Mr. H. means the same as eternally decreed to do it. Now all the answer I wish to give to these groundless assertions is the following. Will not the reprobate there (in hell) delight to ascribe his iniquities, pollution, and complete destruction entirely to God; (on the principles of our opponents) and will it not detract much from the greatness of the sufferings which they will endure, and also from the justice and goodness of God, because he who unconditionally bestowed damnation upon them, meant to do it, and eternally meant or decreed to do it ?
Finally, to conclude our remarks upon this subject, and briefly to give my views of the doctrine of election, I would remark,-1. There is a personal election of some to superior advantages over others in this life : such as greater intellectual powers of mind, greater advantages by birth, education, property, influence, friends, &c.--Yet the ways of the
66 Who are
Lord are just and equal on this ground, that “Where much is given much is required" in the improvement of the gift; and " where little is given the less is required :” and “ so every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour."-2. There is a national election.-Such was the election of the Jews as a nation, to great civil and ecclesiastical privileges above other nations of the earth. " What ad. vantage hath the Jews ? or what prrât is there of circumcision ? Much every way: chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” Rom. iii. 1, 2. Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ cáme.'
." Rom. ix. 4, 5. Such also is America, England, and some other nations, when compared with the Pagan and Mahometan world. And the same argument as above will justify the divine dispensations with nations as well as with individuals. Hence we may suppose the Gentile hath one talent, the Jew two and the Christian five.-3. There is a spiritual election of all in every nation, who sincerely repent, and firmly believe in Jesus Christ, and with the mouth make confession to salvation, according to the light of their dispensations. These continue to bear the character of God's elect," while they continue to cry day and night unto him;" and should they continue to "give dilligence to make their calling and election sure” unto their lives' end, they shall never fall. These are the conditions of our election; but the ground or foundation of it is that love, which caused the Son of God to leave his Father's right hand for the pang of death :"by the grace of God to taste death for every man.” Let every one of God's elect therefote, “fear lest a promise being left them of entering into his rest, any of them should come short of it."