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a sinner to repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the weakest.” If preachers cannot instrumentally persuade sinners to repent and accept of mercy, and if all arguments are unavailing, then it is certainly useless to preach, and lost labour to reason with them. It seems, however, you cannot go far without crossing your tracks, so intricate is error. See another instance of it. “Many of them determined to go to hear him," (i. e. Paul preach).
e “ This they did repeatedly. The consequence was, they became believers in this religion, and were sayed,” p. 70. A consequence supposes a cause.
” Their faith and salvation, you say were a consequence of hearing Paul preach. In the former case you say, the ablest preacher is unable to persuade a sinner to repent, &c. One would think that a system which involves its abettors in such contradictory assertions, would be suspected at least; and that its advocates would be induced to review their ground. Here also you proceed on the false supposition that your doctrine of unconditional election, is the only doctrine which teaches salvation by grace. This certainly is a mistake, as I have before observed. And all who haye read our writings, and candidly considered our doctrines, well know that no body of Christians ever insisted upon this truth, Salvation is of grace, through faith, more strenuosly than we do. Neither is it set aside by fair inference from any of our principles. We know that sinners must be brought to see their native vileness, and the utter inefficiency of their own works to justify them in the sight of God; and that they must believe in Christ as their glorious substitute, in order to be saved. That they must be born of the Spirit, and be made holy, to enter into the kingdom of God. But we also teach that damnation is wholly from ourselves.; that it originates in the rebellious conduct of sinners, who abuse the forbearance of God, and not from a decrec of reprobation, which was made antecedently to their existence, which secured the wicked means necessary to bring about the dreadful end. And that it ever did any good to preach your doctrine of unconditional election, and its dreadful counterpart, unconditional reprobation, remains to be proved. For that mankind are naturally sinners, and are entirely dependent on God for every good and perfect gift, are not the peculiarities of Hopkinsianism. These important truths of the Gospel, we deem essential to the salvation of sinners; therefore we inculcate them on all proper occasions.-The success therefore, of a Gospel ministry does not depend upon preaching your doctrine of personal election. If indeed, it were true, a blessing would attend its publication. But it is not true, and therefore a holy God can never sanction it. When you leave it out of sight, and preach Jesus Christ and him crucified, as the Saviour of sinners, (which is not a peculiar trait of your doctrine,) and exhort them to look to him alone for salvation, you no doubt see the blessed effects of your ministry in the awakening and conversion of souls. But think
you, sir, that you are the only men with whom this wisdom dwells ? and that if the peculiarities of your system die, this wisdom must die with them? So you seem to intimate. But let any candid, considerate man, look into the Christian world, and review it for a century past, and then say, whom the Lord Jesus has delighted to honour, as instruments in his hands of turning sinners from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Although you are pleased to insinuate that we are the ministers of Satan, yet there are very many who can witness that we have been unto them a sweet savour of Christ. There is no necessity therefore to have the doctrine of unconditional elections
providentially thrown in their way, to blast all their fair prospects, which they were building on themselves," p. 76. By this you
insinuate that all who do not believe in your peculiar doctrine, must necessarily “ build on themselves.” It is well for us that we are able to disprove your uncharitable hint, by a thousand testimonies. It seems you make your doctrine of election the foundation. How different did the Apostle tracks Other foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus. Do you not think you could have taught the people better, by telling them that unconditional election to eternal life, and predestination to eternal death, is the true foundation; and that, unless this were “ providentially thrown in their way, they would “ build on themselves.” Thank God, there is sufficient room for all to build on Christ, the real
and living foundation, without going to the imaginary and false foundation of election and reprobation. Yes, fellow sinners, there is love enough in God the Father, and merit enough in his Son Jesus Christ, and efficacy enough in the Holy Spirit, to , draw you all, to atone for your sins, and to apply the merits of this atoning blood so as to pardon and sanctify you wholly. If then you are not saved, it is your own fault. The Lord calls you to himself by a thousand alarming and endearing motives. There is no horrible decree of reprobation to stop your path. You may behold a smiling God in the face of Jesus Christ, if you are willing to forsake your sins, and return unto him.
6. P.71. “If children are trained up in the way they should go, they are more likely to be saved, than they are if trained up in the way they should not go.” Granted. But does your doctrine allow this ? Quite the reverse ; for you explode every kind of work from having any thing to do in our election. But here you turn a rigid Arminian, and put more confidence in works than you ought.-You even say, pious parents may“ obtain blessings for their seed, whom he chose in Jesus Christ, before the foundation of the world.” But if they were chosen before the foundation of the world, in Jesus Christ, I think all necessary blessings were obtained for them; and therefore in whatever way they may be trained up, they will unquestionably be saved. * God makes one part of his scheme suit the other," ibid. e; but docs one part of your scheme suit
the other? Do your decrees and commands, which you say are in opposition one to the other, suit and harmonize together? Does that part of your "scheme" with which God is displcased suit that part with which he is pleased? How does that part of your scheme which asserts that God from all eternity reprobated a part of mankind to sin and damnation, “ suit” that part which acknowledges the atonement was full and complete for all ? Did Christ make atonement for those for whom God the Father never had any thoughts of mercy ? Does not this scheme of yours set God the Father, and God the Son at variance? One determined before the foundation of the world that precisely so many of the human race should be first fitted for, and then sent to, everlasting destruction; the other actually died for their sins, that they might be saved. Can you make these jarring parts of your system harmonize? Perhaps you will say, “I am under no obligation to answer these impertinent questions." But hold, sir, are you under no obligation to make the several parts of your system suit each other? You cannot suppose the public have such unlimited confidence in your naked assertions, as to set aside scripture, rational argument, and the dictates of
7. You think your doctrine does not encourage sin. Let us try it in an instance or two. Esau,
l; you are an impious man. You ought not to injure the feelings of your pious parents by selling your birth-right, and then by marrying one of another