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In a clear view and belief of the Mess'rs. EDITORS, truths imported in these doctrines, THE following answer to Christians see themselves in a state three questions in the last No. of of absolute dependence on God, the Connecticut Evangelical Magself-ruined, helpless and lost forev. azine is submitted to consideration. er, without his sovereign aid, and
1. Did God from all eterni. all their holiness and happiness ori. ginating in and proceeding from ty, decree that a certain part of
mankind, viz. the Elect, should his self-moved goodness and mercy -the effect of his sovereign good go to heaven, do what they will ?
2. Did God from all eternity pleasure. This surely is well suited
decree that the other to excite low and abaling thoughts kind, viz. the Reprobates, should
manof themselves, and high and admiring thoughts of God to fill go to hell, do what they can ? their hearts with gratitude, and
3. Can God be just in so do
ing?" their mouths with praise.
From the observations which HERE appears to be no ochave been made, I trult, it will appear to candid inquirers after these questions separately. The truth, that the doctrines of divine two firit of them must doubtless be sovereignty and particular ele&tion, answered alike ; and, I think, in in their genuine tendency, are so the negative. God never decreed, far from having an unfavorable from all eternity nor at any time, aspect on the interest of true reli- either that the flothful and unholy gion, that they tend to enforce it, should go to heaven ; or that those and to excite that serious attention who improve the talents given and concern, and those views and them, as his good and faithful ferexercises in general, which are vants, should go to hell. He favorable to the promotion of it; hath said, Gen. iv. 7. “ If thou and, of consequence, that the ten doelt well, shalt thou not be acdency of the calls, offers and cepted? and if thou does not well, warnings, promises and threaten- lin lieth at the door.” He hath ings of the gospel, in favor of faid, Ifa. iii. 10, 11. religion, is not destroyed or weak to the righteous, that it shall be ened by these doctrines. I shall well with them, for they shall eat only add here, that whilst the gof the fruit of their doings.
Woe unpel in its whole system, is as well to the wicked ! it shall be ill with adapted, as it can be conceived him ; for the reward of his hands any fyftem of external means con- shall be given him.” Our Savfhent with truth, could be, to iour hath said, John v. 28, 29. prove subservient to the awaken.". The hour is coming, in the which ing, conviction and converfion of all that are in their graves Ahall hear finners, it is peculiarly well calcu. his voice, and shall come forth : lated to preserve and Itrengthen, they that have done good, unto to maintain and increase the holi the resurrection of life ; and they ness of those who are born of God that have done evil, unto the rel. to excite in them every right exer. urrection of damnation." And cise and aff Etion, and to prompt again ; “ Behold, I come quickly, them to a holy conversation and and my reward is with me, to give practice in all its branches.
every man according as his works (To be continued.) shall be." Rev. xxi. 12.
Such are the reveal decrees fore will I divide him a portion of Heaven. Such are the folemn with the great, and he shall divide divine assurances given us, not on the spoil with the strong, because ly in the beginning, and midule, he hath poured out his foul unto and ent, but all over the bible. death : and he was numbered with Certainly, then, those who believe transgressors, and bore the fin of the word of God, can have no many, and made interceflion for ground to fear, or hope, that he 'the transgreffors." Of these, our hath secret decrees į dooming Saviour expressly speaks, Joha fome to everlasting punishment, let xvii. 1, 2." Father, the hour is them do ever so well; and ap. come ; glorify thy Son, that thy pointing others to obtain eternal' Son also may glorify thee : As life, let then do ever so wickedly. I thou halt given him power over all And if it be certain that the Judge Aeíh, that he hould give eternal of all the earth has no such dark life to as many as thou has given unequal decrees, the third quel bim.” And verfe 6." I have tion will be fuperfeded.
manife:ted thy name unto the I might here top; only it would men whom sou gavelt me out of probably be fuppofed, that the the world.” And verfe 9. “I good old Calvinistic doctrine of elec- pray for ibem : I pray not for the cion, was wholly given up : So world, but for them whom thou that by thus briefly satisfying ma- has given me ; for they are thine." ny, some others might be disfatis That this happy number were fied. If, therefore, the queriit thus elected of God, and given to has leisure, and can have patience, Chrift, from all eternily, we are we will examine carefully, not plainly and abundantly told. See what Calvin taught, but what the ; Eph. i. 3. “ Blessed be God, holy scriptures tcach, and what who hath blessed us with all spiritreason obliges us to believe, con ual bleflings in Christ, according cerning this doctrine.
as he hath chofen us in him, beWe have, indeed, once learnt by fore the foundation of the world." heart, that " God, out of his And 2 Tim. i. 9. “ Who hath mere good pleasure, from all eter- saved #5, and called us with an honity, elected fome to everlasting ly calling, not according to our life" : but this was when we were works, but according to his own little children; and now are purpose and grace, which was give become mon, it may be tinie, per us in Christ Jesus before the haps, to put away thole childish world begaan." things.
And indeed, that all the purIt must be admitted, however, poses of a being whois infinite, eterthat mention is made, both in the nal and unchangeable, in every old testament and the new, of a natural and moral perfection, muft certain number of mankind, who have been from all eternity, reafon were given to Christ in the cove.obliges us to believe. “ Krown unnant of redemption ; and whom, to God are all his works from the in that covenant, he engaged to beginning of the world.” This, fave. These fem to be spoken of though an apofile had rot féid it, in the 534 chap. of Isaiah, al. must have been evident. And if most throughout; particularly in known, then decreed. For to say the last verse: where God the God knew he thould do, what Father says of the Son, “ There- ! he had not determined, is a plair
contradiction. If, therefore, the feed to serve him, and to reap the falvation of every man that is re- benefits of hisobedience and death, covered to holiness and happiness, notwithstanding such conditional be a work of God, he must, from election. In that case, it is true, all eternity, have decreed, as well all to whom the gospel comes, as foreknown, how many, and would, in a fense, have been put who, were to be saved.
into a falvable state. That is, inThat none of these can by any to a situation that they might be means fail of salvation, hence saved, unless it were their own also undeniably follows. And fault. But to what purpose is there this is fully implied in the words a price in the hand of a fool, who of our Saviour, Mat. xxiv. 21, has no heart to improve it? All
" Then Mall be great tribu- under the gospel have such a price. lation, such as was not from the They might have life, any of them, beginning of the world to that time; if they would hearken to the calls and except thofe days should be of Christ. He would have gathshortened, there should no feth be ered the reprobate children of jefaved : butfor the ele&'s sake, those rusalem, as a hen gathereth her days fall be shortened.” And chickens under her wings, only
“ For there shall arise they would not. So much is done false Christs, and false prophets, for the finally impenitent, that they who shall thew great signs and won- need not perish, would they forders ; insomuch that (if it were sake their fins, and accept of of. poffible) they should deceive the fered mercy. But it is not enough
for depraved fallen men, that they Indeed, had the election of might be saved, were it not their own these been only conditional, as fault
. To secure their falvation, some have supposed, they might that must be done for them which have been cut off by violence before will effectually prevent their perish. their converfion, or have been left ing, through their own fault. This, to fatal delusions, as well as others. therefore, God decreed to do for But this is not the doctrine of the elect. He determined that scripture. The divine decree con Chrilt should not fail of seeing the cerning the salvation of the élect, fruits of the travail of his soul, was not merely, that they should through man's unbelief and hardbe faved, provided they should do ness of heart.
With respect to a their part; or what was neceffary certain part of mankind, he deterto be done by them. Had that mined to remove all fatal obstacles, been all, then, before repentance to their falvation, moralas well as natand saving faith, one finner would ural--those arising from their own have been a chofen vefsel of mercy i perverseness, as well as from every no more than another. It is the other quarter. He determined to decree of God in regard to all men, take away their stony heart-io that they sha! be saved, if they give them a penitent and believing turn from the errors of their ways, difpofition--to creato them in become the faithful disciples of Christ Jelus unto good works; and Christ, and endure unto the end. then to keep them by his power, But had nothing further been de through faith, unto falvation. Vecreed concerninig any, the salva- ry express to this purpose, among tion of none would have been se. a multitude of others, are the two cured Chritt might have had no' following texts :
Plal. CX. 3.
“ Thy people shall be willing in , king any alteration in their eterthe day of thy power :" and John nal destiny? I think not. It is
“ All that the Father giv- apt to seem so ; but this is oving eth me shall come to me ; and him entirely, to our putting afunder that cometh to me, I will in no what God hath joined togetherwife cast out.” In the art of the means and the end. Those these passages, God fpeaks con to whom God decreed the prize cerning a people of Christ not as of the heavenly race, he decreed yet his willing people ; and he should run. 'I'hose whom he depromises that they shall be willing. creed should obtain pardoning merİn the other text, our Saviour cy, he decreed should comply speaks of those given him, who with the terms on which alone it is had not then come to him, and offered. Those whom he decreed declares that they all shall come ; should have right to the tree of and not one of them shall be cast life, and enter in through the out, or left to perish. The elec. gates into the city; he decreed tion of these to everlasting life, you should do his commandments. fee, was not left suspended on any See Acts xi. 48. “ As many precarious condition. It was not as were ordained to eternal life, bemerely, that if they were willing, lieved." Rom. viii. 30.“ Whom they should be the peculiar people he did predestinate them he also of Christ--that if they would come called." Eph. i. 4.
“ He hath to him and abide in him, they chosen us in Christ, before the Thould be saved in the day of the foundation of the world, that we Lord. No ; like the covenant of Jould be holy, and without blame grace, it was ordered in all things before him in love." And 2 Theff. and sure ; as implying also that ii. 13. 6 God hath from the they should be willing that they beginning chosen you to falvation, should come—thatthey shouldabide. through fan&ification of the spirit,
All this, it seems mult be ad- and belief of the truth." mitted. Unless we will reject the If we would steadily conceive scriptures, and likewise tiie pers of the divine decrees, and the ex. fections of God, and his govern. ecution of them, in their proper ment at all events ; we must be order and real connexion, all dif. lieve that a certain part of man ficulties refpecting them would be kind, even all that will be saved, removed. The decrees of heaven were, from all eternity“ predel are never inconsistent with themtinated according to the purpose of selves, nor inconsistent with the nehim who worketh all things after cellity of that line of conduct in the counsel of bis own will ;” in creatures, which is suitable for such a manner that it is imposible bringing them to pass. But by any of them should fail of falva fupposing cases which never can tion.
happen, and never were intended ; But, it may be asked, will it or by taking in one part of a dinot thence follow, contrary to vine decree, and leaving out all what was at first asserted, that the the other parts, we make the bible, elect are sure of going to heaven, and the governing providence of do what they will ; and that the the Most High, appear full of unnon elect mult go to hell, do what righteousness, darkness and conthey can? Or that it is all one tradiction. It is decreed that, on what men do, in regard to its ma-l a certaio time, a man shall go from
Hartford to New.York: then, we | May not the fovereign Lord on high say, he will certainly get there at
Dispense his favours as he will,
Choose some to life, while others dic the hour appointed, though he
And yet he just and gracious still ? travel all the time appointed for his journey, in the direct road to Bof. What if, to make his terror known,
He lets his patience loog endure, ton. It is decreed that a man shall
Suff'ring vile rebels to go on recover from a dangerous sickness, and real their own destruction fure? by applying to a certain physician, what if he mean to show his grace, and using a certain remedy prescri. And his electing love employs bed by him: then, we say, he will To mark out some of mortal race, certainly get well, though he should And form them fit for heavenly joys ? never call in the physician, nor shall man reply against the Lord, take the remedy. It is decreed and call his Maker's ways unjust, that a man shall live twenty years, Can crush a thousand worlds to dust?
The thunder of whose dreadful word by taking a 'prudent care of his health, and using proper means of But, O my soul, if truth fo bright
Should dazzle and confound thy light, Sustenance : then, we say, he Yet still his written will obey, mult live his appointed time, tho' and wait the great decifive day. he should be ever so careless and
Then shall he make his justice known, intemperate ; or though he should And the whole world, before his throne, eat and drink nothing at all, or With joy or terror shall confels nothing but rank poison. God The glory of his righteousness. never made any such inconsistent
EVANGELICU.S. decrees. We make them in our own abfurd imagination, and then Obfervations on the nine last chapcharge them upon him. Wheo
ters of Ezekiel. he decreed that a man should be
Friend requested the writer justified, he decreed that he should
to communicate his view repent, and believe to the saving of the designs and meaning of the of the soul. When he decreed
nine last chapters of the book of that a man should go to heaven, he
the prophet Ezekiel. decreed that he fhould turn his feet from the broad way to destruction; his thoughts be just, may be useful
As such a communication, should and take, and keep the narrow
to others, and if not, may induce way which leadeth unto life. He fome abler expositor to exhibit never decreed that any man should be damned, who did not deserve submits the following scheme of
their true intent and meaning, he to be turned into hell ; nor that
thoughts on this difficult passage of any man should be saved, who
holy fcripture. thould not, upon just gospel grounds,
The first object which invites be entitled to the kingdom of heav en. What then becomes of the in this passage is relating a divine
our attention, is, that the prophet question, “ Can God be just in vision, exhibited to his view at a so doing.
time, and in a manner of which he I shall conclude with part of one of Dr. Watts's Hymns.
gives a particular relation, toge
ther with the several explanations, The potter moulds the pliant clay,
instructions, and directions, which And forms to various shapes with ease. he received. Such is our God, and such are we,
The particular subjects of this proThe subjects of his high decrees. phetic vifion were thosewhich follow, Vol. I. No. 11.