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the Israelites, by a “strong east this supposition involves both a wind;" but it was “God who limitation of his knowledge, and saused that wind to blow,” and an imperfection in his attributes. the effect produced may have I conceive therefore the Scrip. been as really supernatural as the tural doctrine of election stands revival of Lazarus from the dead. on the very character and attri.
I see nothing therefore in rea. butes of that Being, "with whom son to make me doubt, that is no variableness, neither shad. God's moral government may ow of turning." Yet we are admit, and even require, in eve. conscious of free agency in our ry period of the world, special determinations. That man, is interpositions of power, divine not, in a strict sense perfectly and supernatural ; nor can I see free, that is, independent of God, in such special interpositions, in determining his actions, we any thing more improbable, than must believe, for there can be in the first formation of man, by but one such being in the uni. moulding matter into a particular verse, as a perfectly independ. organic frame, and infusing into ent mind; but I see no contra. it an intelligent principle. The diction nor absurdity in the docGod who created the universe, trine of a predetermined order governs it and all the beings that of events in the universc, and at inhabit it, by such exertions or the same time, the possession by operations of power, general or man of such a freedom of will, particular, as best suit his own as to render him accountable for purposes.
his actions. The first is affirmed The doctrine of predestination in the Scriptures, and in my ap. and election is one which is much prehension, is inseparable from opposed by some denominations the sovereignty and infinite perof Christians. But I see not fections of the Deity; while the how this doctrine can be separ. last is equally affirmed in the ated from the being and attri. Scriptures, and authorized by butes of an infinite God. If our own experience. The terms God is infinite, there can be no unconditional election, I think, such thing as past, and future, are inapplicable to the subject; or a succession of ideas, in the for we have the Scriptures for divine mind. The terms pre. our authority, supported by er. destination and foreknowledge, ery principle of reason, that are therefore inapplicable to the every man's future state will be Supreme Being; and are used determined by his voluntary obe. only in reference to fiuite beings, dience or disobedience. I think who have a succession of ideas. it better to submit and obey, than An infinite being must know with to perplex our minds with ab. certainty every event, future as struse reasonings on subjects bewell as past ; and if events are yond our comprehension. eertainly known to him, they To many men, the doctrine of must be unalterably determined: free, unmerited grucc, in the sal. for how can he know them, but vation of sinners, is very offenin consequence of his own dcter. sive. Such persons scem to supmination ? If they are not cer. pose they can merit salvation and tàiq he cannot know them; and claim it as a right. Butwas not our first formation an act of free from the Scriptures, and from the grace and uncontrolled sove. works of nature and providence; reignty? Was not the gift of an then to learn his own sinfulness intelligent mind to man, distin. and frailty, and his obligations to guishing him from the brutes, an love and serve his Maker. Be. act of sovereigo grace ? Did a ing convinced of his own sinful. man ever plant a field with corn, ness and utter helplessness with. and claim from the Almighty, as out divine aid, it is his duty to a right, a fruitful harvest? Why abandon every sin, to humble then object to free grace in the himself before his Maker, repent works of salvation? Surely man, of all his transgressions, bow to a feeble frail being, who holds God's sovereign will, implore his his life and all his powers, at pardon,and cordially acceptof the divine sufferance, should be Savior, as hisonly hope and refuge. more humble.
On such conditions salvation is But is there nothing for man to freely offered ; and those who do ? He is commanded to "work comply with them, may expect out his salvation with fear and the consolations of the Spirit, trembling.” Yes, my friend, and good hope through grace, man has much to do, he must of their acceptance with God. work out his salvation with fear But men cannot expect these and trembling; but the misfor- consolations, until they are tune is, a great part of the world humbled. Those who proud. wish to work out their salvation ly rely on their own good without fear and trembling. works, virtually tell their Mak. They are willing to be honest er, they do not want his as. and just to their fellow men, and sistance and grace; and God gives then confidently claim salvation his Holy Spirit to those only who from their Creator, without fear. ask it in humility. God is the ing his laws or trembling at his Sovereign of the universe. He judgments ; without performing does govern it; he has a right to the duties of piety, submitting govern it; and men, if saved, to his will, or accepting a Sa. can be saved only on the condi. vior ; in short, without that hu. tions which he has prescribed. mility, which gives God all the He reserves to himself the whole glory, and that holiness without glory of saving sinners, and the which there can be no enjoyment hearts of his children rejoice in in heaven. The condition of the divine determination. salvation which God has impos. I am therefore of opinion that ed is, that the heart must be right the doctrines of divine sovereignwith God; not with man, for ty, the divinity of Christ, regen. man is not the lawgiver or judge, eration by the Holy Spirit, and but with God, the only being free grace through Christ, are who has the right to judge, and fundamental in the gospel scheme the power to punish or reward. of salvation. Those who reject
Man comes into the world these doctrines appear to me to without any knowledge of his tear out the vitals of christianity, Maker, and with a heart oppos. leaving nothing but a lifeless skeled to his law. His business is eton. The cold doctrines of Arto learn the character of God, minianism almost exclude the di.
vine agency in man's salvation and kindness, accompanied by a They su persede the necessity of a serenity of mind and a desire to Redeemer,and of public worship, please, as uniform as they are for niorality may be taught in fam. cheering to families and friends. ilies and schools. In short, they On this subject I spcak with de. never reach the heart, and appear light from observation. not toalter the life and character. At the same time, real religion
Such are not the doctrines of inspires mutual confidence, it the gospel. These elevate the establishes a guard over the soul to God, the Fountain of heart, and creates a security for hight, life, and blessings; they fidelity and affection, in husband subdue the natural pride of the and wife, parents and children, heart, control the passions and brothers and sisters, neighbors change the affections. They in. and friends, which cannot be defuse a principle of supreme love rived from anthority or instructo God, and create a faith in tion ; from the force of law, or Cbrisť which tranquillizes the the influence of example. soul, dispels the gloomy anxie- These, my dear brother, are ties of skepticism, alleviates the some of my views of the calvincares, and enlivens the joys of istic doctrines and their effects. life ; and to crown all, reposes. These doctrines, in the main, I with delightful confidence, upon do believe to be evangelical, and the almighty arm of a Redeemer my belief is not the effect of ed. for salvation.
ucation, forformerly my opinions Nor are the temporal benefits were unfavorable to some of of real religion less conspicuous, these doctrines. My belief is in the effects they produce in the fruit of some experience, and families, and in society. In much inquiry and reflection. minds the best regulated by fam. It is with heart felt regret, ily discipline, and the rules of ci. that I see a large portion of the vility, there will at times break world so inattentive to religion. forth sallies of envy, jealousy, Men often live for many years, petulance, and discontent, which gazing upon the stupendous fabannoy the peace of families and of ric of the universe, apparently neighborhoods. Nothing seems without a sentiment of piety ; effectually to restrain such pas. and wander among the charming sions but divine grace. The beauties of the earth, where the fear of man, and a regard to dea power, the wisdom, and the be. corum will not produce the ef. neficence of the Creator are disfect, in minds of a particular played on every flower, and ev. structure. But the humbling ery leaf, with as little admiration doctrines of the gospel change and gratitude, as the beasts that the tiger to a lamb. Real re. graze on the field. Equally inligion, which implies a habitu. sensible are they to the beauties al sense of the divine presence, of the divine character, unfold. and a fear of offending the Su. ed in the works of providence preme Being, sụbdues and con- and grace ; forgetting that the trols all the turbulent passions ; same God who arrays the lillies and nothing is seen in the Chris. of the field, with more than Soltian, but meekness, forbearance, omon's glory, is ready to clothe Vol. II. New Series.
his children with the splendid sulting the Benefactor, while robes of the Redeemer's right. they riot on the benefit. cousness. And what is astonish. But I must come to a conclu. ing, but often true, the more tem. sion; or instead of a letter, I poral blessings men enjoy, the shall write a book. I could less disposed are they to love and dwell on subjects of this kind obey their heavenly Benefactor : with pleasure ; but if what I a truth which gave occasion for have written is the truth, it is our Savior to remark, how diffi. enough : if not, it is too much. cult it is for a rich man to enter If my opinions are erroneous, into the kingdom of God. It is I should be happy to be cor. a melancholy proof of the de. rected ; if they are substantially pravity of the human heart, that true, I hope they will have their men often invert the order of due weight. As pilgrims on the things, and suffer their gratitude same journey, it would be for to ahate, in proportion as their our mutual happiness on the wealth increases. Indeed it is road, “ so to be agreed as that extremely painful to a reflecting we might walk together,” and be mind, to observe men in afluence, united in principle as well as by who live amidst a profusion of the most endearing of all ties, every thing the bounty of heav. Christian love. en bestows, indulging in sensu. I am, with sincere affection, al gratifications and rolling in
Yours, &c. splendor; but forgetting, or in.
Noah WEBSTER, jun.
THE CHARGE OF SEDITION AND FACTION AGAINST GOOD MEN, E3a
PECIALLY FAITHFUL MINISTERS, CONSIDERED AND ACCOUNTED
The unbelieving Jews. (Concluded from p. 26.) The fact, that the character of And, to a serious and attentive seditious, troublesume, and dis observer, I am persuaded it is orderly has been constantly giv. not difficult to discern. The en by wicked men to the ser. general cause of this effect is, vants of God, was established that, in an equivocal sense, the in the last number. We are charge is just. True religion now to inquire what it is in true does, indeed, give trouble and religion, that gives occasion to uneasiness to wicked men, while this charge, and makes the world they continuesuch; and it cannot to believe it.
be supposed, but they will deepThat there must be something ly resent it. In order to illus. of this kind is very evident. So trate this a little more fully, I uniform an effect, could not take beg your attention to the three place without an adequate cause, following observations.
1. The example of the ser. own works were evil, and his vants of God, is a continual and brother's righteous.” sensible reproach, to the contra. And, as every worldly man's ty conduct of the men of the own conscience is thus, made world. Nothing can preserve troublesome to him by the ex. peace to any man, but some ample of the children of God: measure of self-satisfaction As so it tends to set sinners at vari. a deceived heart turns the wick ance with one another, and (x. ed aside, so the continuance of poses the conduct of each to the self-deceit is necessary to his tast. censure of the rest. Sin, how. ing those pleasures of sin in ever universally practised, is yet which his mistaken happiness is generally shameful. Conscience placed. To reproach his conduct, though bribed, and comparativetherefore, is to disturb his dream, ly blind in a man's own case, is and to wound his peace. And often just and impartial, at least as pride, however finely disguis. under far less bias, in the case of ed, has the dominion in every others. It is in this way, and in unrenewed heart, how offensive this way alone, that the public must every species of reproof be, honor and credit of religion is to men of this character? Now, preserved, amidst so great a ma. is not the example of every good jority who are enemies to it in man, a severe and sensible, their hearts. Must not then, the though silent, reproof to the example of a strict and consci. wicked ? With whatever spe. entious person, set in the strongdious arguments men may some: est light the faults of those who times plead for sin, with what act a contrary part, so often as ever false pretences they may of. they happen to fall under obserten excuse and palliate it to their vation together. Nay, does it own minds, when it is brought not open the eyes of the world into one view with true religion, upon many lesser blemishes it is not able to bear the compar. which would otherwise escape ison. The example of good men its notice? The degree of shame to the wicked is, like the sun that attends any practice, is al. upon a weak eye, distressing and ways in proportion to the sense painful. It is excellent in it. which the bulk of mankind have self, but it is offensive to them. of the evil of it. And this sense If I may speak so, it flashes light cannot, by any means, be more upon the conscience, rouses it strengthened, than by an exam. from a state of insensible securi. ple of what is good; as deformi. ty, points its arrows, and shar- ty never appears so shocking as pens its sting. What else was when compared with perfect it that produced the first act beauty. Thus a truly pious man of violence that stands upon re. is, by every instance of his visi. cord, the murder of Abel by ble conduct, exposing to rehis brother Cain? Of this the proach some one or other, and by apostle John speaks in the fol. consequence provoking their re. lowing terms, “Not as Cain, sentment. who was of that wicked one. It is for this reason that men and slew his brother: and where. discover such a proneness to dis. fore slew he him ? Because his parage every profession of piety