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our imitation of his example, and especially the sincerity and intensity of our loveto our fellow-creatures, and fellowchristians and brethren in Christ, the fervour of our zeal to promote their happiness, advance their piety, secure their salvation; faith, I say, leads us to compare all these with our Saviour's character and conduct, with the activity of his mercy, the fervour of his zeal for the salvation of souls—and oh! my friends, how must such a comparison put an end to a Christian's boasting! How must it fill him with humiliation and shame! Shame, for the coldness of his warmest benevolence, shame for the sluggishness of his most active exertions.
Thus, the more constantly faith directs us to the life and death of Christ as the means of our salvation, the more does it humble our souls with a deep sense of our total unworthiness of the salvation thus obtained for us. Thus, the more unfeignedly we put our total dependence on Christ crucified, as our Mediator, our Advocate, our Redeemer, the more will be our heartfelt abhorrence of pride and boasting as to ourselves, the more will all self-complacency be banished from us, the more humbly we shall prostrate ourselves at the foot of the cross, and cry, “ O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable sinners.” Such are the practical feelings of all true Christians, however they may differ on abstruse speculations as to the divine foreknowledge and decrees, as compared with human freedom and human agency. Oh! how much is it to be desired, that no sincere Christians would ever make their faith in Christ an exercise of disputation and opposition, instead of kindness and mercy, and brotherly love! How anxiously should they watch and pray, lest their scriptural knowledge should swell their vanity, instead of subduing their pride; and lest they should boast over those from whom they differ, as if they themselves were wise and holy, forgetting that they are ignorant and blind, and sinful and depraved. And “ do thou, O Lord, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth, send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ's sake."* _Amen.
the Collect for Quinquagesima Sunday.
A REVIEW OF THE SCRIPTURAL PROOFS
THE CONFESSION OF FAITH
AGREED UPON BY THE ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES AT WESTMINSTER, AND AGREED
THE ARTICLES OF THAT CONFESSION WHICH MAINTAIN
THE DOCTRINE OT
DIRECTING THE STUDENT TO SOME APPROVED AUTHOR ON THE
In the preceding pages I have considered such passages of Scripture as seemed to me to bear most directly on the doctrine of absolute predestination, and the tenets connected with it; but to avoid all appearance of partial selection, and to give the subject the fairest examination in my power, I have judged it right to consider, but with as much brevity as possible, the scriptural proofs adduced by the celebrated Assembly of Divines at Westminster, in support of that doctrine; quoting at large each of the articles of their Confession of Faith, which maintains any opinion connected with absolute predestination, together with the scriptural proofs annexed to it; and then, either referring to the pages of the preceding work, in which these passages have been considered, or making such additional comments as appeared to me necessary.
But, before I enter into this discussion, I beg to observe, that I am very far from extending my opposition to the entire of this celebrated Confession, or regarding with any degree of hostility or disrespect the numerous, important, and in general exemplary, body of Christians, who have adopted it as their system of faith and practice ;-on the contrary, I acknowledge, frankly and gladly, that this Confession maintains firmly and impressively the vital and leading truths of the Gospel, the Trinity, the Atonement, the fallen nature of man, the necessity of divine grace to restore it, the doctrine of justification by faith, the importance of good works, and that it clearly discriminates and repels the errors, novelties, and corruptions of the Church of Rome. I deeply, indeed, regret that the Presbyterians have (as it appears to me,) departed from the apostolic model of church government, and deprived their members of the unspeakable benefit of such a Liturgy as the Church of England enjoys. But yet I freely and gladly avow my full conviction that the Church of Scotland is one of the brightest ornaments and firmest pillars of the Reformation, and that the Presbyterian Church in Ireland is at this hour one of the most powerful bulwarks of the Protestant faith in this land. As to the individuals who compose that church, the more my acquaintance with them has extended, the more my respect for them has increased ; and we must not forget that their predecessors, in the reign of Mary, shared with Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley, the glory of being martyrs for the truth ; and as to their writers, (while we cannot but venerate the memories of Usher and Leighton,) we ought not to depreciate the labours of many of their successors, who have also, though not perhaps in so high a degree, been distinguished by learning, piety, and zeal.
It may perhaps be asked, why, after all these concessions in favour of the general scheme of doctrine in the Presbyterian Church, I so seriously and laboriously oppose any part of it?-I answer, because the doctrine of absolute, irrespective predestination, which I oppose, while it appears perfectly unconnected with those great truths of Christianity, for the steady maintenance of which I so strongly approve of the Presbyterian Church, at the same time seems to me not only erroneous and antiscriptural, but dangerous and pernicious; exhibiting a revolting, a mistaken view of the moral character and government of God a view which lowers our confidence in the Divine justice and mercy_limits the extent and efficacy of Christ's atonement-and therefore depreciates the whole scheme of Redemption ; questions the riches of the Divine forbearance and long suffering, “ not knowing that the goodness of God