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be odious ; if all conformity to the ho- cestors. There have been many innopily law of God is right, and all want of vations in christian theology, which conformity to it wrong, in a rational were doubtless real improvements:
creature; and if there may be different|Calvin himself was a great innovator degrees of conformity, or of non-con- in his day; and it cannot reasonably, formity to the law, in heart and life, in be supposed, that either he, or any of fomen of equal rational and bodily ca. the other first reformers, just emerging spacities; then there is no difficulty in from the thick darkness of popery,
understanding that men may be sanc-had all the light which was ever to tified in part, while but imperfectly : come into the world. In the last chap
that they may love God in sincerity, ter of Daniel, after dark predictions of da while not with all the heart and soul, far distant events, we read of its being
mind and strength : And there will be said to the prophet by an angel; “Shut ap po need of believing that the moral up the words and seal the hook, even imperfection of good men must conto the time of the end! many shall sist merely in the inconstancy of their run to and fro, and knowledge shall holy exercises.
be increased.” And whether the comIndeed, all the admirable late advan-mencement of that time is yet seen or ces in theological science, so called, it not, it is certainly now a remarkable appears to me, rest entirely upon this time of running to and fro : and I can
one new discovery, that there can be not but think there has been considerard
no sin in negatives; in a man's not able increase of important knowledge
loving God, or his neighbor, not being of late years, even in this before en,2745 rightly disposed, and never doing any lightened land. But in such revolu
duty. That is, upon nothing. From tionary times, when there is an uncomthis arises all the difficulty in account.mon breaking loose from the fetters of ing for the origin of moral evil, with-education, it cannot otherwise well be
out supposing God the author of it, or expected, than that some of the bolde let its immediate efficient cause. From est and foremost, will run too fast and
this arises all the necessity of thinking too far. There was danger of this, it me that God must work in unborn infants, seems, among the followers of Christ,
exciting them to will and do iniqui- even at the beginning of the christian cipt ty, in order to account for our native era. Hence such warnings and cau
depravity. And to this alone is evi- tions were then given, as that to the ines dently owing the supposed impossibil-Collossians; “Beware lest any man
ity of a man's being partly, while im- spoil you through philosophy.” And
perfectly sanctified. Were it not for that to the Hebrews ; " Be not carri15 this strange notion, that in an unholyed about with divers and strange doctipi disposition, and in deficiency or falling rines." be short of one's plain duty, there can be
But that the new doctrines in quesnothing sinful, there would be no diffi- tion, are so strange, so obviously abculty in seeing, that the holiest of men surd, so plainly contrary to scripture, may have just cause of self-condem- and evidently of such dangerous ten
nation, for the imperfection of their dency, as they have now been repre of a best performances.
sented, many who do not fall in with It has doubtless been perceived, by them, will doubtless be very unwilling every attentive reader, that the sentito believe.. And against believing it, ments remarked upon, are not object several plausible reasons will readily ed against merely, if at all, because of|occur. It may be said, the outlines of their being innovations; there may be this new theory were first giten, by danger, no doubt, of holding over te- some of our greatest and best divines. paciously the traditions of the elders, It may be said, these sentiments have
as well as of departing too bastily from had a considerable run, with very little pere the long received opinions of our an- opposition. That they are adopted,
several of them at least, by numbers || matter of mere metaphysical specah of our ministers, who are in high re- tion: hard to be refuted or underston putation both for talents and ortho- and of little or no serious consequence doxy: and that they are virtually ap- whether true or false. proved, and a currency is given them, But such an idea of it, Icannot thin with unanimity, by those who do not is altogether just. That it seems hari embrace them. Were they materially to be refuted, may be only becaus erroneous, and very dangerous doc- it is always difficult to disprove what trines, it may be asked, How could is self-evidently erroneous, or by sobe these things be?
reasoning, to make self-evident absur We answer: All strange things, are dities, appear more absurd. Hence the no new things under the sun; nor are grave prophets, Elijah and Isaiah, whes any of these things altogether unac- contending with the priests of Baal. countable, supposing they ought not and the worshippers of a log, could on 30 to have been : supposing the doc- ly laugh“at them. trines as erroneous and dangerous as That the speculations of our oppo they have now been supposed. Nei. nents in the present case, are hard to ther the greatness nor the goodness of be understood, is partly true. Their the first publishers of these wonder-arguments, it must be acknowledged ful discoveries is at all disputed. || are extremely unintelligible. Nor can But, “ Greatmen are not always the utility of what they contend for, il wise;" and men eminently good, as supported, easily be seen. But nei well as great, may sometimes err. Itther of these things can be said, will is also to be observed, that they are the least appearance of reason, res liable to do so most of all, in deep pecting the points disputed by them.and fundamental matters. Aining to These they often express in the most go to the very bottom of things, they unequivocal language, and these are easily dive quite below the bottom of some of the most intelligible, most erievery thing. By calling in question dent,and most essential articles of faith. first principles, which are self evident, Is it hard to understand, or to beand admit of no proof, out of clear lieve, that holiness, or the whole duty light, they plunge into Egyptian dark- of man, may comprehend something ness, even darkness which may be besides unprincipled actions ? That a felt.” Thus weak man is many times, good heart may be something distinct as the poet says;
from, prior to, and the cause of, good “Alike in ignorance, his reason such, works, good words, good thoughts, “Whether he think too little, or too much." good volitions or affections? Is it
With respect to the run which these hard to understand, or to believe, that dark sentiments have had, and their there may be sin, in something besides being arlopted by some of the most positive exercises ? That ili nature competent judges; to this it may be may be in itself sinful ? That even replied, men of sense and learning, as mere want of conformity in heart, to well as the illiterate and weaker sort, the holy and righteous law of God ;are sometimes surprisingly captivated or merely an unbenevolent, unmerciwith new things, and things marvel. | ful disposition, in a rational creature, lous.
may be sin ? Or that there may be That this novel system, is rather | sins of omission, as well as of commis. countenanced than much opposed, by sion? Is it hard to understand, or to such as do not embrace it, may be be- || believe, that God, who cannot be cause it has not been much canvass- tempted, so as to do evil himself, will ed. Taking it for certain, that such never tempt any man, or directly ininen as the writers in support of it, fluence him to commit iniquity, er would not maintain any dangerous er create any one unto evil works? rors, it seems to be considered as a And why should these things "be
deaought unimportant? Why should it contradict their avowed peculiarities, thought of little serious
as well as the above supposed conseuence, whether they are true or false? quences of them. And hence some II, INV hether believed or not? How can of our very good ministers, I underal da sinner ever know the plague of bis stand, are so charitable as to hope that e awn heart, so long as he does not know their real meaning may be nearly dişor think, that he has any heart at all ? right; or at least, that their wrong io low can a man think himself requir-deas will do little or no hurt. But eiferid, or feel under any obligation, to ther of these hopes, I must needs apund florify God, or do any good to men,prehend, is extending charity beyond andev hile persuaded that in his never do- the bounds of reason. In being thus heng either, there is no sin ? Or how inconsistent, it may be asked, What do a log could we know what to fear or hope they more than others ? Do not all
or from God, or have any dependance herilics do the same? It is an old softpon his word, did we believe that he proverbial saying, “ Error is fated to evas as much the author of all kinds of run crooked.” It doubtless does so,
vil, as of good ? as positively and many times, designedly : that unpopacummediately the cause of darkness, ular opinions may be introduced and cible leceit and lies, as of light and truth? | spread, with less suspicion. The pro
Were this to be believed, and if those pagators of false doctrines, may complaces of scripture where he is spoken monly thụs contradict themselves thro' bepf, and speaks of himself, as deceiving mere inadvertence; because of their of men, and even good men, were to be having formerly been accustomed to edunderstood in a literal and strict sense the language of orthodoxy; or because
as though he immediately inspired every man's conscience is on the side their delusions, or inwardly caused of truth. In some instances, such inik their deceit
, how could it be known consistencies may give good reason to but that Moses and the prophets, the hope, that the hearts of men are soun. evangelists and apostles, were deceiv-der than their heads. But even in ed or meant to deceive, in all that they that case, it cannot rationally be hop, have written ?
ed, that their inconsistently propagatThus important, in my apprehen-ing dangerous errors, will have no persion, on our side of the question, is the picious effects. They may lead the controversy. Thus evidently, it ap-blind into the ditch : and not be able, pears to me,do these deep metaphysics if willing, to help them out. Many strike at the root, and undermine the may follow them readily while they foundation, of what man is to believe go wrong, and not be so ready to turn concerning God, and of all the duty about with them, when they seem to which God requires of man. Of what get right. However far the preacher's the scriptures principally teach, and or writer's heart may be from accordeven of the truth of the scriptures | ing with the erroneous speculations themselves.
delivered, they may be perfectly aNot that the preachers of such greeable to the wishes of many of his strange doctrines are supposed to be hearers and readers. And I know of at all apprehensive of these necessary | no doctrines concerning which this is consequences. Perhaps the most of inore likely to be the case, than the them may not believe, that they will first principles in the foregoing exfollow, when it is told them. They tracts; even if the forementioned conno doubt, believe the scriptures as sequences should be believed inevitafirmly as their brethren, and as much bly to follow. To those who are of inculcate the duties enjoined, and ma- that carnal inind which is not subject ny of the doctrines taught in them, as to the law of God, neither can be, what
any others. I am told and have seen can be more well pleasing than to tell thing it is true, tbat they often expressly I them thai their total want of conform
ity to it is po sin ? Nor will it please men, or never enter into disputes wil them less, should they thence con- any, that we may offend none, an clude that po subjection to this im- may please all. possible law is required of them. Tel But the important doctrines of chris ling notorious evil doers, that they tianity we must contend for, by whor have no evil disposition ; and that all soever they may be opposed, and who their ungodlyand unrighteous thoughts, ever may be displeased or offended words and deeds....all their evil affec. or we cannot be the faithful servant tions and volitions, are from God's of Christ. Plain and repeated are the working in them, will surely not be of declarations and injunctions to the fensive. And should they see, or be- purpose. See 2 Timothy ii. 23, 24,21. lieve, that if all deceivableness of un- ||“ But foolish and unlearned question righteousness in men, and all the de-avoid, knowing that they do gender ceptions in good men, are thus from strises. And the servant of the Lord the influence and inspiration of God, must not strive, but be gentle upto al it cannot be known that there is any men, apt to teach, patient; in meek. truth in the Bible, neither would this ness instructing those that opposi offend them. They hate the Bible, themselves.” Titus i. 7-11. “ Fora and wish it might not be true; for it bishop must be blarneless, as the ster. nerer prophesyeth good unto them, ard of God, &c. Holding fast the faithbut always evil.
ful word, as he hath been taught; that With respect to contending for the he may be able by sound doctrine to true faith, as in regard to almost eve-convince the gainsayers. For there ry other duty, there is danger of erring are many whose mouths must be stop on the right hand and on the left; of ped; who subvert whole houses, teach being too forward, as well as too re-ing things which they ought not." See luctant, to engage in theological con-|| also the solemn admonition of the atroversies. It is a wise counsel of Sol-postle Jude, designed chiefly, I couomon, applicable to religious as well clude, for the pastors of churcbes. as temporal matters, “ Leave off con- Beloved, when I gave diligence to tention before it be meddled with.” write unto you of the common salva. But among the crying provocations of tion, it was needful for me to write un God's ancient covenant people, on ac- to you and exhort you
ADDRESS. not be the servant of Christ.” In in- To the temperate and well disposed In different matters, or things in them- habitants of the County of Madison. selves lawful to be done or omitted, Fellow.citizens! We should become all things to all!! As the standing Committee of the
Madison County Moral Society, it be- || And as the committee are deeply imomes our duty to address you on the pressed with the importance of purity "resent occasion; on subjects the most of character, being considered a nemportant to the well being of the com- cessary pre-requsite to promotion, they dinunity, our individual peace and hap- feel confident that the society will, at piness and the good of the rising gen- a future meeting, instruct them to seteration. The corruption of our agelect out of the candidates offered for altand nation, has long heen a subject of choice at the ensuing election for senreconcern and regret to the pious andators and assemblymen, such men, ncuy irtuous part of society, and has at whose strict morality and respect for . hength risen to such an alarming height religion, whose honesty, firmness and areas to excite them to action in various discernment shall afford a valuable exher parts of our country, so that this at-||ample to our youth, and inspire us ant et empt in this county, is but the fruits with confidence that they will pursue geof a common cause, which we hope the best interests of the communiiy, set will eventually unite every member without regard to party or private in
of the community in the promotion of|terest, and recommend them for your -Ithat virtue and benevolence that will suffrages, and also to point out some Stafford us consolation from the testimo- alternative provided such men are not gisay, that righteousness exalteth a nation found in nomination. And we feel it en tu but sin is a reproach to any people.- incumbent on us, earnestly to recommil. The experience of other nations proves mend to each town in the county, to s, i to us unequivocally, that virtue is the form branch societies that they may sms only basis on which republican gov-more effectually promote the contemhoc ernments and institutions can rest ;-plated object in their own vicinity, uglis and that whenever this ceases to char- and appoint a committee to corresoni acterise the motives of citizens, they pond with us, and communicate all biele are ripe for the ambitious grasp of the information in their possession, ofd some aspiring demagogue, who will calculated to enable us to execute
fasten upon them the iron bands of the design of our appointment. And o despotism. We believe, that “pure as we confidently hope the exertions
religion, and undefiled," is that which of this society will be crowned with
can alone secure our individual happi- success, so far as to secure some ine fi mess, both for time and eternity ; and portant advantage to our country, we
that in proportion as this prevails in hope that similar societies inay be conany nation, that nation is blessed and stituted in other counties. And as we. happy. Morality is the outward fruit are persuaded that party, as it exists of religion, and commends itself to all in this nation, is a very principal evil, men as immediately calculated to pro- as it is made subservient to the purmote the good of society in the most pose of aspiring individuals, we fee! important sense, and to foster ap-in duty bound to declare, that we bepointed means of religious instruction. lieve the difference in sentiment, exis
The object of this institution is to ting in the community, is produced discountenance every vicious practice, more by the misrepresentations of inwhether in private individuals, judicial, terested men than from any real diflegislative or executive officers, in the ference of opinion on measures calcuappointment of which the members of lated to proinote the public good : and this society may have any influence we feel it our duty to promote the. or opportunity of control, feeling it peace of our country by discountenantheir duty to bear testimony against cing party acrimony. As this society immorality, whether practised in a pri- is composed of persons of various senvate corner, or reflected with more timents, both in respect of religion and
glaring atrocity and mischievous ten-politics, we hope that the friends of tek dency from places of power and trust.Il piety and virtue will unite, and malee