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** sworn, saith the Lord; for because thou "hast done this thing, and hast not withheld "thy son, thine only son; that in blessing I "will bless thee, and in multiplying I will "multiply thy seed as the stars of the hea"ven, and as the sand which is upon the sea"shore: and in thy seed shall all the nations *' of the earth be blessed; because thou hast "obeyed my voice." There are a great variety of other texts, directly or indirectly proving that God graciously intends the happiness of his creatures, such as the following: "Casting all your care upon him, for "he careth for you. Have I any pleasure at "all that the wicked should die, saith the "Lord, and not that he should return from "his ways and live?" Now here it may be remarked as an extraordinary thing, that Calvin could imagine that God should ever have pleasure in the death of the innocent, and that he should doom and devote innocent beings to eternal punishment, when he is graciously pleased to declare, he has no pleasure even in the death of the wicked, and that there is joy in heaven when a sinner repenteth. "Delight thou in the Lord, "and he shall give thee thy heart's desire. "Commit thy way unto the Lord, put also
"thy trust in him; and he shall' bring it to "pass. Blessed be the Lord, who daily "loadeth us with benefits. God giveth to all "men liberally, and upbraideth not. He "will fulfil the desire of them that fear him. "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and "truth unto such as keep his covenant: the "Lord shall open unto them his good trea"sure, and bless all the work of their hands. "God so loved the world, that he gave his "only-begotten Son, that whosoever be"lieveth in him should not perish, but have "everlasting life. In this was manifested the "love of God towards us, because that God "scut his only-begotten Son into the world, "that we might live through him. His "mercy is on them that fear him throughout "all generations. And as in Adam all die, "so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Thus reason and common sense in general, and Scripture in particular, both in its spirit and letter, is clearly against Calvin's doctrine of absolute and unconditional decrees; against his doctrines of election and predestination; the foregoing quotations from it proving that it proclaims the most positive promises of temporal and eternal happiness to all righteous men without exception. Ac
cordingly, a rational and grateful being wholly trusts in these promises: they are the repose of his soul whilst he lives in this world, and he derives all his hopes and expectations of future happiness from them. But at the same time he is conscious these promises are neither capriciously nor unconditionally made; they are not predestinated, nor are they made to the man who says, "Lord, Lord," but only to him who doth the will of his Creator to the best of his power; and who, knowing his incapacity to fulfil it of himself, most humbly entreats the assistance of God's grace and favour to enable him to accomplish it: such a man has a solid foundation, on which his hope and confidence may justly rest. But there is no other basis, on Avhich any man can properly do so, nor is there any other criterion, by which a man ought to imagine himself entitled to the favour of God, but from the consciousness of a perfect resignation to his will, and a constant wish and desire to obey it; nevertheless, and notwithstanding this clear, precise, and unambiguous statement in Scripture of the terms on which the human species are to expect the favour of God, there are a class of men who consider themselves as predes
tinated from all eternity as the "Elect" of God, independently of their actions in this world. I should be glad to ask the most confident amongst them these questions: Where do you find in the Scriptures of God any plain unambiguous declaration, that warrants 3rou to imagine yourself an " Elect" of God? Suppose God should say to you, I ordered you to do such and such things; have you done them? your answer must be, No, I have not. I ordered you not to do such and such things; have you done them? your answer must be, I have. Admit that God should then say to you, From thy own mouth thou art convicted of thy disobedience; depart from my presence to the place appointed for those wicked and disobedient servants who knew their Lord's will, and did not perform it. Can you, or any man, make any just appeal from this sentence, or advance a word in your own favour against its justice? Consequently neither you nor any person can claim to be an Elect of God from your own personal conduct, nor from any passage in Scriptu ■a; on the contrary, from your own confession you are in a state of reprobation, from which you can only be delivered by the merits of your Sa
viour and Redeemer; and therefore, instead of considering yourself as an Elect of God, whilst you are in this world, you should consider yourself as a reprieved culprit, as one whose life was forfeited by the disobedience of Adam, and your present existence as entirely owing to the clemency and mercy of God; and your presumption in supposing yourself as an Elect of God you should impute to a sanguine temper, an inordinate degree of self-love, and a heated enthusiasm, which alternately prevailing and associating in your mind, produces the arrogant conclusion you have formed in it, of being an Elect of God. Whatever those infatuated men, who consider themselves as the favourites of God, may think, a rational being cannot, or at least he ought not to ground his belief of possessing the favour and peace of God in this life, and salvation in the next, on any other terms, or in any other way, than the one expressly and specifically declared to the human race by the word of God: if he adopts any other mode, he gives a law to God instead of receiving one from him; and if he rightly considers he will be of opinon, that any other election to his favour than what is founded on the promises