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poor Africans, in respect of their souls, as for the inhabitants of this favoured island? And do his special favours to us, in granting us the means of salvation, ' shew respect of persons?'—Every man is bound, in his dealings with others, to render to all their dues: but may he not, as far as it is consistent with this, confer special unmerited favours on one, and not on another, as he sees good, without "respecting persons?" A judge must not acquit, or condemn, or give sentence in any cause, from favour, resentment, or regard to rank, or any similar motive. This would be to " respect per"sons." But in his private conduct, provided he do no wrong to any, he may favour one and not another, as he sees good, without incurring similar blame. We all claim a right to do this, without assigning our reasons to those who grudge what is given to others and not to them. We say, "Friend, 1 do thee no wrong:—is it not lawful "for me to do what I will with mine own? Is "thine eye evil because I am good?" And shall we refuse the same prerogative to our Creator and Judge? Indeed, in thus doing "what we will "with our own," we often act foolishly and sinfully, and shall have an account to give of it at last: but the glorious " Lord is righteous in all his "ways, and holy in all his works;" "His under"standing is infinite ;" "All his works are done "in wisdom." "Who then shall say to him, "What doest thou?"
'Was it to be expected that God, who is boun'tiful and indulgent to all men, in bestowing 'temporal comforts and conveniences, without 'partiality or reserve; who preserveth their life 'from destruction; who protecteth them conti'nually from mischief and danger; who openeth 'his hand, and satisfieth the desire of every living 'thing:—was it to be expected, that this kind 'and benevolent Being would neglect the spiritual 'welfare of any part of his rational creatures, and 'leave their souls destitute of all care and protec'tion; that he would give them life, and health, 'and all the good things of this world, and with'hold from them the possibility of happiness in 'the world to come ?''
Many things have taken place in the world, by the immediate act of God, or by his express command, which we should not have previously ' ex'pected :' but, when they have actually occurred, ought we to oppose our previous expectations to undeniable facts? Was it to be ' expected' that "God, who is Love," should destroy the world with a deluge? or commission Joshua and Israel to extirpate the Canaanites, without sparing women or children? Yet he certainly did these things. There is no "searching of his understanding." * "His judgments are a great deep."2 "Oh, the "depth of the riches both of the wisdom and "knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his "judgments, and his ways past finding out! For "who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who "hath been his counsellor? or who hath first "given to him? and it shall be recompensed to "him again. For of him, and to him, and through "him are all things; to whom be glory for ever, "Amen."3 It has been shewn that he does not 1 Ref. 201. 'Psalm xxxvi. 5, 6. 'Rom. xi. 33—36.
communicate either the means of salvation, or "the things which accompany salvation," in the same manner as he does the bounties of providence. Yet, even in the latter, some regions and some individuals are far more highly favoured than others. Are we, in this land of peace and liberty, no more favoured than the inhabitants of those regions which are desolated by the horrors of war, or groaning under the iron rod of cruel oppression? Does this peculiar kindness of providence towards us more than others evince partiality P Shall vve say that we deserve our special advantages? Shall we ascribe them to our own wisdom? When looking abroad with deep compassion on the wretched sufferers, ought we to forget the words of God by the prophet;—" Shall there be "evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?" Though he 'protecteth men continually from mis'chief and danger,' yea, " openeth his hand, and "satisfieth the desire of every living creature;" yet in the event he leaves every human being to endure the stroke and agony of death ; the greatest temporal punishment which can be inflicted. The analogy therefore in this respect is very unfavourable to the hopes of those who expect impunity, or happiness, hereafter, in any other way than that which is revealed in the word of God: for if He, who " is Love," yet pursues sinners to death, because of his anger, how can it be known that he will not pursue them after death, if no reconciliation have previously taken place ?—' This kind 'and benevolent Being will not neglect the spi'ritual welfare of his rational creatures? as such; but, if they are apostates, rebels, and enemies,
will he shew no disapprobation of their conduct? They have forfeited all claim upon him, and deserved his awful indignation; and how far it may be proper for him to shew them favour, must be unreservedly left to his unerring wisdom. Should those who hold universal salvation take up this argument, I cannot see how they could be answered, in any other way than by such arguments as we use in defence of our sentiments against the reasonings of our opponents. Except it would have been just to leave fallen men to perish in their sins, without hope or possibility of escape; their salvation is not, properly speaking, an act of entire mercy: for to remit an undeserved punishment is not clemency, but justice. Every thing then pertaining to the salvation of guilty and polluted creatures is mercy, and might justly have been withheld. But mercy must be exercised in consistency with all other divine perfections: and we short-sighted sinful creatures are not competent to determine any thing concerning the conduct of Him, " who doeth according to his will in "the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants "of the earth; and whose hand none can stay, or "sav unto him, What doest thou P"1
Some use such language concerning the glorious God as I do not choose to repeat, on the supposition of his dealing with men according to the rigour of his holy law: and others, on the supposition of his not sending to all men the means of salvation; or not saving them without these means: and in various ways men presume to decide on the appointments and dispensations of the Almighty: but at length " every mouth shall be stopped, and "the whole world become guilty before God ;" and all, who do not humbly and thankfully receive his salvation, as a gift of entire free mercy, in all respects, will find their awful mistake when it is too late.
1 Dan. iv. 35.
The Subject more particularly considered from. Scripture.
'The whole nation of the Jews, including both 'good and bad, is said to be elected or chosen by 'God, and the word is never applied exclusively 'to those of the Jews who were obedient to his 'commands. "Because he loved thy fathers, 'therefore he chose their seed after them, and 'brought thee out in his sight, with his mighty 'power out of Egypt." "The Lord thy God hath 'chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, 'above all people that are upon the face of the 'earth.'"1
The whole nation of Israel is, no doubt, spoken of in the Old Testament' as elected or chosen of 'God,' without discrimination of character. The nation descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Israel were, for the sake of their fathers, chosen to special advantages, as to ' the means of salvation,' as well as to peculiar temporal benefits;2 but they were not " chosen unto salvation," as Christians are said to be.3 They were, however, peculiarly distinguished by this national election from the
1 Ref. 202. s Ps. cxlvii. 12—20. 3 2 Thess. ii. 13.