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the above assertion, because the fact is, he cannot do without it ; and yet he cannot support it, nor make it agree with his own explanations of the word, so we find him as we have and shall find him.'
The preacher bestows much labor to make it appear that God regards the righteous with complacence, with a design to infer from that, that God does not regard the wicked as he does the righteous, and therefore will not treat them with the same favours, and of course will not give unto the wicked the glorious gitt of life and immortality which he is determined to bestow on the righteous.
We do not wish to inculcate an idea that there is not as great a difference in God's approbations of virtue and true piety, and his disapprobations of vice and irreligion, as there is between those opposite qyalities, as exhibited in human characters ; bąt we wish to be indulged in the query, whether there be in reality as much difference between those who profess the religion of the preacher, and sustain as good a moral character as professors in general do, and the most irreligious and immoral, as there is between the two states to which the preacher assigns them in the future and eternal world ? It is not to be expected that the preacher will undertake to vindicate the affirmative of the above question, Yet he is laboring to show that in order to reward every man according to his works, they must be assigned to those infinitely different states in the eternal world! Is there an infinite difference in the characters of men in this finite state ? If not, how is there to be an infinite distinction made in rewarding them according to their works? The preacher contends that the best of men deserve nothing from God but evil, yet wishes to insinuate that God cannot make the dis. tinction in the eternal world which his moral governinent requires, unless he makes some of those who deserve nothing but eyil, eternally happy, and others eternally miserable !
On his 11th page the preacher says, " Though the best of saints in this world are imperfect, yet for all that is holy in them, God regards them with complacency." Here the preacher defines so nicely as to bring his mistake to light. We will ask the preacher how these saints came by the hoIfness for which God regards them with complacency? He surely will not say that those saints have wrought this holiness for themselves, for which God thus regards them, for
if they did shev would deserve something besides evil from him. He will then say that all the holiness which they pos sess is the gift of divine mercy. What was their situation before God gave this holiness to them ? Answer-lestitute of holiness. Did God love them in this state? If he did not, why did he give this holiness to them? Does he love this solipess any better than he did betore he gave it to thos, sinners, or in a word does he love those sinners because he has done those gracious things for them? Or did he do those gracious things for them because he loved them? When the preacher can answer these questions correctly, he will learn to avoid those contradictions which appear in his.no
present preaching. Would a father who hated his son be at the expence of educating and setting hin up in the world, and then love him with complacency, because he had an education, and was in business? Or would a father be more likely to do these things for his son because he loved him in the first place? What would the good people of this preacher's parish think of their reverend pastor, if he should tell all the parents that they had no rational or commendable love for their children, only in consequence of having fed them, clothed them, and educated them ? Could the most modest: of them forbear correcting his error, by telling him that all which he assigned as the cause of his loving his children, were oply, the effects of the love he had for them before he thus fed, clothed, and educated them? It would not be very strange if some who think it no crime just to speak to their minister, should think it a duty to hint something like the above queries to him, on account of the sermon we are: examining. What is the reason the preacher does not see the inpropriety of supposing that God hates the works of his own hands, and is at enmity with his own rational off-, spring? If this were the case, what sense or propriety would there be in all the plentiful scripture testimony, which goes to prove that God sent his Son to die for sinners, bes. cause he loved them?
With a design to establish his darliog teret of future nev. er ending punishment, the preacher states on page 21 and 22, the following remarkable hypothesis. “The whole gospel evidently proceeds on the ground, that mankind, in this world are on probation for retributions of reward and pun, ishment in the world to come." Corresponding with his
views in the above statement, he has the following query on
“But is there any such distinction to be seen in this world? Does not one event happen to all ; to the good, to the clean, and to the unclean?" Does not God * send rain upon the unjust as well as the just ? Nay, if there is any observable difference, is it not rather in favor of the wicked ?-50 much so, indeed, that many of the right: eous in different ages, besides Job, and David, and Jeremiah, have on this account been greatly perplexed," &c. The argument which the preacher wishes to support by the fore going passages, is, that as the whole gospel scheme occupies nothing but future rewards and punishments, the reward of virtue is not in this world, nor the punishment of sin. That the preacher means eternal never-ending misery, by future punishment, may be seen on his 9th page, where he says, “If then, the immortal felicities of heaven are to be conferred upon the righteous, as their gracious reward ; it follows of necessity, that from these felicities the wicked must be excluded." That the above statement respecting the gospel is totally erroneous, we proceed to prove by the divine testimony. 1st. Let it be clearly understood, that, according to this statement, there are no blessings of the gospel conferred, either in this or the coming world; only according to the works of the creature in his probationary-capacity and character. And 2dly. Compare with this idea the following scriptures. 2d Tim. i, 9, 10. “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began ; but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Reader, God grant you understanding to judge with candor, whether this life and immortality, which is thus brought to light though the gospel, which is the grace given unto us before the world began, in Christ Jesus, be given to us according to our works. Look carefully, and see if the text do not utterly forbid such an idea. Eph. ii, 4, &c. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love, wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ ; (by grace are ye saved :) and hath raised us up together, and made us set together in heavenly places in
Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, 'in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. . For by grace are ye saved through faith ; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works lease any man should boast.” Here let us be particular. The Apostlé speaks of GREAT LOVE wherewith God loved us. What was our situation, of which the Apostle makes mention, when God loved us with this GREAT LOVE? Answer, "DEAD IN SINS” Will the preacher say that this GREAT LOVE wherewith God loved us, even when we are dead in sins, has" no more moral holiness in it than there is in the love of the vilest man on earth, toward his children? or even of the most sävage beast toward her offspring? How depraved, how unsanctified, how ungrateful, how lost to all sense of the infinite love of God manifest to sinners, through' á gracious mediator, must the heart be, from the abundance of which, the lips are thus defiled!
Who" would undertake to make it appear, that the richness of the mercy, the greatness of the love, and the quickening of those who were dead in sins, together with Christ, of which the above text speaks so particularly, is all predicated on the works of the sinner, who is thus dead ia sins, and depend on the issue of probationary services ? St. Paul endeavors to confirm the Romans in the glorious truth, that by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the free gift had come upon all men unto justification of life; and that the belief that God would justify the ungodly, was counted for righteousness. It is evident, beyond all contradiction, that the Apostle's meaning in the above scriptures and in his writings, in general, was directly opposite to the above state: ment inade by the preacher.
Let us, in the next place, look at the argument with which the preacher endeavors to support his notion of eternal never ending rewards and punishments. This argument sup- . poses that neither the righteous nor the wicked are dealt with, in this world, according to their works; that there is not made that distinction, in the dealings of God with his creatures, in this life as there really is in their moral char. acters. So far from that, he thinks that the wicked are rather smiled upon, while the righteous receive frown's.
The preacher is so confident in his notion on this subject, that he has even declared the truth of it to be authorised by
the experience of men in all ages. The following are his words on page 16, surely then, to pretend that the present is a state of 'retribution, or that the righteous receive their reward and the wicked their punishment in this world, in any such manner and degree, as to make it manifest, that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him, is to go directly in the face of the experience and observation of all ages.
In order to show the preacher to be utterly erroneous in his opinion expressed above, let us look at the econa. my of God with the house of Israel, pointed out in the 26th chapter of Leviticus. It is, perhaps, impossible to give a just and full representation of the subject of this chapter in fewer words, than are there used, but for the sake of con. ciseness a few quotations only will be made. The reader is requested at the same time, to examine the whole chapter with attention. See verse 18. “And if ye will not yet for all this harken unto me, then I will pupish you seven times more for
sins.” . See verse 21, "And if ye walk.con. trary uoto me, and will not harken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins." 24, "Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will pune ish you yet seven times for your sins.” 28, Then I will walk contrary, unto you also in fury. and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.”.. The reader is referred to the text for an account of the particular punishments denounced against that people, which, while they are the most awful and dreadful which can be conceived of, as possible for a people to suffer in this world, not one of them relates to a future state in the eternal world.
The preacher will not deny that that people have been vi. sited with all the plagues, punishments and chastisements which are denounced in the foregoing chapter, nor can he, with the least propriety, say that the punishments inflicted on that people for their sins, which God says is according to their sins, is not enough to astooish the most perverse of the wicked, with God's disapprobation of sin. See the 32d verse. “And I will bring the land into desolation ; and your enemies, which dwell therein, shall be astonished at it.” It is unnecessary to labour the argument to show tha: the dealings of God with the different nations, noticed in Scripture,
are marked with a decided disapprobation of sin, and an approbation of righteousness,