Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

end in spiritual pride. So he would make us believe one stands as fair for salvation as another. Or if any preference, it is to such as despise fan&tifying grace.

Theret re, according to Dr. H, not only those Jews that crucified Christ, but all along under their dispensation they were exceeding proud, monopolizing and covetous ; like the traitoi that loved the thirty pieces of silver more than he did his Master. For they all along had those 'good distinctions of mere grace,' which he says, always make men proud and selfish. And such as had real grace, and eminent advances of grace in their hearts, were still more like Judas; having stronger incentives to pride, which always, in this life, fill them with spiritual pride. Thus far Dr. H, to help Judas himself, and all unbelievers with him, along to heaven; 'also to show why the Jews were not Universalifts ; has made the Jews, the whole race of them, as one collective body, the son of perdition: he has ranked them in one, as to moral character.

As to the limitarians, we have seen Dr. H. place them with the proudest of pharisees, who were the foremost to crucify Chrift. Now as the limitarians, such as hold to endless punishment, have made the main part of christendom, so here we have nearly the whole of the Redeemer's kingdom, Jews and chriftians, from Mo. ses down to this day, placed upon a level with Judas. Yea, as Dr. H. fo reprobates all schemes but his own, we are obliged to take them fridly the whole, marked out by him as one colle&tive body,the son of perdition. This leads to the following inferences.

1. They must all suffer the same evils in this world as Judas did. This consequence from Dr. H's reasoning is undeniable. For he says, hell in an awful degree and the pains of it attend all

A man is always miserable in this world, in proportion to the degree of wickedness that governs him.'+ Many other things he says to the farne import. Therefore, as he charges the same wickedness upon the whole train of his opponents, especial. ly, as he does upon Judas, fo he fairly argues them ali to be as miserable in this world, and constantly fo, as Judas was when he suffered damnation in the highest sense of the term.

2. They must all have the saine degraded lot, or lowest place in heaven, with judas. For he says, 'all may be in heaven together ' in God's own time, brought there in his own way,

with as great a diftinction of reward there, as of character here.'+ •Their reward will be as different as their works have been.'s 'Therefore, on Dr. H’s plan, his opponents can have no higher reward, certainly, in the next world, than he has assigned to Judas.

L

sin.'*

3. His

# P. 235

* P. 234.

+ P. 197

P. 231,

3. His ranking his opponents, all that hold to eternal punish. ment, with the apoflate Jews, even the crucifiers of Christ, and arguing them to be fu milerable in this world, and so degraded in the next, is proof of his great liberality and pure benevolence, he fo often professes. But,

4. His casting such contempt on the grace of God, and gracious exercises of heart, and being under necessity fo todo, inor. der to make room for the despisers of grace to be in the way to heaven, as well as true believers ; who are so much governed by bigotry and spiritual pride, as he pretends; this one thing is futhicient to make us wholly renounce his scheme. It was his duty to have distinguished between spiritual pride and true love or holiness. And shown how the latter is opposed to the former; and how believers need more grace daily, to overcome their pride, bigotry, and fuperftition. Instead of this, he would make the grace of God the occalion of these abominable things. But that Icheme which must needs caft such contempt on the power of divine grace in the hearts of men, cannot be right. It is said to be common for univerfalist preachers to ridicule and mock those gracious exercises, which distinguish faints from finners. And to brand all such with bigotry, fuperftition, and hypocrisy, a's profefs repentance, faith, lumility, and a broken heart, as a necessary preparation for death and the judgment.

This daring, ungodly practice among those preachers is enough to mark them out as false teachers, and to warn all men to beware of them, as they must answer it at the great day.

5. The evils suffered in this world by such as hold to eternal misery, whether jew's or christians, can do no good on the Doc. tor's plan. He makes them all suffer with Judas, the height of damnation, without eflecting any valuable end. But, passing the eviis he tells of, we will come to such as are real. And all that have been in the world from the beginning, can be of no use whatever, according to the Doctor's scheme. He says, all this glo. 'ry and terror of divine holiness and justice, we fee, and forever

snall see in the sufferings of the Son of God for finners. And there ' is no more need of the eternal damuation of any of the human race further to display the glory of God's justice, and his holy anger againdi fin; than there is need of the dim light of a candle, ' to help us to behold the face of the earth, when the sun shines

in the incridian.'*Thus he wholly contcmus the sufferings of mere men, even their exernal sufferings, as beings suited to answer any of these purposes. It is like adding to the finished work of the Son of God, or lihe supposing his work is not finished, to imag

ine

* P. 169.

ine the sufferings of mere creatures can do the least good in this way. And God can lead men to repentance, so fit thein for the saine degree of happiness in heaven, as well without their suffering evils in this world as with. Each of these things Dr. H. holds, as we have seen in the last Letter. Which is saying as plain as words can say, that all the evils suffered by men, in this fire, are entirely ufelels. Now, this world, ever since Adam's transgression, has been a scene of sorrow, pain, and death. The LORD has also sent on men great and awful judgments, from time to time, But all the judgments of heaven poured on men, here in time, from first to last, center in that great work of God on the apostate Jews; done in those days of vengeance mention. ed in Matt. xxiv. 21. Then shall be great tribulation, such as . was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever ! shall be. Whoever reads the hillory of earthquakes, famine, pelilence; treacheries, robberies, and assassinations; with the whole power of the Roman army, treading the Jews down as the mire of the itreet, and filling Jerusalem and the neighbouring cities with blood, carnage, and death ; whoever reads this, is at once struck with that most awful prediction by Moses: 'A fire • is kindled in mine anger,' faith the LORD,' and shall burn unto 'the lowest hell. I will heap mischiefs upon them, I will spend * mine arrows upon them. They shall be burnt with hunger, and

devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction.' ACcording to the apostle, this was to display both the goodness and

severity of God.'* To exhibit, throughout all ages, a standing witness of his displeasure at the sin of the Jews in crucifying Christ; and to designate, most empliatically, the Saviour of men to a lost world. But of all this Dr. H. can give no account. The judicial destruction or death of that valt multitude of Jews, with every attending evil, on his plan, can accomplish no higher purpore, by bringing the character of God or man into view; com. municate no more inftruction, do no more good to the intelligent system, than the slaughter of so many brute beasts. So all the evils that ever have been, or will be in this world, are in the same manner useless, on his plan.

When the chief magistrate infli&ts punishment, ever so painful and of long continuance, on one or more of his subječts ; which punishment so inflicted is, at the same time, suited to secure the peace and best good of the nation : this, instead of lessening his honour and dignity, does directly establish his character as an exce!lent ruler. But when a chief magistrate inflies a flight pun. ifament, and for a short continuance, on some of his subjects ;

which

om. 11.2..

which punishinent so infliéted is wholly for sport or self-gratisi. cation, this conduct does only call down upon him the indignation and abhorrence of the nation. Reason and common sense revolt at such conduct, viewing of it as the most savage barbarity. In this case, the safety and very exiftence of the nation is ftruck at. For this disposition which will thus sport in one instance, will also sport with the lives and fortunes of the whole, when opportunity offers. So, for Dr. H. to argue that all the evils God has sent into the world, and those great and noted evils on the Jews, above mentioned; for him to argue these to be wholly useless, is cafting the utmost contempt on the divine character. Allowing these evils to be infinitely less than the endless torments of the damned, fill if God can inflict them for one day without doing any good, or for self-gratisication only, we have then no fecurity left. God can then do the same, and for the fame end, for two days, ten days, and forever.' So that he is no longer to be trust, ed as a Being of infinite goodness, or as one disposed to bring good to pals by every thing he does. On the contrary, to hold that God invariably does good by all the evils he fends on men in this world, and that he suits the everlasting punishment of the damned for the bett good of the redeemed, is dicctly pleading for the honour and dignity of his character. Especially as he has so clearly revealed that part of mankind ihall go away into everlasting punishment.

6. The light of the gospel, if the Dodor's words be true, can do no good in the world. When'good distinctions,' and all the distinguilhing things of the gospel, always tend to spiritual pride, how can they ever do good? When Jews and Christians, including the whole of the Redeemer's kingdom, have hitherto denied the Doctor's scheme, and been the proudest of pharisees, where is the benefit arising ? Had they been heathen idolaters, as the Doctor pretends, they would have been all orthodox' in some points, and right in some measure. He would have the whole of ihem to be more vile and ignorant than the heathen, and that good distinctions or gospel light and means have made them such. So he would have them to be universally more miserable here in time, and less happy in eternity, on account of these good diflinctions. What is still more extraordinary if poslible, all the evil they suffer in this world brings no honour to God nor does it do good in any way whatever. Thus he makes the gospel prove a fore judgment, always fo, instead of a blessing. As it proved to Judas, lo it has to all men fince Judas's day. Dr. H. has made the exception of not one man, in this case, as we have seen, before he comes to himself. And here we leave the Doctor for the present.

The

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The gospel is in itself the greatest of blessings, however some men may abuse it, be punished for this abuse, so the blessing eventually proves to them a curse. The gospel has a direct and pow. erful tendency to enlighten men, and lead them to repentance. The gospel is the gospel of salvation, it offers falvation to all men. And it is the only mean God sees fit to improve for the salvation of men; or without this men universally perish. Therefore, however men may despide it, this does not render it less good in itself; any more than despising heaven would alter or deltroy the real happi. ness of heaven. . While men despise heaven, this is no heaven to them; but this does not alter the nature of heaven itself. So while men despise the gospel, it is no good news to them; but this does not alter the real and everlasting good the gospel freely offers. Hence it is of the first importance to delire the spread of the gospelthrough the world, and that it might be attended with the fanctifying power of the Holy Ghoft. For this every benevolent mind will most heartily pray ; leaving the event to be decided by divine wisdom. At the same time, while many despise, and wonder, and perish under the light of the gospel, neither the Redeemer, nor the redeemed will eventually sustain any loss. “Though Ifrael be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in

the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.' Isai.

xlix. 5.

I am, &c.

+@+*

1.

Dr. H's opinion that the Law and the Gospel are in direct 1. oppoßtion to each other, examined, and compared to otha

er things in his Book; also the absurd and most Mocking consequences of this opinion.

MY DEAR FRIEND, THE

"HE voice of the whole law, and the voice of the gospel,' the Doctor

says, ' are exceedingly distinct, and diamet• rically opposite.'* He not only makes them opposite as to their subordinate effects, but' opposite in their natures.'+ Which is the same as holding the attributes of Deity to be at war with each other.

The moral law in itself considered, dooms finners to eternal perdition, without the least provision for pardon, and whether

they + P. 61, 62,

* P. 43

« ZurückWeiter »