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Jones's first Letter to a Predestinaria! ence : you take a part of it ; and that part you interpret, in such a way of your own, as to endanger all the rest. We are taught, as plainly as words can leach us, io make our calling and election sure. But why should we do se, i our election, like your's, is sure already? If you can once bring yourself to think that you stand, you are safe ; whereas the Apostle lets me know, that I am, from that moment, in danger ; and accordingly bids me take heed lest I Jull. But po sins can make you fall; because God is so partial, tirat, in favor to you and some others, he distinguishes between the sin and the siuner, and sees not the one for the sake of the other : whereas I am told, that the soul that siuneth, it shall die ; and that there is tribulation and anguish upon erery soul Oj man that doeth eril, without distinction of persons. How strange is it, that jou and I shouid and in the same scripture two such different religions ! What will unbelievers say? Will they not say, that we are both mad: I am as well assured that I shall be saved as you are ; but I am not assured on your principles. You will be saved in preierence to others : I bumbly hope to be saved cren as others. I am no wnere taught in the Srripture, nor have l any private revelation of it, that my Christian baptism gave me any privilege, which baptism does not give to other Christians. I am assured, and I believe it, that God is no respecter of persons; whereas, with you, he is nothing else. So the Jews thought; and that they themselves were the persons respected. As such, they jusutied themselves, and despised all oliers, as sinners of the Gentiles; which opinion led them to their ruin. I never met with any persuasion which comes nearer to theirs than your's doth. But here you will say, you are no Jew. The Jews hated Jesus Christ; but you love him. , And I believe what you say.But do you love him in sincerity ? Have you no reserves? Perhaps you have neither seen nor heard, and will not believe me, but will rather be angry with me, when I tell you, that the contempt which was formerly shewn to the person of Jesus Christ, is now shewn to his Church, which is his body; and that, as his own death was the beginning of Christianity, so the death of his Church will be the end of it. When I speak of his Church, I mean that ark which is now on the waves of this troublesome world, towards a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; I mean that Church in the wilderness which is now travelling to the Land of Promise; containing many enemies within the camp, and having many more without, who are all waiting for its destruction, and boasting that it is near at hand.
Your way of proving your election is also very weak, and will bear no examination. For what testimony have I but your own word; while your works (as we ignorant people understand them) speak a very different language ? But you add, that it must be true because you feel it ; and you say this qught to sustice. But it will not suffice ; for it is the very witness which I am warned not to take; because, as iț comes from yourself, it is not true ; (see John V. 8.) and it opens a door to all manner of imposture and delusion. For if I am to believe what one man says of himself, why am I not to believe another : Some better rule, therefore, is wanting; and our Saviour himself tells me, that there must be a second witness, and that this must be the witness of God, in some shape or other : unless, therefore, a man can produce it, I am not bound to believe him. I shall still think, that the man, who is his own witness, is a false man, whether I can detect him or not. Here, ncighbour, I have got you upon new ground, which, perhaps, you never saw before. But study your Bible better than you have done, and you will find that I am right, and that there is more emor, and inore sorts of error (in the worid) than you have hitherto been aware of.
You and your companions think that the Gospel is in"a very flourishing state : but i' see and lament the contrary. I see much evil under i he name and appearance of good. You think the age of imposture is past ; and that Satan has laid aside his old devices. You see him with his robe of light on- see the quolf' stript: and whatever shape he may assume to deceive the ignorant, I pray daily and earnestly that the flock of Christ may be defended from him.
One more important question I must ask you. If, by your election, you mean that your final salvation is determined; how then is God to judge the world? Are you to judge first, and is God to judge afterwards? Suppose thaç he and you should judge by two diferent rules; where are you then ? Suppose
An olnjector to Christianity asks, &c.
169 you should put evil for good ; (which has been a common mistake in all ages) will God follow your example? We are, therefore, bid to judge nothing before the time; till God, who alone is fit to judge, shall bring to light the hidden things of darkness : then shall strange things appear, now totally unexpected and unknown. Then the applauses of a mistaken world, and of a man's own false heart shall signify nothing. No praise shall be lasting, but that which cometia only from God.
I have now given you, with that truth and friendship, which you may expect from a brother, my three grand objections against your new law of Predestination. I do not, I cannot, receive it. First, because God is no respecter of persons : secondly, because no man can be admitted as his own wita ness: and thirdly, because God shall judge every man according to his works. These objections are so short and plain, that you must understand them. You cannot plead ignorance. Can you answer them? If you cannot, you should cease to prevent the right ways of the Lord; you should come down from your high thoughts, and serve God with me, in the good old humble way of faith, hope, and charity, which will never mislead you: and may God direct us both in the same, for the alone merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. So shall we be able to stand in the evil day. In which prayer I hope you will join with your faithful brother and humble servant. January 1, 1800.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
AN OBJECTOR TO CHRISTIANITY ASKS,
tion of it was so long delayed, if it was of so great benefit to mankind as is pretended, and why the Jews were kept so long under the beggarly elements of the law by that divine Being who is no respecter of persons ?
We know the divine judgments are a great deep, nor by searching can we find out the Almighty to perfection, but though many of God's ways are iar above out of our sight, yet I conceive he has sufficiently explained his proceedings in the questions above, by calling Christ the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and the Mediator of the New Corenunt, which shews that upon the knowledge of transgression before it took place, the covenant of redemption between the Father and Son commenced, in which Christ undertook to be the Mediator betwixt God and man-engaged to assume the nature of man, in it fulfil that law which man would break, and satisfy divine justice, by offering his own blood a sacrifice for the sins of men, in the very nature which bad sinned. But till the fulness of time should come, the ime intinite wisdom saw most proper for Christ to execute this engagement, all he had undertaken to do, should be considered as done, and indeed with God was done; for to a being present to all time there can be no succession of time, but what is past or future to us, to him is present. Thus Christ's assumption of human nature was considered as accomplished his blood shed-God's justice satisfied, and man in a state of reconciliation with him--of course that the Saviour of the world was appointed even before the world was made, and therefore that the mediation of Christ commenced with transgression, and henceforth there was a standing propitiation for sin, a daily intercessor at God's right hand, whose inerits were available and whose righteousness was imputable to the whole race of Adam, although, in their several generations, the great body of the people were not clearly told of it, and if this (as it seernis to be) is the import of Christ's being the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, it will follow that in this particular Christianity is as old as the fall of man, and that the whole race before and since the deluge, have in effect, though not in form, been under the same dispensation of grace with us-had a like admission to the throne of grace, and have bcen favoured with the same kind, if not the same degree of spiritual assistance that the gospel now carries with it--and if any man sinned, 'the same advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous, who is the propitiation not wily for our sjus, but also for
An objecior to Christianity asks, c. the sins of the whole world, and a principal difference between the ancients and us is, that the blessings they enjoyed through the Redeemer then, not formally and generally declared to them, are now increased and made known to us by an express revelation from God. But during the long period from Adam to Moses ibe ancients were implicitly in the same covenant that we now formally are; and by a proper use of the means of grace God then indulged them with, were in the same state of salvation with us, for in every age and every nation too, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him, and it is both contrary to his word and an aspersion upon his character to say God now is or ever was a respecter of persons. If all men have not had the same light and the same measures of divine assistance, God knows what they have had, and will not require more than he has given-the judge of all the earth will do right. The man in the gospel with one talent, is not condemned for the misimprovement of ten or live, but for refusing to improve the one talent he had received. The heathen who had not the law were a law to themselves, their consciences either accusing or else excusing them. The approbation or disapprobation of conscience guided by such light as the providence of God had cast in their way, is the rule by which they are to be judged ; there is indeed no other name given, but that of Jesus Christ, by which men can be saved from Adam to his latest son; but he who says, they who have not heard of Christ cannot be saved by him, though they honestly strive to frame their lives by the best light God has given then, clearly deny that Christ is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, and that his sacrifice is a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, which the scriptures of truth fully assert. I know that an interestin Christ is necessary for the application of his merits to all who have heard of him, but since faith comes by hearing the word of God, and millions in every age have not heard it, to say, that without faith in Christ none of these can be saved by him, is to consign to endless misery, not only all who have died in infancy, but all the heathen from Adam to this day, although many of them doubtless have lived, or honestly endeavoured to live up to the best light they had received, and surely this is a doctrine neither comporting with the benevolence or word of God, and is filled with such horror as must distress and shock every benevolent mind. But if God requires of all men the improvement of such talents only as he had given them: and will extend the merits of Christ to the well-disposed in every country, though they had never heard of him, every rational mind will be satisfied, that agreeable to his own declaration, he is no respecter of persons,“ since in every nation, he who feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him."
Let us enquire why God withheld the gospel revelation so long, since it displays the infinite depth of his love and goodness to men ?-God is a being of order, not the author of confusion, and as he has made men capable of rising gradually in knoweldge from generation to generation, by posterity's improving upon the discoveries of their fathers : so it seems congruous that God should adapt his revelations to the capacity, as well as the condition of his creatures. Men are not so framed as to rise to perfection in knowledge or virtue at a leap; but must advance gradually in sacred, as well as civil science, as lesser discoveries strengthen the capacity to investigate sublimer truths: hence it seems requisite that God should proceed gradually in his sacred instructions, and not introduce bis most perfect revelation, till by these less perfect, he had prepared the mind of man to understand and receive it. And as this method comports with the reason of man, so we are assured by the Apostle, that it was by ihe wisdom of God adopted in respect of the law; for says he the law was a school-master to bring us to Christ. Just so in the natural world, that which was less perfect was first made. Plants, trees, and vegetables of every kind were formed before animal productions, and the animal, before the rational creation. The earth and sea were first brought out of confusion into order and · made capable of the benevolent uses for which they were designed by the wise Architect. The sun and planets were set in the firmament to illuminate and warm the earth-grass covered the face of it, and plants and trees rose spontaneously to adorn it. Then the various tribes of animals in the air, earth and sea were formed to take their past-time and gather their food, which its surface, like a table well furnished, offered for their entertainment and support;
Heuthen evidences of Christianity. and finally, when the earth was thus prepared and stocked with vegetable and animal productions, a rational being is formed, and man brouglit upon the stage to stand upon the head of the sublunary creation, not only to till, dress and feed upon its bounty ; but also was endued with powers, and commanded of course, to look up to, to contemplate and adore the wisdom which contrived, and the hand which formed such stupenduous works, as well as the distinguishing goodness which had subjected all things here to his dominion and controul. Why then should not the same order be preserved in the moral, that is, in the natural world? Why should not God make a gradual advance in his revelations, and proceed from less to greater discoveries, from types to realites or from the shadow to the substance ? Light indeed is sweet, but there must be a proper time for its appearance; the evening and the morning make the day; the obscurity of types, and the shadowy import of sacrifice and prophecy must prepare the way for the sun of righteousness to arise upon the benighted world. All tlie parts of creation-providence--and redemption are progressive. In the wise counsels of God the Prince of Peace and Saviour of the world, was not to cone upon the stage till legal services had expired, predictions of prophets been accomplished, visions, the appearance of angels and wonderful revelations froin heaven had prepared the world for his advent. It seenied eligible to divine wisdom, therefore we must believe it requisite, that there should be a regular subordination of erents in several religious ceremonies, and upon the extinction of one of inferior rank a more sublime one should commence. We indeed ought to adore God that the lines are fallen to us in such pleasant places, that we were born and live under his last and most blessed revelation which many prophets and righteous men of old desired to see, but yet because God did not hurry on bis most perfect revelation, for their convenience, uuseasonably, is no proof that he is a respecter of persons, especially as he will not require inore than he has given, and will extend the merits of Christ as well to those who lived before, as to us, who live since his advent; to those who have not, as well as those who have heard of him.
HEATHEN EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIANITY.
No. 1}.--Continued from page 75. CHE unconverted Heathens, who were pressed by the many authorities that had actually seen them, were driven to account for them after the same manner : for, to work by magic, in the Heathen way of speaking, was, in the language of the Jews, to cast out devils by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. Our Saviour, who knew that unbelievers, in all ages, would put this perverse interpretation on his miracles, has declared the malignity of those men, who, contrary to the dictates of their own hearts, started such an unreasonable obr jection, a blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, and pronounced not only the guilt, but also the punishment of so black a crime. At the same time, he condescended to shew the vanity and emptiness of this objection against his miracles"; by representing, that they evidently tended to the destruction of those powers, to whose assistance the enemies of his doctrine had ascribed them. An argument which, if duly weighed, renders the objection so very groundless, that we may call it even blasphemy against common sense.
It would be absurd to imagine, that evil spirits would enter into a combination with our Saviour to cut off all correspondence and intercourse with mankind, and to prevent them for the future from addicting themselves to these rites and ceremonies, which had done them so much honour. Ve see the early effect which Christianity had on the minds of men in this particular, by the great number of books which were filled with the secrets of magic, and made a sacrifice to Christianity by the converts mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. We have likewise an eminent instance of the inconsistency of our religion with magic, in the history of the famous Aquila. This person, who was a kinsman of the Emperor Trajan, and a man of great learning, although he had embraced Christianity, could not be brought ost from the studies of
Remarks on the apparent apostacy of Captain Cook. magic, by the repeated admonitions of his fellow Christians ; so that at length they expelled him from their society, as rather choosing to lose the reputation of so considerable a. proselyte, than communicate with one who dealt in such dark and infernal practices. Besides, we may observe, that all the favourers of magic were the most professed and bitter enemies to the Christian religion; not to mention Simon Magus and many others, we shall only take notice of those two great persecutors of Christianity, the emperors Adrian and Julian the apostate, both of them initiated into the mysteries of divination, and skilled in all the depths of magic. We shall only add, that evil spirits cannot be supposed to have concurred in the establishinent of a religion, which triumplied over them, and divested them of their influence on mankind ; nor wouid we mention this particular, though it be recorded by Christian authors, did it not appear from the authorities above cited, that this was a fact confessed by heathens themselves,
When a man is born under Christian parents, and trained up in the profes, sion of that religion from a child, he generally guides himself by the rules of the Christian faith, in believing what is delivered by the evangelists. The learned l'agans of antiquity, before they became Christians, were only guided by the common rules of historical faith; that is, they examined the nature of the evidence which was to be met with in-common fame, tradition, and the writings of those persons who related them ; together with the pumber, concurrence, veracity and private characters of those persons; and being convinced upon all accounts, that they had the same reason to believe the history of our Sava jour, as that of any other person, to whom they were not actually eye-witnesses, they were bound by all the rules of historical faith, and of riglit reason, to give credit to this history. But while we afiirm, that an historical belief of the acts of our Saviour might induce these learned and candid Pagans to embrace his doctrine, we do not deny that there were many other motives, which led to it, as the excellency of his precepts, the fubtilling of the prophecies, the miracies of his disciples, the irreproachable lives and magnanimous sufferings of their followers, with other considerations of the same nature ; but whatever other collateral arguments influenced inore or less the philosophers of that age, it is certain that a belief of the history of our Saviour was one motive with every convert, and that upon which all others turned, as being the very basis and foundation of Christianity.
To be continued.]
REMARKS ON THE APPARENT A POSTACY OF CAPTAIN COOK, ON THE ISLAND OF OWHYHEE.
Continued from page 135. When Ephraim spake, trembling, he exalted himself in Israel :--but then he
offended in Baal, he died. They say-let the men that sacrifice kiss the calres. Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth
away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirtwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.
Hosean xiii. 1, 2, 3. *XTRAORDINARY! interpositions of Providence require extraordinary
attention ;-and if our eminent circumnavigator was so long and wonderfully, preserved amidst innumerable dangers, and at last dishonourably killed by a stab in his back, and his body torn limb from limb, so that, not without threads could even the fragments of it be procured for burial, we may infer that there was some direful cause for all this:-and where shall we find a cause more prominent and conspicuous, than his apparent apostacy from the true God, by an induction into the number of idolatrous votaries of false gods ?
I pray the Lord that he may find mercy in that day !
Though charity bids us hope that Capt. Cook had no other intention by his 'compliances with the idolatrous rites of the Owhyheean religion, than to secure the good will of his new friends, yet, being a Christian by parentage as well as by education, he was inexcusable for carrying his compliances so far. Even in