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they are told, that we ought to distinguish between that inability which consists in, or results from, the want of natural faculties, as a man that has no legs cannot walk, a man that has no hands cannot work, &c.; in which cases, men ought not to be commanded to do what they cannot, and then punished for not doing, it being manifestly unjust, as is acknowledged on all sides : I say, when they are told that we ought to distinguish between such a kind of inability, and that which consists in and results from a bad and WICKED HEART;
Joseph's brethren hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him ," the Pharisees bated Christ, and could not hear his words, 1 &c.; in which cases, common sense teaches that men are not the less to blame for their inability, and may justly be commanded to do their duty, and punished if they do it not. I say, when the Arminians are told of this distinction, they say “ there is nothing in it, it is a mere metaphysical nicety, inability is inability, if men cannot they cannot, and it is impossible it should be just in God to require of his creatures what they cannot do, and then damn them for not doing."
Well, be it so ; how then will they reconcile their scheme with the law of Moses? Did not the law of Moses require perfect obedience? It is plain it did. It is a fact that cannot be denied. Arminians, Pelagians, Socinians, that are men
stance, being the very same the Pharisaical Galatians had, St. Paul's arguments lie full against them. And was St. Paul to deal with them, he would say, “ I, Paul, say unto you, that your duties will not save you, unless you yield a perfect obedience. And wbile you seek to be justified by your own goodness, Christ will be of no effect to you, will make up for none of your failings. Gal. v. 3, 4, 5. Therefore, every man of you, that is of this self-righteous disposition, is under the CURSE.” Gal. ij. 10.
N. B. It is worthy of observation, that the apostle's argument is not, “ you are not sincere in your obedience : therefore you cannot be justified.” Nor would this have been so convincing; because the men he had to deal with, verily thought they were sincere. But his argument is, “ you are not perfect in your obedience : therefore you cannot be justified.” Now they had nothing to say, only, that they hoped Christ would make up for their defects. (But, says the apostle, “ Christ shall profit you nothing.")—Unless, they added, “ if we cannot be saved by our duties, what good do they do?" Wherefore then serveth the law ?_" To be a school-master," says Paul, “ to bring you to Christ, that ve might be justified by faith." h Gen. xxxvi. 4,
i John viii, gs.
of learning do not pretend to deny it. Well, had the whole
This is a short and easy way to confute the Arminian scheme, quite level with the capacity of common people, who are not so well able to attend to a long chain of arguments. And it was designed by a God of infinite wisdom, who knows bow to let in light upon weak and ignorant minds, in effect, for this very purpose. For it was designed to convince men that, in themselves, they are absolutely lost and undone. And every thing meets in this method of confuting the Arminian scheme, which could be desired to give the fullest satisfaction to the minds of men. For the argument is not founded upon here and there a dark text of Scripture, of doubtful signification, and seemingly capable of several different meanings; but upon the plain nature of the whole Mosaic dispensation ; upon facts so evident, as to be acknowledged un all hands. Nor is there so much as room left to suspect that we
misunderstand the Mosaic dispensation, and view the facts in a wrong light, inasmuch as St. Paul has led the way before us, and under divine inspiration, has shown this to be the nature and design of the Mosaic dispensation, viewing the facts in the same light, and arguing from them in the same manner, as has been already observed. That if we may give credit to the law of Moses, or to the great apostle of the Gentiles, or to a method of reasoning full of light and demonstration, or to all together, we may sit down here fully satisfied.
And as the law of Moses, and the Gospel of Christ, are in a perfect harmony; and, as on this account, what is inconsistent with one, must be with the other; so it is manifest from the apostle's manner of reasoning, that the aforesaid Arminian maxim is quite inconsistent with the Gospel. For, according to that maxim, mankind have power to do that which would entitle them to the favour of God, if Christ had never died. But, says St. Paul, if there had been a law which could have given life, verily righteousness had come by the law. And if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Gal. ii. 21. and Chap. iii. 21k.
k If the Arminian scheme is inconsistent with the law and with the Gospel, it will unavoidably follow, that the religious exercises of those who are Armi. nians at heart, are not in conformity to law or Gospel, but of a contrary nature ; even their love to God, their faith in Christ, their repentance, their sincere obedience, and every other branch of their religion. The whole spirit and frame of their minds is contrary to law, and to Gospel, just as their scheme of religion is. And indeed, the scheme of religion they have in their heads, grows up out of the frame of their hearts. They are both of the same nature. They feel as they be. lieve, “it is not just for God to require sinless perfection on pain of eternal damnation. If I do as well as I can, it is not fair I should be damned.”—They would not love God, if they did not think he was of their opinion. Their faith in Christ, and their hopes of heaven, harmonize with these opinions; and so does their repentance, and their obedience. So that if these principles are inconsistent with law and Gospel, it will follow, the whole system of the religion of their hearts is so too; the scheme in their heads, and the religion of their hearts, being exactly suited to each other.
Some comfort themselves much, that the righteousness of the scribes and phari. sees, which Christ and his apostles had so low an opinion of, had nothing of the nature of true virtue in it; supposing this to be the only reason they could not be justified by it. Little thinking that it is their own case ; that there is not the jeast real goodness in all their religion. But it is sometimes so, that what it highly esteemed among men, is abomination in the sight of God. Luke xvi. 15.
I think, in this the Arminians are much more consistent. For while they maintain, "that God cannot justly require more of us than we can do ourselves, they add, “that we did not need Christ to obey or die in our stead,” and accordingly, they say," he never designed any such thing." But then, if God Almighty had designed to guard against their scheme, and to prepare the way for the reception of the doctrine of atonement by the blood of Christ, it is hard to say, how he could possibly have done it to better purpose, than be has done in the Mosaic dispensation.
No serious, pious Jew, who understood the law, as requiring sinless perfection under pain of eternal damnation, and who had heard the curse, and heartily said Amen, could have embraced the Arminian scheme, or ever once believed their fundamental maxim. Nor could any serious, pious Jew, who had seen the High-Priest, from year to year, on the great day of atonement, lay his hands on the head of the scape-goat, and confess over him, and lay upon him all the iniquities and sins of the children of Israel ; and who had himself, scores of times, with a humble and broken heart, brought a bullock or a ram before the Lord, and laid his hands on his head, that he might die in his room, and make atonement for his sin, that it might be forgiven him; I say, no such pious Jew could possibly have embraced the Socinian scheine, or ever rejected the doctrine of Christ's atonement.
The Arminians and Socinians are angry at creeds, confessions, and catechisms; because they are taught to children, and tend to prejudice the rising generation against their scheme. But no creeds, no confessions, no catechisms, were ever so framed to prejudice one against Arminianism and Socinianism, as the law of the great God given at Mount Sinai. Creeds, confessions, catechisms, contain only a number of words and sentences. But here in the law of Moses
every thing was acted over, and that exceedingly to the life. God spake the law himself, and that with an exceeding loud voice. It thundered and lightened, the mountain quaked and trembled, God appeared like the flame of a devouring fire in the eyes of all the congregation of Israel •
And thus the greatness and majesty, the holiness and authority of God, were represented, and brought into clear view ; and thus the law was set home. And half the tribes stood on Mount Gerizzim, and half the tribes stood upon Mount Ebal, and while the Levites, before all the congregation, repeated the curse twelve times going, all the people answered, and said, Amen. And thus, the reasonableness and equity of the law was visibly represented in this public transaction. . And yearly and monthly, and weekly and daily, in a variety of most significant, solemn, and public transactions, the substitution of Christ, as of a lamb without spot, to die as an atonement for sin, that sin might be forgiven, was visibly represented. So that it seems beyond the art of man to contrive any method more wisely suited to set the guilty, lost, perishing state of the sinner, and the doctrine of atoneinent, in a more clear and striking light than it is in the law of Moses ; especially, as now explained to us by the Gospel of Christ. Well, therefore, in so clear a case, and in points of so great importance, might the divinely inspired apostle say, as in Gal. i. 8, 9. If any, though an angel from heaven, preach any other. Gospel, let him be ACCURSED. Nor have those, who after all, venture to do so, just reason to expect to escape the apostle's repeated curse. In all things lawful, the apostle would readily become all things to all men, for he was of a very condescending disposition. But when any of the great doctrines of the Gospel were assaulted, he would not abate one hair ; for he was no trimmer ; he was no man-pleaser ; but a servant of Jesus Christ. Nor are those ministers, who seek to please an ungodly world by curtailing the Gospel of Christ, any of them, the servants of Christ, according to the judgment of the inspired apostle. Gal. i. 10. If I pleased man, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Indeed, there have been by those who expect to be justified by their sincere obedience, various ways contrived, to evade the apostle's arguments, and escape his curse ; but all equally vain. Which way soever they turn, St. Paul is ready to answer them, and stop up their way, and shut them up
under sin, and shut them up to the faith. Sometimes they say, "the Galatians expected to be justi