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nation. This course of life will unavoidably lead you to destruction. “ Destruction! Was I not doomed to destruction before the foundation of the world? And do you not teach that reprobates must be fitted in time by wicked works, for a miserable eternity? Besides, do you not openly affirm that all the sins in the universe were decreed? How then am I to avoid them? If I am absolutely doomed to misery in the world to come, I think it best to take my fill of sin in this. I will therefore indulge myself in malice and revenge, even to the murder of my cheating, elect brother, and any other sinful passion. Do not blame me. All the words I now utter, according to your doctrine, however wicked, and all my actions, however vicious, were eternally fixed by a perfect plan,' which includes all the sins in the universe.' How am I to reform? More. over, you tell me, my sins are necessary for the
greatest good of the universe.' And surely you would not have me refrain from that course of life which is so necessary for the perfection of the uni
As to your notion about hell, since I have heard your doctrine, I seriously doubt whether there be any punishment in the other world. For you inform me God is just and good, and I conclude that a just and good being cannot send me to hell for doing his will, and for being instrumental of so much good to the universe. If I were to reform all the days of my life, it would be of no avail if I am a reprobate; and if I am one of the elect, I shall finally be saved." Now sir, can you silenee him
upon your scheme ?". Every candid man must acs knowledge that his inferences are fairly drawn from your doctrines. Your doctrine therefore, is an encourager of sin, inasmuch as it takes away every motive to reformation.
3. Let us also try an experiment upon one whom we may suppose belongs to the elect number, but unconverted, except it be to your doctrine of unconditional election. Jacob; it is no time for you to lie and cheat, in order to accumulate wealth, which must soon perish. You ought to be laying up treasure in heaven-time is short, and eternity depends upon the right improvement of time. “ Improvement of time! Would you have me turn Methodist, and undertake to merit heaven by my works ? Have you not repeatedly told me I have no moral ability, in consequence of my total depravity, to return to God? Would you preach to the totally deaf, and exhibit the beauties of heaven to the blind ? Have you not demonstrated that I cannot repent, until I am conquered by almighty power? And would you have me set about the impossible task of reforming myself? This would be building on myself. In the day of God's power I shall be brought in, if I belong to the elect; and if I am a reprobate, I can no more be saved than the strong decree of God can fail of taking effect. Besides, it appears to me you are acting inconsistent with your own principle, by exhorting me to repentance; for you have asserted, All the arguments of the “ablest minisders' are wavailing. Why then would you uše
them? My heart is in the hands of the Lord, and he can turn it which way soever he will. If God have placed his everlasting love upon me, I shall be saved do what I may. You also say, That Paul mentions the greatness of his sins, as one reason why he obtained mercy.' If so, the greater my sins, the more reason I have to hope for mercy. Therefore, as I feel a disposition to sin, which I am informed God decreed I should have, I think it best to indulge it, that I may obtain mercy: I also feel a desire for happiness; but I am forbidden to seek its gratification in religion, because you inform me this is selfish, and therefore sinful. Nay, according to your principle, which I believe, I can do nothing but sin, until God works a radical change in my heart. And I may as well commit one sin as another, until the day appointed from all eternity arrives, in which I am to be converted. As to cheating and lying, I consider not myself accountable for that, since it was absolutely necessary to accomplish the purpose of heaven; for if I had not done it, my brother Esau, that hated reprobate, would have obtained the paternal blessing, and I should have been the reprobate,, and he the elect. In this case the eternal purpose of God would have failed. So that”–Stop, thou blasphemer" But why accuse of blaspheming? Were not all my thoughts, words and actions decreed ?And are they not all necessary for the good of the
great whole ? 19
3. How, sir, will you obviate such objections ?
You might tell him that his reasonings are a mark of his reprobation-That he ought not to replyagainst God, seeing the potter hath power of the same clay, to make one vessel to honour, and
another to dishonour. But this would not meet his objections ; for they all naturally arise out of your favourite scheme. They are fair inductive reasonings from your first principle ; and therefore it is not possible to refute them without departing from your premises. You may say, That the scriptures remove such objections. True, and therefore the scriptures know nothing of your doctrine. All the objections then which you have made an attempt” to obviate, remain in full force. And from what has been written, may be predicated the following argument
10. Any doctrine which destroys the responsibility of man, which represents the just and holy God as partial, that renders ineffectual the means of grace, and which encourages sin, cannot be the doctrine of the Bible: but your “view of the doctrine of election” does all this; and therofore it is not the doctrine of the Bible. The minor proposition, which alone is disputable, is proved in the preceding arguments.
That we may be diligent to make our calling and election sure, is, sir, the sincere prayer of yours, &c.
Rev. S. WILLISTON, Durham, N. Y.
Rhinebeck, May 3d, 1815.
ON CHRISTIAN PERFECTION.
LAVING shewn in my former letter, the inconsistency of your doctrine of personal election, I come now to examine what you say respecting * sinful imperfection." It is matter of some surprise, that, after all which has been said and written to the contrary, you should strive to impose upon the public a belief, that we hold, “ that saints in this life are as perfect as they will be in heaven." p. 103, note. O sir, is it fair, is it consistent with that charity which hopeth all things, thus to misrepresent a body of people! And how do you attempt to prove your assertion? Why, “By the argument which they use in their book of Discipline against the power of death to sanctify," ibid. And pray sir, do you really believe in the power of death to sanctify ? It would seem so by this observation of yours, as also from what you say about Paul's desiring to die, because death would put an end to that body of sin under which he groaned. But from what part of the scriptures do you prove this strange doctrine? Does not John say, 1 John