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requisite for salvation, what is the meaning of those gracious offers of mercy, and spiritual afsistance; of those pathetic exhortations to repentance and amendment of life ; of those unqualified promises of pardon to the penitent finner; with which the Scriptures every where abound? What are we to understand by the assurance of God, that he will make his fin"ful people a new heart and a new spirit•?? What are we to understand by hịz earnest intreaties, that the wicked" will repent, and
turn themselves from all their iniquities, and • make themselves a new heart and a new
fpirit, that fo iniquity may pot be their “ ruin b?" What by his consequent most so, lemn protestations, that “though their fins be
as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow; 5 though they be red like crimfon, they shall “ be as wool“?" that “ if the wicked will for, “ fake his ways, and the unrighteous man his
paths, and turn unto the Lord, he will have
mercy upon him; and unto his God, that he “ will abundantly pardon d?” What are we to understand by his most plain declarations, “I “ will send unto them all my messengers and “ prophets, rising up early and sending them, " because I have compassion on them?" and
· Ezek. xxxvj. 26.
Ezek. xviii, 30, 31. c Il. i. 18. € 2 Chron. xxxvi. 15. Jer. xxv. 4. xxxv, 15.
d Il. lv. 7.
by his most equitable appeal to their own judgment, “ See, I have set before thee life and 6c death, good and evil, in that I command “ thee to love the Lord thy God, and to walk “ in his waysf?” and by his most folemn at testation, “ I call heaven and earth to record “ against you, that I have set before
life 5 and death, blessing and cursing ?” and by his consequent inference and exhortation, " There“ fore choose life?" and by his most tender expoftulations, “ Why will ye
die ?” and by his earneft inquiries,
" What more could I “ have done” to prevent your death, " which “ I have not done h ? and by his affectionate complaint, “ I would have purged them, but $ they would not be purged; I would have “ gathered them, but they would not be “ gatheredi?” and by his most passionate exclamations, “ O that they were wise, that they 96 would consider their latter endk!” “O that
my people had hearkened unto me, and Ifs rael had walked in my way'!” “O that thou şi hadst known in this thy day the things that “ belong unto thy peace * ?" And by his fubfequent sentence of condemnation, “ but now " they are hid from thine eyes?” now, therefure they were not always fo. What is to become of the most folemn afsurance of the AL mighty by his Prophet, “ As I live, faith the « Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of him * that dieth, but that the finner turn from his “ evil way and live" ?” What is to become of the warning of the Apostle, that "the good* ness and long-suffering of God” are designed to “ lead men to repentance; and that they es who despise the riches of his goodness, forw bearance, and long fuffering, do after their “ hardness and impenitent hearts treasure up « unto themselves wrath against the day of - wrath, and revelation of the righteous judge * ment of God; who will render unto every
f Deut. xxx. 15, 16, 19.
& Ezek. xviii. 31. * If. v. 4.
i Ezek. xxiv. 13. Matt. xxiii. 37. Deut. xxxii. 29. .
! Pr. lxxxi. 13. Luke xix. 42.
man according to his deeds; for there is no 66 respect of persons with Godo?”. Prejudice may pervert, and sophistry perplex the plaineft declarations of Scripture. But surely in the face of these, and of an innumerable multitude of fimilar passages, which give a direction and a tone to the whole of the sacred volume, to suppose that any man is incapacitated by a divine decree for performing the qualifications necessary for salvation; that “our Lord Jesus 66 Christ is no otherwise the Saviour of the
wicked, than as they are beholden to him “ for every worldly comfort that they en
# Ezek. xxxiii. 11.
• Rom. ü. 4, 5, 6, 11.
* joy P;" and that the only use, to which these pallages can be applied by finners, is that of * making them careful to adjust their moral “ external conduct according to the rules of 56 decency, justice, and regularity, and thereby
prevent much inconvenience to themselves 4 and injury to fociety 4:" is to suppose, (let me not be deemed irreverent in affirming it,) that the Bible is a compound of inconsistency and error; is to make a liar of the God of truth ; and to convert his gracious tenders of mercy
into the moft bitter, the most cruel, and most farcaftic irony towards his deluded and abandoned creatures.
I have thus ftated the arguments, by which I would vindicate my claim to the title of an evangelical Miniter, a Preacher of the Gospel of Christ, although I decline to preach the doctrines of Calvinittic predestination. In or der to this ftatement, I have been induced to enter at considerable length on a mysterious and much controverted question ; a question, to which, I solemnly repeat, that I have not been voluntarily led, and which it were better to leave precisely where the Gospel leaves it; were it not that the diligence, with which it is obtruded by our accusers both from the pulpit
? Whitefield's Eighteen Sermons, p. 160.
Toplady on Predeftination, p. 126
and from the press, and the misery and mifchief, which it occasions to the Church of Christ, and the calumny withal, which it is made the instrument of discharging against the national clergy; call loudly on us for a vindication of ourselves, and therein (as we believe) of the true evangelical faith. I dare not hope indeed, that the present arguments are likely to convince a person, prepofseffed by the contrary perfuafion ; yet, whilft they might not unreasonably serve to abate the confidence, and mitigate the asperity of our accufers, they lead me to judge, with no faint perfuafion, of the sentence, which from a review of the general scope of the Scriptures an unprejudiced inquirer would pronounce upon the question, whether the Gospel is preached by us or by the Calvinists :-by us, who teach, that Christ Jefus made atonement for all the fins of the whole world ; that all men may therefore be saved, who will strive by the grace of God to work out their falvation ; but that no man will be saved, who is not diligent in fulfilling the conditions which God hath appointed :-or by the Calvinist, who teaches, that God elected a few individuals to salvation, and that Christ died to make atonement for their fins alone, to the exclusion of the great mass of mankind; that the falvation of these eleâ depends folely upon