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Now how shall a man be rewarded for turning those who can only be turned by the irresistible grace of God? Can a preacher hope to increase a number which has been limited from all eternity ? —Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, for ye shut up the kingdom of Heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.' How could the Scribes and Pharisees do this against those entering by irresistible grace ? St. Paul told the Corinthians, -- We, then, as workers together with him, beseech you also, that
ye receive not the grace of God in vain!' and finally, St. Stephen rebuked the Jews in this manner — “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.' - He, therefore, who says that the grace of God is irresistible, maintains an opinion opposite to that of the first Christian martyr, and, in my opinion, to the whole uniform tenor of Scripture; for the Scriptures teach us that we may hate the light — that we may do despite unto the Spirit of Grace' — that we may neglect "to stir up the gift of God that is in us, and so quench his gracious influence in our hearts that we may resist, strive, and rebel against him ; and that we may grieve and vex him, reject his
salvation, and turn from him. But let us talk no more upon the subject. It is actually painful to differ so very widely from one of whom, in points of conduct, I think so highly.”
Mr. Goddard, perplexed, bowed in acknowledgment to this; Mrs. Richards seemed puzzled, and the fair Eloise resumed her pencil ; so, by way of affording general relief, I turned the subject of conversation into a different course; soon after which Mr. Goddard took his leave. When he had left the room, Mrs. Richards, turning to me, observed :
“Captain Mordaunt, I think you have shown greater warmth in your discussions to-day than I have ever before witnessed. The cloud has, indeed, burst, and you have let fall a most pitiless shower."
“My dear madam," said I, “ if I have shown a 'zeal' not according to knowledge,' I have added another to my numerous transgressions for which I am heartily sorry; but really when I observe the effect of this Calvinism upon the minds of those who embrace it; when I see the pride, the self-sufficiency, and presumption which the exclusive claim to salvation engenders on the one side; the dejection, despondency,
and despair, on the other; when I see the stream flowing from the fountain of mercy for the benefit of all, thus confined only to a few, and these presuming to say, “so far shalt thou come and no furthery'- I own that I have feelings of indignation which I have great difficulty in suppressing, and consider it a duty incumbent upon me to protest against such principles. I have not done this either hastily or in anger, for during the several weeks I have been in this place, I have been the constant attendant, on the Sabbath and at other times,.on Mr. Goddard's ministry. What I have heard him promulgate from his pulpit, I have asked him to explain in private : I have considered all he has said with attention, and now, as the result of all, I feel it my duty to attend him no more, for my mind dissenting from his doctrines altogether, does not leave me the liberty of looking up to him as my future religious instructer. I am not surprised that the common people should so readily follow him, for by doing so, they feel the assurance that they are of the small number of the saved; and think what a vast temptation this is; for you know of no Calvinist who is not thought by others, and by himself, that he is not as other
men are, but that he is a chosen vessel; and could I bring myself conscientiously to believe the same, I would be a Calvinist also, but until that be the case, I never can.”
Here the voice of the watchman called upon me to suffer the invalid to retire to rest; so walking to my lodging, and spending another hour in the consideration of all that had passed, I went to bed, confirmed in the truth of the positions I had advocated.