Page images

getber criminal and inexcusable. which arises from their entire selIt is true, that tbey are goder ode fisboess, which is the essence of kind of isability to love God, to all sin and criminality, and which repent of sin, to believe in Cbrist, is no better excuse tban Satan or to do any thing in a right and has for hating God and all good, acceptable mapper. This we are with all bis heart. If they would plainly taugbt is scriptore. Moses only express their inability in told the corrupt and totally sel plain and intelligible language, fisb lsraelites, - Ye cannot serve they would say they love themthe Lord, for be is an boly God." selves so much, that they cannot Cbrist said, “ No man can come love God, that they love selfishto me, except the Father wbo Dess so much, that they cannot seat me draw bim." And the love benevolence, that they love Apostle declares, “ The carnal the happiness of this world so mind is enmity against God, not much, that they cannot love the subject to bis law, Deither indeed enjoyment of God and the happican be: 80 then they that are in ness of heaven. And this inabilthe flesh cannot please God." But ity, instead of excusing them, this is a moral inability, which must condemn them in the sight arises from the free, voluntary, of God, and their own conscienselfish exercises of the heart, and ces. is in its own patore entirely sinful 2. It appears from what has and inexcusable. There is an been said, that sinners have no essential difference between mo- ground to think God is insincere ral and natural inability. If sin- in offering them salvation upon Ders were incapable of distio- the condition of disinterested beguishing selfisboess from benevo- nevolence. Sinners think and oflence,they would be uoder a pa- ten say, that there can be no

a tural inability of exercising that sincerity in God's offering to save benevolence, to which the prom- them, upon unreasonable and imise of salvation is made, and this practicable terms. They say he would be a sufficient excuse for knows, that they cannot and will not complying with the terms of not accept of salvation, upon the the gospel. But they know, that condition of disinterested lore; selfishness and benevolence are and therefore he cannot be sintotally different in their nature cere in offering them salvation and tendency, and that the former upon terms which he knows they is sinful and the latter is virtuous. cannot and will not comply with. 6 Therefore to him that knoweth We could not indeed see any sin. to do good, and doeth it not, to cerity in God's offering salvation bim it is sin.” Sinners have no to sinners on the condition, that right to plead sin as an excuse for they should ascend into heaven, sin, or to plead selfishness as an (that is, to bring Christ down from excuse for not exercising that above,) or that they should depure disinterested love to God scend into the deep, (that is, to and man, which the gospel re- bring up Christ from the dead,) quires as an indispensable condi- for it is naturally impossible for tion of salvation. When they them to perform these conditions, plead, as they almost universally But what saith God to every do, their inability to love God and sinner? 66 The word is nigh embrace the gospel, they plead thee, even in thy mouth ; that is Qo other than a moral inability, the word of faith which


preach; that if thou shalt con- interested benevolence. He nev. fess with thy mouth the Lord Je- er appeared so perfectly selfish to sus, and shalt believe in thine himself, nor to others, before he heart that God hath raised him rejected salvation, rather than to from the dead, thou shalt be sav- give up his possessions and give ed.” Thus God offers salvation God the supreme affection of his to sinners in the gospel, on the heart. lowest and easiest terms possible. 4. Since disinterested benevo. Nothing can prevent their ac- lence is the only condition of salcepting salvation, but their freely vation, there is no propriety in and voluntarily rejecting it. directing sinners how to embrace

3. It is of importance, that God the gospel. They are not very should offer salvation to sinners on often satisfied with being told, the condition of disinterested be- that disinterested love is the only nevolence, though he knows be- condition, upon which they can forehand, that they will reject find acceptance with God; they his offer. The condition is easy want to know how they shall ex. and practicable. They are able ercise this pure, holy love. But and ought to exercise disinterest- it does not belong to the preached benevolence, and nothing can ers of the gospel to answer this hinder them from exercising it, impertinent and absurd question. but their totally depraved and it is sufficient for them clearly to selfish hearts. They are, how- state the condition of salvation, ever, naturally blind to their na- and leave it to sinners to find out tive depravity and selfishness. how they shall freely and volunThey are not willing to believe, tarily perform it. Christ did no that they hate God, hate Christ, more than this, in preaching the bate holiness, and hate salvation gospel to the young man. He itself, until they are brought to plainly and intelligibly taught bim the trial. God brings them to disinterested love, and promised the trial, by freely and sincerely him salvation on condition of his offering them salvation, upon the exercising and expressing such a kind and gracious condition of dis- holy, virtuous affection. The interested love, which he knows young man clearly understood they hate and will absolutely re- the condition, for it grieved him fuse to exercise, though they are to the heart, to be required to sensible their retusal will prove give up all his selfish feelings and their destruction. There is no possessions in order to be saved. other way, by which God can But though Christ saw his anxiedemonstrate to sinncrs themselves ty and distress, he did not underand to the universe, that they are take to tell him how he should totally depraved, selfish, and op- become willing to sell all he had posed to all good, but by his of- and give to the poor, and come fering them salvation upon the and follow him. He knew how condition of disinterested benevo- to love God supremely as well as lence, and their refusing it. The he knew how to love bimself and amiable

young man, whom Jesus the world supremely. Sinners beholding loved, would always per- know how to love God supremehaps, in this world, have appear- ly, as well as to hate hiro sued very different, if Christ had not premely. They know how to offered, and he had not rejected love God supremely, as well as salvation, on the condition of dis- to love the world supremely. They know how to exercise be- gospe. All the factrices of the Devolence, as well as to esercise gospel ciearly understood are disselfishness. If the young man agreezble to siccers, because they had asked Christ bow be sbal} are all focoded ca diszterested become willing to give up all and benevolesce. Bat as they do not follow him, and become truly be- geceril y see that the doctrine of nevolent, he would not have toit decrees, the doctrine of election, him, any more than be coaid the doctrine of divine agency, bave told him how to go away the doctrice of encod.ciocal subgrieved. All that the ministers missiva, a 1 various other doc. of the gospel have to tell sinoers, trides, are founded oa disinteris, the condition upon which they ested benerelence, so they do may be saved, and not hot to be not dislike those doctrises so much willing to perform that coodition. as the doctrine oa which they All who pretend to do this, une are founded. This comes direct. dertake to do what they have no ly and sensibly across all their right, nor power to do.

se na desires, exertions, and 3. Sioce disinterested bepero- hopes. Tber canot lore God, lence is the only condition of because he is a holy God. They salvation, ministers bare cazpot serve God because he is right to substitute any other a holy Gel. They cannot please or lower conditions of saira. God, because he is a holy God. tion. This is what many prea. They cannot go backward, nor chers of the gospel presume forward, cor stand stiil, without to do. After they have stated efending God. They find that the only condition of salvation, every in gialties of the thoughts and told sinners they must do of their hearts is evi!, and only what Christ required the young evil continunily, and a transgres. man to do in order to be saved, sion of that holy law, which re. sinners generally complain that qoires pure disinterested lore. thay cannot perform ibat condi- All singers of all descriptions are tion. Their hearts, they say, are equally and totally opposed to totally depraved, and they cannot that disinterested benevolence, exercise “disinterested benevo- wlich is the condition of salvalence, and love God supremely; tion. Not only publicans and of course they ask what they sinners, but scribes and Pharisees, must do to gei disinterested be- who were externally righteous pevolence, or a heart to love and apparently religious, were God supremely ? Many ministers all opposed to the doctrine of see no other way to relieve sin disinierested benevolence, as it ners in this deplorable situation, was plainly taught and inculcated than to alter and lower the terms by Christ. They were all ready of salvation, and direct and ad- to exclaim, 6 Who then can be vise them to do something which saved ?" All sinners now have the their depraved hearts are willing same opposition to this doctrine, to do in order to get a good heart, that others have felt and expressand exercise true benevolence. ed; for it strikes at the root of

6. Since disinterested love is every false scheme of religion, the only condition of salvation, and every false hope of salvaWe may see why this doctrine is tion. All sinners whether Calmore disagreeable to all sinners, vinists or Arminians, whether than any other doctrine of the Unitarians or Universalists, wheth

er externally religious or irreli- venient season to embrace the gious, whether awakened or gospel and secure the salvation unawakened are equally opposed of their souls. There are many to disinterested benevolence.- sinners in this waiting posture. They can explain away all other They intend to do what the gosdoctrines on selfish principles so pel requires them to do in order as to suit them; but they cannot to be saved, and have no doubt explain away the doctrine of that they shall be able and wildisinterested benevolence, upon ling to do whatever is necessary any selfish principle, and there. to be done to obtain eternal life fore Arminians, moderate Calvin- when a favourable season preists, Methodists, Unitarians, and sents. But if they would only Universalists unitedly deny it, consider that the condition of and exclaim, “Who then can be salvation is disinterested love, saved ?" They virtually acknowl- and that their own hearts are edge, if disinterested benevolence totally selfish, they would rebe true, their different schemes nounce the hope of a more conof religion are false, and their venient season of complying with hopes built upon thein are false that condition.

Neither prosand fatal. And to give up a fa- perity nor adversity, neither vourite scheme or a false hope, health nor sickness, nor the nearis like giving up the ghost. It est prospect of death, would carries death and despair in it to have the least tendency to change the best and worst of sinners. their hearts from selfishness to Let any doctrine of the gospel love. A season of trouble, afflicbe clearly traced to its foundation, tion, and bereavement may come; that is, disinterested benevolence, or a season of awakenings and and every sinner in the world, convictions may come ; and these will hate and oppose it. Let seasons may throw them into Christ's precept, requiring us, great anxiety and distress, and " to do to others as we would, constrain them to cry, “ What that others should do to us" be must we do to be saved ?" But justly explained and understood, no other proper answer can be and it would be as generally given them but that which rebated and opposed, as the doc- quires them to love God supremetrine of total depravity, or the ly, or exercise disinterested bedoctrine of election, or the doc- nevolence. This their depraved, trine of unconditional submission, selfish hearts will tell them in a for it is as plainly founded in moment, it is morally impossible disinterested benevolence as those for them to do. They will theredoctrines are. In a word, all the fore, either sink in sadness, grief, reason, why sinners dislike and and despondence, or rise in vioppose any doctrines and duties gorous enmity and opposition to of the gospel, is because they see God and the condition of salva. ot ok they see, that they re- tion, quenching the spirit and quire that disinterested love, of stilling conviction. And in this which they are conscious they deplorable situation, God may are destitute.

leave them to pine away and 7. Since disinterested love is perish in their sins forever, as he the only condition of salvation, it has left thousands of other incoris vain and dangerous for secure rigible sioners. No impenitent singers to wait for a more sioners have any ground to hope




« PreviousContinue »