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will perhaps afford us another instance of it. After producing Hezekiah to establish the absoluteness of God's decrees, he calls in the first Jewish hero : Joshua is brought to demonstrate, that the decree of the end always binds upon us an unavoidable submission to the decree of the means ; Or to speak more intelligibly, that God's decrees to bless or to curse, are always absolute, and necessitate us to use the means leading to his blessing or his curse.
ARG. XIV. (Page 23.)—“ Prior to the taking of Jericho, it was revealed to Joshua, that he should certainly be master of the place. Nay, so peremptory was the decree, and so express the revelation of it, that it was predicted as if it had already taken effect : 'I have given into thy hand Jericho,' &c. This assurance, than which nothing could be more absolute, did not tie up Joshua's hands from action, and make him sit down without using the means, which were no less appointed than the end. On the contrary,” &c.--Here we are given to understand, that Joshua and the Israelites could never cross any of God's gracious decrees by neglecting the means of their accomplish
because they were necessitated to use those
Thus is Joshua pressed into the service of Calvinian Necessity, and the absoluteness of God's decrees; Joshua, who, of all men in the world, is most unlikely to support the tottering ark of Calvinian Necessity. For when he saw in the wilderness the carcases of several hundred thousand persons, to whom God had promised the good land of Canaan with an oath, and who nevertheless entered not in because of unbelief,' he saw several hundred thousand proofs, that God's promises are not absolute; and that when he deals with rewardable and punishable agents, the decree of the end is not unconditionul, and does by no means include an irresistible decree which binds upon them the unavoidable use of the means.
Bnt, consider the peculiar case of Joshua himself. * The Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, There shall not
any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life :--I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.' (Josh. i. 5.) Now this peremptory decree of the end, far from necessarily including the meaus, actually failed by a single flaw in the use of the means. The disobedience of Achan reversed the decree: For he disregarded the means or condition which God had appointed : 'Turn not to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.' (Josh. i. 7.) Hence it is, that when Achan had “turned to the left,' the decree failed, and we find Joshua - prostrate before the ark a whole day with his clothes rent, and dust upon his head :' Lamenting the flight of Israel before Ai, and wishing that he had been content, and had dwelt on the other side Jordan.' Nor do I see, in God's answer to him, the least hint of Mr. Toplady's doctrine. * Why liest thou upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant : For they have even taken of the accursed thing.–Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, because they were accursed : Neither will i be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed thing.' (Josh. vii. 1, 13.)
Hence it appears, that when Mr. Toplady appeals to Joshua in defence of the Absoluteness of God's decrees, he displays his skill in the art of Logic, as much as if he appealed to the Peremptoriness of the famous de.. cree, “ Yet forty days, and [ungodly] Nineveh shall be destroyed :' And yet penitent Nineveh was spared : So unscriptural is the assertion, that the decree of the end ensures the use of the means, when God tries moral agents in the day of salvation, in order to punish or reward them according to their works, in the day of judgment !
Mr. Toplady supports these unfortunate appeals to scripture, by the following appeal to Reason.
Arg. XV. (Page 24.) -" Suppose it were infallibly revealed to an army, or to any single individual, that the former should certainly gain such a battle, and the
ly failed to
tent, and sec, in G' dy's doctrik
hath site vrevant: ring.-The 1 before the Veither the accas
ne darsoit latter certainly win such a race, would not the army
be mad to say, Then we will not fight a stroke? Would end, fez tis not the racer be insane to add, Nor will I move so much
as one of my feet? &c. Equally illogical is Mr. Wesley's disobedir, impudent slander, that the elect shall be saved do what regarded = they will, &c.—Either he is absolutely unacquainted
with the first principles of reasoning; or he offers up the knowledge he has, as an whole burnt sacrifice on the altar of malice, calumhy, and falsehood.”
This severe censure will appear Calvinistically graostrate their tuitous, if we consider, that it is entirely founded upon
the impropriety of the illustrations produced by Mr. Toplady. If he had exactly represented the case, he would have said, “ Suppose it were infallibly revealed to an army, that they should certainly gain such a battle ; that they could do nothing towards the victory by their own fighting; that the battle was fought, and
won for them 1700 years ago ; that if they refused to fight to-day, or if they ran away, or were taken prisoners, their triumph would not be less certain; and that putting their bottle to their neighbours' mouths, and defiling their wives, instead of fighting, would only make them sing victory louder, on a certain day called a day of power, when Omnipotence would sovereignly exert itself in their behalf, and put all their enemies to flight:-Suppose again it were revealed to a racer, that he should certainly win such a race, and receive the prize, whether he ran to-day
because his winning the race did not at all depend upon his own swift running, but upon the swiftness of a great racer, who yesterday ran the race for him, and who absolutely imputes to him his
even while he gets out of the course to chase an ewe-lamb, or visit a Delilah ; that the covenant, which secures him the prize, is unconditionally ordered in all things and sure ; that though he may be unwilling to run now, yet in a day of irresistible power he shall be made willing to fly and receive the prize ; and that his former loitering will only set off the greatness of the power, which is absolutely engaged
de appeal fod's decres as much
tamor -veh shall
was spero decree off
backward or forward ;
en God to
der to pussy in the dark
te appeals ?
fere intali dual, thara ttle, and to
carry him, and all elect racers, quite from Egypt to Canaan in one hour, if they have loitered till the eleventh hour;"-suppose, I say, Mr. Toplady had given us such a just view of the case, who could charge the soldiers with " madness," and the racer with “ being insane,” if they agreed to say, “ We will neither fight nor run, but take our ease and indulge ourselves, till the day of power come, in which we shall irresistibly be made to gain the battle, and to win the race?”
From these rectified illustrations it appears, if I am not mistaken, (1.) That, when Mr. Wesley advanced his consequence, he neither " shewed himself ahso. lutely unacquainted with the first principles of reasoning;" nor “ offered up the knowledge he has, as whole burnt-sacrifice on the altar of malice, calumny, and falsehood:"--And, (2.) That, when Mr. Toplady's appeals to scripture and reason are made fairly to stand “ upon their legs,” they do his doctrine as little service as his limping arguments.
An Answer to the Arguments, by which Mr. Toplady
endeavours to reconcile Calvinian Reprobation with Divine JUSTICE.
We have seen how unhappily the translator of Zanchius has reconciled his doctrines of Grace and Absolute Election with God's holiness : Let us now see if he has been more successful in reconciling his doctrines of Wrath and Absolute Reprobation with Divine Justice.
ARGUMENT XVI. (Page 35.) ——“Justice consists in rendering to every man his due.”—Mr. Toplady gives us this narrow definition of Justice to make way for this argument: God owes us no blessing, and there
he may gratuitously give us an everlasting curse.
He does not owe us heaven, and therefore he may justly appoint, that eternal sin and damnation shall be our unavoidable portion.—But is not a king unjust when he punishes an unavoidable fanlt with uninterrupted torture, as well as when he refuses to pay bis just debts ?
ARGUMENT XVII. (Ibid.) –“ God is not a debtor to any man.”—True, (strictly speaking ;) but (1.) Does not God owe to himself, to behave like himself, that is, like a gracious and just Creator, towards every man ? —(2.) When God, by his promise, has engaged himself judicially to render to every man ‘ according to his works,’ is it just in him to necessitate some men to work righteousness, and others to work iniquity, that he may reward the former, avd punish the latter, according to arbitrary decrees of absolute election to life, and of absolute reprobation to death ?--And (3.) Do not the sacred writers observe, that God has condescended to make himself a debtor to his creatures by his gracious promises ? Did Mr. Toplady never read, 'Hethat hath pity upon the poor, levdeth to the Lord, and look, what he layeth out it shall be paid again ?' (Prov. xix. 17.) When Evangelical Panl hath' fought a good fight,' does he not look for a crown from the
Just Judge,' and declare that God is not unrighteous to forget onr lahour of love ;' and, if we confess our sins,' is not God bound by his Justice, as well as by his Faithfulness, to forgive, und cleanse us ??--(1Johni. 9.)
ARGUMENT XVIII. (Ibid. ) -—“If it can be proved " that He [God] owes salvation to every rational being
he has inade; then, and then only willit follow, that "God is unjust in not paying this debt of salvation to
each, &c.—What shadow of injustice can be fastened
on his conduct, for, in some cases, withholding what " he does not owe?” This argument is introduced by Mr. Toplady in a variety of dresses. The flaw of it cosisists in supposing that there can be no medium between eternal salvation, and appointing to eternal damnati and that, because God may absolutely elect