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all most certainly be made holy. For this is the Father's will, that of all which he hath given to his Son, he should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. See John vi. 39.
I shall notice one more objection, which I find in the Letters, against the doctrine of particular election, and the consequent doctrine of reprobation; it is this;
That our doctrine is very discouraging—that it blocks up the way to heaven; and that fewer will be saved, with such a doctrine as personal election, than without it.' Mr. B. in an address to impenitent sinners, p. 147, says, "There is no horrible decree of reprobation to stop your path." In another place he says, "We will be content if we can save some of your imaginary reprobates, which you erroneously and unbelievingly consign to eternal torments before they were born." p. 130. I would ask the author of the Letters, How he knows when he has saved some of our reprobates. He cannot know that they are to be saved until they become believers, until they exhibit evidence of the new birth. But if they exhibit evidence of the new birth, they also exhibit just so much evidence, that they are not reprobated, but that they were given to the Son as his elect seed: For none come to him except those which were given to him; and evidence of their calling, is always just so much evidence of their election.
The Arminians are always representing our doctrine as discouraging, and very unfavorable to the salvation of the fallen race. Let us now for moment examine the matter, and see whether this charge is well founded. They agree with us in believing, that only a part of the race of man will actually be saved. How great a part, as it respects their number, neither of us pretend to be able to tell. We both say, None will be saved except those who repent, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. We say, that all such, without any exception, will be saved. They will not concede to this, for they believe, that many, who have repented of their sins and come to Christ, will notwithstanding fall away and perish. But leaving for the present this sentiment of theirs out of the question, I demand; Wherein their doctrine is more favorable to the salvation of lost men,
than ours? They seem to fancy, that they can save some who do not belong to the elect, of which we speak. But if they can make sound converts of any sinners whatever, we have no hesitancy in calling them elect, For as it is said, Whom he did predestinate, them he also called; so it is equally true, Whom he called, them he had previously predestinated. Now, if wẹ believe, and preach; that all who come to Christ will be received, and not one of them cast out; if we be lieve that every penitent will be forgiven ;—that every one who is born again will see the kingdom of God ;— that every one who calls on the name of the Lord in spirit and truth will be saved;—that every one who has the Spirit of Christ in every nation, and in every church, will be accepted of him, and will finally be admitted to be with him in his kingdom, to behold his glory; how can our doctrine be charged with being contracted, and unfavorable to the salvation of sinners?
Those who deny a divine predestination unto eternal life, seem to think that the Divine Being has not done as well by the human race, as they would do. But they ought to remember, that God is rich in mercy, and the riches of his mercy will finally appear, not only in the greatness and expensiveness of their salvation, but also in the great and innumerable multitude which was give en unto Christ, to be redeemed from the earth by his blood.
We have seen that the doctrine of our theological opponents, has no advantage over ours, as it respects setting open a door of hope in this valley of Achor. Let us now see if our doctrine has not in this respect the advantage of theirs. Mr. B. tells the impenitent; "There is no horrible decree of reprobation to stop your path." To this I would add, That according to his scheme of doctrine, there is no merciful decree of election to open your path. Your wicked heart has stopped your path. Christ has died, and opened the door of mercy. He has sent his servants to invite you to come; but you have all with one consent refused the offer. You have seen and hated both the Father and
the Son. Your hatred is complete. Tho' it is true, that every obstruction to your eternal salvation is re
moved out of the way except that which consists in the opposition of your own hearts; still this opposition will ruin you, if God, who is rich in mercy, do not quicken you while you are yet dead in sin. If therefore God had done no more than to set open the door of mercy, and left it with you to enter, when you were disposed, it is just as certain, that you would all go to hell, as if no Saviour had been provided. But unwilling and ungrateful as we rebels are, the Lord hath purposed that his Son shall have a seed to serve him :-A glorious number of our lost race were given to our Redeemer:
these through grace will be made to come to him. They will be pricked in the heart, while they hear their unholy character pourtrayed. They will look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn. Being born again, they will be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. In view of this free and gracious election, on the part of our offended Sovereign, we are encouraged to preach the gospel to you, and there is encouragement for you to hear it. For it pleases God, by, what the wise men of the world would call, the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe; and to bring the elect to obtain the salvation which there is in Christ Jesus.
Now, if we are correct in our views of depravity, as to the extent and tendency of it;-if men are as destitute of holiness, as a dead body is of life; so that it is proper on this account to say, that they are dead in sin; —if it is the nature and tendency of this totally depraved heart, to reject the most gracious offers of eternal life, and to continue to reject them forever; then it is certain, that if God had not determined to conquer some by his grace, overcoming the opposition of their hearts, none would have accepted the offers of life. Wherever the purpose of election has gone forward, this effectual, overcoming grace will follow. The doctrine of elec tion, instead of being a doctrine calculated to discourage, is quite the reverse. It is the foundation of encouragement. We do not mean to say that it is the foundation, in the same sense as the atonement is; but it is the foundation of encouragement, that a glorious number of the ruined race of Adam will, notwithstand
ing their native opposition to the atonement, yet be brought to build all their hopes upon it. Truth is all calculated to do good; and as we firmly believe in the doctrine of personal election, and personal reprobation, we have no doubt but that God will make use of the doctrine, to promote his holy cause. That the truth may be established in the heart of the writer, and in the heart of every reader, is an object greatly to be desired. I have now gone through with what I proposed on the doctrine of election; and I would now request every reader to search the scriptures, that he may determine whether these things are so.
A VENDICATION OF THIS DOCTRINAL PROPOSITION; 6: THAT GOOD MEN, WHILE THEY REMAIN ON EARTH, "ARE NEVER FREE FROM SINFUL IMPERFEC"TION;" BEING A REPLY TO SOME OBJECTIONS MADE AGAINST THIS DOCTRINE IN MR. BANGS FOURTH LETTER.
MR. BANGS' Fourth Letter was designed to detect and refute the errors contained in my Fourth Sermon. The text of this Sermon is Eccles. vii. 20: For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth The doctrinal proposition which was supposed to be contained in the text is this ; "That good men, while they remain on. the earth, are never free from sinful imperfection." In considering this doctrinal proposition, two things were attempted; I. To prove that good men are sinfully imperfect in this life: II. To show the consistency of this divine constitution of things, that it should be so.
To establish the point, that the saints are sinfully imperfect in this life, four arguments were introduced; 1. The religious experiences of the apostle Paul, who was one of the most eminent among the saints, and not a whit behind the first of the apostles. 2. The account given of the christian warfare, as implying a strife between the flesh and the spirit; particularly as this war'fare is described, Gal. v. 17. 3. The history of the saints, both as to their inward exercises, and their out