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heart, and judged your brethren of the human family to an endless, and a cruel Hell? If you have embraced the dogmas of men, in opposition to the Gospel of Christ, can you, when you contemplate the cruel inflictions of your uncharitable creed, joyfully pronounce a hearty

AMEN?

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SERMON IV.

THE FIAT OF OMNIPOTENCE.

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy_upon him;
and to our God; for he will abundantly pardon."
ISA. lv. 7.

THE very prominent passage which I have selected for my text, must be considered in a certain relation to its author God. When men affirm any thing, reason teaches us to consider whatever they have affirmed, in a certain relation to the speakers. The character of the party, which necessarily implies the power, will, and disposition, whether for good or evil, of the party in question, must all be taken into the account. If a man of wealth affirms any thing, which would be very beneficial to another, the fact of the existence of the means requisite to benefit the recipient of the proffered boon, is settled; and the inquiry whether the thing shall be done, would respect not the ability, but the will of the doer.

The phraseology of the text, implies something which must be considered in reference to the party who is the speaker. "Let the wicked forsake his way," &c. Is this affirmed ironically? Let the wicked forsake his way-but this is not the intention of the speaker, that the wicked shall forsake his way. It would be an impious assumption, for any man to take this ground. The Deity does not sport with man.

JEHOVAH sees man; beholds all men as they are in reality, sinners, wicked and unrighteous. Is our_text merely a recitation of a passing remark that the Deity made, on beholding sinners? Viz:-"Let the wicked forsake his way," &c. Who cares what the wicked do! Let the unrighteous man forsake his thoughts, if he have a mind to, for it is no concern of mine. This view of the subject will not do; for God never speaks of His offspring man in this way. This levity of expression would comport with the character of foolish and wicked men.

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"Let the wicked forsake his way," &c., before I shall condescend to notice him in any shape whatever. But this construction of the text is a violation of all rules. It is not represented nor affirmed, that the case of the wicked was brought before the LORD, and the question asked, whether the LORD would, under any, and, if under any, what circumstances, consider the condition of the wicked, and report His mind in the premises? No one has presented the case of the wicked to the LORD, and inquired of the LORD, what He intended to do in reference to the wicked and unrighteous? This view of the text is quite as objectionable as those previously considered.

"Let the wicked forsake his way," &c., for, unless the wicked shall forsake his way, I shall consign him to inexpressible and endless torment. This phraseology implies that the wicked can forsake his way, if he pleases. Or if this ability of the wicked to forsake his way does not exist, it must follow that deception has been used, by stating the premises differently from the real condition of things. But even admitting that this is not the case; that no deception exists; that the wicked actually possesses the power, both mentally and physically, to forsake his way, etc., this view of the subject is foreign to the text. The text affirms no such thing as a condition, and the condition specified as the only ground on which the LORD will have mercy, or grant pardon, &c. There is neither condition nor threatening.

"Let the wicked forsake his way," &c. If the wicked will forsake his way, &c., I will have mercy upon him. If not, if the wicked shall not forsake his way, &c., I will take no notice of him, nor concern myself with his condition, in any way whatsoever. This view does violence to the text. It teaches, that only on certain conditions, will God interest himself about his creature man. And that, unless the wicked shall first do certain things, God will do nothing in the premises. Our text will not admit of this construction. It is equally objectionable with any of the previous views.

A fact exists-our text is prima facia evidence of the existence of the fact in question, viz:-God has an interest in the condition of the wicked and unrighteous, as wicked and unrighteous men. This condition is the subject of the text. What is the condition of men, which has so far interested the LORD, as to cause him to express His mind or will on the subject? Ans. A wicked or un

righteous condition. And this condition is the subject. Now the question comes with emphasis, What has created this interest in the LORD? Or, what has induced the LORD to express his mind on the subject of the condition of men, wicked and unrighteous men? There must be a reason for this, what is it?

Now I shall contend, that only two reasons or causes, can be found, or assigned, for the interest that the LORD has expressed for the wicked men, or their condition, as avowed in our text.

First-The cause must be found in the wicked men ; that is, in their conduct, either in the present tense, or in the future tense as of something that they should do, the doing of which on their part, having been foreseen of God, operated to produce an interest in His mind, in the condition of the wicked men, and favourable to them. Or,

Second-the cause is foreign to the wicked men, and consistent with the character of the LORD; and exists in Him, as part and parcel of his attributes. Consequently, it must follow, that if the cause is in and of the LORD, it is independent of the wicked men, and has its origin in the attributes of the Deity; therefore, the Deity is represented in the text in His true character, and men in their true character; and this fact, or truth, is independent of the men, so far as relates to God, whether men be considered in their present condition as wicked, or in a fu ture condition as righteous; and the recipients of the mercy and pardon of the LORD, after they shall have for. saken their wicked ways and unrighteous thoughts.

Reader, this must be so, as I have stated, or the sole alternative remains of introducing a contingent, and the LORD JEHOVAH the subject of the contingent; being operated on by a contingent, and willing a thing to meet a contingent event. This view of the subject degrades the Deity; that is, the only legitimate conclusion from such premises, is incompatible with every consistent idea of the attributes of an Infinite Being. The truth is, there fore, not only apparent, but it is forced upon us, by all the deductions of reason, by sound logic, by every cor rect apprehension of man's character and condition, and by every consistent view of the perfections of the Great SUPREME.

Look at the connexion of our text, and then decide, whether God or man is the mutable being? Whether the subject of our text, necessarily implies something differ

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ent from what I have stated? Whether God will change, provided wicked men will forsake their way, and unrighteous men will forsake their thoughts; or amend their characters; and by a mutation on their part, furnish an opportunity for a change or mutation on the part of that God who changeth not.*

Reader, candour compels me to exhibit the foundation, and lay bare the corner-stone of my argument. Behold it: "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Mal. iii. 6.) This affirmation speaks volumes. It is a key to our text. Reverse the proposition-open the door for Arminianism to stalk in, like a spectre from the black abode of error, and man's hopes are vain. God's IMMUTABILITY is the cornerstone in the foundation of rational Theology. Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, is the chief Stone of the corner; for the sole reason that God the LORD laid this Stone in Zion, and confirmed by an oath the immutability of His counsel. "I CHANGE NOT." This is the sole, the triumphant reason, why man is not consumed! Now look at the glorious testimony which ushers in our text, fresh from the Archives of Heaven, and redolent with the balmy air of Truth :

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"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." Reader, I will venture an affirmation, that this declaration is the keenest burlesque that ever was writ ten. Ho! Arminians, Ho! "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." Ponder these words, reader; "Hearken diligently unto me.' All the work you shall have to do, is to "let your soul_delight itself in fatness." Reader, be advised, Don't say, as foolish Arminians say, "Ah, this is too good news to be true. You had better doubt a lit

""

**See Rom. i. 18. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men," &c. The phrase orge Theou, in the original Greek, rendered wrath of God, signifies, orge, the native character, disposition, temper of mind. Vide Prof. Rob. G. & E. Lex. It is a part and parcel of the attributes of the Deity, to be opposed to evil. God will never change. But man shall change. God's wrath will exterminate evil. No compromise can ever perpetuate evil, by which orthodoxy shall preserve its pretty rattle, called an eternal hell.

VOL. II.-7

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