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tle. It is not safe to be too sure. Perhaps God is not so good as you think he is." In plain English-Let us expend our money. Let us go to work-our labour is the sine qua non. "There is something for us to do," or we shall never delight our souls in any thing. So the lean kind of Arminianism is preferred before the fatness of the Gospel. To buy wine and milk without money, and without price, is a damnable heresy, says the bigot. No one in his senses would sell without a price, says the sectarian. What! Eat without money! says the zealot; not a mouthful of any thing shall be obtained without paying the full price that is named in my creed. Eat, says Truth. No conditions are required. I will correct myself: Something is necessary. Men are invited to a feast. The table groans beneath the weight of the choicest viands. Now comes the difficulty: There is a necessity for something. What is wanting? Why don't you fall to, ye Arminians, ye lean, half-starved creatures, why don't you eat? You can never excuse yourselves, and cover a foolish pride, by saying that you are not hungry. Your looks belie your excuse, if that is your
Don't slander us; we are as hungry as bears, replies Arminianism. We would eat, if we dared to. Do you really think, now, that the invitation is sincere? Do the words mean what they say? We finally conclude that we had better be sure. We will buy a luncheon with our money. We can stay our stomachs; we will go sure, and eat our own provision.
The Gospel trumpet sounds: "Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live." The news, the glad tidings, are so good, that all that is necessary is for you to hear. If you hear the tidings, and come to the truth, in coming to the truth, you will leave Arminius, and all human dogmas. You cannot arrive at truth, without having a locality; a moral or spiritual resting-place, at a distance from all the creeds of men. And the word is, "I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” What a pity, that one word in the sentence should entirely disqualify it, and prevent Arminianism from finding a pin to hang an argument on? Sure mercies! This is the very thing that Arminian idiosyncrasy revolts at. "Be careful. Don't be too sure."
“Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people,
a leader and commander to the people." the covenant spoken of; God's Son Jesus. witness, such a leader and commander, the tain, the mercies are sure. "Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that know not thee shall run unto thee [the witness, God's Son Jesus] because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee."* The phraseology of this verse, indicates that the nation of the Israelites or the Jews, is the nation who shall be the recipients of the promised blessing; and that nations, the Gentiles, shall run unto their Covenant, Jesus Christ, the glorified of the LORD. This prophecy looks to the time, when the wicked Israelites shall forsake their ways, and the unrighteous Gentiles their thoughts, and shall return unto the LORD, and shall be united to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hearken to the advice of the prophet. "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is
Reader, this is With such a victory is cer
Pray inform me, whether this does not imply a condition?
No, reader. No condition is implied or expressed, in the phraseology of the prophet. "If you shall seek the Lord, while he may be found, then, in that case, you shall find him and be pardoned, as a consequence of your seeking. But, if you shall refuse, or neglect to seek the Lord while he may be found, then, in that case, you shall not be pardoned; because the time will come to you, under such circumstances, when the Lord will not be found; for the reason, that He will not be near to you." This phraseology implies a condition on the part of the sinner. The prophet, however, does not use such arguments. The prophet's advice, in its peculiar and primary signification, is addressed to the nation of Israel. The Gentiles are spoken of, as the nations, etc. It would not be proper, at this time, to address the Israelites, or Jews, in this manner. Neither would it be proper now, to use this phraseology in addressing the Gentiles, or the nations. When Paul, who was commissioned to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, was at Athens, he declared to the Athenians, speaking of the nations, and of God their Creator, that He is not far from every one of us. There
* Ponder the expression-mark well the phrase" Holy One," not holy three!
was, however, a strict propriety in the language of the prophet, at the time it was spoken, in its primary reference to the ancient Israelites. The prophet had previously spoken, by command of the LORD, of the condition of the Israelites, at a certain time. (See Isa. vi.) The condition is clearly expressed-"Make their ears heavyand shut their eyes.' And God's intention, in this respect, is explained-"Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed." And the expression, "Make the heart of this people fat;" signifies, that God would, in his providence, cause this; to the end that the effect should result according to the prediction of His prophet. Therefore, during a certain time, made certain by the foreknowledge of God, according to his purpose, His people Israel should not be healed. And Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans, affirms to the same amount, with the additional particular, as respects the purpose of God, finally, in relation to blinded Israel, “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all." (Rom. xi. 32.) Wonderful to relate, that which has been supposed to be a condition of salvation, faith, God has dispensed with; to make room for His mean of salvation to His chosen people; and has, therefore, concluded them all in unbelief, to the very end that they all might be the recipients of His salvation! It therefore appears, that God has devised a way and manner of salvation of a peculiar kind, for His people Israel; and modern pretenders to the art of saving souls, have determined on damning millions in their future hell, by the very process that JEHOVAH has planned to effect his salvation!
How truly expressive are the words which immediately follow our text! 66 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Reader, if there was ever a case in point, we have it here. Behold it: The declaration immediately follows our text-"Let the wicked forsake his way-Let the unrighteous man forsake his thoughts-Let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy upon him," &c. Now for the reason-"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways saith the Lord." What a contrast! Consider the ways of men, unrighteous men; "destruction and misery are in their
ways," says the Scriptures. Our modern orthodox soulsavers, have Hell and destruction in their ways. The dif ference is as great as stated by the prophet. God's ways, and God's thoughts, which are salvation, the sinner's return, and pardon, and rich mercy, are as high above the ways and thoughts of unrighteous men, whose way is destruction, and whose thoughts are of Hell and misery, as the heavens are higher than the earth!
Here are two propositions, and no third one can be found within the precincts of the vast universe. The subject has been presented by God's holy prophet. The premises are of Divine origin; and Calvin's Institutes, Hopkins's System of Doctrines, and Arminius's whims and absurdities, are powerless. God's ways and thoughts are not like, they are not man's ways and thoughts. The difference is as great as the distance between the heavens above, and the earth beneath. God's ways and thoughts are the ways and thoughts of Heaven. Man's ways and thoughts, in contradistinction to God's, have their origin from beneath; and are, as James has affirmed of them, "earthly, sensual, devilish." (James iii. 15, 17.) "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.'
These two propositions must be considered, and their consequences admitted. "Destruction and misery" characterize men, unrighteous men. The picture is true to the life. The wisdom that is from beneath, in contradistinction to the wisdom that is from above, cannot be mistaken. No orthodox sophistry can evade its force. The imagery is as clear as the sun in his meridian splendour. God is full of mercy. His ways and thoughts are pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated-good fruits only result from God's ways; and no partiality, no hypocrisy stains and disfigures the picture of Heaven's benefi cence. Look on this picture, of love unbounded, mercy that fills the heavens, the outstretched arms of impartiality, are pure; and the gentleness of the dove, beautifully emblematical of the Holy Spirit, is entreated to dispense good fruits, without money and without price. Now look on this picture-Behold the contrast! Destruction and misery are passing in black review before you. Orthodoxy, or "Death on the pale Horse, and Hell fol lowing" in his train, show the mighty contrast. (Rev.
vi. 8.)* No effort of the imagination, no power of the judgment, however enlightened by a profundity of wisdom, or strengthened by an experienced understanding, can find any harmony in a comparison between them. Partiality, doubly-damned by the hypocrisy of the pretence, of tendering mercy when none is intended, glares frightfully from the canvass; and gentleness, and good fruits, how these heaven-born mercies, these good things, sound, when spoken where gloomy orthodoxy speaks, like a dragon, of misery, destruction, and endless despair! Cruelty, beyond all that Moloch's worshippers imagined, or a Nero practised, is seen in opposition to loving-kindness and tender mercy. An endless Hell. These are thine honours, thou beast with two horns, thou prevaricating deceiver.
Reader, these premises will stand the test of the severest scrutiny, and come out from a just analysis, as gold from the fire of the refiner, without loss or dross. God's ways and thoughts, stand in opposition to modern orthodoxy, in all its shapes and guises. The beast, under every garb, is a beast still. Destruction and misery stand in bold relief on the monster's scutcheon, and brand him infamous.
The chapter where our text is recorded, is a proper commentary on the truth affirmed. The residue of the chapter which I will now adduce in illustration of the glorious truth, that God's ways and thoughts are as high above men's ways and thoughts, as the heavens are above the earth, is full to the point in proof of God's goodness toward his creature man, and the certainty of the accomplishment of all His purposes. But let it be remembered,
* Rev. xiii., looks hard at the Roman Church, and Martin Luther & Co. One thing is certain, the Beast was wounded badly at the time of the outbreak from the Roman hierarchy. And verse 11, "And I beheld another beast [as much a beast as the preceding one, every inch of him,] coming up out of the earth; [from beneath, like the Roman beast,] and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon," &c. I opine that these two horns, are figurative of Calvinism and Arminianism; which have resulted as the two leading dogmas of the reformation. Now Martin Luther, and John Calvin and Co. had very much the voice of a dragon-but their horns, as the event will prove, were about as effective as the horns of a sheep! The aid afforded the first beast, by the other beast, having the two horns, I do not conceive amounts to a partnership in harmony; but is merely sufficient in the imagery to denote their separate efforts, which were jointly conducive to the propagation of error and falsehood. I merely throw out these few hints, and the reader can pursue the inquiry, if he pleases, at his leisure.