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the exact point from whence he fell. But, in the instant of the original apoftacy, Adam could see nothing before him but end. less death. Therefore, every finner when returning back to his God, or in the moment of repentance, can see nothing before him but endless death. He, however, cordially approves of the death, and of every thing contained in the law. It is not necessary for us to be reconciled to endless death, in itself con. fidered, this is impossible. But a cordial approbation of the whole law, that endless death is right and fitting, what we juftly deferve, is implied in repentance.
Again, the gospel, although it pronounces' everlasting deftruction'* on the unbeliever, ought to be received with gladness of heart, as 'good tidings of great joy.' And because it offers falvation to every creature, and actually secures the salvation of every penitent believer. Were the deftru&tion or death to be left out of the gospel, were all without distinction to be made happy in the next world, and it would, as Dr. H. does throughouť his book, give countenance to all possible wickedness. Which could not be glad tidings to such as love righteousness and hate iniquity.
Thus the law and the gospel bring all possible good to the penitent believer; exhibiting, also, the greatest motive before infi. dels, to persuade them to believe. But they bring, at the same time, all possible evil to the unbeliever, considering him as such, The same may be faid of the decrees and government of God. The law and the gospel, in the most desirable sense, are in favour of the believer ; lo are all the decrees, and counfels of heaven.' The law and the gospel, in the most alarming sense, are against the unbeliever, as such ; so are all the decrees and counsels of heaven. From the law and the gospel the believer has every thing to hope; from the law and the gospel the unbeliever has every thing to fear. So from the decrees of God the believer has every thing to hope, while, from the same source, the unbeliever has every thing to fear. At the same time, the law, and the gospel, and the decrees, and the providencc, and the government of God, all harmoniously unite, to alarm, and to invite finners to become. true believers.
Furthermore, the law and the gospel present to our view, most clearly, the perfe&t freedom of men. Thus faith the LORD, Be. • hold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death.'tChoose you this day whom you will serve.'f The decrees of God, also, teach the same perfe&t freedom among men. Instead of interfering with, or restraining, the entire freedom of men, the
decrees * Jerem. 21. 8. 4 Joh. 26. 151
# Ther. 1.9.
decrees of God do indeed establish and secure it. Some suppose, because his decrees are unalterable, and because his government is universal, men are no longer free. They might as well say, because his law binds all our thoughts, words, and actions, and because it is unalterable, it is not good. They might as well say, because the terms of the gospel are fixed, and men muft neceflarily come up to an exact point, to obtain salvation, therefore the terms of the gospel are hard. Certainly if the law, the gospel, the decrees, and the providence of God, give men liberty to do, and to enjoy all the good they are capable ; to be as holy and happy as God himself, according to their nature ; they have the only thing which can properly be called liberty, and they have it in the highest sense. But the fact is, men wish for a different kind of liberty. They wish for liberty to commit fin, and not be called to an account.
As Dr. H. has not steadily adhered to these rules, but has of ten contradi&ted them, he cannot be reckoned among the friends of calvinism. He appears to have introduced the doctrines o the divine decrees,predestination, election,&c. so as to have op. portunity to misrepresent them ; render them highly disguftful, even frightful and horrid to his readers ; unless they can be made lubservient to his own scheme, the salvation of all men.
7. Dr. H. must now find himself in a sad dilemma. For ei. ther first, he mus grant that his wide door, which would admit all men' in, in the next world, is shut, while they continue in this world; and fatan left to share the prize.'. Or, fecondly, he must withdraw his formidable objection against the limitarians, ảnd grant that their foundation of faith is according to the gospel. He must grant the righteousness of Christ alone to be an unfailing foundation for us to build our faith and hope upon. That all of us are under infinite obligation to come unto Chrift, believing him to be the rock of eternal salvation ; although it be a secret to us whether we are elected to eternal salvation, or not. He must acknowledge that we can have no evidence whatever of our safe and happy state after death, any further than we find our hearts and lives conformed to the gospel. And, he must acknowledge that he was led into the scheme of universalism through mistaken notions. 'After all researches,'* that he had not understood one of the first principles of the oracles of God,'t eyen the proper warrant and ground te believe to life eternal.
I am, &c.
+ Heb. 5. 12
LETTER III. Dr. FI. holds that all who are impenitent at death are then
regenerated; this compared to his rule of faith, and to other things in his Scheme; also the absurd consequences of this sentiment,
MY DEAR FRIEND,
all who remain impenitent until death, then to have, at this eventful moment, regeneration, repentance, faith, and all the christian graces ; so as to complete them for heaven. Reference was had to this in tlic foregoing letters. To fee its several coule neftions and consequences, as well as make a jult comparison, this sentiment will now be particularly considered.
The Reader is here informed, the Doctor makes no essential difference between the believer and unbeliever, as to a preparation for death ; in his view, both these characters are alike prepared.
Much is said,' says he,' about being fit to die. There is one * fitness and but one, and that is by no means personal ; but in * the perfect character of a covenant head, a vicar, or Surety, ' in the full atonement, and all perfect worthiness of Jesus. • Whatever difference progressive grace may make between man. • kind in this life (arid great is the blefling of all those who are elected to special attainments of grace in this world) yet every one without distinction, is left utterly unfit for heaven, so long
as tlie foul is in the boly, an awful unclean thing. No un* clean thing shall enter into that world. On the separation 'ot • foul and body' and not before, is any foul in its own qualifi• cations and temper fit; but in a relative view, all, for whoin * Christ died, are fo. Their garments are all alike wafed and • made white in the blood of the Lamb, _The notion of some • fitness in a finner for heaven, whether a penitent or an impeni.
trent linner, is utterly repugnant to the whole word of God. It * is built wholly on a legal spirit, and on our attachment to our Fold covenant of works. It wars againk every evangelical moative of comfort in our souls, and obedience in our lives. It * fands in opposition to an entire dependence on God in Christ,
and to every moral virtue.'t-Thus, in the itrongest terms the Doctor ex claims against what is called a preparation for death, But Christ commands us, 'Be ye also ready : for in such an olur as ye think not the Son of Man cometh. Matt. XXIV. * 44. So in Dent. XXXII. 29. that they were wise, that
they + P.194: 1939
* P. 193:
they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
Had Dr. H. shown in what particular things both the penitent 'aud impenitent are utterly unfit for heaven,' he would thaca have given some light on the subject. But lumping things together, as he here does, is an unpardonable fault. Rejeding, every kind of distinction, and making these two characters agree in all respects, is suited to inillead 'the unlearned and unstable, that they might wrelt the scriptures, unto their own deftruction.' In point of merit, or in the view of law and justice only, there is no difference between the believer and unbeliever. On this ground, the latter is as fit for heaven as the fariner. So, 'no unclean thing Challever enter into heaven; and believers have a great share of moral uncleanness, while in the body. But does this argue no difference of any kind between him who has prevailing love to God, and him who says in bis heart, No God ? Does this argue no difference between that faithful fervant who is watching and waiting the coming of his LORD, longing to depart and be with Christ ; and that evil servant who begins to fmite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken ? Again, is a humble dependence on the righteousness of Christ, for pardon and acceptance with God; is this build. 'ing wholly on a legal spirit, and on our attachment to our old 'covenant of works ?' il so, where is the great blessing," Dr. H. just mentioned,' of all those who are elected to special at. * tainments of grace in this world ?'
But we here ascertain the Doctor's sentiment 'on the separa. stion,' when men die, and not before, is any foul in its own 'temper fit to die, or fit for heaven. “But in a relative view, * all for whom Christ died are so.' That is in a relative view, all mankind are equally fit to meet death, and be taken to heaven. • Their garinents are all alike walhed and made white in the blood
of the Lamb.' The relation they all bear to Christ, places them all on equal footing. And the great work of fančtification, to fit the mind for heaven, is done for every one of us at death. ' A special work of Christ,' he says, ' there certainly must be in ' death ; or never one of the mere human kind can get to heaven.' - The same infinite mercy, power, and faithfulness, which
can then seperate one foul from all its unfitness for heaven, can 'another. Chrilt does but a small part of his glorious work on 'any foul in this life. He graciously begins earlier with some
than others; but he finishes with all'alike, even at death._Sin ' ad its attendants shall vex and distress the wicked as long as 'they live-It shall even drive them to death, to the king of ter* rors; but no further.'*--Speaking of Judas, our author says Every man is a son of perdition until new born : damned until regenerated. .. Judas was a notable son of perdition, until his death ;--even until foul and body were separated; until then . a son of perdition in an extraordinary degree.' Paul was so in ' a woful measure until he died, a wretched man with a body of • death. Every man is fo, in a fad degree, until the union of soul and body is dissolved.'t The Doctor goes on here, so in other places, to show us that all men, as well as Judas and Paul are regenerated at the diffolution of soul and body. Paul, he fuppoles, was comparatively or negatively regenerated in his early days. But for some cause, which he has not expressly given; he supposes Paul to need a greater degree of fan&ifying grace; when he is positively regenerated, at death; than Judas stood in need of, at the same awful moment.
The sentiment we are now upon the Doctor considers as highly important in his scheme. And truly it is a turning point with him. If it cannot be shown from scripture, that all impenitent men are renewed and sanctified at death, his scheme wholly fails. We might, therefore, have expected he would, in a very particular manner, have attempted to prove this point. He has often brought it into view, often used words, that clearly imply it, and evidently pla. ces great dependence upon it. But has used no arguments directly and especially in proof of it. The arguments and places of Scripture he uses, are general ones, to prove all men will be saved. He firft attempts to prove all will be saved, and then seems to take for granted, all will be fitted for heaven when they die. Whereas, if this be a scripture doctrine, it must be clearly and distinctly revealed. And might be easily shown to be contained in the bible; that is, something directly to the point. Because it is a point of the first importance to be settled." The Doctor often aferts things directly to the point, but assertions are no arguments. His treating things in this loose manner, gives ground of suspicion, to say the least, that he could find nothing directly to his purpose. And that there is nothing in the bible which looks that way; that is, to prove direály that all are made holy and fitted for heaven when they die. We shall, notwithstanding, attend to fome of his arguments, at this time ; to others again, in following letters.
• Repentance,' he says is a free, sovereign gift of God in Chrift. · And Jesus is exalted to grant this grace, just as much as the re. • miffion of sins, in consequence of it. He gives the for'mer, only as the necessary channel, or medium by which par.
* P. 203, 204.