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laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day." · Common sense dictates that St. Paul, when he ute tered what I have just recited, had a respect to his own individual happiness in heaven. If so, he must be pronounced to have been a very selfish man, and to have judged of the dispensations of God on the principles of selfishness.
Again, Mr. S. fays, p. 112, “ Though the christian cannot promise himself any personal benefit from what he endures, except it be that of thinking God is glorified ; his confidence that infinite wise dom will make all events redound to the divine hon. or and happiness, and the general good, excites his benevolent resignation ; and he rejoices that God reigns, because he will glorify himself and make a universe of the greatest blessedness."
Here is something so contrary to the scriptures, and to the experience and hopes of good men, in all past ages of the world, that one is almost tempted to think that it was written merely to support an hypothesis. Certainly a man must be extremely press. ed, or he never would call for aid so contrary to rea. fon, to human experience, and to the voice of divine revelation.
Mr. S. says that “the christian cannot promise himself any personal benefit from what he endures, except it be that of thinking God is glorified."David says, “it is good for me that I have been af. flicted : that I might keep thy statutes." Was it not a perfonal benefit to David, to be taught obedience to divine commands ?
personal them :
Of the Jewish church it is said, “By this shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged: and this is all the fruit, to take away his fin.” Isa. xxvii. 9. Was it no benefit to Jacob, that his iniquities were purged, and his fin taken away, by what he suffered ?
Our blessed Saviour says to his disciples, “ Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my fake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven.” Matt. V. 11, 12, Christ did extremely wrong, if Mr. S. is right, to tell his disciples of a reward of their sufferings on earth, which they should receive in heaven. “Whosoever fhall lose his life for my fake, shall find it,” Matt. xvi. 25. Will it be no personal benefit to a christian, to find immortal life, in consequence of losing a mortal one for Christ ?
St. Paul was of a very different opinion from that of Mr. S.;, when he said, “ If fo be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified to. gether. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Rom. viii. 17, 18.
The author of the epistle to the Hebrews, after he had presented them with a long catalogue of an. cient worthies, who, through faith and patience, were then inheriting the promises ; proceeds to exhort
them: “Wherefore, teeing we also are compassed a. bout with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay a. side every weight, and the fin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and
finisher of our faith ; who, for the joy that was set be· fore him, endured the crops, despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. xii. 1, 2. 'It appears that a glorious exaltation in heaven was to be our Saviour's reward for suffering on the cross, from Philip. ii. 8, 9. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath high. ly exalted him, and given him a name which is a. bove every name.”-Here we have Jesus himself, the most benevolent being that ever appeared on the theatre of the world, as animated by the prospect of a great perfonal reward in heaven, to endure the most cruel sufferings, and the most ignominious death on the cross.
We have also one of his disciples, an apostle, exe horting chriftians to keep the great author of their salvation in constant view, and to imitate his exam. ple, by patient suffering in prospect of the reward in heaven. - And yet, by Mr. S.'s scheme of benevolence, Jesus Christ is reduced down to a being who hath been guilty of inglorious selfishness; and one who hath
judged of the dispensations of God on selfish princi. ples !!!,
The author to the Hebrews also must be clafé:d with his Malter, Jesus Christ, and conlidered as a selfish, ignoble being !!
No christiani divine, I am persuaded, ever wrote any thing before, on a serious and important subject; fo contrary to reason, so abhorrent from common sense, and so eally reducible to absurdity, and even to blasphemy.. "
Yet, after all, my heart feels 'disposed to make some apology for my brother. Poor human nature ! What fast hold does prejudice take of the human mind! How hard is it to divest ourselves of it! Great talents, thining accomplishments, and the most useful qualities of the mind, are often sacrificed bcfore the shrine of prejudice. My brother, no doubt; fat out with a pious heart, and with a real design to subserve the cause of truth, of Zion, and of God. But, alas alas ! how fath he failed! It appears that he really considers those he calls Universalifts to be in a great error, to have corrupted the truth, and injured the morals of the people. And it is ve. ry evident that he took up his pen with a resolution to refute these errorists.
One of two things, I think, may be considered as certain, with regard to Mr. S. either he hath never thoroughly studied bis subject, or a peculiar fondness for a favorite hypothesis hath injured his intellectual
powers. A man of Mr. S's. abilities, who had be* come a perfect master of his subject, and was tolerably free of prejudice, could not have written in such a manner.
This thews us the importance of prayer to God, the great author of our beings, and father of our spirits, that he would aid us in all our moral research. es, and lead and guide us into all truth, and preserve us from falling into any dangerous errors, or delufions.
There is something farther, in what was last quote ed from Mr. S. that appears to be very incautiously written, and conveys an idea that cannot be admit. ted, and which Mr. S. himself, in a considerate mo. ment, will not admit. It is as follows : when speaking of the christian who is enduring affliction and suffering here on earth, he says, “ his confidence that infinite wisdom will make all events redound to * the divine honor and happiness, and the general good, excites bis benevolent refignation." Are we to suppose that the divine happiness receives any addition or increase from the sufferings of mortal men ? We have ever been taught that God is absolutely and infinitely perfect. If so, his happiness cannot be in. creased or diminished.
The prophet, speaking of God's treatment of Ifa rael, and his disposition towards them when in affic tion, says, " I will mention the loving kindness of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to