Page images

this decision of his word never be forgotten, “ His soul that is lifted up,” though he speak with the tongue of men or of angels, though he have a martyr's zeal or an apostle's faith, "bis soul that is lifted up, is not upright in him."

Finally, does the experience of any person, dispose him to an habitual, conscientious, practical fear of God? Does it result in a ready, filial, unreserved obedience to his will? Is he governed, not by his interest or his feelings, but by the bible, as his rule? Is he anxious to know what God would have him to do? and does he repair to the word of God, that he may know? Is he apt to receive the declarations of his will, when set before him; and does he cheerfully yield his worldly gratifications, connections and hopes, in submission to them? As a busband, a parent, a child, a neighbor, a member of the church, a master, a servant-in regard to his words, as well as deeds--in the government of his temper, as well as the conduct of his life-in the use of his time, his property, his influence-in the regulation of the whole man, the inner and the outer man, does he come before God and say, “I count all thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and hate every false way?" What a religion is this! Who could think lightly of christian experience, were this the uniform and conspicuous result? Let these questions be answered in our favor, and we need not envy the experience of all the boasted joys of sins forgiven, without this evidence, which the world has known. “ This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” “Blessed is the man that feareth alway.”

In these remarks, we have not intended to encourage the too common practice of judging others, but to exhibit the standard by which every person may safely judge concerning himself. For this purpose, the distinction between true and false experience in religion, which we have endeavored to draw, cannot be too carefully made. Reader, what concern on earth is of the least importance to you, as an individual, compared with your discerning and following that real holiness which will not deceive you, and not substituting for it a delusion which will only render your final perdition the more sure and terrible? Who can paint the terrors of that man who dies, full of the joy of an expected heaven, and finds himself ushered, a hopeless rebel, into the torments of hell? Who, in prospect of the approaching decision, would not most earnestly pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart? But that you make this discrimination, is scarcely less important, to prepare you to give a right direction to your intluence over others. Their opinions, feelings, and conduct, cannot be slightly affected by your communications and examples. Surely, you would not say a word, with the view of hindering the work of God in their conversion. And ought you not to be equally cautious of giving your countenance to the work of the deceiver, in their destruction? Often do we hear it said, " It is of no consequence where a person gets religion,”--but is it of no consequence what religion he embraces? Were it not better for him to remain with no religion, and to lie open to the alarm which truth would hardly fail, in that case to excite, than to quiet himself with a delusive hope? "The effect of such an error is not often re

paired. One delusion is only exchanged for another;--graceless fervor for desperate security; and false hopes for confirmed scepticism and infidelity. Conscience is seared, prejudices are riveted, useful connections are broken off, the means of grace are abandoned, and the last state, in every respect, is worse than the first.

From the Boston Telegraph. SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD AND SUPRALAPSARIANISM. At the last meeting of the Pastoral Association of Massachusetts, May 24th, the Sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Beechera We have hitherto deferred any remarks upon that performance, hoping to see the sermon in print; as a copy was requested for publication. We have however waited in vain, as we understand, Dr. Beecher has not seen fit to comply with the request. What could be the Dr.'s motive in withholding a copy from the press, we are at a loss to determine; unless he considers the sermon so vulnerable, and so far a departure from the faith of the Protestants, that he has exposed himself to just and severe criticism. If the positions he attempted to establish were true, and of sufficient importance to be held up before that large and respectable body of clergymen; then they are certainly capable of being maintained, and are of sufficient importance to be put in the hands of the public. If the sermon was not true, in all its parts, but some of the positions advanced were untenable; then the discourse ought to be put into a tangible shape, that those errors may be met and refuted. In either case, Dr. Beecher owes a duty to the christian public, which he cannot fulfil, without giving a copy of his sermon for the press; and until he does this, we have the right to conclude, that he feels conscious of having assumed ground, which he is unable to defend and maintain.

We have long considered Dr. Beecher as holding the first principles of Arminianism; and the sermon to which we refer, has established us more firmly in that opinion. It is true, as the text very naturally opened the way, he attempted to discuss the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty, and to remove objections, which are commonly urged against it: but he could scarcely be said to enter even upon the threshold, and, in our view, he advanced nothing, except contradictions, to which a Wesleyan Methodist would not most coraially assent. When the Dr. said, that divine sovereignty “always flows in certain channels;" we were strongly inclined to ask him, Who made those channels ? Did they come by what he would call " the liberty of contingency?”-or were they fore-ordained in the counsels of eternity? When he says, that the sovereignty of God ' is usually dispensed with reference to a faithful use of means;' we would ask, Who ordained the faithful use of means? or did the use of means have no place in the counsels of eternity? When the Dr. asserted, that the sovereignty of God is ' not unconditional and irrespective election;' that, in view of the conduct of sinners, God de

termines what to do with them;' and that it is the wickedness of the wicked, which makes the certainty of their destruction;' we would ask, where is the Arminian, who would not say the same? and, on what ground bas Dr. Beecher been keeping up a continual warfare with the Unitarians?" But, we would again inquire, Who has ordained the wickedness of the wicked? Who has said 'I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I, the Lord, do all these these things?"-Did the Dr. forget that part of bis context, which says,--" Therefore hath he mercy, on whom he will bave mercy, and whom he will be hardeneth?' How recently bad he read the account of our Savior, when he “rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes: Even so, Father? for so it seemed good in thy sight?Was it the wickedness of Pharoah that first determined God what to do with him? or did God determine his wickedness, and raise him up for this very purpose, to show in him his own power, and that his own name might be declared throughout all the earth?"

We were not at all surprised to find Dr. Beecher a Suprala psariad; but we were astonished beyond measure to hear him assert, that the Protestant Confessions were not Suprala psa rian. We have ever considered the Protestant Confessions as Supralapsarian to a very high degree; and we are not as yet convinced to the contrary.

We know, too, that Arminians have ever been quarrelling with Calvin, because of his Suprala psarianism, which even Semi-Calvinists will not presume to deny; and the same may be said of the Westminster Confession and Catechism.

It was nothing new to us, to bear the Dr, assert, that regeneration is not effected by the direct and positive agency of the Holy Spirit; for we bad before heard him advance the same sentiment. But being himself a Supralapsarian, and, with the Arminians, holding the supreme efficacy of moral suasion; it is truly marvellous to us, that he can be so inconsistent as to class himself among Calvinists. Nor can we conceive how any persons can consider Dr. Beecher as leading the van of orthodoxy, when he has evidently so far departed from the orthodoxy of the Protestants and Puritans. If be supposes, that he can stand half way between Calvinists and Arminians; we vastly mistake, if he does not find that ground to be nowhere. There is no consistent stopping-place between thorough Calvinism and genuine Arminianism; and neither Calvinists por Arminians will long bear with a man who is neither one thing nor another.

NEUTRALITY. What is it to stand on neutral ground? It is to profess one thing and do another. It is an old observation, which may, in general, be observed with perfect safety, “ Always reckon neuters on the wrong side.” No man, who professes to be neutral, either in feelings or conduct, in relation to any moral subject, is ever to be trusted. No man will even profess to take a neutral stand, on any moral subject, who does not lack either moral principle and moral courage. When, therefore, any mora! question comes up, which affects the general interests of community, and any man tells us he means to take no part either on one side or the other; we may always consider him as both dastardly and dishonest. He is dastardly, because he has not sufficient courage to avow his real feelings; and he is dishonest, because he professes to be indifferent, when he knows he is not. No man can stand entirely on neutral ground. Every moral subject, which presents itself to the mind, must necessarily engage both the feelings and the judgment, on one side or the other. We will believe a man just as soon, who will tell us that be stands upon the earth, without a place to stand upon, as believe one who tells us he is entirely neutral in his conduct and feelings in relation to any moral subject, which has claimed enough of his attention to give it a name.

There is no occasion for remaining on neutral ground, in relation to moral subjects. One side or the other must be right, and it is always safe to act on the right side.

No person can innocently remain on neutral ground, if such a thing were possible. As every moral subject has a right and a wrong side; we are always under obligation to know the right, and to take a stand on that side. If it were possible, therefore, for any man to stand on neutral ground, he could not do it, and fulfil bis duty to himself, to his fellow creatures, or to his God.

Those who profess to take a neutral stand always will act on the wrong side. If they have not the moral courage and the moral principle to stand where they ought to stand; they will always have the meanness and wickedness, to throw in the weight of their influence into the scale of error, under the hypocritical cloak of professed neutrality. When people are arrayed in two parties on moral subjects, and a man tells us he intends to have nothing to do with either, we have no more confidence in bis moral honesty, than to believe he will favor the enemies of truth, the moment an opportunity presents itself for so doing.-- Ibid.


Dr. Ely says, with exultation, that old fashioned Hopkinsianisin has been banished from Andover, from the General Association of Massachusetts, from the good little State of Connecticut, and nearly from the whole Presbyterian Church.” This declaration, we very much fear, is too true; and we frankly acknowledge, that we are among those, who, as he says, 'greatly laloent this defection.'

But, what is old fashioned Hopkinsianism? It is no more nor less than strict, and consistent, and “scriptural Calvinism;"

between which and Arminianism, there is no consistent medium, or place of standing. It is such Calvinism as Solomon taught, when he said, “The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of waters; he turneth it whithersoever he will. It is such Calvinvinism as Paul taught, when he said, “Work out your own salvavation with fear and trembling: for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do, of his good pleasure."-"For we are insufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sulficiency is of God.”—“For he saith unto Moses, I will bave mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will be hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? for who hath resisted his will? Nay but, Oman, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and make his power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy; which he had afore prepared unto glory”! It is sucb Calvinism as our blessed Saviour believed, professed and inculcated, when he prayed, “If it be possible, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine be done;-if this cup may not pass from me, except I drink it thy will be done;''-—when he taught bis disciples to pray, “ Thy will be done:"_and when he “rejoiced in spirit and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth; because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” It is such Calvinism as God himself taught, when he said, “I will harden Pharoah's heart;” and, “I have hardened his heart.” “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I, the Lord, do all these things.If, then, old fashioned Hopkinsianism has been banished Mom Andover, from the General Association of Massachusetts, from the good little State of Connecticut, and nearly from the whole Presbyterian Church;” it is evident, that they have banished the doctrines of the Bible, and the only “scriptural Calvinism” in existence; and it is no marvel that “this defection from old fashioned Hopkinsianism is greatly lamented by the few who remain faithful to it in Massachusetts."

But, if they have banished old fashioned Hopkinsianism from Andover,' as Dr. Ely affirms; we would inquire, what has become of their old fashioned Hopkinsian Creed, which was wittingly framed for the purpose of securing the influence of Dr. Samuel Spring, and large benefactions through his agency? We fear they never had much Hopkinsianism at Andover, save the Creed referred

« PreviousContinue »