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the highest bliss of the saints and of all holy beings, as the sanctification and perseverance of the elect.
Thus we have endeavored to present the reader with a distinct and brief scheme of redemption. It is supposed to be free from that ambiguity, in which doctrines are commonly involved, before they are announced to the world. There can be no difficulty in understanding the thread of doctrine, in the five foregoing particulars. But the candid reader inquires, which of our churches adopts these articles of faith, and what ministers teach them? We answer ; all churches and teachers, who are, properly speaking, Calvinistic or Predestinarian, espouse these points of doctrine. If the inquirer wish for some token by which such preachers may be easily discriminated, it is ready at hand. Ministers of the orthodox stamp have ever had certain technical terms, (so to speak) peculiarly appropriate to their arts and professions. In examining the etymology of those words and phrases, we generally find their root, in some Synod or Council. The leading views of those who consider themselves orthodox, embracing the particulars
just stated, have been called, " The five points," as distinguished from Arminianism ; but recently, they have received the more popular and less objectionable name of " The doctrines of grace.” 'Generally speaking, when you hear a man complain that his hearers cannot endure the distinguishing doctrines of grace; and the people, that the neighboring minister does not hold up these points sufficiently clear; when in ordination sermons and charges, this phrase is frequently insisted upon, as essential to the faithful discharge of the clerical obligation, you may know the foregoing points are intended. Another phrase by which such believers are discriminated is, The offensive doctrines of grace, or the cross. These points are supposed by the orthodox preachers, to be so offensive to the common sense of men in general, that instead of attempting to illustrate and defend them, the minister graces and enriches his discourse, by the sweeping declaration, “The natural man is opposed to the offensive doctrines of grace.” Those who will pay suitable attention to the above tokens, may easily distinguish those who belong to the orthodox fraternity.
But we may be more general in our remarks. Most of those preachers who have dared to think and believe for themselves, when their faith differed from the standard clergy of New England, have been immediately branded with heresy, and treated with indifference or contempt, and declared to be Arminians, Unitarians, or Universalists. Liberal, as most religious teachers are, in their offers of salvation, if you will be at the trouble of examining their Creed, you will find it embraces the doctrine contained in the foregoing statement, though expressed with more ambigui. ty. In giving a statement of the doctrines of grace, the writer has not only been influenced by good motives, and really solicitous to do the subject no more nor less than justice, but he has also been essentially assisted, by having the Oracle of Geneva* before him, from which the extract is taken. Every thing has been omitted which did not essentially belong to the subject; as many things, in almost every profession of the christian religion, are alike embraced by all. It is hoped all inquiring readers, wtll be particularly careful to pursue and examine those important points, and neither embrace nor reject them, without sound reasons for so doing. Hasty conclusions frequently make work for future regret and repentance. Religion, as a profession, is of two much consequence to be cursorily examined, and measurably wretched are all those, whose theory and practice are not coincident. Solicitous that each person should form his own opinion, this subject will be dismissed by proposing a few questions.
Question 1. How does this doctrine agree with the preaching of our pious ministers of the Baptist and Standing Order communions ?
Question 2. Do their hearers generally understand them as teaching, that God has elected a certain number to salvation, without any foresight of faith, good works or any conditions whatever, and that they are as sure to be saved, as God is to be God; and that the greatest part of each
*See Calvin's Institutes, Vol. 11, First American Edition ; printed at New Haven, 1816.
congregation is doomed and ordained to endless misery, without a possibility of escape?
Question 3. Would the good divines, whose creeds are Calvinistic, and who pride themselves in the name, be willing to come forward and proclaim, and defend the doctrine without any disguise; telling their hearers, that God never designed the salvation of but a few; that the atonement of Christ was solely for that few.; the effectual call to them exclusively; and that there is no provision for the manyno mercy for them-no possibility of their regenerationthe gate of life always being barred against them--and that they have no more power to reform themselves, repent and be saved, than the stones of the field have to start into active conscious being.
Question 4. Are we constrained to believe them sincere, when they graciously offer the Redeemer to a mixed multitude, yea, to the world—blame their audience for not being instantaneously converted-for not individually believing in Jesus, and express their great alarm for the future destiny of their hearers, when, according to their creed and belief, God never intended to save all the people—no one has any power to convert himself-all will unavoidably be converted exactly at the time and in the manner which God fore-ordained, and that the destiny of every individual was unalterably fixed, millions of years before the world was framed ?
Question 5. What motive shall we attribute to these Reverend teachers when they profess to believe, that every action of an unconverted man is totally criminal and infinitely hateful to God, and yet, exhort and urge their assemblies indiscriminately, to seek for religion, pray for grace, attend public worship, study the scriptures, support the priest, contribute to Missionary Societies, &c. &c. when, if the elect should obey, it would make his own salvation no more certain; whereas, if the reprobates should comply, every attempt to do good, would multiply the arrows of infinite wrath, and enrage the quenchless flames of their future endless wretchedness?
SALVATION POSSIBLE FOR ALL MEN. A numerous body of christians, under different names, and, in many unessential respects, highly discordant, entertain similar views in relation to the infinite value of the sufferings of Christ, and that he suffered in the sinner's stead; but extend its intended efficacy to every individual of the fallen race of Adam. The death of Christ is not only adequate to the salvation of all men, but may be applied to all, and received by all, the final happiness of the sinner depending on no previous decree or purpose of God, but, on the improvement or use, which he makes of the abilities which he possesses. If a man have one, two or five talents, and faithfully improve it, making a good return when his Lord call him to an account, he will be rewarded with endless happiness, but if he has been unfaithful and wicked, he will be punished with endless misery. The works of the righteous being acceptable through the merits of Christ, and rewardable with happiness without end; the works of the sinner being infinitely criminal, because not in Christ, and justly punishable with woe interminable.
SUPERSTITION AND LIBERALITY CONTRASTED.
Returning from Saratoga Springs, a few years since, the writer found it necessary, in order to meet his appointment on the Sabbath, to ride late the evening preceding. Finding no Inn, he called for entertainment at a private house, and was informed of a stopping-place, a few miles ahead; again inquiring, they had taken down their sign, but said the people at a house a short distance further, were always prepared for travellers. Arriving there, the men were all in bed, and could not get up, but said, down at the store, at Esq. L's the conveniences were good. I told them it was late, the day had been extremely hot, my ride very irksome, and, that a distance of three miles more, would be sensibly felt, even admitting I could be sure of finding entertainment; which would be extremely uncertain. But a few frail excuses were blundered out, and Esq. L's folks were declared to be pious people, and would not suffer the needy
to call, unnoticed and unblest. At length, the weary, dustcovered traveller arrived at the declared asylum for the destitute, suffering pilgrim, whom irreligion had coldly neglected. Calling to some men standing before the store, inquiry was made, whether the gentleman of the house was at home; the answer was in the negative, but that his lady was present. He was asked, if they were charitable people, and professed the christian religion. He said, they did make that profession, and were very good people too. Half choked with the innumerable particles inhaled with the dusty atmosphere, so fatigued, as to be just able to crawl into the house, I saw the mistress of the family, seated by the window, in a large armed chair, rocking herself into apparent sleep. Said I, kind lady, will you have the goodness to entertain a poor unfortunate stranger this evening? She replied, “We cannot, sir.” Indeed, good woman, per
have not sufficiently acquainted yourself with the situation of your petitioner. I am exhausted by travelling, have called several times and found no rest for my poor body, but was encouraged to press on to this place, where I should not fail of finding the stranger's friend and the pilgrim's home. Without scarcely opening her eyes, she said there was a tavern not more than three or four miles ahead, and it would be right for them to entertain me. Sighing for disappointment, the writer observed, that though he solicited entertainment as a beggar, he was not altogether moneyless, but would return tearful thanks in paying for a pillow, on which to lay his head, for the night. Mrs. L. said it was against her principle to entertain people on Saturday evening. I told her, that, on hearing they professed the religion of him whom I delighted to serve, no doubt existed, but they would entertain the weary strangers, as thereby some had entertained angels unawares.
After riding a short distance, I heard and saw a number of men, with teams, collecting hay, at that late hour. From them a man came riding, of whom I learned, that the laborers were in the employment of Esq. L. at whose house I had just called, and from principle, been denied a resting place. Giving him a short history of the treatment towards me, he very mildly apologized for Mrs. L. by saying, she was a fine pious woman as ever lived; but that the family