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A NEW CATECHISM. The following questions and answers were suggested, on perusing an Extract from a Sermon of the Rev. John Wesley, versus the doctrine of Election and Reprobation, as held by Calvinists. See P. U. Magazine, V. 1. No. 2. p. 38, 39.
Question. Who is God?
Answer. God is a Spirit, infinite in wisdom, power and goodness; the Creator and Governor of all things; good unto all, and his tender mercies are over all his works.
What would be blasphemy against the true God? A. * To say a certain portion of mankind were from eternity, elected to salvation, and all the rest devoted to damnation by the determinate council of God, is blasphemy.'
What effect might we suppose the preaching of such doctrine would have?
A. It would not only make the ears of Christians tingle, but virtually destroy all the divine attributes: overturn both justice, mercy and truth, and represent the most holy God as worse than the Devil.'
Q. Can you make such harsh language as that, appear reasonable and correct ?
A. I religiously believe I can; ‘for that doctrine makes the God of heaven, more false, more unjust, and more cruel, than his great Adversary. He would be more false, because the Devil, liar as he is, hath never said, he willed the salvation of all men, and God has; more unjust, because the Devil cannot, if he would, be guilty of such injustice as that doctrine ascribes to our Father in heaven; more cruel, because that restless Spirit might be tempted to seduce and mjure others, from 'a'mistaken 'motive of diminishing his own sufferings, whereas, God is unalterably blissful of himself, and his happiness admits of neither addition nor diminution; and yet,' he dooms his uncreated offspring to the fames of hell forever!! Such is the supposed author of that horrible decree, for me to ascribe which to the God of our Saviour Jesus, would be nothing short of blaspheiny.'
Q. How would the praise of such a God be celebrated ? A. "We should say, 'mourn, o ye heavens! for the Lord God Almighty reigns in the endless misery of his own Offspring, and your numbers will be few! Shout, o hell! for your burning regions shall be peopled with numberless immortals, whom God hath destined for endless suffering, wholly irrespective of all human merit.'
Q. How would.it affect the great Adversary to hear the pretended ministers of Jesus, declare such horrible facts ?
A. He would rejoice and be exceedingly glad, and approving their labors, tell them to cry aloud and spare not; for they were sent by him who is like a devouring lion, destroying in his anger, without a disposition to be merciful.'
Q. How must we treat those who are so unfortunate as to embrace and defend the doctrine of partial Election and Reprobation?
A. •If we are the disciples of him who was our faithful High Priest, we shall make a distinction between the doctrine, aod those who are unfortunately deceived by it; and with whatever severity we animadvert on the former, we - shall treat the professors with respect for their crudition, talents and piety; with friendship, because the children of the same common Father ; with tenderness, that we may imitate the blessed Jesus, do as we would be done by, and if possible, save them from the destructive snare of AN EVIL One.
MODERN PROMISES AND PROPHECIES EXPLAINED.
The spirit of all trụe Prophecies is the same, whether they are recorded in the canon of inspiration or a sermon from the pen of a modern author. That the Spirit should be poured out upon all flesh and our sons prophecy in the last days, is a scripture promise. The method for explaining modern prophecies is a matter of importance; and I think the following observation respecting it, just and reasonable; viz. the Spirit means to be understood, when dictating the pen of modern Prophets, in the same natural and unrestricted sense, in which its dictations appear in the language of ancient promise and prophecy. Now it is by no means certain, that prophets always understand the full import of the language they use; for if they did, they would be liable to show more of imperfect nature, in their predictions, than of the fruits of the Spirit, which searcheth the deep things of God.
In the Boston Recorder of Nov. 3, 1821, we have some glorious promises or predictions, though by no means admitting the supposition, that the writer entered feelingly into the views of the Spirit, by which the language and sentiments of his pen were dictated. That you may know what is the meaning of the modern prophecies, you are referred to passages of scripture, which we hope you will peruse with the greatest attention. Dr. Wood, Professor of Theo. at Andover, was the medium, through which such great and good things were communicated to the Recorder.
1. “God will give us better days;" and I will give you Pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding : As it is written in the Prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Jer. 3, 15. John 6. 45.
2. “The spirit will be copiously poured out upon our churches and colleges, upon our cities and our country ;" for I the Lord love judgment; I hate robbery for burntoffering; and I will direct their work in truth. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; in the habitations of dragons where each lay shall be grass with reeds and rushes. The wilderness and solitary place shall be glad; and the ransomed of the Lord return and come to Zion. Isai. 61. 8, and 35. 5, 1, 10.
3. “Christians will grow in grace;" till we all come in the unity of the Faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man; unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Eph. 4. 13.
4. “A host of faithful ministers will be raised up, whose ruling passion shall be love to Christ; who shall publish the glad tidings and extend far and wide the triumphs of the cross.” And many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Dan. 12. 4, Luke 2. 10.
5. “Converts shall be numerous as the drops of morning dew;" and all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. Psalm 22. 27. 6. "The everlasting gospel shall no more be a savour
of death unto death ;" for they shall not teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know ye the Lord, for all shall know me from the least to the greatest ; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away-for these words are true and faithful. Heb. 8. 11, Rev. 21. 4, 5.
7. “Hostility against its heavenly doctrines shall no more lift up its head;" for violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. Isai. 60. 18.
8. “The glorious reign of Christ shall come;" he shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the rivers to the ends of the earth; yea, all kings shall fall down before him, and all nations shall serve him. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet; and the last enemy shall be destroyed, that is, Death. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then also shall the Son himself be subject unto Him that did put all things under him, that God may be all in ALL. Psalm 72. 8, 11, 1 Cor. 15. 25, 26, 28.
9. “ All the ends of the earth shall look to him and be saved, and a world of ransomed sinners join in his praise;" as it is written, Look unto me and be ye saved all
ends of the earth; for I am God and there is none else. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power
be unto him that sitteth on the Throne, and unto the Lamb forever and forever. Isai. 45. 22, Rev. 5. 13.
10. “ The Lord shall hasten it in his time:" God is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? bath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ? He hath made known unto us the mystery of his will, which, according to his good pleasure he hath purposed in himself: that in (his time) the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him ; Jesus Christ our Lord and Savivur. Num. 23. 19, Eph. 1.9, 10.
To the above ten predictions of Dr. Wood, explained by Revelation, I add one of my own, which I hope the Dr.'s friends will examine with proper care.
When his prophecies are fulfilled, the five points of his Calvinism will be universally considered as the heads of a doctrinal hydra, coeval with superstition, and its longevity limited by the universal prevalence of reason, benevolence and truth. So MOTE IT BE.
THINGS HARD TO BE UNDERSTOOD ILLUSTRATED.
" And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in uprighteousness.
2 Thess. 2. 11, 12. Does the reader acknowledge that this passage is hard to be understood ? Would he not find it difficult to give an explanation, were it solicited, with which he would himself be satisfied ? Even should he silence an inquirer, would not many vulnerable points be discovered by himself, which he would rejoice to find invisible to others? These questions are proposed with sobriety, and the reader is requested to answer them as in the presence of God. But we are confident that by far the greater part of the people, are unsettled in their minds respecting this text, and will be anxious to see an explanation, however novel, if it extricate the character of our heavenly Father from that allegation, which expositors have brought against it. Indeed, the exposition must be entirely new, or the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, must be considered the sender of strong and damning delusions! It is an evidence of one's being accessary in the deception, to slide off by equivocations, and say, God permitted the delusion. The text is express, “God shall send strong delusion, that they should believe a lie,” &c. There is no more permission, than in sending the servants of Jesus. If they are damned for believing a lie, and believe the lie, because God sent the delusion, and sufficiently strong to produce its effect, in what character does it present the God of truth and love? Does not that exposition charge God with a damning delusion?