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work in them, will complete it; so that the man who is once in a state of salvation, must be always in it. When the case of David, the man of God's own heart, is stated to him; or the text quoted, where that chosen vessel, St. Paul, expresses an apprehension, lest after all his preaching to others, he himself should be a cast-away;* he has a reply suited to the occasion; that upon the supposition that the elect may commit grievous sins, his comfort is, that their salvation cannot be endangered, because no act of man can render void the Divine purpose in his favour.

Thus then, under the impression of the first of these imaginations, the man neglects the use of the means of grace, upon the idea that his heart has not been opened by God to receive benefit from them; and because he has no power of himself to help himself, he cannot be persuaded to make use of that power which God has given him. Under the impression of the second, the means of grace are oft times considered by him to be of no consequence, from the conviction that his salvation is effectually secured.

I do not say that this doctrine is carried to the same extent by every professor of it. God forbid it should. For there are degrees of folly, as there are degrees of wisdom; and no extraordinary case can constitute a proper standard for general application. But there is one instance to be produced, which authorises my placing it in the light in which it is here placed, with the view of guarding my reader against it. One of my parishioners, who took his

* 1 Cor. ix. 27.




divinity, as perhaps many others may do, from some
old puritanical writers of the last century, rather
than from the Bible, maintained, I am sorry to
think, the above doctrine in its fullest
lest extent. He
has been heard to say, that should he kill a man
to-day, he should certainly go to heaven to-morrow.
His salvation, therefore, being, according to his own
notion, perfectly secured, religious ordinances, as
as of grace, to him were useless. He acted,
therefore, but in consistence with his doctrine, when,
instead of frequenting a place of public worship ön
0 Sundays, he was generally occupied in attending
his farm. But on this head we shall only say with
South, that "what is nonsense upon a principle of
reason, will never be sense upon a principle of
Two tosito

An additional anecdote, which furnishes a most

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striking proof of the ill effects of this dangerous
doctrine in another way, shall be mentioned; be-
cause it has fallen within my own knowledge. D
Upon collecting through my parish, some time
since, for the relief of the emigrant French priests,
I found an almost general disinclination among the
dissenters from the Church to contribute. At length
one, more open than the rest, furnished the follow-
ing reason for it; by telling me, that Christ never
died for those priests; and therefore he had no
feeling for them, or concern about them." Another,
who had learnt his Christianity in the same school,
upon my application to him on the same occasion,
immediately exclaimed, "What, Sir, to a Roman?
"give to a Roman! one that lives in such errors if
I had ten thousand guineas, I would not bestow a
single mite upon him!"


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Read, now, the story of the good Samaritan; and judge how far such a narrow-minded religion, which engrosses all God's favours to its own professors, and regards the rest of mankind as objects in a Condition beneath that of the beasts that perish, agrees with the enlarged and charitable spirit of the Gospel. When the disciples of our Saviour would have called down fire from n heaven to destroy their enemies, our Saviour rebuked them, by telling them, that they knew not what spirit they were of.* What Would this Saviour say to those professors of his religion, who could suffer a fellow-creature to starve at their doors, because he lived in error?

15 In a word, let this doctrine of election and absolate decrees, as it is often understood, and the effects produced by it upon the lives of some of its professors, be compared with the revealed purpose of Christ's coming into the world, and the spirit of his religion; and let this be done fairly, without prejudice, and with an eye only to the truth, and it is impossible that any Christian can longer be led captive by such a delusion.

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The rule laid down, though not strictly followed, by St. Augustine," that the more obscure parts of scripture, should be interpreted by those that are plain is the only rule that will enable us to form oa rational and consistent judgment upon the doctrines of revelation. ago


loo That Christ came to redeem man in his general character from the consequences of the fall, and to purchase for him those means of renewed grace, which required only to be properly employed to & Wotend to bĺpov * Luke ix. 55.S


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become effectual to his salvation, constituted the essence of that glad tidings, which the birth of a Saviour iour was intended to convey to a lost world This doctrine, so plainly and fully revealed, ought in reason to overbalance every argument drawn from a few obscure passages, which at first sight may seem to look a contrary way. But this is a consideration which seldom has its due weight with those who entertain some singular conceit or opis nion. Engrossed with their own notions, they are not to be prevailed upon to make the general tenor of scripture the standard for their doctrine; but are apt to bend and warp the expressions of it to their own particular purpose: and whilst they eagerly lay hold of every passage that seems to countenance it, will hardly give a hearing to other texts, how plain soever, that might serve to set the subject in its true light. To this prejudice in favour of a pre-conceived opinion, added perhaps to a certain respect for the authority of names, is that doctrine in a great degree to be attributed, which places the conduct of a merciful Creator towards his fellow-creature, in a light so very different from that in which the plainest texts of scripture authorise us to regard it. log b 1 306] nwe yar te¶ In fact, those parts of St. Paul's writings on which this partial doctrine is supposed to be founded, which has perplexed the minds of so many well-meaning people, were seen in a very different light by the primitive Christians, to whom they y conveyed the same idea that they now cone vey to all who pay attention to the generals tenor of the Apostle's argument. By them the Apostle







has been considered as laying open the mysterious
plan of Providence at that time taking place in
the world, which respected the rejection of the
Jews from their boasted peculiarity as a nation,
and the election of the Gentiles to a common par
ticipation with them in the privileges of the Christ-
ian Church that, through Christ, both Jew and
Gentile, being reconciled unto God in one body
by the cross, might have an "access by one spirit
unto the Father."*wa uigil dhow boringgaff ποία
10A want of attention to this leading circumstance,
relative to the Jewish nation being the chosen
people of God, distinguished by particular laws
and privileges from all other nations, has given
rise to numberless errors, which have disturbed
the peace of the Christian Church from the days
of the Apostles to the present time. But in no in-
stance has this want of discrimination led to more
anchristian conclusions, than in the case now before
us in which the general declarations of Divine
favour and vengeance, expressed by the election
and rejection of nations, as such, have, through a
mistaken interpretation, become the subjects of
particular and personal application.



For my own
part, I do not take my faith from
the writings of Luther, Calvin, or the more ancient
professors of this doctrine, St. Augustine, at the
same time that I profess the highest respect for
each of them, but from that fountain from whence
alone it ought to be taken, the word of God.
some zealous men, from a laudable opposition
one dangerous doctrine, have been heated into a
aliroqAEphi îġi ya Jp Vindiciae, c. ii. p. 85.
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