Page images

from God, I am told that some of them have actually supposed, that St. Paul was under a sort of carnal or fleshly love to the souls of men, contrary to the tlecree of election, when he “yearned over souls in the bowels of Jesus Christ," and while he travailed in birth till Christ was formed within them and when he prayed them in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God.” Their principal work is to disturb peaceable congregations that they may draw away disciples after them ; and thus to fish in their troubled waters, to the grief and perplexity of many minds.

Loveg. That is a fixed principle with them, that nothing is to be done in addressing the consciences of unawakened sinners.

Mal. Sir, we never call dead men to work as you do, for we are sure the non-elect will never come at our bidding. I wonder that you should be always calling dead sinners to repentance.

Lovey. Because Christ set us the example. He who alone gives the life still tells us he came, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” All the prophets did the same, the general strain of their language was, “ turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye die, 0 house of Israel !” Did not John the Baptist preach entirely to sinners, that he might call them to repentance ? and was it not the great work of the Apostles to preach “repentance towards God, who commandeth all men to repent," and to

them in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God," while even that wretched sinner Simon Magus, was directed to pray, if so be the wickedness of his heart might be forgiven him?


Mal. Well, I don't want to argue the point any further, but after all, I think it most consistent to preach as our ministers do, to tell the nonelect plainly and publicly, that they have nothing to say to them, for that their message is only to the elect.

Loveg. Pray Sir, does election rest with you, or with God?


Mal. O surely it rests with God.

Loveg. So we think, and consequently deliver his message as he has directed us. It is an awful stratagem of the Devil, to prompt ministers who are permitted to believe his lie, to leave ruined sinners unaddressed, and unalarmed, when we are so expressly commanded” to cry aloud and spare not, and to lift up the voice like a trumpet," or in Paul's language, 66 awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” I hate this fastidious nonsense.

What have we known nothing of divine truth throughout the land, till a few Juvenile upstarts have lately appeared to instruct us?

Mal. Sir, I had better go home, you seem to be much displeased.

Loveg, Not personally at you Sir, but at the sentiments you have advanced, whereby the world is confirmed in all their objections against divine truth, that " we may continue in sin, that grace may abound." In vain we cry,

may God forbid, while they will be happy to fly to such a testimony against us. And though they have not the least apprehension of any truly serious, and sober minded christians being moved away from the purifying truths of the Gospel, by such daring expressions, and impure doctrines, yet all this cannot but bring upon us a day of rebuke and blasphemy, which will be severely felt. Could any infidel upon earth, have wished a better opportunity, for the exercise of his profane ridicule on the sacred doctrine of our election in Christ, and so directly contrary to the word of God, in which the cause and the effect, are solemnly united with each other ; that “ we are elect according to the foreknowledge of God through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience ;" that “ we are saved and called with an holy calling." What can be more explicit than St Paul's declaration, that “we are predestinated to be conformed to the image of his dear Son ?" and that be hath chosen us that we may holy and without blame before him in love ?" Is there

66 be

one single instance throughout the Bible, where election is mentioned, unconnected with personal sanctification. as producing the invariable effects of rightcousness upon the heart and life? Mal. Oh Sir, I shall be too late if I don't go

directly to Mr. John Crispin's with the indentures, which must be signed this day by twelve o'clock. He has a deal of work, and is going to take another apprentice.

Mr. Malapert retires, and thus the conversation ended. The reader may suppose, how much Mr. Merryman and his company, were disgusted at the daring things they had heard, and should any persons ignorantly assert, that such sentiments can be founded on what is called calvinism, they know not what calvinism means; for in no one instance are they correct : and which may be best known by their direct opposition to each other. The propriety therefore of the expression of Hypercalvinism is what I cannot understand, as though à real lie was lurking under the disguise of truth. Is it to be supposed, that a person who cultivates a very scrupulous atten tion to integrity, is advancing nearer to knavery, or that such as are aiming at the highest degree of purity in their deportment, are advancing thereby into all that is filthy and impure? Do we get nearer to a point, by advancing further from it? how then is it possible that a high degree of any thing that deserves the name of truth, should lead into the contrary error; will an extreme sense of our total depravity lead us to any thing but extreme humiliation, and self-abasement before God? Can an extreme feeling of our utter inability to help ourselves, and that all our help must come alone from the agency of the Divine Spirit, lead us to any thing, but a more solemn and entire dependance on that agency, for the communications of all that is holy and good ? Will an extreme


attention to the eternal obligations we are and must be under, to obey the law, create in us any thing but a most holy and circumspect obedience to its precepts. Assuredly it will, and must be so; and such are the principles that Calvinism, however misrepresented and caricatured, most solemnly avows, while it shall be left to others to vindicate that lax law of obedience, which some have imagined to exist that we are to do as well as we can, or that a certain something is still left to the freedom of the will : that a man may give a turn to the scale of the divine favour, whenever he

may choose. *

On this many thousands are found most presumptuously to depend, and thereby are tempted most awfully to neglect their immortal concerns, and though all are by no means equally presumptuous, yet such is the antinomianism that arminianism still suggests, while Antinomianism of a grosser kind, speaks without disguise, a language that is peculiarly profane, and grossly bad. Let the doctrines of grace be allowed to speak their own language, and then let it be asked, if the high commanding banner against Antinomianism under every disguise, is not best established in those hands, who from this tower of divine truth, neither allow the sinner to be his own saviour, nor yet can admit a salvation from the damnation that sin deseryes, but not from the dominion that sin has usurped.

* See Dialogue 27.






HERE was a time when I thought that the

former dialogues might have concluded these dramatic efforts ; I conceived a better finish could not have been devised, than to lower the claims of sectarian bigotry, so detrimental to that brotherly love, notwithstanding minor differences, which the genuine spirit of vital christianity, will most assuredly inspire. To this however, another was added, in order to show the evils which must result, where marriage connexions, (on which so much depends, are rashly formed, when both the courter, and the courted, blinded by a fond partiality, deceive each other, and lay a foundation of misery for themselves, which follows them through life, tisí followed to the grave.

But we live in a world, chequered with an abundance of misery, because of our sinfulness before God; yet still most graciously blended, with rich displays of mercy, among those to whom the promise belongs ; that “ all things shall work together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to his purpose.". No doubt but that my pious leaders, must be highly delighted with the character of Mr. Merryman, so pleasant in his temper so cheerful in his disposition, so lively and so lovely in all

« PreviousContinue »