Sivut kuvina

5. If what has been said in this discourse be true; then the whole scheme of Arminianism is fundamentally wrong. This system of sentiments is entirely built upon the principle of a self-determining power in men, to embrace or to reject the terms of salvation. The advocates for this principle justly infer from it, that men are not totally depraved; that God cannot change their hearts by an act of his power; that he cannot cause them to persevere in holiness; and that he could not, consistently with their nature, choose any of them to salvation, from eternity. This scheme, it must be allowed, is very consistent with itself. But if its first principle be unscriptural and absurd; then all the doctrines, which have been deduced from it, have no foundation in Scripture, nor reason. And it plainly appears from the whole tenor of this discourse, that its first principle is repugnant to the whole current of Scripture. We have shown, that God has given a certain number of mankind to Christ; that these, as well as the rest of the fallen race, are totally depraved; that no means or moral motives will make them willing to be saved; and that God only can make them willing, by an act of his power. If these things are true, it necessarily follows, that sinners have not a selfdetermining power, and never will be saved, unless God, by a sovereign and gracious act of his power, bows their wills to the sceptre of Christ. Those, therefore, who deny the special grace of God in the renovation of the heart, virtually subvert the whole gospel. For by denying this doctrine, they put it out of their power to prove, that one of mankind will be saved, or the least good will be answered, by the great work of redemption. Christ certainly died in vain, if none of mankind will be saved; and it is certain, that none will be saved, if All are left to them

selves and never made willing in the day of God's power, to embrace the offers of life. No two schemes of religious sentiments are more diametrically opposite to each other, than those of Calvinism and Arminianism. If Calvinism be scriptural, Arminianism is unscriptural; if Calvinism is fundamentally right, Arminianism is fundamentally wrong.

6. If God can make men willing to be saved, by an act of his power; then we may see one reason, why he usually suffers them to triumph in their wickedness, before a general revival of religion. This was God's usual conduct, under the Mosaic dispensation. We commonly read of great degeneracy and moral corruption among his people, just before any great and remarkable outpouring of the spirit. And it appears to have been a time of deep declension, just before the revival of religion on the day of Pentecost, when the promise of the Father in the text was remarkably fulfilled. The same mode of divine conduct has been observed, in these latter days. The Christian History informs us, that there was an uncommon prevalence of vice, irreligion, and carnal stupidity, just before the general revival of religion, about sixty years ago. Now, this subject suggests one reason, why God usually orders things in this manner. It is to make all men see, that the revival of religion is his own work; that he can subdue the hardest hearts; that he can bow the most stubborn sinners; that though Paul plant and Appollas water, yet it is his sole prerogative to give the increase. Who can deny the doctrine of special grace, or disbelieve, that God is able, by an act of his power, to make men willing to be saved; when they see an uncommon revival of religion, and multitudes flocking to Christ, as doves to their windows, before an impending storm? Such sea

sons as these, are directly suited to shake the faith and hopes of those, who deny the peculiar doctrines of grace. And it is becoming the only wise God, to take this method to make his grace and power known, in the conversion of sinners, and the enlargement of the Redeemer's kingdom.

7. If God is able, by an act of his power, to make men willing to be saved; then there is a propriety in praying to him, for the revival of religion and the conversion of sinners. Those, who disbelieve the doctrine of special grace, andain that sinners are conver ted by moral suasion, are generally very backward in praying for a special divine influence upon the hearts of men. The reason is obvious. They see no propriety in praying to God, that he would change the hearts of men, when they really believe it is out of his power to do it. But if it be true, that God has the hearts of all men in his hand, and can bow their wills, with infinite ease, to the sceptre of Christ; then there is great propriety in praying, that he would take his own work into his own hands, and fulfil his gracious promises to Christ and to his people, concerning the prosperity of Zion. Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel prayed for the conversion of sinners in Babylon, and their prayers were heard. The Apostles were incessantly praying for the outpourings of the spirit, just before the day of Pentecost; and it was in answer to their prayers, that so many were converted on that joyful occasion. And it is still the constant duty of the people of God, to pray for his gracious influence upon the hearts of sinners, to draw them to Christ. God is abundantly able, to pull down the kingdom of darkness, and build up the kingdom of Christ, through the world. And probably he is only waiting for the fervent and united prayers of his people, for this great

and extensive blessing. "Ye that make mention of the Lord, therefore, keep not silence: and give him no rest till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."


Finally, the subject, which we have been consider ing, naturally suggests a very serious question to every person: Are you pleased with the doctrine of special grace? If you only answer this question sincerely and truly, you will answer another of infinite importance; and that is, whether you are a saint or a sinner. However saints may differ in other respects, yet they all agree in this; that they are pleased with the doctrine of special grace. They have such a view of their own hearts, and of the hearts of all men, that they could not entertain any hopes of their own, or of any other person's salvation, were it not for the doctrine of cial grace. All good men, therefore, rejoice that God is able, by an act of his power, to form his own glorious moral image, in whomsoever he pleases. But, on the other hand, however sinners may differ in other respects, they all heartily agree in this, that they dislike the doctrine of special grace. There is no sentiment more grating to their feelings, nor more destructive to their hopes. They cannot bear the thought, that all men are in the hands of God, as the clay is in the hands of the potter. The best and the worst sinners in the world, are here perfectly of one mind. They cannot be pleased with the absolute sovereignty of God. Let the question, then, be repeated, and let no person evade an answer. Are you pleased with the doctrine of special grace?



EXODUS ix, 16.

In very deed for this cause have I raised thee up.

THE history of Pharaoh is extremely interesting to all descriptions of men. It always awakens their feelings, and constrains them to take one side or the other, in the controversy between him and his Maker. Though few will presume to justify the character and conduct of Pharaoh; yet many are bold enough to censure the character and conduct of Jehovah. It is, therefore, a very solemn and important subject, which the words I have read suggest to our serious consideration. God tells Pharaoh to his face, "I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up." This declaration plainly imports, that God raised up Pharaoh, to fit him for destruction. vindicate this instance of the divine conduct, will be the business of the ensuing discourse. And in order to this, it may be proper to show,

I. That God did destroy Pharaoh.


II. That he raised him up to fit him for destruction. And,

III. That he is to be justified in this instance of his conduct.

I. I am to show, that God did destroy Pharaoh. The Deity threatened "to cut him off from the earth;

« EdellinenJatka »