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could understand prayers in the Answer to a Queffion. Indian language ?" Another pro
[Continued from page 338.] posed this question, “ How there could be an image of God, fince NUMBER II. it was forbidden in the second com N answering this question, it mandment?” Another, “ Whe has been shewn, in a precede ther if the father be naught, and ing number, that the atonement the child good, God will be of- of Christ is infinitely full or fuffifended with that child, because in cient for the salvation of all mans the second coinmandment it is kind ; that therefore the want of said, “ He visits the iniquities of such an atonement cannot be the the fathers upon the children?” reason why all are not saved. The last question that was asked It is proposed then to shew, at this meeting was, “ How all II. That the calls and invitas the world became full of people, tions of the gospel, and the folif they were all drowned in the emn declaration, that God hath food ?” Mr. Eliot and his friends no pleasure in the death of the gave plain and familiar answers. wicked, but that they would turn
It was also Mr. Eliot's custom and live, are consistent with his to put proper questions to his In- leaving numbers to go on in fin dian auditors : And hy hearing and perish. their queries, and answering them, And in doing this it is necessaand interrogating those under in- ry to consider the precise meaning struction in his turn, he not only of the declaration, that God hath made a trial of their profiting by no pleasure in the death of the his ministry; but also gave an edge wicked, but that they turn and to what he delivered to them. * live. This passage must mean,
This conference lafted about either that God, taking all things three hours ; and after it was into view, does not upon the closed, Mr. Eliot and his com
m-whole choose the death or punpanions returned home; and were ishment of any of the wicked, but so well pleased with the reception actually chooses that they should they met with among the natives, all turn and live; or else it must and the hopeful prospect of suc- mean, that he takes no direct cess, that they were encouraged pleasure in their death or mifery, to have another interview with in itself considered, but that their the people, which they accom- turning and obtaining life is in plished within a few days : itself more pleasing and defirable. account of this, together with But it is evident from various consucceeding conferences, and seve- fiderations, that the passage canral other interesting events respect not be rationally understood in ing Mr. Eliot's missionary servi- the sense first stated. For if the ces, may be expected in the fol. Most High, all things confidered, lowing number.
did actually choose that done of
the wicked should go on in fin Magnalia. B. iii. p. 193, and 196. and perish, but that all should turn Hutchinson's history of Massachusetts and live ; then he must be greatly Neale’s hift. of N. England, vol. 1. p. disappointed in his real choice and 242, 243; he made extracts from a
defire. book entitled Day-breaking of the Gof
For the scriptures ex. pel in New England; London 1647, pressly declare, that " wide is the Tome of which have been quoted. gate and broad is the way wich
leadeth to deftru&ion, and many | from the divine character, and there be that go in thereat ;" and from other declarations of scripit is allowed in the statement of ture. For “ God is love," or the question, that a number do benevolence; and therefore it is go on in sin and perish. And if certain, that he cannot take any Jehovah is thus disappointed in pleasure directly from the punishhis actual choice and designs, it ment or misery of the wicked, must certainly occafion him great and that he never punishes but forrow and unhappiness. None when it is necessary to answer wise therefore, who have any just ideas and benevolent purposes, and proof the divine perfections and fe. mote the general good. But on licity, can for a moment indulge the contrary, it is evident, that the supposition that the infinitely their repentance and falvation wise, powerful and perfect God would be in themselves delightful, is thus frustrated in his desires, and afford direct pleasure to the and rendered unhappy by his crea- holy, benevolent mind of Jehovah, tures.
if consistent with the wiseft scheme Further, if Jehovah, upon the of government. It is therefore whole, did actually choose that declared, that God “ doth nọt all the wicked should repent and afflict willingly, nor grieve the be saved, he certainly would con
children of men,” and that to punvert and save them ; fince he polish is his strange or unpleasant fesses almighty power, has all work. But it is faid, that there hearts in his hand, and can with is joy in heaven over one finner the greatest ease turn and bring that repenteth," teaching, that it the most stubborn to repentance, is a pleafing, joyful event to God if he pleases. As God does not and the heavenly world. These in fact bring all finners to repent-confiderations confirm the sense ance, it is therefore certain, that of the passage last given; that upon the whole he does not really God takes no pleasure in the choose to do it.
mifery of the wicked, in itself conAgain, how derogatory would fidered. Thus what the Most it be to the divine perfections, to High expresses in this paffage to. suppose that the Most High did wards finners, is very similar to upon the whole actually choose what kind, benevolent parents ex. that all the wicked should be press towards their disobedient brought to repentance and falva-children. They often address tion, and yet was not able to ac their children in expressions fimicomplish his choice?
lar to what God makes use of in Thefe various considerations this passage ; We take no pleaclearly shew, that the import of Jure in your punishment or pain, but this passage must be, that God it is much more pleasing to us to fee has no direct pleasure in the death you reform and be obedient. Such or misery of the wicked, in itself language in a parent would imply, considered, but that their repent- not that he would never choose ance and salvation in themselves, to punish any of his children when or aside from other infinitely wise they deserved it, and the good of reasons, in the divine government the family required it, but that would be much more pleasing to their punishment was not in itself him than their destruction. And agreeable to him, and that he took that this is the truth is manifest no direct pleasure in it. So the
declaration, that God hath no dition. Certainly then the Most pleasure in the death of the wick High, by his kind calls and invied, but that they turn and live, tations to finners, has made them imports, that the misery or pun no promise that he will renew and ishment of the wicked is not in influence them to a compliance. itself pleasing to him ; but is by Neither do these invitations lay no means saying that he will send God under any obligations to do his Holy Spirit to renew and this for the impenitent. Can any bring all mankind to repentance pretend to say, that because God and falvation. It is therefore very is so kind and merciful as freely far from engaging or implying, to offer pardon and salvation to that he will never leave any to go unworthy, hell-deserving fingers on in fin and finally suffer that upon the most reasonable terms; everlasting punishment which they therefore he is under obligation have justly deserved ; when he to dispose them to a cordial comsecs it beft in order to display his pliance by the efficacious influenjustice and perfections, promote ces of his spirit, upon their refufing the good of his kingdom, and an- these offers ? Or in other words, swer other wife and benevolent does their ungratefully neglecting purposes. Neither are the calls one favor, oblige God in point and invitations of the gospel at all of justice to do them another? inconsistent with God's leaving Should a kind, generous benefac. numbers to go on in fin and perish. tor provide a plentiful entertainThe divine offers and invitations, ment, and invite a number of unsuch as “ Look unto me, and be worthy beggars, and should they ye faved, all the ends of the earth ungratefully refuse his kind invi-Turn ye, turn ye ; for why tation, surely no one could say, will ye die ? - Whosoever will, let that he was under obligations to him take the water of life freely," send his servants and compel them are no promises that the holy Spi. to come. rit shall be sent to renew and make Since therefore the calls and inall who are favored with these vitations of the gospel are no procalls and offers willing to comply mise, that God will send his fpiwith them. God, in giving man- rit, and make finners willing to kind these gracious calls and in comply with these, and do not vitations, no more promises to lay him under any obligation to do bring them to a cordial compli- this; how are they at all inconance, by the efficacious influences fiftent with his leaving numbers to of his Holy Spirit, than the king go on in fin and perith? Where who in the parable sent his fer- is the least appearance of inconvants to call those that were bid-sistency for God to call, warn, den to the marriage supper, did and invite finners to repent and by this invitation promise to com be saved
to set motives of infipel all to come in by force, who nite weight before them, and yet neglected the call. No one ever leave them to follow their own supposed, that his offering a pe-choice, by going on in the ways culiar favor to another upon a of fin to destruction ? Jehovah, moft reasonable condition, was in thus leaving the impenitent te promising that he would oblige perish in their fins, when he fees it the other, if unwilling, to accept beft for the general good, violates or comply with the proposed con no promise, no obligation of jul
tice or benevolence. Neither does before them motives of infinite imhe injure the wicked or give them portance to influence them to reany just ground of complaint.--ceive the Saviour. He has diFor if they will ungratefully re-rected his - ministers to preach the fuse or neglect the infinitely gra- gospel to every creature—to warn cious and important calls and invi- and persuade finners, by the most tations of the gospel, they are important and endearing considercertainly exceedingly criminal, and ations, to secure their eternal conwholly inexcusable.
cerns, and to pray them in Christ's The invitations and offers of stead to become reconciled unto the gospel cannot be rationally God. undertood as importing any thing He strives with them by his fpimore, than that God is willing rit, by the convictions of their and ready to pardon and save all, own consciences, and by the warnwho repent and comply with the ing voice of his providence. In terms of salvation ; and that their addition to all these powerful repentance is in itself pleasing to means, which are calculated to
But this, as already shewn, bring finners to repentance, God does not imply, that God will not docs, by the special efficacious inleave any to go on in fin and per- fluences of his spirit, overcome the ish ; when he sees it best to an inveterate opposition of the human swer wise purposes. Should the heart, and dispose thousands in Moft High refuse to pardon and every age to a cordial compliance fave repenting, returning finners, with the terms of the gospel. And he might be jutly accused of a he kindly welcomes all penitent, want of consistency and sincerity returning finners, however vile and in his calls, offers and invitations. unworthy-adopts them into his But to accuse him of this, because family, and makes them children he does not renew and dispose all and heirs of God, and joint heirs mankind, by the efficacious influ. with Jesus Christ to all the joys ence of his spirit, to a cordial com- and honors of that glorious inherpliance with the gospel invita- itance, which is incorruptible, untions, is most unreasonable and defiled, and fadeth not away. groundless.
Thus it is manifeft, from the conFurther, that God is fincere in duct and dealings of God, as well his calls and invitations, and in as from the declarations of his the representations of scripture, word, that he is fincere in the that the return and salvation of calls and invitations of the gospel. finners is in itself more pleasing
In the case of the impenitent, to him, than their destruction, is these invitations are no promise manifeft from his conduct, as well of special, renewing grace, but as from the declarations of his import the two following things, word. For he has given his well first, a declaration that all diffibeloved Son to endure the severest culties, in the way of the finner's pains and sufferings, that he might falvation, except what arise from open for mankind a way of life his own heart, are removed ; and and salvation, and rescue numbers secondly, an expression of the finfrom everlasting destruction. He ner's duty. Therefore it is easy has given them his holy word to to see that God is ready to receive teach them the paths of duty and every returning finner, and that the way of salvation, and has set 'he takes no pleasure in the death
or everlasting punishment of the religion is founded in a supreme wicked in itself considered, but is regard to their own happiness. more pleased with their repentance If they do not know themselves and salvation. For were not this to be saints, its being certain, the case, and did he not take plea- that saints will perfevere, can have fure in the return and salvation of no evil tendency, in respect to sinners ; he certainly would not them. Befide, if their religion use so many means to effect and be not selfish, but difinterested and promote their salvation--would holy, having God for its fupreme not thus bring so many to repent-object, the doctrine objected to ance, by the efficacious influences can furnish no motives to be less of his spirit, and kindly receive holy, or less active in all the duand welcome every true penitent ties of an holy life. It is only on however vile and criminal. And the ground of saints being governGod's, leaving some to go on ined by felfth motives, and being fin and perish, when he in infinite certain withal of being faints
, wisdom sees it beft, no more con- which can give influence to this tradicts the declaration, that he doctrine, to render them less zeal. takes no pleasure in the death of ous and persevering than otherthe wicked, but that they would wife. turn and live, or proves, that their But the first thing, taken for punishment or misery is in itself granted in the objection, viz. that pleasing to him ; than a kind pa- all saints have certain evidence rent's punishing a vicious disobe- that they are such, is not true. dient child, when the good of the They in common know, pretty family requires it, proves, that he nearly, and many times, very pro is pleased with the pain of his cisely, at what time old things child. In both these cases, the passed away in them, and all pain or punishment is by the sup- things became new. Indeed this, position inflicted to answer wife which is fundamental to evangelpurposes, and to promote a great ical holiness, cannot have taken er good, and therefore is a dic. place, at years of understanding, tate of benevolence.
without their being conscious and (To be continued.)
very certain of a change. But their hope, notwithitanding, is
often wavering. They are very Thoughts on the perseverance of in them be real, but whether it be
doubtful, not whether a change Saints.
genuine. Assurance, if well found. T is objected to the certain ed, is always in proportion to the
perseverance of the saints, evidence of being renewed and that the doctrine has an unholy | fanctified. This evidence is not tendency, and is, therefore, not to be expected from one day's a doctrine according to godliness. I experience, but from a life of perThe design of the following tho'ts severing holiness. Hence the prois to examine this objection. phet-" Then shall ye know, if
If the sentiment objected be ye follow on to know the Lord.” true, it must be on the ground of Hence too the apostle's exhorta. these two things. 1. That all tion, “ Giving diligence to make true faints have certain evidence your calling and election (ure." of being such ; and 2. That their What may be properly called al.