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well as the free, voluntary exercise of man. Penitent sinners are made willing, in the day of God's power. But God is ever able to give effect to the appointed means of repentance. He has the hearts of all the opposers of truth, in his Almighty hand, and turns them, as he does the rivers of water. He has humbled some of the most stout-hearted and determined ens. mies of the truth; Saul of Tarsus, for instance: and he intends to humble and give repentance to multitudes more. And no minister of the gospel knows, but that those very opposers, whom it is his lot to bear with and instruct, however unreasonable, obstinate and injurious they may be, are included in the number of those, on whom it is God's purpose yet to have mercy, and to turn from darkness to light and from the power of satan unto God.' It may be added,
4. That if God ever shall be pleased, in the riches of his sovereign grace, to give repentance to those who now oppose themselves, they will, at once, acknowledge the truth. "If God, peradventure, will give them repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth." To acknowledge the truth means something more, in this connection, than barely to assent to it. Such an assent, or speculative belief may be produced by mere light in the understanding, while the heart remains as much opposed as ever.— Such an assent amounts, at most, to no more than conviction, which is not necessarily acompanied or followed by conversion. To acknowledge the truth, in the sense of the text, is to approve of it, as right, good, consistent, amiable and worthy of God. It is cordially to embrace the truth, or in the lan
guage of the apostle, to believe with the heart.
And as all direct opposition to divine truth originates in impenitent, unholy, selfish feelings: it is evident that all to whom God shall give true repentance, will immediately acknowledge the truth.With repentance, they will receive the love of the truth. Instead of opposing, they will bear their testìmony to the beauty and excellency of the peculiar doctrines of the gospel. They will prize evangelical truth above gold. When they hear such truth exhibited, in a clear, perspicuous and discriminating manner, their souls will be fed. They will love those who appear to love the truth, and highly esteem those, who plainly and honestly preach it, for their work's sake. They will feel, as if they could not be sufficiently thankful to those, who in meekness instructed them, while they wickedly .opposed themselves, and who were made the happy instruments of turning them from the error of their ways to the wisd of the just. What peace and comfort and joy and hope, they will experience! How greatly is such an event to be desired: How weighty the motive, in meekness to instruct those that oppose themselves; if God, peradventure, will give them repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth; and so they recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him, at his will.'
1. Opposition to doctrines preached, is no evidence that they are not true. It is supposed, in the text, that there might be opposit ion to the truth itself, when preached, as Paul would have Timothy
preach it. There was great opposition to the doctrines of the gospel, as they were preached by Paul himself. And what is more, when Christ preached his own gospel, some thought they heard hard sayings, and others were filled with wrath. Let the simple truth be plainly preached, in ever so acceptable words, and it will meet with opposition from men of corrupt minds, unless they are too stupid to attend to it, or so thoroughly convinced, as to be afraid to oppose it. Opposition to doctrines preached is, therefore, rather a sign that they are true, than proof that they are false.
It is true, that the preaching of false doctrines, may excite opposition, on the part of those, who love the truth and the true doctrines of the gospel, may be preached in such a manner, as to give offence to good men. Opposition, therefore, to doctrines preached, is not infallible evidence that they are true, or that those who make the opposition, are the enemies of truth. But, on the other hand, that doctrines preached are popular and excite no opposition, is commonly sufficient evidence, that they are not the true doctrines of the gospel, so clearly exhibited as to be understood. Rarely, if ever, does a plain and discriminating preacher address none but saints, who love the truth, or sinners, who are too fast asleep or too wide awake to feel and manifest opposition to the humbling doctrines and holy duties of the gospel of Christ.
2. Ministers of the gospel need to be pious, as well as learned. If they are not pious, their own hearts are as much opposed to the truth, as the hearts of their hearers. It may, therefore, be expected, either that they will not preach the truth at all, or preach it in a partial, am
biguous and unintelligible manner, or relinquish it, as soon as they find it excites open opposition and diminishes their popularity. But should they continue to preach unpalatable truth, how will they preach it with a proper spirit, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves? Learning is necessary in a minister of the gospel ; but genuine piety is indispensable.
3. All the friends of truth have need of meekness. It is the duty, not of ministers only, but of all Christians, to be teachers of the truth, so far as they have ability & opportunity. No one is exempted from the duty of contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Private Christians, in their various stations and rela tions, have it in their power to do much, to enlighten the ignorant, correct the erroneous, and silence gainsayers. And if they faithfully perform their duty, they will meet with opposition, and greatly need a spirit of meekness, in order to speak the truth in love, and to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
4. It is as reasonable to deal with professors of religion for opposition to truth as for immoral conduct. Why ought they to be dealt with for immorality ?Doubtless, because immorality gives evidence of an impenitent heart. For the very same reason, professors should be dealt with, for opposition to truth. The church may, and must determine what is truth; and they ought to determine it, by the plain and infallible standard of the word of God. It is as easy to ascertain what is true in principle, as what is right in practice. It is as easy to define heresy, as immorality.There are shades and degrees of both; and in dealing with their
brethren for either, the church should judge charitably. But no reason can be assigned, why real opposition to truth should not be as severely censured, as open immorality. Hence the apostle's injunction is, "An heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject."
5. The condition of opposers, is dangerous and alarming. They
easiness. They must soon know more of it, and contemplate it without intermission, forever. In eternity, they will understand and believe and feel the whole truth respecting the character, decrees and agency of God, the desperate wickedness of their own hearts, their criminality in rejecting the gospel, and the justice of God in their condemnation and punish
are impenitent sinners, void of ho- ment. How will they endure liness and unfit for heaven. Their such a blaze of divine truth, if enmity to Divine truth is enmity they continue to reject the counsel against God, and exposes them to of God against themselves? his wrath. Whether they will "The keen vibrations of bright truth, ever have repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, is altogether uncertain. If they are ever so meekly and faithfully instructed, there is only a peradventure that they will ever receive the love of the truth and be saved; but if their deceived hearts turn away their ears from hearing the truth their case is hopeless.
Let such as think themselves the friends of God, judge of their feelings by the truth, and not of the truth by their feelings. We shall all be judged, at the last day, by the everlasting gospel. It is safe to examine ourselves by the same rule, now, by which we shall, then, be acquitted or condemnod.
From the Utica Repository. DUTIES THE RESULT OF DOCTRINES. [Concluded from Vol. 1, page 565.]
In the former part of this essay, it was shone that the duties enjoined in the gospel are only the practical result of the doctrines taught in the gospel; and that every duty is so connected with some doctrine, and so dependant upon it, that if the doctrine should be proved untrue, the corresponding duty would cease to be a duty and become a sin. I conclude with some remarks.
1. It is evident from what has Let saints desire the sincere been said, that every difference milk of the word, that they may respecting doctrines must involve grow in grace, and in the knowl- a corresponding difference reedge of God our Savior. And specting duties, and every diffelet them constantly pray for the special influences of the Holy Spirit to remove blindness from the hearts of sinners, and give them repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth.
And let sinners be exhorted to receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save their souls. They now know a little of divine truth, and it gives them un
rence respecting duties must involve a corresponding difference respecting doctrines. If I believe a certain doctrine to be true, and am consistent with myself, I must also believe that I am bound to perform as duties all those things which are the practical results of that doctrine. If another denies that doctrine and believes the contrary doctrine to be true, and is
or to the Holy Ghost.
consistent with himself, he will believe he is bound to perform as duties those things which are the opposites of what I regard as such. So also if we set out with a difference in our views of duty, consistency will require that we differ as 2. It is a great mistake to supwidely in our views of the corres- pose that those who differ in their ponding doctrines of which those views of the doctrines of the gosduties are the practical results. If pel can yet be agreed in their views we attempt to give reasons why we and feelings respecting its duties. think some things to be duties, It is impossible to be consistent rather than their opposites, we shall with ourselves, and yet agree in be compelled, the one to affirm, & our practical religion any further the other to deny, such doctrines or than we do in our views of the first principles as are the foundation christian doctrines. Our practiof those duties. If we differ in our cal religion grows out of our docviews of the divine character, we trinal views, and is dependant upon must have corresponding differen- them. If we differ in the one, we ces in our views of the affections must differ also in the other. But which we are bound to exercise yet, many seem to suppose that towards God. If I believe the doc- those who differ greatly in their trine of election and reprobation, I doctrinal views, may, notwithstandmust believe it my duty to esteem ing, be very well agreed in their and rejoice in an electing and rep- practical religion. And since it is robating sovereign, and cordially admitted that practical religion is submit myself to his entire dispo- the great and essential thing, it is sal. If another disbelieves that thought by many that the various doctrine, he must believe it is his du- denominations of professed Christy to hate and abhor such a Sover- tians might very well be all united eign, and refuse to submit himself together into one great community. to his disposal. If I believe the And, in consequence of this opindoctrine of disinterested benevo- ion, many seem to think it their lence, I must believe it my duty to duty to do all they can to promote exercise unlimited self-denial. If such a union, and felicitate themanother disbelieves that doctrine, selves upon every Occurrence and believes the doctrine of selfish- which seems to indicate the apness, he must believe it his duty to proach of such a consummation. be careful that he does not carry They blame those who do any his self-denial too far, and to be thing to keep up the distinctions willing to give up any good of his which have prevailed among proown without an equivalent to him- fessed Christians, and think they self. If I believe the doctrine of are doing God service while they the Trinity, I must believe it is my put out of the way and leave out of duty to offer divine worship to the sight every thing in their doctrinal Son and to the Holy Ghost as well views in which other denominaas to the Father. If another denies tions do not agree with them.—— the doctrine of the Trinity, he They seem to take it for granted, must believe it would not be du- that all denominations are about ty, but an act of idolatry to join in right in their views of practical offering divine worship to the Son religion, and only differ in some
speculative matters of no practical tinomian, an Arminian, a Socinian, and a Universalist, what they mean when they speak of that being born again without which it is impossi ble to see the kingdom of God;→ and let him pursue his inquiries till he fully understands what ideas each of them comprehends in the term, and he will find that they all differ from each other in their views of the new birth, and every one of them differs more widely from him than any of them do from each other. And he will also find that their views of christian expe rience are in exact accordance with their views of christian doctrine. And let him make the same inquiries respecting every part of practical religion, and if he make them faithfully, and is answered honestly and intelligibly by those of whom he makes them, he will undoubtedly find that there is, in reality, no greater agreement, among those who assume the christian name, in their views of practical religion, than there is is their views of christian doctrine.
importance. And they are right in concluding, that those things which are matters of mere speculation, and have no practical influence, ought not to keep Christians apart. Their mistake consists in supposing that there are any doctrines taught in the gospel, which are matters of mere speculation, & have no practical importance, and in concluding, without examination, that all denominations are about right in their views of practical religion. I say in concluding this without examination; because I have no doubt, that, if those who understand & believe the doctrines of the gospel, and acknowledge the duties which are their practical results, would carefully examine into the views which are entertained of practical religion by those who deny those doctrines, they would find their practical views to differ as widely from the truth as do their doctrinal views. There is not, indeed, much disposition to inquire carefully into these things. Where similar language is used, it is concluded that similar views are entertained. And there are many religious words and phrases in use among all denominations, which the inattentive observer, when he hears used, is ready to understand according to his own use of them, and hence to conclude that those who use them think as he does upon those points. And perhaps such terms are sometimes used with a design that they should be understood by each one according to his own views. But let any one ask those who use such terms what they mean by them, and if they are willing to tell, he will discover differences of essential and vital importance, even where he imagines there are none. Let a consistent and thorough Calvinist ask an An
3. As it is a great mistake to suppose that those who differ in the views of the doctrines of the gospel can yet be agreed in their views and feelings respecting its duties, so it is a mistake which leads to dangerous and fatal consequences. It leads us to entertain and express a favorable opinion of the piety of those whom the bible condemns. It leads us to express a confidence in the piety of those who knowingly and cordially reject the doctrines of the gospel, when the bible speaks of such a rejection of the Christian doctrines as a decisive evidence of enmity to God and to the gospel of his Son. By this we condemn the inspired writers for expressing such abhorrence as they do of error; we encourage those who embrace it to trust in a lie, to