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we apprehend, can be assigned, in various instances at least, why it should take effect upon this person, and not upon that ; 'in this nation, and not in another; but that which Paul assigns, “ God's fhewing mercy
on whom he will shew mercy.” Rom. ix, 15. No moral Deist, we apprehend, that allows God will make a difference between the righteous and the wicked, (unless he will deny that God forined us, and overruled our education) can easily avoid the same consequence : But if he denies that, we cannot see, how he can be a Deist...
As for Mr. Wesley and others, who are frequently spouting out the most horrible invectives * against the God of Calvinists, (whose forms of expression, indeed, in many of their writers, I will not take upon me wholly to defend) if they would but think consistently, the consequences of their own scheme would most certainly bring them to the doctrine of divine sovereignty, before they were aware. , Mr. Wesley preaches up the doctrine of regeneration or the New Birth, as indispensibly necessary to salvation : If he be asked, whose work it is? He will answer, that of the Holy: Ghost : What, intirely? Here, perhaps, he will evade, just as Mr. Barclay does about the “ light within :" It is, and it is not. If it be intirely the work of God, I would ask, why then has not God regenerated all men ? And let him, in his answer, avoid the consequences of special favour to fome, and preterition to others, if he can. If it hinges upon a good disposi
, tion or moral fitness, or, which is the same thing, any good desires or pious efforts in man; then let him tell me, how it came about, that some men had better defires or pious qualities than others; and whether they must thank God or Satan for them; or whether they rife from a mysterious, blind, contingent principle, in the mind? Let him give what antwer he will, it apa
See his Sermon published at Bristol intiiled, Free. Grace.
pears to me, that he cannot possibly escape the consequence above mentioned. : The question is not, whether all that believe shall be saved; whether those, of whatever nation, kindred or tongue, whether they have been Methodists, Quakers, Independents, Presbyterians, Churchmen, Papifts, Turks, Jews, or Pagans, that really believe and obey the Gospel; shall be saved? We grant this. Neither is it, whether God or Satan influences any one, contrary to their inclination, to do that which will plunge them into future misery?“ God cannot tempt any
man to fin," James i. 13. and the Devil has no power over our minds, now, I apprehend, any farther than we grant him it. But the question is, whether any
of the fallen human race, do ever know, bélieve, and obey, the Gospel, without the special direction and favour of God, working by ordinary and rational means? And what propriety was there in Paul's defiring the churches to “pray that the word of the “ Lord inay” spread or “have free course and be glori« fied,” 2 Theff. iii. 1. if the success of the Gospel does not depend on God? Neither is the question, Whether the Gospel has not a fulness of evidence attending it, to convince every impartial person? Or, Whether a man has not natural faculties, to examine and receive it? In this sense, all have a capacity to attend to it, to receive its evidence, and, consequently, to repent, and obey the divine commands; or otherwise they could not be charged with guilt, for the neglect of the Gospel : But the question is, Whether any, as mankind now are, will be thus disposed, without the divine interposition, or efficacious influence ?
There can be no pleasure in contending with persons, upon these subjects, who are eagerly serving an hypothesis ; but it is a fatisfaction to us, to be able, with propriety, to observe, that when such writers as Mesirs. Barclay, Wesley, Phipps, and the Deists, are for driving up their opponents to these consequences,
which are above mentioned, and then inveigh against them; they should have demonstrated to us, that their own religious systems were free from the same; or else, their fevere reflections, with increased force, may justly be retorted upon themselves. As Erasinus said of Luther, when the Papists pressed him much to write against this Reformer : “ Nothing is more easy 6 than to call Luther a blockhead, but nothing is « less easy than to prove him one ;” so we may justly fay, with respect to the Doctrines of “Predestination « and Preterition,” It is an easy matter for persons to misrepresent or condemn them, with the most horrible epithets ; but it is not so easy to clear even their own systems of them, when they are, in their necessary consequences, closely and fairly considered.
CH A P. X.
1. The dangerous tendency of the Quakers inward prin
ciple, with respect to a finner's hope, and religious worship and practice. 2. How it may countenance Deism as well as Enthusiasm. 3. The Conclusion containing a serious address to the conscience of every Quaker who may peruse this treatise.
THE bad tendency of the Quakers inward
principle, with respect to a sinner's hope, and religious worship and practice.
Though the generality of men may avoid reflections upon
the state of their minds towards God, by a constant attention to business, amusements and diversions; yet those who are brought to any serious consideration about their souls, as they stand connected with an impartial judginent, and a solemn eternity, must soon be led to acknowledge their guilt, be greatly perplexed concerning the consequences of their fins after death, and really feel themselves miserable : Nor are these painful sensations peculiar to any set of men, for they more or less harrass and distress the honest tradesman, the rich merchant, the polite courtier, the refined Philosopher, the haughty Pharisee, and the licentious rake; whenever they enter upon the subject with impartiality, and perceive its unspeakable importance.
Notwithstanding all the fine things which have been written by elegant authors, concerning the dignity and perfection of human nature, Christanity fuppoles mankind to be degenerate, totally lost and miserable: And the experience of every man's own mind, when, as in the presence of a juft
. God, who will hereafter bring him into judgment, he fairly confiders what he has thought, spoken, and done, and what he has omitted, must prove to him that this is his real state. His dread of death, the gloomy forebodings of conscience about its confequences, and the corroding suspicions which are frequently rising up within him, of his not being what he ought to be, in order to obtain the divine favour and friendship, make him the more miserable, the more closely and impartially he reasons.
In these serious moinents, the Question is not, what is the religion of this or that fect, but, How Thall I, who am a finner, be forgiven of God, and be difposed to serve him chearfully and faithfully the remaining part of my life? The heat and fubtilty of controversy have now no influence, to divert the anxious mind from an honest fubmiffion to divine truth, whenever it appears to the soul, in its native beauty and dignity. Like the distressed sailor, upon the tempertuous ocean, who expects to be overwhelmed every moment in the mighty waters, he earnestly attends to every method of safety pointed out to him, when honesty and truth appear to govern his adviser.
There is great reason to think these distresling scenes, which appear to every man's mind, upon serious reflection, force inany to put off the thoughts of spiritual and eternal concerns, as long as they can ; whilst others are so far iinpressed with them, that they cannot rest, till they have experienced some kind of relief and support, or else they spend the remainder of their lives in laborious and painful inquiries after it, and, perhaps, at last, die without any satisfying hope. What then should be recommended to these
perplexed and distressed creatures : The will of God, every one will say : But what is the will of God
upon this subject? This is the question.
Fox and Barclay tell us, in answer to this question, conformably to the ancient and modern doctrine of the Mystics, from the “ywois, or knowledge “ falsely, so called *,” which was probably spoken against by Paul, down to that of Molinos) that a certain portion of Güd, or Christ, or the Word, dwells, and at times fpeaks, in the hearts of all men, which they call the Spirit, or “ light within." If we would be comforted, and obtain. eternal salvation, “ we must be still”--be “ paffive”-nake perpetual efforts not only to subdue our sensual affections, and proud and finful thoughts, but “all thought what“ ever," and then this wonderful hidden spark of Deity, the so light within,” will discover itself, blaze forth, and enlighten and direct us to purity and felicity. It is indispenfibly necesiary, according to them, that we enter deeply into the inmost recefles of our hearts, and listen moít atten-ively to the divine instructions and comininds , which this internal
* ! Tim vi 20. Called, perhaps, “ piilosophy and vain de ceis." Col. i. 8.