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that he is desirous of acting in such a manner as is consistent with the duties of a Christian. The Gentiles are now admitted to the same privileges with the Jews, but those privileges may be granted in vain 'to sinful and unrepentant individuals. It is a curious circumstance, that some arguers for the positive and arbitrary election of individuals to salvation, are so far aware of their error, that they deny their belief in arbitrary Reprobation. Now, how does this matter stand ? is this distinction possible? In common life, if two candidates contend for an office, to which only one can be chosen, whichever is elected, surely the other will be considered as rejected : but in this case the rejected one may still have such merit, that on a future occasion he may deserve Election, and may be elected.' But how different is the Calvinistic Doctrine of Election and Reprobation ! According to that, individuals are irreversibly destined either to happiness or misery for ever. There can be no gleam of future hope to the reprobated, nothing but “a fearful looking for, of" eternal "judgment.” Let us turn away then from this “darkness that may be felt.” Be this black and dismal cloud of error for ever dispelled from the world. May the bright beams of heavenly mercy, which shine equally on the just and on the unjust, illumine our Christian Sion. Finally, when we elevate our voice in songs of praise and thanksgiving to our Saviour, let us acknowledge the blessed cause of our unbounded gratitude, and say, in the language of our sublime Te Deum, “For thou didst open the kingdom of Heaven to ALL BELIEVERS.”
On Indifference to Religion, and on the Duty
of Christians, whether Clergy or Laity, not only to declare their own Conviction, but to contend, by Argument, against those who are Unbelievers of any of the great revealed Truths of Christianity.
HAVING now stated the grounds on which the scriptural Doctrines of the Trinity and Atonement are founded, and both from the learned works which I have consulted, and a diligent examination of the Bible, I trust I may add, proved; having also shewn the rational interpretation, as I conceive, of Regeneration and Predestination, I shall proceed, by adding two Letters of a more general nature. In the present one I mean to shew, that it is chiefly owing to ignorance of the subject, and consequently to an
unfortunate indifference, that so many look upon the great and important truths of Christianity as if they were only a worldly and temporal concern, that they have full liberty to neglect them altogether, or interpret the Gospel not according to the revealed word of God, but as their own whimsical caprices, or weak reason lead them at the moment. If all religion is to be rejected, and the world is to proceed without its guidance, and temporal policy alone is to be deemed effectual, the Bible cannot be considered to be the book of truth, much less to proceed from the inspiration of God. But if religion be allowed to prevail at all, it must pre-eminently prevail; it cannot be secondary. Its importance demands that it should predominate over all worldly considerations, in proportion as God is beyond all measure superior to his creatures, and as our brief and mortal state cannot be compared with a boundless eternity. Those, whose minds are not
adequately impressed with the sacred nature of religion, are apt to look upon the different opinions and different modes of faith, in the same light as they regard different modes and forms of earthly government: as one is favourable to a republican form, another to an aristocratical, a third to monarchy, so they deem every mode of faith (for faith is the essence of religion) as a mere matter of opinion, and that an acknowledgment of a Supreme Being and Creator, is all that is necessary. Had not God been pleased to inspire the writers of the Bible to make known his will, his nature, and the worship he demands, man would then have been left to be guided by his natural sense of right and wrong, and to be ruled solely by the political laws of his country. But is this the case? Did God create man after his own image, and breathe into him the breath of life, of immortal life, and leave him then to worship stocks and stones, or worship nothing? we know he did not.