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the left (6). That when the destined season arrives, at which we must give account of our stewardship to the great shepherd and bishop of souls, we may be found of him in peace; watching, praying, labouring; and ascend from our Master's work, to our Master's joy, as Cincinnatus was found busy ‘at his plough, when called to the dictatorship of Rome.
FREE-WILL AND MERIT FAIRLY EXAMINED:
MEN NOT THEIR OWN SAVIOURS
THE SUBSTANCE OF A
IN THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST. ANN, BLACK-FRIARS
ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 25th, 1774.
Truly, in vain is Salvation hoped for from the hills and from the multitude of
mountains. Truly, in the Lord our God is the Salvation of Israel.-JER. iii. 33
PSALM cxv. 1.
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy
name give glory; for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.
Some expositors have supposed, that this Psalm was penned by the prophet Daniel; on occasion of the miraculous deliverance of Shadrac, Meshac, and Abednego, when they came out unhurt, from the burning fiery furnace, into which they had been thrown by the command of king Nebuchadnezzar.
And indeed there are not wanting passages in the Psalm itself, which seem to countenance this conjecture. As where we read at the 4th verse (speaking of the idols of the heathens, and perhaps with particular reference to that golden image which Nebuchadnezzar commanded to be worshipped), their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands: they have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not.
I dare say, that in such an auditory as this, a number of Arminians are present. I fear that all our public assemblies have too many of them. Perhaps, however, even these people, idolaters as they are, may be apt to blame, and indeed with justice, the absurdity of those who worship idols of silver and gold, the work of men's hands. But let me ask, If it be so very absurd to worship the work of other men's hands; what must it be to worship the works of our own hands? Perhaps you may say,
« God forbid that I should do so." Nevertheless, let me tell you, that trust, confidence, reliance, and de
pendence for salvation, are all acts, and very solemn ones too, of divine worship : and upon whatsoever you depend, whether in whole, or in part, for your acceptance with God, and for your justification in his sight; whatsoever you rely upon, and trust in, for the attainment of grace or glory; if it be any thing short of God in Christ, you are an idolater to all intents and purposes.
Very different is the idea, which scripture gives us, of the ever-blessed God, from that of those false gods worshipped by the heathens; and from that degrading representation of the true God, which Arminianism would palm upon mankind. Our God (says this Psalm, verse the 3d) is in the heavens : he hath done whatsoever he pleased. This is not the(a)
(a) I was lately introduced to the acquaintance of a very learned and sensible Arminian, whose political writings, and whose social virtues, entitle him to no small share of public and domestic esteem. This worthy gentleman bas sagacity to perceive, and integrity to acknowledge, the prodigious lengths to which the free-will scheme, if carried as far as it naturally leads, must inevitably push its votaries. He sees its consequences clearly; he swallows them without difficulty; and he avows them very honestly.
“ God does all he possibly can” (these were the gentleman's own words to me, in conversation] “ God does all he possibly can, to binder moral and natural evil; but he cannot prevail. Men will not permit God to have his wish.”—Then, said I, the Deity must certainly be a very unhappy Being.-" Not unhappy in the least,". replied the ready philosopher: God knows, that in consequence of the free-will with which he has endued his rational creatures, he bimself must be disappointed of his wishes, and defeated of his ends, and that there is no help for it, unless he had made us mere machines. He, therefore, submits to necessity; and does not make himself un
easy about it.”
See on what tremendous shoals, free-willers, when honest, run themselves aground! Is their god the Bible-God? Certainly not. Their god " submits” to difficulties which he “ cannot help” himself out of, and endeavours to make himself “ easy” under millions and millions of inextricable embarrassments, uncomfortable disappointments, and mortifying defeats. Whereas, concerning the God of the Bible, it is affirmed, that he hath done, and will always continue to do, whatsoever he pleaseth.
Observe, reader, the piety, and the consistency, of the free-will scheme. This said scheme ascends on the ladder of blasphemy, te