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ruins of the fall; finally, that none are doomed to future misery, but those who despise and disbelieve this instance of unutterable, inconceivable, super-emi. nent, and super-celestial goodness, wisdom, power and love.
There have been men, who in former times invented the unreasonable doctrine of absolute and unconditional reprobation, by twisting and straining the words of Sacred Writ. As many great and good men have already, from Scripture, reason and antiquity, refuted this hatetul and horrible doctrine, I will say but little relative to it; yet as it is pointedly opposed, both to the title and subject matter of my book, I must intersperse here and there, a pointed remark on its inutility, inconsistency, and ungenerosity, as it indi. rectly makes God the author of all the moral mischief that is, or ever was, or ever will be in the world. In contra. diction to this anti-scriptural doctrine, I do contend, that God who delights not in the death of a sinner, but wills all shall be saved, has given his own Son, who is the intellectual light of the
world, that whosoever believeth in bim shall be saved. And this light enlightens every man that cometh into the world, and tallies with the beautiful lesson (which I have already asserted) observable in the book of nature, i. e. that we should learn from the goodness of God to us all, to be kind to each other. It also manifests what is reprovable in our conduct, and teacheth all godliness, temperance, and righte.
And this light doth often for a long time, shine upon the minds of all men, and would most indubitably work out the salvation of all, if not resisted; but as it would be unreasonable, or rather impossible for God to force a free, intelligent being to obey the light and love the truth, (as this would be destroying his free agency;) consequently his spirit will not always strive with man, nor his light always shine upon those, who love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.
Every argument against the universality of Christ's death, and God's love to man, may be answered by the de
claration and annunciation of the angelic host to the shepherds, at the birth of Christ; namely, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Now, if the doctrine of absolute reprobation is true, the declaration of the angel was false. A manifestation of the saving grace of God is given to every man, in every country, for them to profit therewith; and none are condemned, but those who abuse this 'grace, and shut their eyes against the light of the spirit. Our blessed Redeemer tasted death for all men, of all kinds, of all colours, and of all languages; even those who are excluded by some inevitable acci. dent, from any outward knowledge of his sufferings, death, and resurrection; and although unacquainted with his history, they may participate the bene fit of bis death, by obeying the dictates of his spirit, and walking in the light of his grace ; by doing to others, what they wish others to do unto them, on whicb all the law and the prophets hang; and finally, by loving the power by whose inward touch they find themselves turned from evil to good, and from the power of Satan to God.
The doctrine which is the complete antipode of the presentargument, makes God a liar! by insinuating that he de. lights in the present and eternal misé. ry of man; that he predestinates man to sin, as well as to its punishment, and compels him to sin, that he may justly be punished! But in order that the reader may see for himself, the deformity of this ungenerous doctrine, than which a greater dishonour cannot be offered to God, I will subjoin five articles of the Synod of Dort.
Of Divine Predestination.
6 That God, by an absolute decree, hath elected to salvation a very small number of men, without any regard to their faith or obedience whatsoever ; and secluded from saving grace all the rest of mankind, and appointed them by the same decree to eternal damna. tion, without any regard to their infl. delity or impenitency.
Of the Merit and effect of Christ's death.
“That Jesus Christ hath not guffered death for any other, but for the elect only; having neither had any intent nor commandment of his Father, to make satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.
“ That by Adam's fall, his posterity lost their free will, being put to an unavoidable necessity to do, or not to do, whatsoever they do, or do not, whether it be good or evil; being thereunto predestinated by the eternal and effectual secret decree of God.
Of the manner of Conversion. “ That God, to save his elect from the corrupt mass, doth beget faith in