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“ I am
ligation upon Christians, to go | inseparably connected. Thus they into all the world and preach the are represented by the apostle gospel to every creature.' This John; * By this we know that we obligation was felt by the chief love the children of God, when we apostle to the Gentiles, when he love God and keep his commandwrote to the Romans,
ments—If a man say, I love God DEBTOR, both to the Greeks and and hate his brother, he is a liar: to the Barbarians, both to the wise for he that loveth not his brother, and the unwise. So, AS MUCH AS whom he hath seen, how can he IN ME is, I am ready to preach love God, whom he hath not seen?” the gospel to you that are at Rome To ascertain, then, whether we also.
are saints, we have only to en9. Our subject exposes the crim- quire, whether we love our neighinality of enslaving the Africans, bour as ourselves? This enquiry is and holding them in perpetual greatly facilitated by the continual bondage. They are our neigh-presence of our neighbours, in bours, whom we are bound to love every predicament, whether of as ourselves, and to whom we wealth or poverty, health or sickought to do whatsoever we would ness, joy or sorrow, friendship or have them do to us, were they in enmity. How, then, do we habour situation and we in theirs. itually feel towards them? How Is this the love by which Christian do we habitually treat them? Have nations have been actuated, this we reason to think, that we ever the rule which they have followed, feel towards them that disinterestin exciting wars among the Afri-ed, impartial, perfect love, which can tribes, in buying and kidnap- is the fulfilling of the law? It is in ping defenceless men and inoffen- vain for any to imagine, that they sive women and children, in ex love God and have been born of posing them to pestilence and the Spirit, while they indulge bitdeath in the noisome holds of ships, terness and wrath and anger and and in consigning them to inces malice towards their fellow-creasant labour and a scanty subsis tures, and practice clamour and tence, under a burning sun and the evil-speaking, dishonesty and oplash of the whip, upon their plant-pression. A performance of the ations? It is believed, that nothing relative duties is as essential to in the conduct of Pharaoh and his true religion, as an attendance task-masters, of Mohammed and his upon the offices of devotion.Arabs, of Popery and the Inquisi-" These ought ye to have done, tion, was ever more repugnant to and not to have left the other unthe law of love, or more abomina done." ble in the sight of God, than the Finally. Our subject teaches us, slave-trade, and the consequent what would make this a happy slavery of the Africans.
world. It is natural for men to 10. What has been said, may complain, that the times are bad. teach us how to determine the im- | They may be so; though not much portant question, whether or not
worse, than they always have been. we are saints. If we are saints, The Scriptures call this an evil we have been born of God, and, world. But it is so, because the however inconstantly, do, habitu- | inhabitants are • hateful and hatally, love God and our neighbour, ing one another,' and continually as the Divine law requires. True bite and devour one another." love to God and true love to men, If mankind could be persuaded to are the same in nature, and are obey the second commandment in
the law, and love one another as not every man on his own things, themselves, there would no longer but every man also on the things be reason to complain of evil times, of others,' and let that mind be or an evil world. The general continually in them, which was prevalence of true love, would put also in Christ Jesus. And, an end, at once, to fraud and in Let sinners be exhorted to be. justice, slander and falsehood, ty. gin to love one another. Mere ranny and oppression, war and natural affection is but an instinct, murder, and unite the whole hu- without any moral quality, im man family as a band of brothers. planted to counteract the native It will be so, my brethren, in the selfishness of the human heart, Millennium. Let us fervently and to preserve the human spepray, that God would • hasten it cies. All that love to others, in his time.'
which proceeds from selfish moIn view of all that has been said, tives, transgresses, instead of ful
Let saints be exhorted more filling the Divine law. It is the constantly to love their neighbours incumbent duty of sinners to love as themselves. They acknowledge their fellow-creatures, with a truly the obligation of the duty: They disinterested affection. Until they know, by experience, the happi- do this, they will remain totally ness of performing it. Why, then, void of that · holiness, without will they not comply with the which, no man shall see the Lord. apostolick exhortation, and look
FOR THE HOPKINGIAN MAGAZIKE.
not afford mankind the least ex
cuse for sinning. They do not alThe Divine Decrees afford no ex ter the nature of virtue or vice;
cuse for the wicked conduct of they do not destroy the free moral mankind.
agency of the creature; they do
not free him from condemnation in (Concluded from page 101.]
the sight of God, for his sinful Having, in a former essay, en conduct; nor do they alleviate the deavoured to prove, that God has stings of a guilty conscience. But decreed the wicked conduct of since this is the case with respect mankind, and that his decrees af to the divine decrees, it must also ford them no excuse; I proceed, be the case with respect to divine as was proposed, to draw a num
of God, beber of important and practical in- ing the execution of his decrees, ferences.
cannot destroy the accountability 1. If the decrecs of God afford of moral beings, nor remove their no excuse for the wicked conduct obligation to do right, in the least of mankind; then his universal possible degree. Hence God says, agency can afford them no excuse * Assyrian, the rod of mine anfor their wicked. conduct. The ger, and the staff in their hand is agency of God is in perfect har- mine indignation. I will send him mony with his decrees. It is a against a hypocritical nation, and mere execution of his decrees.- against the people of my wrath Whatever God chooses to do, his will I give him a charge, to take own Almighty arm accomplishes the spoil, and to take the prey, and with infinite ease. But we have to tread them down like the mire seen that the decrees of God do of the streets. Howbeit he mean
eth not so, neither doth his heart | tions; and nothing can remove the think so; but it is in his heart to obligation of mankind to obey. destroy and cut off nations not a 3. Since the decrees of God affew. Wherefore it shall come to ford no excuse for the wicked conpass, that when the Lord hath ac duct of mankind, it was perfectly complished his whole work upon consistent with his character to demount Zion and on Jerusalem, I cree the existence of moral evil in will punish the fruit of the stout order to promote the greatest good. heart of the king of Assyria, and Many contend that it is inconsistthe glory of his high looks.” ent with the holy character of
2. Since the decrees of God af- God, to suppose that he determinford no excuse for the wicked con. ed the existence of moral evil, duct of mankind, there can be no even for a greater good, or for wise inconsistency between his decrees and benevolent reasons. But the and commands. Many suppose, light of our subject destroys the that if the doctrine of divine de- | force of this objection. Since the crees be true, they must be entire decrees of God do not destroy, ly inconsistent with the commands but confirm the free, moral agency of God. This would, doubtless, of his creatures, and they are highbe the case, if the decrees of Godly criminal for their evil conduct; afforded any excuse for the trans what inconsistency can be attribugressor. But we have seen that ted to the divine character? Supmankind have not the least excuse posing God causes the wrath of for their iniquities, either from the man to praise him, and restrains divine decrees, or from the divine the remainder of wrath; who shall conduct. What discrepance or in- find fault and reply against him? consistency, then, can be shown While he says, “I form the light, between the decrees and commands and create darkness; I make peace, of God ? Let sinners bring forth and create evil; I the Lord do all their strong reasons, produce their these things;" he says also, "Woe cause, and show whether the ways unto him that striveth with his of the holy and wise God are equal Maker!" or unequal. This, God challenges 4. Since the decrees of God af. them to do.
“ Hear ye now what ford no excuse for the wicked conthe Lord saith: Arise, contend thou duct of mankind, it must be very before the mountains, and let the wicked and dangerous for any to hills hear thy voice. Hear ye, o plead the divine decrees as an exmountains, the Lord's controver cuse for their wicked conduct. sy, and ye strong foundations of Mankind are ever ready to avail the earth : For the Lord hath a themselves of every plea, and fly controversy with his people, and to every subterfuge. Though they he will plead with Israel. O my naturally hate the holy purposes people, what have I done unto of God; yet they are very willing thee? and wherein have I wearied
them as an excuse for sinthee? testify against me.” Who ning, and to make them a cloak will presume to impeach the divine for their iniquities. This was the character, or the divine conduct, case with the Jews of old. They or the divine commands ? The said, “The fathers have eaten commandments of God are per
sour grapes, and the children's fectly just, and his ways are equal. teeth are set on edge; we are deNo inconsistency whatever can be livered to do all these abominamade to appear between the divine
But this must be highly purposes and the divine requisi-l criminal in the sight of God. Who
can be innocent, when he urges nothing to do with the heathenish the holy and wise purposes of God and atheistical doctrine of fate. A to justify himself in sin, and ex- denial of the divine decrees, in their cuse his flagrant breaches of the true and scriptural sense, leads to divine law? Who can innocently fatalism and infidelity. But since • rise up before God and say, “The the decrees of God, as revealed in purposes, which you have formed the holy scriptures, afford no exfrom eternity, afford me a reasona cuse for the wicked conduct of ble excuse for my transgressions?' mankind, it is totally absurd and Will sinners dare to risk this im- unreasonable to say, that they are pious plea in the day of judgment in any way connected with UniWill they risk the salvation or de versalism. It is absolutely cerstruction of their own souls upon tain, that mankind are altogether this groundless, vain and wicked criminal for their wicked conduct, excuse? It has been demonstrably notwithstanding the divine deproved, in a former essay, that sin- crees; and consequently, it is as ners can draw no argument from certain, that God will punish the the decrees of God to justify their incorrigible transgressor. If the conduct in the least possible de- decrees of God afforded any reagree. How vain, idle and blas- sonable excuse to mankind for phemous, then, must it be, for sin their wicked conduct, we might ners to rise up before God and then reasonably infer the doctrine say, “We are delivered to do all of universal salvation. But it apthese abominations!” It is against pears from our subject, that the such persons, that God has de decrees of God afford not the least nounced a dreadful woé and a bit- excuse for the least transgression. ter curse.
They cannot destroy the nature of 5. Since the decrees of God af- sin; they cannot destroy, but abford no excuse to mankind for their solutely confirm the free, moral wicked conduct, no argument can agency of the creature; and they be drawn from the doctrine of di- cannot remove the sentence of the vine decrees in favour of univer- divine law, nor the remorse of a sal salvation. Many persons, in guilty conscience. What inferorder to cast a slur upon the doc- ence, then, can be drawn in favour trine before us, and bring the pur
of Universalism? Those who asposes of God into contempt, will sert, that the doctrine of decrees cry out, “ This is Universalism!” is Universalism, “know neither “ This encourages licentiousness, what they say, nor whereof they and teaches that all mankind will affirm." It is a mere subterfuge, finally be freed from the punish- to get rid of the doctrine. It is a ment due to their sins!” But this mere evasion of God's holy and is a false and slanderous assertion. eternal purposes. Besides, if the Universalists, in general, are vio- doctrine of divine decrees 'affords lently opposed to the true doctrine any ground for the doctrine of uniof divine decrees; and they express versal salvation ; why should the their opposition in the most oppro- openly profane and immoral, the brious terms. There are some, infidel and sceptic, and the Unihowever, who hold to a kind of fa- versalist himself, be so violently tality, which neither they nor any opposed to it? The fact, the plain one else can explain; and from this and demonstrable fact, that persons they pretend to infer the universal of this description are so constantsalvation of mankind. But the ly and violently opposed to the doctrine of divine decrees has decrees of God, is a strong and
incontrovertible evidence in favour flames, I shall be, do what I mays of the doctrine, and that it is di- and if it is decreed that I shall be rectly opposed to Universalism. burned to death, I shall be, do what
6. Since the decrees of God af- | I can? Would any one thus act ford no escuse for the wicked con the part of a madman? How then duct of mankind; it is highly im- will any one presume to say, in pious, as well as impertinent, for view of eternal things, “ It is no any to say, in view of this doc- malter what we do?if we are to trine, If we are to be saved, we be saved, we shall be, do what we shall be, do what we may; or if we may; or if we are to be damned, are to be damned, we shall be, do we shall be, do what we can?”. what we can. This is altogether After Paul had declared the pura misrepresentation of the doctrine pose of God, that none of the ship's before us. It is a perversion of company, who sailed with him, the word of God, and a perversion should be lost, but that they should too, of which common sense, ought all escape safe to land; did he tell to be ashamed. Was it not de- them that this should take place, creed, that Christ should suffer and let them do what they might? No. make an atonement for sin? Was For when the ship-men were about not this foretold and promised, to flee out of the ship, he said to four thousand years before he ap the officers, “ Except these abide peared in the flesh? Why then, in the ship ye cannot be saved.”.
might not the Divine Redeemer So of sinners. Though the pur· have said, If I am to make an poses of God are steadfast as his
atonement for sin, I shall, whether throne; yet let them be assured, I appear in the world or not? Such that “whoever believeth, shall be an assertion is as absurd as it saved; but he that believeth not, would be for me to say, If I am shall be damned.” to finish this essay, I shall finish it,sion of this doctrine is nothing whether I write any more or not. The apostles were slander That is, if I am to finish it, I shall, ously reported, with respect to the whether I finish it or not. But is same glorious and important truth. not such language ridiculous? Is “As we be slanderously reported," it the dictate of common sense? says Paul, “and as some affirm Who of my readers will assert, in that we say, Let us do evil, that such language as this, If it is de- good may come. Whose damnacreed that I shall read this essay, I tion is just.”. shall read it, even though I throw 7. Since the divine decrees afit aside and never again look into ford no excuse for the wicked conit? That is to say, If it is decreed duct of mankind, the character of that I shall read this essay, I shall, God may be vindicated in panishwhether I read it or not. So you ing impenitent sinners according might argue with respect to your to his decrees and according to fields and labour. You might say, their deserts. If the divine purIf I am to have a harvest of wheat, poses afforded mankind any excuse I shall have it; though no seed for their wicked conduct, they should ever be applied to the might then be released from punground. But who would thus per- ishment on the ground of justice. vert plain common sense, in tem But we find, in view of our subporal affairs? Who, when his dwel- ject, that the conduct of sinners is ling is on fire, will lie down in his altogether criminal, and that they chamber, and say, If it is decreed fulfil the decrees of God by " wickthat I shall be saved from the ed hands." Such is the declara