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sent argument, which merely relates to God's general conduct to the species. God is no respecter of persons; but, as St. Peter observes, “in 'every nation, he that feareth “ God, and worketh righteousness, is ac

cepted with him.” And likewise we are thus informed in the Book of Job; 6 Hear

my words, O ye wise men; and give ear * unto me, ye that have knowledge. God

accepteth, not the persons of princes, “ nor regardeth the rich more than the poor, “ for they are all the work of his hands.” Further in Isaiah; “Let the wicked forsake ► his way, and the unrighteous man his

thoughts, and let him return unto the “ Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; “ and to our God, for he will abundantly “ pardon.” And God Almighty thus addresses the human race by his prophet Ezekiel; “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. “ The son shall not bear the iniquity of the “ father, neither shall the father bear the ini“ quity of the son : the righteousness of the

righteous shall be upon him, and the wick"edness of the wicked shall be upon him. 66 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins “ that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and

right, he shall surely live, he shall not die: “ because he considereth, and turneth away “ from all his transgressions that he hath “ committed, he shall surely live, he shall not “ die.” Notwithstanding all these plain and strong texts in Scripture, which oppose and declare só forcibly against the doctrine of unconditional and unchangeable decrees, against election and predestination, Calvin expressly asserts, that the fate of every man before his creation is determined and predestinated by God; by which assertion he entirely destroys the free agency of human beings, though every man, by an appeal to his own feelings, must be sensible he possesses that free agency. All legislators in the composition of their laws consider men as free agents, and as capable of keeping or violating those laws; and I fancy it would little, avail a culprit in any court of justice to plead predestination or inevitable necessity in excuse for his crime: and, if Calvin's property had been stolen, he himself would have objected to such plea in common with other persons. That men possess

the

power of free agency, is proved at all times and ages by their conduct: for example, it suited the interest of a great many men in the time

of that arch hypocrite, Oliver Cromwell, to adopt a fanatical and hypocritical conduct; and they did so: in the next reign a conduct directly opposite was observed by as many men, whose interest it suited to become libertines, in compliance with the manners of the reigning monarch. Now I believe predestination was not at all concerned in this arrangement of hypocrites and libertines ; but these men might or might not have adopted the conduct they did at their own will and pleasure, and as they were respectively swayed by the different motives and propensities of their own minds; and over which motives and propensities reason possesses an absolute and decided power, if men will allow her that control and supremacy which God intended, and for that purpose has endued the mind of man with that free will and free agency, which it is the glory of man to possess. Does not God himself impute the sins of the Jews to their not making use of their reason and free agency as they ought to have done? “ My people do “ not consider," But of what use would it have been to them to consider, if, whether they did or did not consider, they were predestined to act as they did ? Our Saviour

enjoins man to strive to enter in at the straight gate; but if his destiny is unalterably fixed, his striving must be useless and in vain. Again, the 'Ten Commandments are worded clearly and unquestionably under the complete idea of free agency in the people to whom they are delivered, and who were to obey them. The whole history of Job infers, that God considered him as a free agent; for to what purpose did God Almighty permit the Devil to torment him for a trial of his patience and resignation, if God had predestined him to an inevitable course of conduct. However it may be reconcileable to Calvin's ideas of God's proceedings, it is not reconcileable to our ideas of his justice and goodness, to punish so just and righteous a man in such a manner, and this, as the Scripture expressly declares, for a trial of him, if God, by having predestined him to an inevitable course of conduct, knew the manner in which he must necessarily act, and had 'thus in fact precluded all free agency on his part, and of course all real trial of his integrity. And the relation given in Scripture, of God's commanding Abraham to offer up

his son Isaac for a trial of his faith and obedience, is of the same nature, and

cannot be rationally accounted for, if we suppose the conduct of Abraham to have been predestined, and not left entirely to his own free will : and the answer of the Angel after Abraham had lifted up his hand and knife to slay Isaac, “ Now I know thou fear“est God,” &c. excludes all just supposition of Abraham's conduct having been predes tinated. To what purpose were all God's arguments, reasons, and persuasions offered to the Jews, and all his promises and threatenings with respect to them, if their conduct was predetermined, and therefore not to be influenced by any arguments, reasons, or persuasions? And how can we suppose it possible God should address himself to sinners, and say,

say, “ Let the wicked man turn “ from the wickedness he hath committed, “ and do that which is lawful and right, and “ he shall save his soul alive," when the poor wretch, according to the vile doctrine of Calvin, was predestined to sin, and incapable of turning from it? The same question may be asked as to the promises and threatenings made in the Gospel by our blessed Saviour ; for what end could it answer either to promise or threaten, or to attempt to persuade persons to any particular course

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