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my Maker and Redeemer, in promoting the happinesss of my fellow men. In much weakness, and many imperfections of a serious nature, I have laboured ever since to promote these important purposes: and sometimes I have entertained hopes, that if not my labours, yet the labours of others engaged in the same cause, were crowned with success. At present, however, upon viewing the state of morals and religion in this land, my hopes are dashed, and my heart sinks within
I am not in the habit of being much distressed by a diversity of opinion about the modes of worship, &c.; but when the fundamental principles of the religion of Jesus are struck at, I tremble for the ark of God—I tremble to see the temporal and eternal happiness of my fellow citizens and fellow sinners, placed on a tre. mendous precipice. I find the religious opinions of my fellow christians revolutionizing with so much rapidity, and with so much confidence, presage the conséquences, that my harp is hung on the willows, and my days are spent in mourning. However, I have determined not to give myself up wholly to despair, but to make one or two more feeble efforts, if God shall enable me, before I breathe my last.
I shall endeavour to trace out to you the way that leads from the truth, as it is contained in the word of God, to Atheism, or a degree of Scepticism equally pernicious. I mean not to enter into any argumentation upon any of the points of doctrine I shall mention; but do little more than trace out the road of error, and give my opinion.
I believe that the doctrine of Particular Eternal Election, when properly guarded against Antinomianism and Fatality, when so explained as not destroy free Moral Agency-to supersede the use of means, nor to prevent the natural operations of second causes,-is the truth, according to the sacred Scriptures, and according to sound philosophy-that it is the only doctrine that can afford a truly convinced sinner any rational ground of encouragement to seek religion in the use of means, or that can save him from black despair, and the only doctrine that can support, in the mind of a real Christian, the hope of eternal life.
I believe that the doctrines taught by the first Reformers, commonly called the Doctrines of Grace, viz. Of the total Moral Depravity of Human Nature—of Regeneration by the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Sacred Trinity-of the Atonement of Justification in the sight of God, by the imputed Righteousness of Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity-and of Sanctification by the Spirit, through the truth, are important Scripture truths, naturally connected with the doctrine of Election. These are called the Doctrines of Grace, because they consider man as totally ruined by his apostacy from God, and make his salvation wholly depend on the free grace of God, in Christ, and naturally lead true believers in Christ, to say-"Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name be the glory."
These doctrines are all mysterious, and some of them, at least, above human comprehension; and hence the mind of man labours to get rid of them, and to display its ingenuity and gratify its pride in weeding them
out, until the Christian Religion, and even Natural Religion is entirely mutilated.
The believer in Divine Revelation finds the doctrine of Particular Election standing in the front of these mysteries; and to him it has a frightful appearance. Though this doctrine seems to be countenanced by a number of passages in sacred Scripture, there are difficulties attending it he cannot surmount. His busy mind cannot reconcile some things in it, infers a number of horrid consequences from it, paints these in frightful colours, and stares at them till he is frightened out of this article of his creed. He finds so much plausibility, or, as it appears to him, so much irresistible force, in the arguments against this doctrine, and in favour of the opposite, that, with the help of a little criticism on a few Greek words, he gets clear of this mystery, and for a while sits down easy, and congratulates himself on his
But his mind does not continue long at rest. He soon meets with another formidable mystery-the doctrinė of Original Sin. Though this doctrine seems also to be countenanced by several passages of Scripture, and accords very well with the moral state of human nature, yet he cannot conceive of the justice and propriety of a race of creatures being punished on account of the lapse of their first parents. His success in the former instance, encourages him to try his ingenuity and strength upon this mystery also. He soon succeeds. He discovers, as he thinks, in this doctrine, such a contradiction to the justice and goodness of God, that he views it with horror, and condemns it without hesita
tion. But still a difficulty remains. There is the depraved state of human nature-the appearance of this with the first dawn of reason-men's going astray from the very womb, speaking lies. The busy mind, which has already concluded that God does not punish Adam's posterity on account of his sin, finds out that the depravity of human nature, formerly called Original Sin, is only a misfortune; and that Christ came into this world, lived, suffered, and died, only to save men from this misfortune and its effects. Now, as a remedy for human depravity, as a way to remove the evils of this misfortune, it is found out that they may be all removed by believing that this believing is a very easy thingthat it is as easy to believe in Christ, as to believe that two and three are equal to five-that faith is not the gift of God-that regeneration flows naturally from faith, or is naturally connected with it: so that, as matters now stand, it is very easy to get free from the misfortune of human depravity. Now the evil of sin is much lessened; many of the difficulties of the Christian life removed. God appears all love and mercy; the terrors of vindictive justice are all removed; a sweet serenity fills the mind; it experiences a joy it never felt before, and infers from this happiness the truth of the system which produces it.
Though now the most distressing mysteries are removed from the Christian system, yet there are others as inconsistent with his philosophical pride as those were. There is the doctrine of the Trinity-a Triune Deity three Persons, but one Divine Nature. This reason cannot digest, it is so unphilosophical. "If there are
three Persons there must be three Gods, which is unnecessary and absurd. If this doctrine is true, Christianity is a system of Tritheism, and Christians worship. three Gods instead of one." The mind being inured to the business of annihilating mysteries, and become dexterous at the work, falls upon this without hesitation, and soon has it cleared out of the way. He discovers that the Spirit of God is no more a distinct Person from the Father, than his own spirit is a distinct person from himself. He finds out that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is not, properly speaking, a Divine Person of the same substance with the Father, but a Person in whom God manifests himself to his creatures: "God manifest in the flesh." Perhaps he proceeds a step farther, and finds out that Jesus of Nazareth is a mere man, who never existed until conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary; a mighty Prophet sent into the world to restore the Religion of Nature, which had been lost;
to set an example of patience and resignation, and to confirm his doctrine by his death. But we are not done with these mysteries yet. There is the doctrine of the Atonement, and of Justification by a Vicarious Righteousness. We have this to remove; but we are already prepared for it. God now appears so merciful, and so entirely void of vindictive justice, that it would be easy to get clear of this mystery, were it not for a number, and a great number too, of stubborn pas
ages of Scripture; but by one means or other, and particularly by the help of a little criticism on the Greek word Katallage, or Atonement, he surmounts this difficulty also: and thus his work is nearly completed. He