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tency with the other scheme; with what confidence and plausibility opponents urge them against our doctrine; and yet how naturally they coincide with the view here given. To the author they give no trouble: they express his sentiments, and in similar circumstances he would use the same language. The statement, here given, is by no means new, or peculiar. He has proved that the compilers of our liturgy held the same sentiments. Many of his brethren at present coincide with him. The most emincnt Calvinistic divines in North America, who have lived during the present century, view the subject in the same light: and abundanee of testimonies of this kind, from every quarter, might easily be adduced : but let the word of God decide.
The author is not anxious about the class of professed Christians among whom his brethren may rank him. No one of them is either right or wrong in every thing ; and that which in one situation is disgraceful, in another is deemed honourable. But it appears to him of great consequence to shew, that thesc despised doctrines are scriptural, rational, holy, consolatory, and consistent with every part of Christianity: and that the objections commonly urged against them originate in misapprehension of their nature and tendency; and may generally be traced back to distorted views given, or scandalous perversions made of them.
In some few places, however, the terms Calvinist and Calvinism, Arminian and Arminianism are retained ; not as invidious distinctions, but for convenience, and to prevent circumlocution. It is a great mistake to suppose that self-righteous pride is peculiar to Arminians, or Antinomian laxity to Calvinists. Pride and aversion to the holy law of God are alike congenial to our fallen nature : so that every man is radically of himself both selfrighteous and Antinomian. No creed, as such, will cure either of these distempers; but regeneration renders us convalescent. Yet even true Christians frequently hold and contend for doctrines, which very inadequately influence their own hearts and lives; nay, they often maintain errors, without being proportionably injured by them. Hence many Calvinists are prone to pride and self-preference, and many Arminians evidently humble. But the Christian temper, wherever found, even though a man express himself, as we think, inaccurately, is vastly more valuable than the most exact notions without “ the mind which was in Christ Jesus.”—On the other hand, the Arminian is not at all secured from Antinomianism, nor the Calvinist exposed to it, by their several tenets : seeing both of them are antinomian just as far as they are unsanctified, and no further : “ because
the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is “not subject to the law of God, neither indeed
be.” Perhaps speculating Antinomians abound most among persons professing to be Calvinists : but Antinomians, whose sentiments influence their practice, swarm among such as are really Arminians. Does the reader doubt this? Let him ask any of those multitudes, who openly trample on God's commandments, what they think of predestination and election; and he will speedily be convinced, that they are Arminians : yet they
take occasion from their notions, concerning the mercy of God, to encourage themselves in impenitent wickedness. It would, therefore, be unspeakably better, for all parties to examine such subjects, with impartiality, meekness, and brotherly love; than, reciprocally to censure, despise, and condemn one another.
May 2, 1798.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIFTH EDITION.
In reprinting this sermon, nearly twenty-five years after it was first published, all alteration from the preceding edition, printed 1798, which can in the smallest degree affect the meaning is carefully avoided. The author, having been led to undertake a much larger and more important work, bearing, in many respects, on the same subjects, is induced, contrary to his previous intentions, to reprint this sermon separately; as tending to shew, that he has not altered the grand outline of his views in so long a course of years; but is now as ready to defend them against Anticalvinists, as he once was, to maintain them against those whom he deemed Pseudo-calvinists.
Nov. 4. 1811.
John, vi. 37—40,
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
And this the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
The holy scriptures, being the word of God, are doubtless perfectly consistent. Moses and Samuel, David and Isaiah, Paul and James, being merely the penmen of the Holy Spirit, must perfectly harmonize in the truths which they inculcate. Precepts, threatenings, warnings, judgments, counsels, exhortations, invitations, promises, privileges, histories, examples, types, and parables, in divers methods, subserve the same great ends of instruction. They all display and illustrate the same character of God and of man; and impress the same ideas of sin and of holiness, of time and of eternity, of happiness and of misery. They all concur in displaying the glory of the divine perfections in the dispensations of providence in this world, and in the final distribution of rewards and punishments in the world to come. And, though these constituent parts of holy writ do not in all
respects answer the same purposes, each has its distinct important use in the accomplishment of one vast and uniform design.
But, though the scriptures are in themselves completely harmonious, yet men do not readily perceive this harmony. Many imagine they see in them numerous inconsistencies and contradictions: others, judging it impracticable to reconcile the sacred writers, give a partial preference to one above another, and set them in opposition to each other; according to their several opinions. The various sects and parties, professing Christianity, appeal to scripture in proof of their discordant tenets; and multitudes, content with those passages which seem to speak the language of their favourite system, pass over all the rest as if nothing to the purpose, or nothing to them; a mere caput mortuum * in divinity.
These things are notorious : but whence do they arise? We allow that the vastness of the design revealed in scripture, which has relation to things unseen and eternal, and to the perfections of the incomprehensible God, must very far exceed the capacity of our narrow minds, and cannot enter the understanding at once, nor be apprehended at one glance; and, when viewed in parts, the unity is broken and the harmony obscured : insomuch that we may justly question, whether any creature can perfectly comprehend the consistency of the glorious plan, which“
gels desire to look into.” But other reasons
The worthless insipid mass that remains when the spirits are all drawn off by distillation ; or the mere dross left in refining metals.