Page images
PDF
EPUB

happiness. See Stimpson's Essays on future punish

ment."

Page 353.-For as by the disobedience of one, many were made sioners, so likewise by the obedience of one, many will be made just. “Tho the construction of this paragraph is intricate and obscure, nothing can be more obvious than this, that it is the Apostle's intention to represent all mankind, without exception, as deriving greater benefit from the mission of Christ than they suffered injury from the fall of Adam. The universali. ty of the Apostle's expression is very remarkable. The same "many" who were made sinners by the disobedience of the one, are made righteous by the obedience of the other. If all men are condemned by the offence of one, the same all are justified by the righteousness of the other. These universal terms, so frequently repeated, and so variously diversified, cannot be reconciled to the limitations of the blessings of the gospel to the elect alone, or to a part only of the human race. Compare i Cor. xv. 22, 25. See Chauncey on universal salvation, prop. iv. p. 22.

Page 596.--And the smoke of their torments shall go up forever and ever. “It would be very unreasonable to inter the gloomy doctrine of eternal misery from the Joose and figurative language of a prophetic vision, in opposition to the plainest dictates of reason and justice, and to the whole tenor of divine revelation. But if any one is disposed to lay undue stress upon this text, it

may be sufficient to remark, that it is not here asserted that the torment continues, but that the smoke of it ascends forever and ever. The smoke of a pile, in which a criminal has been consumed, may continue to ascend long after the wretched victim has ceased to suffer. And a memorial of the punishment which has been inflicted on vice may remain long after vice itself has been utterly exterminated. After all, as the prophecy relates wholly to states of things in the present world, the punishment threatened ought in all reason to be understood of temporal punishments, and not of the sufferings of a future life. So in Jude ver. 7, Sodom and Gomorrah are represented as suffering the vengeance of eternal fire; i. e. of a temporal calamity, a fire which completely destroyed them."

For the Repository. Mr. Editor-By inserting the following, you will much oblige your friend and humble servant,

W. B.

TWO EXTREMES.

My thoughts have been exercised for some time past, upon the two extremes into which christians of different denominations have gone. The one, that of selfrighteousness, the other, that of total depravity. Selfrighteousness is that which consists in having a better opinion of ourselves and of our own good works, than the public have of us, or than God, who is all-wise, knows to be the fact. Such persons will boast of their religion, they are frequently clamorous at meetings about their experience and love to God. They will boast of their perfection, they will tell you how long they have lived without sinning, with a multitude of other things all 'tending to their own exaltation. They seem to forget or pass in silence by those scriptures which speak expressly, that we like sheep. have gone astray, that there is none that doeth good, no not

Those who have passed to this extreme, oflen boast with much seeming confidence, that they shall enjoy hereafter an exalted seat in beaven, while poor sinners will be cast down to hell. All such, who have Vol. VII.

19

one.

this feeling of self-righteousness, we would refer to the tenth chapter of Paul's epistle to the Romans, commencing with the chapter, examining all its contents carefully, and it is confidently believed they will discover that their own righteousness is as filthy rags; that their dependance for salvation must rest on the Lord Jesus Christ, who is declared to be the Savior of the world-Yes, the Savior of these poor sinners, as they frequently term them, as well as of their own righteous selves. This boasting all shows itself in the selfrighteous bigot in his prayers and exhortations, like the Pharisee of old, who went up into the temple to pray, and said, "God, 1 thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican; I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” Luke xviii. 11, 12.

The other extreme into which the same self-righteous persons have gone, is that of total depravity. We frequently hear thein say, they have been, if not now, hell deserving sinners, and if God had been strict to 'mark iniquity against them, they should before this have been numbered with the dead, in their graves, and in hell with the damned! Thus we see they accuse God of injustice, or what is the same, he has not dealt justly by them. For all such expressions we hope God may før. give them. They frequently speak of their own evil hearts, and declare that there is no good in them, and that they deserve to be cast off forever. A moment after such expressions have fallen from their lips, you will hear them address an audience in this language: “WE SAINTS, AND YOU SINNERS. This is too much like the complimental expressions which we sometimes bear at table. The woman or the man, as the case inay be, after inviting us to their board to partake of God's bounties, commence a course of observations like these, “Our victuals are poor, I am fearful you cannot eat it, I dread to have you touch it, for I know you cannot satisfy your wants from it.” Now we do know that such compliments as these, in most cases, are base hypocrisy, and if we should agree with those who assert such things, they would be seriously offended. Just so, in many cases, with those who speak of their great sius. apıl of their total depravity, if we should believe them, and take their word for truth, and report it in society that they are very wicked, that there is no good in them, that they are totally, depraved and deserve to be punished forever, they would be very much oftended at

Hence we discover that this kind of stuff, which the self-righteous use about themselves, is only another way of boasting of their goodness. That mankind are wicked we would not deny, and that they should be sensible of their wickedness, we believe would tend to do them good. But that man is totally depraved, that is, no good in him, we cannot admit. Scripture and reason forbid it. Therefore let us avoid the two extremes, that of our thinking and talking too well of ourselves, and that of our thinking and talking too bad of ourselves, for the one leads to pride, and the other to despair.

US.

For the Repository. RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE DEFENDED.

Rev. T. Worcester, formerly pastor of the church in Salisbury, having 'received a citation, and with it a threat of excommunication, in case of delinquency to appear before some who, by a council not mutual, had been acknowledgeil as the first Congregational church in that town, sent to them. his reasons for not considering himself amenable to them. Disregarding these,

of men,

the minister of the new formed church, and three others equally "without sin," proceeded to pass sentence of excommunication upon him. His reasons were in substance as follows: He insists, as first principles, that. the Lord has given no authority to any man, or number

to lord over the conscience of another ; that a man can be amenable to a church only by his own consent, and that no man does relinquish his rights of conscience by uniting with any in a truly christian covenant; that the rightful authority of the church extends over him no farther than was mutually intendeul when he entered into covenant with them; that no advantage should be taken of such covenant to subject any one to trouble or reproach ; and that when some members of the church would take new principles, or adopt new articles of faith, it is the privilege of each individual to decide whether he can with a good conscience continue in fellowship with them.

He then proceeds to state that those who had been active to bring about his dismission, had

gone

forward in the settlement of such a minister as himself and others had never consented to receive as pastor, that they had adopted a new confession of faith and new covenant, by a majority of those present at a church meeting, without regard to the opinions and feelings of members unavoidably absent; and that to said articles of faith some meinbers and real christians could not with a good conscience subscribe.

He does not allow, that a christian church has authority to excommunicate any one for not doing what he could not do with a gooul conscience, or under any other circumstance, unless he became manifestly devoid of christian character ; that he did not consider himself bound to bring forward any matters of grievance to be judged by the very persons by whom such grievance

« PreviousContinue »