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called upon by our office to say, that such a doctrine is not of God; because it teareth up the very foundation of religion, induceth all manner of profaneness in the world, and is expressly contrary to the whole current of fcripture.

One of the old independents of the last century faid expressly,“ Let any true faint of God be taken away in the very act of any known sin, before it is possible for him to repent, I make no doubt or fcruple of it, but he shall as surely be saved, as if he had lived to have repented of it;" and he instances in David, in case he had been taken away, before he had repented of his adultery and murder. That some modern teachers of this doctrine are not behind hand with the old independent just mentioned, there is but too much reason to fear.

The remark made, therefore, upon this subje& by an eminent bishop* of our church, is not so strictly confined to the wild schismatics of former days, as, for the credit of the present age, we could with it was. “ The fanatical sects (said he) that sprang up in abundance, amid the confusions of the last century, had so corrupted the word of God by their impure gloffes on the Gospel doctrine of grace, that the age became immoral on principle, and under the name of saints, engendered a hateful brood of profligate Antinomians, i. ea a fort of Christians, if they may be so called, who turned the grace of God into licentiousness; and to magnify his goodness, very confcientiously transgressed his laws. In a word, they taught that the elect were above ordinances, and might be faved without, nay in defiance of, the moral law.”

* Bifh op HURD. Sermons at Lincoln's-Ing.

Upon examining this doctrine clofely, the deformity of which is so striking, that it is a matter of aftonishment how it has ever gained credit in the world, we shall find it to be less built upon the word of scripture, than upon the 'vain conceit of man; which renders him a mere passive being in the work of falvation, and means of grace in a great measure useless institutions.

The first imagination that possesses the mind of an ignorant man upon the subject of the Divine decrees is, that in every thing relating to his falvation God must work in him both to will and to do, and therefore he must wait God's time. This idea, though true in its proper fense, is carried by him to that extreme, that if he be called upon to attend his church, and put himself under the word; he will tell you, that means of grace can be of no use to him, till God shall be pleased to open his heart. Should he be reminded, that the Gospel condition uponi which he must expect to receive is, that he should alk; and that having the use of his legs, he is as able to walk to church as to any other place: his answer is, that he does not feel the will to do it; and that God will make “ his people willing in the day of his power.” Pf. cx. 3. In this confidence he lives an heathenish life, without God in the world, waiting for that compulsive act of Divine power, by which he is to be brought into a state of falvation.

Feeling at some future period of his life, perhaps, some more than common impression made upon

him by religious subje&ts, a second imagination takes possession of his mind. Considering this impression as the immediate operation of that Divine power,

which he has been waiting to experience, he now persuades himself that he is in the number of God's elect people, and that consequently his falvation is secure. Upon his being reminded, that he that “thinketh he ftandeth, must take heed lest lie fall,” his answer is, he cannot fall; for God will keep his elect from falling; He who has begun the work in them, will complete it; so that the man who is once in a state of salvation, must be always in it. When the case of David, the man of God's own heart, is stated to him; or the text quoted, where that chosen veslel St. Paul expresses an apprehension, lest“ after all his preaching to others, he himself should be a castaway,” he has a reply suited to the occasion; that upon the supposition that the elect may commit grievous sins, his comfort is, that their salvation cannot be endangered, because no act of man can render void the Divine purpose in his favour.

Thus then, under the impression of the first of these imaginations, the man neglects the use of the means of grace, upon the idea that his heart has not been opened by God to receive benefit from them; and because he has no power of himself to help himself, he cannot be persuaded to make use of that power which God has given him. Under the impression of the second, the means of grace are oft times considered by him to be of no consequence, from the conviction that his salvation is effectually secured.

I do not say that this doctrine is carried to the same extent by every professor of it. God forbid it should. For there are degrees of folly, as there are degrees of wisdom; and no extraordinary case can conftitute a proper ftandard for general application. But there is one instance to be produced, which authorises my placing it in the light in which it is here placed, with the view of guarding my reader against it. One of my parishioners, who took his divinity, as many others perhaps may do, from some old puritancal writers of the last century, rather than from the Bible, maintained, I am sorry to think, the above doctrine in its fullest extent. He has been heard to fay, that should he kill a man to-day, he should certainly go to heaven to-morrow. His falvation, therefore, being, according to his own notion, perfectly secured, religious ordinances, as means of grace, to him were useless. He acted, therefore, but in consistence with his doctrine, when, instead of frequenting a place of public worship on Sundays, he was generally occu. pied in attending his farm. But on this head we shall only say with South, that “ what is nonsense upon a principle of reason, will never be sense upon a principle of religion.”

An additional anecdote, which furnishes a most ftriking proof of the ill effect of this dangerous doctrine in another way, fhall be mentioned; because it has fallen within my own knowledge.

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