Page images
PDF
EPUB

doctrine of foreknowledge be true. tablished a certain connexion beThey may say, * If God foreknows tween repentance, faith and holiwhether we shall be happy or mis- ness, and salvation, is there no erable in eternity, our case is de encouragement to well-doing ?termined. Our salvation or our And because God foreknows, and destruction is certain. We may has established a certain connexbe happy forever, or we may be ion between impenitence, unbemiserable forever. We may as lief and immorality, and eternal well be easy, and take what sin- ruin; is there nothing to deter us ful pleasure we can in this world.' | from the broad road that leads to

But though this objection may the pit? Are not these the strongbe brought as well against one of est motives which can be set bethese doctrines as the other; yet fore us, to induce us to shun vice it has no weight when brought and follow holiness? Though God against either. Fairly to answer knows, in every instance, who will this objection, I need only repeat choose holiness and live, and who the substance of what was said in will choose sin and receive death, answer to the objection first stat- its proper wages; yet we cannot ed. God has not decreed that any know, in any instance, only by should be saved as the end, with- | making our choice. If we choose out decreeing repentance, faith holiness and live obedient lives, and holy obedience as the means we have evidence that endles of their salvation. And God has happiness is ours. But if we choos not decreed the destruction of any, sin and live in disobedience, we without decreeing that their des- have evidence that endless misery truction should be the consequence may be, and probably will be ours. of their impenitence, unbelief, and I might bring into view all the sinful lives. God does not fore- objections ever made against the

will be saved, with doctrine of divine decrees, and out foreknowing that they will re- show that they may all be made pent, believe and obey the gospel: with equal propriety against the And he does not foreknow that doctrine of divine foreknowledge. any will be destroyed, without But these are sufficient for the foreknowing that they will contin- purpose for which they are brought. ue impenitent and unbelieving, and This was to show the inconsistenreject the gospel. Hence, if peo. cy of those, who make them against ple will now repent, believe and the doctrine of decrees, and yet obey, they may know, for certain profess to believe in the doctrine ty, what God now knows, that of divine foreknowledge. It must they will be saved. But if they appear inconsistent, to every one, indulge themselves in sin, and de- to bring objections against the sentermine to take all the sinful pleas- timents of others, which may

be ure they can in this world, they brought, with equal propriety, give to themselves, and all around against our own sentiments. them, all the evidence they can

5. If God foreknows all things; have, in this case, that they sus

then he never has been, nor ever tain the character, and are of the will be disappointed. Where number of those whom God is de- there is knowledge, there is no termined to destroy. Though God possibility of disappointment. If knows, yet we do not know, in any of your houses were to be the case of any impeniteut sinner, broken open the ensuing night, and whether he is to be saved or not. your property carried away, toBecause God knows and has es- morrow morning, you would be

[ocr errors]

disappointed. But if you could from the beginning to the end of now foreknow that your houses the world. That be has this knowwould be broken open, and your ledge, the scriptures lead us to property carried away, it would conclude. From the foundation not be possible for you to be disap- of the world, he provided a dar. pointed, in this, to-morrow morn- iour, which he would not have ing. It is so in every case. Dis- | doue, had he not foreknown, that appointment is always founded on there would be sin and misery, want of knowledge. And yet, from which his creatures would there are those, and even preach- need to be saved. ers, who say that God is disap- But, if God forekpew all this, pointed in all the wickedness of why did he not prevent it? The men which takes place. And they only satisfactory answer to this will mention the following pas- question is, On the whole, God sage, in support of their opinion: saw that it would be for the best, “A certain man had a fig-tree that sin and misery should enter planted in his vineyard: and he the system. And this reason is | came, and sought fruit thereon sufficient to give, for God's deand found none." This parable, creeing that sin and misery should when applied to God and to sin- exist. Sin and nisery do exist. ners of the human race, must And no one can doubt but that mean, that from what he has done God was able to prevent them. br or thein, he might have reasonably. The same reason will justify God expected the obedient fruits of in decreeing, that will justify him holiness. More than this, it can- in permitting sin. And the same not mean. For if God were dis- objections lie against his permitappointed in all the wickedness of ting, as against his decreeing sin. men, he must be continually un- 6. If God foreknows all things; happy. Disappointment always then we have reason to believe, produces uneasiness. Moreover, that every thing will be conducted God cannot be disappointed, be- to the most glorious issue. If he cause sinners do not bring forth has knowledge enough, he has good fruit, when he knows they wisdom, and power, and goodness will not bring forth good fruit. enough to bring about his highest The same preachers, who say he glory and the greatest good.is disappointed, say, that God Though many things take place, knows all things; that all things which in themselves are real evils, are present to his view; that time and will prove the everlasting ruwith him is one eternal now. But, in of great multitudes; yet God that God can have all the actions knows how he shall overrule them of all sinners present to his view, for the general good. Since he is and have perfect knowledge of on the throne, since the governthem, and yet be disappointed in ment of the universe is with him, them, is wholly inconceivable. It since he sees from the beginning is utterly impossible.

to the end, and knows how every If all things were foreknown to thing will proceed and terininate; God, then he must have foreknown, his friends have every reason to that sin would enter the system, confide in him, and in the darkest He must have foreknown, that and most tempestuous season, to Adam would fall, how many sin- rejoice that the Lord reigns. ners there would be, and how Finally, Since God foreknows many sins would be committed

all things, it becomes sinners, who

1

re his enemies, to consider where | ing down the weapons of your hey are, and what they are doing, rebellion, and resigning the throne jod has made you, and placed to him, and yourselves to his govrou in this world. Though you ernment and disposal. Do this, re sinful and ruined creatures; I and salvation is yours. Be wilret he has set the door of salvation | ling that God should be all and in vide open before you. He has all; that he should be the Creator nade your duty plain, and set life and you the creature ; that he ind death before you. You are should be king and you subject; just as able to choose life as to that he should command and you choose death. God knows whether obey; that he should know more you will choose the way to life or and do better than it is possible the way to death. If you chouse for you to know or do. This belife, the reward is sure; God ing done, you will feel that peace knows that endless blessedness is of mind, which the world can neiyours. If you choose death, your ther give nor take away. You punishment is sure: God knows will have the pleasing satisfaction that endless misery is yours. You of believing, that since the Lord cannot successfully resist his pow- reigns, what is best will be done. er. You cannot fly from his pres- Amen.

N, H. ence. Your only safety is in cast

RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP, ed the cost,' before you resolved Given at a late Ordination in New-Eng.

to devote yourself to this awfully land.

momentous work; yet, you most DEAR BROTHER,

sensibly feel that you greatly need You have now been consecrated

of the churches, and to the work of the gospel ministry. the special and personal assistance You have received a solemn and of your brethren in the ministry. impressive charge to be faithful in These prayers and this assistance, the cause of truth and the service | we, the members of this Ecclesiof Christ. By the significant rite astical Council, are now ready to of ordination, the precious and engage in your behalf. immortal souls of the church and We are happy to bid you a corpeople in this place have been dial welcome, as a fellow labourer committed to your trust. You have in this part of the vineyard of doubtless, submitted yourself to Christ. We are happy to acknowthe solemnities of this day with ledge you an equal in office, and trembling solicitude. In view of equally entitled with ourselves to all the labours, and trials, and du- all the rights and privileges of the ties, which must consequently de- gospel ministry. We are happy volve on you; in view of the awful to acknowledge our high and solresponsibility, sustained by the emn obligation to receive, love, Christian minister; and in view of and conduct toward you, not only the scenes of that day, when you as our brother, but as our fellow must give an account of your stew- ambassadour of Christ, and stewardship; you can easily adopt the ard of the mysteries of God. With language of the apostle, " Who is these expressions of cordial affecsufficient for these things?”— tion, we are ready to pledge ourThough you had, probably, 'count- I selves that we will regard your

the prayers

rights and privileges as becometh | attacks of those, who do far greater the gospel of Christ and the order injury to the gospel system, by of our churches.

their professed orthodoxy, but artAs we, this day, in the presence ful endeavours to handle the word of God and this respected assem- of God deceitfully, and to conceal bly, profess to you our love and the fundamental principles of the Christian fellowship, we engage Christian religion. This we will to prove, by our subsequent con- do, knowing that you are set for duct, that our professions are not the defence of the gospel. We vain. We will not stretch our- will not attempt to measure your selves beyond our measure, to fidelity by your apparent success; boast in your“ line of things made nor say, If you preached in this or ready to our hand;" but will that manner, or pursued this or strictly adhere to the apostle's that course, a revival of religion rule; that we may by no means would certainly follow; but so interfere with your labours. We long as you are faithful in the cause will not endeavour to acquire an of truth and duty, we will bid you influence among your people, to God speed, “though Israel should your disparagement; nor weaken not be gathered. Should God, their confidence in you, by base however, be pleased to succeed and groundless suggestions re- your exertions with the special specting either your labours, or influences of the Holy Spirit, and your fidelity, or your usefulness; grant a harvest to his church in but so long as you adhere to the this place; we will greatly rejoice solemn charge you have received, with you in the ingathering of we will exhort them to follow your souls, and the success of your lainstructions with all diligence, bours. Though you have occasion and to esteem you very highly in to utter the complaint, that you love for your work's sake. When labour in vain, or spend your you declare the heart-searching strength for nought; should you and tremendous truths of God's be brought into trials and difficulword, with great plainness of tics, either personal or ecclesiastispeech," and exhibit the funda - cal; we will sympathize in your mental principles of the gospel in afflictions, and tender our support. their fulness, purity and simplici- Should you need our counsel, or ty; we will not endeavour to weak- personal labours ; such help we en your hands, nor discourage promise to afford, so far as oppor. your heart, by disingenuous insin- | tunity and circumstances will aduations, that you are guilty of im-mit. We will also offer up our prudence, or that your preaching unfeigned and fervent prayers to is unprofitable; but we will en Almighty God, that utterance may deavour to second your exertions be given unto you, that you may in the cause of truth, by bringing open your mouth boldly, to make forward the plain and explicit tes- known the mystery of the gospel: timony of the Holy Scriptures, to--that therein you may speak boldsanction the all-important doc- ly, as you ought to speak; and trines you inculcate.

We will that you may have grace and stand with you in contending earn- strength to perform all the duties, estly for the faith once delivered and endure all the trials, of the to the saints, against the open as: ministerial office. saults of avowed enemies; and These, my brother, are offices of especially against the insidious kindness, affection and fellowship,

[ocr errors]

RIGHT HAND OF

which we promise toward you, and phemy; and may we continually
which we expect from you toward | spend our strength, our time and
ourselves. În solemn token of all our powers, to the glory of God
these material engagements, per- and the advancement of Christ's
mit me now, agreeably to apostol- | kingdom. Blessed is that servant,
ick example, and by appointment whom his Lord when he cometh
of this Ecclesiastical Council, to shall find so doing.”
offer in their behalf, and receive Now, dear brother, we commend
from you, THE

you and this church and people FELLOWSHIP.

unto God and the word of his This is a pledge never to be for- ! grace. We rejoice that God has gotten. God is witness, this day, opened to you an effectual door to these solemn and mutual en- and field of usefulness in this gagements. May that love, which place; and we congratulate them is the fulfilling of the law, and the in receiving this day, a pastor and bond of perfectness, ever stimulate teacher from the great Shepherd us to a faithful discharge of these, and Bishop of souls. May you be and all other obligations. May made a lasting blessing to this we all stand with our loins girded people. May they be your crown, and our lights burning, in this day and you theirs, in the day of Jesus of darkness, of rebuke and of blas Cbrist,

FOR THE HOPKINSTAX MAGAZINE.

wickedness. This fact exactly

accords with the words of the inTHE ARTS OF DECEIVERS AND SE. spired apostle, who has left it on DUCERS.

record that “ evil men and seducBoth observation and scriptureers shall wax worse and worse, unite in testifying, that the heart deceiving and being deceived." It is deceitful above all things, and is evident from fact, as well as desperately wicked.' The history from scripture, that the enemies of of the Christian church in past the gospel are constantly advancages, abounds with the recital of ing nearer perfection in the arts the persevering, systematic and i of sophistry, deception and wickdeceitful opposition of its enemies. édness. It is impossible in a sinWhen errorists have been driven gle essay to mention all the arts of from one ground of opposition, deception which are used at the they have never failed to appear present day, to subvert the gospel, on another. As soon as one false and blot out the light of its truths. scheme has been detected and re- A few of the most successful only, futed, they have ever been able will be brought into view. and disposed to invent and propa- Assuming the appearance of gate another. And though they eminent piety, and making a pubhave been sufficiently establish- lic profession of religion, is pered in their opinions, to form baps the most successful art that themselves into distinct denomi- j has ever been practiced. The nations, still they have ever been cordial belief of the pure truths of changing their ground and mode of the gospel has ever been attended attack upon the evangelical sys- with morality and external relitem, and making advances in gion, The doctrines of the gosthe arts of deceit, sophistry, and pel, as they were taught and ex

1

« PreviousContinue »