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declares that he should be willing to perish and could even wish it, if by that neaus, all the nation of the Jews might be saved.
Semi. This is carrying things too far. It is impossible that any man should be willing to give up all good, and to be miserable forever, for the sake of the good of others, be it ever so great. And you misunderstand St Paul, when you suppose he says that he should be willing to perish for the sake of the salvation, of his brethren. By being accursed from Christ, he neans some to re rary evil only, which he might suffer consistently with his being a christian, and his obtaining eternal life.
Calv. You implicitly grant in what you have just sail, that a man may be willing to suffer evil, and a great degree of it, for the sake of the good of others: And indeed, this must be granted by all who allow there is any such thing in nature as disinterested benevolence, or loving our neighbor as ourselves. And that this is the nature of true love or charity the scripture asserts' chaty seketh not her own " And ail men will grant that it is reasonable that a inan should give up his own good to a great degree for the sake of his neighbor's good: He ought to be willing, for instance, to endure hunger a whole day, to save his neighnor from starving: He ought to be willing to give up his who e worldly terest and comfort, and live a life of poverty and want, if this were necessary to save a whole nation from ruin, and make the rich and happy yea, he ought to be willing to expose, and give up his life, if this were necessary for the good of his country, and to save the lives of millions.
And this be the nature of benevolence, and most reasonable, what bounds can be set to it, or where shall it step? If true benevolence will give up twenty degrees of personal good for the sake of a thousand degrees of good to others: it will give up a thousand degrees, for the sake of obtaining fifty thousand degrees of good to others; and so on, till he has given up all his own personal good for a proportionably greater good to the pobre. No hing but a want of benevolence or a defect of it, can render a man unwilling, in the case proposed, to give up all his personal good. And there is the same reason for his doing it, as there is for his giving up one degree of his own good for the sake of procuring fifty degrees of good to others.
And if benevolence will lead a man to suffer one degree of pain and misery, in order to save another from an hundred degrees of pain, and it be most reasonable that he should; then, for the same reason he will be willing to suffer an hundred degrees of pain or positive evil, if this be necessary in order to save his neighbors from ten thousand degrees of evil; and he must be willing to suffer all the positive evil and pain that he is capable of through the whole of his existence, if this be necessrry to say an hundred thousand or even an hundred, from this evil. For there is the same reason why he should be willing to suffer all this for the sake of a proportionably greater good to others, as that he should be willing to suffer one degree, to save others from an hundred degrees. And
if it be contrary to benevolence to be unwilling to suffer one degree of evil to save others from an hundred degrees of it; it must be equally contrary to it to be unwilling to stir all possible degrees of evil, for the sake of saving others from a proportionably greater evil.
It hence appears that the apostle Paul, spoke the language of true benevolence, and dec.ared he felt. as he ought to feel, when he said, he could wish himself accursed from Christ, if by this meaus his brethren might b saved, it we understand him as meaning, that he was willing to be lost forever for their sake, that they might be saved. And why shall he not be understood to say, what he ought to say, and to speak the language of true benevolence; since this is the natural import of his words, and to be accursed from Christ, cannot mean less than eternal damnation, without putting an unLateral, forend meaning upon them? St. Paul certainly thought it was a great evil which he mentions, and was willing it should come upon him for the sake of his brethren; since he meant hereby to express his love to them. If the evil were small and inconsiderable, it expressed but a small and inconsiderable degree of benevolence; and the greater the evil was, which he was willing to suffer for their sake, the greater benevolence was expressed. He therefore doubtless mentioned the greatest evil that he could conceive, and that he was capable of suffering; when he meant to express the greatness and strength of his love to them. And, by the way, as it was no argument that Paul thought it to be a small evil or none at all to be accursed from Christ, or that he had no aversion to it, and that it was not dreadful to him; but the contrary, because he was willing to suffer it, for the sake of his brethren: so it is no argement that any man does not think damnation infinitely dreadful, and has not a proper aversion to it, because he is willing to be damned, rather than a greater evil should take place, or for the sake of promoting a greater good.
Semi. For my part, I must say, this is all darkness to me.— How can these things be.
Calv. Let us take another, or a little different view of this point; perhaps it may be set in a more easy, convincing light. I conclude that you will grant that the glory of God, or the greatest and most advantageous display of the divine perfections, is of the highest importance; and that it is reasonable, and our duty to make this our highest and supreme end, in all our desires and actions; and that we ought not to be willing any thing should take place, inconsistent with his glory; and that we ought to be willing that should take place, be it what it may, which is most for his glory; even though it be the eternal damnation of sinners
Semi. I grant that we ought to make the glory of God our preme end. But this will be so far from making us willing to be damned, that it will lead us to desire and pursue our salvation, that he may be glorified in that, and that we may glorify him for
Calv. But it is not for the glory of God that all should be sav d; but most for his glory that a number should be damned; otherwise all would be saved. We will therefore now make a supposition, which is not an imposssble one, viz. that it is most for God's glory, and for the universal good that you should be damned; ought you not to be willing to be damned, on this supposition, that God could not be glorified by you in any other way?
Semi. You are full of your suppositions; I will not, I cannot, I have no business to suppose any such thing."
Calv. You know that it is most for the glory of God that some should be damned. And if you do not know that you are a christian, you do not know but it is in fact true, that it is most for the gly of God, that you should be damned; and the supposition is therefore natural and easy, and you cannot well avoid making it. S. 7posing then this were true, which may be true, notwithstanding any thing you know, how ought you to feel with respect to it? ought you not to be willing to be damned?
Semi. This is impossible!
Calv. I grant it is impossible to one who values himself, and his own personal interest and happiness, more than he does the glory of God, and the highest interest of his kingdom. And it is infallibly certain that every one who lives and dies with such a disposition, will and must be damned. But to him who loves God supremely, and desires his glory above all things, it is so far from beig impossible to be willing to be damned, on supposition this is most for God's glory, that he could not will or choose any thing else. He must say, "let God be glorified, let what will become of m If he cannot say so, it is because his own interest and happiness, are of more importance with him, than the glory of God; or in other words, because he is not a true friend, but an enemy to God.
Semi. But suppose he knows he loves God, and therefore knows that it is for the glory of God that he should be saved?
Calv. No man can know that he loves God, until he does really love him; that is until he does seek his glory above all things, and is disposed to say, "let God be glorified, whatever may be necessary in order to it," without making any exception: and this is to be willing to be damned, if this be necessary for the glory of God. And as he cannot know that he loves God, till he has this disposition, which is necessarily implied in love to God, he does not know that it is not necessary for the glory of God that he should be damned. He therefore cannot know that he loves God, and shall be saved, until he knows he has that disposition which implies a willingness to be damned, if it be not most for the glory of God that he should be saved And if any one thinks he loves God, and shall be saved; if he finds that his love to God does not imply a willingness to be damned, if this were most for his glory, he has reason to conclude that he is deceived, and that what he calls love to God is really enmity against him. For he, who cannot love God on any supposition but that he will not damn but save him, is not a friend, but an enemy to God. [To be Concluded.]
The proneness of the Children of Israel to Idolatry, was never more apparent, than when they urged and prevailed with Aaro: to make them a moulten calf. They had just been delivered from Egyptian bondage, by the "strong hand and outstretched arm" of Jehovah, and had seen him divide the Red Sea before them, and 'get himself honor upon Pharaoh and his host.' And at this noInent, they were assembled in full view of the smoke and thunders of Sinai's awf mount, upon the summit of which their leader Moses was conversing with God, and receiving from his hand the tables of stone, on which were Divinely engraved the Ten Commandments; one of which was, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image." Even in this solemu situation, because "Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us, for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him." Aaron was so timid and time serving, as to yield to their impious demands, and out of their golden ear-rings to make them a graven image, in the form of a Calf; to which they offered sacrifices; and around which they feasted and played, singing, "These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Fgypt." It is not strange that this base and criminal conduct of that backsliding and idolatrous people, should have provoked God to destroy them: the wonder is, that the intercession of Moses should have prevailed with him to spare them.
When Moses, in his indignation on this occasion, had thrown down the tables of stone, broken and ground to powder the vile image, and sharply rebuked his brother Aaron; he placed himself in the gate of the camp, exclaiming, "who is on the Lord's side? Let him come unto me." He justly considered those, who had been concerned in the fabrication and worship of the idol, as having risen up in rebellion' against God. But he presumed, that general as the defection had become, there still must have been individuals who had not apostatized in such a senseless and sinful manner, but who yet adhered to the fear, love and service of the only living and true God. And he was not mistaken; for, in answer to his solemn call, all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.'
From the example of Moses, on this trying occasion, it seems. natural and proper to draw two inferences: first, that in a sea
son of general defection and irreligion, among any people, it is right and justifiable for the ministers of God publicly to call upon all those, who adhere to the truths and duties of religion, to come out from the ungodly multitude, and openly profess and manifest their love, faith and obedience; and secondly, that at such a time, it is the duty of all, who are truly on the Lord's side,' to comply with such a call from their ministers, and to avow their belief of the truth and attachment to the service of God.
But, how the call of Moses to the Israelites, in the case before ns, should authorize ministers to call upon the enemies of God to "resolve' to become his friends (as a writer over the signature of M.D. in the 87th No. of the New York Evangelist argues) I am unable to see. Moses did not call on those who were against God, to resolve to be on his side' he did not make his address to the enemies of God, but called upon the friends of God— those who were already on his side'-to come out from the idolatrous throng, and publicly profess to be what they were.
But while I object to the use which M. D. makes of the passage under consideration; I agree with him, that 'men can now resolve to be on the Lord's side,' and that immediately,—even at the invitation of the minister;' though, at the same time, I must consider it as a very gross absurdity to suppose, that any man ever did, or ever can resolve to be on the Lord's side, a moment before he is on the Lord's side. I am happy also to agree with M. D. in what he says was his 'main design in touching upon this subject,' viz. to notice an error,' into which some have inadvertantly fallen; provided I may suppose M. D. to mean, as perhaps he does, that resolving to be on the Lord's side, is the same as actually being on his side. The following is the error, which M. D. exposes:
"Ministers sometimes ask the impenitent to come forward, to be 'prayed for,' or, to take seats reserved for those who request the prayers of the people of God.' Such an invitation as this, I think ought never to be given. Moses did not invite those who wished his prayers, that they might go to the Lord's side, to come unto him. His question was, Who is on the Lord's side ?-who is willing? who is resolved, from this time, henceforth and forever, to be on the side of the Lord? If there is such an one, let him come unto me. But to ask the impenitent to come forward to be prayed for, is quite another question. It is setting them at a work which is not repentance. It is conveying to them another idea, than that of a resolution to give themselves to God. They will depend on your prayers for conversion, and make them their Savior. You demand of them faith in your prayers, a work which