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deserve punishment, then deliverence from this deserved punishment can be by free and rich grace; so that the question is this; “Do sinners deserve punishment for exercises, which they do not cause, or for which they are entirely dependant?”
This question it is evident, must be answered in the affirmative; for if a being cannot be praise or blame worthy, unless he independently cause his own exercises, there can be no virtue or vice, praise or blame worthiness in the universe. Because no being is or can be, the cause of his own exercises independently, any more than he can be the cause of his own existence. Moral beings can exist, and they can have moral exercises; but to cause their own existence, or their own exercises independently, is impossible. a being to be the cause of his own existence supposes him to esist before he began to exist; which is plainly absurd. For a being to cause his own exercises supposes him to act before be began to act; which is equally absurd. So that we must look somewhere else for the good or ill desert of moral actions, besides to their cause.
Indeed it is always improper to look for the nature of any thing in its cause. The reason why disease is an evil, is not because it has a good or evil cause, but because it has an evil tendency, a tendency to excite pain. The reason why thorns and briars, and wild beasts and serpents, are evils, is not on account of their cause being good or evil, but because their tendency is to occasion misery. And the only reason why sin is an evil is because it tends to introduce discord and misery into the universe, and not because its origin is evil. Some things may occasion natural evil or pain, which do not act, but are acted upon.
Some creatures occasion pain by acting; but, not possessing the powers of moral ogency, are not accountable for their actions. Other creatures are capable of moral action,* or such action as merits approbation, or disapprobation, according to its good or evil tendency. The reason why sin is an evil is, because its natural tendency is to occasion misery. It always would occasion misery, were it not prevented by something else. The reason why it justly exposes to punishment, is because it is necessarily the act of an agent, who chooses and refuses, loves and hates; aud who is under obligation to refuse the evil and choose the good. The sinner is to be blamed for nothing but his wicked exercises. Nothing but these, and the conduct which they originate, will be mentioned in judgment against him. Unless, therefore, the sinner can prove that he does not choose and refuse, love and hate, because he is entirely dependant on God for all his exescises, then he cannot prove that he is not criminal for what he does. He is not accountable for any thing antecedent to his exercises. Even we we to suppose him the cause of his wicked exercises, still he
By action, act, &c. are meant only mo al exercises without including the external conduct. This is estimated not only by its tendency, but by the crercises from which it orig nated. There is no moral good or evil in it, only as it is connected with the heart.
would be blameable only for the exercises themselves; not for the cause of them, unless that too consisted in exercise or choice. Dependence, therefore, furnishes the sinner with no reasonable excuse for his wickedness, and no secure refuge against the just vengeance impending over his guilty head. The reason why sin ought to be punished has already been given. The reason why it deserves endless punishment is, beause its natural tendency is to occasion infinite evil in the system. So that it must forever rcmain a truth, that the just wages of sin is eternal death; even endless misery. All mankind have become sinners, and, therefore, stand justly obnoxious to punishment; the elect as justly as the non-elect. Nothing now, but free and rich grace, can rescue any from deserved punishment; and as all liave the offer of pardon and salvation on condition of true repentence, nothing but the sinner's final impenitence excludes him froin heaven.
R-r. Mass. Miss. May.
Miseries of a rich man.—Who is dogged in the streets and kpocked down at midnight? The rich man. Whose house is broken into by robbers? The rich man's. Who has his pockets cit out, and his coat spoiled in a crowd? The rich man. Who is in doubt whether people are laughing at him in their sleaves when they are eating his dinner? The rich man. Who adds to his trouble by every story he adds to his house? The rich man—for the higher be ascends the colder is the atınosphere. A bank breaks, and who suffers? The rich stock holder and depositor. War blows his horn, and who trembles?-Death approaches, and who fears to look bim in the face? Why, the rich man-and yet all the world envies the rich. Depend upou it the length of your face will always he proportioned to the length of your purse. If you are in a twostory house, be thankful, and not covet the loftier mansion of your neighbor. You do but dishonor yourself, and insult your destiny, by fretting and repining.
* “The Clergymen of that Synod (in one of the middle States) are much tainted with Antinomianism. They maintain that faith is the first holy exercise that exists in the hearts of the elect. They also agree with the Methodists in their views concerning the doing's of the unregenerate. One clergyman has carried the doing-scheme 30 far, as to baptize adult sinners (who appeared to be seriously impressed) as the means of their conversion. In this way he admits them into the church, though he does not receive them to the Lord's Supper. He considers the church as the birth-place of believers; and in proof of this he used the following text-Of Zion it shall be said, this and that man was born in her?"
RHETORICAL READING. Too often the cross of Christ is rendered of none effect, through the vain affectation of the preacher to recommend it by the studied graces of elocation, or the ostentatious power of learning and philosophy. Thus its edge is blunted, its convincing plaioness is obscured, its genuine beauty and glory are tarnished:- The preacher has his worthless reward, in human applause, or useless popularity. The spirit of God disdains to set his seal to the word preached; it proves the mere shadow of a feast, at which the guests are starved; and an amusing display of inginuity, instead of an assault on the strong holds of Satan by the power of divine truth.
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UNITARIANISM IN ENGLAND. EXTRACTED FROM THE SPIRIT OF THE PILGRIMS. It appears, that the whole number of Unitarian chapels on the Island is as follows: In England
3 Total 223. Of these, two hundred and twenty-three places of Worship, one hundred and seventy-eight, four fifths of the whole, were ORIGINALLY ORTHODOX. Of the two hundred and six ia England, only thirty-sir were built by the Unitarians.
The question will arise, and it deserves consideration, How bas Unitarianism obtained the ascendancy, in so many congregations, which once were Orthodox ?
This question stands associated in our minds very closely with the subject of church goveroment; not church government as a system of rules and authority, but as a form of embodying principles--living truths. It has been asserted often, in America, that the spread of Unitarianism in England was owing to the looseness of Indepency as a form of church government; and to the same cause has been attributed its extension in this country. It is not long, since we met with the following in a respectable Episcopal publication: “That out of about 220 Socinian societies in England, 170 are ultra Calvinistic Congregational churches revolutionized.” This was made the foundation of a warning to beware of the heretical tendency of Congregationalism.
And other denominations have used not always the mo charitable language, when the topic of Congregationalism has been in discussion. In regard to the Unitarianism of England, we wish our words to be distinctly noted when we say, that none of it originated in Congregational or Independent churches and societies. We would not be understood to affirm, that not a single Congregational church has become Unitarian. Out of the one hundred and seventy-eight that were originally Orthodox, from six to ten were probably Congregational-several were Episcopal chapels-of late some Methodist congregations have joined in the heresy—but the most were Presbyterians. And to this hour do the Unitarians call themselves Presbyterians, in the northern counties of England, whenever their right to the funds they control is called in question. Presbyterianism is their nom de guerre, when the trust deeds are appealed
to ; and yet they now have not a single feature of Presbyterianism about them. Rev. O. Heywood, himself a Presbyterian minister, when describing the government of the churches in Lancashire, in which county is found about one fourth of all the Unitarianism in England, says,
"They had their eldership in every congregation,-several congregations had their classis; and these maintained intercourse by a provincial assembly which for the county of Lancaster, was usually held at Preston. The elders, who sat with the ministers, carried the votes, inquired into the conversation of their neighbors, and usually sat with the ministers when they examined the communicants; and (though the ministers only examined) yet the elders approved or disapproved.' When a person desired admission to these Presbyterian churches, he signified his intention to the minister, or one of the elders; and if, on examination, his religious knowledge and practice were approved, he was admitted. If any member of these churches was guilty of immoral conduct, or acted contrary to their prescribed rules, he was suspended from communion for a time, or excluded, as the case required. On these principles, the early “English Presbyterian” churches were formed, and according to them they were governed. I have been informed, from a very respectable source, that one of the last public acts of the Assembly, of which the pious Matthew Henry was a member, was the suspension of a minister from the exercise of his ministry, in a cbapel in this county, for Arianism."
It is a truth well understood in England, that Unitarianism has never been indebted to the spirit of Independency, or Congregationalism, for its increase. Nay more, it is understood that no sect of christians has been so long free from a bias to Arminianism, and from Arianism running into Unitarianism, as the Independents or Congregationalists. We quote the following from a critical journal, whose predilections, at least, are not in favor of Orthodoxy.
“It is curious indeed, to observe, how the subsequent history and fortune of each of these bodies (the Presbyterians and Independents,) have been determined by the characteristic difference of their original constitution. The moderate aristocracy of Presbyterianism, as long as Presbyterianism could be said to have any form of government, enabled its ministers to follow their own inclination with regard to the manner of conducting public worship and the strain of preaching; while the jealous democracy of Independency kept the minister under the eye and control of his people, and punished the first appearance of deviation, though merely negative, from the
• Mr. Grundy, a Unitarian minister, formerly of Manchester, in a published sermon, uses the following language: "Arian and Socinian are ihe terms generally assigned to us; and these, till lately, were frequently considered as synonimous with deist or infidel. The term Presbyterian is now cominonly used; but, I confess, some difficulty appears to me to attend the use of it; be. cause, it either has no definite meaning as to opinions or disciplino, or, if it have any meaning, it signifies something which we are not."