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would show you, undeniably, that it is not the power of rational objection, but aversion to the point in dispute, which holds you fast in unbelief. And you must forgive us if we err in the conjecture, that you often resort to general reasonings, and become ingenious in managing their subtleties, even when it is known to yourself that the grand obstruction to your instant surrender is not a logical difficulty, nor ingenuous concern to know the truth, but a latent moral alienation, which no dexterity of mere argument can ever
Do you ask the reason of our eagerness in plying you with topics so unpalatable, and so seldom insisted on in the controversy with those who doubt or deny the Bible? Our reply is, because a denial of them, or indifference about them, lies at the very foundation of your present unchristian state of mind, and rears a moral impossibility in the way of your belief in Revelation. They are the proximate points of the argument; they lie between your mind and the whole body of Christian evidence; and till unbelief begin to give way in reference to them, it never can give way in reference to any other points. Christianity, it is manifest, is an object not of merely intellectual, but of moral perception ; but if your organ of moral perception be diseased, the object cannot be truly discerned, nor its excellence suitably appreciated. Now, if it be the case, that Satan, whose characteristic is moral evil, has wrought himself into living alliance with your heart, and maintains a blinding ascendency over you in all your intercourse with the Christian record—then surely this is enough, and dismally more than enough, to account for your re
jection of that record. And if, on the other hand, it be the case, that no agency whatever, except the Spirit of the living God applying the efficacy of the Christian sacrifice, can rescue you from Satan's influence, then it is cruelty to your soul to pass over this doctrine, or leave it out for after discussion, merely because you happen to dislike it. Your dislike of it in itself, and its moral transformations, is, in our eyes, the very essence of the controversy between
us, and to pass it over is to evade the real question at issue between us. It is the first of these topics which gives to the second its tremendous importance. Satan holds you in ruinous subjection, and the Spirit of God is your only deliverer. But you cannot seek after the aid which is divine, so long as he keeps you from perceiving your need of it ; you cannot desire emancipation from a slavery which you do not feel, and the existence of which you call in question; nor can you look so high as the omnipotent Deliverer, to whom the Bible points you, unless you
feel the arch-deceiver an overmatch for human strength.
Here, then, is your predicament. We have a Book which proffers salvation, and claims to be divine. We have evidence within and around it, that its claim is clear and powerful; we have experience of its truth, in its effects upon ourselves, and the wonders which it works upon all who embrace it; we argue for it, and we gain the argument, so far as your intellection is concerned; still you dislike it ; and just because you dislike it, you choose to shut it out from your conscience and your heart! Is this reason, or is it wisdom, in a matter of such magni
tude ? You know it is neither the one nor the other; and yet, with many who disown the Bible, it is undeniable fact. What, then, can be done for you, or what can you do for yourself, in a state of mind so anomalous ? Precisely nothing åt all, so far as the creatures of earth are concerned. By a fatal process of obstinate nolition, your heart is utterly impervious to all the argument, and all the eloquence, which sympathy ever inspired.
But although earth be impotent, heaven is mighty--and in heaven's hand we leave your case.
You believe in the existence, and, of course, in the moral attributes of one eternal God, who made you at first, and governs your destinies, and has a right to your adoration. That God is our God, as well as yours, and his monitor is yet
Join us in laying your case before him, each according to our several views of his character.
Submit yourself, with all your preconceptions, to the result of his high arbitration. Implore him to take you under his guidance, and show you whether or not it be He who addresses you in Revelation. Continue this exercise with suppliant earnestness, till your mind is reverently familiar with it. Let God be consulted, rather than man, since the question involves your relation to God; and then may you speedily make the discovery, that our Scriptures are not only truth, but a full development of the marvellous truth, that the God who pervades creation “is in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto man his trespasses.”
Page LETTER X. The Seventh Chapter to the Romans proved
to contain the Description and Character of a Converted State,
LETTER XI. The Moravian and Antinomian doctrine of
Justification, in some of its peculiar points, considered and refuted,
LETTER XII. The doctrine of a Sinner's Justification by
the imputed Righteousness of Christ, explained and vindicated,
LETTER XIII. Whether we are justified by Faith and Obe
dience to the Gospel, as a new law of Grace, considered, 287
LETTER XIV. The notion of a first Justification by Faith,
and a secondary Justification by sincere Obedience, discussed and confuted,
LETTER XV. The Apostle James's doctrine of Justifica
tion by Works, in his second chapter, distinctly reviewed, and set in its genuine light, by a comparison with the Apostle Paul's doctrine of Justification by Faith,
LETTER XVI. In what respect Good Works are necessary,
and our obligations to them represented and urged, 373
LETTER XVII. The nature of the Believer's Union to
Christ briefly explained, and the necessity of it asserted and defended,
LETTER XVIII. Some Antinomian abuses of the doctrine
of Believers' union to Christ, or pleas from it for licentiousness and security in sinning, considered and obviated, 428
LETTER XIX. Particular Advices and Directions, for a close and comfortable Walk with God,