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O, gentlemen! exclaimed many voices, you run a dreadful risk. Your stake is solemn and most important
I do not know how I appeared, but I felt my face in a glow, and my whole frame agitated, while I replied.
M. Yes, my friends, the stake is mighty; but such is my opinion of the validity, beautiful consistency, and divine character of the sacred writings, that I am not conscious even of a latent wish to draw stakes. So, my good Sir, please to proceed.
A. “In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." You believe that to be a text of scripture, do you not?
M. Yes, Sir, undoubtedly, and I bless God for a testimony so honourable to the dignity of his character, and so consolatory to
Well, Sir. A. These shall go away into everlasting fire. Is not this a text of scripture also ?
M. Yes, Sir, and I am equally grateful to my God for this text, as for the other.
A. Well, Sir, make these two passages correspond, and I abide by the conditions, and if you do not, you also know the condition.
M. I do, and I also promise to fulfil the condition, and give me leave to tell you, were there no truth in the one, there would be no truth in the other. Now, Sir, I request your undivided and unbroken attention, and permit me to assure you, that in loaning your ear to the investigation of this subject, you will not be amused by my opinion detached from holy writ, nor by the traditions of men. It is from scripture arguments, and scripture arguments only, that I shall essay to prove the truth of both these divine testimonies. If the address to those on the left hand were not true, the address to those on the right, would of necessity be words without effect. The scriptures, my dear Sir, as the best divines inform us, are the only rule given for our direction. We are told, that when God created man, he made him in his image, and made hiin upright, but in the garden of God, another offender appeared, who being from the beginning a liar, and a murderer, beguiled our general mother, thus designing the death of human nature. But our ever gracious God had laid his plans in such sort, as to defeat this malicious and most inveterate foe. The Omnipotent Creator, had given to the recently forined creature, a life hid with Christ in God, with which lifejthis subtle deceiver had then no acquaintance; there was a way, which the eye of this vulture had never seen, until it was pointed out, a new and a living way by the gospel.
We are told that the everlasting Father visited his offending children in the cool of the day. We hear his paternal voice" Adam, where art thou ? And he said I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I lid myself. And he said, who told thee that thou wast naked ? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? And the man said, the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, what is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." Their Creator, the maker of their frames, the Father of their spirits, to whom the secrets of all hearts are known, was fully apprized of the truth of every syllable they had uttered. It does not appear that he interrogated the serpent, but immediately proceeding to pass sentence upon this arch-fiend, He said, “ because thou hast done this THOU ART CURSED.” Thus we learn the adversary was in the beginning cursed as the doer of the deed, which brought ruin on our race. But God, at the instant, upon the spot, immediately proceeded to preach to the trembling culprits, the man and woman, the everlasting gospel. “The seed of the woman shall bruise thc hcad of the serpent;" and we are informed by the spirit of our God, that this serpent, this adversary, is reserved in chains of darkness, until the judgment of the great day. Now, Sir, upon the commencement of his great, and in my view auspicious day of the Lord, our faithful Creator will separate the deceiver from the deceived, the one nature from the other, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats, putting the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. The sheep are on his right hand, in which character is included every individual of the human family-like sheep, it is true, they all went astray, but at that period, they will all be recovered and restored to the true shepherd and bishop of souls.
And the Redeemer shall say unto them, “Come ye blessed of my Father, enter ye into the kingdom prepared for you, before the foundation of the world.” And then turning to the other subjects of the general judgment, he shall say, “ Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels, and these, the Devil and his angels, shall go away into everlasting punishment, unto the place prepared for them.” While the human nature, for
whom the Saviour suffered, and who are clothed in the robe of the
And truly they were blessed before, or from the foundation of
Thus, my good Sir, you see, if the one text be not literally true,
A. I do, Sir, but I never saw it, nor heard of it before, and as I despair of selecting any other passages more contradictory than those I have mentioned, and as I am constrained to acknowledge, that in those there is in fact not the shadow of contradiction. I cheerfully and devoutly renounce my deistical ideas, and profess myself, henceforward, a believer in divine revelation. But is it not, my dear Sir, amazingly strange, that I have never heard nor thought of this before?
M. Yes, Sir, it is strange, but your course of life did not lead you to these studies, you had perhaps no mental exercise upon the subject, and night possibly care for none of these things, and
not caring, it was of course indifferent to you, whether the testimunies denominated sacred, were true or not.
A. Why, Sir, I imagined, true or false, I should stand or fall with others. But, pray Sir, tell me, have you no apprehensions hensions respecting futurity?
M. Certainly not, Sir, as long as I believe the Bible contains the true sayings of my God, I can have no fearful apprehensions. I believe his word, I repose with confidence thereon, and futurity is without a cloud.
A friend whom I dearly love, to whom my heart is irrevocably attached, has reflected upon me with severity, because I do not more frequently sojourn in his habitation. I find it very difficult to make him comprehend the reason of my conduct, and my chagrin is proportioned to the affection with which I consider him. But surely, surely the words of the prophet are true. I daily experience that with respect to me, they are most religiously true. It is not in me to direct my steps, I am truly the clay in the hands of the potter, he does as seemeth good in his sight, and I greatly lament, when I cannot say with my whole heart, thy will, O God, be done. It is the devout wish of my whole soul, to be at all times resigned to thy dispositions. I wish to be silent before thee, and in every event, and upon all occasions, to stand still, and with solemn admiration and praise, adore thy great salvation.
How strongly are the greater part of the human race given up to believe a lie, and how they hate to come unto the light, that their deeds should be reproved. I have spent an evening with Mr. S. and never was I so much surprised, as in conversation with this gentleman. He has dissented from the religious world, and is a Sandemanian leader. But he makes use of the very same arguments against me, with others who are styled Christians. How is it that brethren will so violently differ? Yet this gentleman is a sensible, upright man, and I am very much inclined to think, not far from the kingdom of heaven. As it respects those whom he supposes are saved, there is not between him and me, the least shade of difference. He requested me to mention some particular passage which I conceived fully supported my principles. I named the following : “God hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained." He appeared disappointed; he expected I would have produced one of
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those texts, which in his view, were more full to my purpose, and for those he was prepared, by having in readiness testimonies which he believed opposite, and which he imagined I would not accept literally. He desired I would mention a text of that description ; I did : “ Jesus by the grace of God tasted death for every man.” “ Now,” says he,“ I will produce a passage, that is directly opposed to that declaration." -Then, Sir, I confess you will invalidate the testimony.-“ No, Sir, I do not mean thus to do. But our sense of scripture is very different.” Well, Sir, if you bring any text directly opposite to the blessed scripture I have named, then your passage or mine, must as it stands in the letter be false. « Well, I will undertake to prove, that every one does not mean all mankind, because our Saviour says, I pray not for the world.” Suppose, Sir, he never had prayed for the world, they may still be happy in eternity. It was not his praying for the world, it was his giving his life for the world, that saved them from death. It was not so much his praying, as his shedding his precious blood, that took away the sin of the world. However, I will undertake to prove, that although he does not in the first supplication, contained in the chapter to which you advert, pray for the world, he does elsewhere, and in that very chapter, and indeed the prayer he addresses for the world in that chapter, is of more magnitude and more comprehensive, than for either his immediate disciples, or those who should believe on him through their word. His prayer for those characters, principally respects the present state. “I pray not that thou wouldst take them out of the world, &c." and the prayer put up directly for them points indirectly to the world, that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and that the love where with thou hast loved me, thou hast loved them.”
But having addressed supplications for the promulgators of his gospel, and for all who should believe it; he then adds, “ Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me, where I am, that they may behold my glory :" and then to remove every difficulty which might arise from their ignorance of God, as it is life eternal to know the only true God, he adds, “ Holy Father, the world knoweth thee not, but I know thee !" and, my dear Sir, we know who hath said, “by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify the many, for he shall bear their iniquities." Whose iniquities, Sir ? I can prove from this author, Jobn the Evangelist, and many other passages, that our Lord did not inean all, for he says, “ you believe not, because you are not my sheep."