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duty, and love it, need no law; for love naturally makes all their actions (even without thinking concerning them) tend to the doing of their duty; it is to the lawless and the disobedient that laws are necessary; they are ignorant of their duty; it is therefore necessary to instruct them in it; they are ignorant of the happiness that attends the filling up their places in society properly; it becomes necessary, by the terrors of the law, to habituate them to the paths of virtue. Governed by self-love, they are slaves to hope, fear, desire, lust, revenge, &c.; it is necessary, by law, to correct the evil principle, that the man may live for himself, by living for the happiness of that society of which he is a meinber. The lawless mind has no desire of mental improvement; if it can grow in the arts of deceit, and cast a veil of appearances over the outward actions, it has attained the summit of its ambition : law breaks down this ignoble principle, shews the beauty of improvement, and gives life to every noble and energetic principle of the mind that before laid dormant-the man is called forth, the mask is flung away, and he seeks to be truly great, by causing all his actions to rise above the fear of investigation.
We do not find that David or Solomon made any new laws; yet how different was the Israelitish nation under their government to what it had been under the judges! Under the judges they were a brave, a * virtuous, and a numerous people; but governed by passion, (Judges,
xx.) unconnected, (Judges, viii. xii.) oppressed by the nations, (Judges, vi.) Not only without any monuments of national magnificence, but even without the means of making their agricultural utensils, but through the medium of foreign nations, 1 Sam. xiii. David mounted the throne
-he made the law respected; and the nation became strong. Solomon succeeded; he governed the nation by law; commerce became added to agriculture, magnificence was united to strength, and the little contemptible nation of Israel became famous amongst the kingdoms of the earth. The law became slack; vice entered; it became neglected, order was lost, and oppression reigned; it became forgot; superstition and vice took her seat; then ignorance entered, slavery followed, and the fiee, the first-born sons of God, became slaves in a foreign land.
Before ever the statuary begins to mould the unshapen block, he has determined in his mind the forın he shall give it; in like manner, the wise preceptor, before he begins to instruct, determines within himself the future being whose mind he is about to mould, and the ineans he must employ to accomplish the end he has in view. It is not merely to teach languages, figures, and writing, that he undertakes the noble science of instruction; it is, that he may give mental form to the future member of society; that he may qualify him to act with every power of his mind and every attainment of his body for the happiness of the world. He has in his eye, not a being who, like the brute, is to be governed by instinct or trained up by the rod; but the future governor of the world is before him ; the inonarch of the universe--the parent
the master-THE MAN. That being, whose every action ought to spring froin a sound understanding, and be directed to a right end. Hence arises the necessity of begiuning instruction by law that the child, early trained up to know his duty, to reflect upon it, to see its propriety, and to act, and see others act, in the little world to which he belongs, upon certain principles, may, through habit, be led, in all his future life, to walk in the paths of justice, inercy, and humanity, in that society which his kind Creator hath done him the honour to make him a member of.
LETTER IV. ON REPROBATION.-TO AMOR VERITAS.
DEAR SIR, . AS in stating your difficulties on Reprobation, you have honoured my
third letter on that subject with your particular notice, I take the liberty of addressing this to you. I know not whether I shall be able to give you full satisfaction : be that as it may, if we can between us help the reader to a more scriptural view of the subject than what generally prevails, it will be well: and I care not which of us contribute the most to so important an object. ,.
May I not conclude, when you wrote your objections to my statement, you had read only my third letter on the subject? I think, if you had read my first and second letters you must have perceived that my leading object was to expose and refute the absurd ideas, and unscriptural reasoning, of Calvinists upon the subject: hence I thought it necessary to prove that the passages of Scripture in which the word reprobate occurs, in the common translation, by no means express the Calvinistic doctrine of reprobation : this made ine enter upon a fórınal proof, that those to whom the word reprobate is applied in the Bible, were not persons in an irremediable state. I feel much obliged by the assistance which you have kindly given in the investigation of this point, I was, for popular editication, attempting to shew merely from the translation, that Calvinistic reprobation had no foundation in Scripture; you have stept forward, and with great ability shewn the reader, that the word translated reprobate in the Scriptures, by no means, of itself, necessarily imports the being in an irremediable state: I thank you, Sir, for thus candidly, lending your aid to my position, that a state of reprobation is not without remedy. It is true you endeavour to set aside my conclusion so far as it has to do with a future state; upon this point we are at issue, and I trust we shall combat with each others arguments in the spirit of Christian liberality.
I presume, you are not to be told, that the Calvinistic system supposes a state of reprobation to be without remedy, , and that in this state, all but the elect are included: I know not what strict Calvinist would assert the contrary. If the love of God extend only to the elect, lit.: Christ died for them only, if God hath determined to extend his saving grace to them only, it must follow, that all but the elect are; and must ever remain, in an irremediable state: for how can there be any remedy for those whom God doth not love, for whom Christ did not die, to - whom grace will never be extended? However much Calvinists may
differ in explaining reprobation, if I have understood them, they al place those who are not elected in an irremediable state.
As I cannot perceive that iny argument is yet refuted, I will let it remain unaltered. It was not necessary for me to assume that “ it would be conceded on all hands, that the state of those who are said in Scripture to be under reprobation, is, apparently, as irremediable as any described in the word of God." Ilad I intended to haverested the whole weight of the doctrine of the restitution upon that single argument, such an assumption had been necessary; but I had no such intention, consequently' such an assumption could not be essential to the validity of my argument: I aimed to prove that a state of reprobation is not an irremediable state; if that point be proved, the end I had in view, in my third letter, is attained. It belongs to our opponents to prove that though a state of reprobation be not without remety, yet the Scriptures inform us of another state from which the wicked never can berestored; if you will attempt the proof of this, I will candidly examine your arguments, and either acknowledge their weight, or attempt the refutation of them. As I do not accept the argument you have framed for me, (page 357) because it makes an assumption necessary which my letter did not stand in need of, and to shew that I do not rest the weight of my argument merely on the word reprobate, I beg leave to present you with the following. The condition of those who are said in Scripture to have been given up of God, though it might appear irremediable to such men as were not acquainted with the gracious intentions of God towards them, was nowithstanding a state which admitted of recovery: therefore it does not follow that God will not restore all his creatures to purity and happiness, because he gives some of them up to reap the bitter fruits of their doings in a future state: yet those who are restored hereafter, will not receive the saine privileges and honours, as those who believe on Christ and obey him here.
I have the happiness to agree with you in your interpretation of the word adoxide; and I leave the reader to judge whether all you have said concerning it does not go to establish, rather than overturn my argument: for I think you have fully admitted that “ the word of itself, does not, in any place, necessarily import an irremediable state; that if it represents an irremediable state,—this irremediable state is to be collected from the nature of the case ; or froin the peculiar circumstances of the context." . If it can be proved that the word adoxife, any where in the New Testainent, either from the nature of the case, or from the peculiar circumstances of the context, must be understood to import an irremediable state, I will give up my argument as inconclusive; but till then I must think the ground I have taken tenable. You seein to think the circumstances of the context, (Heb. vi. 8.) shew the case there mentioned to be an irremediable one; this may be true so far as relates to the present life; but I do not think there are any circumstances mentioned in the context which prove it will remain so to all eternity. Though I may adinit with you, that the land there mentioned was “ mere refuse, or a sandy desert," incapable of being improved by man, it will not follow that it must remain so to all eternity:
that God cannot find means to bring it into a better state: I think you will admit that it will be in a very different state when it constitutes a part of the new earth: even men burn land with a view to improve and make it better; will not the burning of the earth be a prelude to its being renewed, and brought into a inore perfect state? The most, I think, that can fairly be inferred from the above passage is, that the persons there spoken of cannot be improved by the servants of Christ, in the present state; but does it follow, that they will be incapable of receiving improvement from the hand of God to all eternity? I adınit that some men may have made themselves so compleatly vile, and reduced their spirit and conduct so far below the standard, that whatever is of themselves may be reckoned mere dross; yet as creatures, they are still the workmanship of God, which he hath created for his own glory: and I submit to your consideration, whether it would not be wrong to say, that the works of God, in which we are told he will rejoice, and which shall praise him, however tårnished by sin, can become mere dross. For the foregoing reasons I cannot at present admit that any of the creatures of God will be “ omnino rejiciendus."
I think you are perfectly right, in all you have said concerning the second acceptation of the word, in allusion to the Olympic games. I have always maintained, ahat he who loses the crown which Christ has promised to his faithful servants, can never afterwards recover it; to reign with Christ will be the privilege of none but his saints : yei, I think, it does not follow that the rest of mankind will not be restored to purity and happiness.
Again, Sir, I admit with you, that the former acceptation of the word is its true meaning in Rom. i. 28.' I rejoice to hear you say, “ The Almighty seems to have punished the gentiles in such a manner as to make them read their sin in their punishment.” Why, Sir, seeing God is always alike, wise, just, and good, should you hesitate to admit that this will be the case with respeći to future punishment? Why should you doubt that the object of it will be to bring sinners to a proper sense of the evil of their doings, which I apprehend will be the first step towards their recovery?
I cannot admit that the state of the gentiles, as described Rom. i. would not have appeared at the time desperate, to one who had not understood the mercy, which God had in reserve for them. You admit that “ God gave them up to their corrupt mind." Pobe given up to their unbridled lusts, to be without hope, and without God in the world, would, I conceive, have appeared a desperate state to those who had a proper idea of it, and were unacquainted with what the Almighty intended doing for them in future. To such persons, probably, the state of the gentiles would appear little less desperate than that of the wicked hereafter apears to those who have not attended to the evidence of a future restoration. If anti-universalists do not think of fixing an argument upon Rom. i. may it not be because the knowledge of the mercy which God hath since extended to the gentiles inakes it impossible for them to do it? The question is, had they been Jews before the coming
of Christ, with their present modes of reasoning, would they not have done it from such a view of the state of the gentiles as is there given?
I agree with you that one person or thing may be much more below the standard, or below proof, than another; but I do not think we can learn merely from the word adoxip @ how far any thing is below proof, only, that it is below it: nor do I think an ancient alchymist would have applied the standard to mere dross, or have said that what had no mixture of metal in it was below proof. The bringing a thing to the test implies that, at least there is the appearance of something valuable in it; and however bad creatures are, there must be something valuable belonging to them while the divine workmanship remains. * You, Sir, seem to admit that God inay give his creatures up, and yet they not be totally cast away, or placed in an irrecoverable state; upon this ground I support my argument, and, until it can be proved that he will fix thein in such a state as will eternally preclude the possibility of their recovery, I think this ground will support it.
I never thought of opposing aðOxipe to $xmexl@: this I presume what I have written on election and reprobation will prove; and, admitting that edoxir@, in the passage alluded to, means no more than a state of great wickedness, yet, you have admitted that the passage mentions God's having giving them up to that state, which is something more than their being simply in that state, without their being so given úp; but in framing a position for me (page 362) you take no notice of God's having given thein up; that circumstance you seem carefully to avoid, though it is a material part of any argument; consequently the portion you have framed agrees neither with my argument, nor with what you had before fully admitted.
Whether or no my conclusions be formed with too much confidence, I leave others to determine: I wish ever to retain a sense of my liability to err, and to form conclusions with the greatest deliberation and with due respect to the superior judgment of others. I trust the certainty with which Universalists express their doctrines ariseth from conviction, produced in their minds hy substantial evidence; I do not think they can be justly charged with exceeding other denominations of serious Christians in dogmatizing. Wishing to hear from you again upon the subject,
Yours, &c. "JANUARY 27, 1800..
“Since we inserted the remarks of Amor Veritas upon Mr. W.'s letter. we have observed that the substance of his criticisms are to be found in Dr. Haininond, on Rom i. 28. We hope our friend Amor Veritas will excuse us in having Latinised his signature, as we had a prior correspondent who had assumed the Greck. EDITOR.