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ed to him, without money and with mises, if he suitably asks, he shall out price, by the Lord Jesus Christ; not fail to receive it; and warns and repentance is in effect nothing him, too, not to think he can do the more than ceasing to hate, and be commanded duty without the proginning to love supremely, the ever vided help, and forbids him so much blessed God, the source and sum of as to attempt it by his own unassistall that is excellent and lovely. ed exertions. Now this is the very But although excluded from all case before us. It is a solemn and merit, in the matter of the sinner's important truth, which ought never escape from the wrath and curse of to be disguised or forgotten, that God, you perceive that faith and re- we are utterly unable, by our own pentance are essential means to be unassisted powers, either to believe used in effecting this escape. There- or repent, to the saving of our souls. fore,
“No man," said the Saviour, “can III. God requires sinners to make come to me, except the Father which use of these means—he requires hath sent me draw him—without me of them faith in Jesus Christ and re- ye can do nothing." And the inpentance unto life. Here arises the spired apostle of the Gentiles says, question and we shall meet it at “ work out your own salvation with once--how can God require faith fear and trembling, for it is God and repentance of the sinner, when that worketh in you both to will and he is utterly insufficient of himself to do of his good pleasure.” Yes, to exercise either :- when we are and if it had not been the office of expressly told that faith “is not of the Holy Ghost, in the economy of ourselves, it is the gift of God ;'* our salvation, to work faith and reand that Christ is exalted to give pentance in the sinful human soul, repentauce to Israel and the forgive. we have no reason to believe that ness of sin ?” I do think my young God would ever have commanded friends that this subject has been any sinner either to believe or to greatly perplexed and darkened by repent-for God never trifles, never metaphysical speculations-"sci- requires a man to do by his own ence falsely so called.” Cannot powers, what he knows cannot be even a child understand that his fa- done without special divine assist. ther may equitably and reasonably ance. But in the official work of require of him the performance of a the Holy Ghost, God has not only duty, which he cannot perform with- provided all needed assistance in out assistance provided the father the most ample manner, and informmakes ready for him all the assist- ed us of the fact, but has graciously ance he needs, tells him of it, and promised this assistance to all who tells him he must ask for it, and pro- suitably ask it—nay, he most ear
nestly invites and importunately • That faith is directly spoken of in this urges
us to ask, that we may receive passage as the gift of God, is the opinion it. Hear the words of the Son of of the best commentators and criticksm Doddridge, in a note on the passage, has God himself"If ye then being vindicated this construction beyond rea: evil know how to give good gifts sonable controversy. But even the other unto your children; how much more construction, which makes the whole gra. shall your heavenly Father give the cious constitution of God the direct object Holy Spirit to them that ask himp” of the apo invalidate the assertion in the lecture. and this solemn interrogatory, carFor no one will deny that saving faith is rying all the force of the most explia very important part of that constitution: cit declaration, is introduced by an and, if the whole be the gift of God, then appeal to parents, that, evil as they same truth is clearly taught in other pas might be, they would not mock the sages-see the references in Scott's Fa. earnest cries of their children for mily Bible,
food, with something that was not
food; and thence, drawing the con- and the importance of the interest clusion with the utmost force, that at stake, or the danger of the state God our Heavenly Father would in which he is placed, will be the not thus mock any who should ear urgency of his entreaty—the agonestly ask the Holy Spirit: and the nizing cry that he will utter, that he whole passage is introduced by une. may receive help, and receive it quivocal and reiterated promises- speedily, from one who can bring it I say unto you, ask and it shall be to him. The sinner who is actually given you ; seek and ye shall find; brought to feel most sensibly that he knock and it shall be opened unto cannot save himself, will cry with you: For every one that asketh re- all the anxious earnestness of sink. ceiveth, and he that seeketh findeth; ing Peter-Lord, save me or I and to him that knocketh it shall be perish.” And when brought to this opened.” Now, my dear young point-a point to which I most befriends, here is your duty; you are nevolently wish every soul that called to believe in Christ and to hears me were brought at this moexercise repentance unto life : But ment-help will soon be found. you are not called, but forbidden, to Yes, my dear youth, and you are not attempt this duty in your own likely to find help till you are really strength ; you are to attempt it, and brought to this point.* God will that without a moment's delay; but you are to call for assistance from It seems truly marvellous that some God at every step; you are constant. ministers of religion--are they really mily to pray and plead for the needed
nisters of the gospel ?-explicitly admit the
truth of what is here asserted, and yet and promised aid of the Holy Spi- never preach it--assigning for reason, that rit; you are to be both importunate it is best to let sinners find it out of themand persevering, like one who fol- selves. Alas! is it not to be feared that lows asking with seeking, and seek. they may never find it out of themselves? ing with knocking-resolved to take especially when they are told, as these
teachers tell them, that they have a perno denial till the door of inercy is fect ability in themselves, without any opened to youấtill by the aid of the special help from God, to do all that he good Spirit of God, you are enabled requires. This seems far more calculated to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to produce delay in turning unto God, with all the heart, and to exercise dependance on him. That which can be
than the doctrine which teaches an entire that "repentance which is unto sal
done without his special aid at any time, vation, and needeth not to be re they are far more likely to postpone for pented of.”
A falser notion can. the present time, than if they are made to not be named than that which some
believe, as the fact certainly is, that every entertain and teach, that the sense
delay grieves the Spirit of grace, and sub
jects the soul to the awful danger of of entire dependance on God for final dereliction, and to certain perdition as ability to believe and repent, will the consequence. The doctrine of huseal men up either in security or man ability, and the sinfulness of all undespair. This might, indeed, be regenerate doings, as taught in many the case, if God had not provided done great injury to the souls of men.
churches in our land, has, it is believed, and authorized us to ask for the We would be as far as any from teaching needed aid. But this being known that any holy act is performed by an unreto be the fact, the very opposite of generate sinner. But we maintain that he the notion I condemn is the truth, dence of a renewed heart. This we think
is to essay holy acts, before he has any evias all experience demonstrates. In is the doctrine of the Bible, and if so, any case whatsoever, let a man we care little what is the doctrine of me. feel his entire helplessness in him- taphysics. Did not Peter tell Simon the self, and know that effectual help sorcerer to pray, when there was only a may be obtained by earnest entrea- perhaps he might be forgiven ?-Yes, it is
said, but he was commanded first to rety; and then, just in proportion to pent and then to pray. But after true rehis felt sense of inherent inability, pentance, there would have been no per
make you feel that he must do some- to the objection, that Justification
An Essay on Justification. know this experimentally, and to
All the works and ways of God know it speedily. Amen
Amen and have something in them mysterious,
above the comprehension of any
the case with his works of creation WITHERSPOON'S ESSAY ON JUSTIFI and providence, there is no reason
to expect it should be otherwise in It was by an oversight that a the astonishing method of the recontinuance of extracts from Wi. demption of the world by Jesus therspoon's Treatise on Regenera. Christ. From this their mysterious tion, was intimated at the close of nature, or rather from the imperthe portion of that Treatise which fect measure and degree in which appeared in our last number; the they are revealed to us, they are last extract being the concluding admirably fitted for the trial of our part of the Treatise. We have rea. ingenuity, humility and subjection. son to believe that the portions of They are all of them, when serithe very able and interesting dis- ously, and impartially inquired cussion of the important subject of into, holy, just and good; but at Regeneration, which have appeared the same time, not beyond the in the numbers of our work for cavils and objections of men of more than a year past, have not prejudiced, perverse and corrupt only been acceptable to our readers minds. generally, but to some exceedingly
The apostle Paul, in his epistle opportune and edifying. We now to the Romans, among whom he commence the republication of ano. had never been in person, at great ther essay by the same writer, which length establishes the fundamental we have always regarded as his doctrine of the gospel, that sinners master piece in reasoning. He de- are justified by the free grace of dicated it to the well known and God, through the imputed righteeminently pious Mr. Harvey, short- ousness of a Redeemer. To this ly after the appearance of the cele. doctrine men do by nature make brated and popular work of that au
the strongest opposition, and are, thor, entitled " Theron and Aspa- with the utmost difficulty, brought sio;” and it was intended, as is to receive and apply it. We may stated in the dedication, to supply well say of it in particular, what a deficiency in that work—a reply the same apostle says of the truths haps that he would be forgiven. He was ral man doth not receive them.”
of God in general, that “the natuplainly commanded to attempt both du. ties at once, and immediately.
• 1 Cor. ii. 14.
It is therefore highly necessary to ther. And so far, I think, we mast prevent or remove, as far as possi- join with the adversaries of this docble, the objections that may be trine, as to lay it down for a prinbrought against it by the art or ma- ciple—that whatever belief or perlice of Satan, who will, no doubt, suasion, by its native and genuine bend the chief force of all his en- tendency, weakens the obligations gines against this truth, knowing to practice, must be false. And I that the cordial reception of it is a will also assert, in opposition to sure and effectual, and indeed the some modern infidels (though some only sure and effectual means, of may think that my cause might destroying his power and influence avail itself of the contrary opinion) in the heart. Accordingly we find that a man's inward principle, or the apostle, in the sixth chapter of the persuasion of his mind, hath a the above named epistle, and first necessary and unavoidable influverse, supposes an objection made ence upon his practice.* So that, against this doctrine in the follow- if I am not able to show that justiing terms " What shall we say fication through the imputed righthen? shall we continue in sin, that teousness of Christ, is so far from grace may abound 7" To which weakening the obligations to holihe answers, by rejecting the conse ness, that, on the contrary, the bequence with the utmost abhor- lief and reception of it, as its nerence, and in the strongest manner cessary consequence, must enake affirming it to be without any foun- men greater lovers of purity and dation.
holiness, and fill them with a greater From the introduction of this ob- horror of sin than any other perjection by the apostle, we may suasion on the same subject, I am either infer, that there were, even content to give up the cause. in these early days, some who I hope we may be indulged a branded the doctrine of redemption candid hearing on this subject, as by the free grace of God with this experience does not seem to be unodious consequence; or that he, by favourable to the doctrine I am esthe inspiration of the Almighty, did saying to defend. If it appeared foresee that there should arise, in in fact that its friends, upon a fair some future periods of the Christian and just comparison, were more church, adversaries who would at- loose in their practice than their tempt to load it with this imputa- adversaries of any of the opposite tion: or that the doctrine is indeed opinions, it would be a strong preliable, on a superficial view, to be judice against it; or rather, if this abused to this unhappy purpose, by were always the case, it would be the deceitful hearts of men who are wedded to their lusts. It is proba * That is to say, so far as it can be ap. ble that all the three observations plied to practice, and so far as it is real are just; and the two last render it or prevalent above its opposite; for there a peculiarly proper subject for our
are many truths of a religious nature
which men think they believe sometimes, attention and consideration at this but which yet their corrupt passions often time, and in this age.
make them doubt of; and these doubts It is well known that there are are nine parts in ten of their lives obmany enemies of this doctrine, of versant to their minds, as a vindication of different characters and of different such may be said to act in contradiction
their licentious practice: in some sense, principles, who all agree in assault: to their principles; but they are princiing it with this objection-that it ples either not really believed, or, which weakens the obligations to holiness is the same thing, not habitually recollect. of life, by making our justification ed; and none can expect that men will before God depend entirely upon firmly believed, if it be forgotten, or at
act upon a principle, though once ever so the righteousness and merit of ano. the time of action entirely out of view.
upon a strict
an unquestionable evidence of its As therefore experience doth not falsehood. But doth not the con- binder, or rather as it warrants us trary appear on the very face of the to affirm, that those who expect jusworld?" Are not the persons who tification by free grace are, of all profess to deny their own righte- others, the most holy in their lives; ousnesss, and hope for justification I propose to show, that it must be through Christ, ordinarily the most so, and that this is but the native tender and fearful of sinning them- fruit, and necessary consequence selves, and the most faithful and of their principles. What has indiligent in promoting the reforma- duced me to this attempt, is not tion of others? And do not all only the calumnies of enemies, but careless, profane and sensual livers, the weakness or treachery of proalmost to a man, profess themselves fessed friends. These last injure enemies to this doctrine? I could the truth often, in two different almost appeal to any one who hath ways. Some speak in such a manthe least experience of, or com
ner as to confirm and harden enemerce with the world, whether he mies in their opposition to it: they would expect to find,
use such rash and incautious ex. search and inquiry, the worship of pressions, as do indeed justify the God more constantly attended, the objection which the apostle rejects name of God more regularly called with so great abhorrence; and in upon in families, children and ser- the heat of their zeal against the vants more carefully instructed self-righteous legalist, seem to state and more. dutifully governed, a themselves as enemies, in every regreater freedom from levity, pro. spect, to the law of God, which is fanity, unchastity, pride, malice, or holy, just and good. Others, on insincerity of conversation, amongst the contrary, defend it in such a the friends or enemies of this doc manner, as to destroy the doctrine trine? So true is this, that they itself, and give such interpretations commonly have the appellation of of the word of God, as, if they were the stricter sort given them, by just and known to be so, the obwhich is certainly understood, at jection would never have been least an apparent strictness of life made, because there would not have and manners.*
been so much as an occasion given
to it.* I am not ignorant that it is the usual But of all the pretended Chrisrefuge of those who are evidently disso. tians, one sort are worthy of the lute in their own lives, to allege, that highest contempt, who, acknowthat it is no more than appearance, being ledging the truth of this doctrine, all hypocrisy. It would be going out of call it dangerous, and are backthe way to enter upon a large refutation ward to teach or publish it, lest it of this slander. Therefore acknowledg: should be abused. Would such ing, that, no doubt, whatever number of hypocrites there are in the world, and I have often thought, that there canthere are too many, they must herd not be a stronger argument, that the examongst, or attach themselves to the so- planation commonly given by the Cal. ciety of, the best part of it; I observe, vinists, of the passages of Scripture on that the general charge of hypocrisy is this subject, is just, than the apostle's only thrown out at a venture, is a judging supposition of an objection of this nature of the heart, and by the very supposi- arising from it. For if the explication tion, contrary to appearances, justified, of some others, were supposed to be the for the most part, by a steady perse. obvious meaning of the text, and were
Whereas, usually the whole substituted in its room, as all just defini. merit of those who bring the accusation, tions may be without inconvenience, the is that of being uniforinly wicked, and apostle's words, “What shall we say not so much as professing what it was then? shall we continue in sin that grace their indispensable duty both to have pro. may abound?” would be quite unnatural fessed and practised.