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sistent; but we deny it. In order to prove our conduct absurd, it should be proved to be inconsistent with some allowed principle, and not barely with the principles of our opponents.
SOME SERIOUS CONSIDERATIONS RECOMMENDED TO
THERE is great danger in all disputes of running
If, in the course of his ministry, he avoids giving the carnal part of his auditory to understand that God requires any thing of them which is 'spiritually good, whether it will not be natural for them so to under* stand it as to reckon themselves not at all obliged to love GOD, to be truly holy, to be the subjects of any internal religion whatever; and whether they do not in fact so understand it? Whatever difference there is between these things in the opinion of the preacher, I incline to think not one hearer in a hundred makes any account of it. They understand it of every thing which concerns the heart. The generality of those who would be offended with us for enjoining spiritual obedience upon our carnal auditors, would, I apprehend, be equally offended with Mr. B. were he to signify that they ought to worship God in spirit and in truth, or to love him with their whole heart. Were any thing of this sort delivered, and nothing added to explain it away, it is likely the preacher would be interrogated in some such manner as this." How can unregenerate sinners love God, or worship him in spirit and in truth? You might as well call to the dead to come forth, or bid people take wings and fly to heaven. Their business is to attend the means, and if God please to give them a heart to love him, well and good; but if not, to what purpose are all your harangues about what people ought to do? Cease this legal business, preach the doctrines of the gospel, and leave the Holy Spirit to do his own work."
In the above, no respect t. hatever is had in a persond way to Mr. D. or any of his friends. What is written, is founded upon such facts as have fallen under my own observation; and I suppose, that the same causes are usually productive of the same effects in out place as in another.
Farther, I may be well for Mr. B. to consider, while he professes to allow that men ought to do whatever was in the power of man in a state of innocence, whether his sentiments do not insensibly lead him to excuse men from every thing but what may be done by a wicked mind, without any true love to God, or regard for his glory? Mr. B. when asked in controversy, whether any internal religion is now required of men towards God, or no? answers in the affirmative. (72) But is it a matter which his views of things would ever, of their own accord, lead him to dwell upon? I am glad to see the frankness with which he expresses himself concerning the law of Got being exceeding broad. "If the principles I have advanced, says he, contradict this truth, let them for ever be discarded: (95) Mr. B's meaning in this ingenuous sentence cannot be supposed to amount to less than this, that if he perceived his present sentiments to clash with the spirituality of the law, he would disown them; and if he found them to have such a tendency, he would at least suspect them, Now I desire in this matter to be determined by facts, and by facts that cannot fairly be disputed. I ask, then, In what manner do Mr. B.'s sentiments lead him to EXPOUND SCRIPTURA? How has he ex
pounded the second psalm, and the sixth of Jeremiah? What has he made these passages to require more than external obedience? Is it not the tendency of all he says concerning the addresses of Christ and his apostles to their carnal auditors, to reduce them to the capacity, not of a right spirit, such as man possessed in a state of innocence, but of an apostate mind. Are they not all along made to mean no more than what may be done without any real love to God, or regard for his glory? Is not such a sense put upon Isai. xlii. 18. Look, ye blind, &c. as that its requirements shall be "WITHIN THE COMPASS OF NATURAL MEN, WHO ARE INTERNALLY DEAF AND BLIND?"
This is certainly a serious matter, and I hope Mr. B. will seriously consider it. If he does indeed believe the law to be spiritual, and to require internal religion, it is hoped he will on all proper occasions acknowledge it, and not attempt to bring down the precepts of the bible to the dispositions of an apostate creature; otherwise, people may be ready to say, he holds the spirituality of the law as some others do the doctrines of grace, who never think proper to mention them, except when an occasion offers to explain them away.
If any thing in the preceding pages should be thought unkind, or exceeding the liberty we are allowed to use with a christian brother, I hope for Mr. B.'s forgiveness. I can truly say, if there is, it is unknown to me. It has been my endeavour all along to make him feel nothing except it be the force of truth. K
Before I conclude, I would beg leave to recominend a few serious hints to the reader. Whoever he is, and whatever his opinion may be in reference to this controversy, let me intreat him to put one serious question to his own soul; Dost THOU believe on the Son of God? Let him remember, that nothing less than his eternal salvation or destruction hangs upon the answer-that the question must be answered sooner or later-that there is no medium between being Christ's friend and his enemy-and that it is not taking this or the other side of a dispute that will denominate any man a christian. Neither let him cvade the question by answering, that he has already been acknowledged as a believer in Christ-is a member of a christian church, perhaps a preacher of the gospel, and has long been in the habit of taking this matter for granted, and of sitting in judgment upon other men, and other things-All this may be true, and yet things may issue in a dreadful disappointment.
But supposing the reader a real christian; still there is great reason for prayer and watchfulness. Reading controversies may be advantageous, or it may be hurtful; and that according to the spirit with which it is attended to. Every man had need to read with some degree of judgment of his own; and yet if he set out with a determination to receive nothing but what shall accord with his own present views of things, he is likely to derive no real good, and perhaps much harm. He may meet with what confirms him in his sentiments, and those sentiments may be on the side