Puslapio vaizdai
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Q. 9. Is it dangerous to believe in the doctrine of universal salvation?

A. It is; for, being false, it leads to the neglect of true religion, to ease in impenitence, to encouragement in immorality and sin. Nothing in universalism is calculated to restrain men from vicious conduct, and make them virtuous and happy; whereas the opposite doctrine has directly the contrary effect. The truth of a religious doctrine may be ascertained by the moral tendency it naturally has. If its tendency be good, the doctrine is true; if its tendency be bad, the doctrine is false. But the tendency of the doctrine of universal salvation is bad; the doctrine, therefore, must be false.

Q. 10. Why do any of mankind embrace the doctrine of universal salvation?

A. Not because there is evidence, that it is true, for there is none; but because it permits indulgence in sin with impunity, and because the thought of suffering eternal misery is terrifick and distressing.

Q. 11. Can God be good, though the wicked should be miserable in the future world?

A. He can. God is good though misery exists. here. Why then may He not be good, though misery should exist hereafter. Indeed goodness obliges Him to exercise His punitive justice towards the wicked, for this is not only what they deserve, but what the general good of the universe requires.

Q. 12. What would be a legitimate inference from the doctrine of universal salvation in reference to the old world, to Sodom and Gomorrah, and to Judas, from God's treatment of them?

A. The inference would be, that God was a friend to sin, and an enemy to holiness, and for their sins received to heaven the old world by a flood of waters, while Noah, for his righteousness, was doomed to dwell longer in this world of afflictions; that God, for their abominations, took the inhabit

ants of Sodom and Gomorrah, by a storm of fire and brimstone, to the mansions of everlasting blessedness, while Lot, for his piety, had to lead a longer pilgrimage of sorrow on the plains of Zoar; and that God delivered Judas, for his perfidy in betraying his Lord and Master, by his own act of selfmurder, from this evil world, and received him to eternal bliss, while the other apostles, for their faithfulness and devotedness to their Master's cause, were left to spend upon the earth years of toil and sufferings. The same reasoning would apply to Pharaoh and his host, Korah and his company, Ananias and Sapphira, and many similar instances in the present day. In view of these considerations, we leave it to those, who embrace the doctrine of universal salvation, to determine how God's conduct is to be justified..

Q. 13. How ought those who espouse the cause of universal salvation to be treated?

A. With the greatest kindness-with the most tender concern for their salvation, that if possible they may be led to renounce their errour, and embrace the truth as it is in Jesus.

Q. 14. How ought mankind to act in view of the future punishment, which awaits the ungodly?

A. They ought immediately to repent of all their sins, believe in Christ, and give all diligence to prepare for death, judgment, and eternity, and thus secure their everlasting salvation.(f)

(f) 2 Pet. 3. 11-14. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him inpeace, without spot, and blameless. Luke 21. 33, 34, 36. Heaven

and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things, that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

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CHAPTER XXV.

Means of Grace.

Q. 1. What is meant by the means of grace? A. Those things of a religious nature, which God has appointed to be used in the instruction, conviction, conversion, and sanctification of mankind. Q. 2. What are the means of grace?

A. The principal means, are a preached gospel, reading the Holy Scriptures and other religious books, prayer in publick, private, and secret, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper, religious conversation and meditation, self-examination, and religious education.(a)

(a) 1 Cor. 1. 18, 21, 23, 24. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks, foolishness. But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Eph. 4. 11, 12. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Acts 17. 11. These were more noble, than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily whether these things were so. Matt. 7. 7. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Matt. 28. 19. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 11. 26. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye

Q. 3. How do the means of grace have an effect?

A. By instructing and impressing the minds of men. The mind is influenced by the instrumentality of motives. All the Christian graces are put forth in view of truth. Knowledge is absolutely necessary, and antecedent, to love, repentance, faith, and hope. There can be no love to God, without a knowledge of Him;-no repentance for sin, without a knowledge of the law;-no faith in Christ, without a knowledge of Him;-and no Christian hope, without a knowledge of the blessings to be conferred upon Christians. There is an absolutely necessary connexion between knowledge and grace. Holiness cannot exceed our knowledge.-And there can be no conversion or sanctification, without religious impression. The mind will not act till instructed and impressed.-The whole use of means, then, is to present truth before the mind, and also motives to induce the mind to act in view of truth.(b)

do show the Lord's death till he come. Luke 24, 32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures? Ps. 1. 2. But his delight is in the law. of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate, day and night. 2 Cor. 13. 5. Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith, prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? Deut. 6.6,7. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. Aud thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

(b) Ps. 19. 8. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. Heb. 4. 12. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Jer. 23. 29. Is not my word like as a fire, saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

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