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had corrupted the Jewish religion, were both assailed ; and the perverseness of those who professed adherence to those systems, was fearlessly exposed. Christ and his apostles innovated upon the heart.
From these views of the subject, we learn that whatever charges may be brought against a doctrine which is religiously believed, or whatever motives may induce investigation, or subject a system to the examination of its opposers, those who receive it as the truth of God, should in his fear prepare themselves to answer with a meek, patient, and benevolent spirit, "concerning all things whereof they are accused."
Br. Bartlett, Sir, I send you some extracts from the Introduction to a book, entitled, "Calvinism Improved," or "the gospel illustrated as a system of real grace, issuing in the salvation of all men," a posthumous work of the late Rev. Joseph Huntington, D. D. As I believe these extracts may be of service to the readers of the Repository, so I hope you will insert them. Yours respectfully,
Newfane, April, 1827.
"The author has often been too precipitate and hasty in many things; but in no wise so in embracing the doc. trine here advanced. He is now passing the meridian of life and this opinion of the way of salvation is the result of his most careful inquiry from the days of his early youth. *** Being much disposed to a studious life, and always delighting greatly in books, he spent much of his time in reading and inquiry, in the early periods of life. *** Being also much favored, by a kind Providence, with regard to the best means of instruction. and a pious example from his parents in his early days, and afterwards with a more public education, the disposition of his heart inclined him in great preference to all other
employments, to the study of divinity, and to become a preacher of the gospel. He was now in those principles which we call Calvinistic, and met with some acceptance in his public performances, and soon took the pastoral charge of a kind and respectable people. *** He for several years, understood the way of salvation taught in the word of God, agreeably in all essential matters, to the explanations of Mr. Calvin, Dr. Owen, Mr. Willard, President Edwards, and the great body of puritan divines, since the reformation from Popery. Not as yet thinking of any extent of the divine decrees of God's eternal purposes of love to a lost world, beyond the common orthodoxy of his country; or what, for want of a more significant word, he would call the limitarian plan. By degrees, he began to be pressed more and more in his own mind, with regard to the full consistency of it. *** What has lain on his mind with increasing pressure, is this-When he had exhibited to his audience the infinite fulness and all-sufficiency of Christ to save sinners, both by price and by power; and the great duty of every sinner to believe to the salvation of his soul, then to tell them-many sinners-many, alas! are left out of the covenant of redemption; many for whom Christ never died; a part only are comprehended; a very few in comparison, as we have reason to believe, or at least to fear. How many we cannot say, nor who they are. God will certainly make such as are elected to believe by his own almighty power and grace, and he will most certainly leave all the rest to eternal damnation as their sins justly deserve; for they were never comprehended in the decree of God, or the covenant of redemption and salvation. I have been more and more pressed and perplexed in my own mind, with regard to the consistency of this manner of preaching, with itself, or with the word of God. I have often taken up the objections that have been brought against it, and have at
tempted to remove them in the common way, and done it to as general satisfaction, perhaps, as other preachers. ** My audience have generally almost to a man, set down satisfied; yet, at evening, much perplexity hath invaded my own mind; thoughts have thus returned upon meI have this day told my audience, making no difference, and without the exception of a single person, that if we do not believe that God hath given to us eternal life in his Son, we make him a liar ; and quoted the evangelist John in support of it. ** I have told my audience that the number given to Christ, and for whom he died, is a secret that belongs to God only, and not at all to them. And that it is their great duty to make their calling and election sure. I have quieted their minds, but not my own. For 1 cannot avoid many thoughts which have never occurred to their minds, on the limitarian plan. I cannot help seeing, that altho, on this plan, the number and the names are a secret with God alone, yet the principles are what I have been preaching. I have asserted them as revealed in the word of God; I have proclaimed them aloud, as the will of God; and now how, alas! shall I reconcile them in harmonious truth? *** How can I, on these principles, these revealed doctrines, invite and command every sinner to believe to salvation, and in the name of Christ too, tell every one, without exception, that Christ has laid a foundation for this universal faith and salvation, when I believe he did, in his death, lay a foundation only for a part; that only a part are given to him, and that "other foundation can no man ay, than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Many similar thoughts have unavoidably pressed into my mind, after I have been preaching the gospel in the limitarian line. The learned reader will readily recollect the way that several learned and pious divines have taken to free themselves from this perplexity. They assert that all sinners are commanded to believe that
which has no truth in it, antecedent to their believing it ; and that in the devout and obedient exercise of their minds in believing, that is turned into a glorious, saving truth, which had no truth in it when their minds first began to work upon it. This they say is a most inconceivable, astonishing mystery. I think so too, and can get n no relief to my own mind in that way. If I could believe without previous truth, and make truth by believing, I should believe myself into the enjoyment of many agreeable things, temporal as well as spiritual; yet even men of no less worth than Messrs. Boston, Marshall, Hervey, and others I might name, have taken that refuge; and merely, no doubt, because they could not possibly reconcile the limitarian doctrines of salvation in any other way. These embarrassments in my mind, have induced me to look most attentively into all opinions that have ever been found among all sects that embrace divine revelation. *** But after all researches, I have recurred to the word of God alone. There I find a most glorious and astonishing system, and exhibition of divine wisdom, power, and love; most harmoniously consistent with itself, and with all the divine attributes, with pure reason, and with God's conduct in the universe, and in a most blessed way, accommodated and adapted to guilty miserable man, in all the depths of his entire impotency and guilt. ** I can now preach the gospel to every creature; that is, I can tell every human creature under heaven, Good news to him. I can tell every creature of a Savior as complete to give him the qualification, as to make the atonement; to give repentance as well as forgiveness of sins, alike engaging and ensuring both, by covenant with his Father. A blessed Savior, that hath made his salvation sure before lost sinners ever thought any thing about it; and that did all the work alone, without their doing any thing. ** On this ground, I can assure them that God hath
given to us, fallen men, eternal life; and this life is in his Son; and he that believeth not this record, whosoever he be, hath made God a liar. So I can charge any unbeliever with the greatest blame, for not believing immediately to the saving of his soul; that is, to a sense and enjoyment of gospel salvation. * * The more I have thought on these things, the more I am convinced of the utter inconsistency of the general preaching of Protestant divines on any other ground than this; Christ died alike for all; and all mankind are alike included in the most glorious and merciful covenant of redemption. ** The author is quite beyond a doubt, in his own mind, with regard to the solid truth of his leading principles and arguments. ** I have spent more than twenty years in the most careful reading and attention to every thing relating to this subject, and I think with a single eye and ardent desire to know the truth, and to avoid all false reasoning, and every groundless conclusion, I have no interest but in the truth."
For the Repository.
TO BR. KITTREDGE HAVEN.
In your letter to me, which was published in the Repositor of April last, you discover that you do not understand my sentiments, as I have meant to express them. But I apprehend that it would require more time than I can conveniently devote to the subject, to reply and explain to you. You are requested to look over and consider what I have written, and so much as may appear to be consistent with the scriptures, receive, and the residue, commit to that fire which burns up all our chaff. I leave it with you, and with each candid reader, to dispose of what I have written, or may write,