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less, leads to him, and not from him. There is mercy with him, that he may be feared ; and universal mercy, that he may be universally served.
No believing child of God will, or can sin, because grace thus abounds, either to himself, or towards all men. . He is dead to it in virtue of his second birth : and how shall he who is dead to sin, live any longer therein ? It cannot bemit is out of character. He must be lost to himself, and fallen from grace, if he sins upon this or any other gospel-doctrine : For holi ness becometh God's house forever. He is still, indeed, in the body, surrounded with tempta. tions, and beset with enemies : nor las he yet attained to all that is attainable by him. And this is a reason for watchfulness and prayer and constant looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of his faith ; and even for a holy jealousy, that he be not deceived by any false view of U. niversal Salvation itself: but more, surc, against attending to it--none against believing it-upon the testimony of God and his word. He may be kept from the evil of this doctrine without denying it to be a doctrine ; as Christ's disciples were kept from the evil of the world, without going out of it. It is too noble a view to give up, without getting something better in the room of it. And yet, it is too much the way of some : They will scout, oppose, and deny the salvation of all men, through fear of bad consequenses attending it. But this is the weakness of their faith ; not the excellency of it.
If God's children break his law, they will be sure to hear of it, and feel for it too: for he will visit their offences with the rod, & their iniquity with stripes and scourges. And should they dare to sin, because all men will be finally saved'; they would smart so severely for it, that the remembrance of the gall and wormwood would tend mightily to hinder a relapse, and prevent their return to fall. They would find it so evil and bitter a thing to have departed from the Lord, that, like burnt children, they would dread the fire. He has annexed misery to sin, and made anguish and trouble an appendage to ungodliness—and should lesser strokes avail not, he has greater ones to inflict; and all the horrors and terrors of the second death, if the first, with all its antecedent pain and suffering, have failed of their effect. There is all this justice and severity included in the universal scheme of Salvation, as well in that which is only partial; and judgment without mercy, for a long and lasting period, where sin, has made it needful. And this will curb and keep men from sinning, if restraint be that which is aimed at; and much more, perhaps, than that which is endless. For there is a mixture of mercy in limited punishments--but none at all in those which never cease. Pain, whose duration is endless, has, despair wrapped up in the bowels of it ; and, in somc, has had unhappy effects. Where they have believed it, it has been as hurtful as the doctrine of Reprobation. They hare either been " thrust hereby into desperation, or into wretchlessness of the most unclean
living, no less perilous than desperation;"? or, they have taken refuge in the belief of nonexistence after death, and the Resurrection; and flown, for ease, into the arms of Annihilation and Extinction or else have settled in downa right infidelity, and believed nothing of what the Scripture hath said, or can say.--Such have been the fearful consequences, sometimes, of stretching future miseries beyond the line, and making them ceaseless, and without end. Whereas proportionate sufferings, and such degrees and duration of misery as is judged meet and proper, and found necessary hy God, the Judge of all-has the consent of Reason—the declaration of Revelation--the vote and suffrage of Common-sense—the approbation of Mankind in generalm and the tacit, silent verdict, of even the wicked themselves. And this is more likely to work properly upon them than an over-strained interpretation of Divine threatenings, and extending them to a merciless extreme. Here is room both for free-grace and free-will to operate, and for the return of the sinner to God. For thus may he argue, in his cool and reasona ing moments, (and such moments he has) let his case be what it will :-“ It is true, I am a rebellious creature, have sinned, and go on still in my rebellion ; which, sooner or later, must end sadly.
He is a just God, and I may expect his vengeance ; I already feel some conbuke, I suffer, both in body and mind; and have strange forebodings sometimes, of somethin more fearful to come. Is it not better to stor
to retreat-and think of being saved ? Once, indeed, I had such thoughts ; but I heard his grace was confined—that his designs of special favor were towards some only, without any view to the rest—that no provision was made for their salvation—they were to be partakers only in common blessings. This daunted and discouraged me ; and I went back again to the old course and way. Of late I have heard better news, which engaged my attention and hope ; that God so loved the world, (as well as the chosen out of it) as to give his Son to die for it.And that with this intention ; that being lifted up upon the cross, and from earth to heaven again, he would draw all men unto him ; not only to the seat of his judgment, but to the throne of his grace and mercy also, so as to be saved and restored, and to come unto God by him. This is glad tidings indeed, and makes me to think in good earnest, if God be thus good and gracious, intending even me to be saved ; it is time I look about me, give up my sins and companions, and break with all that is evil : For this being the case, it is more than madness to continue in my sins; since the more I sin, the more I shall suffer ; and the longer I go on in my present way, the longer will be my misery and woe. I will stop, and look immediately for mercy.”...-This is more likely to be the case (even with the wicked at times) than any other view men have given of the gospelgrace. Partiality grieves & hardens the sinner ; endless torments shudder his humanity and ex. ceed his belief :--but universal love and good
will, with salvation in consequence thereof, commands his attention, excites his approba. lion, forbids his trampling on it, and tends (if any thing can do it) to cause him so to hear as to live. So far is it from being licentious. I is stated and apprehended wrong, if men can sin upon it. Those who do not believe it sin: and if any sin more who do, it is because they only profess, but do not actually believe it with the heart. Man believeth unto righteousness, this, and every other doctrine of the gospel; and the unrighteous then must be unbelieving, however they nay hold and maintain it; and the doctrine is not accountable for this.
But some have said "If I thought this was true, I would sin yet more, a great deal."
Such, then, betray a weak head, and a corrupt 'heart ; and must be made to hear the thunders and see the lightnings of Mount Sinai, and with the men of Succoth, be taught better conduct by the briars and thorns of the wilderness.But their reasoning is no argument against it. Let them but see the full force of their saying, and they would startle at the sight of it, and be ashamed and afraid to repeat it; and find, they knew not what they said, nor whereof they affirmed. It was speaking in other words thus:
"I hate God, with a perfect hatred; and the more so, for declaring he loves me too well to let me be forever miserable. I served him once, it is true ; but from fear and dread-not from gratitude and love. I served him as a slave does a tyrant, or the wild Indians do the devil, lest he shouid destroy them :--not because I