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act without a purpose is depriving him of wisdom; and to suppose any new purpose to arise in his mind, would be to accuse him of mutability. Here, therefore, we are landed upon election, sovereign, unconditional election! And all this seems to accord with the Holy Scriptures: You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein, in time past, ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom, also, we all had our conversation in times past, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. By grace we are saved! I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion! He hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling; not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. Ephes. ii. 1-5. Rom. ix. 15. 2 Tim. i. 9.
Fifthly, If your view be just; the justification of sinners by the work of their hands utterly falls to the ground. The foundation on which sinners in general build their hopes is something like this: they have more virtue than vice, more good works than evil ones; that, as none are without fault, (and which they conceive affords a good excuse for them) God will not be strict to mark iniquity, but will weigh the good against the evil, and so balance the account. But if all the works of unregenerate sinners be of the nature of sin, there is
an end to all hope of being accepted of God on their account. When ministers have endeavored to dissuade sinners from a reliance on their own righteousness, I have heard them reason to this effect: "your good deeds are all mixed with evil, and therefore cannot be acceptable to God." But methinks, if they could have alleged that they were essentially and entirely evil, their arguments must have been more effectual. And such a doctrine would leave no room for the supposition of Christ dying, to render our imperfect but sincere obe. dience acceptable to God, instead of that which is perfect; for, in this case, the idea of imperfect, sincere endeavors in unregenerate men is inadmissible: there are no such endeavors in existence.
These things I have been used to believe in time past; but if the principle in question be admitted, I find such solid grounds on which to rest them as I never felt before. I shall leave you to conclude this subject, and remain affectionately, CRISPUS.
CONSEQUENCES RESULTING FROM THE DOCTRINE OF HUMAN DEPRAVITY.
From GAIUS to CRISPUS.
—-, April 9, 1795.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
If any thing I have advanced in the course of our correspondence has been of use to you, I am satisfied. The inferences which you have drawn from the doctrine of total depravity, as far as they go, appear to me to be just. I shall offer a few others in addition to them; and as I have some other necessary employments,
which require my attention, you will excuse me, if I propose, with these, to close for the present, our correspondence.
Your inferences go to an examination of the bearings of the doctrine of total depravity on the Socinian and Arminian schemes; mine shall concern what I should call the Pseudo-Calvinistic scheme, or that view of the doctrines, commonly called Calvinistical, which induces many of the present age, to disapprove of all exhortations to sinners, except to merely external obedience, or things which contain in them nothing truly or spiritually good. If the foregoing principles be just, three things at least will follow; namely....that the distinction between moral virtue and true religion, has less foundation in truth than is commonly supposed-that men in general are either obliged to perform spiritual actions, or allowed to live in sin, and perform sinful actionsand that we ought not, as ministers, so to compromise matters with God's enemies, as to exhort them to merely external services. Let us particularly examine these consequences; they will be found to be more than a little interesting.
First, Let us inquire, whether the distinction between moral virtue and true religion be founded in truth. It is true, the term religion includes more than that of morality, as it is applied to doctrine as well as practice, and to the performance of things positive as well as morals; but if morality be supposed to exist without true religion, such a supposition I conceive to be unfounded. It is further allowed, that what is commonly called morality, is very different from true religion, be cause much that goes by this name is not morality, nor
any thing truly virtuous. Nothing is morality, strictly speaking, but that which is in some degree a conformity to the moral law; and nothing contains the least degree of conformity to the moral law, unless it include the love of God, and our neighbor. There is therefore no such thing as morality in wicked men. On the contrary, the carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. That which constitutes the essence of genuine morality, namely, the love of God and man, contains the sum of practical religion. Repentance, faith, and every species of obedience, are but different modifications of love. If we love God, we cannot but repent of having offended and dishonored him. If we love God in his true character, and bear genuine benevolence to man, we cannot but love a Savior, and embrace a salvation which proclaims glory to God in the highest,peace on earth, and goodwill to men. A rejection of Christ by the Jews, afforded a proof that they had not the love of God in them. If we love God, we shall love his image in those that are born of him. In fine, if we love God, we shall keep his commandments, and his commandments will not be grievous.*
It is common for professed infidels, and other enemies to true religion, to cry up morality as something opposed to it; and hence, it may be, some have thought proper to cry it down: yea, many, who, by their practice, have proved themselves friendly to a holy life, have yet, on this account, it should seem, found it necessary so to distinguish between morality and religion, as to represent the former as something vastly inferior in its
* John v. 42. 43.
1 John v. 1. 3.
nature to the latter. But it ought to be considered, that the morality on which the enemies of true religion love to dwell is of a spurious kind; it does not consist in the love of God in his true character, or of men in such a way as to rejoice in what contributes to their greatest good. It is a morality essentially defective; it leaves God and religion out of the question, and is confined to what are called the social virtues, or things which every man in his dealings with men finds it his interest to promote. When we hear such characters cry up morality, instead of coldly admitting it to be a very good thing, in its place, but insisting that religion is something of an entirely different nature, we ought cordially to allow the importance of genuine morality, and insist upon it, that, if this were attended to, true religion could not be neglected. Such characters would then discover their dislike to our morality, as much as they now do to what is called religion. Such a statement of matters, though it might grate on their inclinations, must however approve itself to their consciences. Every man feels himself obliged to act upon the principles of morality; let us then drive home that point in which we have their consciences on our side. Let us say with the poet,
"Talk they of morals, O thou bleeding Love!
While you speak of religion as a something entirely distinct from morality, such a character will rest contentedly in the neglect of the one, and think himself happy, inasmuch as you allow him to possess the other: but could you prove to him that morality, if genuine, would comprise the love of God, of Christ, of the gos