South-hill, Bradford co., Pa., Oct. 24, ‘43.
BROTHER BEEBE: – Having to write for a new subscriber, I send a few lines with which to help fill the Signs, if you please. Being sometimes complained of for preaching the naked truth, and as it is said, misery loves company, I was glad to find a scrap of truth naked in a work I was perusing, the most of which I think is erroneous.
As for myself, I think that gospel truth needs no ornaments to set forth its lustre: so the deformity of error, stripped of its stolen mask, appears the most unlovely, and the candid inquirer after truth will not be so easily deceived thereby. As it is well known that many have for years back professed to believe that men were naturally depraved, and also in God’s eternal and unconditional election, special vocation, and the sure perseverance of all the chosen (or children of God) to eternal salvation, – yet have been pleading for a general, or rather, a universal atonement, attended with a special application; and when such a bungler as I am undertakes to plead the foreknowledge and unchanging purpose of God, against their views, it is frequently answered, I believe those points as firmly as you do: they will deny that natural men have any power to do good, or even to choose the way of life; and yet they will plead that Christ has made an atonement for all the race of Adam. I think the following exhibition of their system (if system it may be called) is true to the letter and spirit, and cannot in truth be denied. And if any of the believers in the doctrines here set forth should see this, and be ashamed of the picture of their sentiments, let them renounce them and embrace the truth as stated by the Apostles and prophets.
Their doctrines, when analyzed, are, “That God has provided in the gospel ample means to save those whom from all eternity he unchangeably determined to damn! That Christ shed his blood for the same class, with the certainty before him that they could never be availed (saved) by it! That all may be saved if they will, notwithstanding none can will to be saved but such as God has foreordained to that end, and they cannot do otherwise than will it! and that the chief aggravation of the miseries of the damned will arise from their having rejected a gospel that was never meant for them, and which it was utterly out of their power to accept.”
Men have the liberty or power to choose eternal life, or they have not. If ministers do not believe that unregenerate men are free agents, and have the right and power of choice, in the gospel sense, Why direct them to choose? And if they do believe that they are free agents, &c., Why blame them for choosing according to their sinful natures? Can the salvation of the soul depend upon the mutual choice of God and an unregenerate man, while God is perfectly holy, and the man an enemy to God, without the least scrap of a holy disposition in him? If the salvation of the soul depends upon the will or choice of the creature, does it depend upon the will or choice of the creature, does it depend upon the choice of God? If men believe that salvation depends upon the creature’s choice or exertion, Are they honest when they acknowledge the election of God? If the salvation of the soul depends on conditions to be performed by creatures, either doing or choosing, or both, while the principle of the heart is hatred to holiness, What assurance have we that any will change themselves from hating to loving God? If creatures are under the necessity of taking at least one step, or making an effort toward their salvation, Does Jesus do all the work? and if not, Does he deserve all the glory? When Christ undertook the work of saving sinners, Did he undertake to do the whole, or only a part, and leave the rest for his enemies to perform? If Christ did make an atonement for all Adam’s race, as they were all naturally his enemies, Did he know whether any of them would accept of it? or did he know that all would not? And if he did know that those who were in hell before he suffered would not accept it, Why did he make an atonement for them? If there was any thing fortuitous whether others would or would not accept it, Did he certainly know who wold and who would not accept thereof? If he did not know who wold and who would not received atonement, Was it certain with him that any would receive it? If he did know that some would not receive it, Could it be otherwise than as he knew it would be? If he made an atonement for those he knew would not receive it, and it could not e otherwise than as he knew it would, Must he not have made an atonement for some with the certain knowledge that they could not be saved? Had the Lord any design in making an atonement for sinners? Will that design be accomplished? If it is not, will not his purpose be frustrated? Can it be possible that a holy God can offer that to feeble worms to which they could not accept, and which would frustrate his purpose if they could, and then punish them for not accepting what, if by him offered at all, must be offered deceitfully, in order to get an occasion to punish them, when there was so much desert of punishment for their transgression of his law? If God did design the salvation of all the race of Adam, and all are not saved, will it not be incontrovertably from a want of ample means? or a want of power in God to make the means effectual?
All the above is submitted, with deference to your judgment, by a weak brother,
Signs of the Times
Volume 11, No. 23
December 1, 1843