Imatges de pÓgina
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admit of a different construction from that which he puts upon them ?" I answer, most abundantly in the original articles in the Christian Spectator, and especially in the Review of Dr. Tyler's Strictures in that work for 1830. I attempted to show that the very passages in question have not the meaning which Dr. Tyler gives them. [Vide Spect. 1830, p. 186, and p. 168.]

In respect to the first of the above charges, the case was this :-Dr. Tyler charged me, as he now does, with maintaining that the heart of the sinner is changed antecedent to regeneration. In this charge Dr. Tyler avowedly used the word regeneration in its restricted import, i. e. to denote the act of loving God, in distinction from the act of renouncing the world, or ceasing to hate God; in other words, the act of putting on the new man, as distinguished from the act of putting of the old man. To Dr. Tyler's question, then, "When is the heart of the sinner changed, if not when he ceases to be supremely selfish ?" I answered, when he loves God; in other words, when old things are passed away, and all things become new; when the heart of stone is taken

away, and the heart of flesh, (which is as necessary to a change of heart, as taking away the heart of stone) is given. In addition to this explanation, I adverted to the error of Dr. Tyler, as based on the assumption, that the complex change in regeneration, consisting in renouncing selfishness, and taking God for our portion, cannot be properly spoken of, in its parts; and this too, with texts of Scripture in which it is done directly before liim. I went further still, and justified the statement, that the sinner ceases to rebel in the order of nature before the heart is changed, i. e. before the act of loving God takes place, on the authority of Dr. Tyler himself. He had said, ihat “the sinner now loves what BEFORE he hated ;" amounting plainly to the statement, which Dr. Tyler censures, viz. that the sinner ceases to hate before he loves.—Now the simple question is, whether, in this explanation, I have not shown, that Dr. Tyler was entirely mistaken, in saying that I represented the sinner as "submitting to divine authority," before his heart is changed, i. e. before he loves God?

But Dr. Tyler repeats his former objections to what I have said, just as if they had never been refuted, and without noticing the refutation. Thus he asks, “what is the character of the man after he has ceased to resist, (he should have said, ceased to rebel, or put off the old man) and before he has become reconciled to God;" i. e. before he loves God, or puts on the new man ? 'I answer, as before, that there is no interval in the case, during which character can be predicated of the man.

When the sinner is performing the essential specific mental acts which constitute the complex act of duty, in that rapid succession in the order of nature which precludes the order of time, and which is as rapid as the nature and the laws of mind render possible, it is the height of absurdity, to ask about his character, during such performance. The sinner surely does not hate God, in th: very act of loving him. Dr. Tyler himself maintains, that the sinner now loves what before he hated.' Let Dr. Tyler then tell us, what is the character of the man after he ceases to hate, and before he loves God.

But says Dr. Tyler, “Our Lord has decided this point. He that is not for me is against me." I might here refer to explanations already given. But I will simply ask Dr. Tyler, whether he supposes, that our Lord in this passage intended to teach that the sinner, after he ceases to hate God, and before he loves him, is not for God, but against him? Dr. Tyler admits, that man must perceive the excellence of God before he can love God.' On Dr. Tyler's principle of interpreting language, if I had said, that the sun existed before it shone, he would wish to know, in what state the sun was after it existed, and before it shone !--Why does Dr. Tyler refuse to recognize the distinction between the order of nature and the order of time, which all usage, and his own usage fully sanctions ?

Again, Dr. Tyler says, 'If there is no time between pension of the selfish principle, (I hope the reader will here refer to what I have said on this topic in this work, vol. v. p. 440,) and a change of heart, there is no time in wbich sinners use the means of regeneration; and if there is no time in which they use them, then it is certain, that they never use them. I answer,—and this I have distinctly said before,—that if the word regeneration be used to denote the complex act, there are no acts which can be properly called using the means of regeneration. All the acts which precede the complex act, are only abusing or perverting these means. But if the word regeneration be used, as many theologians have used it, to denote simply the final act of the heart or will, i. e. the simple act of loving God, then there are acts preliminary in the order of nature to this, which may be called using the means of regeneration. Now if these acts and the act of love take place in an indivisible moment of time, as I have said, how is it, as Dr. Tyler says, that there is no time in which they take place? Is there any time in which the simple act of love takes place? If Dr. Tyler says no, then I reply, that it never takes place. If he says yes, then I answer, in that self same time the sin

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ner thinks of God, &c., i. e. uses the means of regeneration.

Once more, I had said, that every being, in choosing between different objects, “considers from which the greatest happiness may be derived, and as in this respect he judges, or estimates their relative value, so he chooses or prefers the one or the other as his chief good.” Dr. Tyler represents this as equivalent in import to saying, that the reason of the sinner's wrong choice is a mere mistake in judgement, and that of course, nothing is necessary to his conversion but light to correct his mistake.

Here then I remark, that the language of the above statement, taken by itself, is ambiguous. So would have been the statement, “that the will is as the greatest apparent good ;" or indeed any other phrase, which might be used to denote the state of mind intended. What therefore is meant by such statements, should be decided, not merely by the words used, but by other considerations. Some of these considerations, which ought to have prevented Dr. Tyler from putting the construction on my language, which makes me say, that the sinner chooses the world by a mere mistake, are the following: First : My language will admit of a different import from that which Dr. Tyler gives it; for merely to speak of a judgement or estimate, is not saying that it is not a judgement or estimate perverted by passion, in a case in which there is the knowledge of truth. Secondly: In the same paragraph, I spoke of the sinner as made to see, &c. that there is higher good in God than in any other object. Thirdly: I spoke of the sinner with great frequency, as having the requisite knowledge of truth and duty-of his heart as opposing the dictates of his understanding, and resisting by perversion what he knew to be the dictates of everlasting truth. Fourthly : The whole discussion proceeded on the ground, that the influence of the Spirit of God is necessary to secure the effect of known truth on the mind. Fifthly: Dr. Tyler, in his Strictures, stated the same objection which he now states, asking 'whether all that is necessary to the regeneration of the sinner is not a conviction of the understanding, that he has mistaken the true way of securing bis happiness ??—To this I replied, in the Review, that by the conviction of the understanding is here meant, the dictate of reason,—what reason declares to be best, &c.;—that such a dictate of reason is quite a different matter from things appearing now most agreeable;' and stated explicitly, that 'this mind's view,' as Edwards calls it, or appearing agreeable to the mind, is that which determines the will, in opposition to one's better judgement or enlightened reason ;'—that 'man acts in opposition to known duty, and that his depravity consists, not in a mistake of judgement.' [Vide Chris. Spect. 1830, p. 168.] And yet Dr. Tyler asks “what I have said, to show that it is not a fair construction of my language,” that the sinner makes a wrong choice only by mistake?

I confess, that the pertinacity of Dr. Tyler on this part of the subject, is unexpected. He rests his vindication entirely on what I had said in the Spectator ; telling us, that he has quoted my language verbatim,'—that many think as he does,'—

that he has fully demonstrated the point,' and refers to his Vindication, p. 36, &c. To all this, it were easy to reply, that if he quoted my language correctly, he wholly disregarded the definitions and explanations which were designed to prevent his perversions of it; that if many think as he does, many also think as I do,—that for him to say, he has demonstrated the point, is not itself deinonstration; and that it were as logical for me to refer to the Christian Spectator, as for him to refer to bis Vindication.—Be this, however, as it may, Dr. Tyler has charged, and persists in charging, opinions upon me, which I had unequivocally disclaimed; as if it were no concern of his, whether I intended to express such opinions or not. Making the very worst of the case, I have used language inadvertently and unskilfully, (of this the reader can judge,) and this is enough, in Dr. Tyler's view, to justify him in charging opinions on me, which he know: I never intended to express; and in this way, charging me also with subverting the Gospel of Christ.

The next subject on which Dr. Tyler questions the consistency and orthodoxy of my views, is the doctrine of Election.

I shall first examine Dr. Tyler's reasoning on the question of my consistency.—Here he repeats what he had said before,—

that it God prefers, all things considered, lioliness to sin in all instances-be will do all in his power to bring all men to repentance. To this I replied, that the above preference, “ does noi necessarily imply, that God will do all in his power to bring all men to repentance. Because a father prefers that a child should obey his command to attend school, rather than disobey t, does it follow that he chooses, in the given instance, to secure his attendance, as he inight, by changing a wise plan of gorernnient? Here then Dr. Tyler may see, how God may prefer holiness to sin in every instance, without doing or choosing to do, all in his power, to bring all men to repentance. Such an interposition might be inconsistent with other interests of his universal kingdom."

Now how does Dr. Tyler meet this view of the subject ? By mis-stating in many instances, as before, the very points on which the question turns. Thus he represents me as maintaining, 'that God chooses, all thing considered, that all men should repent,'—'that all men should become holy. He says, “If God chooses, all things considered, that all men should repent, he will do all in his power to bring all to repentance.” Be it so— but then Dr. Tyler here furnishes his own premises. My position is widely diverse from Dr. Tyler's substitute. It is, that God chooses, all things considered, that all men should become holy RATHER than continue in sin, under the present system. Does it then follow from this preference, if it were in the power of God to bring all men to repentance by changing the present system, that he would do it? Would a parent, because he preferred obedience to disobedience in every case under a wise plan of government, depart from that plan to secure obe. dience in one instance, when, by so doing, he would occasion disobedience in all other instances? How then does Dr. Tyler know-how can he prove, that the change in the present system requisite to bring all men to repentance, would not occasion more sin in God's universal kingdom, than it would prevent? If Dr. Tyler does not know this,-if he cannot prove it,--then his inference does not follow from any thing which I have said ; but solely from premises of his own creation. It may still be true, that the reason why God does not bring all men to repentance is,-not that he does not prefer, all things considered, that all men should repent rather than continue in sin under the present system,- not that it is not in the power of God to bring all men to repentance by changing the present system ;--but that to change the system, as he must for this purpose, would occasion more sin in the universe, than it would prevent.

The foregoing argument of Dr. Tyler is a just specimen of much of his reasoning on the present topic. It rests wholly, either on substituting his own incorrect statements for my positions, or on inferences derived from such statements. Thus, my position is, that God prefers, all things considered, that all men should become holy, RATHER THAN continue in sin UNDER THE PRESENT SYSTEM. For this, Dr. Tyler substitutes his own unqualified statement, that God chooses, all things considered, that all men should become holy.:—Hence he goes on to infer, “that if it were in the power of God, he would bring all men to repentance;' and then asks “how, according to this view of the subject, there can be any such thing as election ?' But whose 'view of the subject is this ?-Not mine; but one which Dr. Tyler, without the least warrant,

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