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• Now, Sir, may I, without offence, ask you, Is not this a contradiction of your first position? Nay, does it not contain, within itself, a direct contradiction? The invisible God is hecome visible,” &c. seems to be a contradiction in terms.
In proof of this you say, “ The eternal power and godhead are made visible by the works of creation;" but the conclusion of
sentence fhews that in this place you use the word “ visible” in a figurative sense, and not as I apprehend you to have used it in your pofition or statement of what you intended to prove. There I suppose you to use the word in"visible” strictly and literally, and of course the word “ visible" also.
The conclusion of your sentence is, “ all which imply fuch a cause of their existence.” Now furely to imply a cause, and to make that cause visible, are two very different things.-
This writing implies a writer, but does not make the writer visible.
When Jesus Christ faith, “ he who hath seen me, hath feen the Father,” it appears to me, that he speaks figuratively, and fo it appeared to the apostle John, otherwise, would that evangelist have asserted, “ No inan hath feen God at any time?"
I take such expressions as these, that “ Jesus Christ is the brightness of God's glory," and “the express image of the Father," to be incontrovertible proofs that he is not the Father. And if Jesus Christ were now upon earth, ftill your first position would be true---still we might say, God is invisible. If it be said, “ God was manifest in the Aesh," it may
also be said, God is manifest in the sun, moon, and stars, and in all the works of creation. But, Sir, your fourth position wants the support of fact and possibility, for it runs thus---" The in-' visible God is become visible to us in the person of Christ.” Now, Sir, where is the person of Christ? To which of us is the person of Christ visible? And by what means is it possible for
you or' me, or any Christian, to see the person of Christ?
I know of but one way of answering the questions I have put, and that is,- 16 We cannot tell."
But the solution of this difficulty, or rather a plain statement of the real truth, is made by the apostle John, in a passage you have alluded to.--
John, i. 18. « No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten fon which is in the bofom of the Father, he hath declared him."
I presume it is not necessary to add any thing to these words to prove that God is no more visible now, in the literal sense of li 2
the term, than he was before the appearance of our Saviour. I remain, with all good wishes,
LETTER 1II. DEAR SIR, F it can be proved from the Scriptures, that God loves men
when in a state of reprobaticn---that, viewed in that state, he gave his own son to die for them---that he actually took some of those who had been in a state of reprobation to be a people for his name---that some who had been in that dreadful state were called by the gospel, and when called were spoken of as the elect of God, it will follow, that reprobation does not intend God's totally giving up his creatures so as never after to employ any means for their recovery, nor by any means imply a cessation of his love to them---that a state of reprobation is not an irremediable ftate---and that, fo far from election and reprobation being twin doctrines, the same individuals have been reprobates and elect persons at different times. These things I shall attempt to prove.
The gentiles at large were once given over of God, for Paul says, “ God gave them over to a reprobate mind,” Rom. j. 28. This giving over of the gentiles was not the effect of an unconditional decree, but occafioned by their own conduct, as the apostle shews in the context. It was not the ralh act of an infuriated being, whose anger had got the better of his love, and turned it into enmity and hatred; for then it would have been unworthy of God, and utterly irreconcilable with the character which he hath given of himself in the Scriptures; but the righteous act of that being who is love, and who never can act but from love, because he cannot act but from himself; consequently, his giving them over to a reprobate mind must, as a link in the great chain of his dispensations, be subservient to an end worthy of his infinite wildom and goodness. If we cannot clearly see how this giving over the gentiles to a reprobate mind can ultimately subserve his immutable design of making them all pure and happy, it is because we cannot fully trace the connection between that circumstance and other parts of the amazing plan of Divine operations.
Could we bring no particular proof of God's love to the reprobate, the general evidence arising from the representation which the Scriptures give of his Divine character, might be deemed sufficient to prove that they, as well as the elect, must be loved by him. He whose unalterable nature, whose very being is declared to be love, who is acknowledged to have once loved all his creatures, and to have formed them for happiness, who is also acknowledged to be incapable of changing either his nature or his designs, however in infinite wisdom he may see fit to vary his dispensations, muft furely continue to love and design the happinels of all his creatures, even when, for wife purposes, he leaves them in a state of reprobation. But we have particular and positive evidence, that this is the case, John, iii. 16. «“. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son,” &c.; the world must include the gentiles, who had been given over to a reprobate mind; as he loved the world, he must of course love those who had been so given over; as he fent his son to be the saviour of the world, it follows, that he sent him to be their saviour; as Christ gave himself a ransom for all, it follows, that he gave himself a ransom for the reprobate as well as the elect; and that, as he is a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, he is a propitiation for the sins of the former as well as for the sins of the latter. Thus it appears, that God loves and has made provision for the salvation of the reprobate, notwithstanding their being in a state of reprobation.
As when the apostle speaks of God's giving the gentiles over to a reprobate mind, he speaks of the gentiles at large; and, notwithstanding this, the gospel was afterwards sent to them, and many of them faved by it, this is proof positive that those who are given over by God, and left in a state of reprobation, may afterwards be delivered, and brought to a state of purity and happiness. The gospel was sent to the reprobate gentiles, to take out of them a people for the name of God, A&s, xv. 14.; and those who were so taken we find in all the epistles spoken of as the elect of God: it follows, that as a part are taken and made first-fruits to God and the Lamb, the rest may all be ultimately recovered and included in the great harvest, of which the first-fruits are an earnest. who hath taken the one, can, in due time, take the other also. If there be no inconsistency in some being saved who had been left in a state of reprobation, what inconsistency can there bein fuppofing thàt all such will be restored? The elect being brought out of that common state of reprobation in which the gentiles at large were, seems to imply that the blessings which they are called to the enjoyment of the relations which they
are called to stand in, and the offices which they are appointed to fill, have a connection with the future recovery and happiness of those from among whom they were selected. At any rate these remarks go to prove, that a state of reprobation is not an irremediable ftate, for if so, how could any ever be recovered who were once in that state?
God may give over his creatures for a time, leave them to walk in their own ways, and reap the bitter fruits of their own doings, that they may know by experience the dreadful consequences of departing from hiin. This was the case with refpect to the gentiles ; but he did not totally forsake aad utterly give them up to fin and misery; he afterwards visited them with his mercy, and sent his falvation among them: fo he hath declared he will not contend for ever, neither will he be always wroth, Ifaiah, lvii. 16. All his works shall praise him, and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalm cxlv. 9, 10. and civ. 31. Rejoicing in the prospect of that happy period, I remain, dear Sir,
R. W. AUGUST 30, 1799.
lation, that many of the ideas contained in the Scriptures are borrowed from those nations which are denominated heathen; and, as a proof of the assertion, produce the phrase “Lord of Hofts,” so frequently used in the Scriptures, which, it is affirmed, is an imitation of the heathens in their god Mars.
The following criticism, which I referred to in my last, has a tendency to thew that “ Lord of Hofts” is an improper translation of the Hebrew; whether it is so, I leave to the judgment of your readers to determine, and remain,
1. If nini be a proper name of the Deity, as is generally allowed, must not ninay be in apposition with it? Proper names being incapable of regimen.
2. Is not nixoy beyond difpute, in apposition with subx in these fix places, Psalm lix. 5. lxxx. 4, 7, 14, 19. lxxxiv, 8.2 Eins being in its absolute form.
3. As the LXX. often retain the original word cabaw, can they be supposed to have thought that it always fignified hofts?
4. Is not the rendering ninay by hofis, in many places, incongruous to the sense? For it is a true observation, that such epithets are generally applied to the Deity in any particular instance as are expressive of those attributes which are then disdisplayed.
5. May we not then fuppose, with good reason, that may in most, if not all the places where these phrases occur is the plural, not of rar an hoft, but of '?' glory, beauty? The inflection is similar to that of fome other words of the like form, and of the fame word in a different sense, Cant. ii. 7. and the construction may be the same with mari ows plentiful rain, Psal. Ixviii. 9. and 1273 797 thy people shall be willing, Psalin cx. 3. Analogous to which, mirax 01' will be, THE GLORIOUS JEHOVAH.
6. By adopting this fense will there not be a peculiar beauty and elegance in several passages ? Thus,
Ifaiah, xxiii. 9. “ The glorious Jehovah hath purposed to ftain the pride of all GLORY."
Isaiah, xxviii. 5.“ In that day shall the glorious Jehovah be for a crown of glory.
That well known paffage in the Psalms---"Who is the king of glory! The glorious Jehovah, he is the king of glory."
See Jer. iii. 19. compared with Ezek. xx. 6, and 15. See also Deut. xxviii. 58.
CONFESSION AND DYING WORDS OF WM. MILLS.
words of William Mills, who was some time since executed at Edinburgh for the crime of house-breaking, extracted from a pamphlet published by Henry David Inglis. As it contains the ancient faith and hope of all who have died in the truth, I presume you will have no objection to give it a place in your Miscellany, for the edification of thofe who have obtained like precious faith with the apostles in the righteousness of our God and Saviour. I am, Sir,
I William Mills, aged about 32 years, was born in the shire of Aberdeen, of honeft parents, who brought me up while I remained with them in a sober way; but my inclination being