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whether in answering prayer, God | whenever a right prayer was made; it would seem that he would still be bound, sometimes, to grant what is not for the best, if such a thing should be prayed for in a right manner.

always bestows the very thing which was asked for; or whether he does not sometimes answer it, by withholding the thing asked for, and bestowing something better in its stead. This question I should like to see discussed. I wish some of your correspondents would take it up, and inform us how it is. The prayers which are recorded in the Bible, appear generally, if not always, to have been answered by giving the very thing which was asked. And this appears also to be the most natural construction of the language in which the promises are made. An objection to this, seems to arise, however, from the consideration, that we are not very well qualified to judge what is on the whole best for us, or best for the church, or most for the glory of God. And consequently, that if God has bound himself to grant, in all cases, what we ask, he may be obliged to grant some things which are not for the best, or else violate his promise. Some have thought, that the proper way to obviate this ob. jection, is, by directing us to pray for those things which appear to us most likely to be for the best, but to pray always with submission. That is, that we should consider what appears, as far as we can judge, to be best for the church, and most for the glory of God; and then go to God in prayer, and ask for those things: but, that we should always ask with a disposition to give up our own will to the will of God, and to take pattern from our Lord, who said, "not my will but thine be done." It is probably right to pray with submission; but whether this obviates the objection, is not so clear. If it is essential to a right prayer, that it be made with submission; and yet, if God has promised to grant the very thing prayed for,

The writer of the letter seems to think, that we ought to pray for temporal blessings, with submission; but for spiritual blessings, without submission. His words are, "Our brethren generally believe, that when temporal blessings are asked for, the petitions should be made in entire subordination to the Divine will, and with resignation to the allotments of his providence; but when we ask for an effusion of his Holy Spirit, and for a revival of religion among us, we are to come boldly to the throne of grace, with no reservation, with no hesitation, for we know the will of God on this subject." The contrast certainly seems to imply, that the same submission is not to be exercised, in praying for spiritual as for temporal blessings. But I do not see why there should be this difference. Temporal blessings are not, indeed, so valuable as spiritual blessings. But if they are not blessings, they are not proper subjects of prayer at all. And if they are blessings, if they may lawfully be desired, if they can be desired with right motives, if they are proper subjects of prayer, I do not see the difference in the principle, between these and spiritual blessings. They are both valuable. They may both be lawfully desired. They may both be prayed for. All the difference is in the degree of their value. Spiritual blessings are more valuable. They are more to be desired. They should be prayed for with more fervency. But there is no reason in all this, why they should be prayed for without submission, any more than temporal blessings. But perhaps the reason for this

no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live." What does this mean? Does it mean, that God does, on the whole, desire the salvation of every sinner? If so, why does he not save every sinner? He certainly can, if he chooses. It appears plain to me, that the meaning is, that God has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, in itself considered; but has pleasure in the sinner's turning and living, in itself considered; and that it does not express his wish on the whole, that every sinner should be saved. He certainly does not wish, on the whole, that every sinner should be saved; for of some he says, John xii. 40, "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand

difference is contained in the last clause quoted above: "We know the will of God on this subject." Is this true? Do we know that God has determined to convert this or that individual? Do we know that he has determined to grant a revival of religion in this or that place? How do we know it? Will the writer say, that by the will of God, he does not mean his determination, but something else? But if he means any thing else, I do not see why the propriety of submission is removed. Submission has for its object "the divine will" (of decree)" the allotments of his providence." God has decreed what is best on the whole. He knows what is best on the whole. We do not know. And hence, the reasonableness of submission. The conversion of an individual appears to us ex-with their heart, and be converted, ceedingly desirable. It is proper, therefore, to pray for it, with great earnestness. But it may be, that the conversion of that individual is not on the whole best; God knows how it is; but we do not. If God should see, that the conversion of that individual is not for the best, and yet we ask it "with no reservation, with no hesitation," what is it, but asking him to do that which is not for the best? And if he has promised to grant what we thus ask, he must do that which he knows is not for the best, or he must violate his promise.

But, to confirm his declaration, that "we know the will of God on this subject," the writer adds, "He has expressly said, and with an oath," that he has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, but would rather that he should turn and live." I cannot find the place where this is said, exactly in these words; but I find something similar, in Ezek. xxxiii. 11, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have

and I should heal them." God desires the salvation of every sinner, in itself considered; and so ought we. We ought, therefore, to pray for the salvation of every sinner; but we ought to do it with submission, and be willing to have God do what is best on the whole, in this matter, as well as in every other.

The writer then goes on to say, "We feel, therefore, that there is no doubt upon this subject, but that we may pray for this immense blessing with full confidence that it will be granted; and we believe that it always will be granted, where the prayers and the labours are accompanied with faith."—— Here, the question arises, what is faith? Is it the "full confidence" that our request will be granted? Perhaps I mistake the meaning of the writer, but this seems to be implied. I could wish the writer had told us, more clearly, what is the faith necessary to prevailing prayer; for this is one of the most important points of the present

enquiry. If any of your correspondents can answer this question, and set the subject in a clear and convincing light, they will confer a very great favour upon the Christian public. This idea, that the faith necessary to prevailing prayer, is a "full confidence" that our request will be granted, is not for the first time suggested by this writer. We have heard it frequently of late. But, is it true? The following difficulties have occurred to me: Faith must be founded on evidence. What is the evidence that the thing I ask for, will be granted? Is it the promise of God to hear and answer prayer? But that promise is made to the prayer of faith. I must be conscious that I make the prayer of faith, before I can take hold of that promise. Here, then, I have got into a circle. I must believe that the thing will be granted, before I can pray aright. But I must be conscious that I pray aright, before I can believe that the thing will be granted. I wish for the conversion of a particular individual. I wish to pray for it, in such a manner as to prevail. First, then, I must believe that he will be converted. But I must have evidence that he will be, before I can believe. Where is the evidence? Why, God has said, he has no pleasure in the death of a sinner. What then? This is said of every sinner, and all will not be saved. This is no evidence that the individual in question will be saved; and therefore, is no reason for my believing that he will be. What more? God has promised to hear and answer prayer.


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No. VII.


True; but that promise is made to the prayer of faith, and I have not yet made the prayer of faith, for I have not the faith which is necessary. This promise, then, affords me no evidence, and so, I cannot yet believe. Where, then, is the evidence, upon which I can ground my faith? Is it said, any where in scripture, that this individual will be saved? No. I see not, then, how I can ever make the prayer of faith for this individual, unless I have an immediate revelation from God that this individual will be saved? But, does God make such revelations now? Has the age of prophecy and of miracles returned? If this is so, it is important that we should be informed of it. Besides, if this is the way we are to obtain the faith necessary to prevailing prayer, if it is made by immediate revelation from God, I feel excused for my unbelief, so long as I have no revelation. But this cannot be so, for faith is a duty. I am bound to pray, and to pray aright; and while I neglect to pray aright, through unbelief, I sin against God. What, then, must I do? Must I shut up my eyes, and lock up my senses, and believe with "full confidence," without any evidence, from scripture, sense or reason? No. This cannot be required. My conclusion, then is, that if this is the right kind of faith, it must be founded upon some of the Divine declarations. But where are those declarations? Will not some one of your correspondents, who understands this subject, give us some further light?


at the commencement of these essays, I shall now attempt to obviate a few of the popular objections, which are made to that scheme of religious sentiments, which has

According to the plan proposed, been delineated. The objections

made to the Hopkinsian system, | material points; it might not from are many and diverse. There is hence follow, with absolute cer

not a single doctrine of the system, which has not been controverted. It requires much less time to state, than to answer an objection. Fully to answer all the objections, which have been made against Hopkinsian sentiments, would require volumes. I shall have time and room to take notice of a few only of the most general and plausible objections, which are made to the system at large; leaving it to the other numerous writers for the Magazine, to remove objections against particular doctrines, as they may occur, in the course of this essay.


The Hopkinsian scheme of sentiments is not Calvinistick.

This objection is frequently alleged, with much confidence, and, no doubt, has great weight in the minds of many, who venerate the name of Calvin, while, probably, they have but a slight acquaintance with his system of sentiments, and still less with that, which is supposed to be in opposition to it.

In reply to this objection, permit me to observe,

tainty, that it is unscriptural and erroneous. Calvin, it is admitted, was a learned and good man. But, he was no more than a manan uninspired man. It would be unreasonable to attribute to him such an infallible knowledge of Divine truth, as excludes all liability to mistake and errour, Calvin had but just emerged from the darkness of Popery: He was, it is said, but twenty-five years old, when he wrote his principal work, the Institutes: and though his talents, learning and piety, enabled him to state and defend the doctrines of revealed religion, with much clearness and force, for the day; yet, it is more than possible, that, with all his acuteness and learning, he neither escaped all errour, nor engrossed all truth. While, therefore, we cherish all due respect for the memory of the great Genevan reformer; we ought not to call him father, and resolve that we will go no farther in the investigation of Divine truth, than his works lead us. If we do so; while we may extol the name, we shall manifest a great want of the spirit of Calvin. But,

3. It is not a fact, that the Hop

1. If it were true, that the Hopkinsian scheme is essentially dif-kinsian and Calvinistick systems

ferent from the Calvinistick; one would suppose, that this, instead of being an objection against Hopkinsianism, would rather be a recommendation of it, in the apprehension of most of those, who discard and oppose Hopkinsian sentiments. A great majority of the opposers of Hopkinsianism, are equally opposed to Calvinism, in every form and degree. For such to object against Hopkinsian sentiments, as not being Calvinistick, is not very consistent.

2. If it were true, that the Hopkinsian scheme is different from the Calvinistick, even in some


of doctrine, are materially different; and much less, opposite to each other. On the contrary, it may be demonstrated, that all the leading and essential doctrines of the Hopkinsian scheme, are found in the Institutes of Calvin. plenary inspiration of the sacred scriptures, the Trinity of Persons in the Godhead, the universal decrees, providence and agency of God, the apostacy of Adam and the consequent total moral depravity of all his posterity, the predestination of a part of mankind to eternal life, the Divinity and atonement of Christ, the Per

sonality and special influence of the Holy Spirit, the disinterested nature of holy love, the final perseverance of saints, and the endless happiness of the righteous and the endless misery of the wicked, are doctrines as strongly maintained in the Institutes of Calvin, as in the System of Hopkins. The difference between the writings of these two eminent divines, where there is any, lies, principally, in their different modes of answering objections against the doctrines they teach, and in the inferences, which they deduce from them, and not in the doctrines themselves, which they maintain. When those, who profess to approve of Calvinism, object against Hopkinsianism, as being a different and opposite system; it is apprehended, that they have imbibed wrong notions of one scheme or the other, if not of both; or else, have not been at the pains, carefully and candidly to compare them.

vinistick faith; while the real sentiments of Calvin, when fairly stated, are branded as Anticalvinistick and new divinity, by those, who lay claim to the exclusive use of the term Calvinism.

In the year 1811, the Rev. EZRA STILES ELY (now Dr. ELY, of Philadelphia) published what he was pleased to call A Contrast between Calvinism and Hopkinsianism." This singular work was highly recommended by Dr. Smith, President of Princeton College, by Dr. Wilson, Professor in Columbia College, by Dr. Mason, Principal of the Theological Seminary in New-York, and since President of Dickinson College, by Dr. Livingston, President of NewBrunswick College, by Drs. Milledollar, Kuypers, McLeod, Romeyn, and several other distinguished clergymen of the modern Calvinistick school. It may, therefore, be fairly presumed, that the sentiments advanced and advocatIt is not denied, that Hopkins- ed in Mr. Ely's Contrast, are the ianism does materially differ from sentiments, which, at this day, in a certain scheme of sentiments, this country, are reputed genuine which, at this day, arrogates to it- Calvinism. To show how much self the name of Calvinism, and these sentiments differ from anwhich is sometimes called, Mod- cient Calvinism, and at the same ern Calvinism. And modern, in- time, how nearly ancient Calvindeed, it is: for it differs, as wide-ism coincides with Hopkinsianism, ly, and more essentially, from the real sentiments of Calvin, than from those of Arminius or Wesley. As the appellation, Calvinist, has been growing venerable by age, and honourable by the increasing numbers and respecta bility of those, who have assumed it; there has been a gradual departure from the principles of the Reformers; which, small and imperceptible at first, has, at length, spread to such a width, that what would have been denounced as heretical Arminianism, | or Antinomianism, in the time of Calvin, is now preposterously pronounced the only Orthodox, Cal

I will here exhibit, on a few points,
Consisting of extracts from Ely's
Contrast and Calvin's Institutes.


I. "Original sin is I. "When it is conveyed from our said, that, by the parents unto their sin of Adam, we are posterity by natural made subject to the generation. All men judgment of God; are guilty of origi- it is not to be taken, nal sin.-No being as if we, innocent can be a sinner, un- and undeserving, til he has sinned. did bear the blame QUERY. Is this Cal- of his fault.-From

vinism?"pp. 72,266. him, not the pun

ishment only came upon us, but also the infection distil. ed from him, abid.

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