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3. He is infinitely wise.
This is another essential thing in an absolute governor, that he should know the exact number of events necessary to take place;—when and how they shall take place;—how powerful and how long they must continue to operate; for, if this is not perfectly understood, it will cause the greatest disorder in the system. This wisdom belongs to God, and to him only. Psal. civ., 24.
4. He is all-powerful, hence he is called "the Lord Omnipotent." Rev. xix., 6.
5. He is perfectly holy. Psal. cxlv., 17.
1. Does it not look like tyranny for Jehovah to set up as absolute governor of the universe 1
2. This doctrine destroys that freedom of the creature, which is necessary in order to render his actions virtuous or vicious.
3. If God is the disposer of all events, and it is matter of joy that he reigns, then we ought to rejoice in all that wickedness and disorder which have taken place in the intellectual system.
4. The absolute supremacy of Jehovah is a licentious doctrine. If all things are dependant on God, then the salvation of the sinner is; therefore I will sit down in indolence; if he should please to save me in my stupid state, well,—if not, I must be lost. *
Two things seem to be taken for granted in such an objection that are not true.
1. That the sinner has some true desire to be reconciled, and that his wickedness does not consist in the voluntary exercises of his heart. But the truth of the case is, his heart is wholly at enmity to God, without the least true desire to be reconciled to him, and in this all his inability and all his sin does radically consist.
2. It seems to suppose that the sinner may possibly obtain salvation while in a state of indolence, which is contrary to the very nature of those things that are required in the gospel, and which are connected with salvation, viz., repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. These are opposed to sloth and carelessness. They imply activity. Exertion is the very essence of that salvation which delivers from everlasting destruction. So that, to say that we may possibly obtain salvation while in a state of indolence, is to say we may have a thing, and at the same time not have it. Continuing in a state of stupidity is inseparably connected with everlasting burnings.
Farther, the consequence which the objector draws from the doctrine is not a natural one. Is it not a fearful thing to be in the hands of God? Yes, verily. But to whom? Not to the friends, but to the enemies of God; for to them he is a consuming fire. Their case is truly dangerous; and has the consideration of danger a tendency to make men careless and secure? Nay, it is always in view of danger that persons are exercised with concern and anguish. Did sinners realize these things, they could not live so careless as they do. Therefore, one reason why sinners are so stupified is, that they do not believe divine sovereignty. Hence we see that no such consequence follows from this doctrine. It is true men make this improvement of it. And what is the reason that they draw such frightful consequences? Alas! the reason is too obvious. It is because the carnal mind is enmity towards God.
It has been remarked of Cicero and Demosthenes, the great orators of Greece and Rome, that they first distinguished themselves in public at the age of twentyseven years: as if this were the age in which great geniuses regularly bloomed for maturity. Without comparing the humble subject of this sketch with the great orators of antiquity, it is natural to remark, that he commenced his public ministry at the age of twentyseven. A Congregational church having been recently organized in Middle Granville, and a new house of worship erected, he was cordially and unanimously invited to supply the pulpit. It deserves to be recorded as one of the wonders of the age, that a person should be invited to become a spiritual teacher in a respectable and enlightened congregation in New-England, where he had been known from infancy only as a servant-boy, and under all the disabilities of his humble extraction. A prophet is not without honour save in his own country and in his own house. That reverence which it was the custom of the age to accord to ministers of the gospel, was cheerfully rendered to Mr. Haynes. All classes and ages were carried away with the sweet, animated eloquence of the preacher.
"Even children followed, with endearing smile,
You might see children by the wayside, or near the village school-house, arranging themselves in due order to welcome him as he passed, and vying with each other in their tokens of reverence. It was remarkable how singularly he attached to himself the rising generation. He seldom met a child without asking some amusing, instructive question, or making a striking remark, and all was done in a manner to make an impression which time could never efface.
The writer of this narrative, though a resident in a different parish in the town, and having opportunity to hear him in comparatively but few instances, owes more under God to Lemuel Haynes than to any other minister among the living or the dead. His sermons are the earliest which I now remember to have heard, and, though preached more than half a century ago, are at this time recollected with a distinctness entirely inappliCable to those of any other preacher. They uniformly left the impression of the majesty of God;—the importance of immediate repentance;—the awful solemnity of the judgment day;—the attractive loveliness of Christ;—and the pleasantness of wisdom's ways.
He laboured in Granville five years, preaching publicly and from house to house. And I may add, in the language of the apostle to the elders of the church at Ephesus, lie "ceased not to warn every one, day and night, with tears." "His delivery was rapid—his voice charming, like the vox argentea* of which Cicero makes such frequent and honourable mention;—his articulation uncommonly distinct—a perennial stream of transparent, sweet, animated elocution—presenting his arguments with great simplicity and striking effect.,, The perfect ease with which words and thoughts flowed was like the river, on the banks of which, as the poet beautifully relates, the traveller sat himself down till it should run by.
* * * "atille
It was a season of great moral darkness through New-England when Mr. Haynes commenced his ministry. The Stoddardian principle of admitting moral persons, without credible evidence of grace, to the Lord's Supper, and the half-way covenant by which parents, though not admitted to the Lord's Supper, were encouraged to offer their children in baptism, prevailed in many of the churches. Great apathy was prevalent among professing Christians, and the ruinous vices of profaneness, Sabbath-breaking, and intemperance were affectingly prevalent among all classes. The spark of evangelical piety seemed to be nearly extinct in the churches. Revivals of religion were scarcely known except in the recollections of a former age. Some of the essential doctrines of grace were not received even by many in the churches. Such was the character of the age. Such, too, was the place in which Mr. Haynes commenced his labours. Against the errors and vices of. the times he exerted a powerful influence. There was such directness in his appeals, and such withering pungency in his replies to the caviller, that "the word Was sharper than a two-edged sword." No special revival is recollected under his ministrations in this place. Not a few, however, were savingly benefited through his honoured instrumentality.
* Silver voice.
As an instance of his success in silencing the sophistry of error, it is related that a member in the church, of great candour and of unblemished morals, was an open, calm opposer of the doctrine of personal election. He alleged the common popular objections against the doctrine, and at the same time he seemed to have great reverence for the authority of the Bible. Mr. Haynes had fully measured the man, and formed his plan for winning him to the truth. For this purpose he carefully shunned personal controversy. Whenever a plain Scripture proof occurred, he called on Mr. Atkins, and proposed the text with appropriate questions. For instance, Eph. i., 4—" According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."—" What is the meaning of this text? Were the persons here said to be chosen, Christians? When was this choice made? Was it grounded on foreseen holiness, or were they chosen that they should be holy?"