Summary: This Sermon is # 7 and #8 from Rev. Andrew Lee’s SERMONS published in 1803 by Isaiah Thomas, Jr. at Lisbon, Connecticut.
The entire book Andrew’s Lee’s Sermons is available free at Project Gutenberg as e-Text #15031.
Moses Prayer to be blotted out of God’s Book.
Exodus xxxii. 31, 32.
"And Moses returned unto the Lord and said, Oh! this people have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written." THIS is one of the most difficult passages in the holy scriptures. Many haven attempted to explain it, and in our apprehension, failed in the attempt. Some will entertain like opinion of the following. Perhaps justly. We are no less fallible than others.
IN matters which have engaged the attention of the learned, and in which they have differed, assurance is not perhaps to be expected. But as we are forbidden to call any man master, we have ventured to judge for ourselves respecting the meaning of the text, and now lay before the reader the result of our attention to it; not wishing to obtrude our opinion upon him; but leaving him to form his own as he may find occasion.
SOME suppose that a person must be willing to be damned for the glory of God, or he cannot be saved; and this scripture hath been alleged in proof. After a few observations, _to shew that the supposition is erroneous and absurd; we shall exhibit the various constructions which have been put on the text, by several expositors; then give our own sense of it; and close with a few reflections_.
THE supposition that man must be willing to be damned, in order to be saved, is in our apprehension, erroneous and absurd. It supposes a desire of God’s favor to be an unpardonable offence; and a contempt of it a recommendation to his regard! It supposes that God will banish those from his presence who long for it; and bring those to dwell in it who do not desire it! A supposition, which, in our view, carries its own confutation in it. For the all important inquiry is, confessedly, how to obtain salvation? The solution which the supposition exhibits, is this, _by being willing not to obtain it_!
GOD cannot issue an order, making it the duty of man to be willing to be damned. To be willing to be damned, implies a willingness to disobey God, refuse his grace, and continue in unbelief and impenitence! Should we suppose it possible for God to issue the order, obedience would be impossible, and equally to those of every character.
THE hardened sinner, cannot be thought capable of love to God, which will dispose him to suffer eternally for God’s glory. He may do that which will occasion eternal sufferings, but not out of obedience to God--not with design to glorify him.
NEITHER can the awakened sinner be considered as the subject of such love of God. They see indeed the evil. Awakened Sinners are not lovers of God. They see indeed the evil of sin, and are sensible of its demerit? that they deserve destruction. But this doth not reconcile them to destruction, and make them willing to receive it. They tremble at the thoughts of it, strive against sin, and cry after deliverance. Were they willing to be damned, they would not be afraid of being damned, or seek in anyway to avoid it.
IT is equally impossible for the saint to be reconciled to damnation as will appear, by considering what it implies. It implies the total loss of the divine image, and banishment from the divine presence and favor! It implies being given up to the power of apostate spirits, and consigned to the same dreary dungeon of despair and horror, which is prepared for them! It implies being doomed to welter in woe unutterable, blaspheming God, and execrating the creatures of God, "world without end!"
WHEN people pretend that they are willing to be damned for the glory of God, they "know--not what they say nor whereof they affirm." They leave out the principal ingredients of that dreadful state. Bid they take them into the account, they would perceive the impossibility of the thing. To suppose it required is to blaspheme God--to pretend that man can submit to it, is to belie human nature--to conceive that a child of God can reconcile himself to it, is to subvert every just idea of true religion. To require it, God must deny himself! To consent to it, man must consent to become an infernal! The statement of the case is a refutation of the scheme.
BUT if God’s glory requires it, will not this reconcile the good and gain their consent?
GOD’s glory doth not--cannot require it. "The spirit of the Lord is not straightened." Human guilt and misery are not necessary to God’s honor.