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There is nothing in religion farther out of nature's reach, and more remote from the natural man's liking and believing, than the doctrine of redemption by a Saviour, and by a crucified Saviour. It is comparatively easy to persuade men of the necessity of an amendment of conduct; it is more difficult to make them see the necessity of repentance in the Gospel sense, the necessity of a change in the principle of action; but to convince men of the necessity of the death of Christ is the most difficult of all. And yet the first is but varnish 117 and whitewash without the second; and the second but a barren nation without the last. Alas! of those who admit the doctrine in words, how large a number evade it in fact, and empty it of all its substance and efficacy, making the effect the efficient cause, or attributing their election to salvation to supposed foresight of their faith, and obedience. But it is most vain to imagine a faith in such and such men, which, being foreseen by God, determined him to elect them for salvation: were it only that nothing at all is future, or can have this imagined futurition, but as it is decreed, and because it is decreed, by God so to be.

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