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of course a proof of the point in debate.” Now let us try a case of this mighty reasoning! God foresaw that Judas would betray his Master; he painted it on the mind of the prophet by the pencil of inspiration; the prophet declared it long before it took place; therefore the sin of Judas was determined of God! I think it remains a doubt whether the unavoidable result of this reasoning is, that all events, sin not exceptéd, are determined of God. But finally, says he, "If argument will convince, it is believed that enough has been exhibited to satisfy every honest and inquiring mind."

On the one hand it is not very pleasant to be considered dishonest, or wanting in inquiry after truth ; yet on the other, I cannot see that enough has been exhibited to establish a point of such moment, both to the character of God, and the happiness of mankind. However, it is only the opinion of Mr. H. of his own arguments ;-every man must think for himself. I find no fault with the quantity of argument, but with its want of strength.

We now pass to the consideration of the third question on the government of God.” It runs thus “Does not this doctrine destroy the free-agency of men?”

By "this doctrine," I understand the doctrine of absolute predestination; or, that God has unalterably fixed every event, (and of course sin,) just as it takes place: and of course that no event can take place in the least different from what it does. After having laboured to prove this doctrine, by the arguments which we have already considered, he next attempts to show by three arguments,

that is a free-agent notwithstanding! Reader, what should you think, to hear a man gravely propose to the world, to show by three arguments, that the two opposite points of a compass, both point to the north at the same time? Such

man

however, in our view, is the attemptof Mr. H. in the case of theology now before us. We shall however approach this mighty fabrick, and examine the materials of its foundation and superstructure. Here then are two distinct doctrines; the one, the doctrine of necessity, the other, the doctrine of free-agency.---The former goes to say, 1, that God saw it to be “best on the whole," that sin, and every other event that does, should exist. 2. That he decreed or “determined to produce every such event." 3. That these events are so fixed and certain, being "in the plan of God,” that they cannot one fail to take place when, and under precisely such circumstances, as it is pretended was decreed. 4. These decrees involve the moral conduct of men."

The latter sentiment goes to say, 1st, that God. saw fit to create man an accountable being. 2d. In order to render it just for him to treat him as such, endowed him with freedom of will; i. e, a power to choose or refuse the various objects presented to his mind; and of course, events which involve his moral conduct, may, or may not take place, according to the determinations of his niind, I trust that the bare statement of these doctrines, is sufficient to show, that, as soon might the iron and clay in Nebuchadnezzar's great image unite, as for these doctrines to be both true at the same time.

One of the principal errors, into which Mr. H. seems to have fallen, in the discussion of this point, is, the confounding certainty with necessity. He uses these terms as synoni. mous; and it appears, would convey the idea that there is no difference in their signification. That this however is a mistake, will appear on a moment's reflection,

"It is certain that I write at this moment, but am I necessitated to it? May I not drop my pen, and meditate, read, or walk? The chasm, which in many cases, separates

absolute certainty from absolute necessity, is as immense as that, which stands between a point and infinity. Take notice of the insect that buzzes about your ears : does it not exist as certainly as God himself? but would it not be a kind of blasphemy to say that it exists as necessarily? Would it not at least, be paying to a fly, an honour which is due to none but God, the only Supreme, and absolute necessary Being? And when you support your doctrines by confounding certainty with necessity, do you not support them by confounding two things, which, in a thousand cases, and especially in the present one, have no more connexion than the two poles ?"*

While we are on this subject, permit me to make a further quotation from the same excellent author.-"I remind the reader," (says he,) "that Mr. Edwards, President of New Jersey College, is exactly of Zelotes't sentiment with respect to necessity or bound-will. They agree to maintain, that necessary circumstances necessarily turn the scale of our judgment, that our judgment necessarily turns the scale of our will, and that the freedom of our will consists merely in choosing with willingness, what we must choose by necessity. Mr. Voltaire, also, at the head of the fatalists abroad, and one of my opponents at the head of the Calvinists in England, gives us, after Mr. Edwards, this false idea of liberty. To show their mistake, I need only to produce the words of Mr. Locke.—“Liberty cannot be where there is no thought, no volition, no will, &c. So a man striking himself or his friend, by a convulsive motion of his arm, which is not in his power by volition, or the direction of his mind, to stop or forbear; nobody thinks he has liberty in this; every one

* Fletcher's Works, vol. 5, page 81. - A rigid Calvinist.

pities him, as acting by necessity and constraint. Again, there may be thought, there may be will, there may be volition, where there is no liberty. Suppose a man be carried, whilst fast asleep, into a room, where is a person he longs to see, and be there locked fast in, beyond his power to get out; he awakes, and is glad to see himself in so desirable company, which he stays willingly in; that is, he prefers staying to going away. Is not this stay voluntary? I think nobody will doubt it, and yet being locked fast in, he is not at liberty to stay, he has not freedom to be gone. So that liberty is not an idea belonging to volition, or preferring ; but to the person having the power of doing, or forbearing to do, according as the mind shall choose or direct.”

Again, Mr, Fletcher observes further, in relation to liberty or free-agency-"Our liberty consists, (1,) in our being under no natural necessity, with regard to the choice of the means, by which we pursue happiness; and, of consequence, with regard to our schemes and actions. I repeat it, by natural necessity I mean, an absolute want of power to do the reverse of what is done. Thus, by natural necessity an ounce is outweighed by a pound; it can no ways help it; and a man whose eyes are quite put out, cannot absolutely see the light, should he desire and endeavour it ever so much. Hence it appears, that, when Peter denied his Master, he was not under the natural necessity so to do: for he might have confessed him if he had pleased : and when David went to Uriah's bed he might have gone to his own. There was no shadow of natural necessity in these cases.

We may then, or we may not admit the truth or the lie, that is laid before us as a principle of action. Thus the Eunuch without necessity admitted the truth delivered to him by Philip; and Eve without necessity entertained the lie, which was told her by the serpent.

(2.) Our liberty consists in a power carefully to considera whether what is presented to us as a principle of action, is a truth or a lie ; lest we should judge according to deceitful appearances. Our blessed Lord, by steadily using this power, steadily baffled the tenipter; and Adam by not making a proper use of it, was shamefully overcome.

(3.) It consists in a power natural to all moral agents, to do acts of sin if they please, and in a supernatural or gracious power, bestowed for Christ's sake upon fallen man, to forbear with some degree of ease, doing sinful acts, at least when we have not fully thrown ourselves down the declivity of temptation and passion; and when we have not yet, by that means, contracted such strong habits, as make virtue or vice morally necessary to us.

(4.) It consists in a gracious power to make diligent enquiry, and to apply in doubtful cases to the Father of lights for wisdom, before we practically decide, that such a doctrine is true, , or such an action is right. Had Eve, and David, used that power, the one would not have been deceived by a flattering serpent; nor the other by an impure desire,

(5.) But the highest degree of our liberty consists in a power to suspend a course of life entered upon; to re-examine our principle, and to admit a new one, if it appear more suitable; especially when we are particularly assisted by divine grace, or strongly wrought upon by temptations, adapted to our weakness. Thus by their gracious freeagency, Manasses and the prodigal son suspended their bad course of life, weighed the case a second time for the better, admitted the truth which they once rejected, and from that new principle wrought righteousness : while, on the other hand, Solomon, Judas, and Demas, by their natural freeagency, suspended their good course of life, weighed the

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