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say, O Jerusalem ! Jerusalem ! how often would I have done, what I determined never to do!

65 O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider on their latter end." O that they were what I determined they should never be. O that they would do what I determined they should never do! Now if every event is determined of God, then he had determined that the Jews should never be gathered ; yet he declares that he would often have done it. But to return to his vindication of the divine character. The first argument runs thus :" Surely no one will contend that it would be just for God, on the whole, to be willing that certain events should exist, and wrong for him to determine their existence. By the “ certain events,” here mentioned, I understand Mr. H. to mean sin ; and, if so, what a pity that he had not stated, in plain terms, that no one will contend that it would be just for God, on the whole, to be willing that sin should exist, and wrong for him to determine its existence. If it is true that God wills the existence of sin, we need not be afraid to assert il openly and plainly to the world. The truth needs not the artful coverings of human invention; it will bear its own weight—if not let it fall. I perfectly agree, however, with Mr. H. in this, that if God wills !he existence of sin, it is not wrong for him to determine its existence. I believe, further, that if it were possible for God to lie, it would not be wrong for him to do so. There is, however, about as much reason in the one case, as in the other. The whole tenour of Revelation declares the will of God to be against the existence of sin. The very first command given to man, after his creation, is an incontestible proof that the will of God is against its existence. Every threatening found in the Bible, is a proof of the same point. And every manifestation of grace and mercy for the recovery of a lost and ruined world, is also a proof of the

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point in question. Whenever it is proved, therefore, that God wills the existence of sin, the controversy will then be at an end; for whatever he wills the existence of, must be right. Then we shall all sing with one,

“ Whatever is, is right”! To suppose, however, that an infinitely holy Being, wills an unholy action, and that an infinitely just Being wills an unjust action, and that a Being of inviolable truth, should will the existence of a lie, are absurdities too glaring to merit belief.

Next we are presented with a case for illustration, of a being possessed of all the faculties of a moral agent. is placed in circumstances where obedience and disobedience, and their different consequences are entirely at his option. Without the least influence from any other being, he chooses the path of disobedience. Now suppose that Deity has knowledge sufficient to see with clearness every act through his whole life; that he sees, also, how he may overrule the whole of his conduct, so as to promote his own glory. Is this agent in any way injured, or his agency im. paired, by this knowledge ? Or is it unjust for God to take the advantage of his conduct, to execute designs of benevo. lence ?"

In the first place, we deny, that, on Calvinistic principles, such a being does, or can, exist, as is described in this quotation, We are there told that the being in question makes up

his choice, without the least influence from any other beingNow to choose, is an event," and Mr. H, tells us that “ the purposes of God extend to every event ;” and that his “de. terminations extend to the volitions of wicked men.” If then, (as he argues elsewhere,) the mind is “invariably governed by the highest motive," and God, by “disposing of motives in his providence" leads men to the very choice

they make in every instance, how, I ask, is it possible, on these principles, for a being to exist, whose choice is made

without the least influence from any other being”? It is a little surprising that Mr. H. or Dr. Dwight, should have proceeded upon a principle so inconsistent with their general system ! In the second place, Mr. H. abandons his doctrine of decrees, in this argument, and proceeds upon the principle of God's overruling providence. But his proving that it is just for God to take the advantage of the conduct of the wicked, for the promotion of his own glory, and the good of his people, by no means proves that the divine "character remains unimpeached, if the doctrine of Calvinistic decrees is true. This is the doctrine which it is the business of our opponents to reconcile with the upsul: lied character of God. I conclude, therefore, that the case for illustration which our author produces, does not answer the end proposed in the outset of the argument ; for that was to show, that " if the determinations of God extend to the volitions of wicked men, his character remains unim. peached." Let this be done, and we shall think more favourably of the system which we oppose.

All the arguments of our opponents, do not, as we con. ceive, prove that sin is necessary for the promotion of the glory of God, and the good of his people, unless we can suppose that he had not wisdom sufficient to promote these ends without it. I apprehend, however, that the divine character needs not the aid of sin to cause its lustre to shine. In all displays of human glory, lights and shades are necessary--but the divine character, needs no shades to set off its glorious perfections to advantage. His own innate and unbounded glory, shines with more than the light of ten thousand suns—and all-independent of every other princi. ple or being. Yet, he does see fit to spread his declarative

glory, by the works of his own hands, and sometimes even makes the wrath of man to praise him. But, to suppose that he " producesi" the wrath of man, is degrading to the divine character. Again-he says, “that such a line of conduct, as that which the sinner would naturally choose, would not be, of all others, the best, taking every thing into view, to be overruled for the promotion of infinitely wise purposes, is more than men, or angels, can know.: It is presumed that the line of conduct, which the sinner would naturally choose, (unless he should take it into his head to love God with natural ability,') would be a line of transgression. If so, it is presumed again, that both men and angels know very well, if the word of God may be relied on, that that line of conduct, which the sinner would naturally choose, is by no means the best to be overruled for the promotion of infinitely wise purposes,

If God has commanded virtue, and forbidden vice, it was because he saw that the former is better then the latter, both in its nature and consequences.


II, 13. If we have any confi: dence in the divine character, we must suppose, that infinite wisdom saw the best course to be taken, for the promotion of the greatest possible good, and that infinite goodness prompted the Deity to adopt that course. This being done, the divine law required obedience of the subjects of a moral government, for the attainment of this end. That law is a transcript of the divine mind, and exhibits what the will of God is concerning us. This is sure ground. This we are warranted in believing ; 1, from a view of the divine character, as revealed in the Bible. 2. From the commands of God, requiring obedience, and forbidding disobedience.This is according to what is revealed ; and, if there is any secret will, yet behind, I believe, for one, that it is in perfect accordance with what is revealed ; and if not, and it is

secret, we know nothing of it, and, of course, cannet predicate either doctrines or arguments upon it. But, says an objector, if this be so, man has not answered the end of his creation ! Surely he has not-and why? Because he was made defective ? or because he has transgressed ? If it is because he has sinned without necessity, then the character of God remains unimpeached." But if he has not answered the end of his creation, then God was disappointed— was he not? If God were not perfect in knowledge, this would be a fatal objection but, as he is, it has no weight., No one was disappointed in the fall of man, but man himself. He expected to be a god, but found himself a poor wretched sinner, If virtue were not better than vice, surely an infinitely wise and good God, would never have commanded it. But he has commanded it, therefore it is the best. But, our opponents may reply, that virtue, in its nature, is better than vice, but not so good “to be overruled for the promotion of infinitely wise purposes." I answer virtue is better than vice, or it is not. If it is, then there is no condition in which vice can be committed, in which it will be productive of so much good as a virtuous course would be. The existence of sin, or the overruling of it by the Lord, for the greatest possible good under existing circumstances, forms no argument that the way of obedience, (which was the one commanded,) was not the wisest and best. But what has been revealed in favour of virtue and against vice, forms, at least, a presumptive evidence that virtue could have been as well, if not better, overruled, for the promotion of infinitely wise purposes. Again-every one will grant, that that which produces the greatest possible good,“ tạking every thing into view," must be, on the whole, or, on the part, the best. But if so, on the above principle, virtue looses much of its divine excellence, and vice its malignity. Moral evil becomes

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