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gain any of the disobedient and rebellious to submission in such a world, decide otherwise, than to present a call' to them to repent, to submit, to accept his terms of reconciliation? Or could he, with any congruity with his moral government, present such a call in our world, without a sovereign act of forbearance towards the race? And if the measures which he pursues, do not render the call effectual in all cases, and if multitudes who do not accept the call, abuse the divine forbearance to their greater hardness, do these results prove at all, that he could have adopted any system of measures, congruous with his moral government, that would secure any better results in this world, or at least in the whole universe ?
A writer in this country has broached a very peculiar theory, which divides God into two distinct actors, having different ends in view, and different means at command; the sovereign efficient, and the moral governor. Just as if God, the moral governor, did not employ his own efficiency, and wisdom, and goodness, to carry forward, in the best possible manner, his moral government over his kingdom, and to secure the best possible results, on the whole, among his subjects. Just as if he did not will, that his creatures should obey his laws, and decide to take the best measures to secure such a result, to the greatest extent possible, in his whole kingdom.
According to that writer, when God, the moral governor, came before Adam with the requirement of love, the sovereign efficient behind the throne, dried up the fountain of love in Adam's heart, by direct annihilation! So bas he ever done by all bis creatures who have defected from his authority. He has called upon them as a father, to abide in his law and love ; but a band from the efficient behind the throne, has dried up the fountain of love in their hearts, by direct annihilation! Is this the sincerity of the holy and blessed potentate, the God of truth and love?
3. The scheme of redemption in Christ is infra-lapsarian.
According to the apostle, sinners are not represented as existing for the sake of redemption, but redemption is represented as introduced among sinners for the sake of salvation, and advancing the moral government of God.
What if God uses forbearance toward a race of sinners, for the sake of calling to glory multitudes, all whom he can, consistently with maintaining his willingness to punish, and consistently with the highest influence of his moral government on the whole? The very idea is, that there is a gain to his kingdom, from that state in which it is, when this world is viewed as having sinned and come short of the glory of God. From this stand-point of a world already in rebellion and perishing, are the intelligent universe 10 take their view and estimate of the work of mercy.
Nor if we take this view of the relation of redemption, as a remedy for an evil unavoidably incident on the creation and government of moral beings, do we destroy, at all, those high and interesting relations which redemption sustains to the eternal counsels of God, to the development of his character, and to the good of his universal kingdom.
His counsel was taken in eternity with reference to all his works. And if it were a truth, that the occurrence of sin originates in the nature of his moral kingdom, unavoidably somewhere, he might have in wisdom counseled, that this world should be the scene, and that the means of redemption should be used in this world, as the remedy for reducing the evil, on the whole, to the narrowest limits congruous with his moral government. Even thus he counseled in Christ before the world began, that this world should be created as the scene for such a redemption.
His character, too, shines more conspicuously in this, than in any of his works ; because here, in order to extend a remedy for an evil, that he could not otherwise reduce, he consents to the greatest possible sacrifice on his own part, and for the sake of those who voluntarily transgressed the laws of their safety. On the very condition, that the evil itself were in its nature to bim unavoidable, and that such a sacrifice were necessary, in order to reduce it in the least, it becomes an act of regard for the welfare of his creatures, more deep, strong and impressive, than any other, and more deserves the praise of his kingdom.
Nor can his universal kingdom fail to reap the results of all his acts of goodness. Principalities and powers in heavenly places, see the extent of his goodness in redemption. And herein is his wisdom in redemption, that an act of restorative goodness toward the otherwise lost, should so be managed, in consistency with the righteousness of his moral government, as to redound to his praise through his whole holy kingdom.
4. The hardening of sinners is an unavoidable attendant on a scheme of redemption.
For, as the scheme of redemption itself is not effectual to the salvation of all, the forbearance of God, which is necessary to the scheme, is abused by some to their greater hardness of heart. This influence to harden the heart, which comes from forbearance abused, is strikingly manifest in the instance of Pharaoh, whom Paul cites in this very paragraph. It is asserted also, by the inspired writer, in this strong language: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sods of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
Forbearance, therefore, at the very time it is the necessary foundation for pursuing a scheme of recovering grace, and attests a goodness in God, that should attract sinners to return to him, in
repentance and submission, unavoidably presents to the heart resolved on sin, greater temptations to keep on in its course; or rather, lessens the force of those motives which should alarm and arouse it to instant repentance.
This is an unavoidable concomitant on a scheme of redemption, is that scheme is not universal in its efficacy. And they who assert, that a scheme of redemption could, in full congruity with the moral government of God, be universal in its efficacy, will do well to prove their own assertion, before they make it the representative of truth, or the foundation of just inferences.
5. The hardening of sinners under a scheme of redemption, is preferable to the non-existence of the scheme itself.
For all would have been lost forever, but for this scheme. And if some increase their hardness, and consequent righteous punishment in eternity, by abusing the forbearance attendant on a scheme of redemption, the simple aggravation of their ruin is not a thing to be set off, as any counterpart or equivalent at all, against the eternal rescue of multitudes from ruin itself, and their exaltation to eternal holiness and blessedness. They who are liardened, are to be put down as originally lost, independently of the scheme of redemption; and they who are saved, are to be put down as wholly gained by the scheme of redemption.
Therefore, there is a vast reduction of evil and increase of good arising from the system, which well exhibits a foundation for divine love to have desired and designed it from eternity, and for a holy universe, when the harvest is reaped, to praise God, for having reared it, through eternity to come.
ART. IV.WARDLAW'S CHRISTIAN ETHICS.
Christian Ethics; or, Moral Philosophy, on the Principles of Divine Retdatien.
By Ralpu Wardlaw, D. D. With an Introduciory Essay. By LEONARD Woods, D. D. New-York, D. Appleton & Co.: Boston, William Peirce.
It was with feelings of awakened interest and expectation, that we read the announcement of “ Wardlaw's Christian Ethics." Books of this sort, as they relate to the foundation of every truth which affects man's permanent welfare, are among the most important that are given to the public. They deserve, therefore, the attention and the serious consideration of every thinking man, as he values correct sentiments on such subjects. The table of contents, published in the religious newspapers before the work itself came to hand, prepared us for the ground which it occupies. We concluded at once, that it was an exhibition of a particular
set of sentiments, in regard to “Moral Science,” which are rapidly gaining favor among a certain class in the christian community. These opinions and modes of thinking, (for we choose to call them thus, rather than to dignify them with the name of principles,) are indeed plausible, because they assume the garb of piety, and peculiar reverence for divine revelation. If they are erroneous, therefore, they are the more carefully to be guarded against, and the more strenuously resisted. Our own principles in respect to them, we have chosen to present in the first place, before we particularly notice the contents of the work itself. We commend them to all such of our readers as can say with Baxter, that in theological and moral science their intellects abhor confusion.
It is a fact which need not be disguised, that, as to ethical science and natural religion, and their relation to revealed truth, the opinions of theologians have been as diverse as possible.
Certain of them have contended, and with no deficiency of zeal, that they who receive the scriptures as revealed from God, after having once settled the question of there being in fact such a revelation, should make them the only field in which to search for truth. If moral philosophy or natural religion are treated of as independent sciences, upon principles peculiar to themselves, an outcry is at once raised against them by such men, as unchristian intruders; and they who study them thus independently, in the eyes of this class of persons, do little better than deny the faith. There have been philosophers who have ever held, that the veriest elements of these sciences were never discovered, and, from the nature of the case, never could have been discovered, before they were spoken out in an audible voice from heaven. This whole class, however, has included but a small portion of the sound thinkers among men.
To a second class it is difficult to assign a character, and for the obvious reason, that, though they may have held opinions upon this subject, they can hardly be said to have adopted principles. Unwilling to discard all independent philosophic reasoning, they are yet afraid to receive and trust it, on the only terms on which it can satisfy the mind, with that confidence in the truth which gives joy, or plants the feet on the firm standing-place so few ever reach. When Reason is in their favor, none are more glad of her aid, or more eager to set her forth as their fellow-combatant, fair and terrible as “ Pallas Minerva" of old. But if for a moment she seems to them to favor their adversary, she is thrust forth at once, as a faithless and a treacherous ally,-always false, and never to be trusted. Instead of disproving the logic which is arrayed against them, as logic, and by the force of sound reasoning, and instead of showing how weak and pitiful it is as argument, the ground is at once shifted, and the appeal is made to the authority VOL. VII.
of revelation, and this is sometimes enforced by not a little authority of their own.
The third class includes all those persons who adopt, with cheerful confidence, the maxim, that the truth can never contradict itself. This maxim they receive, in its fullest extent, as a true one, and upon the strength of their faith in it, they go forth, not knowing whither it will lead them, or rather assured, that it will never mislead or betray. They believe, that He who has arched the broad heavens above them, and spread out the fair earth beneath their feet, and given them the wondrous world within, in which to look, is the same God who has opened the volume of his word ; and that on every one of these varied pages the same truth is written, on one with greater, on another with less distinctness. They are not afraid of attempting to read any one of these pages by itself, and of translating its words according to their just and full import. Whether they wish to learn the nature of man, as he came from the hand of his Creator, or the character which God has given to himself, or as he can be known in his power and goodness, from his works alone; they are not afraid to proceed upon independent principles of inquiry. Instead of waiting to settle the question,-.what if the written word and the voice of nature should contradict each other?—they fearlessly assert, ihat such a case can never happen. If the one appears for a moment at variance with the other, they act as wise men act in all similar cases ; they suspend their judgment. They re-examine their reasoning, and turn the eye more keenly and intently upon the language that seems irreconcilable. If this returns the same answer, and their logic is not to appearance unsound, (which case will not occur so frequently, it may be, as is often thought,) they conclude, that they have not all the facts before them, and wait with minds still open to conviction, till these facts present themselves, relying the mean while on their present interpretation of God's word. This they do with the conviction, that their own fallible intellects are less likely to be deceived in interpreting this word, than in setting up against their present views of it an independent judgment of their own.
It will not be denied, we are confident, by those who are willing to look at facts as they are, and to breathe an atmosphere in reasoning, as free and as liberal as that of the bible, that certain things are in the scriptures supposed true of man, before he is met by their heavenly message. Not only is it supposed, that man is a moral being, with relations which extend out far beyond all that is visible, and with sympathies which vibrate in unison, or in barsh discord, with those of beings whom mortal eye can never see; but it is also supposed, that man may himself know this truth. If he cannot, why is it, that when the voice sounds in his ears, claiming