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did the apostle know how to appreciate it. Once could he heap reproaches on Jesus and his disciples; once could he breathe out threatenings against the saints; once was he exceedingly mad in his opposition to the true faith; but he obtained an abundance of that grace which he had so much despised, and he prized it above all things else on earth. Our opposers now contend, that if the doctrine we profess, be true, there is no advantage in believing it. They say, they are just as well without the knowledge of it, as they would he even if they were certain of its truth. But such argument is entirely inconsistent with their own pretensions. They profess to be much concerned for the eternal salvation of their own souls; they express great anxiety for the eternal salvation of their children and neighbours, and even for the heathen. But how is it possible that in all their pretensions they can be sincere, and yet say that they should not be any more happy if they were sure that they themselves, their children and neighbours, together with the heathen, and even all mankind, were secure in him who gave himself a ransom
for all to be testified in due time?
My Christian friends, well may we esteem the speciality of salvation, enjoyed by believing, of greater value than earthly riches.
It inspires the heart with love to God; it endears the name of Jesus to him who exercises it; it is intimately connected with that hope which is an anchor to the soul, entering within the vail.
May he who walks among the golden candlesticks, and holds the seven stars in his right hand, make ministers faithful unto death, that the churches may enjoy the special salvation of believing and walking in the truth.
GOD THE AUTHOR OF ALL THINGS.
DELIVERED IN BOSTON, JULY 5, 1829.
1 SAMUEL, XXII. part 22.
“ I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy Father's house."
Among the numerous subjects of controversy, which have engaged the attention of polemic writers, and which have caused divisions in the christian church, no one has been more signalized, or becoine more prominent than the question, whether the Supreme Being can properly be said to be the author of all things, in the most extensive use of the words. While that class of doctors, which have, for ages, defended the system of divinity, which embraces the doctrine of the foreordination of all things, have found no difficulty in confounding the advocates of the opposite hypothesis, they have never been able to free their own creed from objections, no less embarrassing, than those with which they confounded their opposers.
The predestinarian, by urging the foreknowledge of God in all things, which the Arminian doctors could not deny, have been able to denomstrato the certainty of all events as clearly as this certainty is established by the hypothesis of predestination. This argument the Arminian has never been able to overcome. But though he could never satisfy the predestinarian that human agency could possibly go contrary to the divine prescience, he could put him to utter confusion by showing that by the
doctrine of foreordination, God is made the author of all the sin, which wicked beings have commit. ted. And then, making use of a proposition which they both allow, that sin deserves and must receive an infinite and an endless punishment, he presents the appalling absurdity to his adversary, of the foreordination of sin by the divine Being, and also the foreordination of this infinite punishment for sin!
We have here in plain view, the great and embarrassing subject of controversy, and even of contention, which has divided the christian church for ages; and if we carefully observe, we may easily discover where all the difficulty lies. Why does the Arminian, or what we now call the freewiller, wish to find that agency in man for which he contends ? The fact is, he wants it for the sole purpose of making out on the one hand, the justice of the sinner's endless punishment; and on the other, he wishes to free the divine Being from that cruel character which is given him by the doctrine which makes him the author of the sin for which he condemns the sinner to endless sufferings. The Arminian has not been able to discover, nor has the predestinarian shown him, that could he find in man any agency which he should choose to describe, it would then be necessary to allow that this agency, being constituted by the Creator, must have been designed by him for a definite purpose, which purpose could not fail of being effected. So, after all, he involves himself in the same appalling absurdity with which he confounds his adversary. For there is no moral difference in saying that our heavenly Father is the author of that sin for which he condemns his children to endless suffering, and saying that he is the author of that agency which he designed should eventually terminate in the same result.
But the whole difficulty would be removed at once, if the doctors, on both sides of the controversy,
could come to the conclusion to leave out
of the christian creed the hypothesis of endless punishment. To maintain this erroneous proposition, the predestinarian becomes confounded with the relentless cruelty, in which he involves the divine Being ; and to maintain the same offensive doctrine, the Arminian confuses himself with the ignorance, which his doctrine attributes to him who knows all things. What objection could the Arminian bring to the doctrine of predestination, could he first free his own mind from the doctrine of endless punishment, and then find no such error in the system of predestination? There must surely be something besides the dictates of enlightened reason, and the aspirations of a benevolent heart, which would raise objections to the doctrine which teaches that God predetermined all events, and overrules them all for the ultimate good of all his creatures:
With a view to bring this all-important subject before my hearers this morning, and to furnish some arguments for the support of the right of the case, the text, which has been read, was selected. But the query may arise,-What has the text to do with the subject? In reply, we say, that the text stands in support of the doctrine, that contends that the cause of what is called evil may be innocent.
In his fight from the unrighteous vengeance of Saul, king of Israel, David, destitute of provision and of armour, came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest, who not knowing that his majesty was offended with so worthy a servant as he supposed David to be, accommodated him with a supply of holy bread, as he had no other, and gave him also the sword which David took from Goliath when he slew him. Thus provided, David continued his flight from Saul. But Doeg, the Edomite, was present when the priest accommodated David, and afterwards informed Saul of the fact, and accused Ahimelech to his majesty : The king was enrageu against the priest and demanded of him thus
“Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day ?” It was in vain that Ahimelech pleaded his innocence, saying ; “ And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king's son-in-law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house? Did I then begin to inquire of God for him ? be it far from me. Let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father : for thy servant knew nothing of all this less or more.” Absolute power, which is not amenable to law, when exercised by enraged majesty, is deaf to all the eloquence of innocence, and dooms to destruction without the semblance of justice, or the feelings of humanity. The following sentence was immediately pronounced : “ Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father's house.” Such was the odious character of this wicked sentence, that Saul's footmen, when commanded to slay the priests of the Lord, refused. Doeg, in the spirit of his master, accomplished this memorable nassacre, and put to death, that day, eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. He moreover destroyed the city of Nob, old and young, male and female, and even the cattle. One son of Ahimelech alone escaped and came to David, and informed him of the whole of this tragedy. David, in reply, told Abiathar that he knew, when he was with his father, that Doeg would inform Saul of what transpired, and told him that he had been the occasion of the death of all the persons of his father's house ; but at the same time promised him protection.
Having so far attended to the history, in which our subject is found, we may proceed to examine the moral character of David, in relation to the murderous scene which we have described. Was David the innocent cause of this murder, or was