תמונות בעמוד

do wrong; whereas, such is the condition of man, being in a probationary state, and within the reach of mercy, and a free agent; and God not having decreed bis moral conduct, he may by the grace of God sometimes do right. In answer therefore to the question, “ If he be not free, how can ke be blamed ?" I answer : He iş blamed for sinning, and for leaving his own habitation and first estate while he was free, and enjoying a probationary state.-II. Peter, ji. 4: Jude 6. He is reserved under chains of darkness to the judgment of the great day, there to be judged and punished for the deeds done in heaven. Can it be possible that Mr. H. is a restorationer ! Having brought the case of the devil, who, by all but restorationers, is supposed to be beyond the reach

mercy, to illustrate that of mạn, one would be led to think that is the case ; yet this cannot be, as the fifteenth section is directly against that doctrine. However, I supposé that he does believe, that the deyil has natural ability in hell to love God, or he would not have represented him as being a free agent there; and this is not a very great remove from the restoration doctrine. Yet every one must see the gross absurdity of supposing a state of confirmation in misery, to be compatible with a state of freedom and probation. It is generally, I believe, considered to be a mark of scarcity when people far-fetch; if this be so, surely arguments to prove that necessity or previous certainty is essential to freedom, must be very scarce indeed; for the wide extremes of heaven and hell, have both been ransacked to prove this favorite point; but whether with success, the reader must judge,

In the third and last place, Mr. H. attempts to obviate the objection under consideration, by a view of several circumstances recorded in scripture. “ It will be readily seen, (says he) that in every prophecy, which is descriptive of the future conduct of men, this point is unquestionably establish,

ed.” What ! that necessity, or absolute certainty is essential to freedom? Surely not so readily seen, as if it were declared in the Bible! The most that can be gathered from the prophecies of the future conduct of men, is, that the events were certainly known to God. But, as Mr. H. acknowledge es, this knowledge has no possible influence in rendering thosé events certain or necessary. Hence they do not take place because he knows them, but he knows them because they will take place; and because they will take place as the moral conduct of free agents, and not because he had determined or decreed that they should take place. But it may be asked—can a man do otherwise than what God knows he will ? I answer, yes; or he is not a free agent. But if it be asked—will a man do otherwise than what God knows he will ? to this I reply, no; for this is in perfect accordance with the sentiment, that his choice originates in free-agency; and not in Calvinistic fatality. But it may be asked again - what is the difference between can they, and will they do otherwise ? &c. I answer—a machine which is propelled by foreign and irresistible power, cannot do otherwise from what it does ; and therefore is not accountable for its movements. If there is any defect, either in the mechanism or movements of it, none but the architect can be to blame. This, and much more when applied to man, would be but a fair exhibition of the first question ; for, to suppose that men cannot do otherwise than what they do, (and such is the doc. trine of our opponents, unless men can break the decrees of God) draws after it the following, among many, God dishonouring notions : 1. That God created man with the express design that he should sin. 2. In order to secure this end, 80" disposed of motives in his providence," as to lead him to yield to the temptation and partake of the forbidden fruit. 3. That God arraigned, convicted, and sentenced him to eternal death, for doing what he had unalterably decreed he should do. 4. And yet after all, he invites the whole world to come and declares, that whosoever will, may take the water of life freely! The second of those questions, sup. poses that God created man a rational and accountable be. ing ; endowed him with freedom, and in order to render him accountable for his moral conduct, placed him under a moral government, set life and death before him, gave him the necessary information, and left him to act his own choice. Now, under this government, men will act as they do ; and God knows, and ever knew, how they will act. At the same time he knows, and ever knew, with “unfailing certainty," that they might act different ; and on this ground arises their guilt and condemnation. To suppose the moral conduct of men to be fixed and certain by the decree of God, and yet that men are free, and accountable for their conduct, is a palpable absurdity. I am not so much surprised, after a view of the subject which we oppose, that a gentleman, (not a thousand miles from this place) should say, that had he not been brought up under the administration of that system, he should probably not have been an unbeliever in the christian religion. The remarks which have been made on the first part of the third argument of Mr. H, will apply equally to the whole of it, as the whole proceeds upon the supposition, that the future conduct of men, could not have been predicted, had it not been fixed or certain in the plan of God. To. say it could not have been predicteed, had it not been “known," is not touching the controversy; for who denies that? This objection then, against the doctrine of God's universal government, (as held by the Calvinists) that it destroys the agency of men, is plainly on a good foundation.


Same subject continued. MANY are the serious objections which our author finds in the way of his system. Another is contained in the following question :-“If all events are in the purposes of God, then he has determined the exisentence of sin; and if


is it not evident that he is pleased with its nature ?” To this question Mr. H. answers--- By no means ; such a conclusion would be equally at war with the Bible, and with the plainest dictates of common sense."

The reader will observe, that the question contains two parts. The first goes to say, that on the Calvinistic scheme, God has determined the existence of sin. To this, as well as the other part of the question, he says, “ By no means," &c. Now, on page 67, he roundly asserts, that, “ If some events are determined of God, the WHOLE are." But here, that such a conclusion would be equally at war with the Bi. ble, and with the plainest dictates of common sense ! Now, either sin is not an event, or Mr. H. has contradicted himself. If, however, he did not mean to negative the first part of the objection, then it remains unanswered ; and of course stands in its full force against the system of our opponents. Indeed he has not touched the first part of the objection ; for all he has said in answer to the whole question, is an attempt to show that God is not pleased with the nature of sin. Well, let us see how well he succeeds in this attempt. “ Nothing could be more evident than that God was willing, on the whole, that his Son should be put to death. For this purpose

he was sent into the world. Now shall we conclude that this event in its nature, was pleasing to God ?" p. 71. I answer--this is taking for granted, what it is pre

we all


sumed no being on earth can prove, viz—ihat God was wil. ling that his Son should be mnrdered! To "put to death," signifies to take away life in a violent way. Now that the Jews felt and did what is denominated murder in the scrip. tures, though it did not actually take away his life) we all agree; and that, what they felt and did what was an event agree.

But that God had determined the Jews should feel, and do as they did, we deny; and think it both impious and absurd to assert it. To suppose that God had de. termined, that the Jews and Romans should reject, and treat the Saviour as they did, is saying that he brought upon the Jewish nation, the most dreadful, and complete destruction, that ever the sun was permitted to behold; 'andall for doing what he had previously determined they should do !! him believe this of the all wise, and good God, whose creed will not allow him to entertain more consistent views,

We have no doubt but the death of Christ, separate from what his enemies felt and did, was determined of the Father; and that for this purpose he was sent into the world. But to suppose that the infinitely wise and holy God, was under the necessity of resorting to such measures as Calvinism supposes, is a gross reflection upon the divine character. Such however, according to that system, must be the conclusion, or we must suppose that God did not adopt the wisest plan that could have been adopted : either of which is monstrous. Upon the whole, we see no reason for believing that God was willing that his Son should be "put to death.Again, the system of our opponents teaches, that the malice and wicked conduct of the Jews towards Christ, and indeed all sin, is for the greatest possible good. Now if it did not bear the nature of sin, according to them, it could not accomplish the greatest possible good. If this be so, is he not pleased with the nature of that which would do greater good than any

« הקודםהמשך »