« FöregåendeFortsätt »
eth not so, neither doth his heart | tions; and nothing can remove the think so; but it is in his heart to obligation of mankind to obey. destroy and cut off nations not 3. Since the decrees of God affew. Wherefore it shall come to ford no excuse for the wicked conpass, that when the Lord hath ac- duct of mankind, it was perfectly complished his whole work upon consistent with his character to demount Zion and on Jerusalem, I cree the existence of moral evil in will punish the fruit of the stout order to promote the greatest good. heart of the king of Assyria, and Many contend that it is inconsistthe glory of his high looks.” ent with the holy character of
2. Since the decrees of God af- God, to suppose that he determinford no excuse for the wicked con. ed the existence of moral evil, duct of mankind, there can be no even for a greater good, or for wise inconsistency between his decrees and benevolent reasons. But the and commands. Many suppose, light of our subject destroys the that if the doctrine of divine de force of this objection. Since the
. crees be true, they must be entire- decrees of God do not destroy, ly inconsistent with the commands but confirm the free, moral agency of God. This would, doubtless, of his creatures, and they are highbe the case, if the decrees of God | ly criminal for their evil conduct; afforded any excuse for the trans-- what inconsistency can be attribugressor. But we have seen that ted to the divine character? Supmankind have not the least excuse posing God causes the wrath of for their iniquities, either from the man to praise him, and restrains divine decrees, or from the divine the remainder of wrath; who shall conduct. What discrepance or in- find fault and reply against him? consistency, then, can be shown
While he says,
66 I'form the light, between the decrees and commands and create darkness; I make peace, of God ? Let sinners bring forth and create evil; I the Lord do all their strong reasons, produce their these things;" he says also, “Woe cause, and show whether the ways unto him that striveth with his of the holy and wise God are equal Maker!" or unequal. This, God challenges 4. Since the decrees of God afthem to do.
“ Hear ye now what ford no excuse for the wicked conthe Lord saith: Arise, contend thou duct of mankind, it must be very before the mountains, and let the wicked and dangerous for any to hills hear thy voice. Hear ye, o plead the divine decrees as an exmountains, the Lord's controver- cuse for their wicked conduct.sy, and ye strong foundations of Mankind are ever ready to avail the earth : For the Lord hath a themselves of every plea, and fly controversy with his people, and to every subterfuge. Though they he will plead with Israel. O my naturally hate the holy purposes people, what have I done unto of God; yet they are very willing thee? and wherein have I wearied to urge them as an excuse for sinthee? testify against me.” Who ning, and to make them a cloak
presume to impeach the divine for their iniquities. This was the character, or the divine conduct, case with the Jews of old. They or the divine commands ? The said, “The fathers have eaten commandments of God are per
sour grapes, and the children's fectly just, and his ways are equal. teeth are set on edge; we are deNo inconsistency whatever can be livered to do all these abominaappear between the divine
But this must be highly purposes and the divine requisi- | criminal in the sight of God. Who
can be innocent, when he urges nothing to do with the heathenish the holy and wise purposes
of God and atheistical doctrine of fate. A to justify himself in sin, and ex- denial of the divine decrees, in their cuse his flagrant breaches of the true and scriptural sense, leads to divine law? Who can innocently fatalism and infidelity. But since · rise up before God and say, “The the decrees of God, as revealed in purposes, which you have formed the holy scriptures, afford no ex
, from eternity, afford me a reasona- cuse for the wicked conduct of ble excuse for my transgressions" mankind, it is totally absurd and
?' Will sinners dare to risk this im- unreasonable to say, that they are pious plea in the day of judgment? in any way connected with UniWill they risk the salvation or de versalism. It is absolutely cerstruction of their own souls upon tain, that mankind are altogether this groundless, vain and wicked criminal for their wicked conduct, excuse? It has been demonstrably notwithstanding the divine deproved, in a former essay, that sin crees; and consequently, it is as ners can draw no argument from certain, that God will punish the the decrees of God to justify their incorrigible transgressor. If the conduct in the least possible de- decrees of God afforded any reagree. How vain, idle and blas
to mankind for phemous, then, must it be, for sin their wicked conduct, we might ners to rise up before God and then reasonably infer the doctrine say, “ We are delivered to do all of universal salvation. But it apthese abominations!” It is against pears from our subject, that the such persons, that God has de decrees of God afford not the least nounced a dreadful woe and a bit-excuse for the least transgression. ter curse.
They cannot destroy the nature of 5. Since the decrees of God af- sin; they cannot destroy, but abford no excuse to mankind for their solutely confirm the free, moral wicked conduct, no argument can agency of the creature; and they be drawn from the doctrine of di- cannot remove the sentence of the vine decrees in favour of univer- divine law, nor the remorse of a sal salvation. Many persons, in guilty conscience. What inferorder to cast a slur upon the doc- ence, then, can be drawn in favour trine before us, and bring the pur- of Universalism? Those who asposes of God into contempt, will sert, that the doctrine of decrees cry out, “ This is Universalism!" is Universalism, “know neither “This encourages licentiousness, what they say, nor whereof they and teaches that all mankind will affirm.” It is a mere subterfuge, finally be freed from the punish- to get rid of the doctrine. It is a ment due to their sins!” But this mere evasion of God's holy and is a false and slanderous assertion. eternal purposes. Besides, if the Universalists, in general, are vio- doctrine of divine decrees affords lently opposed to the true doctrine any ground for the doctrine of uniof divine decrees; and they express versal salvation ; why should the their opposition in the most oppro- openly profane and immoral, the brious terms. There are some,
infidel and sceptic, and the Unihowever, who hold to a kind of fa- versalist himself, be so violently tality, which neither they nor any opposed to it? The fact, the plain one else can explain; and from this and demonstrable fact, that persons they pretend to infer the universal of this description are so constantsalvation of mankind. But the ly and violently opposed to the doctrine of divine decrees has decrees of God, is a strong and
incontrovertible evidence in favour flames, I shall be, do what I mays of the doctrine, and that it is di- and if it is decreed that I shall be rectly opposed to Universalism. burned to death, I shall be, do what
6. Since the decrees of God af- | I can? Would any one thus act ford no escuse for the wicked con- the part of a madman? How then duct of mankind; it is highly im will any one presume to say, in pious, as well as impertinent, for view of eternal things, “ It is no any to say, in view of this doc- matter what we do?if we are to trine, If we are to be saved, we be saved, we shall be, do what we shall be, do what we may; or if we may; or if we are to be damned, are to be damned, we shall be, do we shall be, do what we can?"what we can. This is altogether | After Paul had declared the pura misrepresentation of the doctrine pose of God, that none of the ship's before us. It is a perversion of company, who sailed with him,
. the word of God, and a perversion should be lost, but that they should too, of which common sense ought all escape safe to land; did he tell to be ashamed. Was it not de them that this should take place, creed, that Christ should suffer and let them do what they might? No. make an atonement for sin? Was For when the ship-men were about not this foretold and promised, to flee out of the ship, he said to four thousand years before he ap- the officers, “ Except these abide peared in the flesh? Why then, in the ship ye cannot be saved.". might not the Divine Redeemer So of sinners. Though the purhave said, If I am to make an poses of God are steadfast as his atonement for sin, I shall, whether throne; yet let them be assured, I appear in the world or not? Such that " whoever believeth, shall be an assertion is as absurd as it saved; but he that believeth not, would be for me to say, If I am shall be damned."
The perverto finish this essay, I shall finish it, sion of this doctrine is nothing whether I write any more or not. The apostles were slander. That is, if I am to finish it, I shall, ously reported, with respect to the whether I finish it or not. But is same glorious and important truth. not such language ridiculous? Is “As we be slanderously reported," it the dictate of common sense? says Paul, “and as some affirm Who of my readers will assert, in that we say, Let us do evil, that such language as this, If it is de- good may come. Whose damnacreed that I shall read this essay, I tion is just.” shall read it, even though I throw 7. Since the divine decrees afit aside and never again look into ford no excuse for the wicked conit? That is to say, If it is decreed duct of mankind, the character of that I shall read this essay, I shall, God may be vindicated in panishwhether I read it or not. So you ing impenitent sinners according might argue with respect to your to his decrees and according to fields and labour. You might say, their deserls. If the divine purIf I am to have a harvest of wheat, poses afforded mankind any excuse I shall have it; though no seed for their wicked conduct, they should ever be applied to the might then be released from punground. But who would thus per- ishment on the ground of justice. vert plain common sense, in tem- But we find, in view of our subporal affairs? Who, when his dwel- ject, that the conduct of sinners is ling is on fire, will lie down in his altogether criminal, and that they chamber, and say, If it is decreed fulfil the decrees of God by “ wick-. that I shall be saved from the ed hands." Such is the declaras tion of scripture. “ Him, being will not be able to find a single addelivered by the determinate coun- vocate in heaven, earth or hell.sel and foreknowledge of God, ye God will then vindicate the perhave taken, and by wicked hands fections of his character, and his have crucified and slain.” The eternal determinations, to the eterconduct of the Jews was just as nal juy of all holy beings, and the hateful and wicked, as it would eternal confusion of all his enehave been, if God had never form-mies. It will then appear to ereed any purpose respecting the cru- ry intelligent being, that sinners cifixion of the Divine Redeemer. have hated God without a cause, And sinners are altogether crimi- and never had the least reasonable nal and odious in the sight of God, excuse for their sinful conduct.as much so as if he had never It will then fully appear, that they formed any decree respecting their have ever acted voluntarily in all conduct. For we have seen, that their transgressions; that they have the decrees of God afford them not gone in defiance of the authority of the least excuse for the least trans-God, against all his commands; gression. If, then, the decrees of and that their blood must ever lie God afford sinners no excuse for upon their own guilty heads. They their transgressions, but they are can never plead that the divine altogether criminal in his sight; it purposes laid them under any comis perfectly just and reasonable for pulsion to do wrong; this is false. God to punish them according to They can never plead, that the dihis decrees and according to their vine agency compelled them to do deserts. FOR THE BOPKINSIAR MAGAZINE.
wrong; this is a refuge of lies.Finally. Since the decrees of They can never plead, that they God afford no excuse for the wick- were unable to do differently from ed conduct of mankind, sinners what they have done ; common must eventually be stript of every sense and the consciousness of evplea, which they can possibly urge ery individual prove this to be conagainst either the divine purposes, trary to plain fact. Who then or the divine government, in vin- will rise up in the day of judgdication of their own characters. ment, in the face of Omnipotence, The light of our subject obviates and say, We were delivered, that every objection, which can possi-is, compelled to do all these abombly be urged against either election, inations? Ah! sinner, be assured, or reprobation, or divine agency; that God will plead with you, when or against any of the divine per- he pleads with all flesh, and will fections, counsels or works. Sin-surely bring you in quilty. Your ners, then, must finally be divest- tongue must faulter in your own ed of every possible excuse. When defence; and the great Judge of they come to stand at the judgment quick and dead will say, “ Out of
, seat of Christ, their mouths must thine own mouth will I judge thee, be shut. In vain will they look thou wicked servant." for a subterfuge, in vain will they
Philo-HOPKINSIAN. seek a hiding place. The hail shall sweep away their refuges of The above piece has been delayed by lies, and the waters shall overflow the indisposition of the writer,--EDITOB. their places of retreat.' They
morning were the first day.” As
the evening is mentioned first, it ON THE SABBATH.
is inferred that the day began with MR. EDITOR,
the evening preceding, and inThough it is of high importance cluded that night; though in this that the Sabbath should be duly sa me verse the day is mentioned sanctified, it is awfully profaned. before the night. God called the
66 And doubtless the difference of light day, and the darkness he opinion and practice among pro-called night." And therefore, acfessing Christians as to the time, | cording to this mode of reasoning, when the Sabbath begins, has no we might infer that the day began little influence in weakening, in in the morning, and included the the minds of people, a reverence
following night. for that sacred day. They ob- The evening and morning here serve professors conversing about include twenty-four hours; conthe world, and attending to their sequently, if the evening began at secular concerns on both Satur- the time, when the sun set, it day and Sabbath evening. Those must have extended to sun-rise, of different practices will inter and the morning from sun-rise to rupt each other in their devotions, sun-set. But it is contrary to lead one another into worldly con- scripture and universal practice, versation, and insensibly lessen to call the time from midnight to their respect for the holy Sabbath. sun-rise evening, and from noon I recently heard a complaint a- to sun-set morning. The time begainst a Minister, who observes fore sun-rise is often called mornSaturday evening, that he would ing: See Gen. xix. 5—23, Exodus go, on Sabbath evening, into the xiv, 24, Ruth iii. 14, I. Sam. xxv. houses of his parishioners, who 22—34, Psalm cxix. 147, Daniel keep that evening as holy time, vi. 19, Mark. i. 35. But if the and introduce conversation on sec- evening begins the day, and exular business. How desirable, tends to sun-rise, then the time then, that Christians should be before sun-rise is not morning, but agreed on this important point.- evening. And as discussion is calculated to As the evening follows the day, cast light upon subjects, and af- and as there was uninterrupted ford means of forming a correct darkness till the light was called, opinion, I will offer a few remarks there could be no evening before upon the arguments usually ad- there was a day, and the evening duced in favour of keeping Satur- succeeding the day properly beday evening as belonging to the longs to the day. Accordingly Sabbath, and as holy time: and the scripture, no where that I can then consider what proof the scrip- find, when the evening belonging ture furnishes in favour of keep- to the day is designated, ever ing Sabbath evening as holy time. reckons the evening preceding as
But here I would premise that belonging to the day. And yet in determining which evening be- according to this mode of reckonlongs to the Christian Sabbath, ing the day, as beginning at sunwe ought to look particularly to set, the evening preceding must the New Testament, and to the always belong to the day, which practice of the apostles.
follows it. And thus what is uniThe first argument in favour of versally called Sabbath evening Saturday evening is drawn from belongs to Monday, and is properGen. i. 5, &c. " The evening and I ly Monday evening. And how as