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therefore, be some independent, active cause: and since there is but one independent being, God must be the cause. But the Divine declarations supercede the necessity of urging any further arguments on the subject. The Holy Spirit hath said (Prov. xvi. 1) The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; as the rivers of water, he turneth it whithersoever he will." The following are instances in which God did actually turn the hearts of men to both good and evil: Eph. ii. 12, 13, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God, which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Zach. viii. 10, For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast, neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in, for I set all men every one against his neighbour." Of Sihon king of Heshbon it is said, Deut. ii. 30, "But he would not let us pass by him; for the Lord thy God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hands, as appeareth this day." It is also recorded in Exod. x. 1, that the Lord said unto Moses, "Go in unto Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and also the hearts of his servants; that I might show these my signs before him." By turning to the history of Pharaoh, given by the pen of inspiration in the cv. Psalm, we find the same fact expressed, if possible, still plainer; which it is impossible to misunderstand or evade: "He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants." It is also said, Rev. xvii. 17, " For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree and give their kingdom to the beast." The prayer of David, also, "Incline my heart to thy testimonies, and not to covetousness," implies, that
it is God, who inclines or turns the heart. The appeal of the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of the prophet Amos, is equally pertinent: Shall there be evil in a city and the Lord hath not done it." This is a kind of challenge to any person to point to any evil, if he could, in the production of which, God has had no hand. The address also to Cyrus, who supposed there were two Gods, one of which was the cause of all good, and the other the cause of all evil, is decisive: Is. xlv. 7, "There is no God besides me. I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things." See also Eph. i. 11, "According to the purpose of Him, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." From these unequivocal and decisive Divine declarations, it appears, that the ancient saints were not in a mistake, in believing, that it was God, who made them to err from his ways. But since this fact has occasioned so much complaint among mankind, it may be well to offer some reasons, not only to vindicate the Divine character, but also to show the unreasonableness of the complaints on account of this truth.
There is no reason to believe, that God makes any to err from the right way, because he delights in errour and wickedness. He certainly cannot delight in that, which is perfectly contrary to the feelings of his holy heart, and the precepts of his holy word. Sin is always an abomination in his sight. "The wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth." "For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth." The Lord Jesus was not pleased, but grieved, at the hardness of heart, which he saw among his hearers. Nor have we any reason to believe,
itself; and no authority ever attempted to execute such a penalty. A penalty consists in natural evil only; but sin is not a natural evil. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life, to which God gave up his rebellious people, were, in themselves, pleasant to them, and not painful. But pleasure, certainly, is not a pun
that God makes any to err from his ways, as a punishment for previous wickedness. This has usually been the last resort of those, who wish to evade the Divine sovereignty; and is probably attended with the most absurdity. But this notion was never taught in the bible. The scriptures do not say, that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, as a punishment for previous wick-ishment. Moral evil may, indeed, edness; but, that he might not be the occasion of natural evil; but choose to let the children of Israel moral evil itself is no punishgo. It is not said, that God harden- ment. ed Sihon's spirit and made his heart obstinate, as a punishment upon him; but, that he might be delivered into the hands of his enemies, in order that he might be punished with death, the due reward of his obstinacy. It is true, that God gave up the Jews to their own hearts' lust, because they would not hearken to him; and the heathen nations to a reprobate mind, because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge; and also, that he sent others strong delusion, that they should believe a lie and be damned, because they did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But, there is no intimation, that their own hearts' lust, and a reprobate mind and strong delusions were inflicted, as a punishment for their disobedience. There is something, however, peculiarly striking and fearful, in being given up to hardness of heart and strong delusion; as it is a strong indication of final destruction. But, the notion of a judicial blindness and hardness of heart, is perfectly visionary and absurd. But, since it is so commonly adopted, it may be well to examine the point a little further, and demonstrate its absurdity.The supposition of a judicial blindness and hardness of heart is contrary to the sense of all law, both human and Divine. No law ever threatened to punish sin with sin
This is farther evident from the consideration, that if sin was a punishment, the wicked could have no possible motive to remain wicked another moment. If gluttony or drunkenness were in themselves a punishment, no person would ever again be intemperate. Or if revenge was itself painful, no murderer would ever again exercise a murderous spirit. There would be no necessity of presenting the allurement of an infinite reward and the terrour of an infinite punishment," to induce the impenitent to renounce their enmity and become reconciled to God, on this supposition. But the truth is, sin is itself a pleasure. Sinners do "take pleasure in unrighteousness;" and, consequently, it cannot be a penalty. It is plainly absurd, therefore, to believe, that God makes any to err from the right way, as a punishment for previous wickedness.
Neither have we any evidence to believe, that God makes any to err from his ways, because he delights in the punishment he intends to inflict upon them. This would be unscriptural; for God hath said, with an oath, "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." "For the Lord doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.
But one obvious reason, why God has made mankind to err from
him." The formation of the moral character and the temporal and eternal destination of creatures, makes such a varied and striking display of the sovereignty of God, that no intelligent being in the universe can be unaffected in view of it. God hardened the hearts of the Egyptians, that he might, by this means, have an opportunity to display his power and sovereignty in Egypt. And how sig nally did he display these perfections there! What fear fell on all the heathen nations, who heard of the overthrow of the Egyptians and the deliverance of Israel? Indeed, this was the very purpose, for which God raised up Pharaoh,
his ways, is, that he might have an opportunity to display his mercy in pardoning sin. Had there been no sinners to pardon, the mercy of God in providing an atonement and in forgiving the guilty, would never have been displayed. But now, God can make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy. He can, through Jesus Christ, make some to the praise of the glory of his grace. This display will occasion a new song to be sung by creatures. Saints and angels can now sing, "O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endureth forever. "The errour and wickedness of men furnishes also an occasion for God to display his patience in that He might show his power in bearing with the wicked. He can him, and that his name might be now, and does" endure with much declared throughout all the earth." long-suffering, the vessels of wrath The errour and wickedness of creafitted to destruction," and appear tures will also furnish an occasion to the whole intelligent creation, for the eternal display of the Dias "the Lord, the Lord God. mer-vine goodness and justice. Every ciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth." Another reason, why God makes men to err from his ways is, that he may have an opportunity to display his sovereignty. This is the reason he gave Moses, why he hardened Pharaoh's heart."Go in unto Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and also the hearts of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him. And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them, that ye may know how that I am the Lord." As creator, God possessed a supreme right to make all things for himself. But, if he had never exercised this power, in actually making all things for himself, yea even the wicked for the day of evil, creatures would never have been able to see so much of God and have such occasion "to fear before power known, endured, with much
instance of the exhibition of Divine justice is an indirect display of Divine goodness. So sung the inspired Psalmist. "O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endureth forever. him that smote Egypt in their first born, for his mercy endureth forever; and brought out Israel from among them, for his mercy endureth forever. But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, for his mercy endureth forever." By reason of the eternal punishment, which will be inflicted on the finally impenitent, the redeemed will forever see and feel the astonishing goodness of God, in sav ing them from the same torments, which they deserve; and the whole intelligent creation will see the evil nature of sin, and the infinite justice of God, while the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever. "What if God, willing to show his wrath and make his
long suffering, the vessels of wrath | in power. Thy right hand, O fitted to destruction." Had there Lord, hath dashed in pieces the been no wicked to punish, the Di-enemy, and in the greatness of vine diposition to abhor and punish thine excellency thou hast oversin, would never have been seen. thrown them that rose up against But now, the song of Moses may thee. Thou sentest forth thy be sung, and we are informed, that wrath, which consumed them as it will be a part of the employment stubble. Who is like unto thee, of the heavenly hosts forever. O Lord, among the gods; who is Who, in this world, can conceive like thee, glorious in holiness, the solemn and joyful feelings, fearful in praises doing wonders." which will inspire the heavenly hosts, while they sing, "Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious
[Remainder in our next.]
FOR THE HOPKINSIAN MAGAZINE.
ON THE PRAYER OF MOSES.
ed to be blotted out of the book of
Doubtless some have been blotted out of the book of life. In the last chapter of Revelations it is [Concluded from page 162.] said, "If any man shall take away The next enquiry is, whether from the words of the prophecy of this book, God shall take Moses' away prayer can be reasonably justified. part out of the book of life.". Some have said, that if he pray-Surely this threatening has not an exclusive reference to the elect: God does not mean to say, "If any shall commit this crime, I will determination to save reverse my him." In the sense of this passage, and in the sense of Moses' prayer; a person's having his part taken away, or his name blotted out of the book of life, is nothing more nor less, than his being sealed over to perdition. From Moses' words, therefore, it cannot be inferred, that he ever knew, much less that he was at that time sensible of God's determination to save him.
does not imply prayer any dissatisfaction with the Divine purposes.
No dissatisfaction is implied in
with the Divine determination to destroy that idolatrous generation. God had not yet revealed to Moses, his determination to blot them out of the book of life.
In Moses' prayer, no dissatisfaction is implied with God's determination to save him. It may be said, that unless Moses had been, at that time, sensible that his name was in the book of life; he would not have prayed to be blotted out of that book. Hence it will be inferred, that Moses knew it was God's determination to save him; and that he was displeased with that gracious pur
But Moses might have known, that God had decreed his salvation, and still not have thought of that decree, when he offered this petition. It is not in the power of the human mind to think of more than one thing, at one and the same time. Moses' mind might have been so intensely occupied with the guilt and danger of his people, as to exclude every thought respecting the Divine purposes. In a similar way, we may account
for the prayer of the man Christ | did not imply delight in those
evils; then in the other case, his choice to suffer an eternal evil, did not necessarily imply a delight in that evil. It is not absurd to suppose that Moses regarded the good of his people and the cause of re
Jesus, that the cup might pass from him, which he knew the Father had given him to drink. In view of his sufferings alone, he could not forbear praying that the cup might pass from him. As soon as he thought of the Divine pur-ligion, more than his personal good. poses, he exclaimed, "Not my will, but thine be done."
It is absurd, to suppose, he was unwilling to sacrifice what he regarded less, for what he regarded more. It is the same as to sup
might be equal or superior to his regard for the last, which is contrary to the supposition.
Moses prayer does not imply any dissatisfaction with the Divine will respecting an atonement. Per-pose, that his regard to the first, haps it will be said, that Moses could not expect God would be willing to accept the atonement proposed. Perhaps Moses did not expect this, any more than Christ expected the Father would be willing to remove the cup from him. The state of their minds might have excluded a full and consistent conviction of God's unwillingness to grant their requests. Moses' prayer, therefore, might have been accompanied with a cordial submission to the Divine purposes.
2d. This prayer does not imply a love of misery.
3d. Moses' prayer no more implies a love of sin, than a love of misery. If a love of sin is not implied in choosing to suffer in the present life; it is not necessarily implied, in choosing to suffer in the future life. We cannot be willing to suffer a temporal evil, on the whole, without being, on the whole, willing to live, in order to suffer. But there is no man that liveth and sinneth not.' To be willing, on the whole, thereIf, in any case, Moses could fore, to suffer an evil, either temhate, in itself considered, what he poral or eternal, always implies a chose, all things considered; then willingness to sin, all things conhe might, in itself considered, hate sidered. If Moses' prayer necesthe misery, which he chose to suf- sarily implies a willingness to sin, fer for the sake of his people. It then every act of true submission, was said, by the apostle, that Mo- necessarily implies a willingness ses chose rather to suffer afflic- to sin. A person exercised with tion with the people of God, than pain, cannot, at any one moment, to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a exercise submission with regard to season; esteeming the reproach of the painful sensation of that moChrist greater riches than the trea- ment. He must contemplate it, sures of Egypt." Must we hence before he can feel in view of it. It infer, that Moses delighted in cannot be an object of contempla"affliction" and "reproach"?tion, till after it exists. After he By no means. They were, in themselves, bitter and disagreeable: yet he chose to suffer them, rather than part with the "people of God," with "Christ," and with the "
recompence of reward."These are the reasons suggested by the apostle. If in this case, his choice to suffer temporal evils
has felt it, he may conceive of it as