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edness must be included in his plan. There must be no purpose about Peter's denying his Master, for that would suppose decree against command. There must be no purpose about the crucifixion, for it would involve the same difficulty. It would not, on the ground of the objection, be consistent for God to determine to make use of the Roman guard to watch the sepulchre, so as to give greater proof of the resurrection of the Saviour, for on the part of man, it was sin, which provided this guard. Now on the plan of the objector, the omniscient Being foresaw all these things, but he had no purpose about them; nor could he make any arrangement in his scheme of providence to give existence to these events, for then he would set his decrees in battle array against his commands. But can any man read the Bible representations of these things, and not feel himself compelled to acknowledge, Here is something more than prescience;―This is the finger of God?
7. It is objected, That divine decrees, in connexion with divine efficiency on the hearts of creatures, destroy moral government, and render commands and motives perfectly nugatory." Indeed," says Mr. B. p. 280. if a man be compelled by a secret, almighty power in all he does," (which is the way in which he chooses to express our doctrine of an invisible influence on the heart,) "he is no more actuated by external motives, by commands or promises, nor by any part of revelation, than the ship driven by the fierce winds" Perhaps he thinks, that we suppose the moral world can be kept by the mere power of God, as much as the natural. It is believed, however, that we hold more fully to the use and necessity of moral means, to preserve holy creatures from falling, than they do who oppose our doctrine. We believe, that all that display of truth which is made by creation and providence; by the apostasy of some creatures, and by the recovery of some; by the law, and the gospel; by the feelings the divine Being manifested towards holy and unholy characters;-that all this varied display of truth is made, and will be kept in the view of God's holy kingdom, as the means of preserving, and perfecting their character and blessedness. All
this varied display of divine truth, will not render the influence of the Holy Ghost unnecessary; nor will the influence of the Holy Ghost render the display of truth unnecessary. The prayer of Christ for his disciples was," Sanctify them through thy truth." Now, our opponents are not willing to acknowledge the necessity, or the use, of so many moral means, to keep the intelligent system in order. They think it derogatory to the Supreme Ruler, to suppose that he needed to make a display of sin, by the existence of sinful characters; and of his opposition to sin, by the actual punishment of it, or by an atoning sacrifice;-and that he needed to display the goodness of his heart, by forgiving and saving sinners through this atoning sacrifice; in order to build up and establish an everlasting kingdom of holiness.
But our opponents will say, If you do believe in the use of commands and motives, and other moral means, there is no consistency between believing thus, and believing that God is the efficient cause of all we do. So they think,--so they say: But shall these pass for incontrovertible arguments ? Is not the sentiment familiar to christian experience, (whatever philosophers may think about it,) that means of instruction are useful, and yet their usefulness depends on the invisible operations of the Spirit: that we must keep ourselves in the love of God, though we are kept by the power of God? How familiar was this to the experience of St. Paul. Take this for a specimen : Whereunto 1 also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." Col. i. 29. The apostle referred to the work of a Divine Agent, who wrought in him mightily. Was not this a secret and almighty power? And was it not that which produced this labor and striving of which he speaks? And yet he speaks of himself as an agent, who labored and strove.
8. It is objected that our doctrine of decrees is selfcontradictory. How does our author substantiate this charge? My reader shall hear: "In the first place you say, every event is brought about by the Almighty; and in p., you quote 2. Sam. xvii. 14, For the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Apithophel, and then add, "Ahithophel's counsel was frustrated
because it was contrary to the counsel of him who says, My counsel shall stand, I will do all my pleasure.” Was not the counsel of Ahithophel an event? and you say all events are brought about by the Lord; and yet here you say," it was contrary to the Lord's counsel," p. 28. Ans. There is quite a difference between Ahithophel's giving counsel, and that counsel's going into effect. Now it was by no means contrary to the counsel of the Lord, that Ahithophel should give counsel, and that he should give just such counsel; but it was manifestly contrary to the counsel of the Lord, that the counsel of Ahithophel should be followed. We know that the Lord, in mercy to David, did not suffer Absalom to follow it; therefore I said," Ahithophel's counsel was frustrated." Does the word, "frustrated," in this connexion mean, that Ahithophel never gave any counsel? for it must mean this, to make out any inconsistency. I am willing to acknowledge that Ahithophel's giving counsel was an event, and this event most indubitably came to pass.
In this connexion I would just notice Mr. B's. comment on Prov. xix. 21; There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. "Here," says Mr. B. the counsel of the Lord is put in opposition to the many devices in a man's heart." p. 49. Ans. The devices of a man's heart mean sometimes the things devised to be done, and sometimes the purpose of the mind about those things.-The text before us most evidently means, that men often form projects which God does not suffer them to carry into effect. In the same page Mr. B. proceeds to say, "Is it not surprising, that you should quote this text to prove that "every sin in the universe is decreed," and then in your comment admit, that there were many sinful devices in the heart of Joseph's brethren, which" did not agree with the counsel of the Lord?" I ask, could my antagonist fail to understand me? And if he understood me, could he have added this exulting sentence: "Are all things agreeable to God's counsel, and many things disagreeable to it? O error, how dost thou bind thy admirers in the knot of contradiction!" Is there a child who reads this book, who does not see, that there is not the least contradic
tion in what I say about Joseph's brethren? I said, "There were many devices in the hearts of Joseph's brethren; one was to kill him ; but that did not stand : another was to leave him in the pit; but that did not stand." Does not the child understand me to say, that these devices, or projects were not executed? I am sure he cannot understand me to say, that they never had any such devices in their hearts; or that their having such devices in their hearts, was itself contrary to the counsel of the Lord.
I shall at present take notice of but one other objec tion which Mr. B. urges against the doctrine of decrees. He says, "Your doctrine destroys the immutability of God." We should hardly have expected to hear those, who deny any divine plan, charge us with destroying the immutability of God, who hold that he governs all things, according to his own immutable counsel. Mr. B. says, "From the immutability of his counsel, we may suppose that he never alters any of his designs. In the account Moses has given of the creation of the world, it is said at the conclusion of the whole, And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good. Man at this time was holy-He afterwards became unholy-and if this change was an ef fect purely of an act of God, which it must have been, if all things are brought to pass by him, then God changed his design-he first designed man should be holy, and afterwards that he should be unholy; unless you can make it appear that holiness and unholiness are one and the same, or that God designed that he should be holy and unholy at the same time, which is a contradiction." p.30. It would be a contradiction for God to design that man should exist a perfectly holy, and a totally sinful creature at the same time: But I do not see that it is any contradiction for God to design that he should be at one time a perfectly holy creature, and at another time a totally sinful creature. Man cannot be in this sense holy, and unholy at the same time; but God might at the same time lay his plan which should include both these states of man. Mr. B. intimates, that according to our doctrine, "God first designed man should be holy, and afterwards that he should be unholy.” It would be contradictory to suppose, that God first de
termined that man should be forever a holy creature, and that he afterwards determined that he should be come an unholy creature. But it is no contradiction to suppose that he determined that he should be holy for such a period, and that after the expiration of this period he should become unholy. In the same divine counsel might also be included his recovery to holiness.— Summer and winter, and day and night, are quite dif ferent from each other; but they are evidently parts of one and the same scheme of providence. "His steady counsels change the face of the declining year." I do not quote this as of divine authority; but its truth is so apparent when applied to the varying seasons, that none will dispute it. And is there any thing in itself contradictory, to apply it to the whole system of providence? In this system there are innumerable events, and events of all sorts and descriptions; but they are all working together as a great whole, to promote the glory of God, and the good of those who love him. The work of redeeming sinners by Jesus Christ, was no doubt all planned at once; that is, the whole is one plan. And this plan must have included such things as these; an infinite Redeemer-his holy life, his holy doctrine ;-also a traitor, a cross, crucifiers, &c. These different, and, as to their character, opposite things, were the one counsel of that God, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. The mount of transfiguration, and the mount of Calvary, both help fulfil the purpose of him, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
The doctrine of our opponents which denies any system of events, and only acknowledges a system of rules, is incompatible with immutability in the Su preme Being. According to their doctrine, innumerable events have taken place, which the Deity not only dislikes for their own sake, but which he dislikes on every other account, so that he would have prevented them if he had been able. They are not willing to say, it was a part of God's wise plan, that his Son should be crucified by wicked hands; they choose rather to say, that he could not have prevented it, without infringing upon the freedom of his creatures. This scheme of doctrine, if we do not misapprehend it, represents the