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form, with all his own love and grace and skill, on the open and welcome acceptance of each one of the race.
8th. Time and opportunity to all; or probationary privileges and responsibilities of all kinds, including the preservation of life and of the mental faculties, scope for their use, personal trials and temptations, as tests and strengtheners of the character, and all the forms of each one's personal experience.
9th. The ever-enlarging, inward manifestation of God unto the soul that seeks and accepts him as its constant treasure and joy here, and as here so also by promise for
“ He that hath my commandments and keepeth them," saith Christ," he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him"; and again: “ If a man love me he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him."
How much wider is the term, the providence of God, than the narrow, restricted sense in which it is so commonly used. It is the outward, full-orbed demonstration, and to angelic eyes the moving panorama, since it is ever in motion towards a grand and glorious finality, of the great scheme of redemption, through which all the precious benefits and influences of that scheme, temporal and eternal, are offered and secured to mankind.
Thoughtful men sometimes speak of themselves as “ chil. dren of providence”: so are we all, children of an everthoughtful, ever-kind, and ever-active Providence. Who does not feel, in a review of his life, that he has been led in a way that he knew not. The heart of man," it is every one's experience, "deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps.” Some of our most favorite plans in life, and most favorite ideas of ourselves, have been perpetually crossed; and we are now greatly glad that it has been so ordered by One who knew us better and loved us more than we did ourselves. On what pivot-points, for minuteness, has our
destiny often turned, — the merest incidents by the wayside of life, and the most casual deeds, and even words, of others. Who would dare to leave such a freight of personal interests as he bears in his life and bosom to the unforeseen and unguided chances of earth's changeful experience?
If we may well draw stores of moral wisdom to ourselves from the revelation which God makes in “ animated na. ture" of what is right and best, in the all but prophetic though unreasoning habits of many brute creatures, in various, sanitary, economical, and prudential directions; how much more, when we can actually see God presenting him. self anywhere to view as a formal governor of mankind, should we at once learn directly from him, with eager haste, true views of national polity, honor, safety, and prosperity. In the facts and features of the Jewish theocracy we have such a privilege. In his loving and, for that reason, self-assumed management of the affairs of his chosen people, we behold a perfect system of social order and vitality, adjusted to the public preparedness of that day for it, and beautifully adapted to the fuller development of Christianity, in the end. The evident design of his direct administration of their affairs, next to blessing them unto the end with his own immediate guidance and favor, was to impress them, throughout all generations, with a deep, abiding sense of the reality and world-wide scope of his providence. In managing the national forces and destinies of the only nation upon earth whose manifest king he ever offered to be, and of whose gracious direction of their affairs they soon, to their shame, wearied, he aimed, in all his commands, promises, threatenings, and bestowment or withholdment of good from them, to create and fix in the hearts of all men a just appreciation of himself. Were he the formal, acknowledged king of any people now, he would seek, now as then, to impress the same great practical lesson upon its mass of living hearts; and we may justly expect the successive stages of growth in the religious development of the race, for which
alone it was created or is kept in being, to be made unto the end in the same way and by the same means. While the Bible might, from its divine many-sidedness, be justly designated by various descriptive narnes, as, the great spiritual book of the world ; or the book of universal humanity; or the book of heaven's own statutes; or the book of divine love; or the book of life and death, - it may be, quite as aptly, entitled the book of God's universal providence. Its historical books are actual delineations of that providence. Job is a wonderful dramatic picture of its reality and temporary mysteriousness, but of the clear, ultimate triumph of justice and humanity in it; the Psalms are songs of the bounty and beauty of his providence, and of the joy of a deeply pious heart, revelling in it and in its author; the Proverbs are precepts of providence; and the Prophecies are foretokenings of its course of development, in clear vision, in the yet unopened future.
There is far too little earnest, eager, exulting effort in the pulpit of our day to bring God perpetually into view, as the Light of Life to each individual in everything and to every nation in all its affairs, great and small. He is the alpha and omega of the universe, and fills in heaven, to each enraptured heart, the whole horizon of delighted vision and of ever happy thought and feeling. The eye of the eldest and noblest seraph never tires in gazing there at the fulness of his splendor; the ear never wearies in hearing of the greatness of his being, or of the beauty of his character. There, , praise is pastime; and the joy of eternity is joy forever in God. In that upper world they need no sun nor moon to enlighten them, for “the Lord God and the Lamb are the light thereof." If there, where the growth of thought and of conscious excellence and force is so rapid, perpetual, and vast, the riches of God's being never pall upon the ravished sense ; no human heart on earth need feel afraid of any want of resource in the nature, character, ways, and works of God, for ever fresh and joyous thought, for itself or for others. Vol. XXI. No. 83.
The doctrine of God's providence, as it is in itself, has thus far been under consideration. The developing power of true views of it upon the life and character, or the subjective relations and uses of this great doctrine, which is the necessary complement of its objective characteristics, as herein presented, is a branch of the subject reserved for a subsequent Article.
WHEDON ON THE WILL."
BY F. H. NEWHALL, PROFESSOR IN WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY, MIDDLETOWN, CT.
The deepest and most fascinating problems of philosophy arise from the struggle, or rather the antithesis, between our moral and intellectual faculties. The loftiest and profoundest speculations of which human nature is capable, have been elicited, the highest powers of the very mightiest sons of men have been taxed to the utmost tension, to har. monize man's logical deductions with his moral intuitions. In fact, it is the instinctive effort for this harmony that has given rise to the whole fabric of metaphysical theology.
The work of Dr. Whedon is one more contribution towards the settlement of one form of this manifold problem, namely, “ the reconciliation of the sense of responsibility with our intellectual conclusions concerning the nature of choice” (Preface). Although for many ages this problem has been slowly approximating solution, yet the sphinx still propounds her riddle, and devours the souls of men. Dr. Whedon does not step forth as the Oedipus that is to
1 The Freedom of the Will, as a Basis of Human Responsibility and a Divine Government, elucidated and maintained in its issue with the Necessitarian Theories of Hobbes, Edwards, the Princeton Essayists, and other leading Advocates. By D. D. Whedou, D.D. 8vo. pp. 438. New York: Carlton and Porter. 1864.
silence the ancient sibyl forever, but expresses the modest belief that he has “ brought the difficulty nearer to a solution.”
Before discussing the views presented in the work before us, it may be well briefly to review modern philosophical opinion upon this subject. Perhaps the problem around which has raged this far-resounding conflict, may be most concisely stated in terms like these : “ How can man's will be free, and yet his volitions be effects?” All who are interested in this discussion admitting not only human freedom, but also the axiom that every event must have its cause, and that volitions being events, must in some way come under this axiom, feel the necessity of so defining freedom on the one hand, or causation on the other, as to show an otherwise inevitable contradiction. Those who have taken their position on the intuition of freedom, and have endeavored to explain the axiom of causation from that point of view, we here designate Freedomists; while those who follow the reverse process, taking ground on the axiom of causation, and viewing the intuition of freedom from that point of view, we style Necessitarians. Of course this phraseology is not intended to assume the chief point in discussion, namely, that the latter party all deny, or that the former exclusively maintain, man's volitional liberty.
NECESSITARIANISM. Hobbes, the philosopher of Malmesbury, who has been called the father of English psychology, leads the array of English necessitarians. Starting from the above-mentioned axiom of causation, he held that the will is inevitably decided by the strongest motive. As to liberty, he affirmed that it cannot be predicated of will at all, and is applicable only to external actions, signifying their necessary connection with volitions. More closely, he defines liberty as “ the abscence of all the impediments to action that are not contained in the nature and intrinsic quality of the agent,” 3
· Hobbes's Works (Bohn's ed., London : 1841), Vol. V. p. 344, etc. 2 Ibid., Vol. V, passim.
3 Ibid., Vol. IV. p. 273.