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328 Which emboldens him to argue, that is dence, he did not mean to do his best. (p. 1o.

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attein pts to prove at large b much better, in the who eral good of the system. if unknos n. (p. 2024.) A to have hindered sin

So that this is the difference, and that on, his and me, turns, of the divine cond other words, wheth of his conduct, to

different 12es conduct,

him to argue, that in the works of provi

And he did not mean to do his best. (p. 12, 13.)

rove at large by 9 arguments, that it had been in the whole, more for God's glory and the genhe system, if sin and misers had been for ever

20–24.) And if it had been better for God Jered sin, it was not wise in God to permit it. this is the fundamnenial and inost essential point of

and that on which the whole controversy, between me, turns, viz, Whether the whole, and every part irine conduct, be agreeable to infinite wisdom. Or, in words, whether God means in the whole, and every part

conduct, to do that which he knows to be for the best, most his glory, and the good of the system on the whole. For we

agree, that God always knows what is for the best, and never

under mistake. So that the only question really is, whether God always means to do, what he knows to be for the best on the whole? For if he does, the grand point is proved. The wisdom of God in the permission of sin is demonstrated. And it is in vain to raise objections against that which infinite wisdom knows to be best. It is proud and arrogant, it is impious and blasphemous, for a worm of the dust to dispute against his Maker. Isai. xlv. 9. Rom. ix. 20.

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SECTION III.'

God, who is a Being of infinite wisdom and perfect rectitude,

always conducts agreeably to his own most glorious perfections ; that is, in the most wise, holy, and perfect manner.Particularly in this case.

WE are agreed, that this affair of the permission of sin was an infinitely important affair. And, indeed, considering it in all its consequences, there, perhaps, never was a more iinportant affair that God ever had to decide. It involved in it the welfare of the angelic world, and the welfare of the whole human race; the honour of God was infinitely concerned in the affair; yea, the very life of God's own Son did, as it were,

lie at stake: for if sin was permitted, the Son of God was to die. That if God ever thoroughly considered and weighed any affair whatever, no doubt he did this. And, if ever he was concerned to act according to his best judgment, (if I may be allowed to use such a phrase,) in any one case, no doubt he was in this. And if God is an absolutely perfect being, it was simply impossible, that he should conduct, in this infinitely important affair, contrary to the light of his own mind, and the joint declaration of all his perfections, infinitely to: his own dishonour, and infinitely to the damage of the system, absolutely without any motive so to do; yea, against infinite motives to the contrary. Nay, to suppose, that God would deliberately and voluntarily, absolutely without any motive, suffer his own creatures to sin ; when he knew it would be, on the whole, infinitely better for him to hinder it; is, in the most bare-faced manner, to give up the moral rectitude of the divine nature.

Did the inhabitants of heaven view the divine conduct in the permission of sin, in this blasphemous light, and firmly believe God to be such a being, instead of crying, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory, as they did when God gave up Israel of old to blindness of mind and hardness of heart, (Isai. 6.) they would rather sink down into amazing grief, and fill all heaven with loud lamentations.

And saints on earth, instead of singing their ancient melodious song, the Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof; might rather, if these things were so, with the captive Jews, hang their harps on the willows, put on sackloth, sit down in sorrow, and refuse to be comforted.

A firm belief of the infinite wisdom and perfect rectitude of the divine nature and government, is essential to the very foundation of all true religion. For it is the very reason of our love to God, of our joy in him, rejoicing in his universal government, acquiescing in all his dispensations, even those which we cannot understand, and of our cheerful obedience to all his commands. If, therefore, we give up this belief, we

VOL. II.

17

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the wisdom and rectitude of the diis the very foundation of that doctrine

ripture, and universally believed by all That at the day of judgment the righteousd's ways will be made manifest to all the world,

of all his conduct cleared up before the inen, to God's everlasting honour, to the joy of ngs, and to the eternal confusion of all God's

Jude 15.) For then will the Lord come with ten is of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to

all that are ungodly among them ; of all their HARD u Es, which , ungodly sinners have spoken against him. God's ways have not in fact been wise and good, they

t, at the day of judgment, when all things will be ught to light, appear to be so. If God has done wrong, Cheaven forbid the blasphemy!) all the world will know it then. And if God had deliberately and voluntarily acted contrary to his better judgment, in this infinitely important affair of the permission of sin, absolutely for no good end at all, and absolutely without any motive, it will then appear before the eyes of angels, men, and devils, to God's eternal reproach, to the eternal grief of all his friends, and to the eternal triumph of all his enemies, who will be glad to see the being, they most of all hate, fall under blame, as well as themselves.

If this were the case, it would be, (for aught I can see,) more for God's honour, that there never should be a day of judgment, and that the truth of things never should come to light. Yea, it had been better if God had never made the world..

And now does the author of the Attempt in very deed believe all this horrid blasphemy; that he should blame me so much, for being so confident, that all God's conduct is wise and good; and his present plan, of all possible plans, the best ! For, why should he blame me so much for my belief, unless he is strong in the belief of his own scheme!

A DIALOGUE

Between A. the author of the attempt, and B. the author of the serMONs on the Wisdom of God in the permission of Sin.

A. No. I abhor this blasphemy with all my heart. I firmly believe that all the divine conduct is “ good, right, best.” ..“ Right in matter, manner and aim ;” the result of “ supreme

wisdom, which cannot err.” But, I affirm, that sin is “ 110 part of God's scheme; but a device of the devil.” “ God's original scheme was to have all holy and happy.” The devil has disconcerted it by his rebellion, and God is heartily grieved. Did I believe “ the present scheme to be God's, I should think it extremely dangerous opposing it; and that it would argue the highest vanity, arrogance, and impiety," (p. 13, 14, 15, 16. 24, &c.)

B. If by“ sin not being God's scheme, but the device of the devil,” you mean, that God did not voluntarily permit sin; but that the devil brought it in, in spite of all that God could do to hinder him; why do you maintain, that God did not mean to do, in this affair, what he knew was most for his own glory ? For, according to this, God exerted himself to the utmost, to secure his own glory, and the good of the system too; and would have obtained his end, had not his almighty power been overmatched by the devil. This, therefore, cannot be your meaning ; unless you would be inconsistent with yourself

If you only mean that the devil sinned, and not God; I grant it. But the question still remains unanswered. Pray, therefore, tell me, why did the infinitely wise and almighty God permit such a glorious angel as satan once was, ever to devise such mischief? ever to perpetrate so shocking a deed ? a deed pregnant with infinite and eternal woes! Pray tell me plainly, did God act wisely in this affair, or did he not? He had some end in view, or no end. Not no end: for that would reflect upon his wisdom. If some end, it was a good

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ositive.” For my part, I do not believe,“ that God ct, or that he is obliged to do, what is most for his ve glory." (p. 12, 13.) AŅd I can prove by a varieuments, that it had been better, infinitely better, inmore for the bonour of God, and the good of the if sin had never been. (p. 19, 24.) What! plainly contradict yourself so soon, my friend! erer, pray do give me an instance wherein infinite wis

ever erred; and wherein God did not do what was on me whole most for his own glory.

A. It is plain God might, have made the world much betJer than he did. And if, after he had made the world, he had hindered the existence of sin, it had been infinitely more to bis honour, and to the good of the system. (p. 12, 13. compared with p: 20—24.)

B. Pray how, then, do you think the whole of the divine conduct will appear at the day of judgment? If not only his

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* This is not a point peculiar to calvinistic divines ; but as strongly asserted by men of learning in general. “ If the author and governor of the world be infinitely perfect, then, of all possible systems, he hath chosen the best.” "That is, the system in which the greatest quantity of happiness and perfection obtains, that can in the nature of things take place.” “ This is the joint doctrine ef reason and revelation.” Dr. Turnbull, Chris. Phil. p. 35. 47.

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