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find it to end? In a metaphysical morass, where not an inch of firm footing will be found.
For example, an individual commits a wicked act; this had a cause; whether a reasonable cause or not, or whether he could have acted otherwise or not, is not now the question; it had a cause. What was it? Say, if you please, "his depraved nature." Very well, and had not his depraved nature also a cause? “Yes,” say you, "it was transmitted to him from our first parents, and was an effect of their first offence." Well, and had not the first offence a cause too? "Oh yes," you reply, "they listened, and yielded to the wiles of the serpent." And pray what was the cause of their so listening and yielding? Here you are, reader, in the swamp of which I forewarned you, from which, however lustily you may flounder, you cannot extricate yourself. Nevertheless, (as you are a free agent) you may try. Say, then, that "our first parents could have resisted the temptation if they had chosen." But from what cause came it that they did not choose? "Well," say you, "I can only answer, that their appetite for the forbidden fruit was so strong, as to overcome their resisting powers." One question more, then, if you please. Who created their appetite, and made it so strong as to overcome their resisting powers? This will admit of but one answer; and since, on the boundless map of the future, the Omniscient eye could clearly trace from these primary causes, all the multiform results which should ramify to eternity, is it unreasonable or impious to say, that he ordained those results.
"All very good!" exclaims the reader; "and so, as sin is of God's appointment, I shall go on and commit as much of it as possible I shall thereby be merely fulfilling the divine purposes." Reader! reflect a moment!- Now tell me if there is not more of rashness than of reason in what you say. You will be merely fulfilling the divine purposes!" How know you what the divine purposes respecting you are? If he has ordained that some shall come to their death by poisoning, will you thence conclude that such is to be your case, and so swallow a fatal drug? or because some are to die by burning, will you conceive it your duty to throw yourself into the fire? No, no, you will act more prudently in this case you will hope that an easier fate awaits you, and you will patiently abide it. Very well; hope also that to you is al
lotted a life of virtue and happiness: it is at least both your duty and interest to act on this persuasion, and nothing can be lost by endeavors toward such a life.
In sooth, this is one of that knotty class of questions, on which it is much easier to raise difficulties than to obviate them. I greatly mistake the entire scope of the epistle to the Romans, if Paul himself had not some experience to this effect; he seems to have clearly taken the ground, that God not only foresees, but also foreappoints all events: he then saw it to follow, that sin itself must be included amongst the all things so appointed; and, therefore, that sin must, in some sense, be according to the divine will—if not as an ultimate end, (as it certainly is not,) yet as an intermediate means; and he anticipates an objection arising on this very ground. “Thou wilt say then unto me, why doth he yet find fault? for who hath resisted his will?" (Rom. ix. 19.) To meet such cavils was no difficult matter with one of the apostle's dexterity as a reasoner; he could show how Jehovah can effect good results by means which we should think the least likely to yield them. It is true, that of even this disposition of the subject, advantage would be taken by the captious disputant, Why," he would ask, "since God effects, by the agency of actions which we term sinful, such signally glorious results, may not man plead the like excuse for his wicked actions, pretending that he meant them as means to a good end?" Indeed, Paul and his fellow apostles, were actually charged with teaching the very principle involved in this question" Let us do evil that good may come." (Rom. iii. 8.) And the same has been reiterated against the same doctrine by superficial thinkers in every age, for little do such superficial objectors consider, that it is not their province to foretell how each particalar action shall come out; their experience ought to instruct them that they are often disappointed in the result of events of the least complex character; those from which they predict the best issues very commonly yield (so far as they are concerned) the worst, and vice versa. Nevertheless, unintimidated by the cavils and perversions to which this truth was liable from men of superficial or perverse minds, the apostle pushes on his argument with great vigor, showing that the divine Being, in carrying forward his stupendous schemes, exercises not only a general, but a particular direction: every thing is taken up into
his plan, and made a means of pushing it forward toward the appointed consummation: some he raises up to eminence in the world, some he casts down; some he enlightens, some he abandons to blindness; some he calls to the enjoyment of high religious privileges, and some he gives over to hardness of heart and reprobacy of mind. "Hath not the potter power over the clay,` of the same Jump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour." (Rom. ix. 21.) And most gloriously does this whole argument end. Love is shown to be the foundation of the whole scheme of divine government; in all of its infinitely diversified manifestations, grace is interwoven throughout the texture grace indeed is the warp and the woof; of God are all things; through God are all things; to God are all things. Such (in Rom. xi.) is the apostle's final and satisfactory disposition of this perplexing and much mooted question.
"Grace all the work shall crown
It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
Betwixt Calvinism and Arminianism (so far as respects their connection with this question) there is not a hair's breadth of rational difference; the former indeed seems to be the more harsh of the two, but the more consistent in itself, in reality, however, they are the same; Calvinism is Arminianism, asserted in honest directness of terms; Arminianism is Calvinism, expressed by circumlocution. In verbal modification, however, these isms differ. Calvinists acknowledge the conclusion, that God has fore-appointed all things, to be inevitable from the fact that he foreknew all things; Arminians affect to think differently, and affirm, that Jehovah may design an event to be, when he knows it never will be; and not to be, at the same time that he knows it certainly will! hence, although he created us with the certain knowledge, that with regard to a large majority, the act would prove infinitely disastrous, yet he is not answerable for the result, because he meant it should happen otherwise! Most sage and consistent Arminianism!
Doctor Drugg had been heard to say, that of the two medicines he had left in his patient's room-the one sanative, and the other fatal in its qualities he knew that the sick man would choose the
latter, and that his death would be the consequence. When put upon his trial for murder, on this ground, the Doctor plead as follows: "May it please the honorable court, there is as wide a difference between the foreknowing, and the foredetermining of a thing, as between the occipital and metatarsal extremities of the human subject, and therefore, though I knew my poor patient would come to his death by means of the nostrums left in his chamber, yet I beg your honors to believe that such was not my intention1 positively designed his cure." Unfortunately for Doctor Drugg, the court determined the case on common-sense principles, rather than on those of Arminianism; they could not comprehend how he could possibly purpose to cure his patient by means which he positively knew would kill him! Stupid fellows! had they but been Arminians, they could have found a parallel for the case in the conduct which their creed ascribes to the deity, and thus the poor Doctor would have been longer spared to the cause of science. "So! then," exclaims the Arminian objector, "the author really seems bent on proving, that as Jehovah foreknew of the existence of sin, he must also have designed it!" Yes, such is really my purpose, and this I mean to do upon your own admitted principles; you have been accustomed to casting the supposed odium of this conclusion upon Calvinism, and I am now showing that it equally pertains to your own system. Calvinism, it is true, comes to it by a direct path, whilst you, more cautious, approach it by a circuit. For example, you hold that God made certain angels, with the ability to become devils if they chose ; he knew they would so choose; he knew that he should banish them to hell; he knew that if he should allow them they would escape from hell to this earth, and tempt from their allegiance to himself the race of beings called man: he did so allow them; he knew that for as long as time should last, age after age should roll its successive millions of this race into the infernal abyss; he knew when he created hell that such should be its uses; and when he created these ill-fated beings, he knew that they were to people its fiery caverns-all these things were as plain before his eyes as though they were then present facts; he could have prevented them if he pleased, but did not please! It unanswerably follows, then, that he designed them. Calvinism admits this at Where is the difference, then? Just here; your system
alters neither the length nor the direction of the chain of fate; it but makes it to consist of a greater number of links.
Having, then, as I think, established the conclusion, that absolute foreknowledge implies absolute foreordination, I proceed to notice the objections which seem to lie against it. I have already considered the most formidable of these, viz., that it makes God the author of sin; and I now ask how, on any ground, is this to be avoided? I assert, moreover, that it is plainly scriptural. Shall we affect to be more scrupulous in this respect than were the inspired penmen? We are told in sacred story, that God put certain dreams into the mind of Joseph, the interpretation of which was, that he should come to be a man of so great dignity that his father and brethren should be brought to reverence him. What means did Jehovah employ to bring this end about? Can it be denied, that among those means were several guilty transactions? Such, for instance, were the envy of the brethren, their selling him for a slave, and the incontinence of Potiphar's wife. Will any pretend that God did not appoint these events? If he did not, then he provided other means for accomplishing the end, or no means at all; if other means, they were not brought into use! and God knew they would not when he appointed them! If he provided no means at all, what must we think of his wisdom, in appointing ends, without the requisite means for bringing them about? Of but one method of evasion know I from the force of this case. The Arminian may say, that in the dreams of Joseph, God only intimated what he foresaw would come-not what he designed should come; and that God merely overruled these sinful transactions for good, but did not appoint them as a means to that good. Ah! this plea will not do. Let us see of what the good consisted : 1st, the deliverance of the chosen people from the famine: 2nd, nor from the famine of Canaan merely, but also from its idolatries, to which, as they increased, they would have been much exposed: 3rd, their establishinent by themselves in Goshen, (a rich pasturage country,) where they multiplied to a numerous nation: 4th, the raising from them a line of prophets, reaching down in unbroken succession to the rise of the prophet of prophets, Christ Messiah, through whom a more glorious kingdom should be established, as wide in its sway as the extension of being, and as lasting as the age of the Most High. And will you say, my