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it now prompted him to save them. Ye prophets of ceaseless woe, we may in charity hope you will be less pained in the end, that your preaching is falsified in the happy event of a whole world's salvation, than if it should be verified in the utter ruin of even a solitary individual.*
Moses has recorded that God saw all things, when he had made them, to be very good, (Gen. i. 38.) implying, of course, that they were answerable to the benevolent purposes for which he had created ihem. The author of any mechanical, or other contrivance, accounts it to be good or bad, according as he sees it is or is not adapted to meet his original intentions. God saw to what result his works would come-he saw whether the utter and irretrievable damnation of myriads of beings would be among those results; and if he did indeed foresee this conséquence, and yet in view of it, pronounced his works 66 very good,” it must follow that he designed it, and then of what value are all the scriptural assurances of his goodness?—and what credit is due to them?
Moses has also recorded that God blessed the first human pair, and bade them “ multiply and replenish the earth.” (Gen. i. 23.) For what? that hell might be populated ? for such, according to the dogma under consideration, he foresaw would be the case. In the name of God and religion—and consistency—oh ye abettors of this dark creed ! I call upon you to ponder well this important matter. Would infinite love thus encourage our unsuspecting parents to multiply their kind, even to millions of millions, to the end that the dark realms of unending woe should be peopled ? Would not an imputation of so odious a character, add blackness to our blackest conceptions of cruelty ? Surely this encouragement to propagate the species, implies that the divine benevolence had charged itself with their safe keeping, and through whatsoever vicissitudes of sin and suffering the offspring
* It would, however, seem not, from the feeling they often manifest on this subject. Whilst yet a minor, in Philadelphia, I once went to hear a celebrated orator declaim (declamation it proved in fact, argument in profession) against the growing and dangerous heresy of universalism. I shall never forget the following passage in the discourse-in my boyish simplicity, I thought it grand at the time. « What! ad. mit the sinner into heaven! If Jehovah could coromit such folly (I speak it with reverence) the meanest saint in that bright realm, would rise indignant from his golden throne, and spurn the wretch to hell!” Think of that now! How beautiful ! How sublime! How modest withal! The preacher himself was not a sinner-not he: and so being not a sinner, he and his class will doubtless have heaven entirely to themselves;
for Christ Jesus came into the world to save saints, it seems, not sinners.
of that sinning pair might intermediately pass, yet was it the purpose of that undying love, most faithfully to redeem the implied pledge.
It is affirmed of God in the scriptures that he “will have a regard to the work of his hands,” (Job xiv. 15.) hence all his works are frequently called upon—together with every thing that hath breath, to praise the name of the Lord.” (Pel. cl. 6.) I know not with what reason or justice every creature can be required to praise God, except they are to be the gainers by the existence which they have received at his hands : on this ground it is most just; and most heartily, methinks, will that praise be accorded when in the morning of that immortal day, which is to be signalised by the triumph of infinite love over death, and darkness, and sin, they shall see the mysteries of divine providence during the night of time unfolded, and to have issued by means to them the most unpromising in the most happifying and perfect consummation; then we shall truly find all beings uniting in the ascription, “ Thou art worthy, oh Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power, for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created.” (Rev. iv. 11.)
Men have been much puzzled, in different ages, to account for the existence of evil—they have been at a loss how to reconcile the fact with the established doctrine of the infinite goodness of the creator ; the Magian, or Zoroastic religion, (which prevailed throughout ancient Chaldea,) attempted to solve this mystery, by the supposition that there are two creators, of equal, or nearly equal power ; the one the source of all good, the other the source of all evil: which doctrine is still substantially (though not avowedly) maintained by a majority of christians; who trace all that is good to God, and all that is bad to the devil ! so that the prevalent christian creed, so far as respects this particular, is but the Magian creed revived in a new form. But with this advantage in favour of the latter, that Zoroaster taught that the author of all good would eventually overcome and extirpate the author of all evil, and goodness should then be sole, supreme, and universal. Whereas the class of christians referred to, think that evil will be co-eternal with good—that there will never, in the bounda less future, be found a remedy by infinite goodness, for the evils which shall overspread his dominions !
The scriptures are most satisfactory, most philosophical, upon this puzzling point; they teach that “ of God are all things," (Rom. xi. 36. 1 Cor. viii. 6. 2 Cor. v. 18. Rev. iv. 11.) they represent Jehovah himself as saying, “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things.” (Isaiah xlv. 7.) 6. Can there,” they ask, “ be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it!” (Amos iii. 6.) and again, “ Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil also ?” (Job ii. 10.) 66 Affliction cometh not forth of the dust!" they affirm,“ neither doth trouble spring out of the ground.” (Job v. 6.) All these things are, in the scriptures, most consistently resolved into the power and appointment of Heaven, for wise and benevolent ends. Hence, they are evils only in a relative, not in an absolute sense-evils as they are connected with our, but not as they are connected with God's agency, for what we mean unto an evil result, God means unto good, (Gen. i. 20.).
“ Happy the man who sees a God employ'd
In all the good and ills that chequer life.
And arbitration wise of the Supreme.”— Cowper. This is the language of a philosophical christian, and it speaks the religion and philosophy of the bible. We were not designed, in this mode of being, for either moral or physical perfection—the same creator who gave ferocity and an appetite for blood to the beast of prey, gave to man also the passions and appetites which prompt him to crime, and prove to him frequently the sources of that moral and physical misery inseparable from human life. Man, however, is gifted with reason, to enable him to restrain the animal impulses, and to allow them such exercise only as is consistent with his duty and true happiness. God holds him responsible for the use he makes of all his functions: as his moral principles, or his animal nature predominates, he assimilates to God, or to the brute, and is accordingly happy or miserable.
“Two principles in human nature reign,
Paul, in plain prose, speaks the same truth, “ But I see another law in my members, warring against the law in my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Rom. vii. 23.) In all which there is this utility, that our moral virtue is thus put to trial-Good and evil-life and death-are set before usmon our choice depends our conditionnot hereafter, but here and we hence learn from experience the happiness which flows from virtue, and the misery from vice; which experience is not to be lost to us when we shall have departed this stage of action, but, on the contrary, is to have a beneficial bearing upon our whole future being.
From this view of things we gather a lesson of most cheering and practical influence : we learn to adore the perfections of our creator; because if nothing exists independently of him, then all things are subject to his control; and in what difficulties or evils soever we may become involved, his power and grace are equal to our extrication ; whatever is, is for a wise and good end ; and for the same end, man is what he is, “ For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly,” (that is, not by the creature's will, for the creature could have no will in the matter of its creation,] “but by reason of him who subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom. viii. 20, 21.) Some have supposed, (the celebrated John WESLEY among them,) on the authority of this, and a few other passages, that even the brute creation are destined to a future, and happier state of existence, and I know no good reason why they should not be, for their present state is one of much suffering; and with the highly gifted BULWER, (in a work of his entitled “ The STUDENT,") I deem it probable that the all-beneficent creator, has in reserve for them an ample compensation for their present sufferings. However this may be, it is a matter of inspired record that such is the case with regard to man. light afflictions which are but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding, and eternal weight of glory."
From the whole, then, it results, that we are God's propertyhe made us for nimself-not for the devil—that we might partake, and reflect, his goodness and glory-not that in our ruin we might reflect his cruelty and his disgrace all the attributes of
his nature are so many sufficient pledges, that we shall infallibly answer the beneficent end to which he designed us while at the same time they all combine to assure us what that end is—and hence, as before remarked, we are under the strongest of obligations to lift our hearts toward him in confidence and love---and to devote to his most reasonable service those powers of body and mind, which we have received from his forming hand.
2. AS OUR FATHER. Our opponents seem aware of the consequence against their dogma to be drawn from this relation, and they, therefore, deny its universality ; " it only exists,” say they, “in regard to the truly pious ;” and they find a number of texts .of scripture which they think sanction this restriction. For example: “ As many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” (Rom. viii. 14.) whence it seems logically to follow, that as many as are not so led, are not God's sons; and it is granted that they certainly are not, in the sense intended. They also find, that while some in the scriptures are addressed as, in a particular sense, the children of God; others are spoken of as “the children of the wicked one,” or “ the devil.” Hence they actually maintain that mankind consists of two classes—the one the offspring of God—the other of satan! Than which a sentiment more odious, or more pernicious in its consequences, was surely never adopted; a little attention to scriptural phrase. ology will set this point in a plain and satisfactory light.
It is known to every attentive biblical student, that in figurative language, a person was said to be the child even of any circumstance or abstract quality, by which he was distinguished ; hence we read of children of light of the day-of darkness of Belial-of God of this world-of the resurrection of the bridegroom—of the kingdom—of perdition—of affliction—of consolation of thunder—of peace --of strife—of cunning-of guile&c. &c. If we are to understand any of these expressions in a strict sense, why not all ? Is it not obvious, that neither of these were designed for a literal interpretation ?
A person was also said to be the child of another, whose dispositions or example he copied ; hence, Jabal is called “the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle ;' Jubal is called “tne father of such as play upon the harp and organ;" and TubalCain, “ the father of all such as work in brass and iron.” (Gen.