صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Madeira wine was the best liquor possible, but that Tokay wine was vastly better; that is, a great deal better than the best.

Q. What may be denominated good or virtuous in a physical and moral sense?

A. Whatever has a tendency to produce permanent happiness.

Q. What may be denominated vice, or moral and physical evil?

A. Whatever has a tendency to produce and perpetuate discord, confusion, and misery.

Q. Is not every rational being under an indispensable obligation to promote virtue and rational happiness, and endeavour to obviate the evils which introduce and perpetuate misery?

A. Yes this is an eternal, unchangeable law of nature, and of nature's God, and is of universal obligation on every rational being, from the highest to the lowest, in proportion to their powers, situations, and capacities. Those who neglect to perform these duties, are delinquent; and those who transgress this law, by promoting vice, or causing needless misery, are criminal.

Q. Would not a being possessing superior power, forfeit all legitimate claim to the attributes of justice and benevolence, who should drag any number of innocent, unoffending beings out of a situation in which they could suffer no positive injury, and place them in a con-dition in which he positively knew they would suffer every possible evil, and be eternally precluded from the enjoyment of every possible degree of happiness?

A. Calvin attributes such conduct to the Deity, and calls it justice !

It is certain that nonentity could not offend the Deity, nor could inanimate matter transgress his laws; therefore the materials out of which we were formed, could not have provoked his displeasure; and although the parable of the potter and his lump of clay, may and does prove, that the Deity has a sovereign right to make a man and an archangel out of the same mass of matter, it can never prove that he has a right, founded in justice, to form an human being out of this unoffending mass, positively knowing that it would suffer every possible evil throughout eternal ages, and be precluded from the enjoyment of every possible good, when all this mischief and misery might have been pre

vented either by willing that all his rational creatures should be finally happy, or by omitting to create all those who many have supposed he has forced into existence without having wished or designed to render them finally happy!

Q. But is it not more rational, more scriptural, and more conducive to the honour of God and the good of mankind, to teach, and to believe, that our heavenly Father, who has it completely in his power to make the most eligible choice for those subordinate beings who are entirely dependent upon him, should finally fix all his rational creatures in a state of virtue and permanent felicity, than that he should abandon any of them to the permanent dominion of the devil, to sin and suffer during eternal ages?

A. It is certainly most reasonable; for as virtue and happiness are evidently preferable to vice and misery, how can we believe that a God of infinite goodness, who must discern and prefer that which is best, should combine with the powers of darkness to establish the permanent reign of both moral and physical evil?

The advocates for the eternal duration of sin and misery, must conclude either that the Deity approves of the establishment of the devil's

kingdom; or, although he may view it as a nuisance, he is not able to destroy it. Both these conclusions being absurd, we are constrained to believe the truth of what we are told, 1 John iii. 8. That the Son of God was manifested on purpose to destroy the works of the devil, which works are evidently moral and physical evil, which we believe he will effectually accomplish; and that Christ will not satify himself with annihilating his works only, but will destroy the devil himself: for we read, Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.* Therefore, when sin, death, and the devil are destroyed, misery must cease, for the sting of death is sin.... Then shall God "wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain for the former things are passed away."t

To affirm with the rigid Partialists, that God has forced millions of human beings into existence under an immutable decree of reprobation, and sentenced them to eternal torments long before they ever did or could transgress, is blas+ Rev. xxi. 4.

* Heb. ii. 14.

pheming the moral character of God. But there are many well meaning people, who, although they decry the horrid opinion that the Deity ever created any human being on purpose to make him eternally miserable, yet they believe that the Deity foresaw, and infallibly knew every crime. they should ever commit; for which he also knew, that they should incur his wrath and curse, and suffer the pains of hell forever. Here I would beg leave to ask,

First, Is it possible for any human being to avoid doing an action which the Deity positively foreknew he would do? Or to escape that eternal punishment which they suppose the Deity has annexed as a penalty for the perpetration of these crimes ?

Secondly, Is it probable that the Deity would use means to prevent any event which he positively knew would infallibly come to pass?

Thirdly, Is it possible for any human being to merit eternal salvation by any thing he can do or perform, without the efficacious assistance of the Deity?

Fourthly, Is it in our power to merit, and command this assistance ?

« السابقةمتابعة »