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And what is done, is done not because he has changed his mind, for he is of one mind." Isa. xlvi. 9, 10. "I am God, and there is none like me." In what does he differ from other gods? The Apostle says, "There be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth," "'* Some of them are imaginary; but how shall we know the true God? The text tells us ;-[declaring the end from the beginning: saying, "My counsel-[or determination]-shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." I have Almighty power, and will do what I please. Ephes. i. 11. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated-[by the horrible decree of predestination, say their general conference]-according to the purpose -[prothesis, purpose, or fore-determination, from go and rigeuai, to place before]-of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will," or as he pleases. Acts xvii. 26. "He hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." Job xiv. 5, of man, he says, "Seeing his days are determined, and the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass."
The Magians, whose religion prevailed in the East in the time of Isaiah, held that there
* 1 Cor. viii. 5.
were two beings nearly equal in power; the one the author of good, and the other of evil: and from this contest, that mixture of good and evil originated.* "But, (says the Lord) this is a mistake: I am supreme; there is no being can do any thing without my permission." Isa. xlv. 7. "I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things." As if he had said, I have created all beings: I know their ends, and have them in my power; and what my soul desireth, even that I do. Amos iii. 6. "Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?"
It is needless to multiply proof: if the reader will consult Weeks's Catechism, he can find near two hundred texts to this effect. But the objector may say, if this be the case, man is not to blame for his wicked conduct; because he is only the instrument which executes the purposes of God." To this we reply, 1st. What God hath commanded you to do, that is the rule for your conduct; and not the wickedness which he may have determined to permit you to do, even provided he should overrule this wickedness for good. This benefit results from his goodness, and not intentionally from your wickedness. Therefore, if the greatest good in the world should finally result from any of your wickedness, there is no
* Dr. Scott,
thanks to you for it, but only to the goodness of the Lord. You did it in disobedience to his commands; and knew not, neither did you much care, what would be the consequence.
David slew Uriah the Hittite, and took his wife she bare to him his son Solomon, whom the Lord made a great and good man in Israel. But the Lord's overruling this iniquity for good to Israel, did not excuse David for his wickedness. Yet the Lord hath told us in his word (as we have shown already) that, provided Solomon was a good man, his name was written in the book of life, and a kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world. But the question is, did David know this, or had he this in view, when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, or when he slew Uriah?
Farther. We will suppose that a robber were to arm himself with the weapons of death, and forcibly to enter his neighbour's house, plunder it of its contents, and retire; but, at the same time, by the noise made in the rob bery, he were to awaken the good man of the bouse, who, arising from sleep, found some fire, which had accidentally caught his building, and which, if it had not been discovered, would inevitably have consumed himself, his family, and all he possessed. We ask, if any court of justice would acquit this robber of his crime, because God in his providence overruled it for good to the owner of the building? And we ask again, if the Lord did not know this
man's intention, at least when he undertook the robbery, and if he had not power to prevent him? If so, God decreed or determined to permit it before it came to pass.
But if this reasoning will not convince, hear what the Bible says—
Luke xxii. 22, “And truly the Son of man goeth as it was determined,"-[foretold by the prophets, and determined in great good to mankind. Is then Judas excused for fulfilling what God had determined to permit him to do in the business? Let the text speak]" but wo unto that man by whom he is betrayed."
Acts ii. 33. "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken-[well, what is the crime, if it is God's determinate counsel or decree?]-and with wicked hands have crucified and slain."*
Acts iv. 27" For of a truth, against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed; both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered
Some of the Methodist preachers, and even writers, I am told, assert, that it was not necessary Christ should suffer on the cross. But the Lord had said by the prophets, that his Son should thus suffer; and we think it necessary that Jehovah should be a God of truth. Besides, Christ differs from them in opinion very materially. He says the Son of man must be betrayed, must suffer many things of the chief priests, must be lifted up, must be crucified. To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus he says, O fools and slow of heart, to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things? &c.
together, to do what thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." The inspired writer in the original, has here used as strong a word to express his meaning, as perhaps he would have found in the Greek language, The word is gowpio, compounded of go before, and wp, to determine; and it properly signifies to predetermine, to predestinate, or decree. This word is often used by the inspired writers of the New Testament; and is sometimes translated predestinated, and at other times determined in the above text, it is translated determined before.
The Reformers called this doctrine Decree ; because they, at that time, considered this word to be of the same import with predestinate or predetermine. They did not mean a law for the regulation of our conduct; because, when the inspired writer meant a decree, which was a law, they said, (dogma) as in Luke ii. 1."There went out (dogma) a decree from Cesar," &c. In short, the inspired penmen of the Bible, have left no difficulty in the way of an honest man believing this doctrine, if he is only willing to attend to the word of the Lord.
We are well aware, that corrupt human nature, in its unregenerate state, is ever opposed to it. The devil promised man at the fall, that he should be as God; and men by nature are always disposed to claim the reward; but this doctrine takes it from them, and makes God altogether their master. The force of truth