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He says,* "Such exertions of the Deity, as shall be certainly effectual to restrain them" [free agents] "from perverting their faculties, look like a moral impossibility, or a method of conducting towards free agents, which is unfit, in the reason of things, as not being suited to the nature of such kind of beings." He considers it as
inconsistent with the powers bestowed" on free agents, if by any extrinsic power, their faculties are unavoidably put into exercise in one certain way only." He asks, "If motives should in all cases be set in such a strong and powerful light, as that no wrong choice could be made-how could such a method of operation consist with the proper powers of free agents? It does not appear to the human mind, a thing fit, that they" [free agents] "should be thus irresistibly guided by any extrinsic power, though it were even divine." And much more to the same effect is to be found in various parts of our author's writings. Indeed it is indisputably his scheme of liberty and moral agency, that if any power or cause extrinsic to the will itself, should either certainly and effectually restrain free agents from perverting their faculties to sin and vice; or certainly and effectually influence them to exercise their faculties in repentance and virtue, or in any one way; it would be entirely inconsistent with liberty and moral agency.
That Doctor C. also held, that the future repentance and salvation of all men, is certain, and that this certainty is caused and established by a cause extrinsic to the will of all men, is evident in the following passages out of many," God-really meant-an engagement, that mankind universally should, in due time-resemble Abraham in his moral temper-which is the same thing with their being blessed in Christ, or being reduced BY HIM
* Benevolence of the Deity, page 219. † Ibid. Page 244.
under moral subjection to the government of God."*
They" (all men) "will be wrought upon sooner or later in a moral way, such an one as is adjusted to moral agents, to become righteous persons." "It is absolutely declared in this passage of scripture, that they shall be made righteous,"" Unless they are thus made righteous" &c." God-has absolutely and unconditionally determined that all men, the whole race of lapsed Adam shall finally reign in life, and be prepared for that state, by being formed into righteous persons." "It is the purpose of God—that mankind universally-shall certainly and finally be saved." He speaks§ of some persons as infallibly selected for salvation."-In these passages it is manifest, that Dr. C. held, not only an absolute infallible certainty of the salvation of some, yea of all men ; but that this certainty is established by God, and is the effect of his determination, and also, that all men will finally be brought to repentance, to "the moral temper of Abraham," "to a moral subjection to the government of God;" and that they shall be "made righteous," and "formed into righteous persons:" all which expressions imply a cause extrinsic to the will of man, which cause effectually and certainly operates to lead him to repentance, or to an "exercise in one certain way only." How these things can be reconciled with the Doctor's avowed principles of liberty and moral agency, is hard to be conceived.
Nor was it through inattention, that the Doctor held an extrinsic cause certainly operating on the minds of men. It is a doctrine essential and important in his scheme, that all the damned will be finally and certainly brought to repentance, and brought to repentance by the torments of hell too. Are not those torments a cause extrinsic to the human will? If that cause be certainly ¿Page 231.
*Page 35. † Page 86. + Page 22.
effectual to lead the damned to repentance, what, on the Doctor's plan, becomes of their moral agency? If that cause be not certainly effectual to lead them all to repentance; it is not certain that all men will be saved.-So that on the plan of the Doctor's book, either his grand doctrine of the final certain salvation of all men, by a disciplinary punishment, must be given up, or it must be supposed, that all who are in that way saved, are divested of their moral agency and are reduced to mere machines.
Indeed if the salvation of all men be certain, and it be certain that all men will repent; it is by some cause or other made certain. That which is now a certain futurity, was a certain futurity from the beginning; yea from eternity. As it is now a certain futurity, that Christ will come to judgment, so it was certain from the beginning. Therefore if it be now a certain futurity, that all men will repent and be saved, it was a certair futurity from the beginning; and that certainty was established by some cause: and that cause must have ́been extrinsic to the wills of men; because both the certainty and the cause of it existed before the existence of men or their wills.-So that if it be a real and certain truth, that all men will be saved, to prove which, Dr. C. wrote his whole book, it is equally certain on his plan, that all men are divested of their moral agency.
Should it be still pleaded, that this certainty of the salvation of all men, is not effected by any cause extrinsic to the wills of those, who are to be saved, but by their wills themselves; the absurdity of this supposition must be glaring to every man on the slightest reflection. A great part of those who are to be saved, are not as yet in existence and it will not be pretended that their wills can have produced an effect, or established a cer
tainty, before they exist. And doubtless Dr. C. and other universalists would allow, that the salvation of those who are in existence, was as certain before their existence, as the salvation of those is, who are in future to come into existence. But that certainty could not, for the reason already mentioned, be the effect of any exertion of their own wills.
Beside; if it were not for this absurdity, a certainty established by the will of man with respect to the will itself, as effectually binds that will, and is equally inconsistent with its liberty, as if that certainty were established by any other cause. Suppose the will of any man shall establish in itself a certain and unfailing bias to any particular action or series of actions; it cannot be pretended that this fixed bias already established, is any more consistent with liberty and moral agency, in the man in whom the bias exists, than if it had been established by any other cause. If a man were to cut off his own leg, though he might be more blameable for the act of cutting it off, than he would be for the same act performed by another; yet the effect, as to his subsequent inability to walk, would be the very same.
Therefore whatever be the cause of the certainty and fixed futurity of the repentance and salvation of all men; the doctrine of the certain salvation of all men, is on Dr. C's plan of liberty, wholly inconsistent with human liberty, and implies that all men are, and ever have been, mere machines.
In vain does Dr. C. endeavour to relieve this difficulty, by observing in various passages, as in one of the quotations above, That this repentance is brought about "in a moral way, such an one as is adjusted to moral agents." For he has told us that such exertions of the Deity, as shall be certainly effectual to restrain free agents from perverting their faculties, and such an influ
ence of any extrinsic power, motives or whatever, as shall unavoidably put their faculties into exercise in one way only, are not adjusted to moral agents; but are inconsistent with their proper powers. Therefore, according to the Doctor, it is not in the power of the Deity himself, certainly and infallibly to lead all men, in a moral way, to repentance. It is a direct contradiction. And though he observes,* That that Being who is infinitely perfect will be able, in a moral way, finally to counteract human obstinacy; he is utterly mistaken, if there be any truth in his idea of liberty. If God were to overcome human obstinacy, an extrinsic cause would effectually and certainly incline the human faculties to an exercise in one way; which the Doctor says is inconsistent with moral agency.
The Doctor tells us, that to "represent hell to the view of sinners in such a striking light, as that they should be irresistibly stopped in their wicked pursuits, would not comport with their free agency." Yet he supposes, that to be in hell, and to feel its torments so strikingly as to be certainly and infallibly stopped in wicked pursuits, and thus to be brought to repentance, is to be brought to repentance in a moral way, entirely comporting with free agency.
Upon Dr. C's plan of liberty, there not only is not, and cannot be, any certainty, that all men will be saved; but there is not, and cannot be, any certainty that any one man will be saved. The Divine Being himself cannot make it certain, without destroying moral agency. Not any of the promises of the gospel give us assurance of the salvation of any man: nor is it in the power of God to give a promise of salvation which shall insure the event, so long as men remain moral agents. Therefore
* Page 167. † Page 344, 345.