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for him?" It must be highly offensive to God, to see his rebellious creatures immediately and strenuously oppose his holy and almighty will; and practically say unto him, that he shall not reign over

them.

2. God is highly displeased with sinners for opposing and rejecting his instructions, because they defeat all the means he is using to promote their eternal good, and every thing he has done to save them from endless destruction. He has exerted all his perfections for their good. He has devised the way of salvation-he has given the Son of his love to die in their room and stead—and he has sent his servants to invite them to partake of all the blessings, which Christ has secured. But so long as they pull away the shoulder, and stop their ears, they completely counteract all the means God is using for their eternal welfare. And what can be more displeasing to a kind and gracious God, than this? God speaks of it with astonishment, "Hear, & heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken: I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." Besides,

3. There is another reason, why God is highly displeased with sinners for rejecting his gracious calls and invitations, and that is, because they immediately sin against their own souls. He says, "All those, that hate me, love death:" and "he that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul." God sees, that while sinners are opposing him, they are opposing themselves, and doing all in their power to shut themselves out of the kingdom of heaven, and to prepare themselves for the regions of everlasting darkness and despair. He knows, that if they persist in their obstinacy, it will certainly terminate in a state of unalterable opposition to himself and to all good, and form them vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction. And this is in its own nature extremely disagreeable to God. Hence he says to sinners, with the solemnity of an oath, "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" Our Saviour deplored the obstinacy of sinners under divine warnings and admonitions, with tears in his eyes. He wept and lamented over Jerusalem, whose inhabitants had stopped their ears, and hardened their hearts, against the most solemn and endearing calls of divine mercy. God knowing the intimate connexion between means and ends, between time and eternity, between the beginning and end of a state of probation, is highly displeased with those who resist his counsels-and judge themselves unworthy of eternal life.

HEADS OF THE IMPROVEMENT.

1. If sinners take pains to resist divine instructions; then divine instructions serve to harden their hearts. The pains they take,

and the methods they employ to resist instructions, have a direct tendency to strengthen and increase their power of resistance. And there is nothing that can harden their hearts so fast, and so much, as divine instruction.

2. If sinners take pains to resist divine instruction, then they always will resist, as long as they can. The more plain and powerful divine instructions are, the more pains they will take to resist.

3. If sinners take pains to resist divine instructions; then awakened sinners oppose God more than they ever did before. They gain instruction faster-and oppose it more vigorously. The more they know of God-of Christ-of the gospel-of heaven--the more they hate all these objects.

4. If sinners take pains to resist divine instructions; then it is absurd for them, to expect a more convenient season to comply with the gospel, and secure their salvation.

5. If sinners resist divine instructions; then it is absurd for them to plead inability to comply with the terms of life. They have strength to resist—and employ all the strength they have-and would employ more, if they had it, in opposing the light and conviction of God's word. But how absurd it must be, for them to plead want of power, while they are using all they have, in resisting the means and terms of salvation!

6. If sinners take pains to resist divine instructions; then there is no hope in their case, but from the irresistible grace of God.-They will ruin themselves, unless God prevents.

7. We learn the dangerous state of sinners at present-God lets them resist-and they rise in opposition.

8. We learn the miserable state of sinners, after the day of resistance is at an end. It will end with the day of probation. They will then be no longer able to shut their eyes, stop their ears, or in any way escape the force of conviction. "They will not see; but they shall see" and feel the force of truth, and the obligations of duty, and the folly and guilt of all their former resistance, with remorse, and shame, and sorrow, forever.

Let sinners be urged to throw down their weapons of opposition, and submit.

Let saints hear and obey the will of God, and plead with him for sinners. SENEX.

ON DIVINE AGENCY.

REPLY TO ENQUIRER. [See page 441.]

Dear Sir-The spirit said, "I will persuade him;" and God said, "Go forth." This, I have granted, proves only, that the spirit, chose to go, and that God permitted him to go. It neither proves that he caused himself to be willing to go, nor that the agency of God was not concerned in making him willing. But, as it is said

afterwards, that God put the lying spirit, &c. I have a right to conclude, that this creature was no more independent of God, than other creatures-that he lived, and was moved, and had his being in God,' and that his heart was turned and his will moved by divine agency, as the rivers of water. And I must repeat, that for you to say that the word put means no more than permit, because God did no more than permit the spirit to go,' is to take for granted, what you ought first to prove, and what the "circumstances in connexion" neither prove nor disprove. This, therefore, is not an instance, in which God's permitting a thing to be done" is called "his doing it;" nor do I believe such an instance is to be found in the bible. There are many instances, in which the same thing is attributed both to divine and human agency; as, for instance, the hardness of Pharaoh's heart. It is said, that God hardened his heart, and that he hardened his own heart. But where is God ever said to do what he barely permits? How do "all the circumstances of the case" prove, that God " merely permitted Satan to afflict Job"? Because, in the very brief narrative of Job's affliction, it is not said, that God raised Satan up for the very purpose, as he did Pharaoh to oppress Israel-nor that God sent him against his perfect and upright servant, as he did the Assyrian against a bypocrit ical nation-nor that he moved him to smite Job, as he moved David to number the people-it by no means from hence follows, that the Adversary, in this instance, was moved by a self-determining power, and acted independently of the agency of his Maker.

You seem to me to assign a very insufficient reason for attributing whatever happens, to God, viz. that "he, being the Supreme Ruler of the universe, permits it to be." It would be more proper, I should think, to call God the Supreme Spectator, than the Supreme Ruler, in those cases, in which he barely permits things to be. You argue that the term, create, must mean more, in relation to the heavens and earth, than in relation to the volitions of men; because man has an agency in the creation of his evil volitions." This argument would be plausible, if it did not beg the very question in debate. Prove that man has an agency in the creation of his volitions, before you draw an inference from such a position, which would seem to reproach "a Hopkinsian" as reasoning after the manner of "the Universalist."

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God, you say, "has no moral right to inflict gratuitous punishment;" from whence you infer, that "although he may, with propriety, cause good in saints, and manifest his approbation of the same;" yet he may not, by his agency, cause that in sinners, which is evil in its nature, towards which he may manifest his disapprobation, by punishing them." But if God may manifest his approbation of the good which he causes in saints; why may he not manifest his disapprobation of the evil which he causes in sinners? If the circumstance, that he causes the good, does not change its nature, and render it unworthy of approbation; how does the circumstance, that he causes the evil, change its nature, and render it undeserving of disapprobation? You virtually. grant that it does not. You say, that the former sins of Pharaoh and others, rendered it just in God to harden their hearts, "though it involved them in additional sin, for which they were punishable." Here you admit that God might justly manifest his disapprobation of the hardness of heart, which he produced in Pharaoh and others, by punishing them for it. "But this," you add, "is by no means admitting the justice of thus hardening and punishing men under 'different circumstances." I ask then, what was there peculiar in the circumstances of Pharaoh, the Egyptians, the Canaanites, &c.?

You say, "their former sins rendered it necessary for him thus to do with them." But where do you learn that? Is it said so in the bible? But whether their former sins or something else, rendered it necessary for God to harden them, makes no difference as to their criminality; unless you mean to have it understood, that God's hardening them, was a punishment for their former sins. Will you say that? Will you say, that God punishes wicked men for their sins, by causing them to sin more? that sin is the punishment of sin?

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I did not say "natural power means whatever is requisite to an exercise of will, but the exercise itself." I said, besides the exercise itself, i. e. aside from, or exclusive of the exercise itself. Perhaps the expression did not exactly convey my meaning. I did not mean that a thing is requisite to its own existence,' or that 'it must exist, before it can exist. My meaning is, that natural power to have an exercise of will, does not include the exercise itself, but every thing else in man, which is requisite to the exercise. To this, I suppose you will assent. But then, you maintain, that a self-determining power in man is requisite to an exercise of will— that all the faculties necessary to such an exercise, without the power of self-determination, do not furnish him with natural ability to put forth the exercise. Now, the question is, whether, on your own principles, men have natural ability to repent and become holy?-whether they have any more ability to exercise holy affections, upon your principles, than upon ours? Yes, you will say, they have a self-determining power" upon my principle; which you deny.' Well, what sort of a self-determining power is it? You allow it to be a power, which never does move them to good'— that men never do choose good of their own accord.' It is not, then, a contingent power, which may act either way; but a power, which is sure always to act wrong, unless caused to act right, by 'Divine grace.' But what makes this self-determining power always act wrong, when left to itself? You answer, " It is the ground or reason, in their nature, whatever it may be, which determines them to choose in view of motives." This self-determining power, then, is determined by something in their nature. From whence, then, I ask, came this something in their nature, which determines their self-determining power to produce sinful volitions only? Did they create it themselves? or was it put there by their Maker? To say that they created any part of their nature, would be as absurd, as to say they created themselves. But if the something in their nature, which always determines their self-determining power to act wrong, was put there by God; I ask, whether they can will right, till Divine grace cause them to will so, by counteracting their nature?--whether they can have a will, different from that, which they are thus determined to have, by the nature which God has given them? Please to show the propriety in calling on them to have one different; and likewise in blaming them for having such as they do. Your notion of a self-determining power, determined by something in the nature of mankind, represents them as under a natural necessity of sinning, and therefore, as blameless; whereas our doctrine of efficiency represents them as under a moral necessity only, from which blame is inseparable.

Again, you admit, that God foreknew from eternity, how the selfdetermining power of men would act; and that it was therefore certain from eternity, how it would act. I ask, then, what made it certain, from eternity, how their self-determining power would act? and what, and how much power they have, to put forth different exercises? to put forth exercises, which it was absolutely certain, from

eternity, they never would put forth? You cannot relieve your scheme from this difficulty, by arguing from the independent Creator to his dependant creatures; for he is incomprehensible, containing the ground, not only of his will, but even of his existence, within himself.

So long as your scheme retains the notion of a self determining power, I do not see how you can make it at all consistent with itself, without denying that God causes the holy exercises of saints. "Exercising," you say, "is causing exercises"-" so, then, man produces his exercises of volition, if he exercises volition." If saints, then have exercises of holy love, they must produce them " by exercising their faculties." Again, you say, Choosing is making choice. Hence, if we are conscious of choosing, we are conscious of a spontaneous moving of our spirit, making, causing, or producing choice." If saints, then, have a good choice of any object, they make that choice themselves, and are conscious of the act of making or causing it.

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And as to any difficulty arising from the declarations of sacred scripture; you might say, 'The sacred writers do not more expressly, or more frequently, attribute the holy exercises of saints, than the sinful exercises of sinners, to divine agency: and as all those passages, which speak of God's hardening the heart, turning the heart to hatred, creating evil, &c. may and ought to be understood figuratively, as meaning no more than that God permits men to harden and turn their own hearts, and create their own evil exereises; so, those passages, which speak of God's softening the heart, quickening men, creating them to good works, &c. may, with equal ease and propriety, be understood figuratively, as meaning no more than that God permits men to soften their own hearts, and cause their own holy exercises.

This would not only make your scheme of self-determination, more consistent with itself; but would relieve it of several difficul ties under which it now labours. You would have no longer been obliged to admit that saints are not moral agents, but mere voluntary machines-that they have nothing in them morally good, but only something which is of a good tendency or effect-and that the best of saints are not praise-worthy, or rewardable for their best exercises and actions.

Take this thoroughsped Arminian ground; and then your scheme will not only be less palpably inconsistent with itself, and less clogged with insuperable difficulties, but will perhaps remain embarrassed with the two following incumbrances only:

First, 'That it goes abreast against the plain and obvious meaning of scores of passages of scripture, which, in our apprehension, there is nothing in "their connexion," or in "the great chain of scripture doctrines," to do away, and which, by no critical ingenuity, can ever be tortured into a consistency with the absurd notion of a self-determining power. And,

Secondly, That it drives you to the following inferences and admissions, among others :

1. That God performs acts, before he has an exercise'-' causes his own voluntary exercises'-and that, in thus causing his exereises, he not only acts in view of motives, but is determined, or caused by motives, thus to act.

2. That choice is the result of choosing-that there is a difference between choosing and choice, the one being a verb, and the other a noun- —that choosing is an act preceding choice, of which act, choice

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