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days of eternity, and before creatures existed ? Or must we suppose that God derived a part of his glory and blessedness, even from old eternity, from the prospect which he then entertained of the abounding of moral and natural evil, in a thousand possible intellectual worlds?

When no being existed but God, what was divine benevolence ? Was it a supreme affection to holiness, and to happiness as founded upon it ?or did he look forward to a thousand worlds which he designed to make, and, beholdiog his glory and blessedness advancing from the sins and miseries of millions* take supreme delight in the prospect ? According to the hypothesis Mr. S. hath advanced, both the glory and blessedness of God were impersect before the introduction of sin and misery; and consequently, hia benevolence was but a faint resemblance of what it hath been since. So long ago as the days of Job, it was a current opinion among wise men* that the virtues and vices of mankind neither added any thing to, nor diminished any thing from, the divine Being. ElihUj in Job, fays, " If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him ? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? If thou be righteous, what givest thou him ?or what receiveth he of thine hand ?''—It is quite a new discovery, that the vices of mankind, and their misery consesequent thereon, enhance the glory and blessedness of God : and that a system of intelligent creatures, partly virtuous and happy, and partly vicious and

C miserable,

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miserable, is a more entertaining prospect to the Creator, and a greater object of his benevolence, than a system wholly virtuous 3nd happy.

If sin and misery are the neceffary means of producing th« greatest glory and blessedness of God, and of his holy intelligent kingdom ; I ask, whether the glory and bleffedness of God, and of his holy intelligent kingdom, would not be much greater than they now are, if the whole human race were vicious and miserable ? If vice and misery necessarily produce the glory and bleffedness of God, and of his holy intelligent kingdom, the greater the vice and misery, the more glory and blessedness must be produced; as the greater power in the cause, especially if it be a necessary cause, must certainly produce the greater effect. Againx if sin and misery be the necessary cause of the glory and blessedness of God, and of his holy intelligent kingdom, and the glory and blessedness of God, and of his holy intelligent kingdom, be the object of the supreme benevolence of God; I aft, whether sin and misery are the object, or a part of the object, of divine benevolence ? As God loves his own glory and bleffedness, and sin and misery are the neceffary cause of them, I see not why the inserence is not legitimate, that sin and misery are the object oi the divine benevolence.

Thus an attempt to repair an old, crazy, erroneous system, hath involved a great and good man in a labyrinth of error and absurdity. As it often happens to him who undertakes to rectify and repair ar

defective desective tattering frame, that he is caught under its ruins.

Indeed, the position, that God hath any respect, love, or benevolence to the general good of the uni verse, that, in the smallest degree, opposes bis most cordial regard to the virtue and happiness of any individual among his intelligent creatures, is absolutely false ; and vain and fruitless will be the attempt of any man to support it. It will forever prove a forlorn hope to every one who shall try the experiment. That God hath a most kind and tender regard to the virtue and happiness, the temporal and eternal good, of all the individuals of Adam's race, is a most sacred and solemn truth; which at once reflects the highest glory on God, and is matter of divine encouragement to man.

That there is, under the divine government, a public, general good, that is opposed to the real good of any individual, is a great and capital error in Mr. S/s system. This error hath led him astray, and involved him in many gross absurdities. The virtue and happiness of his rational creatures form that public, or general good, which God supremely regards. And, as the the virtue and happiness of one, of a thousand, or of a whole system of intelligent creatures, is not inconsistent with the virtue and happiness of any other individual, or number of individuals,or of any other fy Hem of intelligent creatures ; so the divine benevolence to one, to a thousand, or to a whole {ydem, is, by no means, inconsistent with the divine benevolence

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lcnce to any other individual, or number of individuals, or to any other system of intelligent creatures.

The universe is not so large as to exhaust the divine benevolence. God loves all the worlds, and all the creatures, he hath made $ and if he had made as many more, he would have loved them all.

Mr. S.'s idea of the divine benevolence is not only contrary to Teason, to common sense, to the common seelings of the human heart, and reducible to the grossest absurdity ; but most directly contrary to the Scripture representation of the love of God to his creatures.

1 T will presently fliow what is the scripture representation of the divine benevolence; after 1 have made a sew observations on Mr. S.'s idea of selsishness, or partial benevolence.

From the quotations I have already made, we may form the following statement of Mr. S's. idea on this subject.

That, to think that the happiness of individuals composes the happiness of the whole ;—or that the greatest happiness of the whole, and the happiness of the individuals which compose that whole, are the fame ; is selsishaess.

That, to attempt the comfort and consolation of suffering individuals in this lise, by telling them that God will reward them in the world to come, and richly compensate them in heaven, for their sufferings on earth; proceeds from a selsish principle, and not from a view to the general good.

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Suppose a society consists of one hundred individuals. The happiness of the hundred individuals does not make up the happiness of the whole. The supreme happiness of the whole hundred, may consist well with the extreme misery of sifty. And it is a glorious imitation of divine benevolence, to take a supreme pleasure in the misery of sifty, if we can only see the other sifty happy.

The subject, 1 acknowledge, is serious; but Mr. S.'s metaphysics bring to my mind a prayer once made by a good old farmer; and, since the prayer was made in the very spirit of that benevolence which Mr. S. so ardently pleads for, I must recite Xt.

"The Lord bless me, and my wise, my son John, and his wise ; we four and no more."

The candid reader will forgive me the introduce tion of this prayer, when I solemnly declare to him, that I have not the least disposition to render Mr. S. ridiculous^or to treat the sacred subject with indecency. The sole object I had in view, in the introduction of this prayer was, that I might present to the world Mr. S.'s system in its true light, which I suppose this prayer does.

On Mr. S's. plan, the good honest husbandman was persectly right. That every family, or every individual, in his neighborhood, or town, should be blessed, was not, at all, necessary to the happiness of the whole neighborhood, er town. And I cannot fee, on Mr. S.'s scheme of benevolence, that the good


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