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preme regard to the good and glory of God and his kingdom. The heart must have an object: of its supreme regard. If self be this object there is a necessary opposition to the public good V and all the Measures of divine government, will be approved or ilapproved by this rule, am I benesited, or not?' Selsishness will look with' a jealous and an afflicted' eye on the' emolument of every other being, that Cannot be'made subservient to its own purposes. The human 'heart wishes that every thing may conspire to the advancement of that interest, which it presers to all others. A selfish creature wishes that every thing friay eonspire to the advancement of self, and puss nfmseif in the place of God arid the universe; and he iriunVeither be unhappy, or the divine government friust bow to his individual interest's." We now Bave a long quotatiorrbefore us. Let us candidly and fairlyt though critically, examine it.
A'benevolence, lirhifecT by' the law of individual jbappipessj is selsishness. All the measures of divine government will be approved, or disapproved, by this rule, am 1 benesited, dr not? A selsish eye looks, Yvith jealousy and affliction,, on the emolument of ev£ry other being, A selsish creature wishes that every thing may conspire to the advancement of self.' A selsish soul is unhappy, if all the measures of the diVitte'government do riot bow to bis individual interests.' rThus I haveliuly and fairly stated Mr. S's.
idea of selfilhness."
fti '..<«.-.£;.- , Wil,
Will it not be conceived by every candid and consistent mind, that benevolence ought to be so desined as to form a persect contrast to selsishness? Benevolence, then, tenders the happiness of every individual in the universe, that is capable of it. Benevolence will highly approve of all those measures of the divine government, which are calculated to subserve the real interest and happiness of all the members of that government. A benevolent eye will look, with the most cordial pleasure and satisfaction, on the emolument of every other being, A benevolent creature wishes that every thing may conspire to the advancement of the pleasure and happiness of all others, as well as of itself. The benevolent soul feels itself, in a great measure unhappy, whilst, under the excellent measures of the divine government, all its sellow creatures are not persuaded to be virtuous and happy.
I appeal, not only to the reason and common sense of my readers, but to their hearts, whether I have not stated the idea of benevolence in persect contrast with Mr. S's. idea of selsishness, and in such manner as to meet their entire approbation. Yes, my christian readers, I ask your hearts, whether they do not approve of the picture of benevolence which I have set before them.
But you know that this is far from being Mr. S's. idea of benevolence. If it really were his idea, we should have no controversy with him. His benevolence, instead of grasping the intelligent universe in
(be attfis of its tenderest affection, is a regard to an airy phantom, a mere systematic sigment, called the public good, or greatest quantity of happiness even that public good, ox greatest quantity of happiness, which it necessarily produced by the Jin and misery ef a great part of the human race t!
Turn back, my kind readers, a sew pages, and yon may refresh your memories with Mr. S's. fundamental ideas of benevolence. There you will sind that I here represent them truly. What, but a fond attachment to a hypothesis, could prevent Mr. S. from seeing the inconsistencies which he hath made? Selsishness, he fays, is a regard to one's own individual happiness, without respect to the happiness of dthers. Benevolence, he fays, is a regard to God'sJioly intelligent kingdom, without any respect to the virtue arid happiness of numberless millions of sinful and miserable beings. In a society of a thousand members, what is the difference between that boevolence which is limited to one, and that which is extended to sive, or to sifty, or to sive hundred, if it still fall short of grasping the whole ? They are both' partial. One, indeed, includes a sew more within the arms of love ; but leaves,a great part of the society in misery.
Again, our author proceeds, •* p. 114, According to the above explanation, the insinite benevolence of God is no proof of universal salvation ; for if the just and eternal misery of some, be a necessary means tftbe greatest happiness, it will doubtless be preserred
in his government, by a holy God. Benevoleridi applied to the divine character, in the loose sense that many use the word; means the fame as that all creatures will be made happy. In this sense of th« word, it.will be denied that God is a benevolent being; and thus using it, is only taking that as granted, which is the real matcer of dispute: This loose sense of the word will be very agreeable to sinful minds, and hath a fatal tendency to six them in the security of death." Here the matter is brought plainly outj and we see what Mr. S. hath been laboring after all this time, even to sit up such an explanation of divine benevolence as would not countenance universal salvation. And he is persectly right, when he fays that4 " according to the above explanation, the insinite benevolence of God is no proof of universal salvation." Well might he say this, since by theabove explanation, divine benevolence is the supreme love which God hath for that intellectual, moral system, in which sin and misery have a great and eternal share. Lest we should forget that sin and misery are necessary to produce the greatest good of that moral system, which is the object of the insinite benevolence of God, Mr. S. hath taken special care to repeat the idea, and to renew the impression upon the minds of his readers.
I cannot but blame Mr. S. very much, for several things which I sind in this last quotation from his book. First, I blame him much for repeating the assertion, that sin and misery are necessary -means of
producing the greatest good in that moral system, which is the object of the divine benevolence, without once attempting to prove its truth. An assertion, which he makes to contain a fundamental principle in his scheme, certainly ought to have been supported by the clearest and most indubitable evidence. Instead of this, he hath not so much as attempted to prove it.
Secondly, I blame Mr. S. for charging it as a crime in others, that they assume as a granted position that which is a main subject in controversy.' He' says that, '''benevolence applied to the divine character, iri the loose sense that many use the word, means the fame as that all creatures will be made happy, In this sense of the word," he says, "it will be*denied that God is a benevolent being; and thus usi.ig it, is only taking that as granted, which is the real matter of dispute." If to use' the word benevolenbe in such a'sense, as to favor universal salvation, when universal salvation is the subject of dispute, be unfair, as it is taking for granted the thing to be proved: I will ask Mr. S. what shall be said of the man, who uses the wOrd benevolence in such a sense, as to favor partial damnation, when partial damnation is his own professed subject of dispute?
Mr. S.'s positions concerning the divine benevolence are these. It is God's love of the greatest possible quantity of happiness. And this greatest possible quantity of happiness is produced, necessarily, by a great quantity of eternal sin and misery. And yet Mr. S. is the very man, who reflects ou