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and the tenure by which it is holden. As God is the Creator of man he is the sole proprietor. 'I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled; who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified; or let them hear and say, It is a truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am He: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.' 'I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.' 'Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?3 By the light of these passages, the testimony of which is corroborated by many which we may not here quote, we see that because God has created all men, he claims them as his own, and that as he is our Creator, and the Creator of all, we have all one father in him; and moreover that he justly claims all whom he has created as his children, as his sons and his daughters. Because God has created the heavens and the earth, he claims them as his own, and our doctors are not disposed to dispute his right to them; but when we urge in favor of his right in the wicked, whom he not only created, but created in his own image, constituting them all his children, they are loth to yield to this claim, any further than to allow that the Creator has a right to punish them unmercifully and forever. But we contend not only that the Creator has a clear right to the wicked, and an interest in them, as he has to the visible creation, the heavens and the earth, but that he holds in them a relation to himself, as their father; as an earthly parent possesses an interest in a child, a right, a claim which the child cannot dissolve, nor the parent transfer. And we moreover maintain that it ill becomes doctors, who profess Christianity, either to deny to the wicked their sonship in God, or to God the rights of a father in the wicked; for Jesus, whose disciples they profess to be, has fully and explicitly established these infinitely important relations and interests, in that form of prayer which he gave to his disciples. In this form he directed them to pray thus: 'Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be clone, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.'4 Here Jesus teaches sinners that God is their Father, and that they are his sinful children, and stand in need of his forgiveness. He also teaches sinners that they have an interest in their heavenly Father's love, and that by the strength of that interest his favor may be asked. They had just the same right to ask of their Father in heaven the forgiveness of their sins, as they had to ask of him their daily bread. This right must be founded in the relation which subsists between God and his sinful children; and this relation must give to him an interest in them, which exactly corresponds with their interest in him. Our children have an interest in us, founded on the relation in which they stand to us, and we to them; and the interest we have in them corresponds with the interest which they have in us.
'Im. zliii. 6—10; Zit. 12; Malachi ii. 10.
Possibly the reader may ask whether wickedness may not dissolve this relation, on which we contend so much depends? We answer, as the duty which children owe to their parents, is claimed on the strength and nature of the relation which subsists between them,—so disobedience is weighed and measured solely by the same standard. It is therefore impossible that disobedience should dissolve the very law which constitutes it disobedience. Indeed, if this law were dissolved, there would be no disobedience.
On this moral relation which subsists between man and his Creator, are founded all the favors which the former receives from the latter, and all the duties and moral obligations which we owe to our Father which is in heaven. This moral relation constitutes also the law which justifies obedience, and which weighs, measures and condemns disobedience. And were it possible for this relation to be dissolved, as there would
♦ Luke xi. 2—4.
remain no standard by which obedience could be claimed, or disobedience known, so would both obedience and disobedience necessarily cease to exist with the dissolution of this moral relation.
Having thus laid before the reader the great and immutable principles on which we predicate and defend the claim of our heavenly Father for which we contend, we may now proceed to illustrate it by a legitimate use of a few instructive passages of divine truth, and instances recorded in Scripture, the use of which will assist us in this interesting undertaking.
In his wicked offending b/ethren, who in their cruel treatment of him had violated the holy law of fraternity which subsisted between him and them, Joseph had an interest and a claim which it was not in their power to annul. Their disobedience and cruelty to him, could not, in the nature of things, cancel his right to love them and to do them good. To do good in return for evil is one of the greatest enjoyments of which man is susceptible; and in place of their wrongs having the power to deprive him of this felicity, they furnished the opportunity for him to enjoy it. To overcome evil with good, is not only a divine command, which originates in the very nature of divine goodness, but constitutes the most brilliant victory of which a truly great soul can boast. The wicked brethren of Joseph could pierce his sensitive heart with grief, but they could not deprive him of his right to overcome their evil with his own benevolent favors.
By the inspirations of the Almighty he held a right in his brethren's submission to himself, a claim to their hearty repentance of the wrongs they had done him, and to their most sincere affections and love. In a word, his interest in them gave him a fair indisputable title to all the immunities and privileges of forgiving them their iniquities, and of rendering them most happy by his liberal bounty. Can we imagine how a greater evil could have happened to these brethren than the loss of their interest in Joseph's favor? But even in this deplorable condition, could their loss be fairly estimated to be as great as Joseph's would have been, had he been de
Erived of the opportunity and means of bestowing on them the lessings which they needed? What, in all the world, could to him countervail the loss he would have sustained by being deprived of such an opportunity and such means? And yet his loss would have been still greater had he lost his forgiving spirit and disposition of kindness towards those whom he loved.
Now the rights of God, and his interest in the wicked, for which we are contending, are of the nature and character of those which we have seen that Joseph held in his envious enemies who wickedly and unfeelingly sold him a bond slave. And we would here inquire of our christian doctors, whether they are prepared to dispute these, our heavenly Father's claims? We would ask them whether they are, by the authority of the gospel ministry, authorized to deny these rights of God; and whether they are, by this ministration of life, furnished with arguments to disprove them?
In these claims, which we set up for our heavenly Father, we recognize his right to love the wicked, to do them good, to overcome their evil with his goodness, to humble their impenitent hearts by the power of his grace, and to bestow on them all the favor which their unhappy condition needs, and all which his infinite fulness and divine mercy enable him to bestow. Moreover, he has an undoubted right to their sincere love in return for his, and to their gratitude and obedience.
It will be allowed by all, that the Creator must have had a wise design in creating man, and that this design was every way worthy of his wisdom and power. Whatever this design is, it must be his own right in his creature; and it would be unreasonable to suppose that it is in the power of the thing made, to annul the right that its maker has in it. But though our doctors are willing to allow all this, it is only for the purpose of giving support to their views of God's right to make the wicked forever miserable. Thus they seem to be blind to the fact that the Creator could have no desire to make his creatures forever miserable unless he was their enemy; to suppose which, is a direct denial of his having had any design in their creation. For it is impossible for the Creator to be an enemy to a creature of his, who was made for a certain purpose, which was planned according to the attributes of infinite wisdom and favor. The controversy between us and the doctors seems to be precisely the same that was between Jesus and the Pharisees and scribes who opposed him. Because he was a friend to publicans and sinners, they were enemies to him. A controversy growing out of these facts is recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Luke, where we read as follows: Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." That Jesus manifested by his conduct and preaching more favorable sentiments toward sinners than his religious enemies could justify, is not only indicated by their exclamation against him, above cited, but also by the following passage: 'And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that be sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice; for 1 am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'6 By this scripture we understand that the religious enemies of Jesus were displeased with him on account of the favor which he manifested toward sinners; and we moreover learn that in room of denying that of which they complained, and of which they accused him, he informed them plainly and definitely that mercy was preferable to sacrifice; and that he came, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. And he justified himself and his doctrine by the significant and wellapplied maxim, The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. The physician has an interest in recovering his patient to health. This is the business of his profession and the whole use of his skill. He sees in his patient enough of remaining constitution and health, on which to build his hopes of a recovery. He sees in the nature of the disease and in the character it has assumed, what gives him a reasonable hope that it will yield to the power of his prescriptions. The satisfaction he anticipates in the attainment of his object, is greatly heightened by the consideration of doing good and of being the object of gratitude and respect. If we are correct in supposing that our Father in heaven is the most happy being in the universe, it seems there can be no grounds tor such a belief, of a more reasonable nature than that he has the means and the disposition to do more good to dependent creatures than any other being possesses. That this dis