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it possible for a man to cause his own choice, without choosing or willing? and I replied that it was impossible, because it was the same as asking how it was possible for him to choose without choosing. But I will now answer the question as it actually stands, viz. How is it possible for a man to cause his own choice, without choosing or willing to have it? Ans. Choosing is causing choice; and therefore choosing to have or make or cause a choice, is choosing to choose, which is an absurdity.
One word here on the subject of blame. This does not attach to anything whatever, save the soul, which puts forth the evil will. It is not then in the will, nor the intention, nor the exercises; but simply in the soul, the fountain of all.
To recapitulate. The passages quoted by "Calvinist" are not to be understood as Hopkinsians understand them, because such an understanding of them involves the injustice of God's punishing men for wills which he causes them to have; and the absurdity of calling on them to have wills different from those which Omnipotence makes them have. But they should be understood, save in special cases where, it may be, the day of grace was past, in the same sense as the passage relative to the lying spirit evidently should be. With regard to the question of the destitution of merit in saints, &c. I refer to what I said a little back. As to my answer to the question, How is it possible for a man to cause his own choice, without choosing or willing to have it! I think I have shown that the question itself is not " according to the use of language." I meant by my laconic reply to the question respecting blame, that it needed no other than a laconic one; although in the haste in which I gave it, I gave an incorrect one, which I have rectified in the present
I will, dear Sir, close this long communication by a few questions, &c. on my own part.
How can saints be really praise-worthy, if they are not as they should be, when left to themselves?
How can it be proper to say that God chooses, if the choice in him is eternal, and uncaused by himself? In this case, would it not express the thing better, to say he has an inherent choice? To say that he chooses, is nothing more or less than saying that he makes, produces, or causes his choice? And if he does not cause it, how, Í ask again, can he be praise-worthy? and why is not the universe governed by Chance? And if he causes men to have the vol.tions which they do, how can he justly punish them for the same?-how are they to blame?-what propriety is there in calling on them to have different ones? Again. Would man thwart the Divine decree if he could? and could he if he would? and do not all feel as conscious that they cause their own evil wills, as they do of anything else whatever? I must confess, that if I did not think myself the author of my evil volitions, but supposed God to be, that instead of feeling condemned for the same, I should look upon those volitions with complacency, and as being only a natural evil, necessary for the good of the universe; and should consider myself an instrument of good in the hands of God, and entitled to a greater final reward than the pious, as a salvo for the deprivation of good to which my instrumental evil had subjected me.
Now, Sir, if there are difficulties on both sides, is it not best to believe that side which has the least? I ask, then, whether all these objections against Hopkinsianism do not overbalance that of giving an allowable explanation to a few passages of scripture, in order to avoid these monstrous conclusions? INQUIRER.
FOR THE HOPKINSIAN MAGAZINE.
REMARKS ON ‘A FURTHER DIFFICULTY PROPOSED. [See page 352.]
Mr. Editor-I claim not to be ranked with yourable, wise or experienced' correspondents. But as none of them has complied with your solicitation, to solve the " further difficulty" of Clericus; I send you the following brief remarks, hoping that they may lead to a more thorough discussion of the truly interesting and important subject. I agree with you, and with Clericus, in believing that God is sincere in giving a general invitation to sinners, in the gospel ; while He is determined to exert his power to convert and save a part of them only. The difficulty proposed, lies in reconciling God's sincerity in this case, with his determination. That God does desire the salvation of every sinner, in itself considered, will not be questioned; and that it is not best, all things considered, that all men should be saved, cannot consistently be denied by any except Universalists.
Now since, in the invitations of the Gospel, God offers what he can and will bestow upon all who comply with the reasonable terms, as all are able and ought to do; why may not He be sincere, although it is best on the whole, that some should refuse and perish? If He cannot be sincere in the invitations of the gospel, without knowing that all will accept them, and determining to make them willing to do so; then He cannot be sincere in commanding all men to obey his law, while He knows that some will transgress, and is determined not to exert his power to prevent it. Was not God sincere in forbidding our first parents to eat of the tree of knowledge, although He knew that they would eat, and intended to permit them? Was He not sincere in commanding Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, although He knew that Pharaoh would refuse, and determined not to make him willing to obey? If God has the blessing which He offers in the gospel, intends to bestow it upon all who will receive it, and really feels as strong a desire that each one should receive it, as his invitations express; then He is sincere, whatever may be his knowledge, or determination. God's knowing that it is not best all things considered, to save all mankind, and determining not to exert his power to make all willing to be saved, do not in the least affect the sincerity of his invitations: and whether they affect the propriety of his invitations, is quite another question.
Mentor, in the allegory of Clericus, might sincerely invite, entreat, and urge, his children to tarry with him, through the fondness of parental affection; although it would be wrong and improper for him to do it. But here the allegory fails, in its application to the case, which it is brought to illustrate. In order to make the relation of Mentor to his children, parallel to that of our heavenly Father to sinners of mankind, it must be supposed to be the duty
of all Mentor's children to tarry with him-that not one of them knows that it is best, all things considered, for him to go-and that it is best, all things considered, for a number of them to remain with fi their "wise and affectionate father." Now, these things being supposed, what would there be wrong and improper in Mentor's inviting and urging them all to tarry? Would not this be a suitable trial of the filial duty of the whole? and, at the same time, the proper means of inducing those to tarry, who, it is best on the whole, should remain, and of setting the ingratitude and disobedience of the rest in a true light? SOLVENS.
[Continued from page 372.]
There is another reason, which I must not omit to mention, why the rulers are to be contended with, when they are found guilty of profaning the Sabbath day: Their wickedness does more than that of others, to draw down the wrath of God on the whole nation. In the text, the nobles of Judah were admonished that the nation, in which they bore rule, was eminently exposed to the wrath of God, on account of their profanation of the Sabbath. Rulers are considered as the public representatives of the nation, and the index of its character: and it is with peculiar propriety that they are so considered in a nation like ours, where they are all chosen either immediately, or mediately, by the people. If Providence smiles or frowns on nations, much according to the character of its rulers, this circumstance gives force to that proverb, "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." If they that bear rule in a nation manifest their wickedness by contemning the Sabbath, the people will C mourn ere long; for they will lose the benefit of the Divine protection: and "6 'except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."
It is a question, which demands some particular attention: In what way are we to contend with the rulers of a nation, should they be found guilty of profaning the Sabbath day? Before I proceed to give any direct answer to this question, I wish you to understand, that I am far from encouraging a spirit of railing against men in authority. Their place in society is honorable; and we are required to give honour to whom honour is due. But while the word of God forbids us to revile, or speak evil of the ruler of our people, it freely, and not unfrequently reproves the iniquity of men in office. They who, in a railing manner, "speak evil of dignities," always have a selfish end to answer. They wish to destroy the character of those who are in places of power; either to make room for themselves to rise, or for the sake of weakening the
force of those laws, which impose a restraint on their ungoverned passions: but that reproof of men in office, which is authorized by the scriptures, is the fruit of love to God and man. If we suffer their sin to go unreproved, we let them perish without making an effort to preserve them from destruction: and certainly their salvation is not less desirable than the salvation of other men. If we suffer sin upon them without rebuking it, this is no proof of love, but rather of hatred. That reproof of rulers, which accords with the spirit of the scriptures, is designed to reform men, whose reformation will have a powerful tendency to honour God and advance the interests of society. Another object which the scriptures appear to have in view, in distinctly pointing at the faults of rulers, is to give the people warning not to imitate even their superiors, when they forsake the right ways of the Lord.
The question now returns: In what way are the rulers to be contended with, when they are guilty of disregarding the Sabbath?— To this I answer:
First. They are to be reproved, as Nehemiah reproved the nobles of Judah, by a particular address to them on the subject in a personal interview, provided access can be had to them.
Secondly. This reproof can be administered by writing them private and friendly letters on the subject.
Thirdly. They are to be reproved from the pulpit. "Them that sin" the ministers of the word are commanded to "rebuke before all, that others also may fear." And they are charged before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, to observe these things without preferring one before another. These reproofs should be humble and meek, delivered in the fear of God, and without that fear of man which bringeth a snare.
Fourthly. Rulers, if they profane the Sabbath day, are to be contended with from the press. When they are guilty of aberrations from what is deemed the right path in politics, the press stands ready to make them acquainted with their fault; why then should it remain a mute spectator of their profanations of the Sabbath ; since these, much more than an error in their political creed, are likely to bring wrath on the whole nation?
Fifthly. Petitioning the government to enact such laws as are favorable to the sanctification of the Sabbath, and to repeal such as are unfavorable, is a proper and respectful way to contend with the rulers of a nation. If it should be said, "It will do no good; such petitions will only be treated with contempt;" let the petitioners be reminded of the example of the pious reformer in Judah, whose words have furnished a theme for this discourse. When he was about to petition the king of Persia in favor of the holy city, he first petitioned the King of heaven. This he did in a very solemn fast,
which he kept preparatory to the presentation of his petition to Artaxerxes. And at the very moment when he was presenting his request to that dignified mortal, his heart was lifted up in devout aspirations to that Being, in whose hand the king's heart was, and at whose pleasure he knew it could be turned. Until our petitions to government, for its interposition in favor of the Sabbath, shall have been accompanied with such appendages as these, we have no right to say, 'petitions will do no good.' But petitions, the sincerity of which is evidenced by a correspondent practice, should they prove unsuccessful, they may serve to prevent the petitioners from being involved in that national guilt, which is the result of an authorized profanation of the Sabbath. They who do all in their power to reform the city or land, of which they are inhabitants, have the more reason to hope, in case no reformation is effected, that they shall be "hid in the day of the Lord's anger."
There is one other method of contending with such rulers as are guilty of profaning the Sabbath; but I have had some hesitation about suggesting it. The method to which I now refer is peculiar to elective governments. I know it does not fall within the province of the Christian minister, when there are two merely political interests in the state; to make it any part of his religious instruction, to direct his people which side to espouse: but it comes within his sphere, even as a religious teacher, to tell his people, it is their duty and their interest, to choose into office such men as will be pleasing to Him who presides over the destinies of the nations; that the men of their choice should be not only able men, but also such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness. If it be his duty to advise them, as Jethro did Moses, to select men to bear rule, who fear God, it surely cannot be improper to add, and who among other ways, evidence this fear, by hallowing the Sabbath day.
EXTRACTS FROM AN EXPOSTULATORY ADDRESS,
To the Methodists in Ireland, and a Vindication of the same, by John Walker, late Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin. [Continued from page 376.]
I believe as firmly, and declare as explicitly, as any Methodist, Ľ that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord." But I believe the nature of that holiness is awfully mistaken by many Methodists, and misrepresented in your system; and while I believe the Bible, I must be certain that any man, who says he has no sin is a liar, and the truth is not in him; and my reverence for the divine authority will not allow me to be deterred from avowing that certainty, by the names or estimation of any men, who have told that lie, or countenanced others in telling it.
The methodistic idea of sanctification, is, in plain English, this;