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5. "The Pagans, and even little children know the nature of virtue and vice, and are able to perceive the essential difference between truth and falsehood, justice and injustice, kindness and unkindness, obe
5. Men are under no natural or mental incapacity of savingly understanding the scriptures: they merely want a right disposition of heart to discern what they are perfectly able to understand. Syst. Part 1. ch. 1. and Part dience and disobedience, as 2. ch. 4.
6. It is our crime, that we do not savingly understand the scriptures, because we have the natural ability, but want the disposition.
System, Part 1. ch. 1.
7. The same says Dr. Hopkins:
well as their parents, or any other persons, who are ac quainted with God and the revelation of his will."
Emmons, p. 64.
6. Men are criminal for not understanding the word of God; because it is an exhibition of the difference of right and wrong in the nature of things, which difference they have natural conscience to perceive. Emmons' Ser. passim. 7. And Dr. Emmons, the
The being of God may be the universe; but more clearly proved, from our own exist by "his holy and divine word.”
3. There is an excellence, a beauty and glory, in God's natural as well as moral perfections. "He hath in all his works graven certain marks of his glory." There is a glory of his power and intelligence, displayed in the creation of the heavens, even to those who are ignorant of his holiness. "Wherefore the author of the epistle to the Hebrews doth very well call the ages of the world, the spectacle of invisible things Heb. ii. 3. For that the so orderly framing of the world serveth us for a mirror, wherein we may behold God, who is otherwise invisible.
Con. R. D. C. Art. 2.
2. God is immutable, and without passions.
Say. Plat. p. 19. Con. P. C. U. S. p. 12 and 160.
3. The perfection of God constitutes his excellence; and his excellence consists in the union of all that consitutes the character of God. Jehovah is the proper object of reverence, obedience and love, because he is "infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering,
* Calvin treats not so much systematically, as practically of the attributes of the Godhead; but it may be clearly gathered, that his sentiments were perfectly accordant with the Confessions of Faith in the reformed churches. In one place, or other, he speaks of every natural and moral attribute; or of all the perfections which are now enumerated under these two heads; for Calvin appears to have worshipped the undivided character of the Godhead.
and from the existence of such amounts to a demonstration, that there was some cause of its be
a book as the bible.
Syst. Part. 1. ch. 2. ginning to exist;" and this
3. "The infinite excellence, beauty and glory of God, consist wholly in his moral perfections and character." These are comprehended in holiness; and "the whole of true holiness, or the moral excellence and perfection of God, is comprehended in love;" or in moral exercises of good will. These exercises have their objects, and therefore all the moral perfection of God consists in the acts of his will, which regard himself and all other beings, according to the nature and fitness of things. Syst. Vol. 1. p. 68, 69, and 82. This
Emmons, p. 487.
3. "It is well known, that goodness is the sum and comprehension of all moral excellence." Emmons, p. 23. "Benevolent affections form the moral beauty of the divine character. God is love. In this alone consists his moral excellence. His independence, almighty power, and unerring wisdom, are mere natural perfections; but his benevolent feelings are moral beauties. Benevolence appears virtuous and amiable in any moral agent." The passages of scripture which ascribe affections of love, hatred, anger, and de
Upon the subject of the natural perfections of the Deity, Dr. H. agrees with Calvin, that God is necessarily existent, infinite in understanding, wisdom and power, eternal, immutable, invisible and incomprehensible. In vol. 1. p. 63, he gives such intimations as would lead one to think his notions of the moral attributes peculiar; and assures us, that all who receive his sentiments upon this subject, will assent to his whole system of religious truth.
For which cause the prophet assigneth to the heavenly creatures a language that all nations understand, for that in them there is an evident testification of the Godhead.”
B. 1. ch. 5. sec. 1. The Godhead is manifested to excite admiration, holy fear, confidence, hope, love. Because he is the fountain of all good things, we should desire to cleave to him.
B. 1. ch. 2. sec. 2. and ch. 3. Goodness moved God to creB. 1. ch. 5. sec. 5. God's will, and not the nature of things, is the law of divine action." It is great wickedness to inquire of the causes of the will of God; since it is the cause of all things that exist, and worthily so ought to be. For if it have any cause, then somewhat must go before it, whereto it must be as it were connected; which it is unlawful once to imagine.”
Inst. B. 3. ch. 23. sec, 2.
abundant in goodness, and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal most just and terrible in his judgments; hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty."
Con. C. Scot. ch. 2. sec. 1. Con. P. C. U. S. ch. 2. sec. 1. Say. Plat. ch. 2. sec. 1.
The glory of God's power, wisdom and goodness was the end of the creation. The glory of God's power, wisdom, goodness and mercy, is the end of the works of Providence. The glory of God's grace, was the end of election; and the glory of his justice, the end of reprobation. To glorify himself is the end of all his works; and to glorify God is the chief end, and happiness of man.*
All the Confessions.
* The Confessions say nothing of disinterested love in the Godhead. The Calvinists, however, suppose, that disinterested must mean, that the person who loves has either some interest or no interest; for, in every moral action, the agent must be either interested or un-interested. God they cannot suppose to have been un-interested, or, not interested, in his works. Interest, in man, may be according to moral law, or contrary to it: and that interest, of a personal nature, which the law allows, is self-love; and is a duty while a regard to personal interest, contrary to law is selfishness; and is sin.
holiness, or love of God is universal, infinite, disinterested benevolence, which necessarily includes the love of complacence in all goodness, a regard to being in general, opposition to all which is opposite to itself, even to all self-love, or selfishness; wisdom to design and promote the greatest good, justice to punish self-love, truth, mercy, grace, compassion, patience, forbearance, wrath; and absolute, uncontrolable sovereignty.
light to God, are not figurative, but ought to be taken in a literal sense. Emmons, p. 114, 115. "Since all the affections of the Deity are only different modifications of pure, disinterested benevolence, they admit of a constant and perfect gratification; and since he is able with infinite ease to attain every desirable object, his affections are always gratified, and always afford him a source of complete and permanent felicity." Emmons, p. 116. "God loves and
Syst. from 68 to 89 p. of Vol. 1. hates with all his heart, with all
his mind, and with all his strength. In the view of this subject, we may discover what it was, which moved God to the work of creation."
Emmons, p. 120. Williams' Ser. p. 142.
* This word forms no inconsiderable part of the Hopkinsian system. It is repeatedly applied to God as well as men. Disinterested love, the defenders of the word say, is directly opposed to self-love. Do they intend that a due regard to self is sin? By no means. Again, they say that disinterested love consists in the preference of a greater public, to a less private good. The Calvinists ask, "How can you apply this term to God? Does he act from any other motive than a love of himself?" The Hopkinsians answer, "God is himself the greatest good; and therefore he loves him self, not for his own sake, but because he is the greatest good; and this is not self-love, but dis-interested benevolence." Hence they say, that it was not self-love which actuated the Deity in creation: but to promote his own happiness he made all things, because it was required by disinterested benevolence, that he should supremely gratify the most perfectly benevolent BEING in existence.