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doing. Therefore man is made amenable to the law of God, and this, expressive of the will of God, can go no further than to require obedience. There may be a threatened penalty for disobedience; but this cannot insure obedience; it can only be holding out to the subject a restraining motive.
It appears from some passages of scripture which we have already cited, and from many others of a similar import, that man can and does go counter to the will of God. This is speaking no more than to say, he transgresses that law that can be no other, than expressive of God. He is able to transgress that law, because it is inconsistent with its very nature to insure obedience to its commands. It is in this relation, and this only, that we believe man can go counter to the will of God. Law always presupposes moral obligation on the part of the subject, and moral obligation presupposes freedom of action. The responsibility of the subject we believe, is in proportion to the extent of his freedom of action. We cannot, therefore, see any consistency in moral responsibility, without considering the subject a free agent. In saying this, we are not insensible, that we are opposing a number of popular writers in our own connexion as well as others; but this should impose no restraint, in discussing a subject, when truth is our only object.
In answer to the question, “in what manner did we become free agents ?” we have only to say, it is a principle of action which God has given us.
This can argue nothing against the existence of the principle. It is our principle of action as much as if we had created it ourselves. But here we speak of the principle itself, without reference to the obligation imposed by the law of God. If God has given us this principle of action, as we believe he has, we are under moral obligation to make good use of it. And it is a violation of this moral obligation, which renders us culpable.
There can be but two kinds of agency in relation to
human actions. They must either be free or necessary. A necessary agency, which renders every action we perform, wholly unavoidable, seems to be no proper agency at all ; for the real agency appears to be in something that in the chain of causes, impels the creature to act, and not in the creature itself. It appears therefore, evidently absurd that a being which acts by a necessary agency, can be either blameable or praiseworthy, for any of his actions. But according to the scriptures and every notion we have of moral actions, men are blameable for some actions, and praise-worthy for others.
Freedom of agency we do not suppose includes a freedom from moral obligation, but exists only in the power of action.
Indeed the reverse of this power would seem to destroy moral obligation ; for what moral law could reasonably require of us, what the irresistible law of fate never allowed us to do? Our opponents on this subject have generally offered us battle on ground which we never wished to occupy. They tell us, if we are free agents, we are independent, are neither amenable to God's law, nor are we limited in the extent of our moral powers. None of these things was ever meant by us, nor have we reason to believe they are necessarily implied.
After the labor in which we have been engaged, on this subject, we would now meet our general question in few words. We consider that nothing can be transacted contrary to the will of him that created us, except as we stand in relation to God's law, and his will therein expressed, in which we could not but have a certain degree of liberty without destroying the proper principles of moral actions. That these things are so, appears from the considerations which we have offered ; but that all their bearings can be satisfactorily explained and clearly understood by our limited minds, may still remain a matter of doubt.
A New Orleans paper states, with suitable espressions of disapprobation, a most disgusting and inhuman. instance of an amusement lately acted at the circus in that place. It is called ox-baiting. An ox is bound to a stake with caps drawn over his horns, to render them useless, and a pack of dogs is let loose upon him. A gentleman who was passing the circus, was prompted by curiosity to enter. Tho the amusement had been over some time, yet "we saw enough,” says he, “to disgust us and to excite sentiments of execration towards the authors of the scene.'
“The ox had been literally torn to pieces by dogs! his ears and nose hung in strings, and the blood streamed at every pore. Weak and exhausted as he was, not a novement of the dogs around him, escaped his notice. The large drops stood in his eyes, and he seemned by his pathetic moan to implore their mercy! Nothing like revenge was mingled with his regards, but, on the contrary; he appeared to submit himself with calm resignation to his fate-to escape, his experience taught him, was an useless attempt.”
We are happy to observe that a recent repetition of the scene has peen postponed, because some of the editors of news-papers refused to publish “the notice to the public.” If these powerful instruments of influencing the public sentiment, will agree to set their faces against such outrages on the sensibilities of the virtuous and humane, we shall soon find all such amusements banished from the records of huinan depravity.
From the Gospel Herald.
A SMALL REQUEST. Our Brother Editors would confer a favor by omitting the word REVEREND, affixed to the names of our
brethren who publicly advocate the truth. It will save us the trouble of expunging this word from all extracts we publish from their papers when the names of our officiating brethren are introduced. We have conscientious scruples in this. No offence is intended when we say, that we never knew a reverend preacher of the truth. If any of our brethren should persist in claiming a title to distinguish them from others, that of Major or Captain, would be more appropos than Reverend, while that of servant would be a more becoming title. In our 38th Number we expunged the word reverend where it occurred, affixed to the names of twenty-five persons, not one of whom deserves the title. The Scriptures assure us that God's name is Reverend. We have yet to learn that those men who profess to be the meek servants of Christ are authorized to covet titles, and to seize upon one which is exclusively the property of JEHOVAH. It is quite too much for those who traduce God's character, to rob him of his name or title. Well instructed scribes should do better.
We have thought proper to copy the above from the Gospel Herald, published in the City of New-York, and edited by Br. Henry Fitz. We have no arguments to offer in opposition to the disuse of 1..e word reverend, applied to preachers of the gospel. Its use is no doubt a relic of those ancient distinctions which the pride of man ever loves and fosters. But it may be asked in this place, what term have we in our language, that is exclusively applied to the Supreme Being ? In our English Scriptures, perhaps, this is the only one; and this circumstance results purely from the will of the Translators. If Br. Fitz is a mason, as most of the Universalist preachers are, his ears have, perhaps, been long familiar, and his heart contented, for as any thing he will communicate, with GREAT, GRAND, and MOST WORSHIPFUL, titles applied to them who occupy no higher station in the grade of beings planted on the footstool of our God, than those to whom he objects the title of reverend. If the cup and platter" are vessels in company, it will amount to but little, to cleanse the one, and suffer the other to remain foul. A delicious poison in our food and drink, when excluded from the one, may be sought for in the other with a double appetite. Need I be proud to be called reverend, when a brother that I never knew was any better than my. self, is mo$T WORSHIPFUL?
For the Repository. MR. EDITOR,
I am a plain country farmer, and do not wish to occupy the columns of your useful paper; still, as this is an age of authors, and every body is writing now-a-days, I have thought fit to send you this script, which you may insert in one of your numbers, if you think it worthy. Now Mr. Editor, I'll tell you at once, I have given my mind much more to politics than to religion ; and when any religious sentiment is proposed to me, I endeavor to ascertain whether it will have a salutary effect upon society, and pronounce it true or false accordingly. T'other day I fell in company with one of my neighbors, who contended that every body would be happy as soon as they died; for, said he, sin punishes itself, and all get their punishment as they go along. I immediately brought this doctrine to my standard, and the following is the result.
If every individual receives the just reward of his iniquity in this world, it is certain that sin punishes itself, that a full reward of misery grows necessarily out of a person's own feelings without the intervention of any other person or power. This I
say, be the case, if there is no misery beyond death, for some men commit the most atrocious crimes, and are not punished by any human law whatever. Now if men receive all their punishment in this state, and this punishment grows only out of the compunctions of conscience, then it is clear that human laws which inflict