Imágenes de páginas

why may not he value his inter- | cribed, comprehends one's whole est more than mine, because it is duty to his neighbour? his? If my interest is worth more That it does so, I have before than my neighbour's, because it is observed, is implied in the last mine, why may I not require him clause of the text : “On these two to love me more than himself?- commandments hang all the law And why may not he, for the same and the prophets." That it ever reason, require me to love him must, will appear from the followmore than myself? Such absurdi- | ing considerations: ties will follow from the supposi 1. It is the very nature of distion, that any one ought to love interested, impartial love, to reshimself more than a neighbour, train one from doing his neighbour who possesses an equal capacity wrong, or injuring him in his perfor happiness. In the eye of true son, name, or interest, whether benevolence, things are valued ac-i temporal or spiritual. The aposcording to their worth, without the ' tle says, 66 Thou shalt not comleast regard to their being mine or mit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, yours. And since mankind pos- Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt sess a common nature, and have not bear false witness, Thou shalt a similar interest, and viewed in not covet ; and if there be any the light of eternity, stand much other commandment, it is briefly upon the same level; it is fit and comprehended in this saying, namereasonable, that each one should ly, Thou shalt love thy neighbour be required to love his neighbour, as thyself. Love worketh no ill his fellow-creature, his brother to his neighbour : therefore love man, of equal capacity, as much is the fulfilling of the law.” This as himself. If one may love any corresponds with what the apostle one of his neighbours less than says, in another place, respecting himself, because he has a smaller charity, i. e. true love :

- Chacapacity for happiness and a less rity envieth not-doth not behave valuable interest ; for the same itself unseemly-is not easily proreason, he ought to love another of voked-thinketh no evil.” He, his neighbours more than himself, who loves his fellow-creatures with because his capacity for happiness a truly disinterested, kind and beis greater and his interest more nevolent affection, can surely feel valuable than his own.

no motive to injure them, in word Thus, the second commandment or deed, or to treat them in any in the law, as summed up by our way forbidden in the word of God. Saviour, is like unto the first, Such love, as has been described, equally rational, equally just and obviously comprehends obedience good. They both have the same

to all the prohibitions of the Difoundation, the nature, fitness, and vine law, respecting our neighrelations of things. He who obeys bour. the one, obeys the other. He who 2. It is equally the nature of disloves God supremely, is ever dis- interested, impartial love, to prompt posed to love his neighbour as him-one to do all that for his neighself; and he, who loves his neighbour, which the word of God rebour as himself, will not fail to quires, and, in this respect, to do Jove God with all his heart.

his whole duty. He, who really

values his neighbour's interest, as It now remains to enquire. he does his own, will cheerfully do Iy. How such love as has been des- all he consistently can, to promote

it. He, who feels an impartial no duty towards him, any further pegard to his neighbour's happi-than he is actuated by love. This ness, will not hesitate to make all is plainly implied in the words of those sacrifices, which he ought to the apostle,

the apostle, “ Though I bestow make, to supply his neighbour's all my goods to feed the poorwants and relieve his sufferings. and have not charity (love) it proNo one can love his fellow-men as fiteth me nothing." No duty is perhimself, without performing for formed, whatever one may do for them all the kind offices, which he his neighbour with a view to can perform, without neglecting benefit himself. Duty, whether more important duties. He will, towards God or one's neighbour, as he has ability and opportunity, consists, not in external actions, do good unto all men. True love but in the free, voluntary exercisas naturally excites men to do es, fiom which they flow. In these whatever they ought for their the moral agency of men consists ; neighbours, as to refrain from do- for these only are they accountaing what they ought not. I may add, ble. These God searches and

3. That whenever men treat tries, in order to render to every their neighbours as they ought, all man according to his works. It is the duty they perform, essentially manifest, therefore, that the whole consists in the exercise of true duty of men to their neighbours is love. Though one should do ever comprehended in disinterested, imso much, that has a tendency to partial love. benefit his neighbour, yet he does

[To be concluded.]




glory his chief object of pursuit, in the works of creation and providence: and He requires all his intelligent creatures to pursue

the (Concluded from page 187.] same object, as their chief end.

- Whether, therefore, ye eat or REMARKS,

drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all 1. In view of the foregoing ob- to the glory of God.” Accordingservations, we may see what con- ly, we find, that pious ministers stitutes the glory of God. The often call upon sinners, to reAssembly of Divines in their Cat nounce their selfish interest and echism, say, that ‘God, for his own make the glory of God their chief glory, hath fore-ordained whatso- object of affection and pursuit.ever comes to pass.? In his pre- But, in order to place our affecdictions of blessedness to the tions on any definite object, it is Church, God says, by Isaiah, “ I necessary to understand in what will say to the North, Give up; it consists. And from this suband to the South, Keep not back; ject we may see that the glory of bring my sons from far, and my God consists in the display of his daughters from the ends of the na!ural and moral; even every one that is call. And who can conceive of an obed by name, for I have created him lject more important, or better for my glory; I have formed him, I adapted to fill heaven with joy and yea I have made him.” It is plain, praise, than this? Who can ever

passage, and a multitude again doubt the wisdom of God in of others, that God makes his own causing moral evil to exist in this

from this


world, when it is so necessary to acter of his creatures, He displays display the Divine glory?

* neither justice nor injustice, but II. The Providence of God is sovereignty.”-It is also soineuniversal and particular. All per times affirmed, that if God makes sons, who believe in a God, admit us to err from his ways, then we that He governs the natural world. cannot be free agents and accountThe revolutions and convulsions able for our conduct. This obof nature, have usually been as- jection has often been made, and cribed to his agency. It is, also, as often answered. It was commonly admitted, that God ex cominon in the days of the apostles, ercises what is called a general that they had occasion to take noprovidence over the moral world. tice of it. After Paul had assert. But, many deny, that God's prov ed the Divine agency in forming idential agency extends to all the characters of the vessels of events. They say, if it does, then inercy and the vessels of wrath, it will follow, that God is the in these words, “ Therefore hath cause of moral evil. But, what if He mercy on whom He will have this does follow? It is sometimes mercy, and whom He will, He said, that if God causes some to hardeneth;" he anticipated this walk in his statutes and others to very objection, " Thou wilt say err from his ways, he must neces then unto me, Why doth he yet sarily be partial and unjust. But find fault, for who hath resisted how does this appear? Partiality his will?" And he gave such an does not consist merely in treat answer to it, as the Holy Spirit ing persons differently; but in directed. We find it answered, treating them differently, without by an appeal to the objector's any good reason.” But, we have conscience: “ Nay, but O man, scen, that God has important rea who art thou that repliest against sons for making some to err from God? Shall the thing formed, say his ways. The full display of his unto him that formed it, Why hast own infinite perfections, requires, thou made me thus?” In this anthat a difference should be made swer, it is worthy of observation, in moral characters. This was that the apostle did not give up, or true, in the case of Pharaoh. God expiain away the doctrine, that it told him to his face, “ And in very is God, who makes men into such deed for this cause have I raised vessels as He pleases; but boldly thee up, that I might show my maintained it, and by his appeal power in thee, and that my name to the conscience of the objector, might be declared throughout all asserted also his activity and guilt. the earth.” And no reason can This answer ought to satisfy all be given, why He may not have as those, who have any regard to the good reasons for raising up others Divine declarations, and forever for the same purpose, that He did silence the objection. But, if any Pharaoh. Neither does injustice are disposed still to enquire, How consist in treating persons better can it be possible for men to be than they deserve; but in treating free and accountable when they them worse." But God never has are made to err from the right way? treated, and never will treat any the question may be answered on of his creatures worse than they philosophical principles. Though deserve. He never has destroyed, it was not the design of these oband never will destroy any persons

servations, yet, in ascertaining the before they are first fitted for des extent of the Divine Providence, truction. And in forming the char we have also ascertained the mode.

God governs the moral world, by be to blame. If God inakes the directing and moving the will of earth into a globe, and not into a his creatures. In order to display square; then, doubtless, it is a bis power and sovereignty in E- globe and not a square: and if He gypt, 'He turned the heart of the makes men to err from his ways; Egyptians to hate his people, to then, doubtless, they do err from deal subtilly with his servants.'- his ways.

his idays. And if God does his But, who ever read the history of pleasure in the armies of heaven Pharaoh and the Egyptians, with and among the inhabitants of the any doubts respecting their free- earth, by making his creatures dom and guilt, in their oppressive freely and voluntarily fulfil his and subtile treatment of the Chil decrees; then, doubtless, they are dren of Israel: “ The king's heart free and voluntary in all they do. is in the hand of the Lord; as the 'It is, indeed, sometimes said, that rivers of water, He turneth it if we are dependant for our acwhithersoever He will." But, tions; then we cannot help doing who ever doubted the freedom or as we do. But, is it meant, that accountability of kings? If we do we are, in some instances, disposany thing voluntarily and heartily, ed to do differently, and cannot? we are conscious of being free and This is, probably, always insinuataccountable: and the fact, that it ed, in this objection. But nothing is God, who works in us, both to is more false. God never causes will and to do, has no tendency to any of his creatures to act against destroy, but to secure our freedom their will ; but causes them to and accountability. In order to choose to act according to his will. destroy our freedom and accounta Will the objector go still further, bility, it would be necessary for and say, that we cannot help actGod to make us act contrary to our ing voluntarily, when we are made will. But this is not only contra- to act voluntarily? And what if we ty to fact, but impossible in the cannot? It is impossible to connature of things. It is a gross ab- ceive of more freedom, or a better surdity to suppose, that a person reason for accountability, than to can be made to perform a moral act from choice. Holiness, or sin, action, against his will. It is true, does not lie in the cause of moral may

be compelled, by physical actions, but in the nature of the force, to do an overt action against actions themselves. our will; but it would not be a III. The same events are, fremoral action. It is not by apply- quently and properly, ascribed, in ing physical force, but by turning sacred scripture, to different causthe heart, that God - works in us God is said to have hardened both to will and to do, of his good Pharaoh's heart; and he is said to pleasure.” Hence the arguments, have hardened his own heart. In drawn from the analogy of physi- the history of Job, it is said, the cał causes, to prove that absolute Sabeans and Chaldeans plundered dependence destroys freedom or him of his property and slew his accountability, are perfectly idle servants ; but Job ascribed the and sophistical. A person might, same events to God; “ The Lord with as much consistency, and gave, and the Lord hath taken with as good logick, affirm, that if away; blessed be the name of the God, at first, made the earth round, Lord.” It is said, respecting the then it was, necessarily a square; crucifixion of Christ, “ It pleased as to say, that if God makes us to the Lord to bruise him; He hath err from his ways, then we cannot put him to grief." But Peter told



[ocr errors]

the Jews, that they had taken and by those, who are willing to be in with wicked hands crucified and the hands and at the dispusal of slain him. There is no necessity an impartial and sovereign God. of explaining away any part of IV. If it is God, who makes these passages, to avoid inconsis men to err from his ways; then tency. Though it would be un the doctrine of reprobation is true philosophical and absurd, to sup- | in fact. Nothing more is meant pose, that two different causes both by this doctrine, than God's eterdid the same thing, in relation to nal determination to make some the production of the same effect; vessels of dishonour. But we have yet it is by no means unreasonable seen, that He actually does this. to believe, that two different causes And if he actually does make some may be active and perform differ for the day of evil; certainly there ent parts in relation to the pro- can be no objection against his duction of the same effect. Ac-having determined to do it, from cording to scripture and the com- the beginning ;

the beginning; for all admit, mon sense of mankind, God is the that God has determined all his first, efficient cause of all things. own actions, from eternity. This He is said to work all in all, to doctrine does not depend for its work all things after the counsel support, on vain philosophy, or of his own will, and to work in subtile metaphysics : though these creatures both to will and to do have often been employed to overof his good pleasure. But crea turn it. It rests on the broad tures also work out their own sal-foundation of unequivocal, Divine vation and their own destruction. declarations. “And a stone of Human agency, however, is not stumbling and a rock of offence, the efficient, independent cause of even to them, which stumble at any thing; but a second, depend the word, being disobedient whereant cause. Human agency bears unto also they were appointed.the relation of effect to Divine Israel hath not attained that, which agency. In the instance of Pha- he seeketh for ; but the election raoh and the Egyptians, and in all hath obtained it, and the rest were other instances of the kind, it was blinded.-But these, as natural God, who turned their heart to brute beasts, made to be taken and hate his people ; but it was the destroyed, speak evil of the things Egyptians and not God, who hated which they understand not, and his people and dealt subtilly with shall utterly perish in their own his servants. The act of turning corruption. These passages canthe heart, was one act, and the not be evaded, except by those act of hating was another ; which who manifestly wrest the scripacts were consistent with each tures to their own destruction. other, and both necessary to the V. In view of this subject, those, production of the same course of who are disinterested, may conevents. The same analogy ob- fide in God, in the darkest time, tains, in regard to the production and go on their way rejoicing. of good actions. It is God, who The Lord God, omnipotent, reigncauses his people to walk in his eth, and He will reign forever. statutes ; but it is his people, and He holds, in his hand, the hearts not God, who walk in his statutes. of all his friends and of all his eneNo difficulty, in seeing the reason- mies ; and He can and does turn ableness and consistency of human them whithersoever He will. All dependence and activity, is felt creatures, and all their conflicting

« AnteriorContinuar »