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design was to make them instruments in his hand of promoting the holiness and happiness of the universe. For if there be one creature in the universe, whose creation, destination, and final disposal will not display the goodness of God, it cannot subserve his glory. Just so far, therefore, as all created objects will eventually promote the general good of the universe, just so far and no farther will they promote the glory of their Creator. The supreme glory of God and the supreme good of the universe are necessarily and inseparably connected. And it is for want of seeing this connection, that so many object against the ultimate end of God in the creation of the world. They imagine it is derogatory to God to say that he makes his own glory his ultimate end in creation, providence and redemption. They attach the idea of selfishness to this motive of action. But if God cannot seek his own glory in any other way than in displaying his goodness, then to seek his own glory to the highest degree, is the same thing as to give the highest expression of universal and disinterested benevolence.
3. If God cannot display all his glory without displaying all his goodness, then the glory of God required the existence of natural and moral evil. All the goodness of God in all its branches could not have been displayed, if natural and moral evil had not existed. If there had been no sinners among the creatures of God, he could never have had an opportunity of displaying his grace in forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, nor of displaying his justice in punishing the guilty and impenitent. There was the same kind, if not the same degree of necessity in the divine mind to create sinful, as to create holy beings. If God meant to display all his goodness in creation, he was obliged to bring into being objects upon which he might display both his justice and mercy. God's goodness will shine brighter in his conduct towards sinful, than in his conduct towards holy beings. More of the heart of God will be seen in the work of redemption than in all his other works. In this scheme of grace, a foundation is laid for a full discovery of all the natural and moral perfections of the Deity. The glory of God, therefore, required that just such sinful creatures as mankind are should exist, that they might be both the monuments of divine justice and of divine grace.
4. If the supreme glory of God consists in his goodness; then those who love any part of his character, must necessarily loye the whole. His natural perfections are under the entire control of his moral, and his moral perfections summarily consist in goodness, or universal, disinterested benevolence. His power is a benevolent power; his wisdom is a benevolent wisdom ; his sovereignty is a benevolent sovereignty; his justice is a benevolent justice; and every other moral perfection of his nature is only a branch of general benevolence. No man, therefore, can understandingly approve of any one of the divine attributes, without approving of all. It is a great mistake in any to imagine that they love the goodness or mercy of God, while they feel opposed to his justice, or sovereignty, or any other divine attribute. The character of God is absolutely perfect and uniform. The characters of men are mixed characters, in which there are often some things to be liked, and others to be disliked. But in the Deity, perfect goodness stamps a beauty and glory upon all his attributes, and forms a character completely and infinitely amiable. The only reason why any imagine that they love some parts of the divine character and not the whole, is, that they do not really understand the nature of divine goodness, but suppose that God is altogether such an one as themselves. They love the goodness of God when they consider it as partial to themselves; but this is a false idea of it, and entirely consistent with hatred to his justice, and every other divine attribute.
5. If the supreme glory of God consists in his goodness, then those who dislike any part of the divine character, must necessarily dislike the whole. Some pretend to like the natural perfections of the Deity, while they object against his moral attributes. Those of a deistical turn profess to believe that there is one supreme Being, who is possessed of almighty power, boundless knowledge and every other natural perfection. And they insinuate that they have no objections against the existence and character of such a self-existent and eternal Being. Nor do mankind in general find fault with the natural attributes of the Deity, while they view them as disconnected from his moral character. The reason is obvious. The bare existence of the natural perfections of God, while they lie dormant, and are not voluntarily directed to any particular end, nor employed to promote any partịcular design, cannot in the least degree affect the interest or happiness of mankind. And the worst of men are willing there should be a Being of infinite natural perfections, if he will let them entirely alone. But there is no room to consider the natural attributes of God as separate from his moral, for they are all under the influence of his good
And being under the constant direction of his goodness, they cannot be really approved of, without approving of his goodness. Those therefore, who dislike the goodness of the Deity, which comprehends his whole moral character, must necessarily dislike every perfection of the divine nature.
There are others among the believers of divine revelation, who profess to like all the natural perfections of the Deity, and
some of his moral attributes, especially his goodness and grace; but yet heartily oppose his inflexible justice and absolute sovereignty. But if they dislike the justice and sovereignty of God, they must of necessity dislike his goodness and mercy, and every other natural and moral attribute. For the justice of God is only a branch of his perfect benevolence, and his sovereignty is a benevolent sovereignty. God does not dislike any of his own perfections; and those who are partakers of the divine nature cannot dislike any of its natural and moral excellences. It is not possible that any man should really know all the perfections of the Deity, and yet hate one, and love another. Those who really hate any part of his goodness, must necessarily hate all his goodness, or all the perfections of his nature which flow from it, and are always under the influence of it.
6. If the goodness of God forms his whole moral character, then those who do not love him supremely must necessarily hate him supremely. There is no defect nor blemish in the moral character of God. It is supremely amiable and glorious. In this light it appears to all holy beings. Angels and saints in heaven discern the moral glory and excellency of the Deity, and accordingly love him supremely. They love the goodness of God, which constitutes him the best of beings, and therefore they love him above all other beings. But on the other hand, those who discern no moral excellence in the universal and disinterested benevolence of his nature, must necessarily discern an infinite blemish in his character, and view him as the most odious and detestable being in the universe. This we know is the case with respect to fallen angels. They now hate God supremely for that same goodness and moral glory for which they once loved him supremely. And we find this to be the case with respect to sinners of mankind. When they are brought to realize the being, and to attend to the moral character of God, they feel their carnal mind rise in perfect enmity and opposition to him. They view all his natural perfections under the influence of impartial and universal goodness. This they hate in any being, and above all in the Supreme Being. While they consider all his perfections under the influence of his perfectly benevolent heart, they hate his power, his wisdom, his justice, his sovereignty, his grace and faithfulness. They hate God in exact proportion to his goodness and greatness. And as they believe him to be infinitely great and good, so they hate him infinitely more than any other, yea, than all other beings.
7. Does the glory of God consist in his goodness, or in his feeling properly towards all his creatures of every character and condition; then we learn that it is the true character of God which sinners hate. They do not hate him while they imagine he is regardless of their character and conduct. And they do not hate him while they think he is altogether such an one as themselves, and feels a partial regard for their interest and happiness. But as soon as they realize that he loathes their characters, and feels disposed to punish them to all eternity for all their selfish feelings and conduct, then they begin to hate him with a perfect hatred. There is nothing in God which they so heartily oppose, as that very goodness or benevolence which constitutes all his moral excellence and glory. They would not hate him so much, if they could only believe that he was opposed to them upon the principle of perfect malevolence. There are no two dispositions so diametrically opposite to each other, as perfect benevolence and perfect selfishness. The first forms the character of God, and the second the character of sinners. Hence sinners perfectly hate that amiable and glorious disposition in the Deity, by which he is perfectly opposed to all their views and feelings. And the more they see the impartial, disinterested, sovereign goodness of his nature displayed in his works and in his word, the more directly and vigorously their hearts rise against him. Many suppose that all the opposition which sinners feel and express towards God, arises entirely from ignorance of his true character; and, therefore, they conclude if sinners could only be made acquainted with God's true character, and his real feelings towards them, they would instantly renounce their enmity, and become his most cordial friends. But this is a very great mistake. It is the very nature of sinful creatures to hate their benevolent Creator. They would not be sinners unless they possessed a selfish heart; and so long as they possess this, they cannot be reconciled to the character, nor subject to the holy and righteous law of God. Besides, if a clear and just view of the character of God would reconcile sinners to him in this world, why not in the next? All the damned will have a clear, realizing, just view of the moral character of God; but we have no reason to think that their knowl. edge of his character and conduct will ever subdue their enmity, and reconcile them to his vindictive justice. But if the true knowledge of God will not have this effect in a future state, then it cannot have this effect in the present state. Indeed, it is the highest absurdity to suppose that the clear knowledge of that being whom sinners naturally hate, should lead them to love him. But it is easy to see that the more selfish creatures know of the benevolence of the Deity, the more they will hate and oppose him. 8. If the glory of God consists in his goodness, then a clear
view of his goodness would destroy all the false hopes of sinners respecting their good estate. It is evident from scripture that sinners may think they have true love to God, and stand entitled to eternal life, while they are really in a state of total alienation from God. The Israelites entertained false hopes respecting the favor of God, when they received the law at Mount Sinai. The Scribes and Pharisees thought they stood high in the favor of God. The young man in the gospel, and Saul the persecutor, viewed themselves as really religious, and friendly to God. And Christ represents many as being fatally and finally deceived respecting their good estate. Such deception always arises from sinners' having a false idea of the true character and supreme glory of God. Did they understand the true nature of his goodness, which forms his supreme glory, they would not innagine they loved him while they were real enemies to him. They would be so far from thinking they loved him supremely, that they would sensibly feel a total opposition to his character. But when sinners have only a partial view of God's goodness, they may love it, and feel strong affections of gratitude to the greatest and best of beings. This is the case with respect to a very great part of those who live under the light of the gospel; they have formed such an idea of divine goodness, that they really feel friendly to the divine character. And this is more particularly the case with those who have been awakened to a sense of danger and guilt, and by some text of scripture, or by some other circumstance, have been led to believe that their sins are pardoned, and their persons accepted through Christ the beloved. But all these religious hopes and affections are false; and a clear view of all God's goodness, or of his goodness in all its branches, would totally destroy them. Let sinners only be convinced that God's goodness is impartial, and leads him to hate and reject all those who love him merely for a supposed partial affection towards them, and they would lose all their love, and feel a bitter enmity against his whole character. This is demonstrated by the conduct of the Israelites, who sang God's praises at the Red Sea, but murmured and rebelled, and died in the wilderness; and by those multitudes who cried " Hosannah” to Christ, but afterwards cried "crucify him," and finally imbrued their hands in his blood. A just view of God's goodness must necessarily destroy all those religious affections which flow from a false view of it.
9. If the glory of God consists in his goodness, then we learn why sinners are represented as blind to his glory, The scripture speaks much of the moral blindness of sinners, and represents them as incapable of seeing the moral beauty of the