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punishable. As there can be no moral character without moral freedom, so where there is no moral character, there can be no moral responsibility. Under such an administration, therefore, all accountability would coinmence and terminate in God. As the gentleman, in his fondness for rhetoric, has given an extract from Milton, I will reciprocate the favor, by giving a passage from the same “ heaven-born poet, who seemed at home where angels bashful look,” not less distinguished for its truth than its poetry :
“ Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
(Book 3rd.) 4. Under any other than a moral government, there could be no such thing as moral happiness. Physical happiness might exist, but moral happiness must be excluded. The power of choice is essential to moral happiness. That which we may not choose, either in its reception or continuance, is not properly a source of happiness to an intelligent moral being. Hence, under a government in which irresistible fate presides and determines all actions, there can be no such thing as moral happiness. This is farther confirmed by the fact, that a consciousness of having done right is essential to moral happiness; but such consciousness cannot exist under a government where the actions of men, or the results at which they arrive, are all necessitated. Mr. Austin takes the position, that the government of God is so constructed, as to result, of necessity, in the holiness and happiness of all men. To this I answer, such a result cannot be made certain, except under a government of necessity: and we have seen that this would be both unadapted to the character of God as a moral being, and, excluding moral freedom, would be inconsistent with the happiness of moral subjects. The government for which my friend contends, 60 far from securing the holiness and happiness of all men, would exclude all holiness and happiness from the universe. If it would annihilate hell, it would also annihilate heaven. So anxious is the gentleman to pull down the house of the Philistines, that he is willing, like Sampson, to perish in the general destruction.
5. The true government of God, described as moral, and for which I contend, is based on the moral attributes of God, and is the only form, so far as we can understand, which can promote the happiness of moral beings. And we must suppose, as God is a benevolent being, that the happiness of his creatures, in connection with his own glory, would be the leading object of any sys
tem of government originated by him. This object he provides for, First, by placing them all in a state of holiness and happiness, adapting thein to the government, and the government to them, so that happiness to them would result from harmony with their relations and obligations. Secondly, by giving them moral freedom, that they might be subjects of moral desert, and have the consciousness of rectitu le, which is an essential element of true happiness. Thirdly, by giving all necessary means and facilities for continuing their original happiness, together with the power of choosing to improve thein ; hence, if they forfeit their happiness, the fault is their own. They do it in viola:ion of the principles of God's government, the benevolent design of their Creator, and in direct misimprovement of the noble endowments of their constitution.
“I ordained their freedom,
They themselves ordained their fall." Thus God gets all the glory for all the good that arises to his creatures, from that governmental arrangement he has established, while he is exonerated from all blame, for any evil that may flow to his subjects, since it results from their voluntary disobedience. God gave them power
" Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall." We regard these views as sound—that is, well agreeing with reason, scripture, and human consciousness. If they are not so, my friend can show wherein.
But the gentleman may say, why did God create at all, if he foresaw that some would abuse their constitution, and become miserable ? Answer: To have done otherwise, would have been to withhold existence from millions of intelligent beings, who would be perfectly holy and happy in a boundless duration, simply to accommodate with a non-existence, those who would have as much power as any others to be happy, but who, in their abuse of his laws, it was foreseen, would bring down destruction on their own heads. Let me illustrate here. My friend is fond of illustrating the divine government by a reference to human governments, when
Suppose the general government of the United States, having control over the subject, were about to bestow the blessings of a good education upon all the people. It might be foreseen by the knowledge and sagacity of the law makers, that some individuals, among the mass of society, would make an abusive and criminal use of that blessing. They might become counterfeiters and great a lepts in forgery, by being furnished with such a power as education gives. But would it be right to withhold the blessings of a good education from the whole community, simply to accommodate with a state of ignorance, those who, if they had knowleige, would abuse it? Is this consistent? Does it accord with the principles of good government, with the wisdom of men even, to say nothing of the wisdom of God ?
it suits his purpose.
Again, Mr. Austin may ask, why not withhold existence from those who it is foreseen would be miserable, and give existence only to such as would be happy. I answer, this would be to violate the principles of his own government, and contravene the divine impartiality : and besides this, by withholding existence from those who would be miserable, were they allowed to exist, existence must also be withheld from those who would be happy. Let me illustrate again. Suppose that God sees that some father in this assembly will abuse his powers and blessings, and forfeit his final felicity. He may at the same time foresee that the posterity of this father will be obedient and holy subjects, and secure endless happiness in heaven. The father has as much power to be hap. py as the children. To give him existence, under such circumstances, is doing him no injustice, because he has all the power and means necessary to happiness : but to withhold existence from him, would contravene the divine benevolence, by withholding existence from his posterity, who, if allowed to exist, God knows would be holy and happy in a boundless duration. This is farther illustrated by reference to the parable of the tares of the field : (Matt. xiii. 28 :) " Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field ? from whence then hath it tares ? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Will thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest : and in the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” Our Lord's explanation of this parable, (verse 38,) is as follows: “ The field is the world, (theatre of human existence.) The good seed are the children of the kingdom, (his holy and obedient subjects,) but the tares are the children of the wicked one,” (disobedient subjects.) The point to which your attention is particularly directed is, that the tares could not be removed, without removing the wheat ; that is, to withhold existence from one part of the race, because they would make themselves miserable, would be to withhold it also from those who, if allowed to exist, would be forever holy and happy.
Though I have already sufficiently replied to Mr. Austin's arguments drawn from the intention, desire, sovereignty, paternity and love of God, by giving each a particular consideration, yet, independent of this, they are all answered by the foregoing views of the divine government. These arguments are based on a false view of the divine aılministration, and to make them plausible, my friend must first disprove the fundamental principles, which I have shown must enter into a plan of moral government. The mistake of my friend seems to be, in confounding things radically different, that is, confounding physical and moral laws. He don't seem to see the difference between unintelligent, irresponsible matter, and
intelligent moral beings, as subjects of divine government. I know that in the physical world, where there is neither intellect nor responsibility, Gol's laws are fixed and uniform, and there is no power to interrupt them, except in the Being who gave them. In the moral world, however, the case is different; for though the moral laws of God are in themselves fired and uniform, yet teir action is not on inert substances, but upon intelligent moral agents, whose voluntary obedience or disobedience must determine the question of their happiness or misery, as results flowing from the fired and uniform laws of God's moral kingdom.
I now leave this subject for the present, and pass to notice the passage of scripture Mr. Austin has quoted so often, together with the theory he has attempted to rear upon it. The passage commences with the 19th verse of the 8th of Romans, and includes five verses.
“For the earnest expectation of the creature, waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly," &c. The theory which Mr. Austin builds upon this passage, is, that in order to make the human race holy and happy, God saw it would be best, first to subject him to sin and misery. He accordingly created him in an imperfect and impure state; in a state of unavoidable subjection to sin, and its consequences. In connection with this, he established laws, and introduced dispensations, adapted to take men out of that state of subjection, and bring them into ihe “ liberty of the sons of God ;” and that the whole course of God's administration has been intended 10 carry forward the human race, from this state of original imperfection, to a state of final holiness and happiness. This theory of human progression, we pronounce false, for the following reasons:
1. It coutradicts the scriptures. The scriptures say God created man in his own image The image of God is free from defect: therefore, the least that can be said of man's original state, is, that he was free from intellectual and moral defect. Moreover, God looked upon his work and pronounced it good; which he could not have done. if any part of it had been imperfect and impure. In a lition to this, ihe scriptures charge man's sin and misery upon his tefection from original rectitude, not on his unwilling subjection to vanity. “God made man upright, and he has sought out many inventions.” This directly contradicts Mr. Austin's theory. "I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” How can this be reconciled with the gentleman's theory of progression. In this case, the gradation go's the wrong way.
2. This theory contradicts tradition. I do not present tradition as sufficient proof, of itself, but as having weight in the argument. A tra lition is universal amongst heathen nations, that there has been a time when the human race was far more virtuous and happy than now; a time when the gods held intercourse with men. The idea of a “Golden Age,” which was so fruitful a theme of poetic effusion to the ancients, existeil as far back as Hesiod, who rivals Homer in antiquity. This tradition cannot be accounted for, in harmony with my friend's theory. But on my principies, all is consistent. We see in it an obscure reflection of a great and important truth connected with the original condition of our race. Men were created in a state of physical, intellectual, and moral perfection and uprightness, but have since degenerated, and lost the happiness of knowing and communing with God.
3. This theory is opposed and refuted by a great array of facts, developed in the history of the world. The world is full of facts, and I rejoice thal it is so. It enables me to show up the false, not to say ridiculous character of the gentleman's doctrine, in such a palpable way, as must, I think, convince every honest and reflecting mind. Where is the first item of proof for the efficacy of this system of progression? Show me a single fact, if you can, illustrative of its elevating and restoring power? On the contrary, the history of nations and individuals, shows it to be a chimera. I know it makes the gentleman nervous to mention the antediluvians, but I can't help it—they afford so good an illustration, ibat I must reler 10 then. Whai influence did Mr. Austin's system have on them? According to the common chronology, they had lived under its control about 1600 years, at the time of the flood. If the race were ever to experience its beneficial tendency, it would seem that sixteen hundred years might suffice to exhibit, at least, some proof of its power to deliver men from their “subjection to vanity.” But what are the facts in the case ? One fact is, that when tirst created, they were said to possess the image of God, and God looked upon his work and pronounced it “very good.” Another fact is, that after the lapse of 1500 years, God gives the following testimony respecting their advancement. (Gen. vi. 5, 12.)—"And God saw that the wickelness of min was great in the earih, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupi, for all flesh bad corrupted his way upon the ear.h. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me: for the earth is filled with violence through them: and bebo!d I will de. stroy them with the earth.” Here we have a practical illustration of the efficacy of this wonder-working system, by which the world is to be taken out of a state of subjection “to vanity," and crowned with endless felicity Now let me give the gentleman a sum, and every school-boy here, may work it out at his leisure. If, in 1500 years, the human race progressed from that moral condition in which they possesse:l the image of God, to that other moral state, in which they had “ corrupteil ihemselves"- filled the earth with violence," and "every imagination of the thoughts of their hearis was only evil continually," how long would it take, (at the same ratio of progress,) to graduale to final holiness and happiness. But,