« PreviousContinue »
the position of Elder Holmes that God's desires are not always accomplished, involves a point-blank contradiction of the Bible, and puts the stamp of falsehood on the declaration of Jehovah !! The scriptures expressly declare of God, that " what his soul desireth, even THAT he DOETH."—(Job xxiii. 13.) But my friend insists that God does not accomplish what his soul desireih !! I leave the Elder to reconcile his assertion with the declaration of God's holy word! One or the other has manifestly uttered that which is false ! My Fourth argument is predicated on
THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW OF LOVE. PROPOSITION.-1. The Creator, in his moral law, has enjoined it upon every hu. man being, as a sacred obligation, to love God supremely, and his neighbor as him. self. 2. That law will in due time, be universally fulfilled. 3. When all men thus love God and their neighbor, they will be holy and happy.
Proof.–1. It has been enjoined on every human being to love God supremely and his neighbor as himself. * Master, which is the great commandment in the Law ? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”—Matt. xxii. 36-40.) The enjoining of Love to God and to man, is the sum and substance of all the commandments which the Creator has laid upon men. The great object of the Holy One in establishing the Levitical law, in all his teachings through his holy prophets, and in sending his Son to establish his gospel, was to bring mankind to yield obedience to this requirement. The entire moral law of Jehovah, and all his requirements of man, are summed up in these two commandments. To yield obedience to them, is to obey in every thing God requires of his creatures. That this is the Great Law of all the Laws of God—that it comprehends all the duties enjoined on man-is not only evident from the language of Christ, but also from the declarations of his Apostles. "If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”—(Rom. xiii. 9.) St. James denominates it “the Royal Law.”—(James ii. 8.) “Love is the fulfilling of the law.”—(Rom. xiii. 10.) “All the law is fulfilled in this word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."---(Gal. v. 14.)
This is not an arbitrary law, originating simply in the sovereignty and will of God; but one growing directly from man's nature, and enacted with special reference to his happiness. It is for the want of this love, that men commit evil, and injure and destroy one another. It is from the absence of love, that the greater portion of human wretchedness proceeds. Let a man fultil the law of love, and he is necessarily happy. Let all men yield it their obedience, and universal happiness prevails. God loves all mankind and blesses all. From this fact, an obligation grows, binding all men to love God, and one another, in return.
2. This law of Love, will in due time, be universally fulfilled. All men will yield it their obedience. This position may be maintained on the simplest rules of moral philosophy. “Like begets like.” God loves all mankind with infinite and endless love. A knowledge of the existence of this love, in our Maker, will in process of time, as certainly awake a returning love in the bosoms of all men, as cause produces effect. The great reason why so many in this life, fail to love God, is their ignorance of God's love for them, or the want of a proper realization of that love. I re. gret I am constrained to declare that much of this ignorance of God's love, and the lack of its realization, is to be attributed to representations of Deity, made by limitarian clergy from the sacred desk. It has been held up to the world in such light, that sinners have been lead to imagine he entertains for them, any other emotion than love! But when men become emancipated from the thraldom of false doctrines, and the clear sunlight of his love, falls gently and sweetly on the souls of all, as it must in due time, in this life and the next, it will awaken returning love throughout the entire ranks of humanity.
That this law of love will be obeyed eventually, by all men, is proved positively by the declaration of our Savior. He came expressly to bring about such obedience. 6 Think not that I came to destroy the law, or the Prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle, shall in no wise pass from the law, till be fulfilled.”—(Matt. v. 17, 18.) Here Jesus declares the law of God shall all be fulfilled, in every "jot and tittle." The fulfillment of a law is the accomplishment of the purpose for which it was enacted. What is the fulfillment of this law of love ? Nothing else, and nothing less, than its obedience by every creature upon whom it is enjoined-i.e.—all men. The fulfillment of a law is the bringing of men to an obedience to its demands. This law demands love, of all men. St Paul declares - Love is the fulfilling of the Law.” Hence so long as one being in the race of man refuses or neglects to love God and his neighbor, the Royal Law of Love, remains unfulfilled.
The laws against theft and slander are unfulfilled so long as men steal and calumniate. To punish men for violating these laws, does not fulfil them. When all men scrupulously respect the property and character of their fellow beings, the laws against theft and slander will be fulfilled, and the object of their enactment accomplished. In like manner the punishment of those who neglect God's Law of Love, although surely inflicted, is not its fulfillment. It is but one of the means which lead to its fulfillment. 'When all human beings shall be brought by the enlightening in
fluences of the gospel, to love God with all their heart, soul and mind, and their neighbors as themselves, then the sublime and glorious Law of Love will be perfectly fulfilled!! That time is yet to arrive. The Savior solemnly declares that the Law which thus enjoins love, shall all be fulfilled, in every jot and tittle, in every possible respect. Nothing shall frustrate its fulfillment. " Heaven and Earth” shall sooner pass away, than that law fail of accomplishment in every individual being of the whole race of man!!
3. It is self-evident that when all men are brought to cherish the spirit of love to God and their fellow-beings, then all will be holy and happy. Where perfect love presides, there all is holiness and happiness! Gracious promise---precious pledge!! Love shall yet prevail throughout the Universe! Every created heart shall beat with the delicious rapture of its presence. God has purposed it-Christ is pledged to accomplish it-angels are engaged in the work of completing it--the prayers of all good men and saints, are uttered for so desirable a consummation!!! And who would prevent it? Who can prevent it? What power can interfere to thwart it? What agency, what being, shall stand between God and the hearts of his creatures? Who will saywho dare say—that the Father of Spirits, shall not yet receive that which is so justly his due—the supreme love of every being formed in his image ? My Fifth Argument is drawn from
THE PARENTAL CHARACTER OF GOD. PROPOSITION.-1. God is the Father of all men. 2. His affection for his offspring, is of the same nature as that of a wise and good earthly father, but infinitely stronger and more enduring. 3. All that a wise and good earthly parent would do for his children, had he the power, our Heavenly Father will do, in the fulness of times, for all men.
PROOF.-1. God is the Father of all men. " Have we not all one Father ?"-(Mal. ii. 10.) 46 And hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth. * For in him we live, and move, and have our being: as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we (Jews, Gentiles, Christians, Pagans) are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."-Acts. xvii. 26-29.) "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."—(Eph. iv. 6.) “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things."-(1 Cor. viii. 6.) “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and Earth is named."--(Eph. iii. 14, 15.) God is “the Father of Spirits."—Heb. xii. 9.) **Our Father, which art in Heaven.”—Matt. vi. 9.)
Parental relationship is not artificial; it does not originat
law or custom, to be dissolved as whim, or caprice, or will, may dictate. It is a tie of nature, and hence is indissoluble and indestructible. Those who stand connected as parents and children, must forever remain so. God being the Father of all men, will. through eternity, hold that relationship toward them. It was by no agency of man that the link was formed which connects Jehovah and his intelligent creatures as parents and children ; and by no agency of man can that link be dissevered! Wherever a soul may be, whatever it may become in its moral character, it will still be a child, and God its parent. True, there is a moral, or spiritual sense, in which some men are children of God, and others not. Those who obey him, who walk in uprightness, are his children by imitation—are approbated children. The word "children,” in this sense, is a conventional terin, abounding in the scriptures, and signifying simply an imitator. Prof. Stuart says "Every kind of relation or resemblance, whether real or imaginary, every kind of connection, is characterized (in the Bible] by calling it the son of that thing to which it stands thus related, or with which it is connected.”—Letter to Dr. Miller pp. 95—99.) Thus a peaceable man is called the “Son of Peace-one who sympathizes with the unfortunate, is called the “Son of Consolation—those who disobey are called the “Children of disobedience.?!-(Eph. v. 6.) Those who are wise, are called “ Children of wisdom.” A murderous person is called the “Son of a murderer"—and individuals given to great wickedness, are denominated the “Children of Diabolus"-(1 John iii. 10,—that is, imitators of an evil and wicked spirit. Those who cherish true faith in God, are denominated “ the Children of Abraham,” (Gal. iii. 7,) --that is, imitators of Abraham. It is in accordance with the same scripture phraseology that those who imitate God, are denominated the “Children of God:"'
But this has no reference to, nor does it affect, the great fundamental truth, that God in an infinitely important sense, is the common and eternal father of all men. The fact that the upright and virtuous are denominated children, i. e. the imitators of God, does not prove that the disobedient are in no intimate sense, his children. Because some of the children of an earthly parent, imitate him, it is no evidence that those who do not, are not his children. The only distinction that can be made—the only one that the Bible makes is that some men are obedient children of God, while others are disobedient children of the same God.
That God recognizes men even in sin and disobedience, as his children, is made evident by the plain assertions of scripture“Ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. For whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."-(Heb. xii. 5, 6.) For what does God “chasten" and
* rebuke,” and “scourge” mankind ? It is for disobedience and sin. Still he calls them his sons his children. Again: “A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel; for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God. Return ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings."--(Jer. iii. 21, 22.) Notwithstanding Israel had back-slid, forgotten God, and plunged into wickedness, still he calls them his children. These evidences are amply sufficient to sustain the truth of St. Paul, when he said to the idolatrous Athenians, “We are all his offspring, for he hath made of one blood all nations of men, to dwell on all the face of the earth.”—(Acts. xvii. 26.)
2. The affection of the Heavenly Father for his offspring, is of the same nature as that of a wise and good earthly father; but infinitely stronger and more enduring. The simple fact that God reveals himself as our Father, proves that he wishes us to understand his feelings for his children to be similar to the emotions a good and wise earthly father cherishes for his offspring. If he did not intend us thus to judge of him, why so repeatedly proclaim himself a Father? How can we judge of him as a Father, except by what we know of a good earthly father? Dr. Chalmers says" He who can assign the properties of that relation which subsists between a dependent family and their earthly benefactor, can assign the properties of that relation which subsists between the whole species, and their heavenly benefactor."-(Chalmers Natural Theology p. 38.)
The love of the Heavenly Father for his children, is stronger than that of an earthly father. “What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will give him a serpent ? If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven, give good things to them that ask him.”—(Matt. vii. 9.) Here two things are manifest—First : That our Heavenly Father entertains the same feeling of love towards his offspring, that an earthly father does. Second : But he possesses it in a far higher degree.-" How much more shall your Father which is in Heaven." Again- Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”— (Isa. xlix. 15.) The affection of our Heavenly Parent is more intense, and far more enduring, than even that of a mother for her babe!!
3. Whatever a wise and good earthly parent would do for his children, had he the power, we may believe our Heavenly Father will do for his offspring, he having all power. A wise and good earthly father would have the punishments he inflicts on his children, result in their reformation. This is his sole object in inflicting them. An enlightened, christian parent, never indulges in