Page images
PDF
EPUB

sense too, that all men be brought to repentance in this state, and that they be saved immediately after this state. Yet God does not efficaciously will either of these things. -Was it not in a proper sense the will of God, that our first parents should retain their original innocence, and not by their apostacy deluge the world in sin and misery? I presume this will not be denied.

It was his will, if it was his command. But if it was the will of God, that Adam should stand and not fall; the will of God in this case was not efficacious. And if it was not efficacious to prevent the entrance of sin into the world, how can we know, that it will be efficacious to extirpate it out of the world, or from among the human race? If God was not in any proper sense willing that sin and misery should enter and predominate in the world; then it seems, that infinite power and wisdom were in this instance baffled. And if these divine perfections have been baffled once, they may be baffled a second time, and notwithstanding all their attempts, sin and misery may continue without end, in some of the human race. If on the other hand, although God commanded and in a proper sense willed, that man should stand; still in another sense he consented, or willed, that he should fall : in the same sense God may consent, that some men shall be the subjects of sin and misery to an endless duration.

Dr. C. “ readily owns, that men, as free agents, have the power of resisting and opposing those means, which God from his desire of their salvation, may see fit to use with them."'*

" Yet it appears” to him " tion on that Being, who is infinitely perfect, to suppose him unable finally to counteract, and in a moral way to the weakness, folly and obstinacy of such poor inferior creatures, as men are.”+ How these two propositions, which in the Doctor's book occur within a page, can be

* Page 166. | Page 167.

a gross reflecreconciled with each other; how man can have a power to resist all the means which God uses to effect his.sal. vation, and at the same time God can have a power to counteract, in a moral way, this obstinate resistance of man, must certainly be set down among the things hard to be understood in Dr. C.

But perhaps the word finally in the second quotation is emphatical, and Dr. C's meaning is, that though the power of resisting in man cannot consistently with free agency be counteracted even by God, at once, or in a short time ; yet it may be counteracted in a very long time. This however will not agree with Dr. C's own language. He says,* “ The power in men of resisting the means, which God from desire of their salvation sees fit to use with them, ought not to be overruled, nor indeed can be in consistence with moral agency.” Now to counteract or overrule in a long time this power of resisting, is as really to overrule it, as to overrule it in a short time. But according to Dr. C. it cannot be overruled in consistency with moral agency. It seems then, that if the damned shall be finally brought to repentance by God counteracting their obstinacy, they are stripped of their moral agency.

Or if it be pleaded, that this counteracting is not an effectual overruling ; but such an influence of means and motives, as is consistent with moral agency: still this gives no satisfaction. Is it such a counteracting, as will certainly and “ infallibly" be followed by the repentance and salvation of the sinner? This is holden by Dr. C. If this be so, what moral power of still resisting has the sinner at the time of his repentance ? And if he have at that time no moral power of further resistance, then this power is overruled effectually, and of course, according to Dr. C's scheme, the sinner is deprived of his moral agency.

* Page 166. | Page 167.

If on the other hand it be said, that the counteracting be not such as will certainly and " infallibly" be followed by the repentance of the sinner; then there is no certainty that the sinner will ever under the most powerful means which God shall use with him, be brought to repentance and be saved. Thus the certainty of universal salvation at once comes to nothing. There is no certainty, no ground of assurance, that all will be saved ; and all the truth is, that God will use means with sinners hereafter, as he does in this state, to prepare them for salvation ; but as in this state, so in the future, sinners may, or may not, comply with those means.

To Dr. C.“ it appeared a gross reflection on that being who is infinitely perfect, to suppose him unable finally to counteract, and in a moral way too, the obsti. nacy of men. *

But is it no reflection on God, to suppose him not to have been able in a moral way, to prevent the entrance of sin into the world? Is it no reflection on him to suppose, that he is not able in a moral way to counteract the obstinacy of men in this life? Is it no reflection to suppose, that he is not able, by the powerful means used in hell, to counteract it, in a single instance, for the space of a thousand years ? How long must God be unable to counteract human obstinacy, before the imputation of such inability becomes a reflection on him ? How long may he consistently with his perfections be unable to counteract that obstinacy? and what duration of that inability may be imputed to him, without a reflection on him, and what duration of it cannot be imputed to him without a reflection ? If it be no reflection on God, to say, that he is unable to counteract that obstinacy within a thousand years; is it a reflection to say, that he is unable to counteract it in two thousand, in ten thousand, or in an hundred thousand years? If not, why does it become a reflection to say, that he is unable finally to counteract it ?—Let any believer in Dr. C's scheme answer these questions.

* Page 167. † See pages 402, 403,

Doctor C's reasoning in the following passage, is worthy of notice ; ** If God desires the salvation of all, and Christ died that this desire of God might be complied with, is it credible that a small portion of men only should be saved in event?”—This reasoning may be retorted thus : If God desires that all men be saved immediately after this life, and Christ died that this desire might be complied with; is it credible, that a small portion of men only should be then saved ?

The advocates for universal salvation, one and all, bring in the text now under consideration, “Who will have all men to be saved," as a proof of their doctrine. Therefore I wish to ask them, from what they believe all men are, according to these words, to be saved? From an endless punishment? Then they were by a divine constitution exposed to an endless punishment; then an endless punishment is just; then sin deserves an endless punishment; then sin is an infinite evil; which to them is an infinitely horrible doctrine.

But let them, if they can, avoid it, once allowing that all men are to be saved from an endless punishment. Or are all men, according to these words, to be saved from a temporary punishment ? What temporary punishment ? Not that which is to continue for ages of ages: some will suffer

Not from a longer temporary punishment; because none such is threatened ; and sinners are not exposed to a punishment greater than that which is threatened in the divine law. On the whole, according to universalism, these words mean, that all men shall be saved indeed, but shall be saved from-NOTHING.

* Page 168.

CHAPTER XII.

DOCTOR C'S ARGUMENTS FROM PSAL. VIII. 5, 6; HEB. II. 6-9;

PHIL. II. 9, 10, 11; 1 Cor. xv. 24—29; AND REV. v. 13;

CONSIDERED.

His

argument from Psal. viii. 5, 6, and Heb. ii. 6—9, is built on those words, “ Thou hast put all things under his feet.” He was of the opinion, that those words mean, by the universality of the terms, that even sin itself shall be subjected to Christ; and that sin cannot be subjected to Christ in any other way, than by the destruction of it.* But this is to suppose what is by no means granted, and ought not to have been asserted without proof. An enemy may be overpowered, taken, imprisoned, and put entirely under the power, or under the feet of the conqueror; and yet not be put to death or annihilated. When it is said Christ's enemies shall be made his footstool, Psal. cx. 1; Heb. 8. 13; no one will pretend, that this means either a cordial submission to Christ, or an annihilation. When the captains of Israel put their feet on the necks of the Canaanitish kings, Josh. x. 24, as this was no token of cordial submission or reconciliation ; so it is certain, that those kings were not then annihilated. The same idea is naturally suggested by that expression, Put under his feet. Not any of these phrases is allowed to be used in scripture, to express either a cordial submission, or annihilation. Sin is such an enemy, as never can in its nature be reduced to a cordial submission to Christ. Nor needs it to be annihilated, to answer the expression of being put under the feet of Christ : nor indeed does that expression naturally suggest the idea of annibilation; but naturally, if not

Page 179.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »