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Now, we are told, on the authority to which I refer, “ that God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass. By this decree of God, for the manifestation of his own glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death-they are particularly and unchangeably designed ; and their number is so definite and certain, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.”—Con. chap. iii. Hence it is plain, that “whatsoever comes to pass is unchangeably foreordained" of God, and must take place. When, therefore, as alas! is sometimes the case, a son cuts his father's throat, this God has from all eternity unchangeably decreed. And not only so, but with the “end, he has also foreordained all the means thereunto,” so that sooner could the parricide annihilate the sun in the heavens, than escape the commission of the crime to which he has been foreordained.
Again, God's decree is in accordance with “the counsel of his will,”: that is, I presume, is decreed advisedly, deliberately, to the purposes of infinite wisdom; so that the greatest crime is in as perfect accordance with “the counsel of God's will,” as the highest and holiest deed ever done. And thirdly, all actions, whether virtuous or wicked, are equally for “the manifestation of God's glory," so that the most ungodly men on earth, not only act in accordance with the counsel of God's will,” but as fully glorify him as the holiest and the best. It is not easy, therefore, to see why the one should be translated to heaven, whilst the other is consigned to "hell fire for ever;" and yet both, with equal fidelity, executing the work to which they were foreordained ; acting in accordance with the counsel of God's will, fulfilling his own eternal decree and equally manifesting his glory; or if there be any difference, the advantage is on the side of the wicked, who have the most difficult and unpopular work to perform, whilst they labour for its accomplishment with greater zeal and diligence.
This eternal and unchangeable decree of God is carried out and accomplished " in creation and Providence to the glory of his power, wisdom, and goodness, so that all things come to pass immutably and
infallibly, and it extendeth itself to the first fall and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission,” &c. &c.—Con. chap. 5. But man, in common with all other parts of creation, derives his being from God. He made us, and not we ourselves.
We were the last, the highest, the best of God's creation here below. Moses testifies that man was created in the image of God-placed in paradise—the garden of the Lord-surrounded by all that was pleasing and delightful. David declares that he was made a little lower than the angels, in the original, Gods, or, as some will have the word to signify, a little lower than the trinity, crowned with glory and honour. But whilst we read of all these distinguished favours conferred upon man; and that thie hand which “formed him curiously in the womb,” is leading him with outward marks of love and friendship, we cannot forget, that, eternally, before he gave him being, his Creator had planned and decreed his misery and ruin. That “the counsel of God's will” from all eternity was recorded against himsin he must, and that, at the very moment in which his Creator was conferring upon him the most distinguished proofs of love, he had formed the means for the accomplishment of his own decree, “which extendeth itself to the first fall and all other sins of angels and of men.” We should have very little hesitation in forming our opinion, respecting the character of the man who had long predetermined the ruin of some unfortunate dependent; but who, until his plans were ripe for execution, is heaping upon his victim every blandishment and attention; and at last, contrives to manage with such consummate prudence, that the misery shall seem to proceed, not from the predetermined ruin which was decreed, but from the folly and iniquity of the sufferer. The criminality of such conduct in man would receive instant, universal, and indignant execration. What, then, shall we say
of the character of God, when conduct very similar is ascribed to him? This is the very course which he is represented, by the Confession of Faith, as pursuing with regard to man, whose fall, “from which proceed all actual transgressions," he had decreed from all eternity ; for whilst he is bestowing upon him the highest marks of love and favour, yet he is so "ordering, bounding, and governing" his conduct, that sin he must, for, “ although in relation to the foreknowledge, and decree of God, the first cause, all things came to pass immutably and infallibly, yet by the same Providence he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes.”—Con. chap. 5. That is to say, God so governs the actions of men, that whilst to ignorant and short-sighted beings like us, they appear to proceed from “second causes ;” yet in reality they are produced immutably and infallibly by God himself. Whilst, therefore, God is signally marking out man as the highest and most glorious of his
works on earth, and placing him at the head of creation as Lord of all, he has preordained that these favours shall only the more conspicuously lead to his misery, and has so arranged that whilst they proceed from himself, as the first cause, he shall escape the odium by their appearing to be produced by the iniquity of man, the secondary
Had the transgression of the first guilty pair terminated with themselves, all had been comparatively well. This, however, was not the case, for, in consequence of this one single act of guilt, the same infallible decree, which fixed from eternity the fall of Adam, doomed the eternal misery of by far the greater part of the human race. Adam sinned, and in consequence, all his posterity are brought into the world, by God himself, "wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body”—“utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good and wholly inclined to all evil.”—Con. chap. 6. Every breath we draw is corruption. Every limb we move is the rottenness and putridity of the tomb. We are wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body." Every word we utter is the foul blasphemy of atheist idiocy-an infidel derision and mockery of God—of that God whose power created us, and made us that mass of defilement and corruption which we are. Every thought we form is the prompting of the Devil, the foul inspiration of hell ; for we are “utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil.” Surely, it is not necessary to say, we are not the creatures of the Devil, when even children are taught to lisp, God made them—that Adam is not our creator, when God formed us—that our souls are not begotten, and “ descend from Adam by ordinary generation” like our bodies. The human soul is the creature of God. He made it, and when at last “the body returns to the earth as it was, the spirit returns to God who gave it.” But if it be that mass of corruption and depravity which the Calvinist represents it, then is God, by his own eternal and immutable decree, not only the author and originator of sin—for it was he who first thought of, and planned the perpetration of crime—but he is the very creator of corruption and defilement, of sin and all that is sinful. And yet this very sin, the cause of all the misery and ruin of the human race, “God is pleased to order and overrule to his own glory.” It is not strange, that a Calvinist, not very intimately acquainted with the dogmas of his sect, when the above quoted description of human nature was read to him, by the writer, as the opinion of some old divines respecting original sin, exclaimed, “they must be wrong-why, the Devil could not make a worse man than that ;' and indeed it would be difficult to imagine anything worse, than to be made opposite to all good and wholly inclined to all evil,” let who would be the creator.
Besides, it is not a little remarkable that Moses, the historian of man's creation and his fall, should pass over, wholly unnoticed, by far the most important event connected with it. The fact of the first transgression he has recorded, the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden in which the Lord God had placed them, he has faithfully related, but of its momentous effects, and the awful ruin which it entailed upon the immortal souls of their posterity, he is entirely silent. And yet the deep-rooted depravity, and awful departure from God, which he afterwards records, and which led to the almost total destruction of the human race, would have naturally suggested this, as the origin of man's defection, had Moses known anything of the Calvinistic doctrine of original sin. The only way in which we can account for the omission, is, 'either that Moses was utterly ignorant of such a doctrine, or unfaithful to his duty as an honest historian. And, what is still more remarkable, that he should have represented God employing the language in which he addresses Cain, the first-born of men--the first embruer of his hands in a brother's blood : “ if thou doest well shalt thou not be accepted ?" Do well! What solemn mockery! How could he? Had not the very being who thus reproves him decreed, “immutably and infallibly,” that he must commit the murder? Resolve as he will he cannot escape, for with "the end, God had also ordained the means.” Had he not “made him” opposite to all good and wholly inclined to all evil?” how then could he do good? Was he not, when in his phrenzied jealousy he rose up against his brother, and murdered him, carrying out the bloodthirsty revenge which God had implanted in his soul ; acting in "accordance with the counsel of his will," and by the guilty deed “glorifying his God?” But is this-can this be the God of the Bible? Can he thus mock, deride, insult the fallen, guilty, degraded? So thinks the Trinitarian. Such is the character of his God. But, oh, how differently thought Christ. He represents his God and Father as seeing the prodigal while he was yet afar off–he runs to meet him, falls on his neck-embraces him in love-rejoices, for the lost one is found—the dead one is alive. If it be said God foreordained the fall of man, and the ruin of our race, because he foresaw this would come to pass, the Con. chap. iii. pronounces such an opinion erroneous, for it declares that “although God knows whatsoever may, or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions ; yet hath he not decreed anything because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass.”
Our minds are not sufficiently impressed with the awful consequences, according to the Calvinist, resulting from this first transgression, to enable us to see the atrocious injustice which he here attributes to his God. Adam's first sin is represented as the source and origin of all the misery and suffering, vice and crime, blood and slaughter, that exist in the world. “From this do proceed all actual transgressions.” It is not enough that we bear the consequences of our own sins-are guilty because we ourselves have transgressed; we must beer the guilt of the transgression of another. “ The guilt of Adam's sin is imputed to us.”—Con. chap. 6. "We sinned in him and fit with him in his first transgression.”—Cat. 22. We see, by melancholy experience, how the crime of one man can make another suffer, but never how in justice it can make him a sinner. He who steals your property subjects you to loss, but does not thereby make you a thief. In the same way, Adam's sin may entail suffering upon his posterity, but cannot make them guilty sinners. An age of ignorance and barbarity may, unrighteously, punish the child for the offence of the parent, account the innocent guilty, put one man to death for the crime of another, but all civilized nations revolt at such deeds of injustice, and surely God is not less righteous than man. According to the Calvinist, he is; for it is declared, Con, chap. 6th, "every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, eternal.” Such are the consequences, to all mankind, of Adam's first sin. Such is the way in which a righteous God visits his transgression upon his unoffending posterity. The innocent babe, that has just opened its eyes upon the light of heaven, and has again closed them for ever, is born a sinner, though it has never sinned ; " is a transgressor of the righteous law of God," though it never transgressed ; " is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law,” because one, whom it never saw, of whom it never heard, of whose guilty deed it never approved, six thousand years before it was born, had offended against the Almighty. It has never thought one unjust thought, never uttered one blasphemous expression, never raised a hand to do a sinful deed, yet we are told a righteous God, for the crime of another, accounts it a sinner, subjects it to His wrath and curse, and dooms it “ to all miseries, spiritual, temporal, eternal.” "Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ, through the spirit,” &c. so also are all other elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word. Others not elected, &c. cannot be saved. Thus, the unrighteous deed, at which human justice revolts, is, according to the Trinitarian, righteousness with God; and thus, man is, not only more merciful, but more just than his Maker. In opposition to such awful injustice, it is pleasing to turn to that law which enacts, that “the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of