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in his government, by a holy God. Benevolence applied to the divine character, in the loose sense that many use the word; means the same as that all creatures will be made happy. In this sense of the word, it will be denied that God is a benevolent being; and thus using it, is only taking that as granted, which is the real matter of dispute: This loose sense of the word will be very agreeable to finful minds, and hath a fatal tendency to fix them in the security of death." Here the matter is brought plainly out; and we see what Mr. S. hath been laboring after all this time, even to fit up such an explanation of di. vine benevolence as would not countenance univer- . sal salvation. And he is perfectly right, when he fays that, “ according to the above explanation, the infinite benevolence of God is no proof of universal salvation.” Well might he say this, fince by the a. bove explanation, divine benevolence is the supreme love which God hath for that intellectual, moral fyra tem, in which sin and misery have a great and eternal share. Lest we should forget that fin and mirery are neceffary to produce the greatest good of that moral system, which is the object of the infinite benevolence of God, Mr. S. hath taken special care to repeat the idea, and to renew the impreffion uponi the minds of his readers.
I cannot but blame Mr. S. very much, for sever.al things which I find in this last quotation from his · book. First, I blame him much for repeating the
affertion, that sin and misery are necessary means of
producing the greatest good in that moral system, which is the object of the divine benevolence, without once attempting to prove its truth. An assertion, which he makes to contain a fundamental principle in his scheme, certainly ought to have been supported by the clearest and most indubitable evi. dence. Instead of this, he hath not so much as at. tempted to prove it. in
Secondly, I blame Mr. S. for charging it as a crime in others, that they assume as a granted pofition that which is a main subject in controversy. He says that, “benevolence applied to the divine character, in the loose sense that many use the word, means the same as that all creatures will be made happy. In this sense of the word,” he says, " it will be denied that God is a benévolent being i and thus ug ng it, is only taking that as granted, which is the real matter of dispute.” If to use the word benevolence in such a sense, as to favor universal salvation, when' universal salvation is the subject of difputé, be unfair, as it is taking for granted the thing to be proved: I will ask Mř. S. what shall be said of the man, who uses the word benevolence in such a sense, as to favor partial damnation, when partial damnation is his own professed subject of dispute ?
Mr. Si's positions concerning the divine benevolence are these. It is God's love of the greatest possible quantity of happiness. And this greatest possible quantity of happiness is produced, necessarily, by a great quantity of eternal fin and mifery. And yet Mr. S. is the very man, who reflects on
the Universalists, as unfair disputants, when they use the word benevolence in that loose sense which, he fays, means that all creatures shall be made happy! ! Thus Mr. S. hath taken care, first, fo to explain the word benevolence, as to make it infer the eternal fin and misery of a great part of the human race; and then, to enter a caveat against any such expolia tion of the word, as will, in the least degree, favor the extirpation of fin and misery out of the universe; because this would be taking for granted the subject of dispute. What, kind reader, shall we do in this dilemma ? If we interpret the word benevolence, fo as to favor the destruction of fin and misery, we shall be unfair disputants. And, if we tamely indulge Mr. S. in his explanation of this word benev. olence, we shall be eternally plagued, I fear, with fin and misery in the world.
Further, Mr. S. hath forewarned us what to expect, if we presume to interpret the 'word benevolence in that loose sense, which favors the destruction of lin and misery, viz. that it will be denied that God is a benevolent being. So that we see that Mr. S. hath taken every precaution to keep fin and misery in the world.
If we say that God loves the children of Adam's esteems, and treats them all with impartial affection; defires the virtue, holiness, and happiness of them all; and, when he contemplates a world of intelligent creatures, redeemed, restored, and saved, by his own gracious mediatorial scheme, he loves it,
he beholds this happy, exulting, enraptured world of intelligent creatures with divine pleasure ; and this is his benevolence: we may expect soon to hear it denied that God is a benevolent being.
Whereas, if we say that God delights in the eter. nal sin and misery of a great part of Adam's race, as the necessary means of producing the greatest good the greatest possible quantity of happiness, even the glory and blessedness of God and of his holy intelligent kingdom ; and that he looks, with supreme pleasure, on this mixed state of his moral world ; and this is his benevolence: 0 then, then God is a benevolent being.
This last, my kind reader, is the only true representation of the Father of mercies, and God of all grace ! Does your reason, your common sense, or your heart, consent? Can you persuade your mind to believe that this is a just representation of your Creator, and of divine benevolence ?
The last sentence of my last quotation from Mr. S. viz. “ This loose sense of the word will be very: agreeable to finful minds, and hath a fatal tendency to fix them in the security of death,” I shall leave to be considered, hereafter, 'as, an objection against that scheme of creation, and divine moral government of men, which we shall more fully examine.
To proceed a little farther with Mr. S's. idea of benevolence ; he says, p. 115, “ Every good mind wishes the greatest possible happiness in the universe of being. He wishes the greatest posible number
or in itu's to be made happy, that can be with the greated buppines ia the whole; and that each of these individua's should be the happiest possible, If God and made a revelation concerning any one or burber of perions, that their salvation would be in, corutent with his plan of benevolent government ; and shut their being made happy would necessarily alter the scheme of social existence, in such a man. rer, that the universe would lose more than they would gain; in such a case, it is not seen that benevolence could wih their falvation, at the expense of a greater good. Benevolence never can with a diminution of real good in the universe, for this would be adling against an essential quality of its own nature, which is, a delight in good or happiness.” My kind reader, are you weary of the constant repetition of fuch ideas of benevolence ? or does your patience fill hold out? I confess mine is clean gone. I blame Mr. S. for asserting, without proof, and continuing to repeat, and call into view, that disagreeable idea, that the eternal misery of fome is a mean of happiness to the rest. God has been pleased to give us two revelations of himself, and of his moral government of men; one natural, our reason; the other supernatural, his holy word. We have a right to use both, in all our inquiries after moral and religious truth. We will now endeavor, once for all, by the use of natural revelation, to demonstrate, First, That eternal misery, as a punishment of temporary crimes, is ab. furd and impossible, in its own nature. Secondly,