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Thor God made him with os hin ernally miserable,
unjust, and therefore it
I wish not to be
I wil subject nevole living
her God be really glow meble of eternal happi
te bim eternally milcution more, whether it of the divine perfece
irrefisible act of his veril? Sin and misery was they are eternal evils,
af of his will, hath probe conduct of the divine of his glory. If so, there fe that is false or absurd. in a light a little different. God hates fin? If he an. X: I say the following con.
- that God eternally hates Exp mean of producing his
good of the intelligent ne to Mr. S. lin is a neceffa and's glory, and the greatest bat God eternally hates that y unable to prevent. For hat God cannot deny him. auft and will maintain. And ed by fin. God is therefore
obliged eternally to endure that which his soul hates; and to endure it in order that he may be glorified, If so, then one inference more undeniably follows, viz, that God is a very miserable being.
If Mr. S. say that God loves fin; then the following things are true. God is obliged to punish that with eternal misery which his foul delights in ; and to do this for the promotion of his own glory, and the greatest good of his intelligent universe. Again, if God love fin, then mankind are not guilty in committing it'; unless they are guilty for doing that which God loves. Again, it follows, that God is obliged eternally to cause innocent creatures to suffer, for his own glory and the greatest good of his intelligent universe. If these things are true, as they çertainly are, if God loves fin; it follows again, that God is a moft miserable being. .
So that, whether God loves, or hates fin, a train of consequences follow, upon Mr. S.'s hypothesis of the greatest good, and of the divine benevolence, unspeakably shocking to every pious and generous feeling of human nature. I cannot think that I need write any more, to convince every candid and intelligent reader, that Mr. S.'s ideas of divine benevolence are essentially defective, false and absurd ; and that his whole system of eternal sin and misery, since it is founded on these ideas, and such interpre. tations of scripture as they lead to, must inevitably fall to the ground. . · I fall, hereafter, consider Mr. S.'s whole scheme
of eternal fin and misery, and of divine benevolence, as refuted and exploded, and entirely gone out of the universe, and shall have no reference to it, more or less, except only, as occasion may offer in the progress of this work, I may make an observation now and then, illustrating the proof of the falsehood and corruption of the scheme,
So far as Mr. S. makes use of his scheme of divine benevolence, in any part of his work, to support any part of his system of eternal fin and misery, or to il. lustrate any passage of scripture, I shall congider his performance as so far defective, as the use and influ. ence of his corrupt scheme of benevolence fhail exo tend.
I view Mr. S.'s scheme of benevolence as lo pro. digiously corrupt, that it must shed an infectious and contaminating influence on every thing with which it comes in contact,
I shall now proceed to make some remarks or the practical use which Mr. S. makes of his theory of divine benevolence.
The Grst practical use which he makes of his theory, of benevolence, is a very flagrant breach of christian charity. The passage is as follows, p. 117. “the observations, which have been made upon the nature of benevolence or holiness, shew us, why some, whose doctrinal belief is right, whose viGble conversation is regular, and who live in a punctual attendance on gospel ordinances, may still be very unholy persons, and intirely unprepared for
heaven.” Icon Gder this as a plain infinuation, that all those persons, who do not adopt Mr. S.'s theory of benevolence, and bring their hearts to a compliance with it, are very unholy, and entirely unprepared for heaven. Whoever peruses this whole 4th. Sec. beginning on page 117, will instantly see that I truly and fairly represent Mr. S.'s ideas, in the quotation above. If so, what can be more unkind or unchar. itable than Mr. S.'s insinuation ? In the first place, the insinuation is unreasonable, and unfounded. Mr. $, has made a very great and important decigon, with regard to the moral state of many of his fellow christians, without sufficient data. For 1 presume there are many of Mr. S.'s fellow christians who are very far from adopting his theory of benevolence or holiness. And has Mr. S. a right to de. termine that his brother's heart is defective, because he may think that his head is wrong? Even if he absolutely knew that his brother's religious theory were corrupt, he has no right to determine that his heart is corrupt allo. God only knows how great a degree of theoretical corruption may congst with real moral guodness of heart. Mr. S. does not exercise the same candor and chriftian char. ity towards his brother, that he would wish to have exercised towards himself. I most certainly do not adopt Mr. S.'s notions of benevolence and holiness ; and further, I think I have clearly demonstrated them to be false, corrupt, and replete with the grofl. eft absurdities. Yet I do not consider myself at liberty to determine that his heart is corrupt, that he
is is an unholy man, and entirely unprepared for heay. en. I have a right to censure his creed; but pot his heart. “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins.”
We have now finished the first objection which Mr. S. propounded against eternal misery, that it is inconsistent with benevolence. If this objection be valid, and well founded, it will forever defeat the purpose of every man, who shall undertake to show that there will be eternal milery in God's universe. For if eternal misery be incongstent with divine benevolence, it absolutely cannot be; it must, and will, be destroyed.
I did not begin my examination of Mr. S.'s performance with his d. part, that I meant to proceed to the consideration of all the objections he states against his own plan; but that I wished to ascertain fome just ideas of the divine benevolence, as suppose ing that these would be of effential importance, in all our reasonings concerning the future fate and destination of men.
Whoever undertakes thoroughly to peruse this 2d. part of Mr. S.'s piece, and to follow him through the train of all his objections and answers, will be sensible that he founds his answers to the principal objections on his theory of the divine benevolence. Therefore, as I have before observed, if his theory be corrupt and unfounded, as we have shown it to be, his whole fabric must tumble to the duft
Before I close my considerations of the divine benevolence, I will present my kind and candid read