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ment of a hyperbolical expression, denoting great deso- a hole of the rock, and breaks a potter's vessel in the lation; importing that the trade of Egypt, which was sight of the people; when Ezekiel weighs the hair of carried on then, as at present, by caravans, by the foot his head and beard in balances, with many other inof man and beast, should be annihilated.”

stances familiar to those who read the Scriptures. But To this we may add, that the passage respecting the this ridicule can only proceed from ignorance. In the depopulation of Egypt stands in the midst of an ex; early ages of the world, the deficiency of language was tended prophecy, which has received the most marked often supplied by signs; and when language was imfulfilment, and illustrates, perhaps as strikingly as any proved, “the practice remained,” says Bishop Warthing which can be adduced, the cavilling spirit of infi- burton, “after the necessity was over; especially delity, an proves that truth could never be the object among the Casterns, whose natı temperament inof discussions thus conducted. Here is a passage clined them to this mode of conversation. The charges which has some obscurity hanging over it. No one, then of absurdity and fanaticism, brought against the however, can prove that it was not accomplished, even prophets, vanish of themselves. The absurdity of an so fully that the expressions might be used without action consists in its being extravagant and insignative; violent hyperbole; for the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar but use and a fixed application made the actions in was one of the same sweeping and devastating cha- question both sober and pertinent. The fanaticism of racter as his invasion and conquest of Judea: and we an action consists in fondness for such actions as are know, that the greater part of the inhabitants of that unusual, and for foreign modes of speech; but those of country were destroyed, or led captive, and that the the prophets were idiomatic and familiar.” We may Jand generally remained untilled for seventy years,- add, that several of these actions were performed in though not absolutely left without inhabitant. in the vision; and that, considering the genius of the people common language of men, Judea might be said not to who were addressed, they were calculated strongly to he inhabited, so prodigious was the excision of its excite their attention,--the end for which they were people, and in such circumstances, from the total ces adopted. sation of all former intercourse, commercial and other- Such are the principal objections which have been wise, between the different parts of the kingdom, it made to Scripture prophecy, as the proof of Scripture might also, without exaggeration, be said, that the foot truth. That they are so few and so feeble, when eneof man and beast did not “pass THROUGH it;" their mies so prying and capable have employed themselves going from one part to another on business, or for with so much misplaced zeal to discover any vulnerable worship at Jerusalem, being wholly suspended. Now, part, is the triumph of truth. Their futility has been as we have no reason to suppose the Babylonian mo- pointed out; and the whole weight of the preceding narch to have been more merciful to Egypt than to evidence in favour of the truth of the Old and New Judea, the same expressions in a popular sense might Testaments remains unmoved. We have, indeed, but be used in respect of that country. Here however in- glanced at a few of these extraordinary revelations of fidelity thought a cavil might be raised, and totally, the future, for the sake, not of exhibiting the evidence may we not say wilfully?--overlooked a prediction im- of prophecy, which would require a distinct volume, mediately following, which no human sagacity could but of explaining its nature and pointing out its force. conjecture, and against which it is in vain to urge that To the prophecies of the Old Testament, the attentive it was written after the event: for the accomplishment inquirer will add those of our Lord and his Apostles, of the prophecy runs on to the present day, and is as which will appear not less extraordinary in themselves, palpable and obvious as the past history and the present nor less illustrious in their fulfilment, so far as they political state of that country--" Egypt shall be the have received their accomplishment. Many prophecies basest of the kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself both of the Old and New Testaments evidently point 19 any more above the nationsthere shall be no more a future times, and this kind of evidence will consequently prince of the land of Egypt.(4) It is more than two accumulate with the lapse of ages, and may be among thousand years since the prophecy was delivered, and the means by which Jews, Mahometans, and Pagans Egypt has never recovered its liberties, but is to this shall be turned to the Christian faith. At all events, day under the yoke of foreigners. It was conquered by prophecy even unfulfilled now answers an important the Babylonians; then by the Persians: and in suc- end. It opens our prospect into the future; and if the cession passed under the dominion of the Macedonians, detail is obscure, yet, notwithstanding the mighty conRomans, Saracens, Mamelukes, and Turks. No native test which is still going on between opposing powers prince of Egypt has ever restored his country to inde- and principles, we see how the struggle will terminate, pendence, and ascended the throne of his ancestors; and know, to use a prophetic phrase, that “at eventime and the descendants of the ancient Egyptians are to it shall be light." this hour in the basest and most oppressed condition. Yet in Egypt the human mind had made some of its earliest and most auspicious efforts. The stupendous monuments of art and power, the ruins of which lie

CHAPTER XIX. piled upon the banks of the Nile, or still defy the wastes of time, attest the vastness of the designs and the ex

INTERNAL EVIDENCE of the Truth of Scripturetent of the power of its princes. Egypt, too, was pos

COLLATERAL EVIDENCE. sessed of great natural advantages.

Its situation was THE Internal Evidence of a revelation from God has singularly calcul ted to protect it against foreign inva- been stated to be that which arises from the apparent sion; while its great fertility promised to secure the excellence and beneficial tendency of the doctrine.(5) country it enriched from poverty, baseness, and sub- This at least is its chief characteristic, though other jection. Yet after a long course of grandeur, and in particulars may also be included in this species of contradiction to its natural advantages, Ezekiel pro- proof, and shall be adduced. nounced that the kingdom should be the basest of all The reader will recollect the distinction made in the kingdoms," and that there should be “no more a prince chapter just rcferred to, between rational and authen. of the land of Egypt." So the event has been, and so ticating evidence. It has been observed, that there are it remains; and that this wonderful prophecy should some truths made known to us through the medium of be passed over by infidels in silence, while they select a revelation from God, which, though in their nature from it a passage which promised to give some colour undiscoverable by the unassisted faculties of man, yet, to objection, is deeply characteristic of the state of when once revealed, carry to our reason, so far as they their minds. It is not from deficiency of evidence that are of a nature to be comprehended by it, the demon. the word of God is rejected by them. The evil is not stration which accompanies truth of any other kind.(h) the want of light, but the love of darkness.

But it is only within the limit just mentioned that this Much ridicule has been cast upon the prophets for position holds good; for such truths only must be unthose significant actions by which they illustrated their derstood as are accompanied with reasons or rational predictions; as when Jeremiah hides his linen girdle in proofs in the revelation itself, or which, when once

suggested to the mind, directs its thoughés and obsercalled Egypt, which is hieroglyphically represented by vation to surrounding facts and circumstances, or to the figure of a heart; no unapt similitude.”—“The established truths to which they are capable of being principal places mentioned in our sacred writings, Zoan, compared, and by which they are confirmed. The InZoph, and Tophanes, are all referrible to the Delta. ternal Evidence of the Holy Scriptures, therefore, as Probably little of them remains." (4) Vide Ezek. xxix. and XXX.

(5) Vide Chap. ix.

(6) Ibid.

far as doctrine is concerned, is restrained to truths of in on every side, and affords its evidence of the truth this class. Of other truths revealed to us in the Bible, of the doctrine. and those in many instances fundamental to the system The Old and New Testaments agree in representing of Christianity, we have no proof of this kind; but the human race as actually vicious, and capable, with they stand on the firm basis of Divine attestation, and out moral check and control, of the greatest enormi. suffer no diminution of their authority because the rea- ties; so that not only individual happiness, but social sons of them are either hidden from us for purposes of also, is constantly obstructed or endangered. To this moral discipline, or because they transcend our facul- the history of all ages bears witness, and present expeties. If we had the reasons of them before us, they rience gives its testimony. All the states of antiquity would not be more authentie, though to the understand. crumbled down, or were suddenly overwhelmed, by ing they would be more obvious. Such are the doc- their own vices; and the general character and conduct trines of a Trinity of persons in the Unity of the God of the people which composed them may be read in the head; of the hypostatic union of the two natures in works of their historians, poets, and satirists, which Christ; of his Divine and Eternal Sonship, &c. Such have been transmitted to our times. These, as to the are many facts in the Divine government--as the per- Greeks and Romans, fully bear out the darkest colourmission of evil, and the long apparent abandonment of ing of their moral condition to be found in the wellheathen nations--the unequal religious advantages af-known first chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Church forded to individuals as well as nations--and many of at Rome, and other passages in his various epistles. the circumstances of our individual moral trial upon to this day, the same representation depicts the condiearth. or the truth of these doctrines, and the fitness tion of almost all pagan countries, and, in many respects of these and many other facts, we have no internal too, some parts of Christendom, where the word of God evidence whatever; but a very large class of truths has been hidden from the people, and its moral influwhich are found in the revelations of Scripture, afford ence, consequently, has not been suffered to develope more or less of this kind of proof, and make their ap- itself. In those countries, also, where that corrective peal to our reason as well as to our faith ;--in other has been most carefully applied, though exalted beyond words, their reasonableness is such, that, though the comparison in just, honourable, benevolent, and sober great demonstration does not rest upon that, it affords principles and habits, along with the frequent occurrence an additional argument why they should be thankfully of numerous and gross actual crimes, the same appereceived, and heartily credited.

tites and passions may be seen in constant contest with The first and fundamental doctrine of Scripture is, the laws of the State; with the example of the virtuthe existence of God; the Great and the Sole First ous; and the controlling influence of the word of God, Cause of all things, eternal, self-existent, present in all preached by faithful ministers, taught as a part of the places, knowing all things; infinite in power and wis- process of education, and spread through society by the dom; and perfect in goodness, justice, holiness, and multiplication of its copies since the invention of truth. That this view of the Divine Being, for which printing. The Holy Scriptures, therefore, characterize we are indebted to the Scriptures alone, presents itself man only as he is actually found in all ages, and in all with powerful rational demonstration to the mind of places to the utmost bounds of those geographical disman, is illustriously shown by that astonishing change coveries which have been made through the adventurous of opinion on this great subject which took place in spirit of modern navigators. pagan nations upon the promulgation of Christianity, But they not only assume men to be actually vicious, and which in Europe continues to this day substantially but vicious in consequence of a moral taint in their unaltered. Not only those gross notions which pre- nature,--originally and inevitably so, but for those provailed among the vulgar, but the dark, uncertain, and visions of grace and means of sanctity of which they contradictory researches of the philosophers of different speak; and as this assumption is the basis of the whole schools, have passed away; and the truth respecting scheme of moral restoration, through the once promised Gol, stated in the majesty and simplicity of the Scrip- seed of the woman, and the now actually given Jesus, tures, has been, with few exceptions, universally re- the SAVIOUR, so they constantly remind him that he is ceived, and that among enlightened Deists themselves. vorn in sin and shapen in iniquity," and that, being These discoveries of revelation have satisfied the born of the flesh, “ he cannot please God.What is human mind on this great and primary doctrine; and thus represented as doctrine appeals to our reason have given it a resting place which it never before through the evidence of unquestionable fact. The found, and from which, if it ever departs, it finds no strong tendency of man to crime cannot be denied. dernonstration until it returns to ihe “ marvellous Civil penal laws are enacted for no other purpose than light" into which revealed religion has introduced us. to repress it; they are multiplied in the most civilized A class of ideas, the most elevated and sublime, and states to shut out the evil in all those new directions which the most profound minds in former times sought towards which the multiplied relations of man, and his without success, have thus become familiar to the very increased power, arising from increased intelligence, peasants in Christian nations. Nothing can be a more have given it its impulse. Every legal deed with its striking proof of the appeal which the Scripture cha- seals and witnesses, bears testimony to that opinion as racter of God makes to the unsophisticated reason of to human nature which the experience of man has immankind.(7)

pressed on man; and history itself is a record chiefly Of the state and condition of Manas it is represented of human guilt, because examples of crime have every in our Holy Writings, the evidence from fact, and from where and at all times been much more frequent than the consciousness of our own bosoms, is very copious. examples of virtue. This tendency to evil, the Scrip What man is, in his relations to God his Maker and tures tell us, arises from the heart,”--the nature and Governor, we had never discovered without revelation; disposition of man; and it is not otherwise to be acbut now this is made known, confirmatory fact crowds counted for. Some indeed have represented the cor

ruption of the race as the result of association and ex(7) The Scripture character of the Divine Being is ample; but if men were naturally inclined to good, and thus strikingly drawn out by Dr. A. Clarke in his note averse to evil, how is it that not a few individuals only, on Gen. i. 1:

but the whole race have become evil by mutual asso“The eternal, independent, and self-existent Being. ciation? This would be to make the weaker cause the The Being whose purposes and actions spring from him- more efficient, which is manifestly absurd. It is conself, without foreign motive or influence: He who is trary too to the reason of the case, that the example absolute in dominion; the most pure, most simple, and and association of persons naturally well disposed most spiritual of all essences; infinitely benevolent, should produce any other effect than that of confirming beneficent, true, and holy: The cause of all being, the and maturing their good dispositions; as it is the effect npholder of all things; infinitely happy, because infi- of example and association, among persons of similar nitely good; and eternally self-suflicient, needing tastes and of similar pursuits, to confirm and improvo nothing that he has made. Illimitable in his im- the habit which gives rise to them. As little plausi. mensity, inconceivable in his mode of existence, and bility is there in the opinion which would account for judescribable in his essence; known fully only to him this general corruption from bad education.

How, if self, because an infinite mind can only be comprehended man in all ages had been rightly affected in his moral by itself. In a word, a Being who, from his infinite inclinations, did a course of deleterious education comWisdom, cannot err or be deceived; and who, from his mence? How, if commenced, came it, that what must infinite goodness, can do nothing but what is eternally have been so 'abhorrent to a virtuously disposed comjust, right, and kind.”

Imunity, was not arrested, and a better system of in

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struction introduced ? But the fact itself may be de- | storation of man to the Divine favour, through the me. nied, as the worst education inculcatcs a virtue above rits of THE VICARIOUS AND SACRIFICIAL DEATH OF the general practice, and no course of education was Christ, the incarnate Son of God. To this many obever adopted purposely to encourage immorality. In jections have been offered; but, on the other hand, the Scriptures alone we find a cause assigned which many important reasons for such a procedure have accounts for the phenomenon, and we are bound there- been overlooked. The rational evidence of this docfore by the rules of philosophy itself to admit it. It is trine, we grant, is partial and limited; but

will be rethis, that man is by NATURE prone to evil; and as it collected, that it has beer already proved, that the auwould be highly unreasonable to suppose, that this dis- thority and truth of a doctrine are not thereby affected. position was implanted in him by his benevolent and it is indeed not unreasonable to suppose, that the evi. holy Maker, we are equally bound in reason to admit dence of the fitness and necessity of such a doctrine the Scripture solution of the fall of the human race should be to us obscure. “ The reason of the thing," from a higher and better state.

says Bishop Butler," and the whole analogy of nature A third view of the condition of man contained in the should teach us, not to expect to have the like informaScriptures is, that he is not only under the Divine au- tion concerning the Divine conduct, as concerning our thority, but that the government of heaven as to him is own duty.On whatever terms God had been pleased to of a mixed character; that he is treated with severity offer forgiveness to his creatures, if any other had been and with kindness also; that, considered both as corrupt morally possible, it is not to be supposed that all the in his nature and tendencies, and as in innumerable in- reasons of his conduct, which must of course respect stances actually offending, he is placed under a rigidly the very principles of his government in general, ex. restraining discipline, to meet his case in the first re- tending not only to man, but to other beings, could spect, and under correction and penal dispensation with have been explained; and certain it is, that those relation to the latter. On the other hand, as he is an to whom the benefit was offered would have had no object beloved by the God he has offended; a being for right to require it. whose pardon and recovery Divine Mercy has made The Christian doctrine of atonement as a necessary provision; moral ends are connected with these seve- merciful interposition, is grounded upon the liability of rities, and Nature and Providence as well as Revela- man to punishment in another life, for sins committed tion are crowned with instances of Divine benevolence against the law of God in this; and against this view to the sinning race. The proof of these different rela- of the future prospects of mankind there can lie no obtions of man to God surrounds us in that admixture of jection of weight. Men are capable of committing sin, good and evil, of indulgence and restraint, of felicity and sin is productive of misery and disorder. These and misery, to which he is so manifestly subject. Life positions cannot be denied. That to violate the laws is felt in all ordinary circumstances to be a blessing; \ of God and to despise his authority are not light crimes, but it is short and uncertain, subject to diseases and is clear froin considering them in their general effect accidents. Many enjoyments fall to the lot of men; upon society, and upon the world. Remove from the yet with the majority they are attained by means of human race all the effects produced by vice, direct and great and exhausting labours of the body or of the indirect; all the inward and outward miseries and camind, through which the risks to health and life are lamities which are entirely evitable by mankind, and greatly multiplied; or they are accompanied with so which they wilfully bring upon themselves and others, many disappointments, fears, and cares, that their num- and scarcely a sigh would be heaved, or a groan heard, ber and their quality are greatly lessener. The globe except those extorted by natural evils (small compaitself, the residence of man, and upon whose fertility, ratively in number), throughout the whole earth. The seasons, exterior surface, and interior stratification so great sum of human misery is the effect of actual ofmuch of the external felicity of man depends, bears fence; and as it is a principle in the wisest and most marks of a mingled kind of just and mercisul govern- perfect human legislation to estimate the guilt of indiment, suited to such a being as man in the state de- vidual acts by their general tendency, and to proportion scribed in the Scriptures, and to none else. It cannot the punishment of them under that consideration, the be supposed, that if inhabited by a race of beings per- same reason of the case is in favour of this principle, fectly holy and in the full enjoyment of the Divine fa- as found in Scripture; and, thus considered, the demevour, this earth would be subject to destructive earth- rit of the sins of an individual against God becomes inquickes, volcanoes, and inundations; to blights and calculable. Nor is there any foundation to suppose, dearths, the harbingers of famine; to those changes in that the punishment assigned to sin by the judicial apthe atmosphere which induce wide-wasting epidemic pointment of the Supreme Governor, is confined to the disorders; to that general sterility of soil which ren- present life; for before we can determine that, we ders labour necessary to such a degree, as fully to oc- must be able to estimate the demerit of an act of wil. cupy the time of the majority of mankind, prevent them ful transgression in its principle, habits, and influence, from engaging in pursuits worthy an intellectual na- which, as parties implicated, we are not in a state of ture, and wear down their spirits; nor that the metals feeling or judgment to attempt, were the subject more 80 necessary for man in civilized life, and, in many within our grasp. But the obvious reason of the case countries, the material of the fire by which cold must is in favour of the doctrine of future punishment; for be repelled, food prepared, and the most important arts not only is there an unequal administration punishexecuted, should be hidden deep in the bowels of the ments in the present life, so that many eminent offenearth, so that a great body of men must be doomed to ders pass through the present state without any visible the dangerous and humbling labour of raising them! manifestation of the Divine displeasure against their These and many other instances(8) show a course of conduct, but there are strong and convincing proofs discipline very incongruous with the most enlightened that we are placed in a state of trial, which continues views of the Divine character, if man be considered as throughout life, and the result of which can only be an innocent being. On the contrary, that he is under known, and consequently we ourselves can only be an unmixed penal administration, is contradicted by come subjects of final reward or punishment, after exthe facts, that the earth yet yields her increase ordi- istence in this world terminates. From the circumnarily to industry; that the destructive convulsions of stances we have just enumerated to indicate the kind nature are but occasional; and that, generally, the health of government which is exercised over the human of the human race predominates over sickness, and race, we must conclude, that, allowing the Supreme their animal enjoyments over positive misery. To Governor to be wise and just, benevolent and holy, those diverse relations of man to God, as stated in the men are neither treated as innocent nor as incorrigibly Bible, the contrarieties of nature and providence bear corrupt. Now, what reason can possibly be given for an exact adaptation. Assume man to be anything else this mixed kind of administration, but that the moral than what is represented in Scripture, they would be improvement of man is the object intended by it? The discordant and inexplicable; in this view they har- severity discountenances and restrains vice; the anmonize.--Man is neither innocent nor finally con- nexation of inward felicity, in all cases (and outward in demned-he is fallen and guilty, but not excluded from all those instances in which the result depends upon the compassion and care and benignity of his God. the conduct of the individual), to holy habits and acts, The next leading doctrine of Christianity is the re- recommends and sanctions them, and allures to the use

of those means which God has provided for enabling (8) See the argument largely and ingeniously ex- us to form and practise them. No other final causes, hibited in GISBORNE's Testimony of Natural Thco- it would appear, can be assigned for the peculiar manlogy, &c.

ner in which we are governed in the present life; and

if the deterring and correcting severity on the one life, men have obstinately resisted all admonitions from hand, and the alluring and instructive kindness on the heaven; obdurated themselves against all the affecting other, which mark the Divine administration, continue displays of the Divine kindness, and the deterring manithroughout life; if, in every period of his life here, festations of the Divine majesty, it is most reasonable to man is capable, by the use of the prescribed means, of conclude, that a part of them at least would abuse sucforming new habits and renouncing old ones, and cessive trials, and frustrate their intention, by attachthus of accomplisbing the purposes of the moral disci- ment to present and sensual gratification. What then pline under which he is placed, then is he in a state of is to become of them? If we admit a moral government trial throughout life, and if so, he is accountable for the of rational creatures at all, their probation cannot be whole course of his life; and his ultimate rewardor pun- eternal, for that leads to no result; if probation be apishment must be in a state subsequent to the present. pointed, it implies accountability, a judicial decision, and

It is also the doctrine of Scripture, that this future that judicial decision, in the case of the incorrigible, punishment of the incorrigible shall be final and un- punishment. Whenever then the trial, or the series hmited; another consideration of great importance in of trials, terminates as to these immortal beings, the considering the doctrine of atonement. This is a mo- subsequent punishment, of what kind soever it may nitory doctrine which a revelation only could unfold; be, must be eternal. This doctrine of Scripture rests but being made, it has no inconsiderable degree of ra- therefore upon others, of which the rational evidence tional evidence. It supposes, it is true, that no future is abundant and convincing ;- That Almighty God extrial shall be allowed to man, the present having been ercises a moral government over his creatures ; that neglected and abused; and to this there is much ana- the present life is a state of moral discipline and trial, logy in the constant procedures of the Divine govern- and that man is immortal. If these are allowed, the ment in the present life. When many checks and ad- eternal duration of future punishments as to the obmonitions from the instructions of the wise and the stinately wicked, must follow; and its accordance examples of the froward have been disregarded, po- with the principles just mentioned is its rational evi. verty and sickness, infamy and death ensue, in a thou-dence. sand cases which the observation of every man will That atonement for the sins of men which was furnish; the trial of an individual, which is to issue made by the death of Christ, is represented in the Chrisin his present happiness or misery, is terminated; and tian system as the means by which mankind may be so far from its being renewed frequently, in the hope delivered from this awful catastrophe—from judicial of his finally profiting by a bitter experience, advan- | inflictions of the displeasure of a Governor, whose autages and opportunities, once thrown away, can never thority has been contemned, and whose will has been be recalled. There is nothing therefore contrary to the resisted, which shall know no mitigation in their deobvious principles of the Divine government as mani- gree, nor bound to their duration; and if an end, sufested in this life, in the doctrine which confines the premely great and benevolent, can commend any prospace of man's highest and most solemn probation cedure to us, the Scriptural doctrine of atonement comWithin certain limits, and beyond them cutting off all mends this kind of appeal to our attention. This end his hope. But let this subject be considered by the it professes to accomplish by means which, with relight thrown upon it, by the circumstance that the na- spect to the Supreme Governor himself, preserve his ture of man is immortal. With those who deny this character from mistake, and maintain the authority of to be the prerogative of the thinking principle in man, his government; and with respect to man, give him it would be trifting to hold this argument; but with the strongest possible reason for hope, and render those who do not, the consideration of the subject un- more favourable the circumstances of his earthly der this view is important.

probation. These are considerations which so maniThe existence of man is never to cease. It follows festly show, from its own internal constitution, the suthen from this, that either the future trials to be al- perlative importance and excellence of Christianity, lowed to those who in the present life have been incor- that it would be exceedingly criminal to overlook rigible, are to be limited in number, or should they them. successively fail, are to be repeated for ever. If the How sin may be forgiven without leading to such latter, there can be no ultimate judgment, no punish- misconceptions of the Divine character as would enment or reward; and consequently the Divine govern- courage disobedience, and thereby weaken the inment as implying these (and this we know it does, fluence of the Divine government, must be considered from what takes place in the present life), must be an- as a problem of very difficult solution. A government nihilated. If this cannot be maintained, is there suffi- which admitted no forgiveness, would sink the guilty cient reason to conclude, that all to whom trial after to despair ; a government which never punishes offence, trial is supposed to be afforded in new and varied cir- | is a contradiction-it cannot exist. Not to punish, is to cumstances, in order to multiply the probabilities, so to dissolve authority; to punish without mercy, is to despeak, of their final recovery from rebellion, will be at stroy, and, where all are guilty, to make the destruction length reclaimed? Before this can be answered, it universal. That we cannot sin with impunity, is a must be recollected, that a state of suffering which matter determined. The Ruler of the world is not would compel obedience, if we should suppose mere careless of the conduct of his creatures; for that penal suffering capable of producing this effect, or an exer- consequences are attached to offence, is not a subject of tion of influence upon the understanding and will which argument, but is made evident from daily observation shall necessitate a definite choice, is neither of them to of the events and circumstances of the present life. It be assumed as entering into the circumstances of any is a principle therefore already laid down, that the aunew state of trial. Every such future trial to be pro- thority of God must be preserved; and it ought to be bationary at all, that is, in order to bring out the ex. observed, that in that kind of administration which reistence of a new moral principle, and by voluntary acts strains evil by penalty, and encourages obedience by to prove it, must substantially be like the present, favour and hope, we and all moral creatures are the though its circumstances may vary. Vice must have interested parties, and not the Divine Governor himself, its allurements; virtue must rise from self-denial, and whom, because of his independent and efficient nature, be led into the arena to struggle with difficulty; many our transgressions cannot injure. The reasons, therepresent interests and pleasures must be seen in con- fore, which compel him to maintain his authority, do not nexion with vice; the rewards of obedience must, as terminate in himself. If he becomes a party against now, be not only more refined than mere sense can be offenders, it is for our sake, and for the sake of the gratified with, but also distant: the mind must be ca- moral order of the universe, to which sin, if encouraged pable of error in its moral estimate of things, through by a negligent administration, and by entire or frequent the influence of the senses and passions; and so cir- impunity, would be the source of endless disorder and cumstanced, that those erroneous views shall only be misery: and if the granting of pardon to offence be prevented or corrected by watchfulness, and a diligent strongly and even severely guarded, we are to refer it application to meditation, prayer, and the use of those to the moral necessity of tra case as arising out of the means of information on moral subjects which Al- general welfare of accountable

creatures, liable to the mighty God may have put within their reach. We deep evil of sin, and not to any reluctance on the part have no right in this argument to imagine to ourselves of our Maker to forgive, much less to any thing vina future condition where the influence of every cir- dictive in his nature, --charges which have been most cumstance will be directed to render vice most diffi- inconsiderately and unfairly brought against the Chriscult to commit, and virtue most difficult to avoid ; for tian doctrine of Christ's vicarious sufferings. If it then this would not be a state of trial; and is in this present be true, that the relief or offending man from futuro


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punishment, and his restoration to the Divine favour, industry and economy of the formerly negligent and
ought, for the interests of mankind themselves, and for wasteful repair not the losses of extravagance. Nor
the instruction and caution of other beings, to be so is it necessary to dwell upon the consideration which
bestowed, that no license shall be given to offence; that this theory involves as to all the principles of govern
God himself, while he manifests his compassion, should ment established among men, which in flagrant cases
not appear less just, less holy, than the maintenance never suspend punishment in anticipation of a change
of an efficient and even awful authority demands; that of conduct; but which in the infliction of penalty look
his commands shall be felt to be as compelling, and that steadily to the crime actually committed, and to the ne-
disobedience shall as truly, though not so uncondi- cessity of vindicating the violated majesty of the laws.
tionally, subject us to the deserved penalty, as though The argument might indeed be left here; but we go
no hope of forgiveness had been exhibited, we ask, on farther and show, that the reformation anticipated is
what scheme, save that which is developed in the New ideal, because it is impracticable.
Testament, these necessary conditions are provided To make this clear, it must be recollected, that they
for? Necessary they are, unless we contend for a who oppose this theory of human reconciliation to God,
license and an impunity which shall anuul the efficient to that of the Scriptures, leave out of it, not only the
control of the universe, a point which no reasonable vicarious sacrifice of Christ, but other important doc-
man will contend for;
and if not, then he must allow trines; and especially that agency

of the Holy Spirit an internal evidence of the truth of the doctrine of which awakens the thoughtless to consideration, and Scripture, which makes the offer of pardon consequent prompts and assists their efforts to attain a higher chaonly upon the securities we have before mentioned. If racter, and to commence a new course of conduct. it be said, that sin may be pardoned in the exercise of Man is therefore left, unassisted and uninfluenced, to the Divine prerogative, the reply is, that if this preroga- his own endeavours, and in the peculiar unalleviated tive were exercised towards a part of mankind only, circumstances of his actual moral state. What that the passing by of the others would be with difficulty state is, we have already

seen. It has been argued, that reconciled to the Divine character; and if the benefit nothing can account for the practical corruption of manwere extended to all, government would be at an end. kind, but a moral taint in our hearts, a propensity of This scheme of bringing men within the exercise of nature to evil and not to good; and that every other mercy does not therefore meet the obvious difficulty of mode of accounting for the moral phenomena which the case; nor is it improved by confining the act of grace the history of man and daily experience present, is only to repentant criminals. For in the immediate view inconclusive and contradictory. How, then, is this sup, of danger, what offender, surrounded with the wreck posed reformation to commence? We do not say, the of former enjoyments, feeling the vanity of guilty exchange of one vice for another, that specious kind of pleasures, now past for ever, and beholding the approach reformation by which many are deceived, for the obof the delayed but threatened penal visitation, butjector ought to have the credit of intending a reformation would repent? Were this principle to regulate human which implies love to the purity of the Divine comgovernments, every criminal would escape, and judicial mands; cordial respect for the authority of our Maker; forms would become a subject for ridicule. Nor is it and not partial, but universal, obedience. But if the the principle which the Divine Being in his conduct to natural unchecked disposition of the mind is to evil, men in the present state acts

upon, though in this world and supernatural assistance be disallowed, “ who care punishments are not final and absolute. Repentance bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? To natural does not restore health injured by intemperance, pro- propension we are also to add, in this case, as reformaperty wasted by profusion, or character once stained tion is the matter in question, the power of habit, pro by dishonourable practices. If repentance alone can verbially difficult to break, though man is not in fact in secure pardon, then all must be pardoned, and govern- the unassisted condition which the error now opposed ment dissolved, as in the case of forgiveness by the supposes. The whole of this theory assumes human exercise of mere prerogative; if a selection be made, nature to be what it is not; and a delusive conclusion then different and discordant principles of government must, therefore, necessarily result. If man be totally are introduced into the Divine administration, which is corrupt, the only principles from which reformation can a derogatory supposition.

Derech proceed do not exist in his nature; and if we allow no To avoid the force of these obvious difficulties, some more than that the propensity to evil in him is stronger have added reformation to repentance, and would than the propensity to good, it is absurd to suppose that in restrain forgiveness to those only who to their penitence opposing propensities the weakest should resist the most add a course of future obedience to the Divine law. In powerful, -that the stream of the rivulet should force this opinion, a concession of importance is made in its way against the tides of the ocean. The reformation, favour of the doctrine of Atonement as stated in the therefore, which is to atone for his vices, is impracticable. Scriptures. For we ask, why an act of grace should The question proposed abstractedly, How may mercy be thus restricted ? Is not the only reason this, that be extended to offending creatures, the subjects of the every one sees, that to pardon offence either on mere Divine government, without encouraging vice, by prerogative, or on the condition of repentance, would lowering the righteous and holy character of God, and annul every penalty, and consequently encourage vice? the authority of his government, in the maintenance of The principle assumed then is, that vice ought not to be which the whole universe of beings are interested? is encouraged by an unguarded exercise of the Divine therefore at once one of the most important and one of Mercy;

that the authority of government ought to be the most difficult which can employ the human mind. upheld; that Almighty God ought not to appear indif. None of the theories which have been opposed to Chrisferent to human actions, nor otherwise than as a God tianity, afford a satisfactory solution of the problem. "hating iniquity" and loving righteousness." Now, They assume principles either destructive to moral goprecisely on these principles does the Christian doctrine vernment, or which cannot, in the circumstances of of Atonement rest. It carries them higher; it teaches man, be acted upon. The only answer is found in the that other means have been adopted to secure the object; Holy Scriptures. They alone show, and indeed they but the ends proposed are the same; and thus to the alone profess to show, how God may be just, and yet principle on which that great doctrine rests, the objector the justifier of the ungodly. Other schemes show how can take no exception--that point he has surrendered, he may be merciful; but the difficulty does not lie there. and must confine himself to a comparison of the effi- This meets it, by declaring the righteousness of God," ciency of the respective modes, by which the purposes at the same time that it proclaims his mercy. The of moral government may be answered in the exercise voluntary sufferings of an incarnate Divine person, of mercy to the guilty, in his own system, and in "for us, in our room and stead, magnify the justice that of Christianity. We shall not, in order to prove of God; display his hatred to sin; proclaim "the ex"the wisdom” as well as the grace of the doctrine ceeding sinfulness" of transgression, by the deep and of the Bible on this subject press our opponent with painful sufferings of the substitute; warn the persethe fact, important as it is, that in the light vouch-vering offender of the terribleness as well as the cersafed unto us into the rules of the government of God tainty of his punishment; and open the gates of salvaover men with reference to the present state merely, we tion to every penitent. It is a part of the same Divine see no reason to conclude any thing with certainty as plan to engage the influence of the Holy Spirit, to to the efficacy of reformation. A change of conduct awaken that penitence, and to lead the wandering soul does not, any more than repentance, repair the mis- back to himself; to renew the fallen nature of man in chiefs of former misconduct. Even the sobriety of the righteousness, at the moment he is justified, through veformed man does not always restore health; and the faith, and to place him in circumstances in which he may

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