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possess a better spirit, we shall perform the duty which the occasion demands.

In specifying the false charges which have been brought against those who hold the doctrine of the divine decrees, especially as including particular election, the following may I think be mentioned as among the most common. It is said, we believe that God formed a great part of the human race on purpose to damn them-having determined to deprive them of all power to help themselves; that we hold that there are infants in hell of a span long; and that we represent the blessed God altogether, as an absolute, severe, and inexorable tyrant, disposing of his creatures in the most arbitrary and inequitable manner. Need I assure you, that we reject every one of these revolting ideas, with as much sincerity as any of those who charge us with them and with far more sensibility, I hope, than some who charge us? Whenever therefore you hear Calvinists and Calvinism charged with these, or any similar sentiments, remember that the party who does it is either ignorant or malignant—He either does not know what we believe, or he wilfully misrepresents our sentiments. He draws his own terrific consequences from our principles, and then charges us with them. But we ourselves draw no such consequences; and we earnestly contend that they do not necessarily or fairly follow from any thing we hold. - We even shudder when we hear them repeated. If now and then an individual, who has chosen to call himself a Calvinist, has said something that might justly subject him to the charge of holding any of these obnoxious tenets, let him alone be responsible. Let not the denomination to which he claims to belong, be made answerable for his folly and his guilt; for there is no religious sect that could escape scandal on any other terms. There is, I venture to affirm, no established Christian sect, that has not produced individuals who have adopted and promulged wild and extravagant notions, utterly abhorrent to those with whom they have been associated. I have stated

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in my last lecture, the manner in which we really hold the doctrines from which these unjust inferences are drawn, and the practical use we are to make of what we hold. I think proper now to add, that in regard to infants, there are many Calvinists who believe that all infants, who die before the exercise of reason, belong to the election of grace; and therefore that there can be no question, or doubt, of their salvation. Scott, who was a sound and very rational Calvinist, was decidedly of this opinion, as appears from his commentary on Matt. xix. 14– 6 Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.”—“The expression, (says Scott,) may intimate that the kingdom of heavenly glory is greatly constituted of such as die in infancy. Infants are as capable of regeneration as grown persons; and there is abundant ground to conclude, that all those who have not lived to commit actual transgressions, though they share in the effects of the first Adam's offence, will also share in the blessings of the second Adam's gracious covenant, without their personal faith and obedience, but not without the regenerating influence of the Spirit of Christ.”

Before leaving this part of the subject, I will just mention that Calvinists have been divided into two classes; the one denominated Supralapsarians, the other Sublapsarians. These names have been assigned from the circumstance, that the former class consider the divine decree, in regard to the elect and reprobate, as contemplating man before the fall; and the latter class as relating to him only after the fall. Both classes equally maintain the entire sovereignty of God, and equally reject with abhorrence all impeachment of his justice, or of any other of his glori ous attributes. Those who are called moderate Calvinists, are I believe, generally, if not universally, Sublapsarians.

Let us now give a little attention to the important point, that it was for his own glory, that God foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. It is of great moment, my young friends, that you should be sensible that the glory of God is infinitely a higher and better object, than the glory and happiness of all creatures. All creatures united are to the Creator, only as that which is finite is to that which is infinite. As far therefore as the wishes and the happiness of creatures interfere with the glory of their Creator, reason and equity dictate, that the latter should be preferred before the former: and as God is perfect, his very perfection assures us that this preference will always take place. It also assures us that the divine glory will always be reconciled with the happiness of every individual sentient being in the universe, so far as this is consistent with the greatest general good; for according to our conceptions, the divine glory appears to require this.

Recollect the distinction already explained in my second lecture, between the essential and declarative glory of God. With the essential glory of the Deity, creatures can have nothing to do. It is absolutely independent of them, and unconnected with them. It is only the declarative glory of God, with which they and their actions have any connexion. Now this declarative glory consists in the Creator appearing to his intelligent creatures, when fully enlightened, most excellent, most amiable, as well as most mighty and majestic. To his crcatures he declares and manifests himself as glorious, when his works exhibit him, at once as great and amiable, in an infinite degree. But to be both great and amiable in an infinite degree, the happiness of his sentient creatures must be consulted, as far as is consistent with equity and the nature of things—Further than this, certainly not; because if equity and the fitness of things were once violated, this itself would be the destruction of all order, of all moral excellence, and of all amiableness at once. We have every reason then, to believe that the declarative glory of God will be found, in fact, to harmonize with all the happiness that reason and equity should make us wish to be introduced into a system like ours. It is therefore infinitely reasonable,

that we should desire the promotion of this glory-It is in itself the highest object, and in its display lies the highest happiness of all good beings.

It has been queried whether infinite wisdom might not have devised a system, into which all the good, and yet none of the evil, of the present system, might have entered. On this I remark, that if we answer this query categorically, whether affirmatively or negatively, we shall find the answer attended with very serious difficulties. I therefore am deliberately of the opinion, that we ought to give it no other answer than this—that no wisdom, less than infinite, can tell what infinite wisdom, in regard to this subject, could have effected; but our wisdom is not infinite, and therefore it is not for us to pronounce on the subject. We know what has taken place—and we know that our Creator is perfect. We know that his glory is the best object that can be presented to the view of his creatures, and we have every reason to believe that it not only harmonizes with, but consists in, all the happiness that any good being, fully enlightened, would desire or wish to belong to the system which God has actually established. This is enough for us; -enough to make us seek the glory of God surpremely, and consider it as unspeakably the most desirable end to be promoted. It is enough to make us see that it is this end which our Creator, from the very perfection of his nature, does and will regard as supreme-in all his works and in all his dispensations.

We now proceed to the consideration of the next answer in the Catechism, which is—“God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.” In the two great theatres of display, creation and providence, the Deity carries into effect his eternal purposes, in all the variety and particularity of their manifestation; and all concentring, like so many scattered rays, to this one point-the illustration of his own glory. It belongs to the following answers to explain, more particularly how this is done. Here however, it may be proper just to notice a speculation, which, if mentioned at all, should be introduced

now. It is, whether we are to consider the whole material and intelligent universe, as having been created at the same time with the world which we inhabit. Some have supposed that myriads of ages before the formation of our world, and perhaps of the solar system of which it is a part, other systems, peopled with intelligent beings, had existed. Some too, are of the opinion, that the work of creation is still going on--that in the immensity of space, new systems are frequently springing into birth, at the command of the Almighty Creator; and perhaps that some also, having finished their destined periods, are occasionally blotted from existence. It is clear, at once, that this is all matter of mere conjecture, and that nothing certain can be known on the subject. The analogies on which any reasonings on this subject may be built, must be very slight, if not entirely fanciful. Some have thought that it was not to deem worthily of the great Creator, to suppose that he permitted his omnipotent power and infinite goodness to slumber in silence from all eternity, till within about six thousand years. But I am afraid that this itself, is not to think in the most worthy manner of the Creator. For carry the work of creation back as far as you can, there must still have been an eternity before that, in which there was no creature-in which the Creator dwelt alone. We see, therefore, that the difficulty is not at all relieved. The truth is, the subject is altogether beyond our knowledge, and beyond our conceptions; and in all such cases, as soon as we perceive the fact to be so, duty and comfort both dictate, that we should cease our speculations.

I do not indeed suppose, that what the Scriptures teach us on the subject of creation, was intended to apply directly to any thing but the system with which we are concerned. As to the formation of angels, the Scripture does not distinctly inform us when it took place. It once appeared most probable to me, that they were created some considerable time before man. I now rather think it probable that they were formed on the first day of creation. It would seem, from a

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