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equally unworthy, God grants to some the favors, which he withholds from others; or if, in his sovereign wisdom, he shews mercy to some, and, for the general good, inflicts deserved punishment on others, here is no injustice to the latter, but grace to the former, and goodness to many. Here is the particular election, of which the scripture speaks; and here may be applied the apostle's metaphor, "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump, to make one vessel to honor, and another to dishonor ?" But to make the innocent miserable, on the whole, for the sake of increasing the general happiness, is contrary to all our ideas of justice; and this surely God will never do. Justice is an essential attribute of the Deity; and to violate this cannot be for the general good.

God exercises over his creatures a government adapted to the natures which he has given them. As he has endued us with the faculties of deliberation, reflection, choice and action, so he governs us in a manner which leaves room for the exercise of them. Inanimate bodies are put in motion, and, as is generally supposed, are continued in motion, by his immediate impulse. Intelligent creatures are to be guided by rational motives and arguments. God marks out to them the path which leads to happiness; places before them proper motives to pursue it; offers them moral assistances, and allows them a space of probation. On him they are dependent for happiness and all the means and helps to obtain it. But whether they will seek the happiness offered them in the use of the means provided for them, and in the improvement of the assistances afforded to them, is referred to their own choice. If forsaking the path of righteousness, they choose and follow a course of wickedness, destruction and misery are before them. But are these God's doings? Are

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they not their own? God has made to them the promises and stated to them the terms of eternal life; he has urged their compliance with these terms; he has warned them of the awful consequences of their refusal. Does not his government tend to happiness? Is any thing wanting but their cordial submission to it? What is it that exposes them to misery? Is it God's government, or their opposition to it? The carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to his law. Hence to be carnally minded is death. To be spiritually minded will be life and peace.

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We see even in the present life, a connexion between vice and misery on the one hand, and be tween virtue and happiness on the other. Much the greater part of the troubles incident to men, are the fruits and consequences of their irregular appe tites, perverse passions and unreasonable actions. And the greatest enjoyments in life are those which spring from virtuous tempers and heavenly hopes. There are, indeed, many afflictions resulting from a state of mortality, which no man's wisdom or virtue can prevent. But these make not the principal part of human misery: And even these are the fruits of sin. The mortality of our race is the consequence of our general apostacy. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passes on all men, for that all have sinned." And this mortality, which is the effect of sin, is a necessary mean of its cure. Death, in its various forms, is a useful admonition of the evil of sin and of our guilty state, and an urgent call to repentance and newness of life.

Death was not a part of the original constitution under which man was placed; but was introduced by his violation of that constitution. Is it then God's doing? Is it not the work of man? God, in

deed, threatened it as the punishment of sin; but man by the commission of sin brought it into the world.

The wrath of God is revealed from heaven. But it is revealed only against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. It is only for these things sake, that the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. If they fall under the threatened punishment, is this God's doing? Have they not procured it to themselves?

The misery of sinners in the future world will greatly, if not principally, arise from their own perverse tempers and dispositions. And whatever positive punishment may be inflicted, it will be no other, than what they deserve, and what they have been warned to avoid. Now if, in this probationary state, they contract and retain a temper, which naturally tends to misery, and carry this temper with them to another world-if they obstinately pursue a course, which they know must issue in misery, and perversely refuse a compliance with the terms on which deliverance is promised; must they not ascribe their destruction to themselves? Can they say this is God's doing? Will not every mouth be stopped?

But some, perhaps, will say, "God could prevent the misery of sinners. If it is his will, that they should be happy, why does he not make them so? Why does he not conquer their obstinacy? Is his spirit straitened?"

But do you wish to be treated as inanimate creatures; and not as rational beings? Can you say, that in this respect the spirit of the Lord is straitened? Can you say, God withholds from men that kind and degree of moral influence which it is proper for him to afford them? Bring the inquiry home to yourselves. Has he not given you all things

which pertain to life and godliness? Have not competent means of instruction, and persuasive motives to repentance been vouchsafed to you? Have you not often felt a conviction of the reasonableness and importance of religion? When you have done evil, have you not opposed the dictates of your own conscience, and the strivings of God's spirit? What more then would you have? God has given you necessary information, placed before you pertinent motives, and awakened your conscience to feel their importance. If after all, you still go on in a guilty course and pursue it to your death, whose doing is this? Is it God's doing, or your own? The spirit of the Lord toward you has not been straitened; but you have rebelled and vexed it.

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We pretend not to say, how much God can do for you. We presume not to determine, that he never by his spirit overcomes hearts as obstinate as yours. But has he not done as much for you as from his goodness you could expect, and much more than from his justice you could demand?• From this you could demand nothing. Are you not then inexcusable? And if God should glorify his righteousness in your condemnation, what ground is there of complaint? And if he should make your deserved condemnation the means of promoting the happiness of other intelligences, will not his goodness to them be displayed in his righteous severity to you?

From the observations, which we have made on the nature and design of God's moral government, we may rationally conclude, that he is not the origin or efficient cause of moral evil; but that "wickedness proceeds from the wicked." However difficult it may be to account for the first introduction of sin into God's creation, piety forbids us to say, that he was the author of it. Those calamities which

fall on the wicked, the prophet says, " are not God's doings," because they are the natural fruits, or, at least, the just punishment of their own sins. Now if their sins themselves were the effects of God's direct influence on their minds, there would be no ground for this distinction. All would be God's doings.

God is sometimes said to harden and deceive men, and to send them strong delusions. But however we understand these expressions, they have no reference to the introduction of sin and error into the world; for the persons, whom God is said to deceive and harden, are described as previously corrupt and vicious. He is never said to have deceived or hardened those, who before were pure and innocent. God is often said to do that which he permits to be done to do that which is the consequence of his withdrawing from men his forfeited. restraints-to do that which he foretells will be done -to do that which, through the perverseness of men, is the consequence of the means which he used for quite other purposes. None of those expressions therefore need to be understood as importing the infusion of error and wickedness into men's hearts by God's direct efficiency. Such an idea we dare not admit, And we think there is no passage of scripture that necessarily leads to it, or really fa vors it. But does not the apostle say, "God hath "God hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth?" And is not this a general expression, extending to all God's creatures, the innocent as well as the corrupt? No; it is not. For the apostle refers only to the human race; and he had before proved, that all, both Jews and Gentiles, were under sin. He is here speaking only of those, who were already sinners, and is shewing God's sover.

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