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I prove, says the Arian, he is higher than angels. Admitted. Just add to both, the "Word was God," and you have the Scripture character of Christ's person complete. Leave out any of these, and you will have partial and erroneous views of the truth. Keep before your mind the Scripture character of Christ as God, man, and Mediator; and every passage in the Scripture speaking of his person, attributes, and works, will be found to harmonize with the greatest ease and simplicity. Put any part for the whole, or leave out any part, and many Scriptures will appear utterly irreconcilable.
3. Divine decrees,-human accountability.-"My counsel, says God, shall stand; I will do all my pleasure.". Isaiah xlvi. 10. He doeth according to his will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth, and none can stay his hand from working, or say unto him, what dost thou? He foreknows, predestinates, calls, justifies, and glorifies his people according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself; yet men are responsible, shall be punished for their sins, fulfil freely, and without any violence put on their wills, those things which God's foreknowledge and immutable counsel had decreed to be done. If any resort to the blasphemous suggestion, why doth he yet find fault? "who hath resisted his will ?" an inspired reply is ready-"nay, but who art thou, O man, that repliest against God?-Shall the thing formed say unto him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus ?"—Rom. ix. 19, 20. There are, perhaps, no two truths of which it is more difficult to conceive the harmony and consistency, than of the sovereign and immutable decrees of God, and the responsibility of man. From the frequency with which one of these truths is embraced, to the rejection of the other, and from the interminable conflicts that have been agitated regarding them, it is obvious they involve a depth which finite intelligence is unable to fathom.-Men are very unwilling to feel and acknowledge the limits of their own comprehension; and because they are not able to discover the relations of truths that are beyond the grasp of their finite minds, are not omniscient, they will reject plain truths because they cannot see their consistency with other truths. It is, no doubt, humbling to the pride of reason to receive two propositions that are apparently opposed, or of which the harmony is not obvious, yet we must do so, or reject, or explain away some of the most obvious and im
portant announcements of Scripture. Those assertions of Scripture which speak of God's sovereign and immutable arrangements, set forth things as they appear to the eye of God, whose wisdom hath arranged the whole course of his providence, and whose omniscient eye sees the end from the beginning. Those things, apparently opposed, speak of things as they appear to the limited vision of man. The Assertion of the divine sovereignty does not make man a mére machine. The course of argument used to prove that it does, is founded on a fallacy. It takes for granted that the laws of mind are the same as the laws of matter; and that God acts on the human mind as power on a machine. But so long as mind and matter must be regarded as essentially different, this analogy can never be established. The great difficulty lies in conceiving how God's unchangeable determinations are fulfilled by man, and man be, while doing so, free and accountable. This may be asserted to be impossible, but can never be proved to be so. With God all things are possible: and the proofs that would demonstrate the impossibility we speak of, if such proofs exist, lie far beyond the reach of human penetration. That God could accomplish his purposes by rational, free, accountable agents, must be admitted, or his perfections limited or denied. Though it is impossible for us to conceive how this can be, yet, let the fact that it is so be admitted, and all the difficulties of Scripture concerning it will disappear. That such is the fact, we may be permitted to shew by a few Scripture illustrations. Christ must be put to death; he was the Lamb slain (in decree) from the foundation of the world-for this end he came into the world. Yet the agents in his crucifixion acted freely and responsibly.-They were under no restraint. Truly the Son of man goeth as it was determined; but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed. Luke xxii. 22. The two apparently opposed truths are here placed in juxta-position by the highest authority. "Him, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and with wicked hands have crucified and slain”—Acts, ii. 23. The Holy Spirit saw no inconsistency in making this statement. The part that Judas Iscariot acted was decreed, predicted, yet he freely fulfilled it; and the divine determination neither caused, extenuated, nor took away his sin. Christ's words to Pilate place this beyond a doubt.-"Thou couldst have no power
against me except it were given thee from above, therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.”—John xix. 11.
Dr. Dwight has, perhaps, made a nearer approximation than any other who has considered the subject, to the exhibition of the consistency of God's decrees with the free agency and responsibility of man. The readers of the Orthodox Presbyterian will not be offended with the sentiments of that great and good man on this abstruse subject.
"It is objected, that this doctrine destroys the free agency of rational creatures. To this objection it is commonly answered, that the doctrine I have attempted to support is clearly proved from reason and revelation; and that men are intuitively conscious of their own free agency, being irresistibly sensible that they act spontaneously, and without any coercion or constraint. Both doctrines being therefore true and certain, it is justly alleged that they are of course consistent with each other."
It is therefore clear, that the actions of free agents may be certainly foreknown of God, to be exactly agreeable to his pleasure, and yet be attended with the greatest possible freedom."
A. B. K.
It is perfectly astonishing what a tendency there is among mankind, and even among Christians, to throw off the whole responsibility of public worship upon the minister. The disposition is almost universal. Come with me into this church, and observe the congregation assembled. The minister reads a hymn, and while he is reading it, how great a proportion of the hearers are entirely regardless of its contents! He rises to offer a prayer, and if we could see the hearts of those present, how many we should find who are really making no effort at all to accompany him to the throne of grace! At last he names his text, and the eyes of almost all the assembly are turned towards him. As he looks over the congregation, he sees an expression
of interest upon the countenances of his hearers, and perhaps expects they are going to listen to what he has to say. He begins the delivery of his message, endeavouring to explain to them the principles of duty, or to present the considerations which should urge them to do it. Now let me ask, while this exercise is going forward, upon whom does the responsibility of it chiefly come? Is it the duty of a minister to interest the people, or that of the people to be interested by their own efforts in the message the minister brings? Are you, in receiving a message from above, to reject it, or listen to it carelessly and with an inattentive and listless air, because it is not presented in such a manner as to compel you, by the novelty of its illustration, or the beauty of its diction, to give it your regard?
A farmer sends his boys into the field to spend the day in work. He tells them what to do for an hour, and says that after that time he shall send a man to explain to them how they are to proceed through the day. The boys go on with their work, until at length the expected messenger appears. He begins to tell them how the land is to be ploughed, or in what way the father wishes the seed to be put in the ground. The boys listen to him a minute or two, until one, perceiving some oddity in the man's manner, bursts into a laugh; another sits down upon a green bank under a tree, and gradually falls into a state of drowsy insensibility; a third looks away with a vacant countenance upon the hills and mountains around, utterly regardless of the message. The boys consequently do not learn what their father wishes them to do, and do not do it; and when night comes, and they are called to account for the labours of the day, they try to justify themselves with this prepos"the terous excuse:-"Why," they say to their father, man you sent was not an interesting man, and so we did not pay any attention to his message. He had no talent at making his mode of explanation novel or striking, and so we did not listen to it." "I could not possibly fix my attention," says one. "He was a very sleepy talker," says another: "I could not keep awake." He was dressed so," says a third, "and he had such a tone that I could not help laughing at him."
Such are the excuses which many persons give for not giving heed to religious instruction on the Sabbath. They tryto throw off all responsibility upon the minister; and if he 'does not awaken, by the power of his genius, an interest in
their minds, they consider themselves intirely excused from feeling any. They say, in substance to themselves, "We know that we have disobeyed God, and he is sending us messengers to communicate to us offers of forgiveness for the past, and directions for the future; but unless he sends us agreeable, and ingenious, and eloquent men, we will pay no attention to any of them."
Who can stand in the judgment with such an excuse. And yet it is the actual feeling of thousands. But, my reader, I do urge you to abandon altogether this plan of throwing off upon the minister, whom providence has sent to you, the responsibility of the interest you take in public instruction. It is his duty to deliver his message plainly and intelligibly, but it is your duty, most unquestionably, to be interested in it. Go to meeting, feeling that you have something to do there. You must be interested in what you hear, if it is a plain exhibition of religious truth; and you must apply it to your own conscience and heart by real active effort, or you must incur the guilt of rejecting the message from heaven. The less interesting the preacher then is, the more active and arduous the duty of his hearers. They should look him steadily in the face, and listen in deep silence, and in deep attention to what he has to say; and feel at all times, that while it is the minister's duty to be faithful in delivering his message, it is their most imperious duty to take heed how they hear. ABBOTT.
ADDRESS OF THE GENERAL SYNOD OF ULSTER, TO THE PEOPLE UNDER THEIR CARE, ON THE SUBJECT OF EDUCATION.
DEARLY BELOVEd Brethren,
THE following is an outline of a plan of literary, moral, and religious education for the children of Presbyterians, drawn up by a Committee of Synod, and unanimously adopted by the whole body, at its late meeting in Belfast, in December last :
"As it is the acknowledged duty of this Church to provide for the children of the people under its care a system of Scriptural and Presby
* The resolutions were given in the last number, but it seems to be necessary to repeat them here, for the sake of connexion.