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cessity not proving God to be the Author of Sin, in any ill sense, or in any such sense as to infringe any liberty of man, concerned in his moral agency, or capacity of blame, guilt, and punishment,
in addition. But if the agent be not under the influence of undeserved favour, the only alternative is, that he must necessarily be ander the influence of passive power. And as nothing can possibly secure a happy result but undeserved favour, or benevolent influence, a negative cause becomes an infallible ground of cer. tainty of an opposite result. Again,
29. When God gives to creatures what is their due, he deals with them in equity ; but when God gives thera less grace than is actually sufficient 10 secure from sin, or will in faci do so, he gives them their due. Were it otherwise, it would be impossible for any to sin. If to give them so much favour or benevolent influence as would actually preserve then froin sin, were their due, it is plain that the God of equity would give them .heir due, and preserve them from sin accordingly. But the fact is widely oinerwise. They are not all preserved from sin, though all might be, through the interposition of sovereign favour ; therefore it is not their due, or equity does not require it.
23. If it be said, it is owing to their own fault ; it is very true. But how came any creatures to be faulty ? God made angels and men upright : and he bas always dealt with every creature, however debased by sin, in equity. He bas also given to every creature, capable of sinning, liberty unconstrained. He often influences the disposition by benevolence ; and the goodness of God, by providential and gracious dispensations, leadeth to repentance But never has be dealt with any unjustly, or given them less than their due Not a fallen spi. rit, however deeply sunk, can verify such a charge. Assuredly, they have destroyed themselves, but in God is the only help. A principle of which God is not the author, as before explained, in union with the abuse of their liberty, satisfactorily accounts for the fact. Our evil is of ourselves ; but all our good is from God.
24. From what has been said we may safely draw this inference, that the existence of moral evil in the universe is not inconsistent with the moral perfections of God. And the proposition would be equally true bad the proportion of moral evil been greater ihan it is But some will continue to cavil, it is probable, because every objection is not professedly answered ; and some difficulties, or divine arcana, will always remain. They will still be asking, why benevolence is not more universal, and thereby inoral evil altog ther prevented? Wby the cone (to which benevolence has been compared) is not a cylinder, whose base is commensurate with the plane of creatural existence, and whose top rises ad infinitum? They might as well enquire, Why is not every atom a sun? Why not every drop an ocean? Why not every moment an age? Why not every worm an angel ? Why not the solar system as arge as all material systems united ? Why the number of angels and men not a thousand times greater? And to complete the absurdity of demanding evidence for every thing, as an objection against demonstrable truth, Why is not any given part on the surface of a cone, a cylinder, or a globe, not iu the centre? To all such inquiries—and if advanced as objections, impertinent enquiries—it is sufficient to reply, Infinite Wisdom bas planned a universe, in which divine benevolence appears wonderfully conspicuous and even the evils-wbetner natural or inoral, which are intermixed, and which in their origin are equally remore from divine causation and from chance --are overruled, 10 answer purposes the most benevolent and the most wonderfully sublime.
COROLLARIES. 1. The only possihle way of avoiding the most ruinous consequences-moral evil and misery-is to direct the will, through the instrumentality of its freedom, to a state of union to God, submission to his will, and an imitation of his moral perfections, according to his most merciful appointment.
2. To creatures fallen below the line of rectitude, and yet the subjects of hope, prayer to God for grace, undeserved favour, or benevolent influence, is an exercise the most becoming, a duty the most necessary and important, and a priyilege of the first magnitude.-W.
But should it nevertheless be said, that if God, when he had made man, might so order his circumstances, that from these, together with
his withholding further assistance and Di. vine Influence, his Sin would infallibly follow, why might not God as well have first made man with a fixed prevailing principle of Sin in his heart?
I answer, 1. It was meet, if Sin did come into existence and appear in the world, it should arise from the imperfection which properly belongs to a creature, as such, and should appear so to do, that it might appear not to be from God as the efficient or fountain. But this could not have been, if man had been made at first with Sin in his heart; nor unless the abiding principle and habit of Sin were first introduced by an evil act of the creature. If Sin had not arisen from the im. perfection of the creature, it would not have been so visible, that it did not arise from God as the ositive cause and real source of it.—But it would require room that cannot be here. allowed, fully to consider all the difficulties which have been started concerning the first entrance of Sin into the world. And therefore,
2. I would observe, that objections against the doctrine that has been laid down in opposition to the Arminian notion of liberty, from these difficulties, are altogether impertinent; because no auditional difficulty is incurred, by adhering to a scheme in this manner differing from theirs, and none would be removed or avoided, by agreeing with, and maintaining theirs. Nothing that the Arminians say about the contin gence or self-determining power of man's will, can serve to explain, with less difficulty, how the first sinful volition of mankind could take place, and man be justly charged with the blame of it. To say, the will was self-determined, or determined by free choice, in that sinful volition-which is to say, that the first sinful volition was determined by a foregoing sinful volition—is no solution of the difficulty. It is an odd way of solving difficulties, to advance greater, in order to it. To say, two and two make nine ; or, that a child begat his father, solves no difficulty: no more does it to say, the first sinful act of choice was before the first sinful act of choice, and chose: and determined it, and brought it to pass. Nor is it any better solution to say, the first sinful volition chose, determined, and produced itself; which is to say, it was before it was. Nor will it go any further towards helping us over the diffi. culty to say, the first sinful volition arose accidentally, without any cause at all; any more than it will solve that difficult question, How the world could be made out of nothing? to say, it came into being out of nothing, without any cause ; as has been already observed. And if we should allow that the first evil volition should arise by perfect accident, withou
any cause ; it would relieve no difficulty, about God laying the blame of it to man. For how was man to blame for perfect accident which had no cause, and which, therefore, he was not the cause of, any more than if it came by some external cause ?--Such kind of solutions are no better than if some person, going about to solve some of the strange mathematical paradoxes about infinitely great and small quantities-as, that some infinitely great quantities are infinitely greater than some other infinitely great quantities ; and also that some in. finitely small quantities are infinitely less than others, which yet are infinitely little-should say, that mankind have been under a mistake, in supposing a greater quantity to exceed a smaller ; and that a hundred, multiplied by ten, makes but a single unit.*
* On the subject of the origin of moral evil, our author is more concise than ugual. His design, in this very short section, is merely to shew, that the difficulties which have been started, concerning the first entrance of sin into the world, are such as cannot be discussed in a small compass; and, that the Arminian cause gains nothing by urging them. That cause has been sufficiently examined in several parts of this Enquiry; but the true and precise origin of moral evil, requires further notice. It is indeed of infinitely greater importance to be acquainted with that celestial art, and that sacred influence, whereby we may emerge from the gulf of sin to holiness and heaven, than to be accurately versed in the science of its origination. And so it is far more important to see objects, and improve sight, than to be able to demonstrate the theory of vision; to recover health, and to use it aright, than to have skill to ascertain the cause and the symptom of disease; to contribute vigorously in extinguishing a fire that threatens to destroy our dwellings and ourselves, than to know the author of the calamity; to participate the effects of varied seasons, than to understand, astronomically, the precise reason of those variations. The mariner may navigate without knowing why his needle points to the north ; and the celestial bodies in the solar system were as equally regular in their motions before Sir Isaac NEWTON had existence, as they have been since he has ascertained those laws and propor. tions according to which they move. And yet the science of optics is not uscless, the healing art is not to be despised, to discover an incendiary is desirable, and never is that philosopher, who attempts to ascertain the causes of natural phenomena, held up as blameworthy. In like manner, though millions are delivered from the influence of sin, and raised to the most exalted eminence of happiness, who never knew, or even sought to know, scientifically, the origination of sin ; this is no good reason that such knowledge is useless, or even unimportant. As we do not wish to swell these notes unnecessarily, we beg leave to refer to what we have said elsewhere on the subject, particularly in notes on the former part of this Treatise, on Dr. DODDRIDGE's Lectures, and on a Sermon, concerning “ Predestination to Life,” second edition, in connection with what we now add. See DodDr. Works, vol. iv. p. 333, &c. vol. v. p. 208, &c. Notes.)—As the basis of our present demonstration, we begin with proposing a few axioms.
AXIOMS. 1. No effect can exist without an adequate cause. On this truth are founded all reasonings and all metaphysical evidence.
2. Sin is an effect and has a cause. On this truth are founded all moral means and all religious principles,
3. The origin of moral evil cannot be moral evil; or, the cause of sin cannot be sin itself. Except we admit this, the same thing may be and not be, at the same time, and in the same respect—the same thing may be sin and no sincause and no cause-or, contrary to the first axiom, a contingent event may be he cange of itself, or may exişt without an adequate cause.
Of a supposeil Inconsistence between these Principles and God's
The things which have been already observed, may be sufficient to answer most of the objections, and silence the
4. There is no positire cause but what is ultimately from God. If otherwise, something positive may begi: to be without a positive cause ; or, something may exist without an adequate cause; which is the same as an effect to exist without a cause, contrary to the first axiom.
5. There may be a negative metaphysical cause, where there is no decretive divine operation to effect it. Were there no negative metaphysical causes, such ideas as absence, ignorance, folly, weakness, and the like, could have no metaphysical effects, contrary to universal experience. And we must renounce all ideas of congruity to suppose that such things are the mere effects of divine decree and operation.
Having premised these positions as axioms not to be disputed, we proceed to make a few observations, which, though equally true, inay not be equally ob. vious.
6. The origin of moral evil cannot be one principle. For were it one, it must be either a positive or negative cause. If positive, it would be ultimately from God, but this would exclude a n:oral alternative, the very essence of moral agency, and consequently be incompatible with the existence of moral evil. But if a ne. gative cause, it must ultimately be referred to the prime negative cause, which can be no other than passive power, as before explained ; which is nothing independent of positive existence; and consequently can have no effect but in wion with positive existence.
7. It remains, then, that the origin of moral evil is a compound of two causes at least. Yet not more than two; because, as we shall see, these are sufficient, and more would be superfluous in order to produce the effect.
8. Now the question remains, What are these compounded principles ? Arc they two positive causes, two negatives, or one of each ? They cannot be two positive causes; for then they might be ultimately reduced to one, the first cause; as before proved, gr. 4, 6. Nor can they be two negative oncs; for ultimately there is but one cause properly negative. Consequently,
9. The first entrance of sin into ihe world, or the true and prerise origin of inoral evil, may be found in Iwo causes united. the one positive and the other negative. But neither of which is morally good or morally evil; if the cause were morally good, the effect could not be morally bad; and if morally evil, it would be coritrary to the third axiom, and to common sonse. These two causes are, first, Liberty, a cause naturally good ; secondly, passive power, a cause naturally evil.-And these two causes are as necessary for the production of moral evil, as two parents for the production of a human being according to the laws of nature.
9. Dr. Clarke, whose brief account has been more implicitly admitted than any other, says, that moral evil" arises wholly from the ABUSE of Liberty; which God gave to his creatures for other purposes and which it was reasonable and fit to give them for the perfection and order of the whole creation, only they, contrary to God's intention and command, have abused what was necessary for the perfection of the whole, to the corruption and depravation of themselves.” This oxtract from Dr. CLARKE (in his Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, p. 113, 5th edit) has been advanced by celebrated writers, as "containing all that can be advanced with certainty' on the subject. But surely those minds must be easily satisfied who can be satisfied with such evidence. Dr. Clav KE allows and proves, that liberty is a perfection rather than an evil. How came it then to produce evil? He answers, "This arises wholly from the abuse of liverty.” But what is the cause of this effect called " the abuse of liberty?" This in fact is the VOL. 11.
great exclamations of Arminians against thc Calvinists, from the supposed inconsistence of Calvinistic principles with the
whole of the difficulty, and yet he leaves it untouched. The free agent fails in the exercise of liberty; this failure is an effect; but there is no effect without a cause ; therefore this failure must have a cause; and this cause (not the abuse of liberty) must bring us to the origin of moral evil.
10. What Dr. CLARKE has left untouched may yet be ascertained. We think it has been fairly excluded, by what has been already advanced, from every thing except Liberty and Passive Power. Therefore, the abuse of liberty can arise only from its associate. But how can this operate as a cause of the abuse of liberty? In order to answer this question, we must recollect what liberty itself is, viz. a natural power or instrument of the mind, capable of producing moral effects.Not a self-determining power, which would be contrary to the first axiom; and which our author has abundantly demonstrated to be full of contradictions, and an utter impossibility. It must then be determined by motives. But motives, as before shown (in a former note) are the objects of choice in union with the state of the mind, as a compound effect. Now the cause why the real good, suppose the chief good, which is absolutely unchangeable, is not chosen, and an inferior good appears at the instant of choice preferable, and in fact preferred, must arise from that part of the motive which is the state of the mind.
11. Now there are only two states of the mind conceivable whereby liberty can be influenced; the one a state naturally evil; the other a state morally good. Were we to say that the state was morally evil at the first entrance of sin, we should contradict the third axiom. And were we to say that the cause was only naturally good, we should contradict the first axiom. Therefore the cause of the abuse of liberty is a state naturally evil. No other cause can possibly be assigned, without involving a contradiction. But what is a state naturally evil, and without any mixture of moral evil? It can be no other but a state under the influence of what we call passive power.
12. Let us view the subject in another light, Perfect liberty, in reference to virtue and vice, the scale of merit and demerit, and its attendant degrees of happiness or misery, is a MEDIUM, standing between all extremes—between virtue and vice, merit and demerit, happiness and misery. If we regard divine rectitude or equity according to a former simile, in reference to the moral system, as an universal plane, liberty may be said to coincide with it. And being a natural persection, or, when exerted, a good which has a positive cause, it is the effect of benevolent energy. If the mind be under unmerited, sovereign, benevolent influence, its liberty attaches itself to real good; then the agent rises on the scale of excellence, and therefore of happiness. But if the mind be under passive influence, or the influence of passive power, (a depraved nature and confirmed vicious habits being now out of the question) its liberty attaches itself to apparent good, in opposition to real; then vice is generated, the agent sinks on the scale of deterioration, and consequently of misery.
13. It appears, then, that the will, in the exercise of its freedom, when producing moral effects, is the instrument of the disposition; and that the character of the effect bears an infallible and exact proportion to that of the predisposing
Yet the will in the exercise of choice is so free, that all constraint, coaction, and impulse, are entirely excluded from that which constitutes the morality of the act. Here lies the essence of moral agency; and the ground of account. ableness. The agent has a moral alterative ; 1F he be DIFFERENTLY MINDED he may choose otherwise than he actually does. If undor benevolent influence he will, in proportion, infallibly choose aright; if under equitable, passive influence, the apparent good will not be the real one, and consequently the choice will be morally bad. Means, objects perfectly suitable and sufficient, are exhibited to view ; but these of themselves would never determine the will, otherwise the game effect would always follow the same means. Temptations also are presented; these in like manner of themselves never determine the will, otherwise temptation and sin would be infallibly connected. Then the holy Jesus could not have withstood the numerous and powerful solicitations of the tempter. But why did he withstand all ? Because objects of temptation did not constitute the whole of motives; because objects operate according to the state of the mind; and hecaisse in him benevolent influence counteracted passive power.