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but a succession of moments from eternity: and so the Divine will is not an eternal volition, but a succession of voluntary exercises from eternity. For this succession, both of existence and exercises, there is a ground or reason, in the Divine Nature; by which is meant, not (as vou represent, page 394) the motive in view of which he acts, but that, whatever it may be, which determines him to choose and act in view of motives.
It is absurd to suppose that men cause their own voluntary exercises; for this implics, either that they cause their own exercises, by choosing to have them-which you allow to be absurd-or that they act, in causing their exercises, without any choice, which is equally absurd.
Action, you say, consists in choosing, not in choice. It consists not in the choice itself, but in making the choice. A man's choice is not therefore active.”—Here you make a distinction, where there is no difference " choosing is not choice"!-You reprezent making choice, as preceding choice itself, although you had previously said, that “ choosing is making or causing choice”-and you again represent activity as belonging, not to choice, or to the will, but to something which precedes it! Are we conscious of such an active power, which is distinct from the will? I can say, for one, that I am conscious of no such absurdity. While I feel within me a spontaneous (i. e, voluntary) impulse;' I am not conscious of any 'selfcaused motion of my spirit.'
You justly observe, that “ things are not certain because they are foreknown, but foreknown because they are certain. They could not in the nature of things be foreknown unless they were certain.” All the volitions and actions of mankind, then, were certain from eternity, for they were foreknown hy God. This you grant. But, how could this be, if men possess a self-determining power? Must not God have seen a cause, or chain of causes, which would produce those things and events which he foreknew? And was there not, then, a moral necessity of the existence of those things and events? “ Things are certain, you say, because their causes will make them to take place."--And is there not, then, a moral necessity of their taking place? But what sort of a self-determining power is that, which certainly will, and of necessity must, determine and act in a certain way?
To your questions, I return the following answers:
Quest. If God has not a self-determining principle, how is it making men like gods, to say that they have?"
Ans. Because it is saying, that the ground or reason of their voluntary exercises, is within themselves.
Quest. “ If volition in God is uncaused by him, and is necessary, how is he an object of praise for the same?'"
Ans." To the will, blame or praise is attached." p. 395.
Quest. “Il volition in God can exist uncaused, and merely because there is a ground or reason for its existence; why cannot it exist thus in man?”
Ans. Because man is not God.
Quest. If God causes the volition of man to be as it is, and is determined that it shall be so; how can man prevent it? How can he have a different will?
Ans. As easily as the sailors with Paul, could leave the ship, or as saints can fall away to perdition. Men have always a natural, but never a moral power, to do differently from what God deter: mines they shall do.
Quest. “How can it (an evil intention) be termed morally eril, if it is absolutely necessary ?”
Ans. In the same way, that what God “ produces" in the saints, is morally “good in its nature, towards which God can, therefore, with propriety, manifest his approbation”-in the same way, that any intention, which was foreknown, and so certain, may have a moral quality.
Quest. “How can saints be really praise-worthy, if they are not as they should be, when left to themselves?"
Ans. Neither saints, nor any other creatures, erer are left to themselves. God works in them to will and to do, of bis own good pleasure.' They are praise-worthy, because they voluntarily do is that which is good in its nature."
Quest. “ How can it be proper to say that God chooses, if the choice in him is eterpal, and uncaused by himself ?”
Ans. Just as proper as to say he exists, though bis existence is eternal, and uncaused by himself.
Quest. “Do not all feel as conscious that they cause their own evil wills, as they do of any thing else wbatever?"
Ans. No. I do not believe any man was ever conscious of an act, preceding and causing any exercise of his will, whether good or evil.
Now, dear Sir, it really appears to me, that the “ difficulties” are all on your side. Let me close, by stating a few of them, which obviously result from your scheme.
The will of God had a beginning, and was caused by himself, by a previous aci!
God foreknew, and there wcre causes which rendered it certain how man would choose and conduct, in the exercise of a self-determining power!.
Saints are « voluntary machines”-they “ have, strictly speaking, no moral goodness;" although there is that in them, which is “ good in its nature," and which God approves, and in some sepse rewards!
Men possess a self-determining power, in the full exercise of which, all men, if left to themselves, would only sin, and be dainned!
Choosing and causing choice, are one and the same thing; so that "a man's choice is not active,' but is the inactive effect of his choosing, which precedes all choice or volition!
Blame is “not in the will, nor the intention, nor the exercises;" although " to the will blame or praise is a fare hed”!
But, the principal difficulty attending your scheme, is, that it obliges you to understand scores of plain and express passages of scripture in a sense, not only figurative, strained, and far-fetched, but in a sense, the very reverse of the obvious and unequivocal meaning of the terms in which they are expressed.
[Concluded from page 401.] As to the general government, if it does not come witbin their province to make laws to require an observance of the Sabbath, we have a right, at least, to expect that they will make none to oppose it. But what can be more unfavourable to the sanctification of the Sabbath, than the Post-Office system, according to its present establishment? and this is under the control of the national govern
ment. Congress authorizes the transportation of the mail, even in time of peace, on that day, which the high Possessor of heaven and earth claims as his own; and in which he strictly forbids us to do any of our secular business. The mail is commonly carried in stage coaches. Probably several thousand of these are in motion every Sabbath day. By means of this, several thousand men, who have immortal souls, and who are all to stand before the judgment seat of Christ, are of necessity, by their employment, shut out from all the privileges of the Sabbath. By these men, every Sabbath in the year is entirely profaned, and their hearts must be hardening at a strange rate indeed. If several thousand men are every Sabbath occupied in driving the mail stages, there are many thousand more, who are also God's accountable creatures, each one of whom he has strictly commanded to turn away his foot from making any encroachments on his holy day, who are tempted by this means of public conveyance, to transgress the command, by proceeding on their journeys. Many thousand Post-Masters have their consciences severely tried, (unless they have already become seared) by opening the mail, and attending to their other official business on the Lord's day. To attend on this business, they are often detained from the public services of the sanctuary. There is another evil of no less magnitude, which is connected with the opening of the mail on the Sabbath: It presents a temptation, which actually induces thousands and tens of thousands, to profane holy time, by reading their letters of business, and their political and literary papers and magazines. By means of the transportation of the mail, the sacredness of the hallowed day is forgotten in those public houses where the mail coaches stop for refreshment. The same remark will apply to ferrymen and toll-gatherers; and sometimes it will apply to smiths and other mechanics, whose services are occasionally called for, to make those repairs which are more or less needed by travellers. · Could the whole of this evil be placed under our eye, so as to be viewed at once, it would be truly affecting; and every man of piety would be ready to exclaim, Surely the Lord will visit for this thing, and his soul will be avenged on such a nation as this! Let us not forget, that the whole of this systematic and authorized profanation of the Sabbath, is distinctly in the view of that holy and Almighty Being, who is emphatically the One “ with whom we have to do.” Have we not reason to fear, that this violation of the holy Sabbath, will bring the curse of God on the mail itself? We need His providence to protect this ever-moving and much-exposed depository of common treasure and intelligence. They who believe in a particular, as well as general providence, cannot now trust their property in the mail with as much confidence as they could do,
if it were not carried on the Lord's day. When they think box greatly the Sabbath is polluted by the transportation of that mail, to which they commit their money, it renders it difficult for thein to ask the Lord of the Sabbath to protect it.
I am, myself, inclined to think, that there is no profanation of the Sabbath in our land, which is more likely to bring down the wrath of heaven upon us, than the one to which I have adverted: this is eminently a national profanation. It is an “error which proceedeth from the ruler." It is a national contempt of the Lord's day, and of the Lord of the day. It seems to speak a language like this: “ If individuals are dependent on God, and accountable to Him, let them acknowledge it by keeping holy bis consecrated day; but as a NATION, we are independent, not only of men, but of God; and are accountable to none; for there is no Lord over us.Nationul concerns are of too much consequence to be diverted from their regular course, by a cowardly fear of breaking a command of God.” How would such words as these be received by Him, who has said, that for every idle word which men speak, they shall gire account in the day of judgment? But if our actions imply all this, what words could speak more distinctly?
There is another circumstance, which makes this national profanation a very great evil; It is the means of lowering down a regard to the Sabbath throughout the country, more than almost any other thing. The people at large are acquainted with it, and become familiarized to it. The thing is known to be sanctioned by the legislature of the nation—the nobles of the land. It is at length considered by many, if not most of the people, as a necessary arrangement. This all tends to make a general impression, that the command of God, to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, is not so binding on men's consciences as had been supposed. It is a natural inference; that if the government of the land niay take the Lord's day to do their business, it cannot be very wrong for men in private life to do the same, If men, when travelling in the mail coaches, go forward on the Sabbath, as on other days, it will be natural for them to do it when travelling in their own coaches, or other means of private conveyance. If some steam-boats are employed by government on the Sabbath, to transport the mail, it is a public fanction, to all the other boats, to make no difference as to time, between the holy and the profane. And this unnecessary labour, by the sailing of steam-boats in all the waters of the United States, will constitute an amazing amount of the sin of Sabbath-breaking, If the steam-boats and packets traverse our bays and rivers on the Sabbath, this is giving a sanction to the still more confined paviga. tion of the canals. And should this be unrestrained, we had better have remained contented without a single canal in the country.
That part of our population, who are most accommodated by the improvements which have been made in our internal navigation, if they serve God rather than Mammon, would sooner have remained without this additional facility of transportation, than to have had their hearts grieved with the augmented profanation of the Sabbath, which this will be the means of bringing among them; should sailing on the canals be understood as being out of the reach of the · Sabbath law, the same as sailing on the ocean. They will consider the demoralizing effect of this dreadful profanation of the Sabbath, to be such a moral loss to themselves and their children, that no natural advantages which accrue, can counterbalance it.
In view of all the evil, which is connected with this national contempt of the Sabbath, I am confident, that if the man who is placed at the head of the Post-Office department, and the legislature of the nation, were to view things in the same light, in which they
were viewed by the Jewish reformer, their love to their country 1. would not permit them to suffer this prostration of the Lord's day
to continue another year. They would fear, lest enough had already been done, to kindle a fire which would not speedily be quenched. By the light of the scriptures, (and this is a light to which we do well to take heed) we are led to conclude, that the profanation of the Sabbath, as much as any other sin, exposes this nation to the judgments of God. Intemperance is another of our heaven-provoking sins, and is a sin which greatly endangers our prosperity, if not our very existence; but it has not so many characteristics of a national sin, as the one which it is the object of this discourse to expose. Intemperance, though a common evil, is not, however, sanctioned by the laws: but as it relates to the Sabbath, there are laws of the land which are entirely repugnant to the laws of God, Although intemperance is common, we have reason to be thankful, that it is not, as yet, altogether reputable. But what is the disgrace which is now attached to a profanation of the Sabbath? Is there not reason to fear, that for the office of a State Governor, or even of a President of the United States, this would generally be thought no. disqualification at all? If moral obligation has so lost its hold of our consciences, that the most palpable violations of the Divine law, are bardly considered as faults, either by the transgressors them, selves, or by the community in general, it is time to sound the alarm,
FROM THE CALVINISTIC MAGAZINE. EXPOSITION OF SCRIPTURE. Presbyterians believe that the scriptures make a distinction between that called the gospel, which is common to all, and the effectual call of the Spirit, by which enmity is subdued, and the heart conquered. Our Arminian brethren reject this distinction. “A