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course, in God. And we may safely trust, that all the qualities which the Holy Scriptures attribute to him, are united in such a manner as to be one Perfect, Eternal, Infinite Being: his power is always exerted in goodness, righteousness, truth and love. And while his knowledge extends to all events, and to vast Infinity, his wisdom has devised the beginning, the operation, and final issue of all things in mercy, justice and all his Heavenly qualities. Here we have a view of him as lovely, and a God in whom we may safely trust.
Now, it is well known that the Calvinistic System amounts to the following:
That God chose a certain, or definite number of mankind, in Christ, before the foundation of the world, unto eternal life. And that in hit men time he calls, renews, and sanctifies, and prepares them for eternal glory, without any regard to their faith or obedience. Thai he was pleased to pass by, and ordain the rest of mankind to wrath (eternal misery) for their sins to the praise of his vindictive, or revengeful justice.
This system acknowledges God to be infinite in knowledge, and that all events were of course, always present with him; and that God is infinite in power, and can dispose of all things as he pleases; but it is as certainly in direct opposition to the idea of infinite goodness and love, as it is certain that goodness and love in any being, causes that being to desire the happiness of others. So now let me ask, what is goodness? Answer, Goodness is a quality which induces him who possesseth it to desire the happiness of others. It is an inclination to bestow in such a manner as to make comfortable. Now we will look into the Bible and see if this definition is not correct. Psalm Lxv, 4, on to 13, "We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, of thy holy temple. Terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation, the confidence of all the ends of the earth. Thou makest the
outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice. Thou visitest the earth and waterest it. Thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, is full of water: Thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: Thou settlest the furrows thereof. Thou makest it soft with showers: Thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy paths drop fatness. They drop the pastures of the wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks: The valleys also are covered over with corn: They shout for joy, they also sing."
Here is a declaration that while God crowns the year with his goodness, it is poured forth in such tokens of love as to cause the little hills, the pastures and the valleys to rejoice, shout and sing on every side; and the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice likewise. Look once more; 2 Chronicles Vi, 41, "Let thy priests, O Lord God, be clothed with Salvation, and let thy Saints rejoice in goodness." Isaiah Lxiii, 7, "I will mention the loving kindness of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord lath bestowed upon us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them, according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses."
Hence, it is plainly seen that goodness is ac cording to lovingkindness and mercy; from which it is also clearly seen, (if we had never known before,) what goodness is.
Now, compare this, with that doctrine which says: That God who is infinite in goodness has brought millions of intelligent beings into existence without their choice or consent; while he perfectly knew what would be the eternal state of every one of them; for no other purpose (at least as it relates to them) only that their existence
might be the greatest possible eternal curse to them.
This system says, that God is not infinite in love and goodness; and if the wisdom of God is, as St. James saith, Chap, 111, 17, "Easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." This system also denies the wisdom of God.
Of course, we see that it is utterly certain, if our God is infinite in Power, Knowledge, Wisdom and Goodness, (as all christians allow,) Calvinism is a false doctrine.
Let us now look at the second grand division of present Christendom, called Free-will doctrine, or Arminianism : the contents of which are the following:
That God has not fixed the eternal state of any man by an unalterable decree. But as all have sinned ; And as it was contrary to the will of God that man should sin in the first place, and always hath been since ; so it always hath been, and is now, his will and desire that all men should repent of their sins and turn to him.
And that he has so loved the whole world of mankind, that he gave his son to die for them all; and that he is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. But that in doing this, he has not secured the eternal salvation of any man : but has only opened a way, by making atonement to God for them all, to that any man, or all men, are at the freedom of $ their will, to repent of their sins by turning to God, and that all who do so, while mortal life continues, God, (through what Christ hath done,) can, consistently with himself, forgive their sins, and give them eternal life. But that those who will not, and do not thus repent before death overtakes them, it will then be too late, and they of course will be eternally miserable.
This is well known to be the amount of the Free-will system. And how does it comport with
the attributes of God? I should think it might readily be seen, that as Calvinism denies that God's goodness is infinite; so this system denies that his power and wisdom are infinite.
This system says, that God always did, and does now will, and seek the eternal happiness of all his creatures. This looks very reasonable; it perfectly agrees with the idea that he is infinite in love and goodness. And as infinite love and goodness cannot fail to love, and seek the happiness of all, so infinite wisdom is equally certain to devise means to carry the object of love and goodness into effect. And infinite power cannot be wanting of ability to perform what love desires and wisdom devises.
Hence, we may see that there is no wicked device of man for his eternal ruin, (supposing man was disposed to seek his own eternal ruin,) but what God knows how to defeat, and has power to defeat, and that his infinite love and mercy moves him thereto.
But the Arminian objects to this in the language of Emmanuel Swedenborg, "That if the sinner die in his sins, there is no plan, or way of access to the soul after the death of the body, for the spirit of truth ever to reach him." To which I answer, That neither Emmanuel Swedenborg, nor any other man ever saw the depths of infinite wisdom. And I praise God in my heart, that he knows how to use means for the recovery of lost sinners, beyond what men with all their wisdom can devise. And well did the Apostle quote the words of Eliphas. Job V, 13, "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." 1st Cor. III, 19, 20, and again," the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain." But as to the wisdom or understanding of God, hear the words of truth, Job Xii, 13, "With him wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding." PSALM, CXLVII, 5, "His understanding is infinite." Prov. Xxi, 30,
*No wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord." No doubt the meaning is, that there is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel, that can prevail against the counsel of God. As he saith by the Prophet, Isaiah Xlvi, 10, "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." Again, Isaiah Xl, 20, "The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary, no searching of his understanding;" and let the words of St. Paul close the present quotation. ROM, Xi, 33, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable his judgments, and his ways past finding out."
My Arminian brother, wilt thou not be convinced that God has wisdom sufficient to devise means that shall ultimately be effectual to the recovery of all to whom his goodness extends? but if thou still hast a doubt whether he is able to perform what his love desires and his wisdom devises, I hope thou wilt believe the following Scripture, Gen. XVII, 1, "I the Almighty God." Gen. Xxxv, 11, I God Almighty." Gen. XLVIII, 3, "And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz." 2. Cor. Vi, 18, And ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." And if any more is needful to show that God is Almighty, read Rev. Iv, 8; xv, 3; xvi, 14; xix, 15; xxi, 22: Job Xxv, 15; Xxii, 25 and 26: Psalm Xci, 1. Again, see Gen. XVIII,14, "Is any thing too hard for God?" Jer. Xxxii, 17, "Ah, Lord God! behold thou hast made the Heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm; there is no thing too hard for thee." Luke I, 37,""For with God nothing shall be impossible." Matt, Xix, 26, "But with God all things are possible." MARK "And he said, Abba, Father, all things XIV, 36. possible unto thee." St. Paul's words shall close this quotation, also: Ep , m, 20, Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or think."