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creature, physically capable of contemplating his perfections, of admiring his excellence, of rejoicing in his goodness, and of adoring at his footstool; without beholding in such a creature a tendency, were it possible, to dethrone him! Thus reducing the Most High-shocking imagination !--to the astonishing and monstrous alternative, of either eternally existing alone, without adoration, and without any subjects of moral government; or of having the subjection and services of none but those who are essentially prone to shake off his dominion !
This, to me, has the appearance of setting credibility at defiance, and of insulting reason. It is, however, a necessary consequence from the premises. For the hypothesis implies, that creating power, wisdom, and goodness, are no more capable of giving existence to a reasonable creature completely free from a tendency to become as wicked as the devil; than to produce an intelligence invested with the high attributes of self-dependence and all-sufficiency. Now the latter, it is admitted by all, is impossible ; because it involves a contradiction, and is absolutely inconceivable. Consequently, it is not an object of divine power. For we might as well talk of Omnipotence forming a square circle, or creating a part greater than the whole; as of any creature being self-sufficient, or existing independent of God. In him we live, and move, and have our being.–That only, however, which obliges us, either to admit the existence of any thing as necessary, or to deny its existence as impossible, is, because it would imply a contradiction to suppose the contrary. In other words, the
efficiency of Omnipotence can have no other limits than a contradiction in terms, or a self-destructive conception.
But where is the inconsistency of maintaining, for instance, that all the moral tendencies of Gabriel's whole nature are completely virtuous; while readily admitting, that, physically considered, he has a tendency to non-existence? Nay, the Doctor's own reasoning seems implicitly to admit this consistency. For though he consider the perpetual agency of God as perfectly able completely to preserve the inhabitants of heaven from being overcome by their tendency to revolt; yet, I presuine he will not assert, that the Almighty is able to endue them with independency, and self-sufficiency; because these are manifestly peculiar to Deity. Surely, then, the Doctor must admit, that there is a great and evident difference between the two cases. Nay, there is reason for strong suspicion, that any hypothesis which represents the Most Holy as giving existence to a vast system of intelligences, every one of whom, from the first moment of his being, could not but have a tendency to renounce the dominion of his Creator, and to hate him for ever; is inconsistent with the Divine Character, implicit blasphemy against supreme perfection, and a libel on all the heavenly inhabitants.
5. On the principle opposed, it may be justly doubted, whether our Lord, by his death, could have expiated a single offence. For as it is indisputable that the humanity of Jesus is a creature; and as, according to the Doctor's hypothesis, that humanity must have had a tendency to moral evil
to rebel-to hate God; so it seems hard to conceive, how the offering up of himself a propitiatory sacrifice, should make an all-sufficient atonement for our sins.
-Evangelists and apostles represent the humanity of Christ, as A HOLY THING-as WITHOUT SIN-as SEPARATE FROM SINNERS; and lead us to conclude, that a perfect freedom from every immoral tendency in his own person, was essentially necessary to his character and work, as our Mediator. Are we obliged, then, either to deny, that there is any degree of moral evil in a tendency to damnable guilt, and to diabolical depravity, or to maintain, that a tendency to rebel against the divine dominion, and to hate infinite excellence, is inseparably attached to the humanity of Christ? I cannot believe it.
On the principle rejected, our Lord could not have been a man, he could not have had a dependent and rational nature of any denomination, without a tendency to moral evil of the deepest dye. For, admitting the disputed principle, neither Adam, nor Satan, before their apostasy, had any more tendency to moral defection-revolt-rebellion—than the humanity of Jesus HAD-HAS-and musT FOR EVER HAVE. Here, then, we are led to contemplate our Lord, in his complex person, at the head of all the redeemed millions in the ultimate glory; while, nevertheless, we are compelled, on this degrading hypothesis, to view his glorified humanity, together with every member of his mystical body, and all the angels of light, as having an everlasting tendency to revolt from God, and to become his enemies. For the Doctor himself allows, that they have the principle, or tendency so to do; but represents its in
fluence as under control,' and as counteracted by sovereign favour." The lion, indeed, is chained; but he is a lion still, existing in his vigour, and in all his malignity. The strong hand of God may coerce him, in the humanity of Christ, in the person of Gabriel, and in all the celestial inhabitants : but he defies Omnipotence either to change his nature, or to abate his malignity: and it is absolutely impossible, either to destroy his life, or to banish him from heaven, without entirely depopulating those blissful regions.
Now though Dr. Williams does not expressly mention, in this extraordinary connection, the humanity of our Lord, yet the principle for which he contends manifestly includes it. But is it possible that either sound reason or sacred scripture should authorise the sentiment? I think not; and am ready to adopt the old saying, Credat Judæus apella; for it seems to be the ne plus ultra of theological paradox.--Never before did I hear of an immortal tendency to wickedness and ruin existing in every beatified creature inhabiting the celestial mansions
a principle, or tendency, that must be controlled, and its detestable influence, even in the ultimate glory, 'counteracted by sovereign favour;' or universal would be the revolt and ruin!
6. I have been used to conclude, without hesitation, that in whomsoever there is a tendency to disobedience, there is reason, on that account, for shame, compunction, and sorrowful confession before God. But though, on the contested principle, there is not a single subject of God's moral government that is free from the abhorred tendency in question; yet, not an individual among all the millions of heavenly inhabitants, either has, or ever can have, any more cause for shame or sorrow on account of his having a perpetual tendency to rebel, and to hate God; than he has for not being invested with the essential attributes of Deity.
* See his Sermon, p. 41, 43.
7. Paul mentions and mourns over a detestable evil, which he denominates the law of sin and death; .by which he evidently means, an innate tendency to actual transgression and final ruin. But it is equally evident, that he leads us to consider this malignant propensity, not as, of necessity, belonging to a reasonable creature; but as an effect of our first father's disobedience, in eating the forbidden fruit. On that very singular hypothesis, however, which is here opposed, there was a law of death prior to this ; a law, which is to be considered, not as the consequence, but as the cause, of both angelic and human apostasy-a law, which is old as created intelligence -which is not only coeval with rational creatures, but permanent, in its power and operation, as their existence. For the creation of a reasonable being, is giving existence to this law: nor can it be repealed, or its opposition to holiness and happiness be destroyed, by Omnipotence itself, except by annihilating the whole moral system. No; were this law of sin totally abolished, every subject of the Creator's moral
government must be blotted out of existence. So that though the apostle Paul rejoiced in hope of complete deliverance from that malignant innate tendency, of which he so bitterly complained ; and though we cannot doubt of his immortal soul being