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minian notion of it, than if these events were subject to the disposal of Divine Providence, and the Will of man were de termined by circumstances which are ordered and disposed by Divine Wisdom ; as appears by what has been already observed. But it is evident, that such a providential dispose: ing and determining men's moral actions, though it infers a moral necessity of those actions, yet it does not in the least infringe the real liberty of mankind; the only liberty that common sense teaches to be necessary to moral agency, which, as has been demonstrated, is not inconsistent with such necessity.
On the whole, it is manifest, that God may be, in the manner which has been described, the Orderer and Disposer of that event, which, in the inherent subject and agent, is moral evil; and yet His so doing may be no moral evil. He. may will the disposal of such an event, and its coming to pass for good ends, and his Will not be an immoral or sinful Will, but a perfectly holy Will. And he may actually, in his Providence, so dispose and permit things, that the event may be certainly and infallibly connected with such disposal and permission, and his act therein not be an immoral or unholy, but a perfectly holy act. Sin may be an evil thing, and yet that, there should be such a disposal and permission, as that it should come to pass, may be a good thing. This is no contradiction or inconsistence. Joseph's brethren selling him into Egypt, consider it only as it was acted by them, and with respect to their views and aims which were evil, was a very bad thing; but it was a good thing, as it was an event of God's ordering, and considered with respect to his views and aims which were good. Gen. 1. 20. “ As for you, ye thought evil against me ; but God meant it unto good. So the crucifixion of Christ, if we consider only those things which belong to the event as it proceeded from his murderers, and are comprehended within the compass of the affair considered as their act, their principles, dispositions, views and aims ; so it was one of the most heinous things that ever was done, in many respects the most horrid of all acts : But consider it, as it was
willed and ordered of God, in the extent of his designs and views, it was the most admirable and glorious of all events, and God's willing the event, was the most holy volition of God that ever was made known to men'; and God's act in ordering it was a divine act, which, above all others, manifests the moral excellency of the Divine Being. . · The consideration of these things may help us to a sufficient answer to the cavils of Arminians, concerning what has been supposed by many Calvinists, of a distinction between a secret and revealed will of God, and their diversity one from the other, supposing that the Calvinists herein ascribe inconsistent Wills to the Most High; which is without any foundation. God's secret and revealed Will, or in other words, his dis-, posing and preceptive Will may be diverse, and exercised in dissimilar acts, the one in disapproving and opposing, the other in willing and determining, without any inconsistence. Because, although these dissimilar exercises of the Divine Will may, in some respects, relate to the same things, yet, in strictness, they have different and contrary objects, the one evil, and the other good. Thus, for instance, the crucifixion of Christ was a thing contrary to the revealed or preceptive Will of God, because, as it was viewed and done by his malignant murderers, it was a thing infinitely contrary to the holy nature of God, and so necessarily contrary to the holy inclination of his heart revealed in his law. Yet this does not at all hinder but that the crucifixion of Christ, considered with all those glorious consequences, which were within the view of the Divine Omniscience, might be indeed, and therefore might appear to God to be, a glorious event, and consequently be agreeable to his Will, though this Will may be secret, i. e. not revealed in God's law. And thus considered, the crucifixion of Christ was not evil, but good. If the secret exercises of God's Will were of a kind that is dissimilar, and contrary to his revealed Will, respecting the same, or like objects; if the objects of both were good, or both evil; then, indeed, to ascribe contrary kinds of volition or inclination to God, respecting these objects, would be to ascribe an inconVol V.
sistent will to God; but to ascribe to him different and opposite exercises of heart, respecting different objects, and objects contrary one to another, is so far from supposing God's Will to be inconsistent with itself, that it cannot be supposed consistent with itself any other way. For any being to have a Will of choice respecting good, and at the same iime a Will of rejection and refusal respecting evil, is to be very consistent ; but the contrary, viz. to have the same Will towards these contrary objects, and to choose and love both good and evil, at the same time, is to be very inconsistent.
There is no inconsistence in supposing, that God may hate a thing as it is in itself, and considered simply as evil, and yet that it may be his Will it should come to pass, considering all consequences. I believe, there is no person of good understanding, who will venture to say, he is certain that it is impossible it should be best, taking in the whole compass and extent of existence, and all consequences in the endless series of events, that there should be such a thing as moral evil in the world.* And if so, it will certainly follow,
* Here are worthy to be observed some passages of a late noted writer, of our nation, that nobody who is acquainted with him, will suspect to be very favorable to Calvinism. " It is difficult, (says he,) to handle the necessity of evil in such a manner, as not to stumble such as are not above being alarmed at propositions which have an uncommon sound. But if philosophers will but reflect calmly on the matter, they will find, that consistently with the unlimited power of the Supreme Cause, it may bè said, that in the best ordered system, evils must have place.” Turnbull's Principles of Moral Philosophy, p. 327, 328. He is there speaking of moral evils, as may be seen.
Again the same author, in his second vol. entitled Christian Philosophy, p. 35, has these words: “If the Author and Governor of all things be infinitely perfect, then whatever is, is right; of all possible systems he hath chosen the best ; and consequently, there is no absolute evil in the universe. This being the case, all the seeming imperfections or evils in it are such only in a partial view; and with respect to the whole system, they are goods."
Ibid, p. 37. "Whence then comes evil ? Is the question that hath, in all ages, been reckoned the Gordian knot in philosophy. And indeed, if we own the existence of evil in the world in an absolute sense, we diametrically contradict what hath been just now proved of God. For if there be any evil in the system that is not good in respect to the whole, then is the whole
that an infinitely wise Being, who always chooses what is best, must choose that there should be such a thing. And, if so, then such a choice is not an evil, but a wise and holy choice. And if so, then that Providence which is agrecable to such a choice, is a wise and holy Providence. Men do will sin as sin, and so are the authors and actors of it : They love it as sin, and for evil ends and purposes. God does not will sin as sin, or for the sake of any thing evil; though it be his pleasure so to order things, thai le permitiing, sin will come to pass, for the sake of the great good that by his disposal shall be the consequence. His willing to order things so that evil should come to pass, for the sake of the contrary good, is no argument that He does not hate evil, as evil ; and if so, then it is no reason why he may not reasonably forbid evil, as evil, and punish it as such.
· The Arminians themselves must be obliged, whether they will or no, to allow a distinction of God's Will, amounting lo just the same thing that Calvinists intend by their distinction
of a secret and revealed Will. They must allow a distinction · of those things which God thinks best should be, considering
not good, but evil, or at best, very imperfect ; and an author must be as his workmanship is : As is the effect, such is the cause. But the solution of this difficulty, is at hand: That there is no evil in the universe. What ! Are there no pains, no imperfections ? Is there no misery, no vice in the world ? Or are not these evils ? Evils indeed they are ; that is, those of one sort are hurtful, and those of the other sort are equally hurtful aud abom. inable ; but they are not evil or mischievous with respect to the whole.”
Ibid. p. 48. "But He is at the same time, said to create evil, darkness, confusion, and yet to do no evil, but to be the Autho: of good only. He is called " the Father of lights, the Author of every perfect and good gift, with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning," who “ tempta eth no man, but giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not." And yet by the prophet Isaias, He is introduced saying of Himself, “ I form light, and crcate darkness; I make peace, and create 'eyil : I the Lord, do all these things." What is the meaning, the plain language of all this, but that the Lord delighteth in goodness, and, as the Scripture speaks, evil is his strange work? He intends and pursues the universal good of his creation ; and the cvil which happens, is not permitted for its own sake, or through any please ure in evil, but because it is requisite to the greater good pursued."
all circumstances and consequences, and so are agreeable to his disposing Will, and those things which he loves, and are agreeable to his nature, in themselves considered. Who is there that will dare to say, that the hellish pride, malice and cruelty of devils are agreeable to God, and what He likes and approves ? And yet, I trust, there is no Christian divine but what will allow, that it is agreeable to God's Will so to order and dispose things concerning them, so to leave them to themselves, and give them up to their own wickedness, that this perfect wickedness should be a necessary consequence. Besure Dr. Whitby's words do plainly suppose and allow it.*
The following things may be laid down as maxims of plain truth, and indisputable evidence.
1. That God is a perfectly happy Being, in the most absolute and highest sense possible..
2. That it will follow from hence, that God is free from every thing that is contrary to happiness, and so, that in strict propriety of speech, there is no such thing as any pain, grief, or trouble in God.
3. When any intelligent being is really crossed and disappointed, and things are contrary to what he truly desires, he is the less pleased or has less pleasure, his pleasure and happiness is diminished, and he suffers what is disagreeable to him, or is the subject of something that is of a nature contrary to joy and happiness, even pain and grief.t .
From this last axiom, it follows, that if no disunction is to be admitted between God's hatred of sin, and his Will with respect to the event and the existence of sin, as the all-wise Determiner of all events, under the view of all consequen
* Whitby on the Five Points, Edit. 2, p. 300, 3052 399.
+ Certainly it is not less absurd and unreasonable, to talk of God's Will and desire's being truly and properly crossed, without his suffering any uneasiness, or any thing grievous or disagrceable, than it is to talk of something that may be called a revealed Will, which may, in some respect, be different from a secret purpose; which purpose may be fulfilled, when the other is, opposed,