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folly and madress to talk of what God might or might not have done, where He has not been pleased to reveal his will. Secret things belong unto the Lord; things revealed belong to us.

But in stating, as simple matter of fact, that God has made the actual existence of sin, an occasion for wondrous and glorious revelations of His own character, and for the increase of moral influences, which shall issue in lasting and most blissful results, we are not to be understood as affirming, that sin, the greatest evil, is the necessary means of sescuring the greatest good. We are utterly incompetent to such a judgment. In a few words then, God's goodness cannot be impeached, in allowing a creature, with knowledge sufficient to direct it, and power sufficient to act, and motives sufficient to deter from evil, to take its own course. To have imposed restraints, other than those of a moral nature, would have been to destroy its moral agency. If, without His positive agency to bring about such a result, the creature chooses to do what He forbids, and declares shall prove disastrous and ruinous, there can be no impeachment of His character. His benevolence does not bind Him to destroy the creature's moral agency, or even to incrcase the motives to obedience, for they are already sufficient. If, notwithstanding the creature's actual rebellion, He is pleased to recover and establish it in willing, and blissful, and grateful subjection to His sway, and to secure this result, pours forth the richest and most inconceivable floods of His own glorious grace and benevolence, we should adore and wonder. It is vanity, and may prove the death eternal, to attempt, as with omniscient eye, to search as to what IIe could or could not have done.

Having thus vindicated the character of God, from any moral impurity of purpose, in so far as He may have permitted sin, and shown that the permitting of sin does not in

the least impeach His benevolence, it will by no means be difficult to vindicate whatever other agency He may have in it. That agency consists in His sustaining power or cooperation, to use the very strongest term, with man in those acts of his mind, and feelings of his heart, and outward deeds, which constitute sin. By this, we mean, that continuous exercise of divine power, which is necessary for sustaining, supporting and strengthening the human mind, i. e. for preserving the faculties or powers of the creature, which constitute it a moral and responsible agent, and qualify it as well for rebellion, as for obedience. We do not believe that moral responsibilities press on those that have been born idiots or insane. God has seen fit to withhold that agency of His, which in its full extent, as vouchsafed to the sons of men, contributes to the development and exercise of the different moral powers, which characterize men as rational, and constitute them accountable creatures. Does His exerting and continuing that agency, according to established laws in the support of the rational mind, i. e. in preserving to it, its characteristic properties which constitute it a moral agent, -necessarily imply any moral'turpitude on his part, even though that mind should exert itself in acts that are sinful? If this position be maintained, results will follow that cannot fail to startle even him who advocates it.

The father watches, with anxious eye, and breaking heart, his untoward child, and though his whole conduct is but one tissue of ingratitude, rebellion and crime, yet does he, in the exercise of his benignity and compassion, contribute from his bounteous hand, towards his support. In some sense he co-operates with his depraved child. But is the father on this account guilty? Does any moral turpitude attach to him, for extending that care and bounty, which, of right devolves on him towards the child, whom God has made dependent on him? The guilt and ingratitude of the child, can never destroy the relation which has been constitúted by the great Creator between it and its parent. That parent is a monster, who makes the guilty conduct of his child a pretence or an excuse for utterly deserting him. And shall we then think, that moral turpitude attaches to the divine Being, because He continues to support and invigorate the powers of his rebellious and ungrateful creature, whom He has made dependent on Himself? Is God under obligation—is it necessary for His moral purity-instantly to withdraw His support and providential agency from His creatures when they sin? Then will it follow that the instant a creature sins, it must be annihilated; for its continuance in being depends on the divine power and providence, and does but contribute to the perpetuation of its guilt.

It will be admitted, that the agency and co-operation of God would have been proper and requisite had man continued in a state of innocence and virtue. The preserving and supporting power of God, according to the law by which he ordained at first, that that agency should be exerted, would have been rightfully exercised. How then comes it that God is under obligations instantly to withdraw that agency, when the creature rebels? Do the guilt and ingratitude of the creature, destroy its natural dependence on the Being that created it? The truth is, that this allegation, against which we contend, if it proves any thing, proves too much. The Lord has unquestionably, by His power and providence, upheld the world for thousands of years, and yet during all that time, it has been the great theatre of crime. Sin has reigned and triumphed over the successive generations of men, that have sprung up on it, and has reared innumerable memorials of its sway. One mighty tyrant after another, has appeared and flourished as actor on the stage, and his track has been marked with xtar, and rapine, and blood. Sword, famine and pestilence have followed in his train, and every hateful crime has stood like chosen attendants near his throne. And yet it is said that God raised him up. Of Pharoah there can be no dispute; nor of Nebuchadnezzar; nor of Cyrus and others. Yet no one presumes to impeach the purity of the divine character, because of that agency, which the divine providence may have had, in the preservation of corrupt and tyrannical despots. We ask why not, if the objection is of force? Whether is the agency of God's providence, in the support of the world, and of the huge monsters of crime, that have enslaved and tyrannized over it, any less liable to remark, than that which is ordinarily exerted in the sustentation of the sinner's mind?

Whatever view, therefore, we take of the divine agency so far as it is concerned in the production of sin, whether in the permitting of it, or in the exercise of forbearance towards the sinner, or in the preserving in being and continuing in wonted vigour, the powers of the moral being, no taint, nor the least imputation of moral turpitude can attach to God. Whence then it may be inquired originates human depravity? If God cannot be pronounced the author of sin, how comes it into being? An answer to this ques. tion, will require that we advert to the history, and general principles or constitution, of that goờernment which God exercises over men,

CHAPTER XV.

THE ORIGINAL OF HUMAN DEPRAVITY.

No historical information as to the origin of sin in other worlds—The history

of it in this-Its immediate effects on the character of our first parentsThe entire change it effected–That change did not affect the general agency of God, nor the physical nature of our first parents—The influence of this change on successive generations- Various opinions as to the origin of human depravity-Inquiry as to what original sin consists inThe phrase a very vague one-Several inquiries started—Sin cannot be predicated of being merely-Necessary to pay particular attention to the general characteristics of the creature, in order rightly to estimate the character of the holiness attributed to it—Holiness has respect to the exercises of the will-Whether there is any inherent cause of sinful actions in the soul-Dr. Owen's views-Boston's-Calvin's–Vink's-If created nature or existence be sinful, then is God the author of sin—No physical property lost or acquired by Adam's sin—No physical defect or efficient principle of physical being produced by it—But it rendered holy exercises in him morally impossible--Physical depravity renders sin necessaryDreadful practical results of such a doctrine—To the will of the sinner is to be assigned the immediate cause of sinful actions-Quotation from Dr. Owen-Inquiry as to the prime origin of sinful actions-Whether the legal or natural results of Adam's sin—The difference between a law, a covenant, and a constitution—The death and corruption of Adam's progeny, results of the divine constitution, ordained for the moral government of the human family-Certain plain facts, which cannot be deniedFolly and sin of objecting to the divine constitution—The law of development to be traced in every department of life--Applicable to our moral nature.

Of the introduction of sin into other worlds, we have no knowledge-no historical data whatever—nothing to conduct inquiry; and it would, therefore, be foolish to attempt it. Of its entrance into this, however, we have both

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