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his creatures which is alone in himself, as it is possible for them to receive. In this extended view of the subject the maxims of Bolingbroke and Warburton, versified by Pope, are true :
And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right. But confined to this present globe these sentiments are not true, and afforded fair ground for the ridicule which was poured upon them by Voltaire, in his tale of Candide. It is true, however, that the amount of evil, sin, misery, and suffering, which forms so large a majority of the present scene, will be found, at the time of the denouement of the great drama, to have been the smallest which was possible, in order to effect the great object of the manifestation of Himself. A metaphysical subtilty has been mooted by the question, Whether the willingness to communicate of the blessedness, or the manifestation of his own being in order that he may be worshipped aright by the whole of his creatures, ought to be placed as the first idea in the Divine Mind. Now, there is a self-evident fallacy in applying the term “first ” to any operation of the Divine Mind; and also in supposing that one quality can have a preponderance over others; the term “holiness,” in the abstract, seeming to imply the complete harmony of the whole of God's moral attributes, as the term “ glory seems to express the effect of the manifestation of that harmony upon the intelligent creature. Love is an attribute as necessary to be manifested as any other, but it would involve a contradiction to assert that it were more necessary than any other. Again: it is probable that the whole circle of moral attributes, though appearing to be composed of many to our senses, does not, in fact, consist of divers attributes existing in harmony with each other ; but is one, and existing only in unity. But into this question it is not our present purpose to enter. No one, observes Dr. Gooch on Mania, can have read the Bible, even in the most cursory manner, without perceiving that the number of human beings declared to be saved is considerably smaller than that declared to be lost. This learned physician might have advanced much further, and have shewn, that, upon every scheme which admits of future rewards and punishments for offences comunitted in this life, more must meet with condemnation than with praise. So that the evidence of our senses plainly declares, that which accurate reasoning must determine in like manner-namely, that the suffering of the creature is compatible with the happiness, and with the exhibition of love in the Creator : whence it follows, that as the infliction of pain is the contrary of an exercise of love, the suffering of the creature must be to shew forth some other attribute, commensurate with, although not necessarily opposed to, that of love. Some Deists have felt the force of this so strongly, as to have
found themselves compelled to draw a distinction between those sufferings which are endured in this life, and those which are declared to be eternal. But it is clear that this is only a question of degree, and that the principle remains untouched.
One of the most ordinary mistakes into which persons run who are called, and who call themselves, Calvinists, and who have neither very accurate nor very enlarged minds, is to represent the eternal perdition of sinners as the result of a special decree of God.' The essential properties of God cannot be annihilated nor transferred. Creatures have essential properties
The error of the most refined heathenism was Pantheism; that is, transfusing the Deity though his creatures, so
as to make confusion of the essential properties of the two.
Deum namque ire per omnes
Quemque sibi tenues nascentem arcessere vitas." Virg. G.iv. 221.
With breath are quickened, and attract their souls."
Principio cælum, ac terras, camposque liquentes,
Virg. Æn. vi. 724.
And flowing waters, and the starry flame,
And every soul is filled with equal flame. Neither let it be imagined that Pantheism is confined to the heathen. It is the doctrine of Bolingbroke, Bishop Warburton, and Pope, as appears in the following lines by the latter; and, indeed, of most naturally pious men.
“ All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.
That God may be known as He is, it is necessary to manifest that he is not that which the most learned of the heathen thought and declared that he was. In like manner, every delusion of Satan, whether put forth through the learned heathen, or through philosophers under the Christian dispensation, must be shewn out to be false. To make a declaration of its falsehood does not suffice: the declaration is forgotten, or disbelieved ; it must be manifested : and the manifestation of a truth cannot take place until the manifestation of every form of error has been made previously. Moreover, the manifestation must be continuous, and cannot, from the very nature of the thing to be declared by it, ever cease to be : that is, the manifestation must be eternal, the two contrasts composing the states commonly termed heaven, or hell. Now if hell can cease to be eternal, so can heaven; nay, so must heaven, for the one is the correlative of the other. Whence it comes to pass, that Truth is, and always must be until the manifestation takes place, an object of faith; whilst error is an object of sense : and hence the conflict which arises in every one who is possessed of the Spirit of Truth, and who lives in a world under the dominion of sensible error. It is an aphorism of the highest importance in the deeper branches of theology, that no positive can be set forth but by its negative.
The destruction and misery of the sinner does not result from an arbitrary decree of God ordaining a certain insulated consequence which might have been ordained otherwise; but it results from the essential and inalienable properties of the Creator and creature; not in those relationships only, but in the relationship of Sovereign and subject also. It is not the result of an arbitrary decree by which this paper on being put into the fire is burnt, but the result of the separate essential properties of paper and flame causing the destruction of the former when brought into contact with the latter.
In this ex ample, however, the mutual action of these bodies upon each other might be suspended by a fiat of Omnipotence, and no attribute of God violated : it would be a mere exhibition of power, and nothing more. But if the destruction and misery of the sinner were not to result from his sinful nature, if a fiat could be supposed to go forth ordering that he should be happy notwithstanding his sin, then a violation of the essential attributes of God's Being must take place : happiness would not be seen to reside only in Himself, and in the holiness of his nature; happiness would be seen to be consistent with unholiness-or, in other words, with the opposite of, and antagonist to, God --which is an absurdity: therefore the supposition involves an impossibility ; therefore the supposition is false.
In this resides the whole necessity for, and mercy in, giving a revelation; which is a declaration to the intelligent, and therefore responsible, creatures concerning the essential properties of God, and the essential properties of creature.
Hereby the creature is informed of its tendency, when left to itself, to set up for itself, to assume independency, to seek happiness and Jife from some created thing. It is instructed by revelation that this pursuit is vain; that the first man was placed in circumstances far more calculated to justify such expectation than any of his descendants ; that he failed ; incurred God's displeasure, in which all those dependent upon him were involved; that return to the favour of God, the only source of bliss, is impossible by mere man-power; and that therefore God, out of love to man, has provided a scheme by which that return may be effected. The reasonableness of this, all men are endued with the faculty of being able to discern. They have the will to choose that which they like best: they all declare that their will is free; and they all deliberately reject the remedy provided by God. In the circumstances revealed to the creature, his duty is to submit to the teaching of God: and the book written by God's direction informs him that He gives his Spirit to them that ask him; gives them to believe and rely upon what he says; for that they can possess no one good quality, not even the capacity of believing God, except that capacity be conferred by God.
Beyond, but yet connected with this, is a further revelation made, touching the mode of the subsistence of Deity; or, at least, an existence of the Godhead in such a form as renders it perfectly adapted to the method of recovery which has been revealed to, as appointed for, the creature. This mode of subsistence consists in the eternally, essential invisibility, and incomprehensibility of the infinite God by created, consequently finite, things : that, however, there existed a possibility, by reason of a distinct but not separate personality in the Divine Essence, of one of those Persons so taking a creature into union with himself as that that compound being, Creator and creature, of two distinct natures, should become one person in two natures for ever. In this Person the Deity is made visible. But, having brought himself into the limitations of creatureship, which involve limitations in place and time and condition; and the body which manifests him being at this time removed from the sensible presence of men; it is further revealed, that there is another personality in the Divine Essence, which, coinciding with the design of the other Two for the redemption of mankind, enters into some of the children of men; engenders in their hearts an indestructible principle of eternal life; leads them to Jesus Christ, as the functionary by whose work this benefit has been procured for them; teaches them to trust to his guidance; and enables them to rely upon his power and readiness to conduct them by unseen agency through the whole course of this present life, notwithstanding all visible things seem against the possibility of his doing so; and to hope for the possession of that future bliss, which they are promised they shall attain unto by these means.
Thus the revelation of a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead is not, as ignorant people teach, an insulated, incomprehensible assertion that one is three, and three is one, which, doing a violence to all reason and laws of language, we are required to believe, upon the penalty for not doing so of eternal damnation ; but a most blessed truth declared for our consolation and encouragement; shewing, that, in consequence of such a mode of subsistence, a way of salvation was practicable, and has been effected, without breaking in upon any of the essential and necessary attributes of the Creator, which, without such mode of subsistence, would have been impracticable, as all rightly directed reason must perceive. We have also the evidence, that all men, who have possessed the ability to enter into a full examination of the subject, and who have denied the Trinity, have denied likewise the vicarious sacrifice : in which they have been perfectly consistent, and have only fairly and honestly followed out to their legitimate conclusion the consequences flowing from their premises.
This leads to the reflection, which we earnestly wish the Evangelical world would lay seriously to heart, and give due consideration to,—that all who believe in, and preach, a qualified salvation—that is, a salvation limited by any one prerequisite in the object, be it small or great-are Socinians; although they have never argued out their own views to see where their scheme would necessarily lead them.
The principles which we have now set forth are referred to in greater proportion in the Epistle to the Hebrews than in any other portion of the book of God of the same length. The subject, which the inspired penman is directed to handle, leads him to touch upon the appointment of the Son by the Father to the inheritance of all creation, and the arranging of the dispensations accordingly; a description of the Son's person, and work for the putting away of sin; his present situation at the right hand of the Father; and the purposes to be accomplished during his absence from the earth, and after his future advent to it. It is this Epistle which Mr. Vaughan uses as the text or basis upon which his Essays are a kind of running commentary, furnished by parallel passages from the word of God itself; which. have, unfortunately, been abruptly terminated at the end of 430 small duodecimo pages.
There is one peculiarity about the writings of Mr. Vaughan