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society. But to take from him even the amount of a shilling, or a day's liberty, on such an account, without his previous voluntary engagement, would be injustice or indiscriminate revenge,' as really, though not in the same degree, as if he were put to death : and it would be extremely difficult to a casuist in such cases to draw the line ; and, supposing a previous engagement, to shew exactly where justice ended and indiscriminate revenge began.
We suppose Christ to have been a divine person, “ God manifest in the flesh ;” and that he voluntarily engaged to magnify the law, and satisfy divine justice, in the stead and for the sake of his people, fully knowing the whole case. Having in our nature been perfectly obedient to the law, and not having forfeited his life by one failure; he had in all respects that right to dispose of it as he pleased, which no other man ever had or can have. The ends of the divine government were completely answered by his death upon the cross : and he most freely laid down his life for us, having
power to take it again,” in order by his temporal sufferings to save an innumerable multitude from eternal misery, to the everlasting glory of God. In the fulfilment of this plan, what injustice was done ? Indeed the charge is wholly grounded on the false supposition, that Christ was substituted in our place without his own free consent.2
After all, Mr. P.'s objections principally arise, (as every other person's do) from this doctrine's representing man as an outlaw, an outcast, a beggar,
John x. 18. Heb. ii. 14.
· P. i. p. 24, 25.
a mumper, &c.' He should have said at once, a hell-deserving sinner. No man will ever cordially acquiesce in the doctrine, with a proper view of it, till he come in that character for salvation. Then, “ receiving the reconciliation,” his life will neither be 'spent in grief,' nor the affectation of it:' but he will “ rejoice in Christ Jesus," and both relish the comforts, and be supported under the trials of life, far better than any other person. That doctrine, which to unbelievers appears go gloomy, will brighten every prospect, and fill his heart with joy and hope, and his tongue with thankful praises. That' opaque cloud,' which Mr. P. says the ' per'son of Christ places between the understanding and the deity," I appears to the believer a glorious display of the divine perfections, in a manner and through a medium suited to his feeble conceptions, and relieving to his guilty conscience : so that “beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,'' (in the face or person of Christ,) “ he is changed “ into the same image from glory to glory, by the “ Spirit of the Lord." 2
Others of us, as well as Mr. P., have had child‘ish thoughts' of redemption ;3 but “when we “ became men we put away childish things : ' while he retains and retails them as highly reasonable!
· The Christian mythology,' he says, ' has five deities : there is God the Father, God, the Son, ' and God the Holy Ghost ; the god providence,
and the goddess nature !' Surely Mr. P. knew that Christians consider the Father, the Son, and
P.i. p. 31.
12 Cor. ii. 17, 18. iv. 1-6.
· P. i. p. 44.
the Holy Ghost, as one God: and providence as the superintending care of God over all his creatures. As for Nature, she, like Fortune, is the Deist's goddess : the Bible says nothing about her agency, nor do any of those who “speak according
to the oracles of God."
Mr. P. is little acquainted with serious Christians : but I believe I may answer for most of them, that they bestow pains, as soon as their children become capable of instruction, in teaching them the doctrine of redemption by the death of Christ, as revealed in the holy scriptures : and, if men called Christians teach their children only 'morals,' and not the principles of the gospel,' they grievously misunderstand the Bible, and neglect their duty.
I have no objection to Mr. P.'s astronomy, or his opinion concerning a plurality of worlds, considered abstractedly. If these worlds be inhabited by rational creatures, (which however probable is merely a conjecture,) either the inhabitants are sinners or they are not. If they be not sinners, they do not want a Saviour: but, provided the way of man's salvation be made known to them, it may vastly enlarge their views of the Creator's harmonious perfections, and increase their admiring love and pure felicity. And it signifies not how mean or small the stage was, on which this glorious scene was exhibited, provided the whole obedient creation of God derive advantage from it, and render him eternal praises and adoration. If the supposed inhabitants of any of these worlds be sinners, we are sure that the Lord will not do them injustice: we do not say that it is impossible for him to devise some other way of reconciling infinite justice with the exercise of mercy; though we cannot conceive how it can be done: and who can tell whether God has been pleased to provide salvation or redemption for them or not? All reasoning on such grounds is“ intruding into things not seen,' by men who are “ vainly puffed up with a fleshly “ mind."1 But for a philosopher, in this Age of Reason, 'to suppose that the infinite God must “have left the care of all worlds, when he came to
save one,' is so gross an idea, that one cannot but stand amazed at it! We pretend not to comprehend the Deity; we allow that, “without contro
versy, great is the mystery of godliness, God “ manifest in the flesh : but the attributes of omnipresence and omnipotence must be inseparable from the Godhead: these absolutely exclude such notions as Mr. P. has started; which I am persuaded scarcely ever enter the mind of the most unlettered Christian ; or, if they do, they are rejected as gross absurdities or diabolical suggesCHAPTER VII.
I Col. ii. 18.
?P. i. p. 63.
THE INSUFFICIENCY OF DEISM.
Mr. P. enlarges on the sufficiency of Deism, and evidently considers this as his principal argument against the scriptures. The creation is the only ' word of God, and natural philosophy the only
preaching.' It is certain, however, that numbers do not so much as believe there is a God, or that he created and governs the world: so that this ' word of God,' and this 'preaching,' are not universally intelligible and convincing.
“ The invisible things of God are,” indeed,
clearly seen from the creation of the world, being “ understood by the things that are made, even “ his eternal power and Godhead;" so that atheists and idolaters “are without excuse:" yet it is evident that men have almost as much neglected, misinterpreted, or differed about this revelation, as that contained in the holy scriptures. Only a very small proportion of the human race have gathered so much as deism from it: and the deists, who profess to believe in one God of infinite perfection, almost universally spring up in places where the Bible is known. They borrow, or steal, or imperceptibly to themselves acquire at second hand, their glimmering light, from the very book against which they oppose it; and in different circumstances they might have been atheists or