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creatures, unless he can by this advance the good of the whole."
From the following quotation we learn what his sentiments were on a very controverted subject.
of other systems of being, to give them more striking impressions of the governing justice, wisdom, and holiness of God, and more effectually to guard them against every tendency to vice, and secure their inviolable attachment to virtue. And even sin itself, though in its native tendency and the design of the agent, it be a malignant and destructive evil, yet may be, and in fact has been overruled, as an occasion of the more various and glorious display of the perfect purity, justice, and even benevolence of God; it has, under the administration of infinite wisdom, given occasion to the plan of redemption, and to all those astonishing manifestations of divine mercy, patience, long suffering, and of rich, triumphant grace, which are shown to our rebellious world. And as for the misery of incorrigible sinners hereafter, we may be assured it will be no greater than their own demerit, and the general order and happiness of the universe require."
"The will of God, with regard to the manifestations of it to us, or our finite conceptions of it, is distinguished into two branches; viz. his secret, and his revealed will. His secret will means the same thing with his eternal counsels, whereby he laid the plan of all future e vents from everlasting, in a most wise, free, absolutely immutable and infallible manner; so that those things which seem to us the effects of natural causes, or merely casual and contingent events, are entirely subservient to the secret purposes of the infinite, eternal mind, and are so many instruments of fulfilling his pleasure." Af ter quoting the passage, in which God says; My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure, he thus proceeds; "Even those various, unstable and free volitions and movements of the human mind and will, which seem to come under no government or restraint but that of itself, are yet most exactly ordered and overruled by God to accomplish the purposes of his own will. And herein, as an excellent writer observes, we may observe the profound and unsearchable wisdom, power and purity of God; that while man worketh freely, yet therein and thereby God worketh powerfully; and while man worketh sinfully, God
That passage in Ezekiel, As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, he thus explains; "God has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, in itself considered. It is no pleasure to him to punish, merely for the sake of making or seeing his creatures miserable. It does not gratify his nature to inflict pain; and he never does it, but to answer some great and benevolent purpose. It is not the nature of God to measure out pain to his
our duty, and the purpose of
worketh purely and justly. The
II. The natural character and state of mankind.
"The love of Christ was exercised towards objects, which had nothing in them to attract love, but every thing to provoke hatred; for his love to his people originally respected them, as rebellious sinners, creatures in ruins, ruined by their own guilt; creatures who had stripped themselves of moral beauty, and become wholly unlike and contrary to their Maker, and consequently had no disposition to love the Lover, or, so much as to accept of his free mercy."-"The love of Christ stooped, in some respects, to the very depths of hell, into which sinners had fallen in the temper of their hearts, the desert of their crimes, and the sentence of a broken law."
Speaking of sinners, who are given up to strong delusion, to believe a lie, he says; " On the preaching of christianity, the evidence of the truth soon overpowered their assent; but the pure, selfdenying, spiritual nature and tendency of its doctrines and precepts, being contrary to all their dearest lusts and interests, soon produced. in their hearts a secret dislike, and by degrees a direct open
hatred of those truths, as the great enemies and disturbers of their idol lusts and pleasures. And this is an exact description of thousands in every age. Their understanding is compelled to believe such and such doctrines to be true; but their wills and affections rise up with fury against them, as severe and disagreeable to their prevailing taste, They do not like the pure, humble, lowly, benevolent, forgiving spirit, which the gospel requires. Hence they reject these rigid doctrines and laws, not because their understandings have no evidence of their truth and equity, but because their inclinations are opposed to them. Thus the contrariety of the things which the gospel reports to the vitiated tempers of sinners makes them angry with the truth of the reports, and some times with the very persons of those who report them."*
unvaried affection in his heart from everlasting to everlasting. All these things, (that is, the sins of his people,) were per fectly foreseen by him from eternity. If we view him in his divine nature, we at once behold infinite majesty and infinitely condescending love blending their glories in him, illustrating and commending each other. If we view him as man, &c." making his character to consist of godhead and humanity.
"The love of Christ is the love of an infinite, eternal Being, and so has no conceivable limits either in degree, or duration."
III. The character of Jesus
It is well known that Doctor Tappan's views of the character and works of unrenewed sinners differed, in some respects, from the views of many Calvinists. The controverted question chiefly respects the nature of means, and the outward, visible acts of obedience, which sinners perform. This question, which has an important relation to gospel preaching, and to experimental religion, was investigated with great labour and ability in the controversy between the Doctor and the Rev. Mr. Spring Impartial and close examination of what was written on both sides is earnestly recommended to all who wish to understand the subject clearly, and to judge according to truth.
"It was the pure benevolence of Christ, which gave existence to universal nature; for all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made, that was made. He was as glorious and happy as he could be from everlasting; happy in the enjoyment of his own perfection, and his Fath er's love. It was, therefore, from mere selfmoved goodness that he created all ranks of beings, and particularly angels and men."
"The love of Christ is as high as the most High God himself; for, it is the love of him, who is THE TRUE AND SUPREME. GOD."
In a discourse on the words of Thomas, my Lord and my God, he says; "The words contain an ample and excellent confession of his faith, that Jesus is the Lord and God; that absolute, supreme power and
It is taken from the last ordination sermon which the beloved Doctor preached.
dominion belong to him; that he is not only by office Lord and Christ, but by nature God. From the dignity of his mediatorial character he infers and ascends to the dignity of his divine essence, which is presupposed and required in every part of his office; which office could not be discharged to any effectual and saving purpose, if he were not true God, as well as true man. Nor otherwise would the apostle have given him the title of God, nor would he have received it. For nothing could be more provoking to the great and jealous God, than to ascribe divinity to a creature. And therefore had Christ been a mere created Being, he would have severely reproved Thomas, for addressing him in this manner; which he does not, but on the contrary, commends and blesses him for it. We hence deduce an irrefragable proof of the proper Godhead of our Lord Jesus."
"The unsearchable riches of Christ may denote his personal excellencies. Thus understood, they point us to the wonderful assemblage of divine and human perfections in that mysterious person, whose name is Immanuel, who is the image and effulgence of his Father's glory, in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead, to whom the titles and attributes, the works and honours of divinity are ascribed; who yet was made flesh and tabernacled among
What treasures of majesty and meekness, of dignity and condescension, of glory and humility, of justice and mercy, are united in his character!"
In respect of personal beauty and amiableness, the chief objective ground of love, he says; "Christ infinitely surpasses the loveliest of creatures; for all the glories of Deity are wrapt up in his wonderful person. All the beauties we behold and admire in the world are but faint traces, scanty emanations and imitations of the uncreated Original. In short, the charms of Christ are infinite, immutable, eternal, without wane or diminution for ever."
One more passage on this sublime subject is subjoined.
IV. The atonement and justification.
"In the way of forgiveness and reconciliation the gospel has opened to us an astonishing and unparalleled scene of divine compassion and love; and has assured us, that since God could not consistently and honourably pardon such a race of rebels without a satisfaction first made to his injured law and justice, and since we could not make it ourselves; he therefore sent his own eternal Son from heaven to make it for us; who by assuming our nature and substituting himself in our stead, gave himself to death as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins; and that in virtue hereof we shall be assuredly pardoned and accepted upon our repentance, and faith in
Christ; not for the sake of our faith, or repentance, or any other work of ours, but on the account of his merits and rightcousness."
has laid out his scheme, he steadily pursues and accom. plishes it, without varying in the least from the original model. Whatever God does in time was planned out in his own infinite mind from ever. lasting; and on the other hand, whatever designs he formed from everlasting, he steadily pursues and accomplishes in time. God, having formed and settled his whole scheme of government, is now constantly carrying it into execution by his wise, holy, and powerful providence. God has a hand, in some sense, in every event that takes place in all parts of his creation. There are no such things as accidents or casualties, or unforeseen and unexpected changes with respect to God; for he always has a full view of all events past, present, and to come, and they are all under his regulation and influence.
V. Predestination and distinguishing grace.
"The love of Christ is a distinguishing love. It distinguishes those fallen human creatures, whom it finally saves, from sinning angels, and even from elect and happy angels. It also discriminates them from thousands of their own species, many of whom are less sinners than themselves, who are however permitted to go on, and seal their own destruction.". He declares that the foresight of the sins of his people "did not prevent him from loving them, and determining their salvation."
These words of the Psalmist, Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, he thus paraphrases;
Blessed is the man whom thou selectest by thy free and gracious choice, without any previous merit, contrivance, or endeavours of his own; whom thou distinguishest from others who are left to themselves."
Attempting to show that the government of God affords matter of joy and praise, he reasons thus; "God from eternity had a full view of all possible plans; and accordingly he then laid out the whole scheme and model of his future conduct. Every wise workman, before he enters upon any work of importance, first forms in his mind an exact plan of what he intends to do; and when he
VI. The necessity of regen eration.
The following reflection fol lows a discourse on self denial. "We infer that no one can be a true disciple of Jesus Christ upon the principles of unrenewed nature. If christianity is so contrary to the reigning sentiments and inclinations of fallen man; then it is absurd to suppose, that any person, without a change of heart, is prepared to embrace Jesus Christ and become his disciple. How can a man, whose prevailing temper is selfish, be truly disposed to deny himself? How can a man,