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ON SEVERAL SUBJECTS UP
ON THE CHARACTER OF GOD.
“God is a Spirit, Infinite, Eternal and Unchangeable in his Wisdom, Power, Holiness, Justice, Goodness and Truth,” possessing in himself the rule and power of his own actions.
There are two ideas concerning the nature and actions of Deity, both of which have been carried to extremes. One is that holiness is not essential to his existence; that it is not the source of the motives of his volitions and actions at all; but that it depends entirely on his sovereign will. The other idea is, that God is essentially Holy; in which consists the essence of the moral law, which, when revealed, became the rule of action to every moral subject; yet, his knowledge and power, with regard to sovereign influence and the certainty of action, are abridged. It maintains the certainty of rule and freedom of action, but leaves him without the knowledge and control of his subjects.
The following view of this subject, seems to me to accord best with scripture and reason.—God is essentially holy, without which he could not exist; for quality belongs both to spirit and matter. Matter cannot exist without the quality of gravitation; spirit cannot exist without a quality inclining it either to good or evil. Therefore, you see that God must be holy. This is the lustre and glory of his character, the rule of all his volitions and actions, from which he can never deviate. All that he does, is holy, not because he possesses absolute freedom of will, but because his will always acts according to his own nature. If the holiness of God depended on his agency or volition, it follows, of course, that he could not be Holy un til he desired to be so: or, in other words, decreed what boz:
liness should be. Then, here would be a volition without holiness, and, also, without motive.
If there be no princi• ple of rectitude in the divine being, nothing can be done right; if nothing can be done right, there can be no glory. But, God is holy, and whatever consists with holiness he can do, and whatever will contribute most to his glory, HE will do.
As holiness is the principle, out of which all the motives and volitions of Deity spring, it is evident that he never could have decreed sin, without going out of himself for a motive; and if he were to go out of himself for a motive, he would cease to be a self sufficient and perfect God. If holiness cannot present sin as a motive, God never could choose sin; if he could not make it his choice, he could not bring it to pass by his agency.
Infinite knowledge is as essential to the existence of God, as consummate holiness. While one renders every thing that he does correct, the other makes all things certain, that transpire in the universe.
Some have thought that God's knowledge of eyents rest. ed solely on his decrees; that he could not know that any thing would take place but for a previous determination to bring it to pass. This hypothesis either proves that God is the author of sin, or that he knows nothing of its existence, both of which would be contrary to divine revela. tion. It is indispensable that an intelligent being should know all that he does, but it is not necessary for him to do that all he knows. If God can know any thing without first decreeing it, he can know many things. Hence, I conclude, that many events have and do transpire, which, though known unto God, were never predestinated by him. I think the following is a correct view of this subject. All things are known unto God, yet he knows some things as taking place, on or by his own agency, others, on the principle of necessity, and others on the principle of man's agency.
Knowledge must always go before volition; a choice without understanding, is a blind choice, and the action is not that of an intelligent being.
ON THE TRINITY.
There is one God. There is but one. There can be but one. But this one God is often spoken of in the Old Testament by means of the plural number, “Let us make man, &c." The New Testament reveals how many persons there are, and likewise their different names, viz. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Unity of God is taught in the Bible. The Trinity and equality of God are taught in the Bible. The Trinity and inequality of God are taught in the Bible.
There are certain peculiarities, which constitute the Trinity of God, certain peculiarities, which constitute the Trinity and equality of God, and certain peculiarities which constitute the Trinity and inequality of God.
Infinite perfection constitutes the Unity of God. There is but one infinity. There can be but one.
There are three persons, subsistences, or agents, that possess infinite perfection and are one God. Power to will and work constitutes an agent. The Father has power to will and work, the Son has power to will and work, and the Holy Spirit has power to will and work, therefore they are all agents. They are not one agent, but one God, possessing infinite perfection. They are distinctly objects of worship. One is not older or greater than another.
But, there is a sense, in which they are three, and not equal. In the plan of man's redemption, one was appointed to overlook, and a name given him appropriate to his office. He is called the Father. Another to obey and suffer. He is called the Son. Another to apply the redemption to man by converting and sanctifying him. He is called the Holy Ghost, not because he is more holy than the Father and the Son, but because his office is, to make men holy.
But the skeptic exclaims, I cannot understand this TRINITY in UNITY. I answer, your understanding was never intended to be the standard of truth. There are many truths entirely above your comprehension. All that you have to do, or can do, is, to determine whether it would be more reasonable to receive or reject them. Did you ever know a circle three feet in circumference, inclose one of ten feet? Infinite fulness dwells in Christ. If he had a be. ginning in all his natures, he must be finite: then, here
vould be finite, containing infinite! Whether the doc trine of the Trinity be comprehensible or not, it is a matter of divine revelation, and demands our faith. But am I told that mystery is inconsistenı with the idea of a revelation from God. This I deny. A revelation is a developement of facts, and is not at all affected, though the mode by which the facts exist be withheld. The Trinity is a fact revealed, and notwithstanding the mode of the existence of this fact is not disclosed, its claims upon our credulity cannot be denied, without becoming downright Atheists; for a God existing in one person, is as incomprehensible as a God in three persons.
It is something remarkable, that in every age, where the UNITY of God, in opposition to the Trinity has been taught, infidels express great friendship for the system. This must be owing to the fact, that there is something in this system agreeable to the carnal heart, and contrary to divine revelation.
ON THE CREATION OF MAN.
Man was created with wisdom to k now, and power to do, all things which came within the capacity of created free agency. This alone could constitute him an accountable being. He of course possessed determining power. To say that man is a free agent, and yet hold that God determines his will by physical power, is, to me, a palpable contradiction. The light and motive system, which is, that the will of man is determined by an over balance of motive is equally absurd; for, in this case, the motive would contain the physical power. I, therefore, contend, that the agency of man in his primitive state, consisted in an ability to decide between two opposite motives, neither of which exerted any physical force on his will.
He was, also, either holy or unholy in nature; for we have already shown, that every intelligent being must have a disposing quality. That this quality in man was holy, is evident from the consideration, that nothing of a contrary character can proceed from a Holy God