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There is nothing which makes it appear that the passage in the epistle of James, on which I have been remarking, was designed to oppose the sentiment of a universal divine agency ; but the address of the God of Israel to Cyrus, in the 45th chapter of Isaiah, seems to have been manifestly designed to establish such a sentiment. The same is true of many other portions of scripture ; but to which it is unneces. sary to refer.

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The two branches of this Article, which I have reserved for the close of the doctrinal series, are manifestly harmonious with each oth. er.* The purpose of God extends to all that is made, and to all which is brought to pass; the same is true of his agency. As all things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made; so likewise all the events which take place, are brought to pass by him; and without him there is not a single movement in the material or intellectual system. He it is “ who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." Ephes. i. 11. In this passage we are taught that the counsel and agency of God are co-extensive, and that both corn. prehend all things.

As this Article is consistent with itself, so it will be found to har. monize with all those which have preceded it. To begin with the series-It manifestly harmonizes with the two Articles with which we commenced; since it represents the Eternal Being as employing those unlimited attributes, described in the first Article, both to devise and bring into existence that system of creatures and events, which, as it was shown in the second, would serve to make the most perfect display of his glory, and secure the greatest possible sum of holiness and blessedness to the intelligent creation. Who, I ask, besides that Being, whose understanding is infinite, could determine in what way divine glory could be most advantageously displayed, and the good of the creation be best promoted ? And what is there, short of his universal and mighty working, which can make it certain that a system securing these happy results will actually go into operation ?

the temple, as in putting it into the heart of Cyrus to order it rebuilt ; or into the heart of Artaxerxes to beautify it. These bumsn agents were all actuated by selfish motives, and their hearts were equally under the control of that Divine Agent, who is over all. Their selfisl.ness was their own: it existed nowhere else, except in their own depraved hearts. God was not its cause, as a fountain is of its streams. In inis sense it proceeded not from him. We may rest assured that God is as benevolent, and that he acts with as much consistency, in governing the hearts of the wicked, as of the righteous. He can as completely direct and control the actions of the former, when they are in accordance with their selfish nalures, as of the latter when they do the things which please him.

• It may appear strange to my readers, to see this doctrine, which usually occupies an early place in a system of divine truth, now put at i he elose. My reason for this different arrangement I will here state. The scheme of THE HARMONY was first sug: gested to my mind, by being called to vindicate the doctrine of personal election. usually found, when I had quoted texts of scripture in its support, that my antagonists would not attempt any direct answer to these texts, but would reply by saying, "We believe in a free offer of salvation to all.” To which I would answer, “This is my belief." I then frequently proceeded to make a statement of what I conceived to be the scriptural system of doctrines ; which was substantially the same with that which I have given in this work. In my series of doctrines, I used purposely to omit mentioning the doctrine of decrees in its proper place, hoping, that in this way the laboring find might be the laore easily enlightened and relieved. I was led to think that the entire sinfulness of the natural heart was more generally believed, than the doctrine of personal election. And to me it always appeared very clear, that the man who acknowl. edged the total depravily of unrenewed nature, must unavoidably be led to see the neeersity of "the election of grace," in order to insure the Redeemer a seed to serve him. The method I then adopted, is the one which has been pursued in the foregoing series ; namely, to avoid saying any thing directly of God's purposes concerning future events, until the sinner had first an opportunity of seeing what could be done with a full atonoment for his sin, and a free offer of eternal life, on the easy condition of his mere consent to a reconciliation. It was hoped, that when, in the prosecution of this plan, he came to be shown the entire and obstinate aversion of his heart to these merciful terms, he would perceive that this hard doctrine, as it is called, came to his relief, to afford him help, when otherwise he must have sunk into despair; rather than to consider it as throwing an impediment in the way of his salvation.

There are some, I know, who think the present Article has no con. cord with the third, which relates to the perfection of moral government. They say, How can God have a secret will different from his revealed will? How can he decree or purpose one thing, and command another? The will of God, as the phrase is most commonly used in the scriptures, means the same as that holy law which he has given to be a rule to guide the actions of his creatures. But when God is said to work all things after the counsel of his own will, it has no reference to the conformity of their actions to his prescribed rule, but refers to the purpose of his own mind in relation to all those events which he brings to pass. So when it is demanded, “Who hath resisted his will ?” the meaning is, who has frustrated his counsels and defeated his plans? And it seems not to be pretended by the apostle, that his will, in this sense of the word, has ever been effectually resisted. Rom. ix. 18, 19. When it is said concerning the ten horns, that God put it into their hearts to fulfil his will, by giving their kingdom to the beast, it clearly refers to his purpose concerning this event, and not to their voluntary obedience to his revealed will. Rev. xvii. 17. The mere purpose of God concerning future events, whether secret or made known by predictions, forms no rule for our conduct. Though he early made known his purpose, that the descendants of Ham should be servants to their brethren, the sons of Shem and Japheth, still this furnishes no justifi. cation of African slavery. The law of God is our rule, our only rule; and it is absurd for any one to pretend he knows not which he is under obligation to obey, the secret or the revealed will.

As to the actions of God himself, it is nothing against the holiness of his character, that they are regulated by his decree or purpose ; for, though this embraces that which we do from bad, as well as good motives, the motives which govern his mind are all of them good; so that all which he does, both in forming and executing his purpose, is in perfect harmony with the spirit of that law which he has prescribed for the rule of our life. The decree, when considered as the act of the divine mind, is no less holy than the law. God was as holy in his determinate counsel concerning the crucifixion of his Son, and in causing it to go into operation, as he was in forbidding all that wickedness by which it was brought to pass. The created agents by whom the crucifixion was accomplished, were actuated by motives entirely repugnant to the moral law; but His motives were in the most perfect accordance with it.

What has just been said concerning the agreement of this Article

with the third, will prepare the way for us to see that it has no disagreement with the fourth. If the counsel of God, as we have seen, extends to some particular acts of rebellion, such as the crucifixion of Christ, where is the difficulty of supposing it to extend to all ? And if the progress of rebellion is in accordance with a divine counsel, why is not its commencement ? It would be limiting the power of God, to say, absolutely, that he could not have prevented the apostacy of angels, or the apostacy of man. But, to say, he can not govern a world of moral agents without moral means, implies no other limitation of his power, than an inability to work contradictions. Nor does it imply any limitation of his power, to say, he can not govern them in the most perfect manner without making use of means that are the best adapted to this end. And his using the best adapted means must imply such things as these : his giving them the most perfect exhibition of his glorious perfections of the beautiful nature of holiness, and his complacency in it; and the consequent deformity of sin, and his abhorrence of it-also their dependence on him for holiness and happiness, and their obligation to trust in him with all their heart, and to yield unceasing obedience to his commands. We have, therefore, no right to say, when the best display of the Creator's glory and the highest good of his creatures are taken into view, that it was possible to pre. vent the existence of apostacy. And we have reason to believe that his counsel was concerned in determining where it should begin, and how far it should proceed. Nor ought we to suppose that all divine agency was suspended, while this rebellion was projected; though there is a sense, and a dreadful one, in which it is proper to say, that those creatures who rebelled were left to themselves.

Whatever difficulty any may find in discovering the harmony be. tween the present Article and that which treats of man's departure from God, I conclude all see its concordance with the one which stands next in our system, namely, a glorious provision for his recovery to the divine image and favor. How manifest it is that man's redemption is altogether the fruit of divine counsel and agency. One apostle, when speaking of the crucified Redeemer, calls him the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world ; and another explains his meaning by telling us, that he was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world. Rev. xiii. 8. 1 Pet. i. 20. Man's redemption, as it is pre. sented to us in the word of God, seems not so properly a part of his original plan, as the end to which all the other parts are made subordi. nate. If the purpose of God, to suffer apostacy to enter the moral system, throw darkness around his throne, that darkness is now dispelled.

There is no disagreement between the decree and agency of God, and the sixth and seventh Articles, which relate to the free offer of sal. vation that is made to all, and rejected by all. It was evidently in the purpose of God, that the offer of salvation through Jesus Christ should be made to the Jews; and it was also in his purpose, that this offer should be wickedly rejected. When Paul and Barnabas were addressing the Jews at Antioch in Pisidia, they said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we

turn to the Gentiles. Here is the offer of salvation freely made, and on the part of the Jews, wickedly rejected. But were not the hand and counsel of God concerned in this matter, “ according as it is writ. ten, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear unto this day?” Was it not evidently the purpose of God to make the casting away of the seed of Abraham, to become the means of the reconciling of the world? “Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid! but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles.” Rom. xi. 11. Evil as well as good is included in God's plan; but good, and not evil, is the ultimate end of all his counsels. By the stumbling of the Jews, the God of Abraham had an end to accomplish, in which his soul delighted; but that desirable end was not the fall of the Jews, but the bringing of salvation to the Gentiles.

With the next three Articles the agreement is very obvious, viz. regeneration by the power of God,—the sovereignty of his grace displayed in the exertion of his power,-and the purpose of election ac. cording to which it was exerted. These doctrines are full of divine counsel and agency. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." “Of his own will begat he us." “ It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." “ Called according to his purpose.” Nothing is plainer than this, that regeneration is the result of the counsel and agency of the Lord Al. mighty.

This doctrine has an evident agreement with the justification and certain perseverance of all true believers; which are exhibited in the eleventh and twelfth Articles. It is the plan of the God of all grace, to justify freely all those who believe in Christ; and also, that these should not come again into condemnation. Now if he not only purposes, but also performs, how certain it is, that those whom he has justified, he will also glorify. If the Almighty did not possess sufficient power to give and preserve a holy character in his creatures, then those whom he has justified might fail of being glorified. But if he can make rebels submit in the day of his power; and by his power keep them through faith, then there is no difficulty in discovering the certainty of their perseverance.

This Article accords with the one which immediately precedes it, namely, the doctrine of the general judgment. God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness. This appoint. ment of his wise counsel he will with his own hand accomplish. He will raise the dead by his own power. He will bring them all before his judgment seat. He will separate by his discerning eye and his strong hand, the righteous from the wicked; will pass sentence ac. cording to the things which are written in the books ; and will carry his sentence into full execution, by receiving the righteous to the highest heaven, and by sending the wicked to the lowest hell.

REMARKS.

1. The doctrine of this Article is calculated to fill the enemies of God with dismay. How distressing it must be to those who hate God, to know that his plans embrace not only all the movements of his friends, but also of his enemies : to know that when they gather themselves together to frustrate his counsels, they will actually fulfil them; and to know that he will cause their wrath to praise him, and the remainder thereof, effectually restrain. See Isa. viii. 9, 10. Ps. lxxvi. 10. How confounding must it be to Satan, who has been so unwearied in his devices and efforts to oppose the kingdom of righteousness, to know, that with all his stratagems, he has never defeated one of the purposes of God, nor taken out of his hand a single elect creature, either among angels or men: to know moreover that God will gain additional glory by all those things which he has done to dishonor him; and that his chosen ones will have their attachment increased, by all that wicked effort he has made, either to drive them from their allegiance, or pre. vent their return. This same truth which is calculated to shame the leader of the rebellion, is confounding to his adherents. God will show them all, that wherein they dealt proudly he was above them; that his plan and controlling agency extended to every thing they spoke, wrote and did, in opposition to him and his friends. Although some of God's enemies seem to expect that this doctrine, should it happen to prove true, would do much to shield them from self-reproach, and give them courage, in hardening themselves against the Almighty, they will find themselves utterly disappointed, when the light of eternity shall be poured in upon them. They will then be convinced that a divine

a plan and agency comprehending all events, not excepting those in which their wicked plans and agency were concerned, are striking proofs of the unsearchable greatness and goodness of Him whom they hate. The reason why wicked men are displeased with this doctrine, is not because they consider it as an impediment to their reconcilia. tion to the kingdom of righteousness, but because it shows them that their selfish plans must all be frustrated, and even be made to further the plans of infinite benevolence.

2. As the doctrine of this Article is confounding to God's enemies, so it is cheering to his friends. How cheering it must be, amidst all the reproaches heaped on them for their religion, and amidst all the discouragements they witness in regard to the cause of truth, that they can say,

“Our God is in the heavens; he hath done whatsoever he pleased.” When the apostles had been arraigned as felons, for preach. ing in the name of Jesus, they being let go went to their own com. pany and reported what their enemies had said to them. The whole company cordially joined in a solemn prayer, wherein they expressed their full conviction, that what the enemies of God had been doing, was nothing but what his hand and counsel determined before to be done. It comforts the children of God to hear their Father say, “ My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” While they know it to be neces. sary for created intelligences to lay plans in relation to their own actions, they are comforted with the thought, that the Uncreated Intelligence has a great plan which comprehends all these actions. They rejoice in be. ing assured, while “there are many devices in a man's heart, the coun. sel of the Lord, that shall stand.” And when their own heart is devising its way, it is a pleasure to know, that the Lord directeth their steps. In proportion as their confidence in God is strengthened, by his love shed

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