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forms a moral eharacter, there must be a first moral act of prefference or choice. This must respect some one object, God or Mammon, as the chief good or as an object of supreme affection. Now, whence comes such a choice or preference ? Not from a previous choice or preference of the same object, for we speak of the first choice of the object. The auswer which human consciousness gives, is, that the being constituted with a capacity for happiness, desires to be happy; and knowing that he is capable of deriving happiness from different objects, considers from which the greatest happiness may be derived, and AS IN THIS RESPECT HE JUDGES, or estimates their relative value, so HE CHOoses or prefers one or the other as bis chief good. While this must be the process by which a moral being forms his first moral preference, substantially the same process is indispensable to a change of this preference."-Christ. Spect. for 1829. p. 21. “Does Dr. Taylor here mean to teach
that “the primary cause or reason” of all acts whatsoever, holy or unholy, is the sama--the desire of happiness? That, when holiness is chosen, it is chosen only as a means of enjoyment? That the saint and tbe sinner differ only in this—that the one chooses the right, and the other a wrong way, to be happy! If not, what does he mean? Or,rather,what does he say? The question may be stated in other forms. In the language which prevailed twenty-five years ago,-is holiness to be loved for its own sake, or only as a means of enjoyment? In the language of this “age of action,' is it possible for a man to do a right action because it is right; or must be also know that he shall gain something by it, before he can feel a sufficient inducement to perform it ? Considerations of interest will prevail with any one.
Is a Christian a man with whom the consideration duty will prevail, unaided by the consideration of interest? In yet other words, is the idea of duty, by which some men are led,any thing but acorrect a pprehension of what is for their own interest ? Yet again, is Paley's definition of virtue correct,-that it consists in “doing good to mankind in obedience to the will of God, for the sake of everlasting happiness?" If not, wherein is it erroneous ?
To us, the passage which we have quoted from. Dr. Taylor seems to annihilate the distinction between right and wrong, and to teach that the only moral distinction between men consists in the different degrees of sagacity with which they seek their own interests. This, of course, strikes at the very foundation of morality, and leaves us no ground for a distinction between renforse and regret, or between penitence and the sorrow of tbis world.
" Will Dr. Taylor admit this interpretation of his words? Will he, deliberately, maintain the ground which he seems to us to have taken? We have conversed with several leading men among his disciples, and can find no one of them who is willing to take that ground, or who confidently denies that Dr.
Tayler takes it. Some of them, indeed, admit that he does, and avow their disagreement with him therein.
“Here, we repeat it, appears to us to be the parting point in this controversy ; not the point, according to their views on which men are counted as on one side or the other,--for thes are counted, and allow themselves to be counted, just as it hap pens--but the point at which the systems part. Admit what we conceive to be Dr. Taylor's position in the above extract, and most, if not all, of his positions about sin and about regeneration, will follow irresistiblyReject it, and they are cut up by the roots."
GOD'S SECRET AND REVEALED WILL. In the last number of the New-York Evangelist, there is an article on Predestination; in which, among many valuable remarks, there are some things exceptionable. The writer says, “The doctrine of predestination does not teach nor imply, that God prefers the present amount of sin in the universe to boliness in its stead.' God is sincere in all his declarations. He is sincere in the expressions of his abhorence, and in bis prohibitions of sin. Hence that system which makes God have two wills, a secret and a revealed one, in opposition to each other -which makes him say openly, that sin is "that abominable thing,” in whole and in part, “which bis soul hateth," and yet to say secretly, in bis heart, that it is that necessary thing, which his soul desires-virtually charges the infinitely Holy One with being an infinite hypocrite."
It is certainly much to be regretted, that any man should er.. press bimself in such language while treating on so serious 8 subject. The above paragraph is intended as a caricature of the sentiments of the great body of the orthodox, who have maintained that there is a distinction between God's secret and revealed will;-or, his will of command, and will of decree.But suppose we should deny this distinction : let us see to what consequences it will lead us. If God's will of cominand, and will of decree are the same; then what God has commanded, he has also decreed. When he commanded Adam not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he decreed that he should not eat of it; consequently Adam frustrated the divine decree. The same is true in regard to every sinner, in every instance in which he has trausgressed the divine law. And is it so ? Does man every time he sins, defeat the purposes of his Maker ?
In the very article from which the above extract is taken, the writer admits, that “God hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.”
But how can this position be maintained without adopting the distinction which he ridicules? If God hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, he hath foreordained some things which he has forbidden; for it will not surely be denied that some things which are forbidden, have come to pass. If then we deny this distinction, to be consistent, we must give up the doctrine of foreordination altogether.
It is no contradiction to say that a thing may be in one senso agreeable to God's will, and in another sense, not agreeable to bis will. Viewed in itself, it may be very undesirable; but viewed in connection with other things it may be very desirable. In itself considered, God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Punishment is his strange work. But all things considered it is his pleasure that the wicked should die ; for "the day of vengeance is in his heart.”
In itself considered, God has no pleasure in the afflictions of bis people ; for "he doth not afflict willingly.” But all things considered, it is his pleasure to afflict them; for “whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.”
In itself considered, God had no pleasure in the sufferings of his Son. But all things considered, it was his pleasure that bis Son should suffer; for it pleased the Lord to bruise him.”
This distinction is very obvious; and without adopting it, it is impossible to reconcile different parts of the scriptures with each other, and the perfections of God with facts.
Selected for the Hopkinsian Magazine.
THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD.
[It may not be known to all our readers, that the religious observance of the fourth of July, began as early as the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. At that eventful period, when our Fathers still heard the confused noise of battle, and saw garments rolled in blood, and when the result of the arduous contest was known to Him only who seeth the end from the beginning; they felt their dependence upon the Supreme Governor of the world for success to their righteous cause, and humbly implored his protection and blessing. A similar spirit would lead their descendants to acknowledge, with fervent gratitude, their obligation to God for the confirmed possession and full enjoyment of their civil and religious rights and liberties. On no occasion, is religious homage more becoming a favored people, than-on the anniversary of our Independence ; and, on no occasion, are forgetfulness of God, noisy mirth, and bacchanalian riot, more unbecoming and monstrous, than on that memorable day of our nation's birth.
The following is the introduction to Rev. Mr. GORDON'S sormon before the Legislature of Massachusetts, on the fourth of July, 1777. The text is 1 Kings, xii. 15:—Wherefore the King hearkened not unto the people ; for the cause was from the Lord.
ED] “ The sacred oracles enable us to solve many a difficulty in the ancient and modern history of the world. According to their doctrine, the Lord Jehovah, the Creator of the universe, governs all his works, whether material or immaterial, animate or inanimate, rational or irrational, men or angels, agreeable to an intinitely wise plan formed from the beginning; and brings to pass his own purpose, doing all his pleasure and causing bis counsel to stand, amidst the various jarring devices of exalted, intelligent beings.
He hath wisdom and strength. He hath counsel and understanding. He doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number. He setteth up on high those that be low; that those who moura may be exalted to safety. He disappointeth the devices of the erasty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. He takelh the wise in their own craftiness; and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong. The deceived and the deceiver are his. He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools. He looseth the bond of kings, and breaketh the rod of the oppressor. He poureth contempt up on princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty. He tuketh away the beart of the chiefs of the people of the earth, aud causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way. He plucketh up, pulleth down, and destroyeth kingdoms. He buildeth and planteth and preserveth nations. In fine, his influence extends to all events, whether more or less important; so that each may work together, in its respective place, towards the accomplishment of that perfeet scheme of universal government, which He hath projected.”
RELIGIOUS. ONEIDA ASSOCIATION.--This body held their stated semi-annualmeeting on the 22d, 23d, and 24th of May, at Paris-Hill. On the 23d, they ordained to the work of the gospel ministry, Rev. Samuel Scott, of Lebanon, and Rev. Ebenezer D. Maltbie, of Hamilton. Rev. John Foote, of Madison, made the introductory prayer; Rev. Wm. R. Weeks, D.D., of Utica, preached the sermon from 1 Tim. iv. 16, ‘and gave the charge; Rev. Daniel Latham, of Georgetown, made the 'ordaining prayer; and Rev. Asahel s. Norton, D.D., of Clinton, made the concluding prayer.
On the 24th, they licensed to preach the gospel, Mr. John Axtell, of Virgil; Mr. William B. Tompkins, of Madison, and Mr. Charles Simmons, of Paris.-W. Recorder.
AMERICAN HOME Missionary-Expenditures and Receipts. The amount actually paid out from the treasury during the year, including office rent, Secretary's salary, and all the incidentat expenses of the Society, is $52,808 39, which is more by $5,550 79 than the payments of the previous year. Yet this annount, distributed among 509 missionaries and agents, would divide the average suin to each of only $103, and deducting the amount paid to several agents and to a number of inissionaries in distant and frontier stations, who derive almost their whole support from the society, it affords not more than about $100 for each year of ministerial service actually performed.
MORAVIAN Missions-Labrador.- The United Brethren have four missionary stations in Labrador, viz.: Nain, established in 1771, 60 years ago; Okkak, in 1776; Hopedale, in 1782; and Hebron, iu 1630.
At Nain, are 111 communicants, and 1l candidates; at Okkak, 132 communicants, 20 candidates, and 42 baptized adults not yet communicants; at Hopedale, 71 coininunicants, and 10 candidates. From Hebron there is no return of nuinbers-goneral reports encouraging.
Greenland.-In Greenland, also, the Brethren have four stations, whose names follow, with the date of their origin: New Hernnhut, 1773; Lichtenfels, 1758; Lichtenau, 1744; Friedericksthal, 1224. At the first of ihese stations, are 162 communicants. At Lichtenau, 300 communicants.
OJIBEWAYS.—Mr. Boutwell, who is destined to the Ojibeway mission on Lake Superior, did not proceed with Mr. Hall immediately to La Pointe, but has spent the year at Mackinaw, and the Saut de Ste Marie, in order to avail himself of the greater advantages there offered for prosecuting his studies in that language:
Bartist. Triennial Convention.—The Baptist General Convention commenced its seventh triennial nieeting in New York, on Wednesday, the 25th of April, and finished its business on the next Tuesday evening. We understand that a larger number of delegates were present than at any former meeting, 126 having been returned from 16 Siates. The business of the Convention is now Foreign Missions exclusively, and at no forrer period have its affairs worn an aspect so charming. The receipts of the last year, including the sums brought forward at the Convention, exceeded $43,000,
During the session, a Baptist Home Missionary Society was formed, the seat of its operations to be in New York.- Observer,
MORAL. Extract from the 4th Report of the American Temperance Society:
“ From the best information the Committee have been able to ob tain, they are led to conclude that there are now in the United States more than 4,000 Temperance Societies, containing more than 500,000 meinbers; that more iban 4,000 merchants bave ceased to traffic in ardent spirit; and more than 4,000 drunkards have ceased to use intoxicating drinks. There is also reason to believe that more than 20,000 persons are now sober, who, but for the Temperance Reformation;" would now have been sots; and that 20,000 families are now in ease and comfort, without a drunkard in them, nor one who is becoming a drunkard, which would otherwise have been in poverty, or cursed with a drunken inmate; and that 50,000 children are released from the blasting, influence of drunken parents; and 1,000,000 more from the parental influence which tended to make them drunkards... And there is reason to believe that thousands and thousands are mems.