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WHAT IS DUE TO AN ACCOUNTABLE BEING.

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in the case of animals, but in the determination or volition of the creature: and, finally, he must be free from physical constraint and restraint, or left free to choose what appears to him good, and to reject what appears to him evil. Were any thing more than the qualifications just enumerated—such, for instance, as a disposition to do what the Creator enjoinsnecessary to accountability, it would be impossible, as will more fully appear afterwards, to erect a system of moral government at all; or, at any rate, to secure any thing like a fair trial of the subjects of that government.

Further, such a system having been established, and its subjects having received every thing that is essential to accountability, they would have an indisputable right to require, at the end of their probationary course, that they should be judged by the law (and not another) under which they had been placed; and, on the supposition of their having preserved their integrity, that all the blessed fruits and consequences of obedience should be awarded to them.

Let us now apply these general and introductory remarks to the actual condition of mankind. Have they preserved their integrity? Has even one of the race preserved his integrity? What saith the Scripture? When “ the Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek after God,” he found that all had gone out of the way, that there was not one that did good, no, not one.

* In these circumstances the creature, at the close of his probationary course, could have no claim upon the moral Governor to the reward of obedience. Having exposed himself to punishment by disobedience, Jehovah might have executed upon him the sentence of the law which he had broken. Justice

* It is of no consequence to the argument whether the plan of salvation contemplated the race as fallen in Adam merely; or whether it cast a prospective view, if I may so speak, over that universal depravity of the race which the Divine Being must ha oreseen would be the consequence of their fall, unless mercy should interpose. It is enough for the argument that this plan contemplated the race as sinners, and was a provision to rescue them from their prostrate condition.

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98 DOES EQUITY REQUIRE THE CONDEMNATION OF ALL

would not have been violated by his so doing; nay, justice would seem to require him to do so. The condemnation of all would have been an act of justice. The condemnation of each separate individual would have been an act of justice,an act of justice in itself, without any reference to any other act, and upon the moral character of which no other act could effect any change. And, if the condemnation of all would have been an act of justice, a decree to condemn all would, of course, have sustained the same moral character; no individual would have had it in his power to say that wrong was done to him by a determination that, in his case, the sentence of the law should take effect.

We advance now to the precise point to which the whole of the preceding statements have been intended to conduct us; for the question, which is in fact the very turning point of the inquiry, now presents itself, viz., “Would the act of leaving some individuals to suffer the vengeance due to their crimes, which would have been confessedly a righteous act, if all had been left, become an unjust one by the act of rescuing others?” Is it possible, or conceivable, that an act of mercy to oneundeserved mercy, of course, for there is no deserved mercyarbitrary mercy, if you will, to one, can convert an act of equity towards another into an act of injustice and cruelty? Surely common sense, unbiassed by system and prejudice, must say, that the character of the condemning act must remain what it would otherwise have been, and that, if any exception at all be made, it should be made against the saving act and decree. I apprehend, then, that before Arminians can prove that Calvinistic predestination (admitting that it includes a decree to permit the condemnation of some, or even a decree that they shall be condemned, resting, as it must do, on their disobedience) is irreconcilable with the justice of God, they must be able to show that the condemnation of all would have been unjust; since, as it has been just observed, an act of unmerited mercy to one cannot convert an act of justice towards another into one of oppression and cruelty.

To these statements they will doubtless reply, that equity

UNDER HUMAN GOVERNMENTS?

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requires a moral Governor to act with perfect impartiality,to make no difference in his treatment of those who equally deserve the expressions of his favour, or the inflictions of his wrath. They are in the habit of reminding us that, where there exists no shade of difference in the guilt of certain individuals, involved in the same crime, the moral Governor cannot without injustice pardon some, while he condemns and executes others. They tell us, that what would have been a pure act of justice towards the latter, if all had been executed, becomes to them an act of injustice by the unmerited escape of the former. Here, no doubt, is the point of difficulty on the Calvinistic scheme, since its tenets teach that the mercy shown to the elect was not attracted towards them by their superior worth, or even by their inferior desert of punishment.

Let us, then, examine this point a little more at large. The moral Governor, it is alleged, must make no difference in his treatment of those who equally deserve the expressions of his displeasure. Either all must be pardoned, or all punished; but one must not suffer, while the others

Now to me, I acknowledge, this assertion does not carry the light and evidence of a moral axiom along with it. That none of them must endure a greater amount of punishment than they deserve, is abundantly manifest. But that all must suffer equally—that the moral Governor must make no difference in his treatment of them, save that which may be supposed to result from the varied degrees of their guilt, is another and a very different thing. Still, I am ready to admit, in reference to a human moral governor, that equity does require him to act, generally and habitually at least, in the manner stated by our opponents; and when he pardons some, who were implicated with others in the same general crime, to do it on the ground that the shade of their criminality is a degree lighter than that of the rest. The great end of punishment, namely, the prevention of crime, could not be secured unless such were the general conduct of the governor. Yet there are cases of exception even in human moral governments,-cases in which the happiness, and even the safety, of the state require that justice should unsheath its sword, and smite some of the guilty

escape.

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ALL TREATED ALIKE BY THE MORAL GOVERNOR,

body, though the nicest casuistical balances may be unable to detect the slightest difference in the degree of the criminality of the whole ; but some must suffer for the sake of example: and the great end of punishment having been sufficiently secured by their death, the rest, though equally guilty with their less fortunate companions, may be permitted, and are permitted, to escape.*

Now the reader is especially requested to take notice, that the whole force of the Arminian objection we are now considering, rests upon the assumption, that the difference in the conduct of God towards a lost and condemned race, implied in the doctrine of election-visiting some of the race with that special influence of the Holy Spirit which leads them to seek salvation, and not visiting the rest with that influence—is a difference in his conduct as the moral Governor of the race. If we can show, then, that there is really no difference in his conduct towards the subjects of his government, in that relation,--that, sustaining, as he does, this most important office, he acts in it with all the impartiality which our opponents, or, indeed, any one else can possibly desire, we shall obviously break the force of the objection, if not entirely annihilate it. What, then, they will be disposed to reply, is it not true that, on your principles, God decreed to deliver some from the ruins of the fall, and did not, even on the most moderate statement

* I once thought, and I believe many think, that the end of punishment in the Divine government, and in the case of human governments, is not the same; that, under the latter, bonds, fines, imprisonment, and death, are not punishment properly so called, but mere suffering inflicted by law for the prevention of crime ; whereas the future misery of the finally impenitent will be strictly and literally punishment :-and that, on this account, it has come to be considered, in reference to human proceedings, hard and unjust, that while of two criminals, equally guilty, one is spared, the other should be sacrificed merely for the sake of example, and to promote the general good; but that, in reference to the Divine proceedings, there is no basis for this feeling, since punishment with God is, properly speaking, punishment. I now doubt, however, whether the end of punishment in the Divine government differs from that of human government. Surely punishment is not an ultimate end. An infinitely benevolent Being can have no abstract delight in inflicting it. He must have some object in view. And what can that object be but the promotion of his own glory by thus placing a barrier against the inroads of rebellion ?

BUT NOT BY GOD AS A SOVEREIGN.

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of your views, decree to save others? And is it not further true, that, on the Calvinistic system, he exerts an influence upon the former to secure their salvation, which he does not exert upon the latter? No, I reply, it is not true that he does either the one or the other as the moral Governor of the world. On the contrary, though, in his character as Sovereign, great disparity may be observed in his conduct towards men, yet, as a moral Governor, he acts with the most exact equality and uniformity.

Nor let this distinction between what some have ventured to call the private and the public character of Jehovah, i.e., between the relation sustained by him to mankind as Sovereign and as moral Governor, be stigmatized as a fiction got up for the occasion, for it is frequently recognized amongst men; and we admit, without the slightest hesitation, that an individual may do many things, as a man, which he cannot and ought not to do, as a ruler or a judge. If two persons should present themselves in a court of justice, suing for the recovery of what they considered just debts, the judge, sitting on the bench, must only grant what the law awards to them. Should they fail to make good in law their claim to what they demand, no upright judge could award them any thing as a judge, not even a penny. But if, compassionating their situation, he, as an individual, were to present them with a sum equal to what the hard decision of the law had just placed beyond the reach of their hopes, who could consider this conduct a just subject of complaint? Or if, as an individual, he chose to befriend one, and not the other, would the latter be entitled to represent himself as unjustly dealt with ? Surely not. The justice which, as moral Governor, he dispenses, is the property of the community; every one has a claim to an equal measure of it. But the wealth which enables him to administer to the necessities of the rejected suitor is his own; and every one feels that he has a right to do what he will with his own.

Now, it is not in his public, but in his private character that any difference is to be traced in the conduct of God towards the beings whom he has formed. It is not in the relation of a ruler or a judge, but of a Sovereign, the original source of

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