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is no decree to save the remaining members of that family. Any real difficulty in which this statement of the facts of the case may involve us, if there should be any, we must, of course, meet and grapple with as we best can; for a decree, comprehending certain individuals only, cannot, of course, include the others. If God decreed that the present universe only should have existence, he did not and could not decree that another should spring into being. If he decreed that man alone, of all the creatures in this world, should possess rationality, he did not, of course, decree that the beast should be a rational being.
But it is objected, that the absence of a decree to save the non-elect does not constitute all that is necessarily implied in a decree to save the elect-that, in addition to this, it must comprehend an actual positive decree not to save them. I observe, therefore,
Secondly, That this position-or, that a decree to save some, implies of necessity an actual decree not to save otherscannot be maintained without the admission of a general principle, the practical acknowledgment of which would lead to interminable difficulty, and to great absurdity. God saves men, as we have seen, by exerting upon their minds that special and holy influence which infallibly secures their salvation. This is what he does; this is what he decrees to do. Now there is no principle on which it can be safely asserted, that God cannot determine to exert this influence upon the minds of some, without positively determining not to exert a similar influence on the minds of the rest, but this, viz. that whenever he determines to impart a certain blessing to one of his creatures, he must positively determine not to bestow the same blessing upon others; or, to generalize the principle yet more completely, that, when he actually determines to perform that one act, out of thousands or millions of others, all of which are equally possible to him, which he ultimately does perform, he at the same time positively determines not to perform the millions of others he does not ultimately perform. The falsehood and absurdity of the principle, when thus generalized, becomes perfectly apparent. In reference to man, there must
ELECTION IS NOT NECESSARILY
be an actual determination on the part of God to do that which he does; there may also, perhaps, be a positive determination not to do that which he does not do ; but this is not necessarily the case. In reference to the vast multitude eyen of contemplated actions, which are not ultimately performed by us, there is no positive volition at all in the mind; all that can be said is, that they awaken no determination to perform them, and so are not performed. I may determine to relieve one out of twenty destitute families in my neighbourhood, without positively determining not to relieve the others; and, if any one should ask me why others are not relieved, it would be sufficient to reply, that the giving of actual relief can only spring from a determination to relieve, which, in reference to them, does not exist. I may determine to take one book from the shelf, without a positive determination not to take the others. There may, indeed, be such a determination, but it is not necessarily implied in the determination to take; and that is all I am obliged to prove; the other books may not even be thought of.
This reasoning applies with yet greater force to the Great Eternal. There must exist in the mind of God a determination to do what he actually does, because his actions are the result of his volitions, or determinations. But where God does not actwhere he does nothing, he determines nothing. It is childish to suppose that, because when he acts, there must be a determination to act, when he does not act, there must be a determination not to act; since a determination is necessary to a state of action, but it surely is not necessary to a state of rest. When Jehovah created the present universe, is it necessary to suppose that there existed in his mind a positive determination not to create any of the other possible universes which were present to his view ? Surely not. He created the present universe; there must, therefore, have been a determination to create it. He did not create the others; and all that can be said is, there was no determination to create them. When he communicated vegetable and animal life to the plant, and to the beast, what did that communication imply concerning his determination ?
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nothing more than that he resolved to do what he has done. No one can safely affirm, that he positively determined not to give to either of them rationality. The simple fact of the case is, that he did not determine to bestow the latter blessing, and consequently did not impart it. The determination to give vegetable and animal life, was necessary to the existence of the plant and the animal; but a determination that neither should be rational beings, was not necessary to prevent either from becoming such : there is, accordingly, no reason whatever to suppose that such a determination existed. When God determined to save man, did that volition necessarily imply a positive determination not to save the angels who kept not their first estate ? No one, it is presumed, will answer in the affirmative. It implied, indeed, that fallen angels were not included in the merciful purpose of Godthat there was no volition to save them; but no degree of ingenuity can gather any conclusion beyond this, from the facts of the case. Why then should a positive determination, on the part of God, to save some of the human family, be supposed to imply of necessity a counter and positive determination not to save the other members of the family? Not to save men, is not to act—it is just doing nothing. Now what reasonable pretence is there for affirming that-since when God acts, he must determine to act—when he does not act, he determines not to act ? In confirmation of the
preceding remarks, I beg the reader's particular attention to the following statement, by the late Dr. E. Williams, which points out very happily the source of the fallacy, in which many perspicacious minds are entangled upon this subject.
“ That election and reprobation are inseparably connected, takes for granted what can never be proved, that non-election implies a decree. Non-election is a negative term, not electing ; but to decree a negation is as absurd as to decree nothing, or to decree not to decree. The notion of decreeing to permit, involves the same absurdity; for to permit, in this connexion, is not to hinder ; but to decree not to hinder, is the same as to decree nothing : or, as before, to decree not to decree. The fallacy consists in the supposition, that non
ELECTION IS NOT NECESSARILY
election is a positive term, and therefore requires a positive determination by way of decree. The truth of the case is, that, on supposition of one million being elected to holiness as the means, and happiness as the end, the other million is not elected to holiness and happiness. These two things are as opposite as doing and not doing ; but to suppose an infinitely perfect Being to decree what he does not do, is incompatible ; for it supposes him to decree to do, what he decrees not to do. It is, indeed, perfectly scriptural and rational to say that whatever is done by an infinitely wise Being, is done according to design, an unvarying purpose, which is properly called a decree; but what meaning can there be in his decreeing to do the contrast to his doing?
“ The same reasoning is applicable to preterition. The mind, without due attention to caution, is apt to be deceived by the feeling which attaches a positive idea to the term, or the thing intended by it. We are disposed by common associations to conclude that, as to pass by is an act of a person, so the object passed by requires a designed determination for that purpose. But this is a fallacious conclusion. When a shepherd, for instance, passes by a number of sheep, and fixes upon one, a voluntary act of choosing that one, does not imply another voluntary act to pass by others. He knows all alike, and his wisdom selects the object of his choice, and this object he actually chooses, the others he passes by; but what is thus expressed by a positive term, implies nothing positive with respect to the objects.” And thus he proceeds to show it is with respect to God. He determines to save some, in the sense already explained; but that determination by no means involves a counter determination in regard to others. There exists in the Divine mind the determination to save, and nothing else.
If it were necessary to pursue this subject further, an additional illustration might be gathered from the conduct of God.
It is said, by the objector, that there cannot be a decree on the part of God to save some, without a counter decree not to save the rest. Then why should not, I ask, the act of saving some, necessarily involve the opposite act of des
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troying the rest? Why should two opposite decrees more certainly and necessarily involve one another, than two opposite acts? Now an Arminian admits that God saves those who are saved, while he denies that he destroys those who are lost. Any effort, then, which he may successfully make to show that the former does not include the latter, is just an answer to his own objection. But,
Thirdly, I oppose the opinion, that there exists in the mind of God a positive determination not to save the non-elect, on the ground that such a determination would be altogether unnecessary, and therefore does not exist. God does nothing in vain-decrees nothing in vain. Why suppose, then, the existence of a decree not to save certain members of the human family, when every member of that family must finally perish, without a decree to prevent his destruction? Where would be the use of such a decree? It would be like a special decree to permit the fire to burn, or the water to drown us, when exposed to the unrestrained action of either of these elements. Would such a decree be compatible with infinite wisdom? The full influence and tendency of this statement will become more apparent when the reader has considered the next general observation, explanatory of the doctrine of election.
2ndly, then, I observe that God's act of choosing some of the human race to salvation-or the electing decree--pre-supposes the fallen state of the whole race. Since Jehoyah is an immutable Being, all his views and determinations must be eternal like himself. One decree cannot therefore be previous, in the order of time, to another decree; yet in the order of nature, as we call it, it may be, and indeed must be so. At all events, it is impossible for us to conceive of the Divine actions and decrees, but as related to, and dependent upon, one another. Thus, for instance, we cannot imagine a purpose to punish man arising in the Divine mind, except as subsequent, in the order of nature, to his contemplation of the sin.of man; and, indeed, as the result of it. It is thus with a purpose to save man. Such a purpose necessarily implies that man needed salvation. It could not then have