made, therefore it could not be by a God; where tne atheist takes it for granted, that whosoever asserts a God, or a perfect mind, to be the original of all things, does, therefore, ipso facto, suppose all things to be well made, and as they should be. And this doubtless was the sense of all the ancient theologers." (p. 875.) As in some modern theists, who pretend to solve the difficulty by saying, Quia Deus non tenetur ad optimuin, " because God is nowhere bound or obliged to the best,” he shows the absurdity of their scheme. (p. 873, etc.) In p. 874, he says, “God is an impartial balance, weighing out heaven and earth, and all the things therein, in the most just and exact proportion, and not a grain too much or too little of any thing. Nor is the Deity therefore bound or obliged to do the best, in any way of servility, much less by the law and command of any superior, but only by the perfection of its own nature, which it cannot possibly deviate from, no more than ungod itself. In conclusion, therefore, we acknowledge the atheist's argument to be thus far good; that if there be a God, then of necessity must all things be well made, and as they should be ; and vice versa. But no atheist will ever be able to prove, that either the whole system of the world could have been better made, or that so much as one thing therein is made ineptly."

And having spent several pages in answering various objections of atheistical writers against the works of creation and providence, he concludes the whole in these words:

« And now, having fully confuted all the atheistical grounds, we confidently conclude, that there is one only necessary Existent, the cause of all other things; and this an absolutely perfect being, infinitely good, wise, and powerful; who hath made all things that were fit to be made, and according to the best wisdom, and exerciseth an exact providence over all.” Thus far Dr. Cudworth.

And this, doubtless, is the belief of Christian divines in general, of whatever denomination. To be sure, Dr. Whitby is full in it. These are his words: “As it would be in us an intolerable piece of insolence to say, against the plainest declarations of the Scripture, that God did not in wisdom make the world, because we are not able to discern the wisdom of all things framed in it; so must it be an equal insolence in us to say, God doth not act, in the preserving it, and in the ordering of affairs in it, according to the measures of true goodness, because we cannot dive into the reasons of his dispensations."

To which let me add a short extract out of Dr. Turnbull's Christian Philosophy: “The creation of an all-perfect mind must be the image of its Creator; and therefore it must be

perfect, it must be chosen by infinite wisdom and goodness as the most perfect system, that is, the system in which the greatest quantity of happiness and perfection obtains, that can, in the nature of things, take place; and this being the case, all the seeming imperfections and evils in it, are such only in a partial view; and with respect to the whole system, they are goods."

Yea, Mr. Chubb himself, though justly numbered among in fidel writers, had juster notions of God's moral character, than to think that God might do better than he does. These are his words: “I shall take it for granted, that God is, and that he is necessarily, an immense, eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, a self-sufficient, and an unchangeable being. This being allowed, from hence it will follow, that as God is always capable of doing what is most worthy and valuable in itself, and which, in the nature of things, is right, good, best, and fittest to be done, seeing he knows wherein the goodness, fitness, and valuableness of every action lies ; so he always will act thus, because right, good, fit, etc., are so very beautiful, and excellent in themselves; and are so preferable, in the nature of things, to their contraries, that they always will afford a proper and sufficient motive," etc.

But to come to a more particular consideration of your argument, the grand argument on which your whole scheme is built; yea, the only argument you use, to prove that God might permit sin, although he knew it was not for the best ; not most for his glory, or the good of the system; and that therefore we can have no certainty that he would not, from the absolute perfection of his nature. And this, in a few words, is the sum of it. God, in the work of creation, has not done his best, but might have done infinitely better. If this be so in one instance, it may in another. Therefore we can have no assurance, from the absolute perfection of the divine nature, that God means to do what is best in his works of providence; but have reason to think he might have done infinitely better.

Well, if it be really so, that God does not mean to order the affairs of the universe in the best manner, I have had too good an opinion of God, and have put too much confidence in him; and I must learn, for the time to come, to have lower thoughts of God, and higher thoughts of myself. I must begin to think myself a suitable judge, to set up and censure God's works and ways, and point out wherein he might have done better ; not in the least suspecting that God is wiser and better than I am, and more able and willing to order things for the best ; or that it savors of arrogance and pride for a worm of the dust to say

to the infinitely wise God, “In this, O Lord, and in that, thou mightest have done better; had I been at thy right hand, chief director, I could have laid a plan for a better natural world, and for a better moral system ;" not once imagining, that God may have wise reasons for all his works, and all his ways, which lie beyond my reach ; but rather confident, that he had no good reason; because I see none. Wherefore I may venture safely to censure, as unwise, any steps of divine providence, the wisdom of which I do not see. And so, the more blind I am to the wisdom of the divine ways, the more faults I may find, and the more fully point out the divine errors. And so, God must no longer be esteemed as always acting agreeable to infinite wisdom, because I cannot see it; and, in the vanity of my mind, I am entered into a way of thinking and reasoning, that is the result of the greatest folly, and pregnant with the grossest blasphemy..

A more particular answer to your argument is, sir, I humbly conceive, really needless. For, if I can imagine to my own fancy a better natural world, and a better moral system, yet, as I do not know that my own imaginations are right, I have not the least reason to call in question the wisdom of the divine conduct; unless I put more confidence in my imaginations, than in “supreme wisdom, which cannot err." expressly own, that you cannot pretend to prove to a demonstration, that the present scheme is not the best.” And merely because I cannot see the reason and wisdom of God's works and ways at once, to doubt, whether God has acted so wisely as he might have done, just as if he might not have good reasons in view, which never entered into my mind, becomes me neither “as a man or a Christian.” We, who do not see the whole of God's universal plan, nay, not the millionth part of it, are not in a capacity to pronounce it a bad plan. It becomes us rather to put an implicit faith in the divine wisdom ; and to believe it to be good, because it is God's. I a little wonder, sir, how you dare so freely censure the works and ways of God, your Maker and final Judge !

A. “Could it be made to appear that the present scheme is God's, I readily own it would be extremely dangerous opposing it: and argue the highest vanity, arrogance, and impiety."

B. Very well, sir; and do you not know that the natural world is wholly the work of God? God, and God only, was the Creator of the universe. The devil had no hand in the work of creation; and yet, here you oppose, “ dangerous” as it is; yea, here you begin your opposition. Here you discover snch defects and blemishes, and can easily imagine how things

But you

might have been better done; the world might have been created much sooner and larger; and, it seems, you think, infinitely better on the whole; infinitely more to the glory of God, and containing infinitely more happiness. So that, for aught appears, you have nearly or quite as low an opinion of the natural as of the moral world; and could mend the one as easily as the other. Yea, from God's no more consulting his own glory in the works of creation, you are led to doubt whether he has consulted it, so much as he might have done, in the works of providence.

But this arguing, you see, is directly and professedly against God's works, and that considered as such. And yet you say, "If it could be made to appear that the present scheme is God's, it would be indeed extremely dangerous opposing it." But let the danger be greater or less, you have ventured to oppose and censure the works of creation, which you own to be God's work; yea, and finding the works of creation so little to the glory of God, to what they might have been, you are induced to doubt, whether God means always to do that which he knows would be most for his own glory. And from this grow bold to think, that God might, consistent with his perfections, permit sin, - a thing he has done, not merely once, but persisted in every day, hour, and moment, near six thousand years, in almost an infinite number of instances, when he knew that, on the whole, it would have been infinitely more to his honor and the good of the system if he had hindered it; and so, at last, really give up the moral character of the Deity. For it is capable of strict demonstration, that infinite wisdom cannot err. Find one error, therefore, in all God's works, and it will prove to a demonstration that he is not infinitely wise; much more, if you find an error infinitely great, and persisted in for almost six thousand years.

A. Sir, I proposed this with the greatest humility."

B. Pray, but how does it look to make a proposal “with the greatest humility,” which is of such a nature, as that the proposer himself, at the same time, is obliged to own must argue "the greatest vanity, arrogance, and impiety!" And then, by the mere strength of such a proposal, to attempt to overthrow the wisdom of God's universal plan, even to the ruin of the moral character of the Holy One of Israel !

If to all this you should reply, “This way of reasoning does not convince me; I cannot believe a work is done in the wisest and best manner, and most for God's glory, merely because God has done it. If it is arrogant and impious to object, yet 1 feel inclined to object, and must do it. I do doubt, whether

God always does in fact, and therefore, whether he is obliged to do, what is most for his declarative glory:"-I say, if you should make this reply, pray suffer me, without offence, to desire you to read Isa. xlv. 9, “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker. Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth.” It may do sometimes, my friend, for worms of the dust to find fault with the works and ways of their fellowworms; but it is "extremely dangerous” to find fault with the works and ways of the great Jehovah.

Besides, you often insist " that we should acquiesce in that account of things we have in Scripture." But the Scripture nowhere leads us to think, that God, in the works of creation or providence, ever does “what is not most for his own glory;" but every where to the contrary. Yea, we ourselves are required, " whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, to do all to the glory of God.” And can we at the same time imagine, that God allows himself, in the most important affairs, to do “what is not most for his own glory ?” Would God have us aim at his glory more than he himself does ? Besides, the Scriptures inform us, that when God had finished the work of creation, and surveyed the whole, he pronounced it all to be “very good," notwithstanding all the objections you have to make against it. And the pious psalmist cries out, “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all."

A. But why did not God “from eternity produce into existence all possible beings ? ” Would not this have displayed his perfections more fully, and to better advantage ?

B. Is there not an absurdity in the notion of creating from eternity? Yea, does it not imply a contradiction very evidently, to say, that any being might have been brought into existence from eternity ? For, if it was from eternity, it was always in existence, and so could never have been brought into existence.

A. I did not mean strictly from eternity.” But there is no " period of time" can be mentioned, in which God may not have created the universe.

B. According to Scripture, “ In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Then time began. Strictly speaking, there was no time before ; nothing but eternity. But you will

say, God might have created the world sooner. “ Sooner !Pray in what sense? Not nearer the beginning of eternity; for eternity never had a beginning. Not so soon, but it might happen that the world should be just as old as it is now, when it was no older. Not so soon, but that the inhab

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