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giving them over to a reprobate mind, leaving or permitting them to walk in their own counsels, is ir. reconcilable to the idea, that all their exercises are the effect of a direct divine influence on their heart, or that no second causes, instruments, or motives, can call forth any volition or choice in their minds. It implies, that they naturally possess powerful propensities to that which is evil, and that God has only to forbear, to renew, or restrain them, and they will run into all manner of wickedness.

This is not the manner in which the Scriptures speak of a direct divine agency, in exciting men to holy and virtuous dispositions and actions.—Though saints love God supremely, and habitually, live soberly, righteously, and godly; yet they are never said to be given up to walk in their new hearts' desires, or to be suffered to walk in their own holy ways.This is not the language in which a direct divine influence is represented, when applied to move and influence the heart to what is good. A different language being tsed in regard to the wickedness of men shews, that it is not produced by a similar divine influence.-The Scriptures speak of saints being led by the Spirit, and of the taking away of the Spirit of God from men.-But if the exercises of wicked men are the effect of a constant inward di. vine operation, then sinners are led by God, and so by the Spirit, as much as saints. And there can be no such thing as the Spirit of God being grieved, or taken away.-Instead of being taken away, the more men run into the most bold impieties and strong and deadly delusions, the more evidence there is, that God has come and taken up his abode in their hearts, and the more powerfully he works in them, and the more they are moved and led by him.- These are shocking representations, it is true,-at which some pious minds must shudder,—but we must aver, that they are the genuine results and consequences of the doctrine we oppose.



We know indeed that the antiquity of a religious opinion is no certain evidence of its truth; yet the voice of the most enlightened and virtuous part of the Church of God in all past ages is not lightly to be contemned. This voice is entirely against the doctrine of positive efficiency in the production of moral evil. The texts which are now applied to support this theory, they have ever understood as implying no more than an all wise and powerful providential disposal and application of second causes. To this point in particular, the reasoning of Dr. "Dwight in his Sermon on the Death of Gov, Trumbull, in relation to the truth of the doctrines of grace in general, seems to be applicable.

“That they are substantially the genuine doctrines of the Gospel is satisfactorily evinced by two very interesting considerations.

“They have been the doctrines of those, who in every age have claimed the character of orthodox; and, who by their adversaries have been acknowledged to possess it in the public estimation.

"By this I intend, that from the age of the apos. tles, they were those in whom the apostolic church was regularly continued from period to period.

“That this body of men has judged justly concerning the doctrines of the Gospel, and received them, at least in substance, as they are there revealed, cannot, I think, be questioned even with plausibility or decency. That they have mistaken them regularly, and through such a succession of ages, and yet brought forth their proper fruits in an evangelical life, is to me incredible. The fact would certainly esta'lish this remarkable conclusion, that error has been productive of incomparably more piety and virtue in the world, than the truth of God."

The advocates for the doctrine under consideration, may attempt to sanction their belief by the authority of the ancient fathers, or at least by that of the most noted reformers. I will not say this would be an attempt to impose upon the uninformed, but I will venture to affirm that no such opinion was ever held by the fathers or reformers. Some of the latter may have used strong expressions respecting the divine decrees, and the providence of God as directing all events, yet it never entered into their hearts to adopt it as their system, that God was the inward efficient cause of all moral evil --To confirm this statement we shall here adduce a few authorities;

Augustine, cited by Calvin. Inst. b. 2, ch. 4, s. 1. "In one place, Augustine compareth man's will to a horse, which is ready to be ruled by the will of his rider; and God and the Devil he compareth to ri. ders. If God, saith he, sit upon it, he like a sober and cunning rider governeth its will, turneth the stubbornness of it, and guideth it into the right way. But if the devil have possessed it, he like a foolish and wanton rider, violently carrieth it through places where no way is, driveth it into ditches, &c. And which similitude we will for this time be contented with, since there cometh not a better in place."

Calvin. He was careful not to ascribe the origin of moral evil in devils to a divine efficiency. Inst. b. 1, ch. 14, s. 16. "But forasmuch as the devil was created by God, let us remember that this malice, which we ascribe to his nature, is not by creation, but by depravation. For whatsoever damnable thing he hath, he bath gotten to himself by his own apostasy and fall; which the Scripture therefore giveth us warning of, lest thinking he came out such a one from God, we should ascribe that to God himself, which is farthest from him."

Again, b. 4, ch. 4, s. 3. “It is oftimnes said, that God blindeth and bardeneth the reprobate, that he turneth, boweth and moveth their hcarts, &c. Therefore we answer, that it is done after two manners. For first, whereas when his light is taken away, there remaineth nothing but darkness, and blindness, &c. whereas when his spirit is taken away, our hearts wax hard, and become stones. The second manner, which cometh nearer to the property of the words, is, that for the executing of his judgments by Satan the minister of his wrath, he both appointeth their purposes to what end it pleaseth him, and stirreth up their wills,” &c.

Thus Calvin, whatever strong language he useth in giving us his ideas of the power and extent of the providence of God, is very careful not to ascribe sin, even in the reprobate, to a direct positive diviņe influence; but their wills are stirred up by Satan.

Jerome Zanchius, translated by Toplady, Pos. v. “God is the Creator of the wicked, but not of their wickedness; he is the author of their being, but not the infuser of their sin."

“Sin, says the apostlc, entered into the world by ono man, meaning Alain. Though without the permission of his will and the concurrence of liis providence, its introduction had been impossible; yet is le not hereby the author of sin so introduced.”

Luther. Philip Melancthon inquiring of Luther, how we are to understand this word hardened,

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among other things in reply, he says, "God is not the cause of evil," i. e, moral evil or sin. Again; "We say flatly, No, God is not the cause of evil, but a Creator of all things," &c. Luther's Div. Dis. at his table. Quoted by Zanchius on Predestination, he says, "Although God doth not make sin, nevertheless he ceases not to create and multiply individuals in the human nature, which through the withholding of bis Spirit is corrupted by sin." In quoting Luther, Mr. Weeks says, here is one sentence worthy of particular attention, “God worketh all things in men, even wickedness in the wicked; for this is one branch of his own omnipotence.”

But why is this any more worthy of particular attention than the sentence before cited. flatly, No, God is not the cause of evil, &c.” If Luther in these words, so worthy of attention, was of the opinion of Mr. Weeks, he flatly contradicts himself. But he is not thus inconsistent. He means that God worketh all things in men, even wickedness in the wicked, as in the kingdom of providence he directs and controls all means, motives and second causes,

It doubtless never entered into his heart, that it was the immediate agency of God alone that wrought all wickedness in men and devils. And in quoting Luther to this purpose, Mr. W. falls into a mistake precisely like that of Mr. Merril,who adduced the authcrity of Calvin, to shew that immersion was the only valid mode of Baptism.

Herman Witsius. Mr. Weeks introduces Herman Witsius, D. D. as an authority to support the idea, that an immediate divine influence is not a novel doctrine. He speaks of him in terms of high respect as a very able divine, and seems to think his name must do honor to his cause.* But who would imagine that this same Witsius, reprobates in the strongest terms the doctrine he is quoted to support?--In a work entitled the "Economy of the Cov

* Nine Sermons, pp. 177.

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