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could not foreknow a contingent action, or a free voluntary action, as Arminians, against whom he writes, use the term, in distinction from a necessary action, because foreknowledge would render the action of man certain. But Arminians contend that certainty is not a quality of the human action, but of the mind that foresees the action, so that it belongs to the mind of God and not to the action of the creature; and that God's foreknowledge of the action is antecedent to the certainty, somewhat as our knowledge of a fact is antecedent and indispensable to our certainty of it. The action is logically antecedent to the foreknowledge and the foreknowledge to the decree. In other words the action may be said to determine the foreknowledge, and the foreknowledge the decree. God's decree is in accordance with his foreknowledge and his foreknowledge is in accordance with the act to be foreknown; i. e., God knows what we do as a free act because we do it. If we did not do it, he could not know it, because it would not be to be known. The fact is indispensable to the knowledge everywhere.
But Edwards declares, “There certainly will come to pass no more good than God has absolutely decreed to cause, and there certainly and infallibly will no more believe, and no more be godly, and no more be saved, than God has decreed that he will cause to believe, and cause to be godly, and will save.” “Election is not from a foresight of works or conditional ;" and why? Because “God could not foreknow that things would be, unless he had decreed they should be." This he says of human action. The decree is antecedent to the foreknowledge. According to this philosophy human action is governed by the will and the will is governed by the strongest motive, and the motive is governed by God, so that by a fixed concatenation, God governs man just as absolutely as he governs the brute by instinct, or the river by gravity. Volition with him is an effect which must have an adequate
a cause which will produce that effect and no other. This cause is not the will, nor anything which the will can control; for then in some sense, it could determine itself, which he denies ; but it is what he calls motive, meaning by it “the whole of that which moves—whether it be one thing singly or many things conjunctly.” The motive which governs is the strongest because it governs, i. e., because it is the strongest. You must wait until the will acts before you can possibly decide which motive is the strongest, and then, it may be that what you consider the weakest will appear the strongest. In a given case where there are several motives, one is called the strongest not because it is so per se, or in view of the conscience or reason, or because it would be considered so by the majority of men, but because at that time the will acts in that direction. If at another time, it acts in the direction of another motive, then that would be the strongest. We claim the power to follow either motive in either case, the will being the free cause of its own acts. Our appeal is both to consciousness and conscience. When a wrong and right course are before us with their motives and we choose the Wrong, we are conscious that we could and ought, at the same time, to have chosen the right; and hence our conscience will condemn us for choosing the wrong. Calvinistic predestinarians deny this power. Volition is an effect as we have already said, and the motive is a cause which will produce that effect and no other; and to suppose a change in the volition, we must suppose a change in the motive; and therefore under the circumstances the volition and the consequent act could not have been "otherwise. Thus human conduct is determined by a necessity as fixed and 'unalterable as the laws of nature. This is the corner-stone of absolute predestination, and we have said enough already to show that we have no faith either in the foundation or the superstructure.
5. Why does God predetermine to save ?_It is *To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." We are told in the text that "love" the good pleasure of his will"__"his grace"-"riches of his grace"_"his good pleasure"-were brought to bear on this matter. It is not on account of the merit of acceptance, that God predetermines to save, though acceptance is indispensable on our part, but it is an exhibition of his pleasure and love an act of pure grace or favor on his part-a mere gift offered freely to all. If a present were offered in good faith to each and every one of the inhabitants of a town, on the simple conditions of acceptance, with which a part comply and the rest do not, it does not fol
neste Ir low that the reason why the offer was made, was because a part dernier would comply with the conditions, or because there was any that we merit in acceptance. This may be a reason on their part why apie they have the benefit of it while their neighbors do not, but it ngeste
is not the reason on the part of the donor why it was offered. un teba So the ostensible reason why one is a Christian and another is cort bey not, is because one accepts proffered mercy and another does not;
but this is by no means the reason why mercy is proffered and all the Spirit vouchsafed us. This is mere grace or Divine favor. meit. The question arises, Why do not all accept? It seems as if they Ber would—as if the strongest possible motive with all men was in
that direction, and yet they do not, and why? Simply because change they will not. This is Christ's answer: “Ye will not come to thel me that ye might have life.” The sinner will have forever no
one to blame but himself ; " for the grace of God that bringeth salvation (or saving grace) hath appeared to all men.”
The third and concluding sentence of this chapter, including nine verses, is simply a prayer for the Ephesian brethren, from which we infer that prayer should be intimately blended with doctrine.
Paul praised God for their Christian virtues of which he had heard since he visited them about half a dozen years before, and he prayed that God would give them wisdom or make them wise to comprehend these things, and reveal to them more of Christ for their further acknowledgement of him ; would give them enlightened understandings that they might appreciate the hope to which they are called and the glorious riches provided for them, and especially the exceeding great power to save which he had exercised towards them. The same power was also manifested in raising Christ from the dead, setting him at his right hand, and above every thing else putting all things under his feet and making him the head of the church. Such power it was safe for them to trust.
In conclusion we simply say, accept the terms of salvation, be a Christian, a persevering Christian, and you will be one of those who are predestinated to salvation from the foundation of the world.
ART. IV.-THE BOOK OF JOB AND ITS LESSONS.
Probably no portion of the sacred volume has more perplexed sincere Christians than the book of Job. It portrays before us a man of no common goodness, perfect and upright, and yet his sufferings are without a parallel in the records of the human race. Satan is represented as his accuser and the agent or instrumentality by which he is afflicted. With the exception of his life, he has full power over Job's property, family and person, thus being at liberty to afflict him in any way that he could devise. Why God should deal thus with one that served him with so much fidelity, is a question over which many a pious soul has been long and sorely perplexed. Some have concluded that the story must be an allegory, or fable, designed to teach important truths illustrative of the providences of God, while many reject the book altogether. If it be a true history of a man that really existed, then its lessons should be carefully studied, for it is witten for our instruction and profit. Was there such a man as Job? when and where did he live? who is the author of the book? and what are the lessons it teaches ? are legitimate questions for discussion. We will now consider the first question, Was there such a man as Job?
The principal argument urged against the belief of Job's literal existence, are drawn from the manner in which satan is represented as the accuser of Job, the severe trials the Almighty permitted to fall upon a perfect and upright man, and the completeness of the numbers by which his wealth is described. With regard to the argument drawn from the incredibility of the conversation said to have occurred between the Almighty and satan, who is represented as "returning to the celestial regions with news,” “an able commentator,” says Horne, “has remarked, Why should such a conversation be supposed incredible? The attempt at wit in the word news, is somewhat out of place ; for the interrogation of the Almighty, Hast thou fixed thy view upon my servant Job, a perfect and upright man ?instead of aiming at the acquisition of news, is intended as a severe and most appropriate sarcasm upon the fallen spirit.
Hast thou, who, with superior faculties, and a more comprehensive knowledge of my will, hast not continued perfect and upright,-fixed thy view upon a subordinate being far weaker and less informed than thyself, who has continued so ?” a fitting rebuke for his audacity. His appearance at the court of heaven, shows that he is accountable to the same tribunal as the human race,-a doctrine elsewhere taught in the Scriptures of truth. The part assigned him is the same as he performed in the garden of Eden, only there he used flattery, and here he used affliction. It is in perfect keeping with his character as presented in Scripture : “Your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Pet. 5:8. The other arguments adduced to prove the non-existence of Job, are of little weight. The summing up of his wealth in round numbers is a very natural way of expressing it, and the writer of such a poem as the narrative under consideration, could hardly be expected to be exactly literal in a matter of so little importance. There is no evidence, however, that the numbers are not literally correct. We need no fable or allegory to tell us that the Almighty, for wise purposes, permits heavy calamities to fall upon upright men, who “fear God and eschew evil.” It is a matter of every day's occurrence, and of every man's observation. Such providences are dark, but they are nevertheless facts, and we can only say, “Clouds and darkness are round about him ; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.”
It has been the uniform belief of the Jewish and Christian church that Job was no myth, that the book bearing his name contains an authentic narrative of a real person. Independently of these considerations, which we think are sufficient to remove the objections against the belief of Job's actual existence, there are unanswerable arguments in proof of it. No one entertains the slightest doubt that Noah and Daniel really existed, the former at the time of the deluge, and the other at the period of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon. Nor can we believe that the Spirit of God would associate a fictitious person with Noah and Daniel as preeminent in piety and prayer, or present an imaginary being as an example of patience. Ezekiel says,