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es of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory?” The apostle here puts it to the objector to answer his own objection. He implicitly says to him, “ You grant, that God does have
“ mercy on whom he will have mercy and whom he will he bardeneth. You grant, that no man can resist bis hardening influence. And you grant, that God does find fault with those, who disobey his will. Now, if there be any difficulty in this case, it belongs to you, rather than to me, to remove it.
I have only taught facts which you do not pretend to deny. But you draw an inference from the facts I have stated, which you insinuate is an insuperable difficulty. You ask why God should find fault with men for any thing they do under his irresistible influence, insinuating, that they cannot act freely and voluntarily under a divine irresist
a ible influence. But this inference does not follow from the premises granted, but is contrary to two plain well known facts, One fact is, that God has made men. The other fact is, that he has made them capable of acting freely and voluntarily under his irresistible influence. Their accountability, therefore, arises not from their being made, but from their being made what they are and what they know they are, free, rational, voluntary, moral agents. They intuitively know, that they are worthy of praise, or blame, for all their free voluntary actions, though God, works in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure. To deny, therefore, that they are not worthy of praise, or blame, for their free, voluntary actions under a divine influence, or moral necessity, is implicitly to deny that God has made them and made them what they know they are and what they know he had a power and right to make them ; that is, free, voluntary, moral, accountable agents. This is extremely unreasonable, unscriptural and criminal.
3. If men have no right, or reason, to complain of God, for making them what they are and what he was pleased to make them ; then they have no reason to complain, that he determined from eternity to make
them what he has made them and what he will make them, through every period of their existence. He has certainly a right to determine before hand to do that, wbich he has a right to do afterwards. As he bad a right to make men just what he pleased at first, so he had a right to determine to make them what he pleased at first.
And as he had a right to make them what he pleased, as long as they should exist ; so he had a right to determine what he would make them forever. As he had a right to make Adam what he was before he sinned and when he sinned; so he had a right to determine from eternity, to make him what he was before he sinned and when he sinned. And he had the same right to determine from eternity, what he would make his posterity, when they come into the world, while they live in the world and as long as they exist. As he had a right to make men different from one another in respect to their intellectual faculties and moral qualities ; so he had a right to determine to make them different from one another through the whole period of their existence. Every objection, that can be made against the eternal purposes of God, lies with equal weight against the conduct of God in making men what he does make them and what he has an original and sovereign right to make them. one to object against God's doing what he has an independent right to do, is extremely presumptuous and inexcusable.
4. If men have no reason to complain of God for making them what they know they are ; then they are all by nature totally depraved. For they are all naturally disposed to complain, that God has made them thus. They complain of this, more than of any thing that God does in his providence, or says in his word.Indeed, all their objections against God may be traced up to the doctrine of man's absolute dependance and free agency. Mankind almost universally unite in calling this an unreasonable and absurd doctrine, though it is plainly revealed in the Bible from beginning to end. This objection arises not from reason or
And for any
experience, but from a total aversion from being absolutely in the hands of God, as the clay is in the hands of the potter. They would all fain flee out of his hand. This is not the natural disposition of one, or two, or a few of mankind, but the natural disposition of all. They are all, therefore, naturally, enemies to God. They either say, that there is no such God as the Bi
, ble represents, or if there is, they inwardly say, that he shall not reign over them. They are displeased, that he has made them as he bas and that he has made them the offspring of Adam, and caused them to share in the natural and moral evils of the fall. They say often, that they had rather never existed than to exist the depraved offspring of Adam, who ruined them. This language & feeling demonstrate, that they have naturally a carnal mind, which is enmity against God, not subject to his law, neither indeed can be. It is the spirit of the first transgressor and the greatest enemy to God.
5. If men have no reason to complain of God, for making them what they are, then whenever they seriously contend with him, on this account, they will be constrained to justify God and condemn themselves. Whenever God thoroughly awakens sinners to attend to their absolute dependance upon him, their hearts never fail to rise, to object, to murmur and complain. But thousands have been convinced of the absurdity and criminality of their complaints. And God can always convince them, if he pleases. For they are rational, as well as moral agents and capable of feeling the weight and authority of divine truth. When any truth is clearly and fully set before the reason and conscience of any person, it is impossible for him to disbelieve it, whether he loves or hates it. His conviction of truth does not depend merely upon his heart. His reason and conscience may be convinced, while his heart hates the conviction. All sinners are constantly liable to be convinced, that all their complaints against God, for making and governing them as he does, are groundless and criminal. They may be convinced to day, or to-morrow; and they certainly will be sooner, or later.
6. If it be true, that men have no reason to complain of God, for making them just such as he pleases, then it is their indispensable duty to be willing to be in the forming hand of God to all eternity. And they ought never to feel, nor express a desire to get out of his hand. God's absolute sovereignty calls for their immediate and unconditional submission. And let them say, or do, what they will, they will remain his enemies, until they do actually and cordially subniit themselves, entirely and forever, into his holy and sovereign hands.
A WARNING TO YOUTU,
EccLESIASTES, xv. 9.-Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth ; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth and walk in the ways of thine heart and in the sight of thine eyes : but know thou, that for all these things, God will bring thee into judgment,
Youths have often been compared to trees in their bloom ; but like beautiful and promising blossoms, they often disappoint the hopes they inspire. It depends upon the principles they imbibe and the courses they pursue, whether they shall, or shall not, be blessings to Jheir parents, to their friends and to their fellow creatures. Those, who have lived to acquire the dom of piety and experience, have always felt a tender solicitude for the rising generation and endeavored to guide and guard them in their young and inexperienced age. Solomon possessed all the wisdom, which piety and experience could teach. He knew what it was to remember his Creator in the days of his youth and to pour out his heart before him in prayer and praise. And he knew, by experience, the evil and folly of walking in the ways of his heart and in the sight of
This excited in his breast a peculiar concern for those, who were coming upon the stage of life and were about to be exposed to all the dangers of this smiling and ensnaring world. His paternal feelings for the safety and happiness of the young, he expresses in terms, the best adapted to make a strong and deep impression on their minds. “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth ; and let thine heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth and walk in the ways of thine heart and