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suppose the reason of man, under these just impressions of God's conduct to him, should accede to so inonstrous a conclusion, that the same God who has thus shewn such partiality, such favour to the human race, should first create the species in his own image, and then devote a large portion of it to eternal destruction, to such a state of reprobation, as to doom them before their birth, or their having offended him, to a state of endless misery ? Such a conclusion is so false and foolish, that the unprejudiced reason of man naturally abhors and revolts from it: even the Heathens, who were so much less instructed in the attributes of the Deity, and especially in that of his goodness, than we are, would have been shocked at the cruelty and injustice so impiously imputed to him by Calvin.
In a fragment of the Greek poet Menander, the goodness of the Deity is inculcated in the following lines, elegantly translated by the late Mr. Fawkes. . : Home
Whoe'er approaches to the Lord of all,
Who leads beneficent a virtuous life,
Socrates, in a long discourse with the Sceptic Aristodemus, related in Xenophon's Memorabilia, expressly asserts the goodness of God to man, by an enumeration of the various instances of 'that goodness, shewn to him, and especially exhibited in the perfections of body and mind, with which, above all other creatures, he is endued. Pythagoras and Plato infer the same, and for the same reasons : and every one conversant in the principles of the Stoic Philosophers, especially of those excellent ones, Epictetus and Marcus Antoninus, knows that, whatever errors, there were in their philosophy, they unifornily maintained not only the superintendance of a providence in opposition to the Epicureans, but likewise the justice and goodness of that providence. Cicero infers the goodness of God to the human species in these words: “Animal hoc providum, sagax, multi“ plex, acutumn, memor, plenum rationis et con“ silii, quem vocamus hominem, præclara quadam
4 conditione generatum esse a summo Deo: solum " est enim ex tot animantium generibus atque na“ turis, particeps rationis et cogitationis, cum ce" tera sint omnia expertia. Quid est autem, non 5 dicam in homine, sed in omni coelo atque terra, 66 ratione divinius*?” Seneca still more emphatically as follows: “Unde ista quæ possides? quae “ das? quæ negas? quæ servas? quæ rapis? unde “ hæc innumerabilia, oculos, aures, animum mul“ centia? unde illa luxuriam quoque instrueno 6 copia? neque enim necessitatibus tantummodo « nostris provisum est: usque in delicias amamur. “ Tot arbusta, non uno modo frugifera, tot herbæ "salutares, tot varietates ciborum per totum an: !num digestæ, ut inerti quoque fortuita terræ “ alimenta præberent. Jam animalia omnis ges "neris, alia in sicco solidoque, alia in humo iné * nascentia, alia per sublime dimissa, ut omnis « rerum naturæ pars tributum aliquod nobis cona “ ferret.” And no Christian theologist can express the goodness of God to man stronger than Juvenal does in these words: ,, . I.
" aptissima quæque dabunt Dii: .
Every reader of this Essay, I doubt not, is ac quainted with that high and perfect conviction of
the great goodness of God, which is expressed in the writings of Sir Isaac Newton, Boyle, Locke, and Lord Bacon, and especially in those of Mr. Addison; and likewise that the same opinion of it is declared in the works of Dr. Clarke, Dr. Barrow, Dr. Jortin, Bishop Butler, Dr. Doddridge, Archbishop Tillotson, and an almost infinite nume ber of others that might be enumerated; but these are particularly mentioned, because there is not one of them who was not as learned, and had as much natural genius and intellect, as Calvin, without his arbitrary, gloomy, haughty, and intolerant spirit: and as, from the writings of these great men, we 'may be very certain they never did or could have been influenced to adopt Calvin's doctrine of partial election and reprobation, we may with precision affirm it is contrary to reason; for human reason never existed or has been displayed on every important point of theology more strongly, or with more truth and brilliancy, than in the writings of the men I have quoted. To prove how much this abominable doctrine maintained by Calvin militates against the common sense of mankind, the argument may be left to this issue. · Let five hundred unprejudiced men, promiscuously assembled either in the cities of London, Pekin, or Amsterdam, be asked these questions: Do you think the God who made heaven and earth is a God of mercy and goodness, and in
clined to favour and make happy those men who serve him fạithfully and to the best of their power, or not? Can it be at all questioned but that at least nine tenths of these people would answer in the affirmative ?
If a man serves God as well as he can, and is exceedingly anxious to love, honour, and obey him; is a good father, husband, master, and friend; is kind to the poor, and leads a sober and orderly life: do you conceive it possible that such a man should be doomed before he was born to suffer eternal damnation ?- To this question the inevitable answer must be, that it was impossible God should act so unjustly.
Is not, in your opinion, such a man as has been just described, a man who sincerely endeavours to fulfil his duty to God and man, more likely to be approved, accepted, and chosen by God, than a man who considers the discharge of the moral and social duties of no vital consequence, and who rests his ideas of being accepted and approved by God solely on the persuasion of his being one of his Elect, though he can produce no warrant, nor assign any just or reasonable cause for the preference he proudly assumes ?—The natural reply to this question would be, We think God to be a righteous judge, and that he will reward every man according to his works. · Do you think it possible that a God, who has