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blame for his conduct, unless he is science, they are not moral agents, capable of distinguishing between nor deserving of either praise or moral good and evil. The differ- blame. ence between right and wrong, 2. There is reason to believe good and evil, does not depend that mankind are free, moral aupon the will of any being, but is gents from their birth. That they founded in the nature of things. choose and will, from their earliA capacity to discern this differ-est infancy, will not be disputed. ence, is essential to moral obliga- And as soon as they are capable tion. No being, however free, can of making known the thoughts and feel bound to do, what he is not feelings of their minds, they manicapable of knowing to be right and fest moral discernment. As they good, or to refrain from doing, never acquire any new corporeal what he is not capable of knowing power, after their birth; so there to be wrong and evil. Hence, is no reason to think, that they what has been called the Moral acquire any new mental faculty: Sense, is indispensable to moral They come into the world men and agency. This moral sense is what women in miniature, and comthe Scriptures call Conscience, and mence free, moral agents, as soon what they represent all men, the as they commence their rational Heathens not excepted, as posses- existence. sing: Rom. ii. 14, 15, “ For when 3. The universal agency of God, the Gentiles, who have not the law, is consistent with the free, moral do by nature the things contained agency of man. Both reason and in the law, these, having not the scripture teach, that God “ worklaw, are a law unto themselves: eth all things;" or, in other words, who show the work of the law is the Efficient Cause of all that written in their hearts, their con-exists or takes place, in the moral, science also bearing witness, and as well as in the natural world. their thoughts the mean while ac But, some have thought it difficult cusing, or else excusing one ano to reconcile this doctrine with the ther.''
free, moral agency of man. If
, The preceding observations lead however, this doctrine be consisto the following inferences: tent with the free agency of man,
1. Brutes are not moral agents. it is presumed that few will think That they are free agents, is un it inconsistent with his moral agenquestionable. They choose and cy. And as free agency consists refuse, and are evidently as volun- in choice and volition simply, how tary in their actions, as men. can there be the least inconsisThat they do not possess a degree tency betwer:n the universal agenof reason, it would, perhaps, be cy of God, and the free agency of difficult to prove. But, they are man? When God works in. men to entirely destitute of a moral sense, will, do they not will? When He or conscience. Though they man causes them to choose, do they not ifest fear, sympathy, pity and oth- choose? The universal agency of er natural affections, yet they nev-God, instead of destroying, proer show any signs of remorse or duces the free, moral agency of all guilt, or appear to have any sense mankind. of injury, how much soever abus
A HOPKINSIAN. ed. And, since they have no con
all the happiness of both of them. VR. EDITOR,
Nor doth Moses simply desire this, I am gratified in perceiving, that your but only comparatively expresseth plan admits expositions of difficult pas. his singular zeal for God's glory, sages of Scripture. Scarcely any thing, and charity to his people ; sugin your work, is, in my estimation, more gesting that the very thoughts of interesting and useful. The following able exposition of a
the destruction of God's people, very difficult and much-disputed text, is and the reproach and blasphemy extracted from a volume of Sermons, by which would be cast upon God by Rev. ANDREW LEE. By inserting it, you means thereof, were so intolerable will oblige one, at least, of your corres to him, that he rather wished, if pondents.
it were possible, that God would Exodus xxxii. 31, 32. accept him as a sacrifice in their And Moses returned unto the stead, and by his utter destruction Lord and said, Oh! this people have prevent so great a mischief.” sinned a great sin, and have made
Mr. Henry considers Moses as them gods of gold. Yet now, if praying to die with Israel, if they thou wilt, forgive their sin; and if must die in the wilderness—“ If prot, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy they must be cut off, let me be cut book which thou hast written. off with them-let not the land of
Mosesmeaning, while praying promise be mine by survivorship. for Israel, is obvious; but the pe- God had told Moses, that if he tition offered up for himself is not would not interpose, He would equally so—blot me, I pray thee, make him a great nation-No, said out of thy book.
Moses, I am so far from desiring Four different constructions have to see my name and family built been put on this prayer:
on the ruins of Israel, that I choose “ Blot me” (saith Mr. Cruden) | rather to die with them." * out of the book of life-out of
Doctor Hunter understands him the catalogue, or number of those as praying to die himself, before that shall be saved-wherein Mo- sentence should be executed on his ses does not express what he people, if they were not pardoned. thought might be done, but rather And in the declaration, whosoever wisheth, if it were possible, that haih sinned against me, him will I God would accept of him as a sac
blot out of my book, he discovers rifice in their stead, and by his an intimation, that that offending destruction and annihilation, pre- people should die short of the provent so great a mischief to them.” mised land!” Doctor S. Clark expresseth his
Mr. Firman considers Moses as sense of the passage to nearly the here praying to be blotted out of same effect.
the page of history, if Israel were Mr. Pool considers Moses as not parduned; so that no record of praying to be annihilated, that Is- his name, or the part which he had rael might be pardoned! - Blot acted in the station assigned him, me out of the book of life-out of should be handed down to posterthe catalogue, or number of those ity. that shall be saved. I suppose
Such are the constructions which Moses doth not wish his eternal have been put on this scripture. damnation, because that state It remains, to give our sense of would imply both wickedness in the passage, and the grounds on himself and dishonour to God, which it rests. but his annihilation, or utter loss As to our sense of the passage, of this life, and that to come, and we conceive these puzzling words
of Moses to be no other than a / be understood in the same sense prayer for himself—that his sins in the prayer, and in the answer; which might stand charged against and the latter explains the former. him in the book of God, might be Oh! this people have sinned a blotted out, however God might great sin—l'et now, if thou wilt, deal with Israel.
forgive their sin; and if not_if " Sins are compared to debts, thou wilt not forgive their sinwhich are written in the creditor's blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book, and crossed, or blotted out, book, which thou hast written. And when paid. *
ihe Lord said unto Moses, whoMan's sins are written in the SOEVER hath sinned aguinst me, book of God's remembrance, or ac HIM will I blot out of my book: counts, out of which all men shall THEREFORE now go lead the peobe judged hereafter.t And when ple unto the place of which I have sin is pardoned, it is said to be spoken unto thee. blotted out. I And not to be found The passage thus presented to any more, though sought for."S our view, seems scarcely to need
When a debtor hath paid a debt, a comment; but such sad work we are at no loss for his meaning, hath been made of this text, and if he requests to be crossed, or such strange conclusions been blotted out of the creditor's book; drawn from it, that it may
pronor would doubt arise should one per to subjoin a few remarks. to whom a debt was forgiven, pre That God had threatened to fer like petition. You will please “ destroy that people, and blot out to blot me out of your book.” their name from under heaven
“ Though Moses had taken no that Moses had prayed for thempart in this sin of Israel, he knew and that “the Lord had repented himself a sinner; and when pray-of the evil which he thought to do ing for others, it is not likely he unto them,” we have seen above. would forget himself. The occa And here Moses is ordered to re. sion would naturally suggest the sume his march, and carry up the value, yea the necessity of for- tribes to the promised land, and giveness, and dispose him to ask the reason is assigned—“ whosoit of God.
When others are pun ever hath sinned against me, him ished, or but just escape punish- will I blot out of my book: therement, we commonly look at home, fore, now go lead the people to the and consider our own state; and place of which I have spoken unto if we see ourselves in danger, take thee.” measures to avoid it. To a sinner, When we thus view the subject, the only way of safety is, repairing can a doubt remain respecting the to diviñe mercy, and obtaining a sense of this text? But (keeping in pardon. That Moses would be view the reason here assigned for excited to this by a view of Israel, the renewed order given to Moses at this time, is a reasonable ex to conduct the tribes to Canaan, pectation.
namely, God's determination to That such was the purport of blot out of his book whosoever had Moses' prayer for himself, is clear- sinned against him, in this affair) ly indicated by the answer which | let us try it in the different senses was given to it-for the blotting which have been put upon it. out of God's book, is doubtless to I. We will suppose blotting out
* Matthew vi. 32. + Revelations six. of God's book, to mean destroying 12. Isaiah xliv. 22. 'S Jeremiah 1. 20. soul and body in hell. The divine Vid. Cruden's Concord. under BLOT. determination to shew no mercy
to Israel, is then the reason as- march, and lead them to the place signed for the order here given to of which I have spoken unto thee.” Moses. The prayer and answer The therefore go now, doth not stand thus-Now if thou wilt, for- surprise us. We see the order give this people. - Answer-I will rise out of the Divine purpose; not hear thy prayer for them—no but on any of the other construcmercy shall be shown them; but tions of the text, thwarts and con
utter, eternal destruction shall be tradicts it; or cannot surely be - their portion—THEREFORE now go assigned as the reason of it. st: lead them to the promised land ! Several other considerations il
II. Suppose blotting out of God's lustrate the subject, and confirm book to mean annihilation, and his our construction of it. answer to the prayer stands thus When Moses returned to interI will destroy this people; and blot cede for Israel, he certainly asked them from among my works of God to pardon their sin.
Oh! THEREFORE, go lead them to the this people have sinned a great place of which I have spoken unto sin, and have made them gods of thee!
gold-Yet now, if thou wilt, forIII. Suppose with Mr. Henry, give their sin. That he was heard and Doctor Hunter, that it is to and obtained his request, appears be understood of destruction in the not only from the history containwilderness, and the answer stands ed in our context, but from Moses' thus— My wrath shall wax hot rehearsal of it just before his death. against Israel and consume them He recounted the dealings of God
they shall all die in the wilderness with Israel, when taking his leave La THEREFORE, now go lead them of them on the plains of Moab.-to Canaan!
In that valedictory discourse he The whole people, save Moses reminded them of their sin on this and Joshua, seem to have partici-occasion of God's anger against pated in the revolt. We have no them—his threatening to destroy account of another exception; and them, and how he pleaded with whosoever had sinned, God would God in their behalf, and the sucblot out of his book. Surely had cess which attended his interceseither of these been the meaning sions for them—“I was afraid of of blotting out of God's book, it the anger and hot displeasure would not have been given as the wherewith the Lord was wroth reason for Moses' resuming his with you to destroy you, but the march and carrying up the tribes to Lord hearkened unto mé at that the land of promise.
Common time also.* sense revolts at the idea.
Sentence of death in the wilderBut if we understand blotting ness was afterwards denounced put of God's book in the sense we against those sinners, and execut
put upon it, we see at once ed upon them, but not to punish the propriety of the order given to this sin; but the rebellion which Moses, founded on this act of grace, was occasioned by the report made God's having “ repented of the by the spies which were sent to evil which he thought to do unto search out the land. On that octhem.” If this is the meaning of casion Moses prayed fervently for the words, the answer to Moses' his people, and not wholly withprayer amounts to this, I have out effect. God had threatened to heard and hearkened to your pray- “ smite them with the pestilence, er, and pardoned the sin of this and disinherit them,” but reced people; proceed therefore in your *Deuteronomy ix, 19.
ed from his threatening, through There is therefore no doubt rethe prevalence of that intercessor specting the sin which sbut that in their behalf-“ the Lord said, I generation out of Canaan. Nor do have pardoned according to thy we apprehend more occasion for word;" but at the same time de- doubt relative to the prayer of Monounced an irrevokable sentence ses, to be blotted out of God's of death in the wilderness against book. those rebels. Then Moses was But though the sin of Israel on not ordered to “lead the people this occasion was pardoned, and to the place of which God had Moses ordered to lead them to · spoken," but commanded to go Canaan, some temporal chastise
back into the wilderness which ments were in flicted, to teach the they had passed" turn you, and evil of sin, and serve as a warning get ye into the wilderness by the to others to keep themselves in the way of the red sca.
fear of God; of which Moses was At that time the exception from notified when ordered to advance the general sentence, was not in with the pardoned tribes.--"Nevfavour of Moses and Joshua, who ertheless, in the day when I visit, had been on the mount, and taken I will visit their sin upon them. no part in Israel's sin in making And the Lord plagued the people the golden calf, but in favour of because they had made the calf Caleb and Joshua, who dissented which Aaron made.” The manfrom the report made by the other / ner in which this is mentioned, spies; though no intimation is giv- shows that their sin in that affair en that Caleb was not with the was forgiven, and only some lightpeople, and did not sin with them er corrections ordered in consein the matter of the golden calf. quence of it; which is common af* Numbers xiy.
ter sin is pardoned.
a confirmed infidel, who avoided Extract of a letter from a Minis- all religious meetings, and would
ter in Worcester county. not suffer his family to attend, who “ In Douglas a good work com often spit on the bible, stamped it menced about two months since, under his feet, and cursed it, and which is very powerful; about one its author, after deep convictions, hundred have obtained hope, and has obtained a hope of acceptance the revival is as promising as at with God, and now esteems the any former period." It has extend bible his chief treasure. Another ed into the towns of Uxbridge, instance, still more evincive of the Sutton and Northbridge. Appear-efficacy of Divine grace, is that of ances promise a good work in each | eight or ten young men, from a of them. It embraces persons of neighbouring town, who went to all ages, from the very child, to the Douglas, for the avowed purpose of man of gray hairs. Several in breaking up the revival. They stances are quite remarkable; one hired their board at a tavern, at: or two of them I will mention. A tended the numerous meetings held man of 60, who had been for years I in various parts of the town, for