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“ strike in with this natural depravity of temper,
it is not in the power even of religion “ itself to preserve the character of the per
son who is possessed with it from appear
ing highly absurd and ridiculous.” Calvin's natural temper thus soured his religious opinions, and made him combine and associate in his mind conclusions quite contrary to Scripture; for that holy record gives no warrant to any man to wrong and insult the merciful name and nature of the Deity, by a supposition which charges God with acting in a cruel and unjust manner towards his creatures. Archbishop Tillotson in his Sermon*, and likewise Dr. Samuel Clarke in his Sermont, both observe, that there are no such decrees in the Scriptures as absolute reprobation and predestination: on the contrary, they every where declare and express the goodness of God, and his intentions of making his creatures happy, if they love, honour, and obey him. Does not God proclaim this in the character he condescended to give of himself to Moses? “ And the Lord
passed by before him, (Moses,) and pro“ claimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful “ and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant
* Vol. i. p. 231. 12mo.
+ Vol. i. p. 93. 12mo.
“ in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for
thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgres“ sion and sin *,” &c. Further, “I am the • Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judg
ment, and righteousness, in the earth: for " in these things I delight, saith the Lord t." Further, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, “ slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He “ will not always chide, neither will he keep “ his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with
us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is
high above the earth, so great is his mercy “ towards them that fear him. God is love. “ He is the God of peace, the - father of “ mercies, and the God of all comfort and “ consolation. The goodness of God endureth
continually. There is none. good but one, " that is God." These plain texts incontestibly assert the goodness of God, as the following do his justice: “The Lord is righte
he is a just God, he is excellent in judgment, and in plenty of justice. The “ statutes of the Lord are right, just and true
ways, and we are sure that the judg“ment of God is according to truth. The
* Exod. xxxiv, 6, 7.
+ Jerem. ix. 24.
“ Lord our God is righteous in all his works “ which he doth. Thy righteousness, O Lord, “ is an everlasting righteousness, and thy “ law is the truth; every one of thy righteous - judgments endureth for ever. Righteous “ is the Lord, and upright are his judgments. “ Shall mortal man be more just than God? “ shall a man be more pure than his Maker? 66 Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of un
derstanding. Far be it from God that he 6 should do wickedness, and from the Al
mighty that he should commit iniquity. 66 For the work of a man shall he render unto “ him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.
ways. Yea, surely God will not “ do wickedly, neither will the Almighty
pervert judgment*.” And the same sentiment is thus expressed by the author of the book of Wisdom: “For seeing thou art
righteous thyself, thou orderest all things “ righteously, thinking it not agreeable with
thy power to condemn him that hath not “ deserved to be punished; for thy power
is “ the beginning of righteousness, and be“ cause thou art the Lord of all, it mak“eth thee to be gracious unto all. With
* Job xxxiv, 10, &c.
righteousness shall he judge the world, and “ the people with equity*. Whatsoever good
thing any man doth, the same shall he “ receive of the Lord, whether he be bond “ or free: but he that doth wrong shall re“ ceive for the wrong he hath done, for God “ will render unto every man according to “ his deeds, and according to his deserts “ will he judge him; condemning the wicked “ to bring his way upon his head, and justi
fying the righteous to give him according “ to his righteousness; so that men shall say, “ there is a reward for the righteous ; doubt« less there is a God that judgeth the earth.”
That God intends, and ever did intend, the happiness of man, is plain and evident from his having created him originally in his own image, and placed him in Paradise; in his redemption of him after his fall; in man's being permitted to worship God and walk with him; and in the easy task enjoined him to obtain temporal and eternal happiness ; from the pleasures he is permitted to derive both from sense and intellect, when these are not abused. And we are likewise particularly to infer his intentions to promote the happiness of man
* Psalm xcviii. 9.
from the following passages in Scripture. No text in the Bible, perhaps, more convincingly establishes this opinion in the human mind, than this affectionate and particular address from God himself to the Jews, and through them to the whole human race: “ O that there were such an heart in them, “ that they would fear me and keep all my “ commandments always, that it might be 66 well with them and with their children for “ ever!” And likewise a similar affectionate address to the Jews by our blessed Saviour: “ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest “ the Prophets, and stonest them which are “ sent unto thee, how often would I have
gathered thy children together, even as a “ hen gathereth her chickens under her 66 wings, and ye would not!" These texts certainly prove it to be the intention of God to establish and promote the happiness of all those human beings who fear and obey him; and upon other terms to expect the favour of God is manifestly foolish and absurd, for mankind do not on other terms expect it from each other: every master from his servant, and every father from his son, requires submission and obedience to their commands, as the price of their favour,