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tion.' By excluding salvation and repentance to poor afflicted sorrowing souls, to whom God and his Son freely offer both, Calvin is guilty of an offence like that of the lying prophets mentioned in Ezekiel, who are reproached by God for making the hearts of the righteous sad, whom he had not made sad: and when our blessed Saviour, by his merits and oblation of himself, once offered for the sins of the whole world, has opened the gates of the kingdom of heaven to all believers, Calvin has dared, has impiously and mercilessly dared, without warrant from God, our Saviour, or his Apostles, to shut them against half mankind! Mr. Locke observes, that the animal, mineral, vegetable, and solar systems are so perfect, that no man was ever able to point out any defect in them, or any way in which they could be improved: the intellectual system of God exhibits the same perfection as it relates to man, and consists in God's having beeni pleased to endue him with reason, conscience, and a moral sense; and given him infallible directions in his holy word as to the accomplishment of the duty he requires of him to perform, with perfect ability (by the assistance of divine grace duly iin.
plored) to perform it; and has annexed such temporal and eternal rewards, as are sufficient to stimulate and determine every rational being to its performance. But an intellectual system, formed on the principle of absolute decrees, and asserting that God doomed a large portion of the human race to eternal damnation before their birth, evinces no such perfection: on the contrary, it would be unworthy of even a wise or good man ; for it is a system forned on such arbitrary, partial, cruel, and unjust principles, as any good man would be ashamed to act on, or good monarch would observe or establish in his kingdom. It is a system which represents the Almighty God of heaven and earth not, as he is pleased to proclaim himself, “mer" ciful, gracious, longsuffering, abundant in "goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, “trangression, and sin,” &c. but as an object only of dread and fear; and it contradicts those natural and intuitive ideas of right and wrong, of goodness and justice, which are planted by God in the human heart, and exist in it prior to all reasoning. However, therefore, a few deluded bigots or frantic enthusiasts may be influenced or persuaded to
think such an intellectual system as Calvin's worthy of God, and of proceeding from him, it is impossible any man of reason and judgment can do so.
In a treatise of this intended brevity, the observations on the writings of Calvin would not have been so extended or particular, if it did not appear that his doctrine of absolute decrees is gaining ground every day among the lower classes of the people; though it is the most dangerous superstition, the wickedest heresy, that has ever yet prevailed in the world, and therefore is deserving of the strongest opposition, and severest animadversion.
OBJECTION II. It is alleged, that there is a promiscuous and indiscriminate distribution made of the things of this life indifferently and equally to bad and good men; a distribution unbecoming not only the good.' ness of God, but likewise the justice of a superintending providence. With
respect to this objection, Solomon expresses himself in these words; “ All
things come alike to all: there is one “event to the righteous, and to the wicked; " to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that
sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not:
as is the good, so is the sinner; and he " that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath."
The Athenian philosophers likewise maintained, that the riches of the robber Harpa
was a reproach to the justice of the gods. And the Roman writers frequently express the same judgment, from the apparent poverty of good men, and the unmerited wealth of those who were vicious.
Marmoreo Licinius tumulo jacet,
Quis putet esse Deos !
However strong this objection of the indiscriminate lot to good and bad men may appear to be against the providence or goodness of God, I think it will entirely vanish on a fair examination; for this objection can only have reference to external possessions, in the exclusive property of which no sensible man ever yet considered human happiness to consist: and since it is impossible for any
* This man was appointed governor of Babylon by Alexander the Great ; in whose absence he plundered the royal palace, freighted a ship with its treasures, and lived in the utmost splendor and magnificence at Athens. But this splendor was but of short continuance; as he was pursued by Antipater, from whom he fled, and was slain in Candia.
man to know the effect which great prosperity or adversity may have on his mind, temper, principles, or conduct; or how much the possession of the first, or sufferance of the last, may increase or lessen his happiness in a future state; it is utterly impossible for him to know which of the two may be most for his advantage; and therefore the ostensible poverty of the good, or the prosperity of the wicked, is actually and absolutely no just argument against the goodness of God, as the adversity complained of may be, and certainly often to many men is, a blessing in disguise. The greatest miser that ever lived will allow there are several things more valuable than riches; and the most ambitious character will admit the same with respect to dignities and power : they will each allow that health and the senses of hearing and seeing are more valuable; and rather than lose these senses or their health, they would readily part with their money on titles : yet no man, I believe, ever thought of arraigning the decrees or the goodness of God, because some men are healthy, and others unhealthy; or because some see or hear well or ill, whilst others are totally deaf or blind : and therefore if the non-possession