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OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE, IN RELATION TO THE ORIGIN OF EVIL, AND REPROBATION. *
1. Of the origin of evil among the angels. "As the Devil was created by God, let us remember that this malice which we ascribe to his nature, is not by creation, but by depravation. For whatsoever damnable thing he hath, he hath gotten to himself by his own apostacy and fall which the scripture there fore gives us warning of, lest thinking that he came out such an one from God, we should ascribe that to God which is farthest from him. For this reason doth Christ say, that Satan speaketh of his own when he speaketh lies, and addeth a cause why, because he abode not in the truth.' John viii. 44. Now when he saith that he abode not in the truth, he showeth that he had been once in the truth. And when he mak
1. Divine Providence towards angels and men, consists in preserving, governing, and ordering as well as bounding.† Larger Cat. Q. 18. Con. C. Scot. Con. P. C. U S. Say. Plat. ch.5.
"The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his holy ends; yet so as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God: who, being most holy and righteous, neither is
The Providence of God, in relation to the elect, will be particularly stated under the caption of "Effectual Calling ;" and therefore, nothing upon that subject will be designedly introduced into this chapter.
† Not one of these words conveys the full idea of agency, which being derived from ago, signifies to do; for the Calvinists maintain that God can govern his creatures, without doing all their deeds himself.
OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE, IN RELATION TO THE ORIGIŃ OF EVIL, AND REPROBATION.
1. All the angels were created perfectly holy :* or, they were created under moral law to God, and all their exercises were perfectly benevolent. They were, however, no more the movers or cause of their own volitions than fallen men
Under the moral governinent of God they were placed in a state of trial, or probation. Man, they saw to be more an ultimate end than themselves; and since all moral actions are excited in view of a motive, although in no sense caused by that motive, exercises of pride were produced in the minds of those who fell. Pride entered Lucifer's heart when he found that he must serve man; and especially Jehovah Jesus in the form of man." At the same time legions of devils had similar, selfish, moral exercises; and thus was instituted the first
"Divine agency is the cause of creature agency."
Mass. Miss. Magazine, "Divine Permission, neither causes nor modifies any thing or event, either in the natural or moral world."
Muss. Miss. Magazine. "It is impossible to account for the origin of evil upon any other hypothesis, than this, that God is the efficient agent, the GREAT FIRST CAUSE of all sin.”
Mass. Miss. Mag. No. 3. on Divine Providence.
"God cannot exercise permission towards his reasonable creatures, because they cannot act, without his working in them."
Emmons, p. 245.
"Universal and absolute dependence goes into the very idea of a creature; because independence is an attribute of the divine nature, which even omnipotence cannot communi
* It is somewhat against the doctrine, that God creates sin, that the Scriptures give us no account of God's creating any being originally unholy, If sin was ever the effect of his immediate causation, why do we not read of his having created a Devil outright? God made angels: but angels made themselves devils.
cerning the lapse of devils, ei-mitted some of the angels;
ther" of the cause, time, man-
of God is silent upon these sub-
wilfully and irrecoverably, to fall into sin and damnation."
Larger Cat. Q. 19.
2. We believe that the same God, after he had created all things, did not forsake them, or give them up to fortune or chance, but that he rules and go* verns them according to his holy will, so that nothing happens in this world without his appointment; nevertheless, God neither is the author of, nor can be charged with, the sins which are committed."
Con. R. D. C. Art. 13, "Man by the instigation of the devil, and his own wilful disobedience, deprived himself
* It is said that God was the efficient agent of Adam's sin. An efficient agent is one, who, by the power of producing, performs any action, and causes it to be either good, bad or indifferent. It would certainly be the most concise mode of expression to say, God in us loves; hates, refuses reproof, despises, mocks his holy word, blaspheme his name, and has the agency (the doing) of all manner of iniquity. Then, to complete the system, it should be said, God sends the instruments of his unholy volitions, produced in them, to heaven or heil, and there, he either praises or blasphemes himself through everlasting ages. This is merely saying God is the author of sin.
2. "Moral evil could not exist, unless it were the will of God, and his choice, that it should exist, rather than not. And from this it is certain, that it is wisest and best, in his view, that sin should exist. And in thus willing what was wisest and best, and fore-ordaining that it should come to pass, God exercised his wisdóm and goodness, and in this view and sense, is really the origin and cause of moral evil; as really as he is of the existence of any thing which he wills."
Syst, Vol. 1. p. 164. "This necessarily implies, as has been before observed, all that energy, exertion and disposal of things, that is necessary, previous to the existence of sin, in order to its actually taking place; and without which it could not have existed." Syst. Vol. 1. p. 163. God was the author, origin, and positive cause of Adam's sin. "This can be proved, and may be asserted, as a most evident truth." But in causing or originating sin, there is no sin, All the guilt consists in the ac
cate" Hence, creatures, whether angels or men, never act otherwise, than under the powerful and unremitting energy of the Supreme Being."
Emmons, p. 203.
2. "Since God can work in men both to will and to do of his good pleasure, it is as easy to account for the first offence of Adam, as for any other sin.” "Some say, that Adam being necessarily dependent, was necessarily mutable and liable to fall. It is true, indeed, Adam was necessarily dependent and liable to fall: but by whom was he exposed to this evil? not by himself, not by Satan, not by any created agent. God can make creatures immutable with respect to all beings but himself.-So long therefore, as Adam retained his original rectitude, he was equally immutable in his moral character, and stood above the power and influence of Satan, or any other malignant seducer. Some say, that God having made man upright, left him to the freedom of his own will; in consequence of which he sinned and fell. That God left man to the freedom of his own will must be allowed; but how this can account for his first transgression, is hard to conceive. Every moral agent is left to the free
it he might first show what free will could do, and then what the benefit of his grace and judgment of his justice could do."
B. 3. ch. 23. sec. 7.
God's ordaining, ordering and disposing of the fall, however, does not imply that he was the Creator of a sinful volition, or the efficient agent of sin for Adam had the power to choose evil.
B. 1. ch. 15. sec. 8. "Man therefore falleth, the providence of God so ordering it but he falleth by his own fault. The Lord had a little before pronounced, that all the things which he had made were very good. Whence therefore cometh that perverseness to man, to fall away from his God? Lest it should be thought to be of creation, the Lord with his commendation allowed that which came from himself. Therefore by his own wickedness, (or act of choosing evil from unbelief,) he corrupted the nature which he had received pure of the Lord, and by his fall he drew his whole posterity with him into destruction. Wherefore let us behold an evident cause of damnation in the corrupted nature of mankind, which is nearer to us, than search for a hidden and utterly incomprehensible cause
and all his posterity of those dia vine gifts."
Heidelbergh Cat. Q. 9.
Man was so situated, at first, that he might fall, by his own agency: and being seduced by Satan he did fall, by eating of the forbidden fruit.
Con. C. Scot. Say. Plat. Con. P. C. U. S. ch. 9. sec. 2. and ch. 6. sec. 1.
"Both angels and men were subject to change of their own free will, as experience proved, (God having reserved to himself the incommunicable property of being naturally unchangeable :) for many angels of their own accord fell by sin from their first estate, and became devils. Our first parents, being enticed by Satan, one of these Devils, speaking in a serpent, did break the covenant of works, in eating the forbidden fruit."
Sum of Saving Knowledge.. Head 1. sec. 3. in the Scotch Con.
"Wherefore the spring and principall author of all evill, is that cruell and detestable devill, the tempter, lyer, and manslayer: and next the free will of man;"" for that free liber