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the theory under examination, he might, nevertheless, have chosen not to commit the murder? This would be to affirm that the same cause, instead of "again and forever producing the same effects," might produce different, yea opposite effects; for, if such a choice were possible, let us suppose another man to have exactly the same nature, and to be placed under exactly similar circumstances with the former-a case which, though never really occurring, is certainly conceivable and let him determine not to perpetrate so foul a deed. Here we have the same cause in the same circumstances producing contrary, and not identical or even similar effects. It would be as much opposed to the law of causation as for water thrown upon a flaming house to be capable either of extinguishing or of increasing the fire. No, to carry out the theory consistently, we are obliged to say, that the man we are considering could not have arrived at any other conclusion in his own mind than the one which involved him in the guilt of a murderer. This determination was the only possible result of the temptation addressing itself to such a character, as the diminishing of the fire was the one only possible result of the water being cast upon the burning house. The question now arises, how did he get his evil nature which necessitated the crime? Had he corrupted it by his own voluntary acts? Yet each of these acts was an effect which must have resulted from an antecedent cause, as necessarily as the one we have just noticed. And thus we trace back effect to cause, and that cause to one preceding, until we arrive at the nature with which he was born, and find in it the germ of which his whole subsequent history was as necessary a development as the oak is of the acorn. But we must not stop yet. We pass to his parents as those from whom his depravity was transmitted, and the carrying out of the same process will lead us to our first parents, to their fall, to their original nature and condition from which the fall resulted, and thence to God who gave them that nature and condition. Thus God is demonstrated to be the cause of the whole and of each of its parts.
Or will it be more satisfactory to commence with the first pair, and proceed to their posterity? Consider Eve, when she is enticed to eat the forbidden fruit. Her soul, with all its capacities and its moral state, is the immediate work of God. She is not accountable for the growing of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden, or for the presence of the serpent there. Where does her sin begin? In consenting to parley with the tempter? But that consent is a phenomenon for which there must be a cause. It resulted by an unchanging law from its cause. What lies back of the volition to produce it? Only her own heart as it came from her Maker, and the condition in which he fixed her. If he were to create ten thousand other persons, with the same qualities and powers with which he endowed her, and surround them with. the same circumstances amid which he located her, they would all act as she did; for, to repeat the principle announced by M'Cosh, "the same cause will again and forever produce the same effects." The same is true of Adam's transgression; and so of all the iniquities of every age, and land, and individual.
But we must not forget that M'Cosh has anticipated this objection, and attempted to overthrow it. His reply, however, is not argument, but mere assumption. When so vigorous a reasoner is reduced to the necessity of making such a reply, we may well infer that the objection is unanswerable. We give it in full.
"But in answer to the question, we remark, secondly, that as this law does not interfere with the liberty of the agent, so God's connection with that law cannot involve him in that agent's sin as long as that agent is left in possession of this his essential liberty. If it can be demonstrated on other grounds, as all admit, that God utterly abhors that which is morally evil, the mere circumstance that he hath so constituted man, that his mind is regulated by cause and effect, cannot implicate him in man's guilt, as long as he hath left him free to follow his own will."
Now as our argument has not questioned, but everywhere assumed that man is free to follow his own will, it cannot be invalidated by this fact. It is based simply upon the asserted invariable connection between his volitions and their causes.
To show the fallacy of his reasoning, let us suppose that a father begins, from the earliest indications of intelligence in his child, and continues through the progress of subsequent years, to surround him with such circumstances as are adapted to strengthen and inflame every unhallowed passion of his bosom. Must he not be held responsible for the crimes which his son commits, because they are the natural fruit of the education he gave him, although his essential liberty to be guided by his own will was not disturbed, but the sins were done by his own choice? How much stronger does the argument become in its application to God, whose causal connection with human character and conduct is so much more extensive than that of the father with the son?
2. Another inference, closely allied to the former, is this: Every sin which man commits, and every misery, temporal or eternal, which is its punishment, is an exact expression and consequence of the divine pleasure, design and decree. When we see a system of arrangements produce, by an invariable law, any result, we conclude that its author wished to produce the result, and fixed his plans for that purpose. When, therefore, we learn that God has created beings of such a nature, and assigned to them such a condition, as inevitably induce them to prefer and pursue a course of transgression terminating in their perdition, we cannot shun the conviction that their sinfulness and destruction were the ends of their existence; the objects for whose achievement they were thus created and circumstanced. We are thus precipitated upon conclusions which not only impugn the Divine justice and holiness, but directly contradict the most positive assertions of the Bible. "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked may turn from his way and live." Ez. 33: 11. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" Mat. 23:37. Is it not inexplicable, how God could have desired the salva
tion of a sinner, when he has set in operation causes whose ultimate, but only possible result, is his damnation? And how strange, in view of this doctrine, do the expostulations of Jehovah with men appear! "And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?" Might they not have reasonably replied; "It is true that thou hast surrounded us with every external advantage; but of what avail is this, when there is, irremediable by us, an inward incapacity to be improved by our outward privileges? If tares be sown in the best soil, can wheat be reaped from them? If thou desire, indeed, our holiness and prosperity, why dost thou withhold that grace without which it is absolutely impossible for us to derive any benefit from religious institutions and providential blessings?" And so may every sinner answer the preacher and his Judge; "Why tell me that Christ died for the world; that the Gospel, and the ministry, and the ordinances of the church, are all provided to secure my salvation; that the judgments and the mercies of Providence conspire to call me to repentance? Can these do me any good, while the very nature with which I was born, and the laws which God has made inherent therein, irresistibly impel to reject the Gospel and choose the way of sin? Eternal life is pressed upon me, but I have not the moral capability of accepting the tender; and never will have, unless God shall change my heart. You spread an ample feast of delicious food; and you invite, and beseech, and urge an invalid to partake freely of it; while you know him to be laboring under a hereditary disease incurable by any means within his reach, which has so vitiated his taste that he loathes the greatest delicacies. And then you upbraid him for his ingratitude, perversity and folly in refusing your kindness, and threaten him with the heaviest penalties for it." If the doctrine of philosophical necessity be not a figment of the metaphysician's brain, but the truth, then the whole system of
Christianity, in its relations to all, save the elect, seems to us like sheltering a corpse from the rain and heaping salt upon it, to restore it to life. You cannot so much as prevent its putrefaction; rot it must, by a law of its own nature. And so must the non-elect, by an uncontrolable law of their nature, wax more and more corrupt, because God will not grant them spiritual life, and without it they are incapable of any good or tendency towards good.
3. How does it happen that a God of holiness and love has permitted sin and its attendant miseries to be introduced into the world? Our author discusses this question in another section of his work, and gives the following answer:
"But it may be involved in the very nature of a state of freedom, that those who possess it are liable to abuse it. It is conceivable, then, that wherever there are responsible beings, there may also, on the part of some or many, be a disobedience of that law which the Creator hath prescribed as the rule of obedience. A condition of things, in which such disobedience was impossible, may pre-suppose either that no freedom of will has been given, or that it is being interfered with." P. 77.
This answer we believe to be the true one; the only one that can be given. But how does it agree with his theory of causation? Why did not God give all beings such a holy will, as would always have inclined them to the right? He says elsewhere:
"A truthful mind may be incapable of sanctioning falsehood, and an honorable mind may be incapable of designing a mean action; but this, not because of any stern necessity controlling the will, but because of the very nature of the will itself." P. 280.
Why, then, could not God have made all his intelligent creatures so pure and righteous as to be incapable of transgression, "not because of any stern necessity controlling the will, but because of the very nature of the will itself?" Besides, as some have maintained their integrity, and the same effects must always flow from the same causes, if all had received the same nature, and been similarly situated, must they not have pursued the same course?
Indeed, it seems to us utterly impossible to explain the fall of any in consistency with this theory. We beg the reader to