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of liberty? They are all in reality comprehended in these two.
(1.) An act free in the sense above explained, is in itself impossible—a contradiction-an effect without a cause. But the first sin of man was an act, as the Confession of Faith itself affirms, free in this very sense. A free act therefore is not in itself impossible-an event without a cause.
(2.) It is again objected that an act which is free must be contingent, and an event really contingent cannot be foreknown even to God. The doctrine of liberty therefore destroys that of the divine foreknowledge. But the fall of man was, as the Confession of Faith itself affirms, an event contingent in the sense now under consideration, and was notwithstanding perfectly foreknown to God. All other acts of the human will may therefore, in the same sense, be contingent, and yet be the objects of the divine foreknowledge. Thus we may undeniably demonstrate, in the light of the teachings of the Confession of Faith in respect to the power of the buman will prior to the fall, the fallacy of all objections ever urged by Necessitarians against the doctrine of Liberty; and these teachings, as shown above, we must admit, or embrace the horrid dogma that God is the author of sin.
This, then, is the alternative forced upon Necessitarians of both schools, to admit that God is the author of sin, or forever to give up all objections to the doctrine of liberty.
8. Finally, it is quite manifest in the light of what has gone before, who are truly consistent Calvinists—Calvinists, we mean, of the Necessitarian School. They are those, and those only, who maintain with Hopkins and Emmons, that God is alike the sole efficient cause of all actions, good and bad-in other words, that He is the author of sin. The only possible or conceivable refuge from that dogma is, as above stated, the doctrine of liberty. God is truly and properly the author of every thing which he intentionally produces by his own direct agency, or by creating something else from which the former can not but result. Now if we take away the doctrine of liberty, the proposition is capable of the most absolute demonstration, that in one or both of the senses above named, God is the author of sio. If, as the Confession of Faith affirms, the action of the will always is, and cannot but be according to antecedent disposition, and that a corrupt disposition, one from which sin results, is “both itself, and all the motions thereof, truly and properly sin," then in both sepses is God the author of sin. For this corrupt nature, as,
we have seen, could have originated, in the case of our first parents at least, only by the direct agency of God, and from it nothing but a nature of corresponding corruption could result in their offspring, and actual transgression in all. God, therefore, as far as original sin, the sin of nature, is concerned, must be its author directly; and as far as actual transgression is concerned, he must be its author in the secondary, but no less absolute sense. If, on the other hand, we maintain with Emmons, that all sin consists simply and exclusively in acts of will, and that God produces such acts as well as those which are holy, by his own direct agency, then is God the author of all sin in the relation of direct efficient cause. If we deny the doctrine of Liberty, therefore, it is absolutely impossible to avoid the conclusion that God is truly and properly the author of sin. No other alternative is left us. Hopkins and Emmons, therefore, and those of corresponding sentiments are the only consistent Calvinists of the Necessitarian School. All who maintain that doctrine, are bound as honest men, to proclaim it before the wide world, that God is the sole, originating, and efficient cause of all events, good and bad, that is, that he is the author of sin. Hopkins gave a systematic development to the fundamental principles of Edwards, and of the Necessitarian school, pushing those principles only to their legitimate logical results, as Edwards himself never denied. In an interview we once had with Dr. Emmons, he remarked that when he expounded his theory of universal divine efficiency to Dr. Hopkins, that the latter could say nothing against it. During that interview, Dr. Emmons remarked, that the great object of his theological life had been, to give systematic development to those great principles universally admitted by Calvinists. This we believe he has done, and no Necessitarian can consistently object to bis principles, or to the development which he has given to those great principles in his system. For where is the difference, as far as the bearing upon the rectitude of the divine administration is concerned, whether we suppose that God produces all actions and events, good and bad alike, by his own direct all-efficient agency, or by producing something else from which they cannot but result, Whichever system we adopt, we cannot legitimately avoid the conclusion, that God, as the sole efficient cause of all events, is truly and properly the author of sin. We must reserve our further remarks upon the Confession of Faith for a future: number of the Quarterly..
Select Passages of Scripture Considered.
By Pres. A. Mahar.
Mark xiii: 32. “But of that day, and that hour, knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
It is generally supposed, that one of two inferences must be drawn from this passage—that Christ is not omniscient, and therefore not the supreme God-or that the words, neither the Son,” must be understood as referring to the human instead of the divine spirit of Christ. The former is the construction adopted by those who deny, and the latter by those who affirm his divinity. We take the ground, waving the objection that might be urged that the reading is somewhat doubtful, that the term Son, as here used, does designate the entire nature of Christ, and that the passage thus understood, does not deny his divinity.
That the term Son, as here used, designates the entire nature of Christ, divine as well as human, is demonstrably evident from the fact, that the words, “ the Son,” are in this connection used to designate the Son, in distinction from " the Father.” Universal usage is undeniably, and irreconcilably opposed to the supposition, that the words, " the Son, when employed, as in this connection in distinction, from those of " the Father” ever designate the human, in opposition to the divine spirit of Christ. If invariable Bible usage, if the Jaws of interpretation universally admitted as perfectly valid, do or can establish any thing, they undeniably establish the conclusion under consideration. We might, with the same propriety, affirm, that in the phrase, 6 baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” the term Son designates the human in distinction from the divine Spirit of Christ, as in the passage under consideration. If the words, “ the Son" ever designate the second person of the Trinity, they do this, when they designate the Son in distinction from the Father. A careful examination also of the manner in which the words, the Son” in the sense of those of the son of God, the sense in which they are used in this passage will clearly show that they never designate the human in distinction from the divine nature of
Christ. We fully believe that an exception to this statement cannot be found in the Bible. On the other hand, the name, "Son of God," was given him with special reference not to his human but divine nature. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore that holy thing” (holy one, or divine substance or existence,] “ that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God."
But Matt. 24: 36, puts the question before us perfectly at rest. There it is positively asserted, that the Father, to the exclusion of every other person, had possession of the knowledge under consideration, in the sense in which the term * knoweth” is here used. The evident object of Christ, in Matt. 24: 36, and Mark 13: 32, is to deny of every other person what He here asserts of the Father, in the sense in which He asserts it.
In what sense then, is it true, that Christ did not know the day nor the hour” referred to? As God he was absolutely omniscient and consequently must have had knowedge full and distinct of this whole subject. Nor did the Aposties understand him, as in this sense, asserting his ignorance of these events. For one of them soon after asserted his omniscience. “J.ord, thou knowest ALL THINGS.” In what sense, then, might Christ properly assert his want of knowledge of a given event, or of the time of its occurrence, when in fact, as possessed of omniscience, He knew all about the matter! As God incarnate, as the Messiah, He was in the relation of strict and absolute subordination to the Father. He could communicate nothing to the world, but what, by a special communication from the Father, He was required to communicate. In his relations as Messiah, therefore, He could very properly affirm of all things not thus communicated to Him, but which He was required to conceal, “Of these things I know nothing.” Suppose the government of this nation sends an embassador to a foreign court, with an express commission to communicate with them on given subjects, and at the same time to withhold all information on all other subjects. However well informed as a man in respect to the views of his government on these subjects last named, he might very properly say, when questioned in respect to them, “Of these subjects I know nothing." He would not in such a case, speak, nor according to universal usage of language, be understood to speak of his knowledge, in the absolute sense, but in his relations as embassador. So Christ when He had
received special communication from the Father not to make known the day and the hour of a certain event, could very properly say that He has no knowledge on that subject. Thus Paul says of himself, “I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” As a man he knew a thousand other things, and had no determivation or wish not to know them. His commission as an embassador for Christ, however, limited him to the communication of this one great truth. In that relation, therefore, he could very properly assert his ignorance, and his determination to be ignorant of all other subjects. So Christ as God possessed absolute omniscience. In his relations as Messiah, He could properly and truly assert, notwithstanding this fact, his ignorance in respect to all subjects, about which his commission prohibiting his communicating with the world.
The true meaning of the passage then may be thus expressed:The day and the hour when these events shall occur, no one has in heaven or on earth been made to know, not even the Son Himself. In other words, you can obtain information, prior to their occurrence of no being in respect to the time when these events shall take place. The Father hath reserved this knowledge to Himself, and will communicate it only by the actual occurrence of the events themselves. The object of our Savior was to suppress all enquiry on this subject. To do this, He assures his disciples that the Father neither had nor would commission any one, not even the Son to communicate this knowledge to them. While therefore no reference is had in this passage to the human in distinction from the Divine Spirit of Christ, it is equally evident that no reference whatever was had to the doctrine of his absolute omniscience. Nothing here affirmed, militates, in in the least degree, either directly or indirectly, against this doctrine. The passage implies, though it does not directly assert absolute ignorance of the time referred to, on the part of men and angels. Because, if God should have made no communications to them upon the subject, they must have remained in absolute ignorance of it till the actual occurrence of the events themselves. Of Christ, ignorance is asserted however, only in the relative sense explained.
John xiv: 28.--" Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father ; for my Father is greater than I."
Those who deny the divinity of our Savior, understand Him as asserting, in the phrase, “My Father is greater than