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cording to the will of God,") or, secondly, he causes evil by the infliction of judgments, which is called the evil of punishment. 2 Sam. xii. 11. "behold I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house,"—that is, punishment. Prov. xvi. 4. “Jehovah hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil;" that is, him who, having been created good, became subsequently wicked by his own fault, in conformity with the explanation already given of Isai. xlv. 7. liv. 16. "I created the waster to destroy." Lam. iii. 38, 39. "out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and good? wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?” Amos iii. 6. "shall there be evil in a city, and Jehovah hath not done it?" For God, who is infinitely good, cannot be the doer of wickedness, or of the evil of sin; on the contrary, out of the wickedness of men he produces good. Gen. xlv. 5. "God did send me before you to preserve life." 1. 20. "as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good."

If (inasmuch as I do not address myself to such as are wholly ignorant, but to those who are already competently acquainted with the outlines of Christian doctrine) I may be permitted, in discoursing on the general providence of God, so far to anticipate the natural order of arrangement, as to make an allusion to a subject which belongs properly to another part of my treatise, that of sin, I might remark, that even in the matter of sin God's providence finds its exercise, not only in permitting its existence, or in withdrawing grace, but also in impelling sinners to the commission of sin, in hardening their hearts, and in blinding their understandings.

In impelling sinners to the commission of sin. Exod. ix. 16. "for this cause have I raised thee up." Judges ix. 23. "God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem." 2 Sam. xii. 11, 12. "I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour.... I will do this thing." xvi. 10. "Jehovah hath said unto him, Curse David." xxiv. 1. "Jehovah moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah." Compare 1 Chron. xxi. Í. 1 Kings xxii. 20. "who shall persuade Ahab?" Psal. cv. 25. "he turned their heart to hate his people." Ezek. xiv. 9. "I Jehovah have deceived that prophet."

Ia hardening their hearts. Exod. iv. 21. vii. 3. "I will harden Pharaoh's heart.' Deut. ii. 30. "Jehovah thy God hardened his spirit." Josh. xi. 20. "it was of Jehovah to harden their hearts." John xii. 39, 40. "therefore they could not believe, oecause that Esaias said again.... he hath hardened their heart." Rom. ix. 18. "whom he will he hardeneth."

In blinding their understandings. Deut. xxvii. 28. "Jehovah shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart." 1 Sam. xvi. 14. "an evil spirit from Jehovah troubled him." 1 Kings xxii. 22. "I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets: and Jehovah said, Thou shalt persuade him." Isai. viii. 14. "he shall be for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel; for a gin and for a snare.' xix. 14. "Jehovah hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof, and they have caused Egypt to err." xxix. 10. "Jehovah hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes. Matt. xiii. 13. " therefore speak I to them in parables, because they seeing see not." John xii. 40. compared with Isai. vi. 9. "he hath blinded their eyes." Rom. i. 28. "God gave them over to a reprobate mind." 2 Thess. ii. 11. "God shail send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie."


But though in these, as well as in many other passages of the Old and New Testament, God distinctly declares that it is himself who impels the sinner to sin, who hardens his heart, who blinds his understanding, and leads him into error; yet on account of the infinite holiness of the Deity, it is not allowable to consider him as in the smallest instance the author of sin.3 Hos. xiv. 2. "the ways of Jehovah are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall therein." Psal. v. 4. "thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with thee." Rom. vii. 8. "sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence." James i. 13, 14. "let no


3 See Preliminary Observations, p. xxxvii. Milton has contributed nothing towards the solution of what the late Bishop Copleston truly calls a great difficulty, namely, that evil should exist, and that God should nor be the author of it, although the author of every thing else. Discourses, p. 93. Compare Sherlock On the Divine Providence, p. 175—200.

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man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed." iv. 1. " from whence come wars and fightings amongst you? come they not hence, even of your lusts which war in your members?" 1 John ii. 16. "for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. For it is not the human heart in a state of innocence and purity, and repugnance to evil, that is induced by him to act wickedly and deceitfully; but after it has conceived sin, and when it is about to bring forth, he, in his character of sovereign disposer of all things, inclines and biasses it in this or that direction, or towards this or that object. Psal. xciv. 23. “he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness, yea, Jehovah our God shall cut them off;"-that is to say, by the infliction of punishment. Nor does God make that will evil which was before good, but the will being already in a state of perver sion, he influences it in such a manner, that out of its own wickedness it either operates good for others, or punishment for itself, though unknowingly, and with the intent of producing a very different result. Prov. xvi. 9. "a man's heart deviseth his way, but Jehovah directeth his steps.' Thus Ezek. xxi. 21, 22. when the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, in doubt whether he should go to war against the Ammonites or against the Jews, God so ordered the divination, as to determine him on going against Jerusalem.' Or, to use the common simile, as a rider who urges on a stumbling horse in a particular direction is the cause of its


Therefore was law giv'n them to evince

Their natural pravity, by stirring up
Sin against law to fight.

6 'Deus interdum peccatores inscios et præter mentem suam ad objec tum aliquod contra quod peccent, potius quam ad aliud dirigit; vel ad hoc potius peccatum, quam ad aliud quod animo ante conceperant, eos ferri sinit. cum rex Babylonis ambitione sua incitatus bellum gerere constituisset, at penderet adhuc animo, nesciens utrum Judæos an vero Ammonitas impetere deberet, Deus ita direxit sortes, quas consulebat, ut in Judæos, quorum peccata ultionem suam magis provocaverant, expeditionem illam militarem susciperet, Ezech. xxi. 29, &c.' Curcell. Institutio,

III. 12. 7.

Paradise Lost, XII. 287.

increasing its speed, but not of its stumbling,-so God, who is the supreme governor of the universe, may instigate an evil agent, without being in the least degree the cause of the evil. I shall recur again to this simile hereafter. For example,-God saw that the mind of David was so elated and puffed up by the increase of his power, that even without any external impulse he was on the point of giving some remarkable token of his pride; he therefore excited in him the desire of numbering the people; he did not inspire him with the passion of vain glory, but impelled him to display in this manner, rather than in any other, that latent arrogance of his heart which was ready to break forth. God therefore was the author of the act itself, but David alone was responsible for its pride and wickedness. Further, the end which a sinner has in view is generally something evil and unjust, from which God uniformly educes a good and just result, thus as it were creating light out of darkness. By this means he proves the immost intentions of men, that is, he makes man to have a thorough insight into the latent wickedness of his own heart, that he may either be induced thereby to forsake his sins, or if not, that he may become notorious and inexcusable in the sight of all; or lastly, to the end that both the author and the sufferer of the evil may be punished for some former transgression. At the same time, the common maxim, that God makes sin subservient to the punishment of sin, must be received with caution; for the Deity does not effect his purpose by compelling any one to commit crime, or by abetting him in it, but by withdrawing the ordinary grace of his enlightening spirit, and ceasing to strengthen him against sin. There is indeed a proverb which says, that he who is able to forbid an action, and forbids it not, virtually commands it.' This maxim is indeed binding on man, as a moral precept;



6 Ego plus concedo; fures et homicidas et alios maleficos, divinæ esse providentiæ instrumenta, quibus Dominus ipsa ad exequenda quæ apud se constituit judicia utetur.' Calvini. Institut. I. 17. 5.

7 But they shift it; he permitted only. Yet silence in the law is consent, and consent is accessory.' Doctrine, &c. Prose Works, III. 222.

Yea, but to permit evil, is not to do evil. Yes, it is in a most eminent manner to do evil; where else are all our grave and faithful sayings, that he whose office is to forbid and forbids not, bids, exhorts, encourages?' Tetrachordon, III. 380.

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but it is otherwise with regard to God. When, in conformity with the language of mankind, he is spoken of as instigating, where he only does not prohibit evil, it does not follow that he therefore bids it, inasmuch as there is no obligation by which he is bound to forbid it. Psal. lxxxi. 11, 12. "my people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me so I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust, and they walked in their own counsels." Hence it is said, Rom. i. 24. "wherefore God also gave them up to unclearinesss,' —that is, be left them to be actuated by their own lusts, to walk in them; for properly speaking God does not instigate, or give up, him whom he leaves entirely to himself, that is, to his own desires and counsels, and to the suggestions of his ever active spiritual enemy. In the same sense the Church is said to give up to Satan the contumacious member, whom it interdicts from its communion. With regard to the case of David's numbering the people, a single word will be sufficient. For it is not God, but Satan who is said to have instigated him, 2 Sam. xxiv. 1.9 1 Chron. xxi. 1. A similar explanation applies to the passage in 2 Sam. xii. 11, 12. "behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house,'


-that is, the evil of punishment,-" and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour,' —that is, I will permit thy son to go in unto them, according to the counsel of Ahithophel; for this is the meaning of the word give, as has been just shown. As to the popular simile of the stumbling horse, the argument drawn from it is itself a lame one; for the sinner, if he be really instigated, is not instigated simply to act, as in the case of the horse, but to act amiss,-or in other words, he is instigated to stumble, because he stumbles. In both the instances above

8 As if they would confine th' Interminable,
And tie him to his own prescript,

Who made our laws to bind us, not himself.

Samson Agonistes, 307.

• Perrexit autem ira Jehovæ accendi in Israelitas, quum incitasset ad versarius Davidem in eos, &c. Version of Tremellius. Our authorized translation renders the passage differently. 'The anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.'


Atqui, inquies, id fit quia sunt mali, non quia Dei concursus eos tales reddat, veluti cum agasc armentum equorum aut asinorum claudorum

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