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as we believe, to advance the orthodox system of theology to a better state, or to a more precise conformity with truth. The Calvinistic statements were taken as a shelter for the erroneous doctrine of such an utter passivity of human nature, as to divest man of all active relation to the government of God, and all capacity for it, and also as to throw the whole concern of redemption in its accomplishment in the individual, upon the simple efficiency and activity of God. Here then, with no responsibleness on the part of the individual, as to belief in God, repentance of sin, or faith in the Mediator, a division was struck at once between those who resolved to do something in the matter, and those who would do nothing. The Arminian hyper-Calvinist sought, by a circuitous route, to lay himself as a mere passive recipient, by the pool of ordinances, and wait, in his sleeping and waking hours, for some strange operation and efficacy to be instilled into the means; and thus was exposed to linger ever as a careless or a fitful seeker, and never rise up to do the will of God heartily, as his servant in the earth.
The Antinomian hyper-Calvinist, on the other hand, would not offer such a bait to his own pride and sense of merit, as to feel the responsibility, or make the effort, to do any thing; but, simply and passive ly, acquiesce in seeing himself the inactive material on which grace alone was to work, and get to itself all the glory. Now though either error had some important truth incorporated with it, there was wanting an element of truth, which the Calvinistic system in its particular statements did not supply, or, at least, bring forward in that clear ness and with that just relation to the main truths, which has been done by the theologians of New England. Nor do we doubt that they who at once forsook the whole system, the Unitarians-after all
due allowance is made for the nat ural hatred of men towards unwelcome truth-owe half their revolt to the seen and felt untruthfulness of the triangular rock of hyperCalvinism, and of each of the courses taken by the parties who separated and filed off at its base. Edwards, in his attempt to show the freedom of the will to be consistent with that necessity which is predi cated of it in the Calvinistic scheme; Smalley, in setting forth distinctly the natural ability of man and the universal obligation of the law of God; Bellamy, in storming the cit adel of Antinomianism, and entering it triumphantly with the broad banner of no evangelical faith without holiness, or hearty obedience to the law of God; the younger Edwards, in presenting the atonement as a moral means in distinction from redemption as the final result, and in giving it, as a means, that universal relation to man which involves his obligation to accept of it at once, with penitence and humble gratitude, as a free gift: these all have done something for theology, which every discriminating and pious pastor, as well as studious and independent theologian, cannot but regard as improvement, and as adding that truthfulness to the parts of the system which he would never consent to throw overboard or exchange for the previous state of things-the status ante bellum.
What, then, shall we say of Emmons? Harmonizing, in his philosophy, with the Cartesian—the denier of finite substance or essence, he brings forward the omnipotence of the Deity, as the sole immediate source of each thought, act, event, quality; and presents the workings of Providence as effecting alike, by immediate efficiency, the hatred of the malicious and the love of the benevolent, the impenitence of sinners and the holiness of Christians, the blasphemy of the fiend and the ecstasy of the seraph. It is a high
and a fearful philosophy, that so annihilates and swallows up all being in God, as that, did we not by consciousness necessarily rely on ourselves as existent beings, we might sound in vain amid its depths, to find any footing for ourselves, our duties and responsibilities, or our hopes. Yet this theologian, put into the immediate hands of God the constitution of all things, in the general laws which he believed the Deity to have affixed to himself in his own operations; and therefore he did not in fact deny that constitution of created things on which knowledge, appeal, obligation, and moral duty and responsibility are founded. But in this respect he has not carried with him the theologians of New England: but few individuals being found to follow him fully into the scheme of immediate efficiency. They have as a body, admitted the existence of a constitution in created things, which constitution, as apparent in the starry heavens and the globe, and in the mineral, vegetable, animal, and moral kingdoms, is a reality and the cause, ground, or occasion, under the providence of the Creator, of the events which take place in all, except in cases of miracle or of special Divine agency in regenera
Yet Emmons, in connection with his philosophy, has brought forward the scheme of responsibility for voluntary exercises only, or, "the exercise scheme," with such force and clearness, as forever to have established this point in theology-that all holiness and sin in the creation, lies in the voluntary action of moral beings. If he admitted nothing to exist in such beings but intellectual and voluntary actions, and therefore could not on his own scheme place the subject in any other department, still, the glaring evidence he ever holds before us of the truth of his position, so meets all the demands of reason and conscience and reve
lation as to force us to admit its truth; and, also, to acknowledge that, if there is an existent constitu. tion of being in man, that constitu. tion itself, by whatever causes affected, or whatever it may itself affect as a cause, is not to be ever ac. counted the substance or matter of holiness or sin.
More than this. In passing over the field of theology with this principle, he has shown that the sin of Adam could not be directly imputed to his posterity as theirs, or be made the immediate ground of their condemnation. If he were then asked why the sin of Adam entailed deprav ity on his posterity, he answered, not on the ground of any law imposed on him in Eden, which directly inflicted death on them for his sin, but simply on the ground of the divine constitution, that if Adam sinned, his posterity would also sin, when they came into existence. too they who, rejecting the immediate efficiency scheme, believe in the created physical, mental, and moral constitution of man, can point to the constitution of Adam, as a thing existent prior to the imposition of the law in Eden; that constitution of man, as male and female, which placed Adam at the head of a race, which were to be affected in their constitution by the laws of descent, by which natural laws-as we have since learned from the resultswhen he sinned against the moral and positive law of Eden, and thus vitiated his own natural and moral constitution, he inflicted, by conse quence, evil on that of his posterity.
This original donation to Adam of being the natural head of a race, like the donation of physical strength, or like that of moral influence through the faculty of speech or the exhibition of example, was a trust, lodged with him for good or evil to others according to his voluntary course of conduct: on the plain principle that, without trusts of some kind, there can be no such thing as responsibil
ity, or good or evil conduct, and that the increase of a trust only extends the sphere of responsibility and the power of doing good or evil. Yet, what result, precisely, physical, mental, or moral, would arise to his posterity from his conduct, through the natural and original laws of propagation and descent, could be learned only in the sequel, by deduction from the facts, unless made known beforehand by immediate revelation.
Dr. Emmons justly contends that the revelation made to Adam of the consequences to arise from transgression is confined, so far as we have any reason to assert, simply to personal death for the personal violation of the moral and positive law under which he and his partner were put upon trial, to test their own fidel. ity. It is true, the natural laws, already established in the constitution of created things, and, of course, in that of these heads of the race, un less suspended by miracle or annihilated by the destruction of the race, were to have their course. But did the law, published to Adam in Eden, originate them? or did it, even, reveal what would be their results?
Did that law promise the pair, that if they continued holy during any particular period of time, they would ever after be confirmed in holiness and happiness; or did it leave them simply under law, with out gratuitous covenant respecting the future the engagement of law, that while obedient, and while continuing to do the things contained in the law, and on that simple tenure alone, they should go on to enjoy peace and life in God's kingdom? Did it state whether, if all their immediate children were born while they continued holy, these children should be holy at the first; or, what is more remote, that they should ever continue holy, and transmit again the same inheritance to their immediate descendants, and these
again to theirs, and so perpetually? Did it state what consequences would arise, if they should continue holy till after the birth of half their children, and sin before the other half were begotten? Did it state whether, if Adam should transgress at the first, the evil consequences would go beyond himself? Or does the fact, which has been since learned, that the sin of his whole posterity is a consequence of his transgression, show at all that sin might not have broken out somewhere in his race and gone forward with its destructive consequences, even if he had not sinned? Are any of these things revealed in the positive precept and penalty given in Eden? Or have we any ground to assert that Adam had any direct revela. tion, of consequences to arise from his holiness or sin, before the enaction of that law, or aside from its publication? If not, then, not that positive law, but the natural laws already and previously affixed to the constitution of Adam and Eve, are those by which the Creator gave them the station of heads of the race-heads who incur no immediate good or ill desert upon their children, but act simply as benefactors or injurers of those who come after them, to what extent, as is true of every instance in which entrusted power is employed to its right end or is abused, the sequel only is to show. They were held to the right use of their own trustto secure whatever good consequences to others were to result from their continuing obedient-under the bonds and penalties of their own eternal death in case of failure. Here was the protection of law thrown over the interests entrusted with these persons; here was a trial made of their own character; here, the righteous exaction of justice; here, personal duty and personal responsibility laid on the only existent beings: and that was enough.
But they sin; and the sequel
what is it? Not only are they condemned by the Judge, but the race which springs from Adam are seen to be vitiated in their constitution so as to render sure their own sin and condemnation, as the experience of all ages and the word of revelation attest and the respite, which was allowed him and is allowed them, of the present life before the execution of punishment, is made the occasion of a new dispensation, better than law-of a covenant by promise, through the Redeemer, of deliverance and life to the penitent and believing.
Now in tracing out this broad field of depravity and redemption through Christ, Dr. Emmons carries the principle most convincingly of the voluntary and active nature of all sin and holiness. And nothing is wanting, in our view, to complete forever the harmony of the principle with all the facts, but the simple admission of an agent constituted to act in a holy or sinful manner, and whose constitution may be so affected by the laws of descent, or by special influences from God, as to become the ground or occasion of the certainty of-as the case may be-either sinful action or holy.
The theologians of New England have generally admitted an existent constitution of being in man; but, until the time of Emmons and the clear exposition he gave of his principle, they were confounding constitutional tendency with the voluntary action of the being, as though both were included in the matter of sin or holiness, and in the desert of praise or blame. In the collision of the two clashing parties, they who held to an existing constitution in man as furnishing a ground or occasion of the certainty of action, or as being a subject of deterioration or improvement in the course of action, had clearly the advantage of Emmons, who could look to no created forces in operation, but saw only the divine hand; and to no
laws impressed on created forces, but to a pattern secreted in the Divine mind. They, when speaking of the grounds of human sinfulness, of the adaptation of revelation to the nature of man, of the immedi ate agency of God in miracles, of the peculiar influence of the Holy Spirit as distinct from creation or miracle, of the imperfection and internal conflicts of the saints—had most clearly the advantage. The material was present in their sys tem which gave consistency and harmony to these facts. But when these same theologians undertook to place the constitution of man within the category of holiness or sin, desert of reward or blame, they introduced an item into the account which the logical acumen of Emmons has succeeded, we trust, forever to efface. With his principle-nothing but voluntary action, holiness or sin-and the clear foundations of the principle exposed in the divine requirements, and the truth and justice of placing responsibleness only within such limits, he shows that they are introducing an item into their systems at war with these plain and glaring facts of the holy and righteous moral govern. ment of God.
Nothing remained, therefore, at this posture of the subject, to give clearness and harmony to all the parts of theology, but for the theologian to admit a basis and footing for natural ability of right action, and for a certainty of either right or wrong action as external or internal causes might operate, in the nature and constitution of man; and, at the same time, to consider the sin and holiness of man as consisting alone in voluntary action, right or wrong, in heart or life. Now the way was clear to consider as exist. ent in man, and in all moral beings in the universe, a reality-in distinction from a mere plan in the mind of God as to his own efficient ope rations-a constitution of inherent
powers of intelligence, feeling, and will; which powers, though fitted for right action, might be variously affected from diverse causes; might be weakened and impaired, or strengthened and improved; might be more or less depraved in their tendency to wrong action, or more or less corrected in their tendency to right; from causes, too, without the being himself, as well as from his own course of voluntary actions; from causes for which he is not responsible, as well as from those for which he is. With this clear distinction drawn between the powers of the being on the one hand, and his voluntary course of action on the other, the way was clear to harmonize the two grand facts of dependence on God and accountability to him; to reconcile with each other the great departments of the providential government of God and his moral; to represent the certain futurition of all events in the moral kingdom of God, as arising from the wisest arrangement of means on his part to secure the greatest amount of holiness and blessedness, in full consistency with his own sincerity, righteousness, and holiness, and with the good or ill desert of his subjects; to set forth the great facts, stated in the system of grace now in operation over man-of the fall of Adam, the original and total depravity of the race, their insufficiency to recover themselves, the atonement of Jesus, the call of the Gospel, the influence of the Spirit employed as the means of recovery, the renovation and sanctification of the people foreknown and chosen in this eternal plan of operations, the hardness and destruction of the rest-as consistent, throughout, with the grand close of the drama-the summoning of the whole race before God the Judge
at the last day, and his awarding to each a sentence in righteousness on the basis of what have been his deeds in this life while in the body.
We trust, therefore, that Emmons, whose pure, intellectual ray was so long shining above our horizon, and who has left, in the volumes before us, so many interesting records of that piercing intellect in its researches in the wide field of theology, has performed, during his stay among us, some service for the science; to give clearness to the views of its teachers who minister to the instruction and hopes of their Christian brethren at the sacred altar. His mission has not been in vain, were it marked only with this one deep trace on the theology of the times. Many a servant of Christ has thereby felt his way clear to apostolic simplicity, in calling on sinners to repent and turn in their hearts unto God at once, unshackled by doctrinal hindrances and perplexities. The tide has, long since, set that way; and great is the company of the preachers, and wider and wider is the circle becoming, who herald forth at once the sovereignty of an offended God in bestowing salvation, and his demand on every sinner immediately to repent, with a sincere and understanding heart, and with a free and unfaltering tongue. The stickler for old technics and the pugnacious defender of every word and comma of an ancient formula may, for a while, scare the weak, by crying out heresy and brandishing the knife of excision; but even he and his servile followers are destined to give way before the clear shining of truth, and the swelling current of holy love that is bearing onward the free in Christ, to hasten the world's redemption.