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And this is thought to be proof that in the world of mind Divine Omnipotence finds its limits. But let me suggest that even here God may be working “after the counsel of his own will” in suffering the opposition which seems to restrict and thwart it. One most prominent attribute of God we know is love. “God is love." Now may we not suppose that his will is, and has been, to be served lovingly, i.e., that the motive to serve shall be love towards Himself: and a deliberate preference for whatever is in accordance with his acknowledged attributes of justice, goodness, and loving-kindness. I would ask, Is there anything improbable or unreasonable in this supposition? Is there anything in it inconsistent with God's revelation of himself? or with the record of his dealings with his creatures? I think not. Not only is this a fair deduction from his “first and great commandment;" but all Scripture seems to attest the fact that where God might compel, he prefers to solicit and invite to draw “with loving-kindness," " with bands of love." And I can see no reason why this law of the Divine will should be limited in its operation to the creatures of this earth. It is probably a universal law, extending to all God's creatures which are capable of being so attracted towards him. Some even of those who have gone from him, he “reconciles unto himself,” a noticeable phrase where we should have expected to read, “He is reconciled to them.” But if my hypothesis is admitted so far, let me then point out the consequences which it seems necessarily to involve. Assuming that it is God's will to elicit from his creatures this loving service, and a deliberate preference for him as good, and for all that is good ; and a preference not resulting from an implanted instinct, but the exercise of a free choice (the implanted instinct being only a subtle form of compulsion—the Creator creating the preference as an essential characteristic of the creature); if God wills to be served willingly by creatures of his who are free to refuse his service, whom he will not compel as slaves, but invite to serve him by process of his own loveableness and love, making his service at the same time a work of love, and yet "perfect freedom;" upon this assumption one thing is clear, viz., that the means of choice must be provided. All choice must lie between two things at the least. If there were nothing placed within the range of human action, or presented for choice to the human will, but good, how could there be preference for good? Again, could good be known to be good, and preferred as good, excepting with the knowledge of evil? Good and right are relative terms, the meaning of which is unintelligible, excepting in comparison with the meaning of their correlatives. And not only can there be no choice of good until evil also has been presented for acceptance, but there can be no knowledge that good is good till there has been the experience or the knowledge of evil. If God created good to be known, appreciated, loved, and preferred as good, either he, or some other Creator subserving his purpose and will, must (as it seems to me) of necessity have created evil. God says
in Isaiah`xlv. 7, “I create evil.” The words may immediately refer to the evil by which sinners are chastened, but I can see no reason why all evil should not be traced directly or indirectly to the same source as
that whence we derive all good. Good to be known as good must coexist with evil.h
But, again, if the preference for good which should decide the creature to serve God is to be a permanent preference, if it is to become a fixed principle which may characterize God's. servants, and not the mere occasional result of an oscillation between opposite attractions ; there must be not only evil created and presented for choice, but evil must be permitted to exert its full power of allurement. Its utmost attractive force must have been experienced, or at least it must have been experienced in a degree proportionate to the corresponding experience of good. And for this there must be agents, or an agent to solicit to evil, as there is God to solicit towards good. I am inclined, therefore, to look upon evil angels and devils not as an accidental flaw or defect in God's creation, but as an essential requisite to the working out of “the counsel of his will.” Good could not be known without evil, and a preference for good in a creature excercising free will would be but precarious and of uncertain duration, until the counter influences and attractions of the two had been brought fully to bear upon the free will, and the will had been then decided (I need not here say by what means) in favour of the better. Satan may, for aught I know, have been created upright and “an angel of light," though I look in vain for a particle of Scripture evidence to prove this. But if Satan fell, there must have been a “Satan” before him to cause his fall; by which, I mean, that there seems to have been an inherent necessity, both that evil should coexist with good within the cognizance of every free moral agent, and that there should be a tempter to evil, as well as one to offer good, for the acceptance of all intelligent and responsible beings.
If I have gone beyond what is legitimately involved in my first assumption concerning “the counsel of God's will," it will have been in my insisting on the conditions which seem necessarily to secure not only a willing and loving service to the Creator, but a permanent service from creatures of his whose will to serve Him is based upon an immutable preference for good after experience, or the knowledge at least of the strongest allurements of evil. It can scarcely be thought that such permanence would be secured in free agents who were novices, and inexperienced in all that might affect their choice of a master. It is this consideration more especially which leads me to see the possibility of a
h I would not of course be supposed to make God directly the author of sin, and yet in being the Creator of all things, he must have created the conditions under which sin may be committed, and the faculties and affections, the misuse or misdirection of which constitutes sin ; while the permitted, nay, designed, freedom of will necessarily made such misuse or misdirection possible. The devil is supposed to have fallen from a state of innocence- -“his high estate ;'' apparently because men are unwilling to imagine either that God created an “evil one," or that the “evil one" is uncreated.
But the difficulty does not seem to be removed by the theory of a seraph's fall. Whence the “ pride” which is assumed to have occasioned the fall ? " To my mind the theory of an inherent necessity for the coexistence of evil with good, when free moral agents were to be created, seems to be a more satisfactory and reasonable explanation of the existence of a created "evil one.”
divine purpose in permitting the utmost subtlety and malignity and power of the evil one to be exerted against Him. That the permitted exertion of these is never suffered to pass beyond certain bounds we are assured by the Scripture. "God is faithful, who will not suffer you
“ to be tempted above that ye are able.” Our Saviour's words, “Get thee hence, Satan.” The abject fear of the demons in Christ's presence, “I beseech thee, torment us not;” “ Art thou come to torment us before the time ?” etc., speak plainly of the sufferance under which these beings exerted their power. The “war in heaven” is perhaps to be understood in some degree figuratively, and the victory of the Lamb is the victory not of him who is by his very essence omnipotent in his own creation, but of the creature to whom he has vouchsafed to impart his power and his perfections,-of him "in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
“the Man, Jesus Christ,' “the Lamb who was slain” to whom this triumph is ascribed, and to him who is the example for us to follow. No doubt the conflict was designed to be a real one; an arduous and all but desperate struggle, ending in what was a genuine victory, but in no way bringing into question the majesty and omnipotence of God.
Of the reasonableness of supposing that he who has created beings exercising a free will, would not stultify his own work by putting an absolute constraint upon their free will, it seems needless to offer proof. He may restore the equilibrium of perfect freedom when it has been overborne by a preponderating influence towards evil, but it can scarcely be thought that the Creator would force the will towards good.
W. L. B.:
THE REPLIES TO “ESSAYS AND REVIEWS.” As two writers in your April number have brought forward my name in six distinct passages in connexion with a charge of using unbecoming language, I am naturally anxious to offer a few observations on this rather unusual mode of warfare.
I will endeavour to be brief, because this question is in some degree personal. But the conduct of Clericus, in regard to the quotations he has made of my words, compels me to be more tedious than I should wish to be. In quoting an adversary--more especially when his language and not his matter is the subject of remark—the strictest accuracy is imperatively required. How far Clericus adheres to this rule will be seen by the following specimens :),
i The writer of this letter, the Rev. W. L. Browne, was called to his rest very shortly after its composition.-ED. J. S. L.
; It appears that it must be the habit of Clericus to read very carelessly what he animadverts upon. Thus he accuses Dr. Wordsworth of speaking of Prof. Jowett as “ armed cap-a-pie in a panoply of ignorance," etc.; whereas Dr. Wordsworth only applies these words to the imaginary interpreter, of whom Prof. Jowett speaks ! Surely this is “too bad” on the part of Clericus.
1. “Profound contempt for Dr. Williams's arrogant assertions (p. 124). Clericus has here converted a general proposition into a particular attack on Dr. Williams, by inserting the words, “Dr. Williams's, which I have not used.
2. “His imbecile weakness,” (3) “his barefaced impudence.” “ Imbecile weakness is applied by me to a line of argument and not to Dr. Williams. The same is true of “barefaced impudence,” only in a stronger degree, for I offer some kind of excuse for Dr. Williams.
4. * Subterfuge" and “quibble." These are not applied by me to anything advanced by Dr. Williams, but to bar him from a supposed line of defence. The Edinburgh reviewer has almost adopted that very line, and Clericus must excuse me if I say that his own conduct does not inspire one with much respect for the fairness of the defenders of Essays and Reviews.
5 and 6. “Puerile attack," and "paltry attack.” These are applied by me to very contemptuous treatment of Bishop Pearson and of Jerome, by Dr. Williams.
Rash assertion." This is applied to decisions ex cathedra from Dr. Williams, in which he asserts that no one would reject the interpretation he adopts but for “doctrinal perversions," although for two thousand years the view he condemns prevailed almost without exception.
It seems hardly fair to call this “ language unheard-of among gentlemen, even in the heat of controversy. But this is a matter of taste, which I must leave to your readers. And the same remark may be made in regard to the two other expressions on which Clericus animadverts.
In defence of myself, I may observe that the defender of Essays and Reviews in the Edinburgh Review spoke of the essay to which I replied in terms scarcely less severe than those which I ventured to
I was writing an answer to a treatise, of which its defender declares that nothing could be more unbecoming than its language, and deprecates its "flippant and contemptuous" tone! With this observation I leave this part of the question to the decision of your readers.
I come now to the only attempt of Clericus to answer anything which I have advanced. His mode of incorrect or imperfect quotation still adheres to him here. After quoting the Bible translation of Gen. xlix. 10, “ Until Shiloh come,” I have added these words,“ Such has been the translation from the earliest days, till within a comparatively modern period, when the last clause has been translated by some Hebrew scholars, · Until he come to Shiloh.””--(Replies, p. 95).
I then go on to observe, “ If we enquire into the support on which these two translations respectively rest, we shall find that there was till within the last two centuries an almost unanimous concurrence in the translation given by our version, as far as the subject of the verb 'to come' is concerned. It was almost universally translated, until Shiloh come, although some understood by Shiloh, 'He to whom it belongs, and others understood rest' or 'peace' as a name of the Messiah.”—(Replies, p. 95).
NEW SERIES. --VOL. I., NO. II.
Clericus, in quoting my words, finishes his quotation in the middle of the first sentence at the words "earliest days,” and then subjoins the polite and gentlemanly contradiction, “ This is not true.” He then begins to prove this assertion by quoting the Septuagint and other translations, and at last gives both myself and the world at large the very profound information that our version “is not at all a 'translation, as Mr. Rose calls it; the word Shiloh, concerning which so much much controversy has arisen, being given in the original form."
I certainly stand corrected here, but it is a misconception of my words, which I did not anticipate; more especially, as in the next sentence I had limited the agreement of translators to the subject of the verb “to come.” I expressly stated that they agreed in this, though they disagreed as to the meaning of the word Shiloh, when taken as the subject of that verb. It seems to me that I had actually anticipated, though briefly, the very modifications Clericus makes of my statement, and when I have added that I referred to Reinke, where a great deal more than Clericus adduces will be found, I shall leave your readers to form their own judgment on the candour and fairness of Clericus. I was not quite a novice in these matters, and knew that a discussion on the meaning of Shiloh (when taken as the subject of the verb “to come”) must be very long or very incomplete. It was also' entirely beside the question. The question was, whether Shiloh was to be taken as the nominative of the verb, or the clause to be translated “until he come to Shiloh.” The meaning of Shiloh is a question which I should not object to discuss with any
candid reasoner, but it appears to me that the treatise of Reinke is so very full, that such a discussion would be needless.
I have now done with Clericus. I am glad to learn from your editorial note that he is a clergyman distinguished for his high character and learning; because, if he answers to this description, he will be the first to apologize for his misrepresentations. They can arise only from three causes, (1) design, which I will not impute to him, or (2) carelessness, or (3) a want of appreciation of their importance. And if Clericus is capable of faults like these, I humbly suggest that he ought to write a little more modestly.
With regard to the notice of my reply in the same number, I would only observe that the question at issue does not depend on the relative abilities of Dr. Williams and myself, but entirely on the truth or falsehood of the charges I bring against his essay, and on their value, if proved.
And in my defence I may remark, that the article of Canon Stanley which I am reproved for “venturing" to call "so feeble a performance is anonymous. I may also add, that the essay to which I was replying
. I has been called, even by its defender, “unbecoming,' flippant, and contemptuous” in its tone. And perhaps I may suggest that Canon Stanley, who calls us who differ from him “fanatical clergymen,' might receive a little of that blame which is so freely bestowed on me.
In conclusion, I will only thank you for your courtesy in admitting these observations, as well as for your kind assurance in a private