^sop, when asked what was the occupation of Zeus, replied: ?To humble the exalted and to exalt the humble.? ?I accept the universe,? said Margaret Fuller. Someone reported this remark to Thomas Carlyle. ?Gad! She?d better!? he replied. Dr. John Watson (Ian McLaren): ?The greatest reinforcement religion could have in our time would be a return to the ancient belief in the sovereignty of God.? Whittier: ?All is of God that is and is to be, And God is good. Let this suffice us still Resting in childlike trust upon his will Who moves to his great ends unthwarted by the ill.? Every true minister preaches Arminianism and prays Calvinism. This means simply that there is more, in God?s love and in God?s purposes, than man can state or comprehend. Beecher called Spurgeon a camel with one hump ? Calvinism. Spurgeon called Beecher a camel without any hump: ?he does not know what he believes, and you never know where to find him.
Arminians sing: ?Other refuge have I none; Hangs my helpless soul on thee?; yet John Wesley wrote to the Calvinist Toplady, the author of the hymn: ?Your God is my devil.? Calvinists replied that it was better to have the throne of the universe vacant than to have it filled by such a pitiful nonentity as the Arminians worshiped. It was said of Lord Byron that all his life he believed in Calvinism, and hated it. Oliver Wendell Holmes similarly, in all his novels except Elsie Venner, makes the orthodox thin blooded and weak kneed, while his heretics are all strong in body. Dale, Ephesians, 52 ? ?Of the two extremes, the suppression of man which was the offence of Calvinism, and the suppression of God which was the offence against which Calvinism so fiercely protested, the fault and error of Calvinism was the nobler and grander? The most heroic forms of human courage, strength and righteousness have been found in men who in their theology seemed to deny the possibility of human virtue and made the will of God the only real force in the universe.?
2. True method of preaching the doctrine.
(a) We should most carefully avoid exaggeration or unnecessarily obnoxious statements.
(b) We should emphasize the fact that the decrees are not grounded in arbitrary will, but in infinite wisdom.
(c) We should make it plain that whatever God does or will do, he must from eternity have purposed to do.
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(d) We should illustrate the doctrine so far as possible by instances of completeness and far-sightedness in human plans of great enterprises.
(e) We may then make extended application of the truth to the encouragement of the Christian and the admonition of the unbeliever.
For illustrations of foresight, instance Louis Napoleon?s planning the Suez Canal, and declaring his policy as Emperor, long before he ascended the throne of France. For instances of practical treatment of the theme in preaching, see Bushnell, Sermon on Every Man?s Life a Plan of God, in Sermons for the New Life; Nehemiah Adams, Evenings with the Doctrines, 243; Spurgeon?s Sermon on <194403>Psalm 44:3 ? ?Because thou hadst a favor unto them.? Robert Browning, Rabbi Ben Ezra: ?Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made: Our times are in his hand Who saith ?A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: See all nor be afraid!??
Shakespeare, King Lear, 1:2 ? ?This is the excellent foppery of the world that when we are sick in fortune (often the surfeit of our own behavior) we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon and the stars as if we were villains by necessity fools by heavenly compulsion, and all that we are evil in by a divine thrusting on; an admirable evasion of man to lay his disposition to the charge of a star!? All?s Well: ?Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie Which we ascribe to heaven: the fated sky Gives us free scope; only doth backward pull Our slow designs, when we ourselves are dull?. Julius Caesar, 1:2 ? ?Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.?
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