Hawthorne expressed his belief in human freedom when he said that destiny itself had often been worsted in the attempt to get him out to dinner. Benjamin Franklin, in his Autobiography, quotes the Indian?s excuse for getting drunk: ?The Great Spirit made all things for some use, and whatsoever use they were made for, to that use they must be put. The Great Spirit made rum for Indians to get drunk with, and so it must be.? Martha, in Isabel Carnaby, excuses her breaking of dishes by saying: ?It seems as if it was to be. It is the thin edge of the wedge that in time will turn again and rend you.? Seminary professor: ?Did a man ever die before his time?? Seminary student: ?I never knew of such a case.? The decrees of God, considered as God?s all-embracing plan, leave room for human freedom.
(c) The objection ignores the logical relation between the decree of the end and the decree of the means to secure it. The decrees of God not only ensure the end to be obtained, but they ensure free human action as logically prior thereto. All conflict between the decrees and human exertion must therefore be apparent and not real. Since consciousness and Scripture assure us that free agency exists, it must exist by divine decree; and though we may be ignorant of the method in which the decrees are executed, we have no right to doubt either the decrees or the freedom. They must be held to be consistent, until one of them is proved to be a delusion.
The man who carries a vase of goldfish does not prevent the fish from moving unrestrainedly within the vase. The double track of a railway enables a formidable approaching train to slip by without colliding with our own. Our globe takes us with it, as it rushes around the sun, yet we do our ordinary work without interruption. The two movements, which at first sight seem inconsistent with each other, are really parts of one whole. God?s plan and man?s effort are equally in harmony. Myers, Human Personality, 2:272, speaks of ?molecular motion amid molar calm.?
Dr. Duryea: ?The way of life has two fences. There is an Arminian fence to keep us out of Fatalism and there is a Calvinistic fence to keep us out of Pelagianism. Some good brethren like to walk on the fences but it is hard in that way to keep one?s balance and it is needless, for there is plenty of room between the fences. For my part I prefer to walk in the road.? Archibald Alexander?s statement is yet better: ?Calvinism is the broadest of systems. It regards the divine sovereignty and the freedom of the human will as the two sides of a roof which come together at a ridgepole above the clouds. Calvinism accepts both truths. A system which denies either one of the two has only half a roof over its head.?
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