exercised. With Charnock, the Puritan (Attributes, 1:448-450), we say that ?man hath a power to do otherwise than that which God foreknows he will do.? Since, then, God?s decrees are not executed by laying compulsion upon human wills, they are not inconsistent with man s freedom. See Martineau, Study, 2:237, 249, 258, 261; also article by A.
H. Strong, on Modified Calvinism, or Remainders of Freedom in Man, in Baptist Review, 1883:219-243; reprinted in the author?s Philosophy and Religion. 114-128
2. That they take away all motive for human exertion.
To this we reply that:
(а) They cannot thus influence men, since they are not addressed to men, are not the rule of human action, and become known only after the event. This objection is therefore the mere excuse of indolence and disobedience.
Men rarely make this excuse in any enterprise in which their hopes and their interests are enlisted. It is mainly in matters of religion that men use the divine decrees as an apology for their sloth and inaction. The passengers on an ocean steamer do not deny their ability to walk to starboard or to larboard, upon the plea that they are being carried to their destination by forces beyond their control. Such a plea would be still more irrational in a case where the passengers? inaction, as in case of fire, might result in destruction to the ship.
(б) The objection confounds the decrees of God with fate; it is to be observed that fate is unintelligent, while the decrees are framed by a personal God in infinite wisdom. Fate is indistinguishable from material causation and leaves no room for human freedom, while the decrees exclude all notion of physical necessity, fate embraces no moral ideas or ends, while the decrees make these controlling in the universe.
North British Rev., April, 1870 ? ?Determinism and predestination spring from premises, which lie in quite separate regions of thought. The predestinarian is obliged by his theology to admit the existence of a free will in God, and, as a matter of fact, he does admit it in the devil. But the final consideration, which puts a great gulf between the determinist and the predestinarian, is this; that the latter asserts the reality of the vulgar notion of moral desert. Even if he were not obliged by his interpretation of Scripture to assert this, he would be obliged to assert it in order to help out his doctrine of eternal reprobation.?
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