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could neither choose, nor refuse to be created ; and God's creating them was neither agreeable, nor disagreeable to their choice. The act of God in creating is the most sovereign act conceivable. It is impossible, that he should create any being, or object, without acting as a sovereign ; and so far as he has a right to act as sovereign, no being in the universe can have any reason to complain of his conduct.
If he should now create a new material world and create a new race of intelligent and accountable creatures to inhabit it, no being in that world, nor in heaven and earth, could have any reason to complain of his exercising his original and independent creative power. If it be true, that God had an original and independent right to create mankind and did create them without infringing upon their rights, then they certainly have no reason to com plain that he has made them, or brought them out of nothing into being. “ Shall the thing formed say to Him, that formed it, why bast thou made me ?”
2. God had an original and absolute right to make mankind just such creatures as they are. He had precisely the same right to make them exactly as he has made them, as to make them at all. He had a sovereign right to make them inferior to the angels of heaven and superior to all the irrational creatures on earth. He had a sovereign right to produce as great an uniformity and as great a variety among mankind themselves, as among the other inanimate and animate objects in this lower world. He has made a great uniformity, and a great variety in every species of trees, that grow in the forest; and in every species of grain, grass, fruits and flowers, that grow out of the earth.--And he has made a great uniformity and a great variety in every species of creatures, that fiy in the air, swim in the ocean and walk and creep upon the earth.
We every where observe a beautiful uniformity and a beautiful variety, in every species of sensitive natures and inanimate objects; but we cannot discover any two individuals, which compose these numerous species, which are exactly alike. Now, all will allow, that
God had a sovereign right to produce such a uniformity and variety in all these species of animate and inanimate objects. But if he had a sovereign right to create all these species of animate and inanimate objects, in all respects, just as he has actually created them ; wby had he not the same sovereign right to produce a similar uniformity and variety among the human speeies and to make mankind, in all respects, just as he has actually made then ? Where is the man, that has any reason to reply against God and say unto him, who made him, why hast thou made me thus ? Who has any reason to complain, that God has not made him as beautiful as Absolom, as strong as Sampson, as wise as Solomon, as meek as Moses, as patient as Job, or as honest as Samuel ? Who has a right to complain, that God has not given him a better understanding, or a better memory, or a better heart ? Who has a right to complain, that God has not made him different in any respect whatever ? No man in the world has any just ground to complain, that God has given him any natural talents, or moral qualities, which he has not given to another ; nor to complain, that God has not given him any natural talents, or moral qualities, which he has given to another. has a right to complain, that God has made him to resemble another; nor to complain, that he has made him to differ from another. God has as good a right to create two men alike, as to create them at all ; or to create two men different, as to create them at all. God had an original and independent right to create mankind and to create them just as he has created them ; and therefore it is absolutely impossible, that they should ever find any just ground to complain, either that he has made them, or that he has made them just what they are.
3. God had a wise and good design in forming man. kind, in all respects, exactly as he has formed them. His wisdom and goodness were concerned, not only in making them, but in making them precisely what they are, in distinction from the higher order of intelli
No man gences and the lower order of irrational creatures.--And in order to answer his design in making them, it was as necessary that he should form them different from one another, as to form them different from all other creatures he had formed. He made all men for himself and designed to employ them in a vast variety of services ; and in order to fit them for the various services, in which he meant to employ them, he made them to differ one from another in their bodily and mental powers. He did not consult any man how he should form him, but consulted his own glory in forming every individual of the human race. He forms every man for use, just as the potter forms every vessel for use, or just as he forms the members of the body for use.
These are the very similitudes, which the inspired writers employ to illustrate the wisdom and goodness of God in making mankind different from one another ; and to illustrate the unreasonableness and absurdity of their complaining of God for making them so differently as he has actually made them. The prophet Isaiah demands, “Shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing formed say unto him that formed it, He bath no understanding ?” And again he asks, "Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it. What makest thou ? or thy work, He hath no hands ?" It seems as though the apostle borrowed his language and argument in the text and context, from the language and argument of the prophet.
He asks. “O man, who art thou that repliest against God ? shall the thing formed say unto him, that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus ? Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor ?” And in another place, the apostle illustrates, this same subject, by the variety and symmetry in the frame of the human body. “The body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body ?
And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body ;
is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing ? if the whole body were bearing, where were the smelling ? But now God hath set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head say to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary.” By these similitudes, the prophet and the apostle illustrate the right God had to make men different ; and his wisdom and goodness in making them different. They say, that as the potter has a wise and good design, in forming his vessels differently for different uses ; so God has a wise and good design, in forming men differently for different uses. And as the wise and good design of the potter justifies him, in forming his vessels differently for different uses ; so the wise and good design of God justifies him, in forming mankind differently for differently useful purposes. And the consequence, which both the prophet and apostle draw from this conclusive mode of reasoning, is, that no man has any reason to complain, that God has made him thus. There is no more ground to complain of God for making mankind just as he has made them, than to complain of his infinite wisdom and goodness.
4. If mankind have any reason to complain of God, it must be owing, not to his creating them what they are, but to his treating them improperly after he has created them. His creating them was neither an act of justice, nor injustice towards them, but an act of mere sovereignty. He had a sovereign right to create them free moral agents, capable of doing right or wrong ; and his creating them such free moral agents was neither an act of justice, nor injustice, and could not possibly be an injury to them. But if he had required them to do any thing wrong, or forbidden their doing any thing right, or had punished them, or even threatened to punish them, for doing right ; or not doing wrong, he would have treated them improperly,
unjustly and injuriously and given them just ground of complaint. Though God complains of mankind for complaining of him, in making them what they are ; yet be allows them to complain of him, if he treats them improperly, or unjustly, after he has made them free moral agents. lie says to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, “ judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.” He appeals to the same people to judge of the rectitude of his conduct towards them. “Hear now, 0 house of Israel, is not my way equal ? are not your ways unequal ?" And again he says, “Hear ye now what the Lord saith, Arise, contend thou before the mountains and let the hills hear thy voice. Hear, O ye mountains, the Lord's controversy and ye strong foundations of the earth : for the Lord hath a controversy with bis people, and he will plead with Israel. O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.” God condescends to hold himself responsible for all his treatment of mankind after he has made them. He allows them to complain, if they can discover any thing improper, or unjust in the precepts, prohibitions, or threatenings he has given them; or if they can discover any thing improper, or unjust in the dispensations of his providence, or grace. This is altogether reasonable. For if the Judge of all the earth should not do right, in a single instance, in his treatment of mankind, all the inhabitants of the earth would have just ground to complain of his conduct. It may be said with reverence, that God is under stronger moral obligation to treat mankind right, after he has made them free, moral agents ; than they are to treat him right. And as he has just ground to complain of them, if they do not treat him right ; so they have just ground to complain of him, if he do not treat them right. But God was under no manner of obligation to mankind with respect to their creation. He had a sovereign right to create them, or not to create them and when he created them, to make them of a higher or lower order of intelligent creatures.