Richmond, Maine, July 15, 1859.
We learn that some opposition, and many objections have arisen among brethren whom we esteem, to our article on Absolute Predestination, which was published in the second number of the current volume of our paper. We also regret to learn that the same kind of reasoning is resorted to, which is commonly used by all grades of false religionists against this principle of doctrine. It should be borne in mind that revealed Bible truth in its nature and character, is contrary to the feelings, notions, and opinions of men. And brethren should not forget that the sinful disposition is opposed to the truth. Because we may not understand every principle of God’s truth, is no reason we should oppose any principle we do not understand. And to join with our enemies to oppose the truth, because we do not approve of some particular sentiment, is unjustifiable and wrong.
We are not disposed to controvert the subject at the head of this article, with our brethren. Some mistaken views are evidently entertained by brethren on the subject. There is no positive necessity of pre-fixing the word absolute to Predestination, only to define our views in distinction from the different views of the religionists of our age. Predestination of itself in its legitimate meaning and application to Jehovah, is necessarily absolute. It cannot be otherwise. It is not synonymous in meaning with fatalism, which signifies: A positive necessity existing in the things which do exist, or which transpire, Independent of God, or any controlling influence. As we expressed our views respecting Absolute Predestination in our former article, we will express nothing further at present, only to remark that some object to the mode of expression, because it is not found in the Scriptures. If a man should go into the woods and find all the materials for a house, and then build the house, would any person say that the materials were not in the woods before the house was built? Certainly not. We understand the sentiments, or the materials composing this principle of doctrine, to be interspersed through the Scriptures in such a manner as to completely express the Absolute Predestination of all things. It is not words, abstractedly considered, we contend for, but we use the words in their literal meaning and application to express the sentiment in its fullness and glory as taught in the Scriptures.
It is a mistaken idea to suppose that predestination involves the necessity on God’s part to cause, or influence men to sin, as though they were forced to do it, because they were predestinated to do it. Did not Joseph’s brethren, moved with envy, act voluntarily in selling him into Egypt? Did not Judas, moved by a covetous, wicked spirit, voluntarily betray Christ into the hands of the Jews? And in both instances was it not determined of God beforehand that it should take place as it did? Simply our own feelings in the case, and what the Scriptures teach on the point are two different things.
Some suppose that this sentiment makes God the author of sin, destroys man’s accountability, and absolves God’s people from all blame, when they violate the law of Christ. As no such conclusion can justly be drawn from anything we expressed in our former article, and as this principle of truth, is in harmonious connection with the doctrine of the Bible in all its ramifications, we will say nothing more on that point.
In our former article we stated, “In our judgment, we consider there is no middle ground between the Absolute Predestination of all things, and open avowed Atheism.” It was entirely foreign from our mind to convey the impression by such a remark, that such as did not endorse our views were infidels. If any of our brethren have received that impression from our remark, they have mistaken our motive.
In conclusion we will say that we have no hesitancy in advancing this sentiment as an essential principle of our faith, but we have no disposition to use any influence to compel others to believe as we do.