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  • DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY - D,
    CHARLES FINNEY SYS. THEOLOGY

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    "And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away; yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped to tell thee. And Job said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:15, 17, 21).

    "O Assyrian, the rod of Mine anger, and the staff in their hand is Mine indignation: I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of My wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. However he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed His whole work upon Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood" (Isaiah 10:5-7, 12, 15).

    "And I will lay My vengeance upon Edom by the hand of My people Israel; and they shall do in Edom according to Mine anger, and according to My fury; and they shall know My vengeance, saith the Lord God" (Ezek. 24:14).

    "For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling-places that are not theirs. Art Thou not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, mine Holy One? We shall not die, O Lord, Thou hast ordained them for judgment; and O mighty God, Thou hast established them for correction" (Hab. 1:6, 12).

    (8.) God claims the right to take the life of His sinful subjects at His own discretion.

    "And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of" (Gen. 22:2).

    "But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee: That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their Gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God" (Deut. 20:16-18).

    "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass" (1 Sam. 15:3).

    (9.) God declares that He will maintain His own sovereignty.

    "I am the Lord; that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images" (Isaiah 42:8).

    "For Mine own sake, even for Mine own sake, will I do it: for how should My name be polluted? and I will not give My glory unto another" (Isaiah 48:11).

    These passages will disclose the general tenor of scripture upon this subject.

    Remarks

    1. The Sovereignty of God is an infinitely amiable, sweet, holy, and desirable sovereignty. Some seem to conceive of it as if it were revolting and tyrannical. But it is the infinite opposite of this, and is the perfection of all that is reasonable, kind and good.

    "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid Me, and was wroth, and he went on forwardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him, and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him" (Isaiah 57:15-19).

    2. Many seem afraid to think or speak of God's sovereignty, and even pass over, with a very slight reading, those passages of scripture that so fully declare it. They think it unwise and dangerous to preach upon the subject, especially unless it be to deny or explain away the sovereignty of God. This fear in pious minds has no doubt originated in a misconception of the nature of this sovereignty. They have been led either by false teaching, or in some way, to conceive of the divine sovereignty as an iron and unreasonable despotism. That is, they have understood the doctrine of divine sovereignty to so represent God. They therefore fear and reject it. But let it be remembered and for ever understood, to the eternal joy and unspeakable comfort of all holy beings, that God's sovereignty is nothing else than infinite love directed by infinite knowledge, in such a disposal of events as to secure the highest well-being of the universe; that, in the whole details of creation, providence and grace, there is not a solitary measure of His that is not infinitely wise and good.

    3. A proper understanding of God's universal agency and sovereignty, of the perfect wisdom and benevolence of every measure of His government, providential and moral, is essential to the best improvement of all His dispensations toward us, and to those around us. When it is understood, that God's hand is directly or indirectly in everything that occurs, and that He is infinitely wise and good, and equally wise and good in every single dispensation that He has one end steadily and always, in view that He does all for one and the same ultimate end and that this end is the highest good of Himself and of universal being; I say, when these things are understood and considered, there is a divine sweetness in all His dispensations. There is then a divine reasonableness, and amiableness, and kindness, thrown like a broad mantle of infinite love over all His character, works and ways. The soul, in contemplating such a sacred, universal, holy sovereignty, takes on a sweet smile of delightful complacency, and feels secure, and reposes in perfect peace, surrounded and supported by the everlasting arms.

    4. Many entertain most ruinous conceptions of divine sovereignty. They manifestly conceive of it as proceeding wholly independent of law, and of second causes, or means. They often are heard to use language that implies this. They say, "if it is God's will, you cannot hinder it. If God has begun the work, He will accomplish it." In fact, their language means nothing, unless they assume that in the dispensation of grace all is miracle. They often represent a thing as manifestly from God, or as providential, because it was, or appeared to be, so disconnected with appropriate means and instrumentalities. In other words it was quite miraculous.

    Now, I suppose, that God's sovereignty manifests itself through and by means, or second causes, and appropriate instrumentalities. God is as much a sovereign in the kingdom of nature as of grace. Suppose farmers, mechanics, and shopkeepers should adopt, in practice, this absurd view of divine sovereignty of which I am speaking? Why, they would succeed about as well in raising crops and in transacting business, as those Christians and ministers who apply their views of sovereignty to spiritual matters, do in saving souls.

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