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IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON III. TRADITIONS OF THE ELDERS paragraph 14 Matthew, 15-6.-"Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect, by your tradition."

1. To exhibit the benevolence of God. A law is the expressed will of the lawgiver. It is a declaration of his disposition towards his subjects, embodying, and holding forth his real sentiments and feelings concerning them. It is the exact portraiture of his heart. We have only to look into the two great precepts that comprise the whole law and the prophets to learn that God is love. These two precepts enjoin pure and perfect love; supreme love to God, and the same love to our fellows as we bear to ourselves; this is a universal rule of right, for the government of his kingdom. Universal obedience to this law would of course result in universal happiness. Mind is so constituted, that benevolent affections are the sources of happiness. If the benevolence, therefore, which the law requires were universally exercised, and in the degree which the law prescribes, universal good-will, and peace, and joy would fill the earth.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1843 paragraph 803 761 Lecture XV. The Benevolence of God ...

9. The fact that God is a benevolent being, appears to me to be a most cogent argument in favor of the doctrine of a temporal millenium, the result of which will be the conversion of the majority of men. No other doctrine, so far as we can judge, is consistent with the benevolence of God. God tells us to reason with Him, and judge for ourselves of his character. Now let us do it. So much does the doctrine of a temporal millenium consist with the benevolence of God, that the mere announcement of the fact that He is love, seems to tell us with trumpet tongue, that He is yet moving on in this world with his great plans of benevolence--that He is going on from conquering to conquer, and that the time will yet come when all shall know the Lord, from the least unto the greatest. I love to dwell upon the character of God in this light. I love to think of Him, not merely as the creator of the universe, but as the great and good governor of all things, who can deign to put his mighty hand in to the base affairs of earth, and turn, and overturn, till his benevolent design in creating the earth is fully accomplished--till the majority of men come to be his obedient subjects, while those who are damned will be monuments to warn the universe of the dreadful effects of sin. What! shall God be defeated in his plans? Is it indeed true, as some assert, that the tendency of things on earth is to go backward? If it is how grievously was Christ mistaken, when He compared the kingdom of heaven "unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measure of meal till the whole was leavened." Some, forsooth, tell us that Christianity is dying out on earth, that the meal is killing the leaven, instead of the leaven leavening the lump. Now God forbid that the tendency of his government should be to retrocession. What! shall the God of the universe, the creator of all things, because the tide of earthly things is rolling back on Himself, and thwarting his mighty plans, crush the world, bury it in everlasting destruction, and send its teeming millions off to hell! Nay, if this be so, we are left to the dim light of inferring that for some inscrutable reason, God created such a world as this. I do not say, that God could not have a good reason for destroying the world at the present moment, but I do say, that if such a reason does exist, He would in some way have made it known to us. But when we open the Bible, we find the truth that God is love, standing out on every page, like the sun breaking through an ocean of storms, and by its light we can go through all the dark sayings of scriptures, and through the mysterious workings of Providence. It is a key with which we may unlock the designs of God, and learn that this world was created to aid in accomplishing the good of universal being, and that it will not be destroyed till its work is fully done.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1858 paragraph 259 246 Lecture VII. God's Love To Us ...

3. Notice yet further, that this love of God to us cannot be the love of esteem or complacency, because there is in us no ground for such a love. It can be no other than the love of unselfish benevolence. This love had been called in question. Satan had questioned it in Eden. He made bold to insinuate -- "Hath your God indeed said, Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden?" Why should He wish to debar you from such a pleasure? So the old Serpent sought to cast suspicion on the benevolence of God. Hence there was the more reason why God should vindicate His love.

 

 


HEART OF THE TRUTH - ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 10 - MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD paragraph 34 MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD. A Moral Attribute defined; Some of the Moral Attributes of God; Prove that God possesses them; Benevolence.

(4.) The place which conscience holds in our mental constitution, is a striking evidence of the benevolence of God. It is manifestly the supreme moral faculty, i.e., it possesses a rightful supremacy, although it has not always the power to control the will. It possesses the right though not always the power of government. Now to suppose that God is malevolent and still the author of our nature is absurd, as it would be equivalent to supposing that his disposition is malevolent, and his works benevolent.

 

 


HEART OF THE TRUTH - ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 10 - MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD paragraph 45 MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD. A Moral Attribute defined; Some of the Moral Attributes of God; Prove that God possesses them; Benevolence.

(4.) The Bible as a revelation from God, is both an instance and a striking proof of the benevolence of God. Its doctrines are a most stupendous revelation of God's benevolence, and afford the highest evidence of its being infinite, that the mind of man or angel can conceive.

 

 


HEART OF THE TRUTH - ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 10 - MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD paragraph 85 MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD. A Moral Attribute defined; Some of the Moral Attributes of God; Prove that God possesses them; Benevolence.

Let it be remembered, that in view of the abundant proof of God's benevolence that everywhere exists, we are called upon only to show, that natural and moral evil may be accounted for in consistency with the supposition that God is perfectly and infinitely benevolent. We are not bound to show how sin came to exist, or how God will dispose of it; but only that its existence may be accounted for in consistency with the truth of all the evidence for the benevolence of God. It is doubtless true that all natural evil does at the time, or will ultimately result in salutary restraint upon moral beings. And as all moral evil is increasing the experience and knowledge of the universe in respect to its nature and tendencies, it is certain that its ultimate result will be confirmatory of the divine authority over all virtuous minds. Just as the developments of the nature and tendencies of alcohol, give strength and efficiency to the principles and moral obligations of the temperance reformation.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 34 - Atonement. paragraph 41 I will call attention to several well established governmental principles . . Define the term atonement . . I am to inquire into the teachings of natural theology, or into the priori affirmations of reason upon this subject . . The fact of atonement . . The design of the atonement . . Christ's obedience to the moral law as a covenant of works, did not constitute the atonement . . The atonement was not a commercial transaction . . The atonement of Christ was intended as a satisfaction of public justice . . His taking human nature, and obeying unto death, under such circumstances, constituted a good reason for our being treated as righteous

     Since the above are facts, and since it is also a fact that when the subject is duly considered, and the more thoroughly the better, there is manifestly a great difficulty in the exercise of mercy without satisfaction being made to public justice; and since the benevolence of God would not allow him on the one hand to pardon sin at the expense of public justice, nor on the other to punish or execute the penalty of law, if it could be wisely and consistently avoided, these facts being understood and admitted, it might naturally have been inferred, that the wisdom and benevolence of God would devise and execute some method of meeting the demands of public justice, that should render the forgiveness of sin possible. That the philosophy of government would render this possible is to us very manifest. I know, indeed, that with the light the gospel has afforded us, we much more clearly discern this, than they could who had no other light than that of nature. Whatever might have been known to the ancients, and those who have not the Bible, I think that, when the facts are announced by revelation, we can see that such a governmental expedient was not only possible, but just what might have been expected of the benevolence of God. It would of course have been impossible for us, à priori, to have devised, or reasonably conjectured, the plan that has been adopted. So little was known or knowable on the subject of the Trinity of God without revelation, that natural theology could, perhaps, in its best estate, have taught nothing further than that, if it was possible, some governmental expedient would be resorted to, and was in contemplation, for the ultimate restoration of the sinning race, who were evidently spared hitherto from the execution of law, and placed under a system of discipline.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 18 - God's Love Commended To Us paragraph 7

Again: He would show that His love is unselfish, for Jesus did not die for us as friends, but as enemies. It was while we were yet enemies that He died for us. On this point, Paul suggests that "scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man, some would even dare to die." But our race were far as possible from being good. Indeed, they were not even righteous, but were utterly wicked. For a very dear friend one might be willing to die. There have been soldiers who, to save the life of a beloved officer, have taken into their own bosom the shaft of death; but for one who is merely just and not so much as good, this sacrifice could scarcely be made. How much less for an enemy! Herein we may see how greatly "God commendeth His love to us, in that while we were yet enemies, Christ died for us." Notice yet further, that this love of God to us can not be the love of esteem or complacency, because there is in us no ground for such a love. It can be no other than the love of unselfish benevolence. This love had been called in question. Satan had questioned it in Eden. He made bold to insinuate, "Hath your God indeed said, Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden?" Why should he wish to debar you from such a pleasure? So the old Serpent sought to cast suspicion on the benevolence of God. Hence there was the more reason why God should vindicate His love.

 

 


FINNEY ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 10 - THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD. paragraph 20 What is moral character, and what are moral attributes? -- God is morally and infinitely good -- Two objections that have been made to the benevolence of God -- What are the moral attributes of God? -- Justice -- Mercy.

III. TWO OBJECTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE TO THE BENEVOLENCE OF GOD.

 

 


FINNEY ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 10 - THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD. paragraph 25 What is moral character, and what are moral attributes? -- God is morally and infinitely good -- Two objections that have been made to the benevolence of God -- What are the moral attributes of God? -- Justice -- Mercy.

In strictness we are not called upon to reply to this objection, unless he who urges it can show that the fact of the existence of so much misery under the government of God is utterly inconsistent with his benevolence. This he cannot show. He cannot show that this misery is not disciplinary in this world; and he cannot show that any degree of misery that may exist in the future world will not conduce to the highest good of the universe as a whole. We are not bound then to show how the existence of misery can be reconciled with the benevolence of God. The burden of proof is on the objector, to prove that it cannot be consistent with the benevolence of God. We have shown by the most conclusive evidence that God is benevolent; but here he brings up certain inexplicable facts, and would insist that these facts are inconsistent with the positive proof that God is benevolent. But this he must prove, and this he cannot do. Even the misery that is in the universe may all be overruled as a means of the highest ultimate good. The contrary cannot be shown; but until it is shown, the objection is good for nothing in the presence of the positive proof of God's benevolence of which we have spoken.

 

 


FINNEY ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 11 - THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD (CONTINUED part 2). paragraph 14 Veracity -- Disinterestedness -- Forbearance -- Long--suffering -- Self-denial -- Impartiality -- Beneficence -- Sovereignty.

6. LONG-SUFFERING. By this is intended that quality of his benevolence that suffers himself to be abused, disobeyed, dishonored, for a long time, without executing vengeance. This attribute is also most strikingly manifested in our own history, and in the history of our race. No one surely can doubt that this is an attribute of the benevolence of God. Nay, he has often exercised it to such an extent as greatly to try the faith of some of his servants. He has borne and suffered so long as that, for a time, it was a temptation to them; and they have inquired whether there was a righteous God that ruled the universe. The seventy third Psalm affords a striking illustration of the trial which God's friends are sometimes subjected to by the exercise of his long-suffering.

 

 


FINNEY ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 12 - THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD (CONTINUED part 3). paragraph 14 Firmness -- Severity -- Efficiency -- Simplicity -- Immutability -- Infinity -- Holiness -- Remarks.

14. SIMPLICITY. Simplicity is the quality of unity. There is no mixture in the benevolence of God. He is said to be love. He has but one end to which he is devoted; his ultimate choice and purpose are a unit, always one, always the same.