God’s Positive Moral Government Over Moral Agents, Additional To That Which Is Merely Natural -- By: Samuel D. Cochrane
BSac 11:42 (April 1854) p. 254
God’s Positive Moral Government Over Moral Agents,
Additional To That Which Is Merely Natural
Moral beings have a definite constitution by which they are honorably distinguished from all other beings. This constitution they have no power to annihilate or change; its essence and laws are as imperishable and immutable as the fiat of the Eternal “Will and Wisdom which spoke them into existence and endowed them with immortality. By virtue of it, they are, from the moment their moral agency commences; not only capable, but under an absolute necessity, of recognizing a moral law, and themselves as subject to it; of obeying, or refusing to obey it; and of experiencing certain elements of happiness as results of obedience, and of unhappiness as results of disobedience. Such is their constitution; and the law, or rule of action, they recognize, is the law of God. The elements of happiness they experience, as natural consequences of obedience, are manifold: the approving smile and benedictions of conscience; inward harmony and peace; enjoyment arising from the consciousness of worthily combating and controlling the appetites, desires and passions; satisfaction from the consciousness of deserving the complacency of the intelligent universe; pleasure from witness-
BSac 11:42 (April 1854) p. 255
ing the good they are able in any way to effect; delight from realizing the light of God’s countenance beaming on the soul; blessedness conferred by hope, searching after and anticipating an eternity of virtue and its fruits; and such like things. The elements of unhappiness they experience, as natural consequences of disobedience, are manifold: the frowns and maledictions of conscience; inward tumult and war produced by collision of the perverse will with reason and conscience; conscious enslavement to pernicious and debasing habits, producing self-contempt and abhorrence; misery created by the consciousness that the frown of God is on the soul, and of deserving it and the execrations of the intelligent universe; jarring remembrances of the past, and tormenting forebodings of woes in the future; self-condemnation from witnessing the evil they do to others in so many ways; and such like things. These are the natural and necessary consequences of obedience and disobedience to the precept of that eternal and immutable law which binds all moral agents to God and to each other.
Now, it is maintained by some that these are the only sanctions of this Divine Law. They deny that God has promised to the virtuous any rewards, or threatened against the wicked any penalties, additional to these; and they accordingly repudiate all belief in a positive moral government, objecting to it as arbitrary, inconsistent with benevolence, unjus...
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