A Theodicy, or, Vindication of the Divine Glory
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A Theodicy, or, Vindication of the Divine Glory

By Albert Taylor Bledsoe
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Table of Contents
  • Contents
  • Introduction.
  • Of The Possibility Of A Theodicy.
    • Section I.
    • The failure of Plato and other ancient philosophers to construct a Theodicy, not a ground of despair.
    • Section II.
    • The failure of Leibnitz not a ground of despair.
    • Section III.
    • The system of the moral universe not purposely involved in obscurity to teach us a lesson of humility.
    • Section IV.
    • The littleness of the human mind a ground of hope.
    • Section V.
    • The construction of a Theodicy, not an attempt to solve mysteries, but to dissipate absurdities.
    • Section VI.
    • The spirit in which the following work has been prosecuted, and the relation of the author to other systems.
  • Part I.
  • The Existence Of Moral Evil, Or Sin, Consistent With The Holiness Of God.
    • Chapter I.
    • The Scheme Of Necessity Denies That Man Is Responsible For The Existence Of Sin.
      • Section I.
      • The attempts of Calvin and Luther to reconcile the scheme of necessity with the responsibility of man.
      • Section II.
      • The manner in which Hobbes, Collins, and others, endeavour to reconcile necessity with free and accountable agency.
      • Section III.
      • The sentiments of Descartes, Spinoza, and Malebranche, concerning the relation between liberty and necessity.
      • Section IV.
      • The views of Locke, Tucker, Hartley, Priestley, Helvetius, and Diderot, with respect to the relation between liberty and necessity.
      • Section V.
      • The manner in which Leibnitz endeavours to reconcile liberty and necessity.
      • Section VI.
      • The attempt of Edwards to establish free and accountable agency on the basis of necessity—The views of the younger Edwards, Day, Chalmers, Dick, D'Aubigne, Hill, Shaw, and M'Cosh, concerning the agreement of liberty and necessity.
      • Section VII.
      • The sentiments of Hume, Brown, Comte, and Mill, in relation to the antagonism between liberty and necessity.
      • Section VIII.
      • The views of Kant and Sir William Hamilton in relation to the antagonism between liberty and necessity.
      • Section IX.
      • The notion of Lord Kames and Sir James Mackintosh on the same subject.
      • Section X.
      • The conclusion of Mœhler, Tholuck, and others, that all speculation on such a subject must be vain and fruitless.
      • Section XI.
      • The true conclusion from the foregoing review of opinions and arguments.
    • Section I.
    • The attempts of Calvin and Luther to reconcile the scheme of necessity with the responsibility of man.
    • Section II.
    • The manner in which Hobbes, Collins, and others, endeavour to reconcile necessity with free and accountable agency.
    • Section III.
    • The sentiments of Descartes, Spinoza, and Malebranche, concerning the relation between liberty and necessity.
    • Section IV.
    • The views of Locke, Tucker, Hartley, Priestley, Helvetius, and Diderot, with respect to the relation between liberty and necessity.
    • Section V.
    • The manner in which Leibnitz endeavours to reconcile liberty and necessity.
    • Section VI.
    • The attempt of Edwards to establish free and accountable agency on the basis of necessity—The views of the younger Edwards, Day, Chalmers, Dick, D'Aubigne, Hill, Shaw, and M'Cosh, concerning the agreement of liberty and necessity.
    • Section VII.
    • The sentiments of Hume, Brown, Comte, and Mill, in relation to the antagonism between liberty and necessity.
    • Section VIII.
    • The views of Kant and Sir William Hamilton in relation to the antagonism between liberty and necessity.
    • Section IX.
    • The notion of Lord Kames and Sir James Mackintosh on the same subject.
    • Section X.
    • The conclusion of Mœhler, Tholuck, and others, that all speculation on such a subject must be vain and fruitless.
    • Section XI.
    • The true conclusion from the foregoing review of opinions and arguments.
    • Chapter II.
    • The Scheme Of Necessity Makes God The Author Of Sin.
      • Section I.
      • The attempts of Calvin and other reformers to show that the system of necessity does not make God the author of sin.
      • Section II.
      • The attempt of Leibnitz to show that the scheme of necessity does not make God the author of sin.
      • Section III.
      • The maxims adopted and employed by Edwards to show that the scheme of necessity does not make God the author of sin.
      • Section IV.
      • The attempts of Dr. Emmons and Dr. Chalmers to reconcile the scheme of necessity with the purity of God.
    • Section I.
    • The attempts of Calvin and other reformers to show that the system of necessity does not make God the author of sin.
    • Section II.
    • The attempt of Leibnitz to show that the scheme of necessity does not make God the author of sin.
    • Section III.
    • The maxims adopted and employed by Edwards to show that the scheme of necessity does not make God the author of sin.
    • Section IV.
    • The attempts of Dr. Emmons and Dr. Chalmers to reconcile the scheme of necessity with the purity of God.
    • Chapter III.
    • Scheme Of Necessity Denies The Reality Of Moral Distinctions.
      • Section I.
      • The views of Spinoza in relation to the reality of moral distinctions.
      • Section II.
      • The attempt of Edwards to reconcile the scheme of necessity with the reality of moral distinctions.
      • Section III.
      • Of the proposition that “The essence of the virtue and vice of dispositions of the heart and acts of the will, lies not in their cause, but in their nature.”97
      • Section IV.
      • The scheme of necessity seems to be inconsistent with the reality of moral distinctions, not because we confound natural and moral necessity, but because it is really inconsistent therewith.
    • Section I.
    • The views of Spinoza in relation to the reality of moral distinctions.
    • Section II.
    • The attempt of Edwards to reconcile the scheme of necessity with the reality of moral distinctions.
    • Section III.
    • Of the proposition that “The essence of the virtue and vice of dispositions of the heart and acts of the will, lies not in their cause, but in their nature.”97
    • Section IV.
    • The scheme of necessity seems to be inconsistent with the reality of moral distinctions, not because we confound natural and moral necessity, but because it is really inconsistent therewith.
    • Chapter IV.
    • The Moral World Not Constituted According To The Scheme Of Necessity.
      • Section I.
      • The scheme of necessity is based on a false psychology.
      • Section II.
      • The scheme of necessity is directed against a false issue.
      • Section III.
      • The scheme of necessity is supported by false logic.
      • Section IV.
      • The scheme of necessity is fortified by false conceptions.
      • Section V.
      • The scheme of necessity is recommended by false analogies.
      • Section VI.
      • The scheme of necessity is rendered plausible by a false phraseology.
      • Section VII.
      • The scheme of necessity originates in a false method, and terminates in a false religion.
    • Section I.
    • The scheme of necessity is based on a false psychology.
    • Section II.
    • The scheme of necessity is directed against a false issue.
    • Section III.
    • The scheme of necessity is supported by false logic.
    • Section IV.
    • The scheme of necessity is fortified by false conceptions.
    • Section V.
    • The scheme of necessity is recommended by false analogies.
    • Section VI.
    • The scheme of necessity is rendered plausible by a false phraseology.
    • Section VII.
    • The scheme of necessity originates in a false method, and terminates in a false religion.
    • Chapter V.
    • The Relation Between The Human Will And The Divine Agency.
      • Section I.
      • General view of the relation between the divine and the human power.
      • Section II.
      • The Pelagian platform, or view of the relation between the divine and the human power.
      • Section III.
      • The Augustinian Platform, or view of the relation between the divine agency and the human.
      • Section IV.
      • The views of those who, in later times, have symbolized with Augustine.
      • Section V.
      • The danger of mistaking distorted for exalted views of the divine sovereignty.
    • Section I.
    • General view of the relation between the divine and the human power.
    • Section II.
    • The Pelagian platform, or view of the relation between the divine and the human power.
    • Section III.
    • The Augustinian Platform, or view of the relation between the divine agency and the human.
    • Section IV.
    • The views of those who, in later times, have symbolized with Augustine.
    • Section V.
    • The danger of mistaking distorted for exalted views of the divine sovereignty.
    • Chapter VI.
    • The Existence Of Moral Evil, Or Sin, Reconciled With The Holiness Of God.
      • Section I.
      • The hypothesis of the soul's preëxistence.
      • Section II.
      • The hypothesis of the Manicheans.
      • Section III.
      • The hypothesis of optimism.
      • Section IV.
      • The argument of the atheist—The reply of Leibnitz and other theists—The insufficiency of this reply.
      • Section V.
      • The sophism of the atheist exploded, and a perfect agreement shown to subsist between the existence of sin and the holiness of God.
      • Section VI.
      • The true and only foundation of optimism.
      • Section VII.
      • The glory of God seen in the creation of a world, which he foresaw would fall under the dominion of sin.
      • Section VIII.
      • The little, captious spirit of Voltaire, and other atheizing minute philosophers.
    • Section I.
    • The hypothesis of the soul's preëxistence.
    • Section II.
    • The hypothesis of the Manicheans.
    • Section III.
    • The hypothesis of optimism.
    • Section IV.
    • The argument of the atheist—The reply of Leibnitz and other theists—The insufficiency of this reply.
    • Section V.
    • The sophism of the atheist exploded, and a perfect agreement shown to subsist between the existence of sin and the holiness of God.
    • Section VI.
    • The true and only foundation of optimism.
    • Section VII.
    • The glory of God seen in the creation of a world, which he foresaw would fall under the dominion of sin.
    • Section VIII.
    • The little, captious spirit of Voltaire, and other atheizing minute philosophers.
    • Chapter VII.
    • Objections Considered.
      • Section I.
      • It may be objected that the foregoing scheme is “new theology.”
      • Section II.
      • It may be imagined that the views herein set forth limit the omnipotence of God.
      • Section III.
      • The foregoing scheme, it may be said, presents a gloomy view of the universe.
      • Section IV.
      • It may be alleged, that in refusing to subject the volitions of men to the power and control of God, we undermine the sentiments of humility and submission.
      • Section V.
      • The foregoing treatise may be deemed inconsistent with gratitude to God.
      • Section VI.
      • It may be contended, that it is unfair to urge the preceding difficulties against the scheme of necessity; inasmuch as the same, or as great, difficulties attach to the system of those by whom they are urged.
    • Section I.
    • It may be objected that the foregoing scheme is “new theology.”
    • Section II.
    • It may be imagined that the views herein set forth limit the omnipotence of God.
    • Section III.
    • The foregoing scheme, it may be said, presents a gloomy view of the universe.
    • Section IV.
    • It may be alleged, that in refusing to subject the volitions of men to the power and control of God, we undermine the sentiments of humility and submission.
    • Section V.
    • The foregoing treatise may be deemed inconsistent with gratitude to God.
    • Section VI.
    • It may be contended, that it is unfair to urge the preceding difficulties against the scheme of necessity; inasmuch as the same, or as great, difficulties attach to the system of those by whom they are urged.
  • Part II.
  • The Existence Of Natural Evil, Or Suffering, Consistent With The Goodness Of God.
    • Chapter I.
    • God Desires And Seeks The Salvation of All Men.
      • Section I.
      • The reason why theologians have concluded that God designs the salvation of only a part of mankind.
      • Section II.
      • The attempt of Howe to reconcile the eternal ruin of a portion of mankind with the sincerity of God in his endeavours to save them.
      • Section III.
      • The views of Luther and Calvin respecting the sincerity of God in his endeavours to save those who will finally perish.
    • Section I.
    • The reason why theologians have concluded that God designs the salvation of only a part of mankind.
    • Section II.
    • The attempt of Howe to reconcile the eternal ruin of a portion of mankind with the sincerity of God in his endeavours to save them.
    • Section III.
    • The views of Luther and Calvin respecting the sincerity of God in his endeavours to save those who will finally perish.
    • Chapter II.
    • Natural Evil, Or Suffering, And Especially The Suffering Of Infants Reconciled With The Goodness Of God.
      • Section I.
      • All suffering not a punishment for sin.
      • Section II.
      • The imputation of sin not consistent with the goodness of God.
      • Section III.
      • The imputation of sin not consistent with human, much less with the divine goodness.
      • Section IV.
      • The true ends, or final causes, of natural evil.
      • Section V.
      • The importance of harmonizing reason and revelation.
    • Section I.
    • All suffering not a punishment for sin.
    • Section II.
    • The imputation of sin not consistent with the goodness of God.
    • Section III.
    • The imputation of sin not consistent with human, much less with the divine goodness.
    • Section IV.
    • The true ends, or final causes, of natural evil.
    • Section V.
    • The importance of harmonizing reason and revelation.
    • Chapter III.
    • The Sufferings Of Christ Reconciled With The Goodness Of God.
      • Section I.
      • The sufferings of Christ not unnecessary.
      • Section II.
      • The sufferings of Christ a bright manifestation of the goodness of God.
      • Section III.
      • The objections of Dr. Channing, and other Unitarians, against the doctrine of the atonement.
    • Section I.
    • The sufferings of Christ not unnecessary.
    • Section II.
    • The sufferings of Christ a bright manifestation of the goodness of God.
    • Section III.
    • The objections of Dr. Channing, and other Unitarians, against the doctrine of the atonement.
    • Chapter IV.
    • The Eternal Punishment Of The Wicked Reconciled With The Goodness Of God.
      • Section I.
      • The false grounds upon which the doctrine of the eternity of future punishment has been placed.
      • Section II.
      • The unsound principles from which, if true, the fallacy of the eternity of future punishments may be clearly inferred.
      • Section III.
      • The eternity of future punishments an expression of the divine goodness.
    • Section I.
    • The false grounds upon which the doctrine of the eternity of future punishment has been placed.
    • Section II.
    • The unsound principles from which, if true, the fallacy of the eternity of future punishments may be clearly inferred.
    • Section III.
    • The eternity of future punishments an expression of the divine goodness.
    • Chapter V.
    • The Dispensation Of The Divine Favours Reconciled With The Goodness Of God.
      • Section I.
      • The unequal distribution of favours, which obtains in the economy of natural providence, consistent with the goodness of God.
      • Section II.
      • The Scripture doctrine of election consistent with the impartiality of the divine goodness.
      • Section III.
      • The Calvinistic scheme of election inconsistent with the impartiality and glory of the divine goodness.
      • Section IV.
      • The true ground and reason of election to eternal life shows it to be consistent with the infinite goodness of God.
    • Section I.
    • The unequal distribution of favours, which obtains in the economy of natural providence, consistent with the goodness of God.
    • Section II.
    • The Scripture doctrine of election consistent with the impartiality of the divine goodness.
    • Section III.
    • The Calvinistic scheme of election inconsistent with the impartiality and glory of the divine goodness.
    • Section IV.
    • The true ground and reason of election to eternal life shows it to be consistent with the infinite goodness of God.
  • Conclusion.
  • A Summary View Of The Principles And Advantages Of The Foregoing System.
    • Chapter I.
    • Summary Of The First Part Of The Foregoing System.
      • Section I.
      • The scheme of necessity denies that man is the responsible author of sin.
      • Section II.
      • The scheme of necessity makes God the author of sin.
      • Section III.
      • The scheme of necessity denies the reality of moral distinctions.
      • Section IV.
      • The moral world not constituted according to the scheme of necessity.
      • Section V.
      • The relation between the human agency and the divine.
      • Section VI.
      • The existence of moral evil consistent with the infinite purity of God.
    • Section I.
    • The scheme of necessity denies that man is the responsible author of sin.
    • Section II.
    • The scheme of necessity makes God the author of sin.
    • Section III.
    • The scheme of necessity denies the reality of moral distinctions.
    • Section IV.
    • The moral world not constituted according to the scheme of necessity.
    • Section V.
    • The relation between the human agency and the divine.
    • Section VI.
    • The existence of moral evil consistent with the infinite purity of God.
    • Chapter II.
    • Summary Of The Second Part Of The Foregoing System.
      • Section I.
      • God desires the salvation of all men.
      • Section II.
      • The sufferings of the innocent, and especially of infants, consistent with the goodness of God.
      • Section III.
      • The sufferings of Christ consistent with the divine goodness.
      • Section IV.
      • The eternity of future punishment consistent with the goodness of God.
      • Section V.
      • The true doctrine of election and predestination consistent with the goodness of God.
      • Section VI.
      • The question submitted.
    • Section I.
    • God desires the salvation of all men.
    • Section II.
    • The sufferings of the innocent, and especially of infants, consistent with the goodness of God.
    • Section III.
    • The sufferings of Christ consistent with the divine goodness.
    • Section IV.
    • The eternity of future punishment consistent with the goodness of God.
    • Section V.
    • The true doctrine of election and predestination consistent with the goodness of God.
    • Section VI.
    • The question submitted.
  • Footnotes
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