good and evil. Upon this subject, much may be suggested and much has, without suitable caution, been written.
But care should be taken not to magnify this fitness, like the fate of the stoics, and make it independent of God; nor to exalt an
abstract idea above the Supreme, and render it anterior or superior to him. The fitness of things, and the accomodation
of all respective relations, with the corresponding duties, to that fitness, are acknowledged to be true;
but this very fitness, like every thing else, when traced to its origin, is derived from God. He renders the relations
possible or actual, and he is the sole author of all that is right. All possible things have their foundation in the infinite understanding
of God, as upon his omnipotent will, all things, actually existent, depend. The soverign will of an infinitely perfect being
must be always right and fit; "as for God his way is perfect," his law is the only sure and incontestable rule of action, to which every being,
capable of moral agency, must be referred.
"Probably those who have asserted this did not mean any more than that the
divine will is so perfect and excellent that all virtue is reduced to a comformity to
it - and that we ought not to judge of good and evil by any other rule. This is as
true as that the divine conduct is the standard of wisdom. - The nature and will of
God is so perfect as to be the true standard of all excellence, natural and moral,
and if we are sure of what he is, or commands, it would be presumption and folly to
reason against it, or put our views of fitness in the room of his pleasure: but to say
that God, by his will, might have made the same temper and conduct virtuous and
excellent, which we now call vicious, seems to unhinge all our notions of the
supreme excellence even of God himself." - Dr. Witherspoon's Works, vol. iii. page 288.
So much of the Law of God as may be known and is, in part, recognised by all men; so much as
suffices for the preservation of individuals, for constituting society, and establishing the first principles
of morality; whatever may be the obscurity of the knowledge respecting it, is denominated the LAW OF NATURE, because it is not only discovered by
the light of nature, but arises from our natural constitution and being. But the clearer discoveries of duties, toward God as Creator, and especially
toward him as Redeemer, as well as what men owe to each other, is called, in distinction from the former, the REVEALED LAW, and is found only in the
sacred scriptures. This revealed law, in its intrinsic obligation, is of equal force and perpetuity with the law of nature, and is of higher authority than any
explanation which human reason can give to a system of morals, because it is expressly defined. - The will of God in his revelation is unequivocally declared.