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conduct; but fallen man, as left to himself, is so abso. lutely the slave of sin, that his will is never free from the bondage of avarice, ambition, sensual and worldly. desires, or malignant passions; above all, it is totally averse to true godliness. In this sense it is not free: and this is the only sense, in which well informed Cal. vinists have ever denied the freedom of the will; as it will appear most conclusively, from the writings of the reformers, and from Calvin himself, in the course of this work.
Whatever a man can properly be said to do, he does voluntarily; but it is our opinion, that fallen man is never truly willing “to work out his own salvation;” or, (to use his Lordship’s words,) steadily and constantly to obey good motions within us, whatever they may cost:' 'except as “God worketh in him to will.” Then indeed “to will is present with him; but how to perform " that which is good he finds not.”* Yet, earnestly seeking deliverance and assistance from God, by con. stant prayer, and by diligently using every appointed means of grace, God worketh in him also “to do, of his good pleasure.”+
P. iii. l. 3. “But though, &c.1 Does any body of men, or any individual, maintain, that all idea of • distinction between right and wrong was utterly oblit. erated from the human mind,' by the fall of Adam?
Rom. vii. 18. † Phil. ii. 13. The same verb (erepgew) is used in both parts of ile verse " It is God, who worketh in you, both to will and to work effectually.” (Eph. i. 11. Jam. y. 16. Gr.)
* ‘But though a propensity to evil and wickedness, universal in extent and powerful in its effects, was thus transmitted to mankind, yet all idea ofilis. Linction between right and wrong was not utterly obliterated from the hili. man mind, or every good affection eradicated from the human heari. The general approbation of virtue and detestation of vice, which have wia • versally prevailed, prore, that the moral sense was not annihilated.' VOL. I.
Nothing could possibly produce this effect, except such a change, as absolutely deprived man of his rational faculties, and reduced him totally to the rank of a brute; and then he would of course cease to be an accountable agent. Fallen angels know what is right, though they hate it; and what is wrong, though they love it.
Whether, every good affection be eradicated from the human heart,' must, according to our views, be decided according to the meaning giving to the word
good affections.' If natural affection towards relatives, and humane compassionate feelings towards our fellow creatures, without any regard to the will and glory of God, be 'good affections:' then fallen man is capable of them, by the allowance of Calvinists, as well as others. But if love to God, and love to man, for the Lord's sake and according to his will, be exclusively meant by 'good affections;' then, in the judgment of Calvinists, fallen man is morally incapable of them except by the grace of God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed.'*
• The approbation of virtue, and the detestation of * vice,' (that is, of some virtues and vices,) as an inefficatious sentiment, may have been general; but it would be easy to shew, that it has been far from universal. The moral sense, in the language of modern wri. ters, seems equivalent to conscience, according to the holy scriptures. Now conscience, though greatly dis qualified for its important office in fallen man, is far, very far indeed, from being 'annihilated.' No, it will never be annihilated; it will to eternity exist, and be active as “the worm that never dicth,” in all those who perish in their sins.
• 2 Col. Even, Ser.
P. ü. I. 13. Man did not, &c.'* The Calvinists do indeed maintain that fallen man is an unmixed in* corrigible mass of pollution and depravity, incapable of effectual amendment,' except by the grace of the gospel: and this enhances the value of the gospel, immensely, in their judgment. But where do the scriptures speak of fallen man as recovered, or recoverable to the love of God with all his heart, and of his neighbour as himself. according to the two great commandments of the law; except by the grace of the gospel?
P. v. 1. 8. · The progress, &c.'t No doubt there have been in every age some pious persons; "a remnant according to the election of grace.”I Of Abel, Enoch, Abraham, and Isaac, the apostle expressly states, that it was “by faith,” that they were thus distinguished. In the case of Abraham, this is enlarged on in many places; Ø and he is spoken of as the father of the faithful, and the exemplar of all other believers, both as to the nature and efficacy of his faith, the way in which he was justified, and the blessings which were secured to him by covenant. Of him especially the apostle says, “It is of faith, that it might be by grace, "to the end that the promise might be sure to all the “ seed; not to that only, which is of the law, but to that "s which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of
* Man did not become by the fall an unmixed incorrigible mass of pollu. 'tion and depravity, absolutely incapable of amendment, or of knowing or * discharging, by his natural powers; any part of the duty of a dependent ra. tional being.'
f‘The progress of sin after the fall was very rapid and excessive; but we sare informed that, amidst the general depravity, “Enoch walked with God;" and that “Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generations, and walked with God.” The former “ was translated that he should not see death;" ' and the latter was preserved with his family, when a food of waters de.
stroyed all other flesh upon the earth. Between the flood and the promul.
Rom. iv. Gal. iii. 6-18. Jam, ii. 20-24
us all.”* Job indeed is not spoken of exactly in the same manner in the New Testament: yet the decided and strong testimony of him and his friends, to the de. pravity of human nature; his profession of faith in the Redeemer, who was to stand on the earth; and the strong language of his penitent confessions;t clearly shew in what way he was righteous before God.
When the “Seed of the woman” had been promised; the anticipated effects of his future obedience and redemption, as the Surety of the new covenant, began to be experienced; and all believers, in every age and nation, have been saved by faith in him. Both in the • Old and New Testament, everlasting life is offered to 'mankind by Christ, who is the Mediator, between God and man.'!
Calvinists, as well as others, admit that many were accepted with God, before the coming of Christ: the only question is, whether the difference between these and others, was by nature, or by grace; by works, or by faith. And in this respect the testimonies of scripture are so numerous, and so decisive, that it might have been supposed, they could not be misunderstood. § “ Without faith it is impossible to please to God.”
P. vi. I. 12. “A law given by a righteous and merciful God, proves the possibility of obedience. The apostle speaks of what “the law could not do,"I“ in “ that it was weak through the flesh.” Now a law, which it is in every sense possible for fallen man to obey, could not properly be thus spoken of. The ar.
. Rom. iv. 16. † Job, xiv. 4. xv. 14–16 xix. 25–27. xxv. 4. xli. 6. 13--18.
# Art. vii. $ Ps. cxxv. 3, 4. cxliii. 2. Rom. ii. 19-26. iv. 2-8. xi. 5, 6. Gal. iii. 10-14.
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“ the impossibility of the law.” Rom. vii. 3. Gr.
gument here turns entirely on the meaning of the word possibility. Suppose a perfect willingness, and unremitted exertion through life, such a possibility of obe. 'dience' might be admitted. These were found in the man Jesus Christ, but have not been found in any other of Adam's posterity: and to all others obedience, perfect obedience, to the law of loving God with all the heart, and their neighbours as themselves, has been morally impossible. Yet 'a righteous and merciful God' knowing this, gave the law from mount Sinai, more explicitly than before, and has continued it in full authority, over all the race of men, as far as made known to them, even to this day. “The law worketh wrath:” nay, “ the law entered, that the offence might abound: “ but where sin abounded, grace did much more “ abound.”* To speak of the possibility of man's doing what no mere man, out of the innumerable millions of Adam's posterity, ever did, can prove nothing; even if admitted, as an abstract truth, like the infinite divisi. bility of matter: and if any other law, distinct from that of perfect love to God and man, be intended; we should be informed in what part of scripture it may be found, and what it requires of man, as entire obedience to its demands.
P. vi. I. 22, Even in the idolatrous days of Ahab and Jezebel,—there were seven thousand in Israel, ' who had not bowed their knees to Baal.' The apostle speaking concerning this company, argues thus: “ What saith the answer of God unto him?” (Elijah.) “ I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who “have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even
so then, at this present time also, there is a remnant - according to the election of grace: and if by grace,
Rom. iy. 15. r. 20.