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innate power. But that the inferior affection of the soul, which is called sense, and by which it is seduced into error, is of such a nature that it may be tamed and gradually conquered by the rod of reason. They place the will in the middle station between reason and sense, as perfectly at liberty, whether it chooses to obey reason, or to submit to the violence of sense.
III. Sometimes indeed, being convinced by the testimony of experience, they admit how extremely difficult it is for a man to establish within him the kingdom of reason; while he is exposed at one time to the solicitations of alluring pleasures, at, another to the delusions of pretended blessings, and at others to the violent agitations of immoderate passions, compared by Plato to so many cords dragging him in various directions. For which reason Cicero says, that the sparks kindled by nature are soon extinguished by corrupt opinions and evil manners. But when such maladies have once taken possession of the human mind, they acknowledge their progress to be too violent to be easily restrained: nor do they hesitate to compare them to fierce horses, who having rejected reason, like horses that have thrown off the charioteer, indulge themselves in every extravagance, without the least restraint. But they consider it as beyond all controversy, that virtue and vice are in our own power: for if it be at our election, they say, to do this or that, therefore it must also be, to abstain from doing it. And, on the other hand, if we are free to abstain from it, we must also be free to do it. But we appear freely and voluntarily to do those things which we do, and to abstain from those things from which we abstain; therefore if we do any good action, when we please we may omit it; if we perpetrate any evil, that also we may avoid. Moreover, some of them have advanced to such a degree of presumption, as to boast, that we are indebted to the gods for our life, but for a virtuous and religious one to ourselves: whence also that assertion of Cicero, in the person of Cotta, that, since every man acquires virtue for himself, none of the wise men have ever thanked God for it. " For," says he, "we are praised for virtue, and in virtue we glory; which would not be the case, if it were a gift of God, and did not originate
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from ourselves." And a little after, "This is the judgment of all men, that fortune must be asked of God, but that wisdom must be derived from ourselves." This then is the substance of the opinion of all the philosophers, that the reason of the human understanding is sufficient for its proper government; that the will, being subject to it, is indeed solicited by sense to evil objects, but, as it has a free choice, there can be no impediment to its following reason as its guide in all things.
IV. Among the ecclesiastical writers, though there has not been one, who would not acknowledge both that human reason is grievously wounded by sin, and that the will is very much embarrassed by corrupt affections, yet many of them have followed the philosophers far beyond what is right. The early Fathers appear to me to have thus extolled human power from a fear lest if they openly confessed its impotence, they might in the first place incur the derision of the philosophers, with whom they were then contending; and in the next place, might administer to the flesh, of itself naturally too torpid to all that is good, a fresh occasion of slothfulness. To avoid delivering any principle deemed absurd in the common opinion of mankind, they made it their study therefore to compromise between the doctrine of the scripture and the dogmas of the philosophers. Yet it appears from their language, that they principally regarded the latter consideration; that they might leave no room for slothfulness. Chrysostom says, "Since God hath placed good and evil things in our power, he hath given us freedom of choice; and he constrains not the unwilling, but embraces the willing." Again: "Oftentimes a bad man, if he will, is changed into a good one; and a good one falls into inactivity, and becomes bad: because God hath given us naturally a free will; and imposes no necessity upon us, but having provided suitable remedies, permits the event to depend entirely on the mind of the patient." Again: "As without the assistance of Divine grace we can never do any thing aright, so unless we bring what is our own, we shall never be able to gain the favour of heaven." He had before said, "That it may not be entirely of the Divine assistance, it behoves us also to bring something." And this is an expression very familiar with him: "Let us bring what is our's, God will supply the rest." Agreeably to which Jerome says, " That it belongs to us to begin, and to God to complete; that it is oui^s to offer what we can, but his to supply our deficiencies." In these sentences you see they certainly attributed to man more than could justly be attributed to him towards the pursuit of virtue; because they supposed it impossible to awaken our innate torpor, otherwise than by arguing that this alone constitutes our guilt: but with what great dexterity they did it, we shall see in the course of our work. That the passages which we have recited are exceedingly erroneous, will shortly be proved. Although the Greeks beyond all others, and among them particularly Chrysostom, have exceeded all bounds in extolling the ability of the human will, yet such are the variations, fluctuations, or obscurities of all the fathers, except Augustine, on this subject, that scarcely any thing certain can be concluded from their writings. Therefore we shall not scrupulously enumerate the particular opinions of them all, but shall at times select from one and another so much as the explication of the argument shall appear to require. Succeeding writers being every one for himself ambitious of the praise of subtlety in the defence of human nature, gradually and successively fell into opinions more and more erroneous; till at length man was commonly supposed to be corrupted only in his sensual part, but to have his will in a great measure, and his reason entirely, unimpaired. In the mean time, it was proclaimed by every tongue, that the natural talents in men were corrupted, but the supernatural taken away: an expression of Augustine, of the import of which scarcely one man in a hundred had the slightest idea. For myself, if I meant clearly to state wherein the corruption of nature consists, I could easily content myself with this language. But it is of great importance, to examine with attention what ability is retained by man in his present state, corrupted in all the parts of his nature, and deprived of supernatural gifts. This subject therefore has been treated in too philosophical a manner by those who gloried in being the disciples of Christ. For the Latins have always retained the term free.will, as though man still remained in his primitive integrity. And the Greeks have not been ashamed to use an expression much more arrogant: for they called it atrrsgvnar, denoting that man possesses sovereign power over himself. Since all men therefore, even the vulgar, are tinctured with this principle, that man is endued with free will, and some of those who would be thought intelligent know not how far this freedom extends: let us first examine the meaning of the term, and then let us describe, according to the simplicity of the Scripture, the power which man naturally possesses to do either good or evil. What free will\s, though the expression frequently occurs in all writers, few have defined. Yet Origen appears to have advanced a position to which they all assented, when he calls it a power of reason to discern good and evil, of will to choose either. Nor does Augustine differ from him, when he teaches that it is a power of reason and will, by which good is chosen when grace assists; and evil, when grace is wanting. Bernard, while he affects greater subtlety, has expressed himself with more obscurity: he says, it is a consent on account of the liberty of will, which cannot be lost, and the judgment of reason, which cannot be avoided. The definition of Anselm is not sufficiently plain, who states it to be a power of preserving rectitude for its own sake. Therefore Peter Lombard and the schoolmen have rather adopted the definition of Augustine, because it was more explicit, and did not exclude the grace of God, without which they perceived that the will had no power of itself. But they also make such additions of their own, as they conceived to be either better, or conducive to further explication. First, they agree that the word arbitrium, will or choice, should rather be referred to reason, whose office it is to discern between good and evil; and that the epithet free belongs properly to the faculty of the will, which is capable of being inclined to either. Wherefore, since liberty belongs properly to the will, Thomas Aquinas says, that it would be a very good definition, if free will were called an elective power, which being composed of understanding and appetite, inclines rather to appetite. We see where they represent the power of free will to be placed, that is, in the reason and will. It now remains briefly to inquire how much they attribute respectively to each.
the kingdom of God, they generally consider as subject to the -free determination of man; but true righteousness they refer to the special grace of God and spiritual regeneration. With a view to support this notion, the author of the treatise, "On the Vocation of the Gentiles," enumerates three kinds of will; the first a sensitive, the second an animal, and the third a spiritual one: the two former of which he states to be freely exercised by us, and the last to be the work of the Holy Spirit in us. The truth or falsehood of this shall be discussed in the proper place; for my design at present is briefly to recite the opinions of others, not to refute them. Hence, when writers treat of free will, their first inquiry respects not its ability in civil or external actions, but its power to obey the Divine law. Though I confess the latter to be the principal question, yet I think the other ought not to be wholly neglected; and for this opinion I hope to give a very good reason. But a distinction has prevailed in the schools, which enumerates three kinds of liberty; the first, freedom from necessity, the second, freedom from sin, the third, freedom from misery: of which the first is naturally inherent in man, so that nothing can ever deprive him of it; the other two are lost by sin. This distinction I readily admit, except that it improperly confounds necessity with co.action. And the wide difference between these things, with the necessity of its being considered, will appear in another place.
VI. This being admitted will place it beyond all doubt, that man is not possessed of free will for good works, unless he be assisted by grace, and that special grace which is bestowed on the elect alone in regeneration. For I stop not to notice those fanatics, who pretend that grace is offered equally and promiscuously to all. But it does not yet appear, whether he is altogether deprived of power to do good, or whether he yet possesses some power, though small and feeble; which of itself can do nothing, but by the assistance of grace does also perform its part. Lombard, in order to establish this notion, informs us that two sorts of grace are necessary to qualify us for the performance of good works. One he calls operative, by which we efficaciously will what is good; the other co.operative, which attends as auxiliary to a good will. This division