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you, and cause you to walk in my statutes." (f) Who will assert that the infirmity of the human will is only strengthened bv assistance, to enable it efficaciously to aspire to the choice of that which is good; when it actually needs a total transformation and renovation? If there be in a stone any softness, which by some application being made more tender would be flexible in every direction, then I will not deny the flexibility of the human heart to the obedience of rectitude, provided its imperfections are supplied by the grace of God. But if by this similitude, the Lord intended to shew that no good will ever be extracted from our hearts, unless they are entirely renewed, let us not divide between him and us, what he claims exclusively to himself. If, therefore, when God converts us to the pursuit of rectitude, this change is like the transformation of a stone into flesh, it follows, that whatever belongs to our own will is removed, and what succeeds to it is entirely from God. The will, I say, is removed, not considered as the will; because in the conversion of man, the properties of our original nature remain entire. I assert also, that it is created anew, not that the will then begins to exist, but that it is then converted from an evil into a good one. This I affirm to be done entirely by God, because, according to the testimony of the same Apostle, "We are not sufficient" even "to think." (g) Therefore he elsewhere declares, not merely that God assists the infirmity of our will, or corrects its depravity, but that he "worketh in us to will." (A) Whence it is easy to infer what I have already remarked, that whatever good is in the human will, is the work of pure grace. In the same sense he elsewhere pronounces that it is "God which worketh all in all." (i) For in that place he is not discussing the government of the universe, but asserting that the praise of all the excellencies found in the faithful belongs to God alone. And by using the word "all," he certainly makes God the author of spiritual life from its commencement even to its termination. This is the same as he had before taught in other words, declaring that the faithful are ** of God in Christ;" (i) where he evidently intends the new
(/) Ezek. xxxvi. 26,27. (g) 2 Cop. iii. S. (A) Phil . ut 13.
(i) 1 Cor. xii. 6. (f)lCor.i. 30.
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creation, by which what belonged to our common nature is abolished. For we must here understand an implied contrast between Adam and Christ, which he states more plainly in another place, where he teaches that "we are the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (/) For by this argument he designs to prove that our salvation is gratuitous, because the beginning of all good is from the second creation which we obtain in Christ. Now if we possessed any ability, though ever so small, we should also have some portion of merit. But to annihilate all our pretensions, he argues that we have merited nothing, because "we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained:" in which expressions he again signifies that all the parts of good works, even from the first inclination of the mind, are entirely from God. For this reason the Psalmist, after having said that "he (God) hath made us," that there may be no division of the work, immediately subjoins, "and not we ourselves." (m) That he speaks of regeneration, which is the commencement of the spiritual life, is evident from the context, where it follows immediately after, that " we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." We see then, that not content with having simply attributed to God the praise of our salvation, he expressly excludes us from all fellowship with him; as though he would say, that man has not even the smallest particle remaining in which he can glory, because all is of God.
VII. But there may be some, who will concede that the will, being of its own spontaneous inclination averse to what is good, is converted solely by the power of the Lord: yet in such a manner, that being previously prepared, it has also its own share in the work: that grace, as Augustine teaches, precedes every good work, the will following grace, not leading it, being its companion, not its guide. This unobjectionable observation of that holy man, Peter Lombard preposterously wrests to an erroneous meaning. Now I contend that both in the words of the Prophet which I have cited, and in other passages, these two things are clearly signified, that the Lord corrects our
>7.) Epb. ii. 10; Ol Psalm c."
depraved will, or rather removes it, and of himself introduces a good one in its place. As it is preceded by grace, I allow you to style it an attendant; but since its reformation is the work of the Lord, it is wrong to attribute to man a voluntary obedience in following the guidance of grace. Therefore it is not a proper expression of Chrysostom, that grace is able to effect nothing without the will, not the will without grace; as if grace did not produce the will itself, as we have just seen from Paul. Nor was it the intention of Augustine, when he called the human will the companion of grace, to assign to it any secondary office next to grace in the good work: but with a view to refute the nefarious dogma broached by Pela. gius, who made the prime cause of salvation to consist in human merit, he contends, what was sufficient for his present argument, that grace is prior to all merit; omitting, at this time, the other question concerning the perpetual efficiency of grace, which is admirably treated by him on other occasions. For when he frequently says, that the Lord precedes the unwilling that he may will, and follows the willing that he may not will in vain: he makes him the sole author of the good work. His language on this subject is too explicit to require much argument. "Men labour," says he, "to discover in our will something that is our own, and not derived from God: and how any such discovery can be made, I know not." In his first book against Pelagius and Celestius, where he explains that declaration of Christ, "Every man that hath heard of the Father cometh unto me," (n) he says, that "the will is assisted so as to enable it not only to know its duty, but what it knows also to do." And thus when God teacheth not"by the letter of the law, but by the grace of the Spirit, he teacheth in such a manner, that whatever each one has learned, he pot only sees in knowing it, but desires in willing, and performs in doing.
. rVHL And as we are now engaged on the principal point of the argument, let us give the reader a summary of the doctrine, and prove it by a few very clear testimonies of Scripture: and then, that no one may accuse us of perverting the Scripture, let us also shew that the truth which we assert to be deduced from the Scripture is not destitute of the support of this holy man, I mean Augustine. For I conceive it is unnecessary to recite in regular order all the passages which might be adduced from the Scriptures in confirmation of our opinions provided that the selection, which shall be made, prepares a way to the understanding of all the rest, which are frequently to be found. Nor do I think there will be any impropriety in evincing my agreement with that man, to whose authority the consent of the pious pays a great and merited deference. The origin of all good clearly appears, from a plain and certain reason, to be from no other than from God alone; for no propensity of the will to any thing good can be found but in the elect. But the cause of election must not be sought in men. Whence we may conclude, that man has not a good will from himself, but that it proceeds from the same decree by which we were elected before the creation of the world. There is also another reason, not dissimilar. For since good volitions and good actions both arise from faith, we must see whence faith itself originates. Now since the Scripture uniformly proclaims it to be the gratuitous gift of God, it follows that it is the effect of mere grace, when we, who are naturally and completely prone to evil, begin to will any thing that is good. Therefore the Lord, when he mentions these two things in the conversion of his people, that he takes away from them their stony heart, and gives them a heart of flesh, plainly declares, that what originates from ourselves must be removed, that we may be converted to righteousness; and that whatever succeeds in its place proceeds from himself. Nor is it only in one passage that he announces this: for he says in Jeremiah, " I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever." (p) And a little after, " I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." Again in Ezekiel, " I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh." (p) He could not more evidently claim to himself and take from us all that is good and upright inoin
in) John vi. 45.
will, than when he declares our conversion to be the creation of a new spirit and of a new heart. For it always follows, that nothing good proceeds from our will till it be renovated; and that after its renovation, as far as it is good, it is from God, and not from ourselves.
IX. And we find the saints have made this the subject ol their prayers. Solomon prayed, "May the Lord incline our hearts unto him, to keep his commandments." (y) He shews the stubbornness of our heart, which, unless a new bias be given to it, naturally indulges itself in rebellion against the Divine law. The same petition is offered bv the Psalmist: " Incline my heart unto thy testimonies." (r) For we should always remark the opposition between the perverse bias of the heart, which inclines it to rebellion, and this correction which constrains it to obedience. But when David, perceiving himself to be for a time deprived of the direction of grace, prays that God would "create in" him "a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within him;" (s) does he not acknowledge that all the parts of his heart are full of impurity, and his spirit warped by the obliquity of corruption? and by calling the purity which he earnestly implores, the creation of God, does he not ascribe it entirely to him? If any one object," that the petition itself is a proof of a pious and holy affection, the answer is easy, that although David had already partly re- pented, yet he compares his former state with that melancholy fall, which he had experienced. Assuming the character therefore of a man alienated from God, he properly requests for himself all those things which God confers on his elect in regeneration. Resembling a dead man, therefore, he prays to be created anew, that instead of being the slave of Satan, he may become the instrument of the Holy Spirit. Truly wonderful and monstrous is the extravagance of our pride. God requires of us nothing more severe than that we most religiously observe his sabbath, by resting from our own works: but there is nothing which we find more difficult, or to which we are more reluctant, than to bid farewell to our own works in order to give the works of God their proper
(7) 1 Kings viii. 56. (V) Psalm cxix. 3f>. (.*) Psalm li. 10.