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FROM ANY DEFECT OF POWER IN HIM, BUT FROM THE STATE, CONDITION, AND SITUATION IN WHICH HE WAS, AND FROM THE NATURE OF THE REVELATION MADE UNTO HIM; for, no doubt, Adam had a power to believe every word of God, or any revelation that was, or might be made unto him.”*
The reader will perceive the origin of this objection, if he look into Dr. Owen's Display of Arminianism, Chap. VIII. He there complains of the “ attempt of Arminians to draw down our first parents, even from the instant of their forming, into the same condition wherein we are engaged by reason of corrupt nature.” He mentions several of their maxims and sentiments, and, among others, two of their sayings : the one, of the Remonstrants, in their Apology; and the other, of the six Arminian Collocutors at the Hague.
«« The will of man,' say the former, “had never wny spiritual endowments." « In the spiritual death of sin," say the latter, there are no spiritual gifts properly wanting in will, because they were never there."
“ The sum is,” adds the Doctor, ironically, 6 Man was created with a nature, not only weak and imperfect, unable by its native strength and endowments to attain that supernatural end for which he was made, and which he was commanded to seek; but depraved also with a love and desire of things repugnant to the will of God, by reason of an inbred inclination to sinping! It doth not properly belong to this place to show how they extenuate those gifts also with which they cannot deny but that he was endued, and also deny those which he had ; as a power to believe in Christ, or to assent unto any truth that God should reveal unto him: and yet they grant this privilege unto every one of his posterity, in that depraved condition of nature whereinto by sin he cast himself and us. We have all now, they tell us, a power of believing in Christ; that is, Adam, by his fall, obtained a supernatural endowment, far more excellent than any he had before !”
That there are differences between the principle of holiness in innocent Adam, and that which is wrought in believers, may be admitted. The production of the former was merely an expression of the Creator's purity; the latter of his
• Cause of God and Truth, Part III. Chap. III. VOL. 1,
grace : that was capable of being lost; this is secured by promise: the one was exercised in contemplating and adoring God as the Creator and Preserver; the other, not only in these characters, but as the God of salvation. The same may be allowed concerning the life promised to Adam, in case of obedience, and that which is enjoyed through a Mediator. The one will be greater than the other; for Christ came not only that we might have life, but that we might have it more abundantly : but these differences are merely circumstantial, and, therefore, do not affect the argument. The joy of angels is greatly increased by man's redemption; but it does not follow, that their principles are different from what they were prior to that event. A life of joy in heaven is far more glorious than a life of communion with God on earth; yet the principles of saints on earth, and saints in heaven, are not, therefore, of a different nature.
That the principle of holiness in Adam, and that which is wrought in believers, are essentially the same, I conclude, from the following reasons.
First: They are both formed after the same likeness, THE IMAGE OF GOD. God created man in his own image ; in the image of God created he him.-Put ye on the new man, which, AFTER God, is created in righteousness and true holi.
If God be immutable in his nature, that which is created after him must be the same, for substance, at all times, and in all circumstances. There cannot be two specifically different images of the same original. Secondly: They are both a conformity to the same standard,
That the spirit and conduct of man in innocence was neither more nor less' than a perfect conformity to this law, I suppose, will be allowed; and the same may be said of the spirit and conduct of Jesus Christ, so far as he was our exemplar, or the model after which we are formed. God's law was within his heart. It was his meat and drink to do his will. He went to the end of the law for righteousness; but it does not appear that he went beyond it. The superiority of his obedience to that of all others lay, not in his doing more than the law required, but in the dignity of his per
THE MORAL LAW.
* Gen. i. 27. Ephes. iy. 24.
son, which stamped infinite value on every thing he did. But, if such was the spirit and conduct of Christ, to whose image we are predestinated to be conformed, it must, of necessity, be ours. This also perfectly agrees with those scriptural representations which describe the work of the Spirit as writing God's law in the heart ;* and with those which represent the ultimate state of holiness to which we shall arrive in heaven, as no more than a conformity to this law and this model : The spirits of just men MADE PERFECT — We shall be LIKE HIM.
Thirdly: The terms used to describe the one imply that it is of the same nature as the other. Conversion is expressed by a return to God ;t which denotes a recovery to a right state of mind, after a departure from him. Regeneration is called a washing, which expresses the restoring of the soul to purity, from which it had degenerated ; and, hence, the same divine operation is, in the same passage, called the renewing of the Holy Spirit.
But, “ this renovation," it has been said, “is spoken of the mind, and not of a principle in the mind.” The renewal of the mind must either be natural or moral. If the for mer, it would seem as if we had divested ourselves of the use of our natural faculties, and that regeneration consists in restoring them. If the latter, by the mind must be meant the disposition of the mind, or, as the scripture speaks, the SPIRIT of our minds. But this amounts to the same thing as a principle in our minds. There is no difference between a mind being restored to a right state and condition, and a right state and condition being restored to the mind.
Fourthly : Supreme love to God, which is acknowledged 10 be the principle of man in innocence, would necessarily lead a fallen creature to embrace the gospel way of salvation. This is clearly intimated in our Lord's reasonings with the Jews: I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me notill This reasoning, on the contrary hypothesis, was invalid; for, if re
* Psa. xl. 8. John iv. 34. Rom. x. 4. Jer. xxxi. 33. † Isa. lv.7.
# Motives to Love and Unity, p. 22. $ Ephes, iv. 23.
!! John v. 42, 43.
ceiving the Messiah was that to which a principle of supreme love to God was unequal, a non-reception of him would afford no proof of its absence. They might have had the love of God in them, and yet not have received him.
The love to God which was possessed by Adam in innocence was equal to that of the holy angels. His being of the carth, earthy, as to his body, no more proves his inferiority to them, as to the principles of his mind, than it proves the inferiority of Christ in this respect, who, before his resurrection, was possessed of a natural, and not a spiritual body, But it cannot be denied, that the angels are capable of understanding, believing, and approving of the gospel way of salvation. It is, above all others, their chosen theme; which things the angels desire to look into.* It is true, they do not embrace the Messiah as their Saviour ; because they do not stand in need of salvation : but give a free invitation and their principles to a being that wants a Saviour, and he would not scruple a moment about accepting it. It is not possible for a creature to love God, without loving the greatest friend of God, and embracing a gospel that, more than any thing, tends to exalt his character: neither is it possible to love mankind with a holy and affectionate regard towards their best interests, without loving the friend of sinners, and approving of a doctrine that breathes good will to men.
CONCERNING THE DECREES OF God.
A general invitation to sinners, to return to God, and be saved through Christ, it has been thought, must be inconsistent with an election of some and a consequent rejection of others. Such has been the mode of objecting used by the adversaries to the doctrines of discriminating grace ;t and such is the mode of late adopted by our opponents.
In general, I would observe, if this mode of reasoning prove any thing, it will prove too much : it will prove that it is not the duty of some men to attend the means of grace, or in any way to seek after the salvation of their souls, or to be in the least degree concerned about it; for it may be pleaded, that God cannot have made it their duty, or have invited them
# 1 Peter i. 12.
See Owen’s Death of Death, Book IV. Chap. I.
to attend the means of salvation, seeing he is determined not to bestow salvation upon them. And thus we must not only be driven to explain the general invitation to many who never came to the gospel-supper, of a mere invitation to attend the means of grace, but must absolutely give it up, and the Bible with it, on account of its inconsistency.
Farther: This mode of reasoning would prove that the use of means in order to obtain
temporal subsistence, and to preserve life, is altogether vain and inconsistent. If we believe that the future states of men are determined by God, we must also believe the same of their present states. The scriptures teach the one, no less than the other. God hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of our habitation. Our cup is measured, and our lot assigned us.t There is also an appointed time for man upon earth : his days are as the days of an hireling. His days are determined, the num. ber of his months are with God: he has appointed his bounds that he cannot pass. Yet those who reason as above, with regard to things of another life, are as attentive to the affairs of this life as other people. They are no less concerned than their neighbours, for their present accommodation; nor less employed in devising means for the lengthening out of their lives, and of their tranquillity. But, if the purpose of God may consist with the agency of man in present concerns, it may in those which are future, whether we can perceive the link that unites them, or not: and it our duty, in the one case, be the same as if no such purpose existed, it is so in the other. Secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever.
It was the duty of Pharaoh to have followed the counsel of Moses, and to have let the people go; and his sin to pursue them into the sea : yet it was the purpose of God by this means to destroy him. M08e8 sent messengers to Sihon king of Heshbon, with words of peace, saying, Let me pass through thy land ; and it was, doubtless, the duty of Sihon to have
* Acts xvii. 26.
| Psalm xvi. 5.