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description of the freedom of the human will, it is hard to reconcile “ the negative “principle of defectibility,” which pervades the whole Calvinistic system, with those precepts of the Old Testament in which the Jews are directed to choose between good and evil, or with those invitations of the Gospel", in which Christ refers to the willingness of the individual to accept them; so that if any man would know of the doctrine whether it be of God, he must be willing to do the will of the Fatherv.
III. From this description of the freedom of the will, which is less frequently and formally insisted upon, it is necessary to proceed to the more popular and the more elaborate doctrine of divine grace, and to state what modern Calvinists maintain, and what they do not maintain, concerning its primary communication, its operation, and properties.
t Deut. xxx. 19. Joshua xxiv. 15. See also Luke x. 42. Heb. xi. 25. u Matt. xvi. 24, 25. Mark viii. 34. Luke ix. 23. El tis bener. The authorized version according to the modern use of the words, expresses only the futurition, not the volition.
v John vii. 17.
1, “ The Calvinists do not maintain, “ that grace, in every acceptation of the “ word, is irresistible* ;” and they “utterly “ disclaim the notion of compulsory force'." In relation to the new birth, they “require “ nothing sudden";" and they deny that they “ever speak of it as wrought by an “ irresistible impulse of the Spirit, without “ the cooperation of the man himselfa,” they profess“ that no Christian ought to expect
Williams, p. 55. y Ibid. p. 295. “The frequent “ occurrence of compulsory and irresistible, not as quoted “ from our writings, for we disclaim both the words and " the ideas, but'erroneously ascribed to us, tends to make “ the reader suppose that we mean something different “ from what we really do.” Scott, vol. i. p. 137. 92. 139. vol. ii. p. 211. 245.
z Simeon, p. 36. a Ibid. Compare Scott, vol. i. p. 80—90. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit,' " and with that which is born of God'the Holy Spirit
cooperates to render it victorious; but not with the “ unrenewed hearts of sinners, or with the flesh, which " will never concur and cooperate in its own crucifixion.” p. 81. “ If in producing the willing mind to turn to “God, the sinner's cooperation with God be admitted, “ not only is the glory divided between two agents, and “ boasting introduced, but the will of man takes the “ lead, and seems entitled to the precedency.” p. 85.
“a private revelation of any new truths, “ which are not revealedb” in the Scriptures; they “ acknowledge no sinless obedience
except the Redeemer'se;" nor do they approve of what “ some of the ancient " Calvinists have advanced about incorri
gible pollution and inevitable wickedness “ in the reprobated.”
2. In the judgment of Calvinists, " grace “ in the heart is a living principle, at the
sovereign disposal of God; and the exer“ cise of this principle, when obtained, is " as much our duty as it is to consult the
preservation of our lives and of our fa66 cultiese.” 66 The means as such are suf“ ficient, and such as becomes a mora!
governor to afford; but the other kind “ of ability, which consists in a sincere
b Williams, p. 297. Scott, vol. 1, p. 60. 142. cWilliams, p. 305. Scott, vol. j. p. 101,
d. Williams, p. 306. Scott, vol. i. p. 102. 163. vol. ii. p. 2.
e Williams, p. 464. 291. .“ Special grace, as far as it “ is vouchsafed efficaciously, leads men to improve every “ talent, and to employ aright every other gift of God. “ But what is there in fallen man whicb can improve as “ a talent the special grace of God.” Scott, vol. 1, p. 66. person to exercise the faculties he had before in a
disposition to obey, proceeds from the sovereign grace of God, whereby we are,
properly speaking, enabled to obeyf.” • The operation is not merely external in “ the way of suasion, but internal 5," or “ in the person himselfb;" “ a physical
operation, as contradistinguished from " that which is morali.” 66 The end of “ divine operations must be to produce a “ virtuous principles,” to ensure perse
vering obedience and well doing!,” and “ the principle generated by divine ope“ ration illuminates the mind, enabling it “ to discover the spiritual nature and su
f Williams, p. 471. 208. 34. Scott, vol. i. 61-63. 8 Williams, p. 33. h Ibid. p. 34.
i Ibid. p. 84. This “ term, physical operation, is used by Calvinists not “to convey the idea of producing a superadded physical
power or natural faculty, but to represent a positive “ and actual agency by the Holy Spirit, enabling the
proper manner.” Williams, p. 34. Scott, vol. i. p. 31. So also“ preventing grace produces willingness, and “ whatever physical power we have of refusal, this will
ingress, when produced, is a moral inability to refuse " it.” Scott, vol. ii. p. 601.
k Williams, p. 35. ' Ibid. p. 366.506. Overton, p. 295.
perior excellency"_and real meaning" — " of the truths revealed in the sacred Ora“cles.” Calvinists." are constrained by every consideration of the case ...
.. to “ ascribe our possession of the living principle of faith, as of every
other internal grace, to the inspiration of God's Holy
Spirit, as the gift of the Mediator to the smembers of his mystical body°;" and “ without grace in the heart, and without “ a communication of that grace from
God, there could not be one virtuous “ act, in the proper sense of this epithet,
among either men or angels P.”
If there be no other objection to this account of the divine operations, and of their necessity, we cannot be expected to concur in attributing them to the sovereign grace, or saying that they are at the sovereign disposal of God, which seem to imply an arbitrary act in preference to the more evangelical doctrine, which ascribes the distribution of heavenly gifts to parental
• Ibid. p. 128.
m Williams, p. 37. n Ibid. p. 297. 149. p Williams, p. 506.