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which is infinitely God's most excellent, precious and glorious gift, and man’s highest honor, excellency and happiness, whereby he is partaker of the divine nature, and becomes a godlike creature ? If God was so jealous for the glory of so small a gift, how much more for so high an endowment, this being that alone, of all other things, by which man becomes like God? If man takes the glory of it to himself he thereby will be in the greatest danger of taking the glory to himself that is due to God, and of setting up himself as standing in competition with God, as vying with the Most High, and making himself a god, and not a man. If not giving God the glory of that which is least honorable, provokes God's jealousy ; much more must not giving God the glory of that which is infinitely the most honorable. It is allowed, the apostle insists upon it, that the primitive Christians should be sensible that the glory of their gifts belonged to God, and that they made not themselves to differ. But how small a matter is this, if they make themselves to differ in that, which the apostle says is so much more excellent than all gifts :
$9. How much more careful has God shewn himself, that men should not be proud of their virtue, than of any other gift 2 See Deut. ix, 4. Luke xviii. 9, and innumerable other places. And the apostle plainly teaches us to ascribe to God the glory, not only of our redemption, but of our wisdom, righteousness and sanctification ; and that no flesh should glory in themselves in these things, 1 Cor. i. 29, 30, 31. Again, the apostle plainly directs, that all that glory in their virtue, should glory in the Lord, 2 Cor. x. 17. It is glorying in virtue and virtuous deeds he is there speaking of; and it is plain, that the apostle uses the expression of glorying in the Lord, in such a sense, as to imply ascribing the glory of our virtue to God.
§ 10. The doctrine of men's being the determining causes of their own virtue, teaches them, not to do so much, as even the proud Pharisee did, who thanked God for making him to differ from other men in virtue, Luke xviii.
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See Gen. xli. 15, 16. Job xi. 12. Dan. ii. 25, &c. 2 Cor. iii. 5, 6. 2 Cor. iv. 7. 2 Cor. x. 17. * Proverbs xx. 12. “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made, even both of them "compared with many parallel places that speak about God's giving eyes to see, and ears to hear, and hearts to understand, &c." * - § 11. The Arminian doctrine, and the doctrine of our new philosophers, concerning habits of virtue being only by cus. tom, discipline, and gradual culture, joined with the other doctrine, that the obtaining of these habits in those that have time for it, is in every man's power, according to their doctrine of the freedom of will, tends exceedingly to cherish presumption in sinners, while in health and vigor, and tends to their utter despair, in sensible approaches of death by sickness or old age. " ' " " " ' " " " " " ". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .” - on to 3 out so to so...! : § 12. Observe that the question with some is, whether the Spirit of God does any thing at all in these days, since 'the scriptures have been completed. With those that allow that he does any thing, the question cannot be, whether his influence be immediate ; for, if he does anything at all, his influence must be immediate. Nor can the question be, whether his influence, with regard to what he intends to do, be efficaclous. . . . The questions relating to efficacious grace, controverted between us and "the Arminians, are two : 1. Whether the grace of God, in giving us saving virtue, be determining and decisive. 2. Whether saving virtue be decisively given by a supernatural and sovereign operation of the Spirit of God; or, whether it be only by such a divine influence or assistance, as is imparted in the course of common providence, either according to established laws of nature, or established laws of God's universal providence towards mankind; i. e. either, 1. Assistance which is given in all natural actions, wherein men do merely exercise and improve the principles of nature and laws of nature, and come to such attainments as are connected with such exercises by the mere laws of nature. For there is an assistance in all such natural actions ; because it is by a divine influence that the laws of nature are upheld; and a constant concurrence of divine power is necessary in order to our living, moving, or having a being. This we may call a natural assistance. Or, 2. That assistance, which, though it be something besides the upholding of the laws of nature, (which take place in all affairs of life) is yet, by a divine, universal constitution in this particular affair of religion, so connected with those voluntary exercises which result from his mere natural assistance, that by this constitution it indiscriminately extends to all mankind, and is certainly connected with such exercises and improvements, as those just mentioned, by a certain, established, known rule, as much as any of the laws of nature. This kind of assistance, though many Arminians call it a supernatural assistance, differs little or nothing from that natural assistance that is established by a law of nature. The law so established, is only a particular law of nature ; as some of the laws of nature are more general, others more particular : But this establishment, which they suppose to be by divine promise, differs nothing at all from many other particular laws of nature, except only in this circumstance, of the established constitutions, being revealed in the word of God, while others are left to be discovered only by experience. The Calvinists suppose otherwise ; they suppose that divine influence and operation, by which saving virtue is obtained, is entirely different from, and above common assistance, or that which is given in a course of ordinary providence, according to universally established laws of nature. They suppose a principal of saving virtue is immediately imparted and implanted by that operation, which is sovereign and efficacious in this respect, that its effect proceeds not from any established laws of nature. I mention this as an entirely different question from the other, viz. Whether the grace of God, by which we obtain saving virtue, is determining or decisive. For that it may be, if it be given wholly in a course of nature, or by such an operation as is limited and regulated perfectly according to established, invariable laws. For none will dispute that many things are brought to pass by God in this manner, that are decisively ordered by him, and are brought to
pass by his determining providence. - a . . The controversy, as it relates to efficacious grace, in this sense, includes in it these four questions. * * * *
1. Whether saving virtue differs from common virtue, or such virtue as those have that are not in a state of salvation, in nature and kind, or only in degree and circumstances : 2. Whether a holy disposition of heart, as an internal, governing principle of life and practice, be immediately implantcd or infused in the soul, or only be contracted by repeated acts, and obtained by human culture and improvement of 2. Whether conversion, or the change of a person from being a vicious or wicked man, to a truly virtuous character, be instantaneous or gradual 2 4. Whether the divine assistance or influence, by which men obtain true and saving virtue, be sovereign and arbitrary, or, whether God, in giving this assistance and its effects, limits himself to certain exact and stated rules, revealed in his word, and established by his promises 2. - . . . . . to - * . . . . - * --§ 13. Eph. i. 19, 30. “What is the coceeding greatness of his power to usward, according to the working of his mighty power,” or the effectual working, as the word signifies,... These words, according to the effectual working qf his flower, we shall find applied to conversion, to growth in grace, and to raising us up at last. You have them applied to conversion, Eph. iii. 7. “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God, given to me, by the effectual working of his flower.”....So likewise to growth in grace, Eph. iv. 10. “The whole body increaseth with the increase of God, by the effectual working in the measure of every part.”....And to the resurrection to glory at the last day, Philip. iii. 21. “lie will change our vile bodies, according to the effectival working of his mighty power, whereby he is able to subduc all things to himself.” - And that the power of God in conversion, or in giving faith and the spiritual blessings that attend it, is here meant, may bc argued from the apostle's change of phrase, that whereas in the foregoing verse, he spoke of the riches of the glory of Christ's inheritance ir the saints, he does not go on to say, “ and what is the exc. jing greatness of his power towards them,” (i. e. the saints) which surely would have been most natural, if he still had respect only to the power of God in bestowing the inheritance of future glory. But, instead of that, we see he changes the phrase ;- “ and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usvard who believe s” plainly intimating some kind of change of the subject, or a respect to the subject of salvation with regard to something diverse; that whereas before he spoke of saints in their future state only, now he speaks of something that the saints, we that dwell in this world that believe, are the subjects of And as the apostle includes himself, so it is the more likely he should have the mighty power of God, in conversion in his thought; his conversion having been so visible and remarkable an instance of God's marvellous power. . . 4. Again, the apostle, in praying that they “knowing the exceeding greatness of God's power,” &c., prays for such a knowledge and conviction of the power of God to bring them to life and glory, which was a most special remedy against such doubts as the church in the then present state was most exposed to, viz. that of their being preserved to glory and salvation through all their trials, persecutions, and the great opposition that was made by the enemies of Christ and their souls. Therefore, after mentioning the glory of their inheritance, he, for their comfort and establishment, mentions the power of God to bring them to the possession of this inheritance, as the apostle Peter does, 1 Peter i. 4, 5. “To an inheritance incorruptible....who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” He speaks to their bearts, for here was their difficulty and temptation to doubting. But if the keeping them in faith shewed such great power, much more did the first bringing them from heathenism and the power of sin, darkness, and spiritual death and ruin, into a state of faith and salvation, quickening them when dead in trespasses and sins; as it is a greater instance of divine power to raise the dead, than to maintain life that is exposed to