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voluntarily concur with it, previously to a change of heart or disposition. The entire aversion from good, and propensity to evil, must be overcome, not by itself, or by any thing in men of another kind, (which is allowed not to be in them ;) but by the power of almighty God new creating the soul, and raising it from the death of sin, to the life of righ' teousness.' Thus the inclination to what is truly good, being produced by special grace, against which all the resistance of depraved nature has been ineffectual; and being daily strengthened by supplies of divine grace; the persons, thus influenced, most willingly oppose all their evil propensities and habits. They are no longer enslaved to sin ; but the grace of God both disposes and enables them, to be active and diligent in every duty. If we said that invincible grace, instead of rendering men willing to repent, believe, and obey; compelled them to an involuntary semblance of repentance, faith, and obedience; it would be repugnant, both to christianity and common sense. A clock, which had stopped, or gone wrong, but by the skill of the mechanick, was made to go regularly, might, with more propriety, be said to “ repent and do works meet for " repentance;" for, at least, it would not resist the power, which attempted to rectify its motions. But, when the Holy Spirit strives with the sinner, to shew him the wickedness and consequence of his conduct; he is always of himself disposed to resist this conviction. In numberless instances, the conviction and alarm are not only resisted, but expelled, and finally banished from the heart and conscience.


In some, however, this resistance is overcome, and a cordial efficacious willingness to obey the call'. of God, takes place; and the man, astonished at the change, which he has experienced in his views, judgment, and inclinations, exclaims, with the phet, “ O Lord, thou art stronger than I, and hast “ prevailed." This is undeniable fact, but we are unable to explain all things relating to it; or to determine, how it is, that, in rational creatures, equally, wanting the disposition, and consequently

the ability, for what is good, in the sight of God,' convictions, alarms, and hopeful appearances, should terminate so differently. It is manifest, that special grace, though not irresistible, proves eventually victorious, in those who are converted.

Few men, it may be supposed, would expressly say, that almighty God could not, if he pleased, change the nature, or moral disposition, of fallen angels. None will say, that in them there is any thing, which could co-operate with the divine power exerted for that purpose. All must allow, that every thing, in their nature, would oppose it. The creation of a new and holy disposition, in them, must be absolutely the work of omnipotence conquering all opposition. Their free agency was before exerted, only in choosing evil: the act of omnipotence, giving a new bias to the will, would not interfere with their free agency, nor be sensibly perceived, except in its effects: and their free agency would, from that time, be exercised, in choosing most willingly and decide

• Jer. xx, 7.

edly that which is good before God. The only imaginable difference, in this respect, between fallen angels, and fallen man, must consist, in the latter having some disposition to what is good before God, remaining in their nature; and the former having none, but ' man has not the disposition, and con

sequently not the ability to do what in the sight of 'God is good, till he is influenced by the Spirit of God.'1

Suppose a man in the dark, approaching the brink of a tremendous precipice, of which he is not at all aware; or regardless of any warnings given to him. There would, in this case, be two methods of rescu. ing him from destruction. Either by seizing upon him, and forcibly dragging him away from the precipice ; which would be evidently inconsistent with his free agency, in that instance: or by hastening to the spot with torches, and clearly shewing him his imminent danger, which before he did not perceive, or would not believe; and so inducing him of his own accord to turn away from it; which would not at all interfere with his free agency. The willing mind to what is good, in fallen man, is indeed produced, not merely by illuminating the mind, to see objects as they really are, and not as they appear to him, when seen through the medium of his corrupt passions; and so exciting convictions, fears, and hopes : but by changing the heart, and purifying the affections ; inducing the love of what is good, and the abhorrence of what is evil. It, however, renders him willing to forsake evil and do

Refutation, p. 61.

good; and he acts with as much freedom from constraint, or coinpulsion, as he did before, in choosing the evil and refusing the good. : P. Ixiii. l. 9. . In the sixteenth, &c.'? This anticipates the subject of the fourth chapter, in the remarks on which the sentiments of the Reformers will be more fully considered. The words of the article are indeed inconsistent with irresistible grace, in the strict sense of that word. But it does not appear, that they are inconsistent with indefectible

grace, granted exclusively' either to many or to few; though they do not affirm that doctrine. The article was framed against a very different sentiment, and determines nothing about grace being indefectible, or the contrary. Not every sin willingly committed after baptism is the sin against the Holy Ghost and unpardonable. They are to be condemned, which say they can no more sin as long

as they live here, and deny the place of forgiveness 'to such as truly repent."?_Peter departed from

grace given,' that is, he acted contrary to its ten. dency: yet our Lord, had previously said, “ I have "prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.3 His faith was indefectible, through his Lord's intercession for him; and by the grace of God he rose 33:16 In the sixteenth article it is said, that, After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, • and fall into sin ; and by the grace of God we may rise again,

and amend our lives : and therefore, they are to be condemned, ' which say, they can no more sin.' • This declaration is irrecone • cilable with the doctrine of irresistible and indefectible grace

granted exclusively to a few chosen persons. If grace were irresistible, men could not depart from it, and fall into sin.' * Begioning and conclusion of article xvi..

3 Luke xxii. 32

t again, and amended his life. If any maintain that Saul or Judas departed from grace given, in the same sense, as David and Peter did ; it remains for them to prove, that Saul or Judas ever had grace in the sense, in which David and Peter had it. “Many « shall say unto me, Lord, Lord, have we not pro“phesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast “ out devils ? and in thy name done many wonder“ ful works? and then will I profess unto you ! never knew you." Saul was among the prophets, and Judas among the apostles : but there is no intimation, that either of them were among the saints ; and the indefectibility of special grace, by which men become saints, is all which any contend for : and many of those would object to the term indefectible, as seeming to imply, that it was unfailing in its own nature, instead of being secured from failing by the promises of the covenant of grace, and by the intercession of Christ.

P. lxiii. Note.“ Two, &c:'? That Melancthon did not, when he wrote this, believe the doctrine in question is indisputable; whatever he might afterwards do. But how does it appear that Saul pleased God, and was righteous, or one of the regenerate? The scriptures

· Matt, vii. 22, 23. 2 "Two errors of fanatical men are to be briefly refuted, who have

feigned, that the regenerate cannot fall; and though they do fall, • against conscience, they yet are righteous persons. This mad' ness is to be condemned; and the examples and sayings of

scripture are to be opposed ; that Saul and David pleased God, • and were righteous, yet they afterwards fell, so that the one

perished, the other was again converted unto God.' (Translation from Melancthon.)


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