Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

powers, he can repent, and believe, and love God . and his neighbour, and mortify sin, and pursue hy holiness, in the manner, and from the motives,

• which the gospel requires. Nor is it a natu. iral, but a moral impotence, which is the sub‘ject of our discussion.'' What a grievous thing it is, that men will not bestow more pains, in understanding one another! His Lordship here fully concedes the grand point, which Mr. Overton, and the rest of us, contend for! P. Ixviii. 1. 5. The desires, &c.'2

· The desires, &c."? Certainly : when the Lord, by his special grace preventing us, • does put into our hearts good desires.'3

* In bringing, &c.'' This has been repeatedly allowed': but the co-operation does not begin, till God has put into our hearts ' good · desires.' This is precisely the point at issue, between sober Calvinists and their opponents.

P. lxix. 1. 6. We here pray,' &c.' Why do we pray for it, if able to do it of ourselves? The

1. 23.

I Overton's True Churchiman, p. 149.
*** The desires therefore of the human heart are sometimes.
such that God may be supposed to view them with compla-
cency, to assist, and promote them.'
3 Collect Easter Sunday:
* 'In bringing good desires to effect, divine grace and human
exertions co-operate.'
5 Collect sixıh Sunday after Epiphany.

6. We here pray that we may purify our clies, even as Christ • himself is pure; which surely implies, that when animated by • the hope of becoming the sons of God and heirs of eternal life, we bave

power to contribute in some degree to our purification, although we cannot attain, or even approach, the purity of Christ, without divine assistance.'

6

apostle says, “ Now are we the sons of God," not, • We hope to become the sons of God.' Being sons of God, we hope for our holy and heavenly inheritance : " and every man, that has this hope in him, “ purifieth himself even as he is pure.”ı " Now “ the God of hope fill you with all peace and joy in “ believing; that ye may abound in hope, through “ the power of the Holy Ghost." Here the christian hope itself is ascribed to the power of the Holy Ghost. “ And hope maketh not ashamed, because “ the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by “ the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." He then, who is animated with this hope, is a true christian, to whom God has “ given the Spirit of " adoption :" he has the longing desire of perfect conformity to Christ in purity; and all such christians are taught in our Liturgy to pray, 'that, having

this hope, they may purify themselves, even as he . is pure.'--Special grace preventing them has" put • into their hearts good desires. God has given “ them exceeding great and precious promises, “ that by these they inight be partakers of the “ divine nature.” And,“ having these promises," they are exhorted, " to cleanse themselves from all “ filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in “ the fear of God.” 5 Yet, conscious of their inability in themselves to do this, they pray to God to enable them, to do what they now earnestly desire to do. How far this proves that men, of themselves,

[ocr errors]

1 1 John iii. 2-4. .2 Rom. xiv. 13. 4 2 Pet. i. t. 52 Cor. yii. 1.

3 Rom. v. 5.

have some power to contribute to their own purification, which it is acknowledged they do not desire, till God has put the good desire into their hearts, must be left to the reader to determine.

P. lxix. 1. 20. · The grace of God does not act with compulsory force.'- Lord, have mercy upon

us, and incline our hearts' to keep thy commandments, is all that we mean; but 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. God acts solely in rendering us willing; but our good works, as springing from a willing mind, are our own voluntary actions, by his special grace enabling us to bring our good desires to good effect.

Suppose a humane person to see a fellow creature drowning. He, plunging into the river, drags out the apparently lifeless body: others, along with him, use proper means to resuscitate the suspended principle of life, and are successful. So far the drowned person has been passive ; and what has been done, was the act of others entirely, without his co-operation. Still, however, he is extremely weak: but he desires and endeavours to walk home; and now, the same friends, or some others, assist him in rising ; and he leans on them in walking. They assist him; yet his walking is his own voluntary act, and not their's, though they may be said to co-operate. . Thus God quickens one dead in sin, and puts good desires into his heart. This is exclusively his act: “ The Spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, makes him free « from the law of sin and death."! Now he desires and endeavours to repent, believe, and obey : but he deeply feels his own weakness ; yet depending on God, with earnest prayers, for assistance, he is enabled to repent, believe, and obey. These are then the actions of the man himself, but performed by the grace of God.

P. lxx. 1. 21. ' A servant, &c. The impartial reader will judge, whether the statement above given, (which is that of most Calvinists,) renders man a machine or no. I apprehend, however, that they who do not, or will not, understand our prin-, ciples, will continue to lay this to our charge; and, except as it may mislead others, I would quietly bear it.

P. lxx. l. 25.' An all merciful God, &c.'s Faithfulness in a fallen creature must certainly spring from special grace. - It is of faith, that it might be .

by grace, to the end that the promise might be « sure to all the seed, &c." Has God promised to reward any rational creatures, in this manner, except true believers ? “ By grace are ye saved, through

i Rom. viii. 2.

"A servant is faithful to his master, but a machine necesarily • executes the will of its maker.'

3• An all-merciful God has graciously promised to reward the · faithfulness of his rational creatures with everlasting happiness, • for the sake of his blessed Sou. A grateful servant will disclaim • all right to the reward of his earthly master, and an humble • Christian will acknowledge eternal life to be the free-gift of God through Jesus Christ,

4 Rom, iv. 16.

1

es faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of “ God."- A humble christian will acknowledge

eternal life to be the gift of God through Jesus - Christ:' and he will also ascribe both his faith, and his faithfulness, to the same free grace. P. Ixxi. l. 7.

In no one instance is the exertion of irresistible grace declared, or supposed.' We unreservedly allow, that the Prayer-Book contains nothing about irresistible grace; we also avow, that our writings contain nothing on that subject : and we call on all our opponents to disprove this avowal, by fair quotations from our works.

last line. It has pleased, &c.” Provided it be understood, that irresistible means, what cannot be resisted, or is not resisted, or what is compulsory, I could subscribe this argument with a good conscience. For it contains nothing discordant from the sentiments of modern Calvinists in general.

P. Ixxii. I. 6. « The language, &c."? A quotation, very decisive, has been already made from the homilies ;' and I shall here produce a few more. . For of ourselves we be crab-trees, that can bring forth no apples: we be of ourselves of such earth, as can but bring forth weeds, nettles, brambles, briars,

.

1. It has pleased God to make us responsible beings; respon. sibility cannot exist without free-agency; free-agency is incom. patible with an irresistible force; and, consequently, God does not act with irresistible force upon our minds.'

2 . The language of tbe homilies, respecting the corruption of • human nature, and the necessity of divine assistance, is also

very decisive.'
3 See op. p. 54, Refutation.

« AnteriorContinuar »