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was owing to some native goodness or honesty, rather than to divine grace? Has the Spirit of God no efficiency in preparing the heart, and ensuring success? The apostle of the Gentiles explicitly ascribes it to God. "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.* The Calvinists, therefore, think it more scriptural, and more rational, to ascribe the different degrees of fruitfulness attending the preached gospel to divine gracious agency, than to virtuous qualities' possessed by the human race in different degrees, independently of that agency. Beside, as the truth of the gospel is supposed to be proclaimed in the hearing of all alike, if the cause of fruitfulness be ascribed to native virtuous qualities, and all the human race have some of these qualities; how comes it to pass that so large a proportion of mankind are represented by our Saviour as bringing forth no fruit?

§ 15. In the next place, his Lordship contends, that the power of obeying still remains. For thus he states and argues: 'We are told in 'the book of Genesis, that "the Lord had re'spect unto Abel and to his offering;" and unto

* 1 Cor. iii. 6, 7.

، Cain he said, “ If thou docst well, shalt thou ، not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door." May we not hence 'infer that the immediate sons of Adam lived ' under a divine law, which they had the power

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of obeying or of disobeying ?' *n. They were capable of obeying it [a rule of life] although in 'fact their obedience has been very rare, and 'always imperfect.'' The article [on original

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sin] does not pronounce with the Calvinists, 'that man of his own nature can perform nothing but evil, but that he "inclineth to evil;" a ، doctrine fundamentally different, since an inclination, though strong, may be conquered.'، Those who saw and heard what Jesus did, were of themselves capable of understanding that "he" was the Christ, the Son of God."

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gives to every man, through the means of his

grace, a power to perform the conditions of the gospel.'-These are his Lordship's avowed sentiments on the subject of human power.

§ 16. To every observant reader of moral and theological discussions, it must be very apparent, that ambiguity often attends the use of the word Power. In writers who do not define their terms, we find it, even in con

* Refut. p. 4.
|| Ibid, p. 19.

+ Ibid, p. 9. - Ibid, p. 64.

t Ibid, p. 51.

troversy, standing indiscriminately for physical strength, for opportunity of acting, for a sufficient inducement to act, and for moral ability. Now except a writer explain what kind of power he designs, there can be no close reasoning on the subject. I know of no Calvinist who denies that fallen man has power, in the sense of physical strength, to will or to act according to his pleasure,--or of opportunity of acting well if so disposed, or of a sufficient inducement to act aright. The point, therefore, is simply this, Whether man in his native degeneracy, irrespective of gracious renewing influence from the Holy Spirit, has that kind of power which consists in a good disposition or inclination? and whether it renders a man capable, of himself,' to understand the spiritual design of the gospel, to love God supremely, to love the Lord Jesus Christ as a holy Saviour, and to approve unreservedly of God's "holy will and commandments?"

§ 17. That many carnal men are capable, in different degrees, of investigating the evidences of Christianity, and have power to point out with considerable force the criteria of revealed religion, is not to be denied. They may

also perceive a degree of harmony in the divine dispensations, the reasonableness of many commands and obligations, and many wonderful traits of divine goodness and mercy, as well as

the equity of many awful judgments. But is this any sufficient proof that their heart is right with God, or that they have the root of sincere piety? They may be still under condemnation as practical unbelievers, and destitute of that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord: though perceiving, and in some respects approving of better things, they may be the slaves of sin, totally averse from the yoke of Christ, and prevailingly actuated by "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life:" they may habitually be making "the pleasures of sin" their chief good; and, being thus in the flesh, they cannot please God, though possessed of physical powers, opportunities, and sufficient inducements.

§ 18. The scriptural account we have of Cain and Abel, affords no good evidence that either of them possessed a native moral ability to please God. Saint Paul explains the passage, and assures us, that "by faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." But that faith was not "of himself, it was the gift of God," for why should we suppose that it flowed from a source different from that of Christian faith? And again, what Calvinist would say, that Cain would not have been accepted, if he came to God with right ends and motives? They both had physical power,

a favourable opportunity, and a sufficient inducement for offering an acceptable service. The fault of Cain, therefore, was all his own; but it does not thence follow that the faith of Abel had no higher source than his own native power, or that God by his grace did no more for Abel than for Cain. Should any one be disposed to think that God was bound in justice to do as much for the one as for the other, let him calmly reflect, first, that it is degrading to the divine freedom, to suppose that he is obliged to do all the good that he can; secondly, that it is a reflection on the character of God, since it is evident in fact that he does more for some of his rational creatures in the matter of salvation than for others; and, thirdly, that to suppose God is bound in justice to exercise mercy, is a contradiction in terms: for what is mercy, what can it be, but a favour beyond the claims of justice?

19. When the article declares that man of his own nature "inclineth to evil," it expresses that very impotence which Calvinists ascribe to man in his fallen state. And that this is their meaning, is plain from their constant avowal, that a spiritual change confers upon the soul no new physical power, but only a different inclination towards God and holiness. The influence it receives may be called "the spirit of power,"


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