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whereby the mind is invigorated for holy obedience. That an inclination to evil may be conquered, is plain from the fact that in many happy instances it is conquered. But is it ever conquered without divine assistance? If the aid of grace be necessary, why should it be ascribed to man's native goodness of heart? If not necessary, why should we be exhorted to pray for it with importunity? And if Saint Paul testified that he was not " of himself" sufficient to think a good thought, with what propriety can it be asserted that an unconverted man, who “of his own nature inclineth to evil," is" of himself capable" of understanding, savingly, that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of God?" Our Lord tells Peter that such knowledge was revealed to him by his heavenly Father. And Saint John affirms, that no man can say, that is, to saving purpose, "that Jesus is the Christ, but by the Holy Ghost." The apostle could not mean that no man, without the Holy Ghost, could say this in a cursory manner, or maintain it as a doctrinal truth, because the contrary is a plain fact. He must therefore intend to inculcate, that a just knowledge and cordial approbation of Jesus as the Christ, is from the Holy Spirit.

§ 20. When his Lordship asserts, that God 'gives to every man, through the means of

his grace, a power to perform the conditions of 'the gospel,' the Calvinists have no controversy with him, except about the meaning of the term. Taking the word "power" for opportunity, or for a sufficient inducement, they admit the assertion as an important truth. But to suppose that every man, through the means of grace, has a prevailing inclination to perform the condition of the gospel, is contrary to indisputable fact: since the means of grace are to great numbers, through their own fault, "a savour of death unto death." In short, what we maintain is, that the power which man has lost, through original sin, is-an effectual or prevailing inclination to good.

SECT. II.

The Bishop's avowed Sentiments on FREE-WILL,

examined.

1. Sources of ambiguity in discussions about Free-Will. Wherein the freedom of the will consists.

§ 2.

3. The idea of

will, and that of its freedom, of different kinds. § 4. The Bishop's opinion stated.

5. The sentiment that impressions made upon the mind depend on reason and Free-Will, examined. § 6. The Calvinistic sentiment stated and defended. § 7. God is under no obligation in justice to change any sinner's heart.

8. That conversion is owing to the exercise of our natural powers, examined. 9. The Calvinistic notion of conversion, stated and defended.

§ 1. MUCH of the ambiguity which attends

discussions about Free-Will, arises from the want of precision in the use of this term. It would afford but little interest to enumerate the different acceptations in which it has been taken by controversial writers. What can be rationally meant by it, but the will in a state of freedom? When, therefore, it is said that man has free-will, it is the same as affirming that his will is free. But free from what? It is not free from divine energy supporting it in existence. It is not free from a perpetual tendency to apparent good; for in this must consist its glory and perfection; nor is it free from aversion to apparent evil, without which

aversion it could have no excellency. It is not free from being influenced by the disposition, whether that disposition be good or evil; otherwise we might as consistently trust an habitual thief, as an habitually honest man; we might give as easy credit to a known liar, as to a man of general veracity. When we apprehend the disposition to be evil, we always expect, other things being equal, the will to be influenced by it to unworthy ends. On the contrary, when we apprehend the disposition to be good, we expect the will to be influenced by it to ends and decisions which are laudable.

2. The question returns, from what is the will free? In other words, wherein consists its freedom? Until this point be clearly ascertained by both parties, all disputing about "free-will" must be a mere war of words. What Calvinists maintain is, that the will, in its accountable actions, is free from constraint to evil, whether that evil be real or apprehended. Nothing but the supreme author of our being, can be supposed to constrain or impel the human will. He supports it in existence, indeed, and makes it act in the choice of its object; but that object is never chosen as evil, otherwise the possession of such a faculty would not be a blessing but a curse, and therefore unworthy of a beneficent Creator to confer

upon us. Nor is it constrained or impelled to real evil, except when, through the influence of prejudice, it is viewed as an eligible good. It is also free from a restraint from good, both real and apprehended. To suppose it restrained from apprehended good, would be to tantalize it, to support an active principle in perpetual disappointment and wretchedness: while to suppose it restrained from real good, would be an aspersion on its Maker and Preserver, who has made real good its only satisfying portion. The human will, therefore, is free from constraint and restraint, in these respects, in its accountable elections. This is what modern Calvinists profess; and it is difficult to conjecture what greater freedom his Lordship would claim for the human mind.

§ 3. It is worthy of remark, that while the idea of will is positive, as of an active power, that of freedom is negative, as of mere exemption it is the bare denial of constraint and restraint. To suppose freedom or liberty, as predicated of the will, to be a power, or an active principle, superadded to the will, is to confound things which, in their proper nature, are totally different. It is to use words without distinct ideas. Whether his Lordship has kept his thoughts free from embarrassment on this subject, may deserve his reconsideration, especially

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