Images de page

Samaritans, should be ascribed exclusively to the exercise of natural powers. If his Lordship

includes the grace of God as an essential cause of that conversion, disposing men to exercise these powers aright, we have the pleasure of agreeing with him.

9. Conversion, in our view of it, denotes an actual turning from vice to real virtue; from every false refuge to Christ, who is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth in him with the heart; from an inordinate love of self and of the world to the love of God; and from the practice of sin, whether open or secret, to the exercise of divinely prescribed duties and all holy obedience. In this representation, I presume, his Lordship acquiesces. Now, the question is, whence originates so great a change both inward and outward?-to what is it owing? Can it satisfy any serious and reflecting enquirer, to be told, that the change in converted persons 6 was owing to the exercise of their own natural powers?' Do not the disobedient exercise their own natural powers? Yes; but the sincere converts, it may be said, exercise them in a different manner. Granted; but the enquirer has a right to ask, why they do so? For this is the very point in question; and he is entitled to expect a better answer, than, They do it,

[ocr errors]

because they do it. Our answer is,--and let the reader judge whether it be not conformable to scripture and the principles of sound reason,— the happy change is owing to the special grace of God in the hearts of true converts, disposing them to exercise their natural powers in a proper manner. I said, special grace; because that which is displayed in the gospel objectively, which bringeth the tidings of salvation through Christ, has appeared to all men,-is alike common to the converted and unconverted, to numbers who perish, as well as to them who are eventually saved. Consequently that grace which causes the difference of result, must be subjective, or internal, and special.


The Bishop's avowed Sentiments on DIVINE
OPERATIONS, examined.

1. The subject stated.

2. The Bishop's declaration respecting the manner of co-operation, examined. § 3. Divine operation does not infringe on human freedom. 4. Is not merely in the way of suasion. § 5. Is internal. § 6. Not immediately on the will, but the heart. § 7. With a design to beget a virtuous principle. § 8. Which is illuminating, and § 9. Antecedent to man's co-operation.


common, and

10. That the communication of the Spirit is subsequent to belief, examined. § 11. Different kinds of influence § 12. Extraordinary; this preceded by faith. §13. Faith distinguished as to its principle, and exercise. § 14. Extraordinary influence not communicated to any who refused to believe.

§ 15. That divine influence is communicated by Baptism, examined. 16. This not the office of Baptism. § 17. But to represent.

§ 18-24. Divine influence and Baptism not inseparably associated.

25. If grace were irresistible, men could not fall into sin, examined. 26. In what sense grace is irresistible. § 27. In what sense good men can fall into sin, and also cannot.

28. That irresistible grace cannot be employed as an argument for private care and diligence, examined. § 29. Its fallacy shewn from analogy,

§ 1. As his Lordship does not hesitate to acknowledge, in general, the doctrine of divine influence on the human mind, it is not necessary here to enter into a professed vindication of it: and it is no small pleasure to me, that he so openly avows, and so ably defends, in his Christian Theology, many important points of

revealed doctrine, which he holds in common with the Calvinists; especially the doctrine of the sacred Trinity in Unity, as well as that of atonement for sin by the substitution of Jesus Christ. Some things, however, he advances, respecting divine operations, which appear to me highly exceptionable. While he frankly acknowledges, that the manner of divine co-operation is unknown to him, which is a sufficient apology why he does not attempt to explain it, he yet contends that the communication of the Holy Ghost is subsequent to belief, indiscriminately-that Baptism imparts the Holy Ghost-that if divine influence were irresistible, men could not fall into sin-and that the doctrine of irresistible grace cannot be employed as an argument for private care and diligence. On these points let us attend to his own declarations.

§ 2. Though it might be thought presumptuous in me, to pretend to instruct his Lordship on a point which, he explicitly avows, is unknown to him; yet a few observations, for the sake of the general reader, may be hazarded, perhaps, without offence. The declaration I refer to is this: in what manner, or in what 'proportion, if I may so say, God and man

* Refut. p. 36.

[ocr errors]

co-operate, I am utterly unable to explain or ' discover.'*—I do not indeed hesitate to add, with Bishop BULL, "Modum quidem concursus gratiæ divinæ cum humana voluntate exacte definire, ac dicere quid sola præstet gratia, quid cum et sub gratiâ liberum agat arbitrium, non exiguæ difficultatis res est." But there is an important difference between a subject being attended with considerable difficulty, in our attempts at accurately defining and describing it, and its being utterly unknown. Whatever difficulties belong to the manner and proportion of the co-operation of God and man, there are some considerations which tend considerably to lessen them.

§ 3. We may be certain that the freedom of the human will is not infringed by the divine operation since to infringe the freedom of a moral agent, is to diminish his accountability, in the same proportion, his freedom being the very foundation on which his accountability depends. The reality of divine operation on some human minds, and the certainty of a future account of our actions, whether good or evil, are fundamental and acknowledged truths, Consequently the operation does not infringe our freedom.

*BULL Harm. Apost. Dissert. Post.

« PrécédentContinuer »