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'baptism, at the time of admission into the gospel 'covenant,' as a matter of course, in virtue of some appointed rule of operation, is not less unscriptural, than the sentiment, that the institution of confirmation communicates confirming grace, or the divine ordinance of marriage conveys the grace of a spiritual union to him who is the head and husband of his church. In short, the sentiment mixes heaven and earth, and confounds physical and moral connections. That God may communicate grace at baptism, was before admitted: but that this or any other institution can impart, convey, or communicate grace, or is adapted in its nature to be the channel of conveyance, is an idea perfectly incongruous and irreconcileable with just views of divine operations, and of sacred rites. By baptism, indeed, we are brought into a new visible relation; and in an external sense may be said to be made or constituted "children of God, members of Christ, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven." But we cannot suppose this new relation to be an inward change, or an introduction into a saving relation to God, and Christ, and heaven, without in effect supposing that a baptized hypocrite is a good Christian; that a man under the prevailing influence of the world, the flesh, and the devil, if baptized, is a spiritual child of God; that a baptized person, though full of the lust of the flesh, the

lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is a worthy member of Christ, and in the way to heaven! Neither baptism, the Lord's Supper, nor any other ordinance can become inwardly profitable to the subject, except according to the proper use he makes of it. This, I am aware, some may controvert; for there are some who do call in question the first principles of knowledge, and the proper nature of things, as well as the verities of holy writ.

§ 24. Until it be made apparent that baptismal internal grace has an existence, little need be said about its supposed properties. It cannot be doubted that subjective internal holy influence is the source of holy desires, good counsels, and just works; but to affirm that it inspires, suggests, and excites them, seems to be an employment of figurative language calculated to mislead the judgment, and therefore misplaced. However, we are told that this preventing grace does not 'extinguish "the evil propensities of our nature.' But surely the tendency of all divine grace, is to extinguish the fire of sinful lusts, and to counteract evil propensities; and a person in whom no degree of flagrant evil is extinguished, though baptized, has no degree of holy grace. For if to extinguish and counteract evil be not an effect, by what medium can its existence be proved?

If his Lordship means that there is a degree of holy influence which does not imply a perfection of character, or that persons may be found who were not made perfect at baptism, all modern Calvinists, be it remembered, are of the same opinion.

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§ 25. If grace were irresistible,' his Lordship asserts, men could not depart from it, ' and fall into sin.'* In this hypothetical proposition we may notice the ambiguity of the terms' grace' and irresistible.' The Calvinists do not maintain that grace, in every acceptation of the word, is irresistible. A little reflection may satisfy any candid person, that in scripture usage it conveys different ideas, according to the connection; and especially these threeexhibited favour, an internal principle of spiritual light and life, and Christian virtues in exercise. Fact proves, that exhibited favours, as gospel truth, Christ, and salvation, are actually resisted; and therefore grace in this acceptation (which is common in scripture) is not irresistible. And fact further proves, that Christian virtues, as faith, hope, and charity, are resisted by our depraved propensities, at least in some degree. When, therefore, Calvinists maintain that grace is irresistible, they mean an

Refut. p. 63.

internal principle of light and life.

And the

reason why they think so is, that it is not an object exhibited or presented to the will. When there is no option, there can be no voluntary rejection. Thus the principle of reason is irresistible in every subject of it, though its proper use, and those things which are adapted to improve it, are often resisted. In like manner, though the principle of divine grace is irresistible, those things are often resisted, which in their own nature are adapted to promote gracious determinations, affections, and obedience.

26. Yet, there is a sense in which we believe that grace, as to its use and exercise, is irresistible by any thing without or within the mind. In what cases, and to what degree, must depend on the sovereign will of God. If God design (and who can question his right to design?) that his internal grace shall not be resisted, is it not in that degree irresistible? When Calvinists plead for the irresistibility of grace, they take two things into account: First, the nature of that grace which they intend;not the common favour contained in the annunciation of gospel blessings, or in the exhibition of mercy by any divine institution, but the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit producing a new heart, or a right principle of action.

Secondly, they take into the account the will of God, supporting and strengthening the principle, making it victorious over every difficulty. To plead that common favour-the grace of God that bringeth salvation, the proclamation of mercy which is destined for all men-is resistible, or to set the will of God - his efficacious purpose respecting the vital holy principle-out of the question, is to plead without a cause, and to contend without an opposer. What can be plainer in fact, or more reasonable in thought, than that God imparts his favours when, where, how, to whom, and to what degree he pleases? And if he determine that any possessed of a gracious principle shall continue to the end victorious over every resistance, who will be so presumptuous as to say, that his grace in them can be successfully resisted? Is it not to limit his mercy and omnipotence?

27. That good men can fall into sin is a painful fact; and it is equally certain that God is " able to keep them from falling"-" to keep them by his mighty power through faith unto salvation." Their liability to fall is of themselves, but their ability to stand is of God. While he keeps them from falling," they cannot fall; but if left to themselves they both can and will fall. A deep sense of this dependence upon God, is the essence of true


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