Page images

and converted by the efficacious and irresistible grace of God, and are kept by the power of God, thro' faith, unto salvation, It is further observed, That “ to say that it is barely possible, in the nature of the thing, that none may be converted, hath no inconvenience in it, because it tends not to hinder


man's endeavours after his conversion." I reply, supposing it does not, yet it has these inconveniences in it, that if it is possible that none may be converted, then it is possible that God's choice of persons to eternal life may be made void, and all his counsels and purposes concerning his elect frustrated. 'Tis possible, that the purchase and redemption by Christ may become of no effect, and he not see the travail of his soul, and be satisfy'd, cho' it is promised to him; and it is possible, that the spirit and grace of God may have none of the glory which arises from the conversion of a sinner, as well as that the salvation of every man must be very precarious and uncertain.

{ whitby, p. 303.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Of the Freedom of the Will of Man.

[ocr errors]

Have consider'd the nature of the power and liberty of man's will in the First Part of this work, where I have shewn, that the li

berty of it does not consist in an indifference or indetermination to either good or evil; that the will of man is free from co-action or force, but not from an obligation to the will of God, the powerful influence of whose grace it stands in need of, to move and act in any thing that is fpiricually good, without any infringement of the natural liberty of it; for the opposition we make, is not to the natural, but moral liberty of the will, which is loft by the fall. And tho' we cannot allow that man has eis ther will or power to act in things fpiritually good, as conversion, faith, repentance, and the like ; yet we readily grant, that he has a power and liberty of performing the natural and civil actions of life, and the ex

No. V. p. 33, &c,

ternal u Whitby, p. 338, 339. Ed. 2. 329, 330. " See wbitby, p. 344, 345. Ed. 2. 335, 336.

[ocr errors]

ternal parts of religion: hence all the instances produced by Dr. Whitby, to prove the liberty of the will, as opposite not only to co-action, but necefficy, are to no pura pose, since they relate to such cases as are allow'd to be within the compass of the natural power and will of man"; such as chusing and recaining virginity, a power of eating and drinking, giving of alms, and the external ministration of the gospel. I have likewise consider'd, in the same performance, the several passages of scripture which are thought to contain arguments in favour of man's free will and power in conversion ", taken from the calls, invications, commands and exhortations of God to it, as is supposed. In the Second Part of this work, I have endeavoured to vindicate such passages of scripture objected to, which represent the depravity, and corruption of human nature, and the disability of man to that which is spiritually good; what remains now, is to consider the arguments caken from reason, to prove the liberty of the will from neceffity, that it cannot consist with a determination to one, viz. either good or evil ; and that it does not lie under a disability of chusing and doing that which is fpiritually good. And,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

I. It is said, " That the freedom of the will, in this state of trial and temptation, cannot consist with a determination to one, viz. on the one hand, in a determination to good only, by the efficacy of divine grace; seeing this puts man out of a state of trial, and makes him equal to the state of Angels ; nor with the contrary determination to evil only, for then man, in this state of trial, must be reduced to the condition of the devil and of damned spirits.” And it is more than once urged ”, “ That the doctrine which teacheth chat man is so utterly disabled by the fall of Adam, chat, without the efficacious grace, which God vouchsafes only to some few, who are the objects of his election to salvacion, he hath no power to do what is spiritually good, or to avoid what is spiritually evil, must be destructive of the liberty belonging to man, in a state of trial, probation, and proficiency.” This seems to be the principal argument, and on which the greatest stress is laid, since it is so often repeated and refer'd co. In Party, I have consider'd this case, whether man is now in such a state of crial and proba cion as is contended for; where I have shewn, by several arguments, that man is not in such a

[ocr errors]

my First

* wbitby, p. 309, 310. Ed. 2. 301, 302. y wbitby, p. 314, 319. Ed. 2. 306, 311. * No. IV. p. 24, &c.

state, and have given an answer to those which are brought in favour of ic ; and therefore am not concern'd to reconcile the doc trine of man's disability to do that which is spiritually good, to the liberty of man in such a state; or what becomes of this imaginary state, and the liberty of man in it. But tho' man is not in such a state, and his will is biass’d and determin’d, either by the efficacy of divine grace, to that which is good, or thro' the corruption of nature, to that which is evil; yet he is not, by the one, made equal to the state of Angels; nor by the other, reduced to the condition of the devil, and of damned spirits: for tho' regenerated persons, when, and while they are under the divine impulse, or powerful operation of grace, are biass'd and determin'd to that which is spiricually good, as the Angels are, without any violation of the naiural liberty of their wills; yet they are not in an equal state with them, for they are still liable to fin, and their obedience is imperfect; neither of which can be said of Angels. Besides, at the same time, there is a principle of corruption in them, sin, chac dwells in them, the old man, which is as inuch biass'd and determin'd to that which is evil, as the new creature, or the new man, is biass'd and determin'd to that which is good. And as for unregenerate men, whose hearts are fully set in them to do evil, tho'

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »