Page images

their hearts and inclinations may be as bad as the devils and damned spirits, yet they are not reduced to the same condition with them ; for, besides their not being in a state of punishment, and being in the enjoyment of many niercies, and in a capacity of actending to the external ordinances and duties of religion, there is a possibility of their having the grace of God implanted in them.

[ocr errors][merged small]

II. Another argument against the disability of man, is chus formed 2: “ That which

disables any man from chusing what is fpi- ritually good, or refuting what is thus evil,

and therefore must be destructive to his soul and spirit, must also take away his liberty to chuse what is spiritually good, and to refuse what is fpiricually evil." I reply, 'tis certain, that what disables man from chufing what is {piritually good, or refusing what is thus evil, must take away his liberty to chuse and refuse them. Nor do we say that man, thus disabled, has still a freedom in reference to these actions, nor a power of doing otherwise; we deny both: these are the things in controversy between us. We allow, chat man has a faculty and power of willing and doing things natural, but not a power and faculty of willing and doing things

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


* Whitby, p. 313. Ed. 2. 305. Part III,



spiritual : we own, that this disability is destructive to his soul and spirit; if by being deftructive,' is meant being injurious to the well-being of it, to its fpiritual and eternal welfare, unlefs the grace of Godtakes place; but if by it is meant, that it is destructive to the natural powers and faculties of the soul and spirit, this must be denied: for tho' the moral liberty of the will is loft by fin, yet the natural liberty of it remains. Now, the moral liberty of the will is not essential to it, and therefore may be taken away, without the destruction of it. I doubt not, but it will be allowed, that the liberty to chufe what is fpiritually good, and refufe what is spiritually evil, is the same liberty which is pleaded for in man's fuppofed ftate of crial and probation; and yet this learned writer freely owns, That that is not effencial to man, as man; and consequently may be taken away, without the destruction of the foul or spirit, or will of man: he owns, that it is no perfection of human nature, yea, that it is an imperfection; and that it will, with our other imperfections, be done away. So that the doctrine of man's difability to that which is fpiritually good, is noc destructive of any of che natural faculjes of the foul or fpirit, nor of the will, noi

che moral liberty of it.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

III. It is further urged, That the doctrine of man's disability, by the fall of Adam, to do what is spiritually good, is “inconsistent, with the new covenant of grace, establish'd in the blood of Jesus, and tender'd to all to whom the gospel is vouchsafed.” Some men, indeed, plead for offers of Christ, and tenders of the gospel ; but the offer or tender of the new covenant, is what I never met with in other writers. If this covenant is tender'd, upon the conditions of faith and repentance, to all to whom the gospel is vouchsafed, how can it be said

to be establish'd in the blood of Jesus ? It * must be very precarious and uncertain, un

til the conditions of it are fulfill'd by those to whom it is tender'd. The doctrine of man's disability to do what is spiricually good, may seem inconsistent with the covenant of grace, to such who have no other notions of it, than that it is a condicional one ; that faith, repentance, and obedience, are the conditions of it, and that these are in the

power of man to perform ; but not to those who believe, and think they have good reason to believe, that the covenant of grace is made with Christ, as the head and reprefentative of the elect, and with them in him, and with them only; and chat, with

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

respect to them, it is entirely ab!olute and uncondicional, to whom grace is promised in it, to enable them to believe, repent, and obey. The covenant of grace supposes the disability of man to do that which is fpiritually good, and therefore provides for it ; for God promises in this covenant, to put his law in the inward parts, and write it in the hearts of his people, yea, to put his fpirit within them, and cauje them to walk in his statutes ; and says, they all keep his judgments, and do them.

IV. It is argued, That if the will of man is determin’d to one, viz. to that which is good, by the grace of God; or to that which is evil, through the disability contracted by the fall; “ this must take away the freedom of mens actions: fince, then, there is no place for election and deliberation, it being certain, that the liberty of man must be deliberative, if it doch chuse, there being no election without deliberation.” To which I reply, Supposing choice necessary to free actions, a determination of the will to some one thing, is not contrary to choice ; for the human will of Christ, and the wills of Angels and glorified Saints, are determin’d only to that which is good;

Jer, xxxi. 33. Ezek. xxxvi. 27.
Whitby, p. 310, 312, 355. Ed. 2. 302, 304, 346.


and yet they both chuse and do that good freely. And again, all that is done freely, is not done with deliberation and consultation; a man that falls into water, and is in danger of being drown'd, spying fomething which he can lay hold on to save himself, does not stay to consult and deliberate what he had best to do; but immediately, without any, deliberation or consultation, lays hold upon it; and yet this he does freely. Besides, neither the disability of man, nor the efficacious influences of grace, at all hinder the freedom of human actions. A wicked man, who is under the strongest biass, power and dominion of his lufts, acts freely in his fulfilling of them ; as does also a good man, in doing whac is fpiritually good; and never more so, than when he is under the most powerful influences of divine grace.

[ocr errors]

V. It is observede, That. the freedom of man's will, pleaded for, is absolutely requifite, to render our actions worthy of praise or dispraise ; and that a decermination to One, leaves no room for either of these. I reply'; As to good men, they are not sollicitous about che praise of their actions, being very willing to give the praise and glory of them to the grace of God, by

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »