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the chain of men's native aversion to God and spiritual things is strong enough to keep them from coming to Christ, without having something else in conjunction with it.
But if this cannot be maintained, he seems certain of the advantage, however, in one respect.
" We certainly, says Mr. B. lay man much lower than he does;” and this he thinks hath a tendency to abase his pride, while our sentiments tend to gratify and promote it. (96.) It is true, Mr. B. does lay man lower than we do; but it is observable, that so far as that is the case, it is not in the character of a sinner, but of a creature of God; not on account of what he has made himself, but on account of what God hath made him; and if that is the way in which we are to be humbled, it might be done still more effectually, if we were reduced to the condition of a stock or a
In reply to what is said on the doctrine of grace, and the work of the Spirit, (1, 93, 97.) little more. need be said in addition to the above. Though.Mr. B. sometimes speaks of men's inability as being partly innocent and partly criminal; yet; as was said before, it was manifestly his design all along to prove men. wholly excusable in their omission of every thing spiritually good. But suppose it were otherwisem suppose they were only in part excusable; if it be a more gloriqus instance of grace, and a greater exertion of divine influence, to save one who is partly innocent, than one who is entirely to blame; it must be upon this principle, that in proportion as criminality
is lessened, the glory of divine grace in saivation is increased: and if so, thus the most glorious display of grace that could be manifested in our salvation, must be upon the survosition of our iseing altogether innocent!
When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, says Christ to his disciples, say we are unprofitable ssroants, we have done that which was our duty to do. Luke xvii. 10. From this passage two things are observable; First, That abedience to God cannot merit any thing at his hands. Second, The reason why there is no such thing as merit in our obedience, is, that all the good we have done, or may do, is commanded, is our duty. From hence it follows, 1. That the very idea of duty, excludes merit, and cuts off boasting. 2. That the more attached we are to our duty, as such, the more distant we are from all pretence to merit or boasting. The very way to extirpate the notion of human merit, is to consider all which we do as being our duty. . 3. That if it were possible to perform any thing which does not come under the idea of duty, then would there be some ground for merit. If the foregoing observations be just, it scarcely needs asking which sentiment it is that cuts off boasting, that of faith being considered as a duty, or the opposite.
Perhaps it may be said in answer to this, that when a man is enlightened by the Sphit of God, it is then his duty to believe. But I think if it be not incumbent before, it will not be difficult to prove it so at all. In this case the work of the Spirit upon the heart
must constitute the ground of duty; and then it is nec cessary that the person should know that he is the subject of this work before he can see it his duty to believe. But boy what evidences can he obtain this knowledge? Sureiy not by his impenitency and unbelief; and yet, till he has repented and believed, he can have nothing better.
If it be, az Mr. B. represents, the vark of the Spi. rit must consist in giving us new natural powers. If we have no natural power to embrace spiritual things till we are regenerated, then regeneration must be the creation of natural power. And what this is different from creating a new soul, is difficnit to determine Be that as it may, the creating of natural power cannot be a spiritual exertion, any more than the creation of a leg or an arm; and so cannot be reckoned amongst the special spiritual operations of the Holy Ghost. Whatever grace there may be in it, it is no part of the grace of the gospel; it is no part of salvation. It is not any thing that became necessary through sin, for it is supposed that man was as destitute of it in his created, as in his fallen state. One should think, therefore, it can be nothing which is given us in behalf of Christ, as mediator; or for which we shall have to praise him in that character to eternity.
Amongst a catalogue of other bad consequences imputed to my sentiments, they are said to be " distressing to saints.” (105.) This, for aught I know, may be just. They certainly have a tendency to cone vince both saint and sinner of abundance of sin,
which the sentiments here opposed make to be no sin. It is no wonder, therefore, that true saints, by discerning their great obligations, both before and af. ter conversion, to love the Lord Jesus Christ; should now be greatly distressed in a way of godly, sorrow. Looking upon him whom they pierced, they mourn, as one that is in bitterness for his first born. But this, so far from being brought as an objection, ought to be considered as a corroboration. That which tends to sooth and quiet the minds of men, by giving diminutive representations of the causes of reflection and grief, is not the gospel. The gospel gives peace which passeth all understanding; and this is consiste ent with the exercise of the most pungent grief; but that quietness of mind which rises from a diminution of blame-worthiness, rather deserves the name of ease than peace, and is much more to be dreaded than desired.
It was acknowledged in the former treatise, that many who have dealt in addresses to unconverted sinners, have dabbled in Arminianism.' Mr. B. from hence repeatedly represents me as acknowledging that they tend that way. (p. 1. pref. and p. 100.) This I must beg leave absolutely to deny. There is no such acknowledgment, nor any thing like it, but the very reverse. Mr. B. cannot be ignorant that
many who have maintained the doctrines of grace, have more than dabbled in Antinomianism; and yet that is no proof that the doctrines of grace are really of that tendency..
As to the use that is made of my concession concerning the munner of addressing sinners, such as
come to Christ, now, this moment, &c." (99.) I Inight refer the reader for answer to the passage itseli; yea, to that part of it which Mr. B. has quoted. Surely he had no reason to conclude that I thought a believing in Christ was a matter that might safely be deferred. He professes to maintain, that men ought to be perfectly holy in some sense or other; but does he ever say to his auditory, “ be perfectly hely, now, this moment?”
One remark more upon this subject requires a reply. I had attempted to remove the supposed absordity of addresses to dead sinners, by observing that we supposed spiritual death to be altogether a criminal affair. Mr. B. answers, from Mr. Waynian, “ It was man's sin to destroy a moral life, but ii is not man's sin that he hath not a spiritual one. It is God's eternal grace that gives life." (102.) To this it is replied, this position requires a higher authority to support it than Mr. Wayman * If we admitted this sentiment as true, then, it is granted, our manner of address to unconverted sinners would be incor
* " It is not man's sin that he hath 110€, spiritual one."--If spiritual life be what we never had, then we cannot be said to be spiritually deat, for death is not a mere negative, but a priva. tive idea: It is God's eternal grace that gives life.”--true, and is it not God's eternal grace that gives to a fallen creature # conformity to his holy law? and yet it does not follow.frora thence that it is not inon's duty to have it