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their duty and to press it home upon them by every motive and argument laid before us in Scripture ; * “ if God peradventure will give them repentance."
4. Nor is this the question: Whether it is desirable for sinners to be the subjects of conviction? For, it is more probable that convinced sinners will be saved, than those who are careless and openly vicious.
5. Nor is the question this: Whether sinners are destitute of holiness ? For Mr. T. expressly, grants (page 8) that the best exercises of sinners fall essentially short of holiness.
6. Nor is this the question in debate : Whether sinners have natural ability to repent ? For, I hold that they have natural ability to repent as well as to perform actions which are destitute of repentance; and Mr. T. grants the same sentiment: For he says, (page 96) that the sinner “has natural faculties for the one as well as the other."
Neither of these questions is debated : But, the question in debate is precisely this : “ Is any thing required of men, as duty, which does not involve holy love ?”
This, in Mr. T.'s words, is the state of the question, which I frankly adopt, because it is concise, plain and just. But, the difference between us is wide. For, he affirms, and I deny, that somewhat is required of men, as duty, which does not involve holy love. For love is the fulfilling of the law. In this debate he pleads for actions which are totally destitute of
* Ezekiel ii. 5. 2 Timothy ii. 25,
holiness ; while I plead for holiness only. He pleads for actions which are not connected with salvation ; while I plead for those actions only which are connected with salvation. In a word, he pleads that God requires those actions which are common to his enemies ; while I plead that he requires those, and those only, which are peculiar to his friends. This is the ground of the debate : and, the reader will judge, whether his theory or mine be supported by scripture.
Having adopted the question as Mr. T. states it in the course of his defence, he will not complain that I do not adopt it as he formally states it at the beginning of his defence. For, if the question be precisely this, as he states it in the 21st page : Whether any thing be required of men, as duty, which does not involve holy love ?” It cannot be precisely this, as he states it in the 7th page :
" Whether the unconverted ever do any thing which God has commanded, or which is, in any sense, or degree morally right?"* For even Mr. T. must grant that hypocrites eat, and drink, and speak, and do a thousand external things from bad motives, which God requires to be done from good motives. He will also grant, that sinners do many things which are morally right, if we judge according to the appearance ; but which are morally wrong, if we judge righteous judg
But though I disapprove his methodi* “ ANY THING,” ought to be restricted to something : and “ MORALLY RIGHT IN ANY SENSE,” to that which is morally right in SOME PARTICULAR SENSE.
cal statement of the question, because it is ambiguous and equivocal, yet I approve and adopt this : viz. "Is any thing required of men, as duty, which does not involve holy love" For, as love is the fulfilling of the law, it is obvious, to impartial and judicious men, that actions, destitute of love, are not required.
SECTION II. Total Dopravity Explained. As no calvinistic doctrine has been more frequently misrepresented, and misapplied than total depravity, it must be carefully explained, For, though the heart of man be wholly depraved, it does not follow that his intelletcual and animal exercises are depraved any more than his finger nails : For, they are not of a moral kind. To prevent mistakes, therefore, relative to this doctrine, the reader will excuse me while I premise the following observations.
1. Total depravity does not imply that the bodies of men are depraved. For the bodies of men and their corporeal faculties merely, are as incapable of moral action, as machines. When the Bible, therefore, imputes sin to the tongue or any bodily organ or member, we are to understand it in a figurative sense.
2. The total depravity of man does not imply that his reason, judgment, or conscience is depraved. For exercises of this class are merely natural, and must not be confounded with those which are moral. Conscience, for instance, is so distinct from the heart, that it appears from scripture and experience, to be a
man's judgment respecting the nature of his heart. For it compares the heart with the law of God, and approves or disapproves it, accordingly as it agrees or disagrees with this standard. The difference between conscience and moral exercise is 'as obvious, as the difference between knowing our duty and performing or omitting it. For instead of performing or omitting duty, conscience points it out, and approves the heart that performs it and condemns the heart that neglects it. When conscience, therefore, is called pure or defiled, it is used in a figurative sense for the heart. For, as it is a false heart which makes a false tongue, so it is a defiled heart which makes a defiled conscience ; and a pure heart which makes a pure conscience.
3. Nor does total depravity imply, that the subjects of it treat either pleasure or pain with indifference. For all living creatures, rational and irrational, désire pleasure and dread pain and distress. Even the devil, whose total depravity no one will dispute, desires present relief, and trembles at the thought of his future doom. A good man is not more virtuous, merely because he desires happiness; nor is a wicked man' more criminal, merely because he dreads misery. For mere desires to enjoy pleasure and to escape misery are natural exércises, and not moral.
4. Nor does total depravity necessarily imply, that the subjects of it are destitute of natural gratitude, sympathy and natural affection. For exercises of this class are not of the moral
kind, because they are as common to beasts and birds, as to men. All animals love their tender offspring, and frequently sympathize with each other in distress. Several species of them are evidently capable of gratitude. For they notice their masters, and gratefully acknowledge their benefactors. To conclude, therefore, that sinners are not totally depraved, merely because they are the subjects of natural gratitude, and other exercises of a kindred nature, is neither wise nor safe. Exercises of this class and total disobedience, are found in the same subjects. For, not to mention the grateful and sympathetic feelings of some of the most abandoned wretches on earth, the parable of the rich man teaches us, that even the reprobates in despair anxiously desire the happiness of their particular relations. Neither;
5. Does the total depravity of man consist in the destitution of any faculties, or abilities which are necessary to constitute a moral agent. For, if men were not moral agents, or were destitute of natural ability to keep the divine commands, they would be incapable of moral action. It is not possible for men to be disobedient, except they have natural ability to be obedient. For the commands of God never exceed the natural ability of man. God does not require the improvement of more talents than he has given.' " For to whom much is given much shall be required.” The depravity of man, therefore, does not consist in the destitution of natural ability to obey the divine command; but in those volitions or exercises