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such affections good, previous to a supernatural influence? They are, doubtless, comparatively good; that is, compared with their opposites. Yet this they may be, while essentially defective compared with the will of God, and the revealed rule of righteousness; since they are exercised by many persons who are “ fast bound with the chains of their sins," and in a very degraded state of moral depravity. A person may have a sincere and strong affection to another, which is good compared with “ envy, hatred, and malice,” without possessing what is essential to real virtue and moral goodness.
§ 13. What his Lordship asserts, that all * idea of distinction between right and wrong was not obliterated from the human mind,' might lead the reader to suppose that Calvinists held the contrary opinion. So far however is this from being the case, that they feel no reluctance in extending the assertion to fallen angels, as well as to men; and are in the habit of reciting these words of their poet with approbation: “ The devils know, and tremble too; but Satan cannot love."--But his Lordship proceeds to say, that every good affection towards God
was not totally extinguished.' That a carnal mind, under the dominion of sin, and led captive by Satan at his will, may have some sense of gratitude to the bountiful Creator and Benefactor,
and some kind of love to him, is readily granted; but the question is, whether that love has not in it “ the nature of sin,” while the object of it is made subservient to selfish ends,such ends as are opposed to the standard of righteousness? This is what Calvinists maintain, according to the sacred oracles, which declare that “ the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. They that are in the flesh cannot please God."*—“ The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”+
$ 14. The observations made on the parable of the sower, will be thought by most readers, I presume, very remarkable. There is some 'honesty, some goodness of heart in the human * race.' Supposing the four kinds of hearers to represent the human race,' three parts out of four appear fruitless,—without honesty or goodness of heart. How then can this be an apology in point for the honesty and goodness of the · human race?' And respecting the fourth part, that bare good fruit in different degrees, what reason is there for concluding that the success
* Rom. viii. 7, 8.
+ 1 Cor. ii, 14,
was owing to some native goodness or honesty, rather than to divine grace? Has the Spirit of God no efficiency in preparing the heart, and ensuring success? The apostle of the Gentiles explicitly ascribes it to God.
“ I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. . So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."* The Calvinists, therefore, think it more scriptural, and more rational, to ascribe the different degrees of fruitfulness attending the preached gospel to divine gracious agency, than to “virtuous qualities' possessed by the human race in different degrees, independently
Beside, as the truth of the gospel is supposed to be proclaimed in the hearing of all alike, if the cause of fruitfulness be ascribed to native virtuous qualities, and all the human race have some of these qualities; how comes it to pass that so large a proportion of mankind are represented by our Saviour as bringing forth no fruit?
of that agency.
$ 15. In the next place, his Lordship contends, that the power of obeying still remains. For thus he states and argues: “We are told in "the book of Genesis, that " the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering;” and unto
* 1 Cor. iii. 6, 7.
• Cain he said, “ If thou doest well, shalt thou 'not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, * sin lieth at the door.” May we not hence
infer that the immediate sons of Adam lived • under a divine law, which they had the power of obeying or of disobeying?'*_They were capable of obeying it [a rule of life) although in • fact their obedience has been very rare, and always imperfect.'t-The article [on original sin], does not pronounce with the Calvinists, * that man of his own nature can perform nothing but evil, but that he “ inclineth to evil;” a 'doctrine fundamentally different, since an inclination, though strong, may be conquered.'I• Those who saw and heard what Jesus did, " were of themselves capable of understanding that "he" was the Christ, the Son of God." God 'gives to every man, through the means of his grace, a power to perform the conditions of the gospel.’s—These are his. Lordship’s avowed sentiments on the subject of human power.
§ 16. To every observant reader of moral and theological discussions, it must be very apparent, that ambiguity often attends the use of the word Power. In writers who do not define their terms, we find it, even in con
I Ibid, p. 51.
* Refut. p. 4.
+ Ibid, p. 9.
Ibid, p. 64.
troversy, standing indiscriminately for physical strength, for opportunity of acting, for a sufficient inducement to act, and for moral ability. Now except a writer explain what kind of power he designs, there can be no close reasoning on the subject. I know of no Calvinist who denies that fallen man has power, in the sense of physical strength, to will or to act according to his pleasure,--or of opportunity of acting well if so disposed,--or of a sufficient inducement to act aright. The point, therefore, is simply this, Whether man in his native degeneracy, irrespective of gracious renewing influence from the Holy Spirit, has that kind of power which consists in a good disposition or inclination? and whether it renders a man' capable, of himself,' to understand the spiritual design of the gospel, to love God supremely, to love the Lord Jesus Christ as a holy Saviour, and to approve unreservedly of God's " holy will and commandments ?”
§ 17. That many carnal men are capable, in different degrees, of investigating the evidences of Christianity, and have power to point out with considerable force the criteria of revealed religion, is not to be denied. They may also perceive a degree of harmony in the divine dispensations, the reasonableness of many commands and obligations, and many wonderful traits of divine goodness and mercy, as well as