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loyalty, their charitable contributions, their exertions to spread the scriptures, and to instruct the ignorant, to promote the peace of society and the happiness of mankind—view them through an unprejudiced medium, and “ by their fruits ye shall know them.”.
$ 12. His Lordship avows that faith is the gift of God; but that he does not bestow it arbitrarily. While commenting on the Church Article on Free Will, which states that man “cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God,” he observes respecting' true faith, as contradistinguished from a bare
belief in the divine mission of Christ,' that ' It is indeed the gift of God, for without God's
assistance, no man can possess it; but it is a
gift not bestowed arbitrarily, capriciously, or ' irrespectively:* That the infinitely wise God should bestow a favour, or do any thing else, capriciously, without reason, or irrespectively, without a wise reference to a worthy end, is out of the question; for his Lordship inust be too equitable to impute to Calvinists, a sentiment which they utterly abhor. But they do avow the sentiment that his gifts, as distinguished from rewards, are bestowed arbitrarily, or accord
* Refut. p. 54.
ing to his sovereign pleasure ;-and faith among other gifts. “He has mercy on whom he will have mercy.” And has he not a right “to do what he will with his own?” Should our eye be evil, because he bestows gifts upon others where there is no ground of claim? Has he not a right to impart “gifts unto men, yea to the rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell among them?” Is there no ground of reason and wisdom in conferring them, beside the worthiness of the receiver? Distributive justice, indeed, in rewards and punishments, is exercised respectively.' Its measure of operation is founded on the worthiness or demerit' of its object. But it is the prerogative of benevolence, grace, and mercy, to overlook worthiness in their objects; and the measure of their exercise is adequately found in supreme wisdom. If man since the fall
cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works, to faith,"--and if God give him asupernatural principle from whence “faith and calling upon God” arises, though before “dead in trespasses and sins," where is the ground of equitable remonstrance? The receiver, it is selfevident, can have none: nor can the unworthy have any. And as to the Giver, his own good pleasure, directed by a depth of wisdom to us unfathomable, ought to exclude all cavil from his creatures. In short, though he rewards according to the measure of obedience; he gives
in a manner, in a degree, and in a season, worthy of himself, and far beyond our deservings.
Ş.15. Once more, it is asserted, that "faith is the result of candour and diligence.' Thus, his Lordship reasons: “The Bereans were com'mended, “ in that they received the word with * all readiness of mind, and searched the scrip
tures daily, whether those things were so;" and it ' is immediately added, " therefore many of them • believed :” hence it appears, that the faith of
the Bereans was the result of the candour
with which they listened to the preaching of • the apostle, and of the diligence with which
they enquired into the evidences of the gospel.** The question is not, whether the Bereans manifested candour and diligence, nor yet whether this was commendable; for upon this there can be but one sentiment. It is likewise agreed, that their candour and diligence preceded their explicit avowal of the gospel. Nay we may go a step further, and admit that their faith in part resulted from these estimable particulars. But were the Bereans less commendable on supposition that they were inspired with candour, and divinely excited to diligence? · They received the word with all readiness of mind;" but this is no evidence that they were
Refut. p. 21.
not graciously influenced to do so. The question is, whether their faith was the result exclusively of their candour and diligence; or whether these were not the fruit of an influence from above?
§ 14. Faith in the sense of believing, implies several things. First, a testimony; and a divine faith must have a divine testimony, in order to deserve that appellation : secondly, a knowledge of the thing declared, or a sufficient acquaintance with the language in which the message is delivered: thirdly, a freedom of will; so that there is no compulsion, constraint, or influence whatever from God to believe a false testimony; though he may in equity and judgment leave the wicked to their own delusions “to believe a lie;" and a freedom also from restraint in the exercise of will, when truth is to be credited, is implied: fourthly, a disposition, or principle; and the nature of faith, as either dead or living, will be according to the defective or efficient principle. If the disposition be not spiritually alive, the most awful or exhilarating testimony will beget but a dead faith; but where the disposition is alive to God, or divinely spiritual, the testimony will beget a lively belief. Such a disposition will shew itself in various ways beside believing; and among others by 'candour and diligence,' readiness of
mind to receive truth, and an impartial search into its evidences. Admitting then, that faith is the "result of candour and diligence,” these also are themselves the result of gracious influence. Calvinists are far from supposing that candour in listening, and diligence of enquiry into the evidences of the gospel are of no use; on the contrary, they consider them of great use. But they cannot consistently draw the conclusion, that the disposition itself from whence they spring, needs no previous divine influence to produce that result; -any more than they can infer that
be an effect without any adequate cause,