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whom and when he pleases; and to bestow favours at a time and in a degree directed by unerring wisdom.
§ 31. The foregoing sentiment is further explained by the same author: ““ Human weakness ' is incompetent to obtain any thing of itself; and 'this only is the duty of its nature, that it should
be willing to begin to form itself into the family ' of God. It belongs to the mercy of God to - assist those who are willing, to confirm those ' who begin, to receive those who come. But " the beginning [in point of obligation] is from 'ourselves, that he may perfect it.” The point in question with HILARY was, What is “ the the duty of our nature?" Is it to neglect, to delay; to stand cavilling with our Maker, our Benefactor, our equitable Ruler, and final Judge; or to begin to seek his favour in the discharge of incumbent duty? In similar circumstances, the Calvinists would answer as he did. It would be easy to multiply passages to the same import, were it necessary; but these may be sufficient, as fair specimens, to shew the real meaning of the authors when they speak in some connexions, of the “ beginning” being from “ourselves,” and which his Lordship too hastily supposed to be adverse to our sentiments. Allowing that a
* Refut. p. 362
Calvinist might sometimes say, God begins, and we follow; or, the true Christian works from life received; still there is no real inconsistency, because they do not mean the same kind of beginning. Beside, the modes of expression are directed against opposite erroneous extremes. The Fathers opposed the grossest fatalism among the philosophers and heretics; and the Calvinists have had but too much reason to check another heretical pravity, sprung from the Pelagian school, which exalts human selfsufficiency to the throne of the Most High.
§ 32. Some quotations are adduced by the Bishop respecting faith which have a verbal aspect of opposition,—but nothing more. Thus, for example, IRENÆUS: ""God has preserved to
man a will free, and in his own power, not only ' in works, but also in faith, saying, “ According to your faith, be it unto you; shewing that the faith of man is his own, because he * has his own will. And again, “ All things are possible to him that believeth :' ' And, ‘Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it * done unto thee. And all such expressions
shew that man is in his own power with respect to faith. And on this account, he who be• lieveth in him hath eternal life: but he who doth
not believe the Son, hath not eternal life, but * the wrath of God shall remain upon him.' In
the same manner, God both shewing his own 'goodness, and signifying that man is in his
own free-will and power, (sui arbitrii, ac suæ * potestatis nominem significans) said to Jeru• salem, “How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not! wherefore your house shall be left desolate."'* Here IRENÆUS is professedly opposing those heretics who pleaded for a fatal necessity and force, to the exclusion of judgment and will. They held that some are good and others evil, from this kind of necessity, while their own election or choice was out of the question. The Father therefore, very properly, asserts that man is a free agent, even in the exercise of faith. On this, his annotator justly observes that faith is taken by divines in a two-fold sense; for it may be considered as either acquired by hearing the word of God, or as an infused principle.f To argue therefore from the one acceptation to the other, is not conclusive. When we maintain
* Refut. p. 307.
+ Fidem duplicem constituunt Theologi, priorem quæ electione vel auditione verbi Dei acquiritur, hinc acquisitam vocant. Hanc Cyrillus Ierosol. dogmaticam, Apostolus fidem ex auditu nominat.-Posteriorem fidem quòd a Deo penitus infandatur mentibus nostris, infusam appellant. Hanc donum Dei esse, compluribus scriptis ostendunt AUGUSTINUS et CYRILLUS. IRENær opera, p. 419. Ed. 1639.
that faith is the gift of God, we do not deny, %.
but firmly hold, that man, as a free-agent, is bound in duty to " believe with the heart unto righteousness."
$ 53. In the same manner we accord with these expressions of Cyril: "" Those therefore
who receive this spiritual and saving seal, have need also of their own free choice; for as a 'writing-pen, or a weapon, has need of one to
act with it, so grace also has need of those who • believe." "*
In short, vhat we maintain, in exact conformity with Cyril, is this, that faith as an infused habit, is entirely from God, and
his free gift; but as an exercised grace, is our Y
own free choice. So that, in the latter acceptation,
grace also has need of those who believe,”---for how can any one become a believer without his own will embracing the divine record or testimony:
34. To the same purport are the following words of ChysosTOM: ““But perhaps some one ' will say, if every thing which the Father gives comes to you, and to those whom he shall draw, and no one can come to you, unless it "be given him from above, they are free from 'all blame and accusation, to whom the Father
* Refut. p. 348.
* does not give it. This is a mere fallacy and
pretence. For we have need of our own free will. · For to be taught, and to believe, depend upon our
own will. But by the expression, ‘that which 'the Father giveth me” he only means, that to • believe in me is no common thing, but requiring
revelation from above, and a mind which piously • receives that revelation." The very connexion shows that CHRYSOSTOM combats the fallacious pretence of those who would fain excuse themselves from the exercise of faith, because the orthodox maintained, as we do, that, in one sense, faith is the gift of God. If we would believe, we must hear the word, and be willing to be taught; and if we would "believe to the saving of the soul,” it behoves us to cultivate “a mind which piously receives that revelation” which God has graciously afforded
§ 35. The Bishop of Lincoln seems to regard the following quotation from Gregory of Nazianzuin, as a formidable contrast to our sentiments on regeneration : But we cannot allow that the real meaning of the passage is any other than what we acknowledge to be scriptural, though the mere phraseology may be considered as ambiguous. 66 This is the grace