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propensities? To infer the destruction of the former, from that of the latter, is as unreasonable as it would be to infer, that not a chord of a stringed instrument remained undestroyed, because the instrument is become universally and totally out of tune; whereas an instrument may be thus of out tune, though every string remain entire; wanting only the skilful treatment of an artist to render it capable of producing sounds of sweet and varied harmony, as at the first. Such is the energy of divine grace upon the mind. As no physical faculty was destroyed by sin, so no one is added by sovereign grace. The infinitely wise author of our being, by his neverfailing skill, makes the ignorant knowing, the foolish wise, the reluctant willing, the dead lively, the slothful vigilant. He who before murmured, gloomy and dissatisfied, now feels his heart glow with gratitude, and speaks the language of praise: he who before cursed, now blesses: he who before lifted up his voice in strife and contention, now pours
prayers and supplications according to the will of God. He was deceitful, he is now upright; he was envious, he is now benevolent; he was consumed with unhallowed attachments; he is now devoted to the love of God and his neighbour. “ Instead of the thorn is come up the fir-tree, instead of the bramble is come up the myrtletree.”
§ 3. Another distinction overlooked by his Lordship is, that existing moral differences among mankind are to be ascribed to grace rather than to nature. Some worthy characters, some well-disposed persons, some good and honcst hearts, have been found in every age of the world. But how unreasonable to infer from these acknowledged facts, that the difference is derived from natural excellence rather than from supernatural grace. From the fact of one humaj character in any period of time being far superior to others, how illogical the conclusion that he has made himself to differ, or that nature has left him less impaired. It is most unfairly to beg the question, that all good is not from God; or, that there may be some moral excellence among men which flows not from divine grace. Admit this principle, that grace, not nature, forms the difference, and scripture will harmonize with scripture; deny it, and contradictions appear in all its parts. Whether his Lordship has not commited himself in this respect, every attentive reader may easily perceive. While truth is ever consistent with itself, when viewed through a just medium, it is the property of error to refute its own pretensions. One while it states that all mankind are depraved,' with
a propensity to evil and wickedness, universal • in its extent and powerful in its effects ;' another while, it extenuates the statement by
pleading that some of these very persons were so' righteous' as to be acceptable in the sigh
of God,'without any acknowledgement of divine grace. What though the heart, the passions,
the will, and the understanding, and indeed all • the faculties and powers of Adam, were greatly
corrupted, perverted, and impaired by his vio·lation of the divine command;' and what though ? every
individual descended from him be born into the world an imperfect and depraved creature;' still the corruption was not so great but there have been some worthy characters in every period of time! For we have upon record the excellencies of Abel, Enoch, and Noah; of Abraham, Isaac, and Job; beside seven thousand in Israel, who had not bowed their knees to Baal!"
§ 4. His Lordship does not seem to have been aware of the passiveness of man as inseparably connected with his agency. If man were merely an agent, what conceivable ground of his happiness would there be in the nature of things ? Absolutely exempted from the influence of preventing grace, while, undeniably, free from controul in his choice, every man might fail alike of happiness. Admitting human depravity to be precisely what his Lordship admits; I ask, what is there in the nature of things that can secure the salvation of any
individuals, except the prerogative and grace of God giving him a good will? On the other hand, if man were merely passive, he could not be accountable for his actions : laws and sanctions would be useless things, and future judgment an unmeaning ceremony. Separate one of these attributes from the being of man, and nothing is rationally explained; the whole of the scriptural representation of him becomes an inexplicable paradox; rather, a series of perpetual contradictions. Admit the fact, and the whole appears lucid and beautiful, coherent and harmonious.
5. Another principle of the utmost importance, closely connected with the preceding, and greatly overlooked by his Lordship and the Fathers, is the union' of Equity and Sovereignty in the divine character. Not that either is denied in words, but their appropriate exercise is not brought into the account. In his Lordship’s theory, Sovereignty has no effect in man, but only towards him in providing a Saviour. Every principle of discrimination originates with man, though in a fallen state; and every act of after bounty is only an exercise of Equity in rewarding the creature's goodness. In a word, the whole is reduced to this one view of God, a merciful Governor. All that sovereign merey does, is to provide moral means, not allowed to
fallen angels, and then justice engages to reward the worthy. But this is to limit “The Holy one of Israel” in that very point wherein man most needs his assistance, and in the exercise of mercy wherein God delights. It is an attempt to confine the hand of omnipotence with the filmy cord of contingency; to restrain the divine prerogative within the narrow confines of human self-sufficiency. Nay, more, it is to found the exercise of gracious, power on human moral ability; and the exercise of mercy on human moral worthiness. In such a system every thing must appear confused and contradictory; the perfections of God, and the attributes of man, are continually at variance. But if
admit that God governs his creatures, as free agents, with equity, and bestows favours upon them, as passive, with unrestrained sovereignty, to "the praise of the glory of his grace;” the perplexity is unravelled, the scriptures appear no longer a labyrinth, and seeming discordances are satisfactorily reconciled.
§ 6. Many contradictions might have been avoided by his Lordship, had he attended to the difference between exhibitory and subjective grace. Any reflecting reader of the “ Refutation” may perceive how the Bishop and the Fathers perpetually confound these essentially differentconsiderations. The provision of mercy in a plan