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refuse, or to act just as they please. While they are the subjects of common grace only, they feel them. selves at perfect liberty, to choose, or refuse obedience to the will of God. They can choose to read, or they can refuse to read; they can choose to pray, or they can refuse to pray; they can choose to attend public worship, or they can refuse to attend; they can choose to perform all the externals of religion, or they can refuse to perform any religious duty. But if men are perfectly free under the influence of common gráce, because they are capable of choosing and refusing; then for the same reason, they must be equally free under the influence of special grace.
For special grace essentially consists in making men willing to do their duty. By special grace, God makes men choose to submit to Christ, and refuse to oppose hint; choose to pray, and refuse to neglect it; choose to attend public worship, and refuse to neglect it; choose to walk in the ways of wisdom, and refuse to walk in the paths of the destroyer. If this be a just representation of the influence of special grace, then it is certainly as consistent with free agency as common grace. It is true, indeed, if special grace consisted, as some suppose, in giving men a new principle, faculty, or power,
of choosing; then it would destroy their free agency, and make them entirely passive in regeneration and sanctification. But if, in every act of special grace, God does nothing more than make men willing to do their duty, or to choose and refuse in a holy and virtuous manner; then it is hard to conceive how special grace does, in the least degree, infringe upon free agency. It is a dictate of common sense, that whatever makes men choose or refuse, is consistent with their liberty; and whatever obstructs or hinders them from choosing and refusing, destroys their freedom. If, therefore.
cither common or special grace deprived men of the power of choosing and refusing, it would destroy their free agency. But since neither common nor special grace does take away this power, it is evident, that neither common nor special grace is repugnant to the freedom of the will. Indeed, we do not hesitate to say, that all, who have been the subjects of special grace, know by their own experience, that they have felt as entirely free and voluntary, in acting under the influence of special grace, as ever they did in acting under the influence of common grace.
4. If God can make men willing to be saved, by an act of his power; then there is a plain consistency running through the whole scheme of Calvinism. The fundamental doctrines of this system of divinity are election, total depravity, instantaneous regeneration, and the final perseverance of the saints. If the leading sentiment in this discourse be true, then all these doctrines are entirely consistent.
easy to see the consistency of God's choosing a certain number of mankind to eternal life; if he be able, by an act of his power, to make that certain number willing to be saved. Upon this, and upon no other ground, the doctrine of election appears to harmonize with the character of God and the freedom of the creature.
It is easy to see the consistency of God's determining the fall of man, and the total corruption of all his posterity; if he be able, by an act of his power, to remove their depravity. Though total depravity does not render men unyielding to the exhibition of truth, and all the influence of moral suasion; yet it does not put them beyond the reach of special grace, which is in its own nature irresistible. Hence God foresaw no hazard to his gracious design, from the total enmity of
the human heart, which he knew he was able to slay, by an act of his power, whenever he pleased.
It is easy to see the intimate connexion between the doctrine of total depravity, and that of instantanepus regeneration. If special grace consists in an act of God's power, by which he makes totally depraved sinners willing to be saved; then regeneration must be an instantaneous and not a gradual change. There is no medium between men's being unwilling and willing to be saved; they must remain, therefore, totally unwilling to be sayed, until the moment they are made willing by an instantaneous act of divine power. In regeneration, conversion, or the new creation, God acts as instantaneously as he did, when he said, "Let there be light, and there was light.” This must necessarily be the case, if men are totally depraved, and nothing short of an irresistible act of divine power can remove their total depravity.
It is furthermore easy to see, that the final perseverance of saints is a doctrine inseparably connected with the other doctrines of Calyinism. The same Almighty Agent, who from eternity determined to renew and sanctify the elect, can as easily carry on, as he could begin, a good work in their hearts. And, the same divine purpose, which required their regeneration, equally requires their continued sanctification, or final perseverance in holiness. Hence there is a moral impossibility of their finally falling away, or missing of the kingdom of heayen. Thus it is easy to see, in the light of this subject, that the essential and fundamental principles of the Calvinistic system, are not only consistent with each other, but perfectly harmonize with the character and perfections of the Deity, and with the character and nature of totally deprayed creatures,
5. If what has been said in this discourse be true; then the whole scheme of Arminjanism is fundamentally wrong. This system of sentiments is entirely built upon the principle of a self-determining power in men, to embrace or to reject the terms of salvation. The advocates for this principle justly infer from it, that men are not totally depraved; that God cannot change their hearts by an act of his power; that he cannot cause them to perseyere in holiness; and that he could not, consistently with their nature, choose any of them to salvation, from eternity. This scheme, it must be allowed, is very consistent with itself. But if its first principle be unscriptural and absurd; then all the doctrines, which have been deduced from it, have no foundation in Scripture, nor reason. And it plainly appears from the whole tenor of this discourse, that its first principle is repugnant to the whole current of Scripture. We have shown, that God has given a certain number of mankind to Christ; that these, as well as the rest of the fallen race, are totally depraved; that no means or moral motives will make them willing to be saved; and that God only can make them willing, by an act of his power. If these things are true, it necessarily follows, that sinners have not a selfdetermining power, and never will be saved, unless God, by a sovereign and gracious act of his power, bows their wills to the sceptre of Christ. Those, therefore, who deny the special grace of God in the renovation of the heart, virtually subvert the whole gospel. For by denying this doctrine, they put it out of their power to prove, that one of mankind will be saved, or the least good will be answered, by the great work of redemption. Christ certainly died in vain, if none of mankind will be saved; and it is certain, that none will be saved, if All are left to themselves and never made willing in the day of God's power, to embrace the offers of life. No two schemes of religious sentiments are more diametrically opposite to each other, than those of Calvinism and Arminianism. If Calvinism be scriptural, Arminianism is Unscriptural; if Calvinism is fundamentally right, Arminianism is fundamentally wrong.
6. If God can make men willing to be saved, by an act of his power; then we may see one reason, why he usually suffers them to triumph in their wickedness, before a general revival of religion. This was God's usual conduct, under the Mosaic dispensation. We commonly read of great degeneracy and moral corruption among his people, just before any great and remarkable outpouring of the spirit. And it appears to have been a time of deep deelension, just before the revival of religion on the day of Pentecost, when the promise of the Father in the text was remarkably fulfilled. The same mode of divine conduct has been observed, in these latter days. The Christian History informs us, that there was an uncommon prevalence of vice, irreligion, and carnal stupidity, just before the general revival of religion, about sixty years ago. Now, this subject suggests one reason, why God usually orders things in this manner. · It is to make all men see, that the revival of religion is his own work; that he can subdue the hardest hearts; that he can bow the most stubborn sinners; that though Paul plant and Appollas water, yet it is his sole prerogative to give the increase. Who can deny the doctrine of special grace, or disbelieve, that God is able, by an act of his power, to make men willing to be saved; when they see an uncommon revival of religion, and multitudes flocking to Christ, as doves to their windows, before an impending storm? Such sea