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seems to deny any physical influence at all of the Spirit of God on the will; and allows an influence by moral suasion and moral causes only, p. 344. This is to deny that the Spirit of God does any thing at all, except inspiring the prophets, and giving the means of grace, with God's ordination of this in his providence. If God do any thing physically, what he does must be efficacious and irresistible.
Such an assistance Dr. Whitby maintains, and, concerning it, says the following things-p. 221, 222.
1st, “Then I say it must be granted, that in raising an idea in my brain by the Holy Spirit, and the impression made upon it there, the action is truly physical. 2d, That in those actions I am wholly passive; that is, I myself do nothing formally to produce those ideas; but the good Spirit, without my operation, doth produce them in me. 3d, That these operations must be irresistible in their production, because they are immediately produced in us without our knowledge of them, and without our will, and so without those faculties by which we are enabled to act.”
Though it should be allowed that God assists man with a physical assistance, and yet an obliged and promised assistance only; then God does not do, or effect or give the thing assisted to, any more than if he operated and assisted men only according to the established laws of pature; and men may as properly be said to do it of themselves, and of their own power. The doing of the thing, is in the same manner in their power. The assistance by which God assists a drunkard that goes to the tavern, and there drinks excessively, or by which he assists an adulterer or pirate in their actions, is, that he upholds the laws of nature, the laws of the nature of the human soul, whereby it is able to perform such and such acts in such order and dependence ; and the laws of the union of soul and body; and moves the body in such a stated manner in consequence of such acts of the soul, and upholds the laws of motion, and causes that there shall be such and such effects in corporeal things, and also of men's minds in consequence of such motions. All the difference is, that the assistance which he grants in the duties of religion, is according to a newer establishment than the other, according to a method established a little later; and also, that the method of assistance, in the one case, is written and revealed by way of promise or covenant, and not in the other.
But if it be said, that though God has promised assistance, yet he has not promised the exact degree, as, notwithstanding his promise, he has left himself at liberty to assist some, much more than others, in consequence of the very same endeavour.-I answer, that this will prove a giving up of their wbole scheme, and will infallibly bring in the Calvanistical notion of sovereign and arbitrary grace; whereby some, with the very same sincerity of endeavour, with the same degree of endeavour, and the same
use of means, nay, although all things are exactly equal in both cases, both as to their persons and behaviour; yet one has that success by sovereign grace and God's arbitrary pleasure, that is denied another. If God has left himself no liberty of sovereiga grace in giving success to man's endeavours, but his consequent assistance be always tied to such endeavours precisely, then man's success is just as much in his own power, and is in the same way the fruit of his own doings, as the effect and fulfilment of his endeavours to commit adultery or murder; and indeed much more. For his success in those endeavours, is not tied to such endeavours, but may be providentially disappointed. Although particular motions follow such and such acts of will, in such a state * of body, exactly according to certain laws of nature; yet a man's success in such wickedness, is not at all tied to his endeavours by any divine establishment, as the Arminians suppose success is to man's endeavours after conversion.
For the Spirit of God, by assisting in the alleged manner, becomes not the efficient cause of those things, as the scriptures do certainly represent him. If God be not the proper bestower, author, and efficient cause of virtue, then the greatest benefits flow not from him; are not owing to his goodness ; nor have we bim to thank for them.
“Christ upbraids the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, that they were worse than Sodom, &c., and the Jews of that generation, that they were worse than the men of Nineveh; and the Pharisees, that the publicans and harlots went into the kingdom of God before them. But why did he do this, if the only reason was, that the one was brought to repent by effectuai
and the other not ?" (See Whitby, p. 169, 170, 171.) I answer, the unbelief and impenitence of those cities, of
I that generation, and of those Pharisees, when, on the contrary, the publicans and Nineveh repented, and the men of Sodom would have repented, was an argument that they were worse, more perverse, and hardhearted than they. Because, though repentance is owing to special, efficacious assistance, yet, in his ordinary methods of proceeding with men, God is wont much more rarely to bestow it on those that are more perverse, hardhearted, and rooted in evil, than others. So much the more as their hearts are hardened, so much the less likely are they to be brought to repentance. And though there be oftentimes exceptions of particular persons, yet it still holds good as a general rule; and especially with regard to societies, nations, cities, and ranks of men : So that Christ might well, from the fact that he mentions, draw an argument of the greater perverseness and stubbornness of those societies and ranks of men that he spoke of.
§ 16. A command and a manifestation of will are not the same thing. A command does not always imply a true desire that the thing commanded should be done. So much at least is manifest
by the instance of Abraham commanded to offer up Isaac. That command was not such an effect of the divine will, as the commands to believe and repent, &c.
$ 17. Either the stronger the habitual inclination to good is, the more virtuous; and the stronger the disposition to evil, the more vicious; or, if it be otherwise, then indifference or want of inclination is essential to both virtue and vice.
$ 18. Dr. Whitby's inconsistence appears in that one, while, when he is disputing against the decree of election, he maintains that the epistles, where the apostle speaks to the elect, are not written to the converted only ; because then it suits his turn that the persons addressed should not be converted. But afterwards, when disputing against efficacious grace, he maintains that where the apostle says, “God worketh in you both to will and to do,” &c. Philip. ii. 13, he speaks only to them that are converted, p. 228. Again, when it suits the Doctor's turn, when writing about perseverance, then all whom the apostles write to are true saints. As particularly those the apostle Peter writes to, that had precious faith, p. 399. And the Galatians addressed in Paul's epistle, p. 401, 402.
$ 19. When the Psalmist prays, “Make me to go in the way of thy statutes ;” is it indeed his meaning, that God would give him the general grace which he gives to all, and which is sufficient for all if they will but improve it? And is this all ?
$ 20. Arminians argue that God has obliged himself to bestow a holy and saving disposition, on certain conditions, and that what is given in regeneration, is given either for natural men's asking, or for the diligent improvement of common grace'; because, otherwise, it would not be our fault that we are without it, nor our virtue that we have it. But if this reasoning is just, the holy qualities obtained by the regenerate, are only the fruits of virtue, not virtues themselves. All the virtue lies in asking, and in the diligent improvement of common grace. $ 21. Prov. xxi. 1. “The heart of the king is in the hand
. of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will.” This shows that the Arminian notion of liberty of will, is inconsistent with the scripture notion of God's providence and government of the world. See also Jer. xxxi. 18. “ Turn me, and I shall be turned.” Math. vii. 18. “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” Let us understand this how we will, it destroys the Arminian notion of liberty, and virtue, and vice. For, if it means only a great difficulty; then so much the less liberty, and therefore so much the less virtue or vice. And the preceding verse would be false, which says “ every tree bringeth forth good fruit,” &c. Rom. viii. 6, 7, 8, 9. “For to be carnally minded is death ; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace : because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But we are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The design of the apostle in this place overthrows Arminian notions of liberty, virtue, and vice. It appears from scripture, that
, God gives such assistance to virtue and virtuous acts, as to be properly a determining assistance, so as to determine the effect; which is inconsistent with Arminian notion of liberty. The scripture shows that God's influence in the case is such, that he is the cause of the effect: he causes it to be: which shows that his influence determines the matter, whether it shall be or not. Otherwise innumerable expressions of scripture are exceedingly improper, and altogether without a meaning.
$ 22. Dr. Whitby's notion of the assistance of the Spirit is of the same sort with inspiration. Whereas that which I suppose is the true notion, is entirely different. Consequently their notion is much more enthusiastical, does much better agree with, and much more expose to, pernicious enthusiasm, than ours. Hence we find that the grossest enthusiasts, such as Quakers and others, are generally Arminians in the doctrines of free will, &c.
23. Scripture expressions are every where contrary to the Arminian scheme, according to all use of language of the world in these days. But then they have their refuge here. They say, the ancient figures of speech are exceedingly diverse from ours; and that we in this distant age cannot judge at all of the true sense of expression used so long ago, but by a skill in antiquity, and being versed in ancient history, and critically skilled in the ancient languages; not considering that the scriptures were written for us in these ages on whom the ends of the world are come; yea, were designed chiefly for the latter age of the world, in which they shall have their chief, and comparatively, almost all their effect. They were written for God's people in those ages, of whom at least ninety-nine in a hundred must be supposed incapable of such knowledge, by their circumstances and education; and nine hundred and ninety-nine in a thousand of God's people, that hitherto have been saved by the scriptures. It is easy, by certain methods of interpretation, to refine and criticise any book to a sense most foreign to the mind of the author.
$ 24. If God be truly unwilling that there should be any moral evil in the world, why does not he cause less moral evil to exist than really does? If it be answered, as is usual to such kind of objections, that though God is unwilling there should be moral evil, yet he will not infringe on man's liberty, or destroy his moral agency to prevent it; then I ask, if this be all, why does God cause so much less to exist at some certain times; on the contrary, causes virtue gloriously to prevail ? Other times are spoken of and promised, wherein it shall prevail yet vastly more.
And this is spoken of as of God's effecting, and is abundantly so spoken of and promised, as what God would do, and none should hinder, &c.
The Arminian principles, denying the efficacious, determining grace of God, as the cause of men's virtue and piety, are wholly inconsistent with the promises and prophecies of the future ilourishing of religion and virtue in the world, and never can be made consistent therewith. This flourishing of religion is spoken of as what God will effect; and is made the matter of his abundant promise ; is spoken of as his glorious work, the work of his almighty power; what he will eflect, and none shall hinder; what he will effect against all opposition, removing and overcoming the wickedness of men, &c.
$ 25. Dr. Stebbing says, page 104, “So much grace as is necessary to lead us to that obedience which is indispensably required in order to salvation, God will give to every one, who humbly and devoutly prays to him for it; for this is the condition, and the only condition prescribed by our Saviour, Luke ïi. 9–13. “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth ; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. If then ye, being evil, know how to give good gists unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?—where the promise of the Spirit is made." Here humility and devotion are mentioned as the condition of that obedience which is indispensably required in order to salvation. By that obedience which is required in order to salvation must be meant, either, 1. That sort of virtue and obedience that is requisite, or, 2. Perseverance in it. If he means that sort of virtue which is requisite in order to salvation; then I would ask, what sort of humility and devotion is that, to which God has promised the grace which is necessary to their obtaining that virtue which is the condition of salvation ? Must it not be real, sincere humility and devotion? Surely if God has promised so great a gift to any humility and devotion, it must be to that which is sincere and upright. Because that which is not sincere, is nothing; it is hypocritical; a mere show of that which is really wanting. And it would be very unreasonable to suppose that God promises such infinite rewards to hypocrisy, which he has often declared to be abominable to him, and which only provokes him the more. But if it be true, sincere, upright humility and devotion, it is imreasonable to suppose that God makes this the condition of that grace which is necessary to his obtaining that kind of virtue which is requisite to salvation. Because he, who has this humility and devotion, has that kind of virtue already. The scripture every where speaks of uprightness and sincerity of heart, as that virtue that is saving. He that sincerely asks for grace to obey, has that sincerity and uprightness of heart that is exercised in sincere obe