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and formation of the people that were at that time. It is apparent the case was thus. It cannot be otherwise. It is evident that the new creation, regeneration, calling, and justification, are personal things, because they are by personal influences; influences of God's Spirit on particular persons, and personal qualifications.
Their regeneration was a personal thing, and therefore, it is not called simply an entering into the new creation, or obtaining a part in the new world or new Jerusalem, &c., but a putting off the old man, and putting on the new man. They are first raised from the dead, and by that means come to belong to the church of Christ. They are first lively or living stones, and by that means come to belong to the spiritual house, and the holy temple; by being lively stones, they come to be parts of the living temple, and capable of it. So that their being alive, is prior to their belonging to the Christian church. The Christian calling, is represented as being the ground of their belonging to the church. They are called into the church, called into the fellowship of Jesus Christ. Their spiritual baptism or washing, is prior to their being in the church. They are by one spirit baptized into one body. They put on Christ, and so become interested in Christ, and sharers with those that had a part in him. By such a personal work of the Spirit of God, they were first made meet to be partakers with the saints in light, before they were partakers.
34. It will follow from Taylor's scheme, that Simon the sorcerer had an interest in all the antecedent blessings. Yet the apostle tells him he was at that time in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity. If he was really justified, washed, cleansed, sanctified; how was he at that time in the bond of iniquity? Justification, forgiveness, &c., is a release from the bond of iniquity. If the heart be purified by faith, it does not remain in the gall of bitterness.
$ 35. Saving grace differs from common grace, in nature and kind. To suppose only a gradual difference, would not only be to suppose, that some in a state of damnation are, within an infinitely little as good as some in a state of salvation, (which greatly disagrees with the Arminian notion of men's being saved by their own virtue and goodness, but this, taken with the Arminian notion of men's falling from grace, will naturally lead us to determine, that many that are once in a state of salvation, may be in such a state, and out of it, scores of times in a very short space. For though a person is in a state of salvation, he may be but just in it, and may be infinitely near the limits between a state of salvation and damnation; and as the habits of grace are, according to that scheme, only contracted and raised by consideration and exercise, and the exertion of the strength of the mind, and are lost when a man falls from grace by the intermission or
cessation of these, and by contrary acts and exercises ; and as the habits and principles of virtue are raised and sunk, brought into being and abolished by those things, and both the degree of them and the being of them wholly depend on them; the consequence will naturally be, that when a man is first raised to that degree of a virtuous disposition, as to be in a state of salvation, and the degree of virtue is almost infinitely near the dividing line, it will naturally be liable to be a little raised or sunk every hour, according as the thoughts and exercises of the mind are; as the mercury in the thermometer or barometer is never perfectly at rest, but is always rising or subsiding, according to the weight of the atmosphere, or the degree of heat.
36. The dispute about grace's being resistible or irresistible, is perfect nonsense. For the effect of grace is upon the will; so that it is nonsense, except it be proper to say, that a man with his will can resist his own will, or except it be possible for him to desire to resist his own will; that is, except it be possible for a man to will a thing and not will it at the same time, and so far as he does will it. Or if you speak of enlightening grace, and say this grace is upon the understanding; it is nothing but the same nonsense in other words. For then the sense runs thus, that a man, after he has seen so plainly that a thing is best for him that he wills it, yet he can at the same time nill it. If
you say he can will any thing he pleases, this is most certainly true ; for who can deny, that a man can will any thing he doth already will ? That a man can will. any thing that he pleases, is just as certain as what is, is. Wherefore it is nonsense to say, that after a man has seen so plainly a thing to be so much best for him that he wills it, he could have not willed it if he had pleased ; that is to say, if he had not willed it, he could have not willed it. It is certain, that a man never doth any thing but what he can do. But to say, after a man has willed a thing, that he could not have willed it if he had pleased, is to suppose two wills in a man ; the one to will which goes first ; the other to please or choose to will. And so with the same reason we may say, there is another will to please ; to please to will; and so on to a thousand. Wherefore, to say that the man could have willed otherwise if he had pleased, is just all one as to say, that if he had willed otherwise, then we might be sure he could will otherwise.
37. Those that deny infusion of grace by the Holy Spirit, must, of necessity, deny the Spirit to do any thing at all
. By the Spirit's infusing, let be meant what it will, those who say there is no infusion contradict themselves. For they say the Spirit doth something in the soul; that is, he causeth some motion, or affection, or apprehension to arise in the soul, that, at the same time, would not be there without him. Now, God's Spirit doeth what he doeth ; he doth as much as he doth; or he causeth in the soul as much as he causeth, let that be how little soever. So
much as is purely the effect of his immediate motion, that is the effect of his immediate motion, let that be what it will ; and so much is infused, how little soever that be. This is self-evident. For suppose the Spirit of God only to assist the natural powers, then there is something done betwixt them.
Men's own powers do something, and God's Spirit doth something ; only they work together. Now, that part that the Spirit doth, how little soever it be, is infused. So that they that deny infused habits, own that part of the habit is infused. For they say, the Holy Spirit assists the man in acquiring the habit ; so that it is acquired rather sooner than it would be otherwise. So that part of the habit is owing to the Spirit; some of the strength of the habit was infused, and another part is owing to the natural powers of the man. Or if you say not so, but that it is all owing to the natural power assisted ; how do you mean assisted ? To act more lively and vigorously than otherwise ? Then that liveliness and vigorousness must be infused; which is a habit, and therefore an infused habit. It is grace, and therefore infused grace. Grace consists very much in a principle that causes vigorousness and activity in action. This is infusion, even in the sense of the opposite party. So that, if any operation of the Holy Spirit at all is allowed, the dispute is only, How much is infused? The one says, a great deal; the other says, but little.
$ 38. 1st. The main thing meant by the word efficacious, is this, it being decisive. This seems to be the main question. 2d. Its being immediate and arbitrary in that sense, as not to be limited to the laws of nature. 3d. That the principles of grace are supernatural in that sense, that they are entirely different from all that is in the heart before conversion. Ath. That they are infused, and not contracted by custom and exercise. 5th. That the change is instantaneous, and not gradual. These foar last heads may be subdivisions of a second general head : So that the divisions may be thus: 1st. The main thing meant is, that it is
: decisive: 2d. That it is immediate and supernatural. The four last of the heads mentioned above, may be subdivisions of this last.
So that there are two things relating to the doctrine of efficacious grace, wherein lies the main difference between the Calvinists and Arminians as to this doctrine. First, That the grace of God is determining and decisive as to the conversion of a sinner, or a man's becoming a good man, and having those virtuous qualifications that entitle to an interest in Christ and his salvation. Secondly, That the power, and grace, and operation of the Holy Spirit, in, or towards, the conversion of a sinner is immediate : That the habit of true virtue or holiness is immediately implanted or infused; that the operation goes so far, that a man has habitual holiness given him instantly, wholly by the operation of the Spirit of God, and not gradually by assistance concurring
with our endeavours, so as gradually to advance virtue into a prevailing habit. And besides these, Thirdly, It is held by many, of late, that there is no immediate interposition of God; but that all is done by general laws.
The former is that which is of greatest importance or consequence in the controversy with Arminians, (though the others are also very important,) and this, only, is what I shall consider in this place; perhaps the others may be considered, God willing, in some other discourse.
$39. Concerning what the Arminians say, that these are speculative points; all devotion greatly depends on a sense and acknowledgment of our dependence on God. But this is one of the very chief things belonging to our dependence on God: How much stress do the scriptures lay on our dependence on God! All assistance of the Spirit of God whatsoever, that is by any present influence or effect of the Spirit ; any thing at all that a person that is converted from sin to God is the subject of, through any immediate influence of the Spirit of God upon him, or any thing done by the Spirit, since the completing and confirming the canon of the scriptures, must be done by a physical operation, either on the soul or body,
The Holy Spirit of God does something to promote virtue in men's hearts, and to make them good, beyond what the angels can do. But the angels can present motives; can excite ideas of the words of promises and threatenings, &c.; and can persuade in this way by moral means; as is evident, because the devils in this way promote vice.
$ 40. There is no objection made to God's producing any effects, or causing any events, by any immediate interposition, producing effects arbitrarily, or by the immediate efforts of his will, but what lies equally against his ordering it so, that any effects should be produced by the immediate interposition of men's will, to produce effects otherwise than the established laws of nature would have produced without men's arbitrary interposition.
I beg the reader's attention to the following quotations“ That otherwise, the world cannot be the object of inquiry and science, and far less of imitation by arts: Since imitation necessarily presupposes a certain, determinate object, or fixed, ascertainable relations and connexions of things; and that, upon the contrary supposition, the world must be absolutely unintelligible. Nature, in order to be understood by us, must always speak the same language to us. It must therefore steadfastly observe the same general laws in its operations, or work, uniformly, and according to stated, invariable methods and rules. Those terms, order, beauty, general good, &c., plainly include, in their meaning, analogy ; and constancy, uniformity amidst variety; or, in other words, the regular observance of general, settled laws, in the make and economy, production, and operations or effects, of Vol. VII.
any object to which they are ascribed. Wherever order, fised connexions, or general laws and unity of design take place, there is certainty in the nature of such objects, and so knowledge may be acquired. But where these do not obtain, there can be nothing but unconnected, independent parts. All must be disorder and confusion ; and consequently, such a loose, disjointed heap of things, must be an inexplicable chaos. In one word, science, prudence, government, imitation, and art, necessarily suppose the prevalence of general laws throughout all the objects in nature to which they reach. No being can know itsell
, project or pursue any scheme, or lay down any maxims for its conduct, but so far as its own constitution is certain, and the connexion of things relative to it are fixed and constant. For so far only are things ascertainable; and therefore, so far only can rules be drawn from them." Turnbull's Mor. Phil. Part I. Introd.
“The exercise of all moral powers, dispositions, and affections of mind, as necessarily presuppose an established order of nature, or general laws settled by the author of nature with respect to them, as the exercise of our bodily senses about qualities and effects of corporeal beings do with regard to them. We could neither acquire knowledge of any kind, contract habits, or attain to any moral perfection whatsoever, unless the author of our nature had appointed and fixed certain laws relating to our moral powers, and their exercises and acquisitions.” Ibid. p. 13, 14.
. Yet this Turnbull strenuously holds a self-determining power in the will of man. Such like arguments, if they are valid against any interposition at all, will prevail against all interposition of God or man, and against the interposition of God ever to bring the world to an end, or amend it; and prove that all shall be according to general laws. And they might as well argue, that the making of the world too was by general laws. If it be said, that it is of great importance and absolute necessity, that God should at last interpose and rectify the course of natureanswer, this is yielding the point, that, in cases of great importance, it is reasonable to suppose there may be an interposition that may be arbitrary, and not by general laws.
§ 41. It is not necessary that men should be able, by the connexions of things, to know all future events ; nor was this ever in the Creator's designs. If it had been so, he could have enabled them to know the future volitions of men, and those events that depend upon them, which are by far the most important.
$ 42. The nature of virtue being a positive thing, can proceed from nothing but God's immediate influence, and must take its rise from creation or infusion by God. For it must be either from that, or from our own choice and production, either at once or gradually, by diligent culture. But it cannot begin, or take its rise from the latter, viz. our choice, or voluntary diligence. For if there exist nothing at all of the nature of virtue before, it can