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ciful hands, sometimes his heavy hands, that we, being learned thereby, may escape the danger that must needs fall on the unjust, who lead their days in felicity and pleasure, without the “knowing of God's will towards them; but sud
denly they go down into hell. Let us be found watchers, found in the peace of the Lord, that at the last day we may be found without spot and blameless. Yea let us endeavour ourselves, 'good Christian people, diligently to keep the ' presence of his Holy Spirit. Let us renounce * all uncleanness; for he is the Spirit of purity. * Let us avoid all hypocrisy; for his Holy Spirit will flee from that which is feigned. Cast we off all malice and all evil will; for this Spirit will 'never enter into an evil-willing soul. Let us
cast away all the whole lump of sin that standeth • about us; for he will never dwell in that body *that is subdued to sin. We cannot be seen *thankful to Almighty God, and work such despite to the Spirit of grace, by whom we be sanctified. If we do our endeavour, we shall 'not need to fear. We shall be able to overcome
all our enemies that fight against us. Only let us apply ourselves to accept that grace that is offered us.'1
This passage from the Homilies proves, that our Reformers do not represent our cares and exertions as fruitless and unnecessary ;' or ' the Spirit of God as acting irresistibly :'2 but the preventing grace of God being not given irrespec
· Third Hom. for Rogation Week : Ref. 72, 73.
See Sections on Irresistible, and Exertion.
tively, constitutes another question ; which other quotations from the Homilies may aid the reader in deciding, as far as our authorized writings are concerned. For of ourselves we be crab-trees, that
can bring forth no apples; we be of ourselves of (such earth as can bring forth but weeds, nettles,
brambles, briars, cockle, and darnel. Our fruits * be declared in the fifth chapter to the Galatians. We have neither faith, charity, hope, patience, chastity, nor any thing that good is, but of God: and therefore these virtues be called there, “ the · fruits of the Holy Ghost," and not the fruits of 'man'-Hitherto we have heard what we are of
ourselves; very sinful, wretched, and damnable. Again, we have heard how that, of ourselves, "and by ourselves, we are not able either to think ' a good thought, or work a good deed : so that we can find in ourselves no hope of salvation, but rather whatsoever maketh unto our de“struction.' _ For it is the Holy Ghost, and no
other thing, that doth quicken the minds of 'men, stirring up good and godly motions in * their hearts, which are agreeable to the will and "commandment of God; such as otherwise, of their own crooked and perverse nature, they
should never have. “That which is born of the “flesh,” saith Christ, “ is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” As who should say, Man of his own nature is fleshly and carnal, cor‘rupt and naught, sinful and disobedient to God,
without any spark of goodness in him, without 'any virtuous or godly motion, and only given to
'Second Homily on the Misery of Man.
( wicked thoughts and evil deeds.'? What is there here that God could have respect to, in communicating to man his preventing grace? No doubt ministers are bound to exhort, and all are bound in duty to obey : but this does not prove that man is disposed to comply with the exhortation, or to do his duty, or even to welcome the holy motions of the sanctifying Spirit, except as God by grace puts into his heart such good desires,' as of himself he never should have.
Our opponents will never gain near so much ground against Calvinism, by quoting from the Homilies, as by quoting from the fathers. · Of this they seem fully aware, and therefore are very cautious and select in quoting from the former, and very copious and indiscriminate in appealing to the latter. But we, who are ministers in the establishment, so far allow the authority of the Homilies, while we all protest against that of the fathers, in every respect. “To the law and to the “ testimony."
The compilers of the Homilies were decided on this point, and there needs no further proof of it, than their language being inadvertently taken for that of modern Calvinistic writers.'? Yet they considered this as perfectly consistent with exhortations, admonitions, and calls to repentance ; in
First Homily for Whitsunday. ?• We can by no means allow the inferences attempted to be drawn from them by modern Calvinistic writers, namely, that which a majority of modern Calvinists are entirely agreed with them.!
of our own nature we are without any spark of goodness in us.' Refutation, p. 54.-The words in Italics are those of our Homily! See preceding quotation.
In one place his Lordship unites the word irrespectively with partial, 2 but it is in connexion with redemption, not with preventing grace. It' may however not be improper, before we close this section, to take some notice of this compound expression, irrespectively partial. The word partial means Inclined to favour without 'reason :'3 and partially, 'with unjust favour or
dislike.'4 In this meaning of the terms, we utterly diclaim them, in respect of the dealings of the only wise and righteous God with his creatures : and, if irrespectively imply partiality, we must disclaim that also. We do not mean that God has no reason, in making one of our fallen race “ to differ from another," by working in him the willing mind (10? Dénetv,) but that we do not know his reasons ; for he hath not revealed them. We know however that the reason of his conduct was not taken from any thing truly good in fallen man; and therefore, though his conduct is not partial, yet it is irrespective of man's deservings, or natural good dispositions.—The conclusion of our Lord's parable of the labourers in the vineyard explains and illustrates our meaning. « They" (these first hired) “murmured against the house“holder, saying, These last have wrought but one “ hour, and thou hast made them equal to us, “ who have borne the burden and heat of the day. “ But he answered one of them and said, Friend,
See Serm. on Election, &c. by the author. Ref. 586. • Locke, Johnson.
“I do thee no wrong (injustice, our cdixiü de,) didst “ not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that “ thine is, and go thy way; I will give to this last “ even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do “ what I will with my own ? Is thine eye evil “because I am good?"! Now, if men will call this partiality, though it pervades all the providential dispensations of God, and the distribution of the means of grace, as well as the communication of grace itself ; and, though it also entirely coincides with what they claim a right to do in their own concerns; the decision must be left to the judgment of the last day. If we do no injustice to any, we all suppose, that we have a right to confer unmerited favours on whom we please. We indeed seldom exercise this right wisely and benevolently; and we are accountable to God for the whole : but shall we presume to object to this same right, in the infinitely wise, just; holy, and merciful God ? Shall we venture to call it partiality ? Or will any man say, that the blessings of salvation are not wholly unmerited ?-Let Calvin for once be heard. 'I speak not of the absolute • will of God, as the sophisters babble, separating
by wicked and profane disagreement, his justice ' from his power: but I mean the providence which governs all things, from which proceedeth nothing but right, though the causes be hidden from .us.'2_In these objections men forget, or lead others to forget, that the right of “ doing what he “ will with his own" cannot be exercised by God otherwise than in perfect wisdom, justice, truth and goodness.
Matt. xx. 1-16. · Calvin's Inst. Book I. chap. xvii. sect 2.