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gross sensual gratification would form no small obstacle to the attainment even of heathen virtue, from selfish motives : but from pure motives “ to “ crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts ;" to conquer nature and second nature at once ; Hoc opus, hic labor est. “Naturam expellas furca, * tamen usque recurret.' Thrust out nature with a 'pitchfork, yet she will return upon you.' Horace knew this, and it is strange that Christian divines should not know it. “ With man it is impossible, “ but with God all things are possible.” Even when a man is desirous of doing it, and earnestly attempts it ; he finds it so far from easy, that, if done at all, it is like “ cutting off a limb," or “plucking out an eye :” nor can he effect it at all except as God, who has “ worked in him to will,” (rò GÉNELY,) “works in him also to perform” (1) Evegyžlv:) “ That which I do I allow not ; for what I would “ that I do not : but what I hate that I do.” “To “ will (7) Génervo) is present with me ; but how to « perform that which is good I find not.” “I find “ then a law, that when I would do good” (Tớ bémovie Šuoi TIOLETY TÒ vanòs)“ evil is present with me. For I “ delight in the law of God after the inward man, “ but I see another law in my members, warring “ against the law of my mind, and bringing me “ into captivity to the law of sin which is in my “ members. O wretched man that I am, who « shall deliver me from the body of this death : “ I thank God through Jesus Christ.”] Whoever speaks in this . passage, it is undeniable that he greatly desired and longed to obey the law of
Rom. vii. 15–25.
God, in which he inwardly delighted ; that he willed and purposed to do it; and no doubt his exertions were vigorous and persevering ; yet he found such difficulties from within, as of himself he was wholly unable to surmount. Along with his doleful lamentation, therefore, he earnestly inquires after a DELIVERER : and he thanks God for Jesus Christ as that Deliverer. “Without “ Christ he could do nothing ;” but “ he could do “ all things, through Christ strengthening him."
—“ He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for “ thee: for my strength is made perfect in weak“ ness. Most gladly therefore will I glory in my “ infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest “ upon me. Therefore I take pleasure (tudoxW) in “ infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in per“ secutions, in distresses for Christ's sake ; for “ when I am weak then am I strong."1 Is not this language of the apostle the very antipodes to the quotation from Origen: It might have been expected that a champion for Christianity, answering the objections of a shrewd and learned pagan, concerning the difficulty of a perfect change in
nature, (which justly implied that nature required to be changed;) would have brought forward some of those scriptures which relate to this essential part of our holy religion. “A new heart " will I give you : and a new spirit will I put within “ you.” “ Create in me a clean heart O God, and “ renew a right spirit within me.” “ If any man “ be in Christ, he is a new creation.” “We are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto
“ good works.” “ With man it is impossible, but “ with God all things are possible.” But not a hint of this kind : no want of such a change is at all admitted : no great difficulty in becoming what he ought to be, even to the man in whom wickedness is naturalized ! Beyond doubt the heathen has the best part in the argument : for experience and observation shew that such a change is needful, even to moral virtue ; and that it is very rare and very difficult. But without it there can be no holiness ; nor is it ever effected except by the grace of God. In fact, where original sin is denied, or explained away, or lost sight of, regeneration, and a new creation to holiness, by the power of the Holy Spirit, will follow its fate in nearly exact proportion. The closing sentence is an instance of that irreverence, which chooses rather to charge God with injustice, than to allow the possibility that the writer may be mistaken.'
No stronger language can be found, concerning the total loss of original righteousness, in the writings of any modern Calvinists, than that which has already been produced from our Homilies ; the substance of which is this : "Man of his own na'ture is fleshly and carnal, corrupt and naught, sin• ful and disobedient to God, without one spark of
goodness in him, without any virtuous or godly motion, only given to evil thoughts, and wicked deeds.'2 'He (Adam) was become,' by the fall, the bond slave of hell, having in himself no one
Ps.li. 10. Ez. xi. 19. xxxvi. 26, 27. 2 Cor. v. 17. . Eph. ii. 10. 'Ist. Part Homily for Whitsunday.
part of his former purity and cleanness; but being ' altogether spotted and defiled, insomuch that he
seemed to be nothing else but a lump of sin.' * The whole brood of Adam's flesh should sustain
the same fall and punishment,'— that is to say, . became mortal, and subject unto death, having nothing in themselves but everlasting damnation of body and soul.' . By such passages from the Homilies the language of the Article must be understood; for the same company of persons composed both the Articles and Homilies ; and the Articles sanction the Homilies. 2 .
Homily on the Nativity. “A lump of sin ; without one spark of goodness ;' is at least as explicit and strong, as, ' an unmixed 'mass of corruption and depravity:' neither is corrigible, except by grace. Ref. 3.
Art. xi. XXXV.
ON MAN'S RECOVERY.
On Free Will.
Our inquiry concerning the recovery of man from his ruined state must begin with the investigation of the abstruse, or, at least, much perplexed and misunderstood subject of FREE WILL. Not that I purpose to attempt any laboured disquisition on the subject ; but merely to state it in such a way, as may shew what Calvinists do maintain, and what they do not; which being clearly done, most of the objections of their opponents will fall to the ground of themselves.
I will not say, that no Calvinists have ever been so absurd as to deny free will, as meaning free agency, and implying responsibility : for what absurdity has not been maintained by some persons, in large bodies of men, all classed under one general name? But Calvin himself never intended to deny man's free agency. We reckon among the
natural powers of man, to approve, to reject, to * will, not to will, to endeavour, to resist; that is, to allow vanity, and refuse perfect goodness,