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as others, as a free and accountable agent. He has free will, as far as acting, in respect of things within his power, voluntarily, according to the choice of his heart. And let those, who charge Calvinists with denying this, produce, if they be able, from the writings of any approved Calvinist, a denial of them; or what virtually, and by fair consequence, amounts to a denial of it. Till this be done, let them cease from rendering their fellow-Christians odious by ungrounded accusations. But man, as a fallen creature, is a slave to sin: and
the choice of his heart' cannot be holy, except he be set at liberty by divine grace. When thus set at liberty, he voluntarily and freely chooses what is holy and good in the sight of God;' yet he is not perfectly free from the corrupt bias : 'the in
fection of nature doth rernain, yea, in them that are regenerated.' He therefore needs to be more and more set at liberty while here, and continually prays with David, “ Oh that my ways were di“ rected to keep thy statutes! I will run the way “ of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge “ my heart.” “ Let thine hand help me, for I have “ chosen thy precepts.”] Yet he is not a willing slave as he was before: he has “ the Spirit of “ Christ,” and “where the Spirit of God is there “is liberty.” But perfection is to be waited for, even “ the glorious liberty of the children of God," till he arrive at the bright world above. . This is the author's view of free will, in which most Calvinists, he believes, coincide, and many who do not think themselves Calvinists.
Ps. cxix. 5, 32, 173. Rom. vii. 18—25.
If then fallen man, though free to choose, cannot, if left to himself, do otherwise than choose the evil, which his heart loves, and refuse the good, against which his heart revolts; (cor repugnat ;) and if his recovery, if he be ever recovered, from this deplorable state (the more deplorable because he is not at all aware of it,) must be entirely the work of divine grace; shall we thence conclude that compulsion is employed ? Shall we say that we are impelled involuntarily, by an irresistible force, and are so acted upon as not to act spontaneously, and of our own free choice? This, or something to this effect, has long and often, under various modifications of expression and shows of argument, been laid to the charge of Calvinists and all suspected of Calvinism.
I will not say that no Calvinists have used language, and even maintained opinions, liable in some measure to this objection : but I trust I shall show the candid reader, that it is in no degree requisite to our system, or even held by any of those who are considered as the most able champions of that system. Certainly Calvin himself does not hold it. But what doeth God in good men, con• cerning whom is the principal question ? When
he sets up his own kingdom in them, he, by his ‘own Spirit restraineth the will, that it may not 'be hurried (raptetur) up and down by vague · lusts, according to the inclination of nature ; and,
that it may incline (propendeat) to holiness and justice, he bends, composes, forms, and directs it 'to the rule of his own righteousness; he esta
blishes and confirms it by the energy of his own Spirit, lest it should stumble and fall down. On which account Augustine says, Thou wilt say to 'me, therefore we are acted upon, we do not act :
Yea thou actest and art acted on; and then thou actest well, if thou art acted upon by good'-or, by a good one, a bono. “The spirit of God, who
acts on (agit) thee, is a helper to those who act; • he prescribes the name of a helper, because thou
also doest something. In the former sentence 'he declareth that the action of man is not taken
away by the motion of the Holy Spirit, because ' will is from nature, which is ruled that it may aspire unto good. That which he presently addeth, as what may be collected from the title of helper, that we also do something, it is not consistent so to take it, as if he would ascribe any thing separately (seorsum) to us; but, lest · he should cherish in us idleness, he thus conci* liates the action of God with our's, that to will "may be from nature, to will well from grace.'l.
• The terms of scripture represent-the Spirit of God as an assisting, not forcing power; as not
suspending our own powers, but enabling them ; 'as imparting strength and faculty for our reli'gious work, if we will use them; but whether 'we will use them or not still depending upon ourselves.'2
Calv. Inst. Book II.c. v. sect. 14.
Paley in Ref. 32, 33. The Spirit of God neither forces us, nor suspends our powers. We are, however, fully persuaded that something more is intended, when “ God worketh in us both to will and to do," than what is stated in this quotation ; but nothing inconsistent with our acting voluntarily.
To walk after the flesh, is to follow whereyer "the impulses of sensuality and selfishness lead us, ' which is a voluntary act. To walk after the Spi' rit, is steadily and resolutely to obey good mo* tions within us, whatever they cost us; which also is a voluntary act.'
This second part of the quotation is a fair statement of the subject to which it belongs. “Selfish' ness' includes pride, ambition, envy, malice, and all incontinence and intemperance, equally with dishonesty and avarice: and to follow its impulses is a voluntary act, and therefore justly deserving of condemnation. “ To walk after the Spirit," includes repentance and faith, as well as all subsequent holy obedience; and these are voluntary acts. Indeed an act or an effort must be voluntary ; else a man only seems to act, as those unhappy men do, whose limbs are involuntarily moved in certain diseases. The apostle, writing to the Corinthians, says, “Thanks be to God, who “ put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus “ for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; “ but being more forward, of his own accord he “ went unto you” (cu Jaspetos).2 God having " put “ this care into the heart of Titus," did not prevent
· Paley in Ref. 32, 33.
? 2 Cor. viii. 16, 17,
his acting “ of his own accord;” not only voluntarily, but promptly and zealously; yea, it excited him to do it.
* It is acknowledged, that man has not the dis'position, and consequently not the ability, to do 'what in the sight of God is good, till he is influ
enced by the Spirit of God: but this influence of the Spirit is not irresistible, it does not solely of itself produce good works. It does not necessarily cause men to perform good works. A man 'may resist the influence of the Holy Spirit, and "“ do despite to the Spirit of grace,” by turning to
sin and wickedness in opposition to its dictates. * And, if we do listen to its dictates, it must be an ac
tive obedience, and not an indolent acquiescence.' '-indeed irresistible power, actually exerted over
the minds of men, in the work of salvation, is re* pugnant to the acknowledged principles of the
· The twofold concession in the beginning of this quotation, that' the want of disposition is the want * of ability ;' and that man has not this disposition "to do what is good in the sight of God, till he is
influenced by the Spirit of God,' comprises all that sober Calvinists desire, provided it were but adhered to, steadily and consistently. We do indeed maintain, that omnipotent power, to which all the resistance of depraved nature proves eventually ineffectual, is exerted on the minds of men, in the work of salvation : else what is meant by“ a “ new creation," and "a resurrection” from the