« السابقةمتابعة »
"of the Spirit of God," he contrasts his condition with that of the spiritual man, and presses the advantages of the latter, without aggravating the infirmities of the former. :
The description of the Gentiles, who "walked according to the course of this "world," may be applied to the description of every state of heathenism; and when it is added that the Jews were “by nature "children of wrath even as others"," their liability to judgment, but not the extent of their corruption, is asserted. Here again the descriptions are not general, but appropriated to men under particular circumstances and conditions, in which we are taught to believe that there have been many happy and honourable exceptions".
From these perverted texts, let us turn and examine the language of Him who "knew all men, and needed not that any "should testify of man, for he knew what " was in man*.” Did not he then speak of an honest and good heart'?" Did he
1 Cor. ii. 14. " Ephes. ii. 2, 3. VAMatt. viii. 11, xii. 41, 42, * John ii. 24, 25. y Luke viii, 15.
not anticipate the reward of the "good " and faithful servant"?". Did he not actually commend the faith of the good centurion, and of the woman of Canaan, and speak of many who should "come from "the east and from the west, and sit down "with Jacob and Isaac in the kingdom of "God"? What was his reputed father but a righteous man? Who were they that blessed him in the temple, and rejoiced in his birth, but Simeon who "was just and "devout," and Anna who "served God "with fastings night and day?" Among his disciples were Nathanael, the "Israelite "indeed, in whom there was no guiled;" and Cornelius, the centurion, "a devout man, that feared God with all his house, "and gave much alms to the people al
ways, and whose prayers and whose alms "went up for a memorial before God." Among the worthies of the Old Testament were Job, a man "perfect and upright, "and one that feared God and eschew
z Matt. xxv. 21. a Luke vii. 9. Matt. xv. 28. viii. 11. Mark vii. 29. b Matt. i. 19. c Luke ii. 25. 37. d John i. 47. e Acts x. 2. 4.
"ed evil';" Enoch, "who walked with "God, and pleased him";" Abel, "who obtained testimony that he was right"eous;" and Hezekiah, who "did what
was right in the sight of the Lord, and "clave to the Lord, and departed not from "following him, but kept his command"ments which the Lord commanded."
It would be pleasing to dwell on the history of many, whose names have been written in the book of life, and whose known characters and circumstances were such as at least to inspire a cautious hesitation before we can with "the Calvinists "think it more scriptural and more ra“tional to ascribe the different degrees of “fruitfulness attending the preached Gos"pel to divine gracious agency, than to "virtuous qualities possessed by the hu"man race in different degrees indepen"dently of that agency." They certainly cannot be reconciled with the doctrine of such an "entire ruin of the whole human "race" in Adam, as means "infinite guilt,
f Job i. 1. g Gen. v. 24. Heb. xi. 5. h Heb. xi. 4. 2 Kings xviii. 3. 6.
k Williams, p. 13. 286.
"consummate depravity, everlasting damnation, and unqualified helplessness," in
every human being, existent between "Adam's fall and Christ's coming to judg"ment1."
II. Although "no defection or infection " of our nature deprives man either of his physical powers or of his uncontrolled "freedom to act according to the dictates "of his own mind, and the obligation "to act aright therefore continues unim
paired m;" yet is a "negative principle " of defectibility"" imputed to the human will, and its freedom is pronounced to be no more than a "negation of all foreign"interference in its exercise." It should however be noticed, that "modern Calvin"ists do not cashier from their system the "exercise of reason and free will; they con"sider reason as the faculty which compares
ideas, and the will as free in all its elections; they maintain that these faculties were first
"Man, neither constrained nor restrained by God's im"mediate agency, chooses to transgress and give place to "the devil." Vaughan's Letter, 2d ed. p. 81.
given and are still continued to man in "order to be exercised; that, when exer
"cised aright, they answer the important "end of promoting the impression which "the truths of the Gospel make upon the "minds of men, and that in this respect "the impression depends upon the manner "in which they attend to them"." They are also far from discarding "the use of "divinely instituted means, especially at"tention to preaching, and a believing
regard to the testimony of God in his "words." At the same time they dare not to concede "that a good impression "of divine truth on the human mind de"pends exclusively on the exercise of rea"son and free will;" and "in those in"stances wherein the heart is made sus"ceptible of good impressions, through "the intervention of truth and free will," they " acknowledge the operation of discriminating graces."
Whatever may be the accuracy of this
P Williams, p. 24. 9 Ibid. p. 27. Scott, vol. i. p. 34. vol. ii. p. 32. r Williams, p. 25. s Ibid. p. 27. Scott, vol. i. p. 86.