תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

from any right thoughts or feelings in any case, unless he wills without any motive; which our own experience tells us a rational being never does. So soon as a man, through the divine illumination of his understanding, has right thoughts, it will correspond with the established laws of mind for him to have some right feelings; for God has as certainly ordained, in his constitution of the mind, that a feeling of love shall follow the apprehension of something lovely in an object, as that we shall in the present life see visible objects only through our eyes. Having once had the feeling of love for any object, we may by the apprehension of its loveliness, or through the remembrance of the pleasant feeling, will to love it again and frequently. The feeling of love, however, will not immediately result from the will to love; but in consequence of the volition, we shall again fix our attention on the object, again apprehend, perceive, conceive of, or remember our past thoughts of, its love. liness, and so the emotion of love will recur. The will to love can produce the effect of loving only through the interposition of those faculties which take cognizance of the character, attributes, or qualities of the object of affection. Our author very justly concludes, therefore, that a corrupt man will never love the things which he hates, until the grace of God enables him to view them differently, changes the state of his mind, and teaches him the truth as it is Jesus: nor will he ever will to love them, until he has seen and consequently felt their loveliness. In thus establishing the laws of mental operation, our Maker does not, (as Mr. F. insinuates that the Calvinists believe he does,) "re. duce us to a state of mere machines, and compel us by an act of irresistible violence to enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

“But we assuredly have it in our own direct power to obey a commandment, which either enjoins us to ask assistance from God, or which forbids us to commit murder.” An unrenewed man certainly may, from the thoughts and feelings of an unrenewed mań, will not to stain his hands with his brother's blood; and he may very sincerely will to ask of God for any such thing as his corrupt heart loves, or misguided mind approves, or conceives to be desirable for himself. An unrenewed man may pray for health, wealth, honour, power, and freedom from pain and hell: for he conceives these things to be good, and he both desires and loves them as such: but such prayers are not holy; nor do the Scriptures contain any promises that they shall be an. swered. We admit, nevertheless, that they may be em. ployed by God as means of good to those who offer them, not from any merit in them, but from his own grace. Truth will permit us to advance another step, and admit that an unregenerate man may, from some thoughts and feelings which he has, ask of God rege. neration, justification and salvation, even while he neither loves nor desires any thing spiritually good, and while he has no right understanding of the nature of the things which he solicits. He may conceive, that he is in danger of hell, that to escape it is desirable, and that something called regeneration is essential to his salvation from endless torment. From such conceptions, and from desire to avoid misery, he may very sincerely say, “Lord I love not thee, I love not holiness, I love not a holy heaven, but I fear hell; and if I cannot escape it without regeneration, I pray thee to regenerate me: if I am sick, and must die without it, О give me a new heart, whatever it may be; give me the healing medicine, however nauseous it may be to my taste, that I may not be damned.” To such prayers, however, there are no divine promises made, of a favourable answer, and yet God may cause even the slavish fear of himself to prove the beginning of wisdom.

In treating of this controversy Mr. F. principally employs himself in giving, first, a chain of Calvinistic doctrines; secondly, a chain of Arminian doctrines; and then a chain of consequences which he thinks may be deduced from each, with a design to prove from these, that the premises are false.

“I of course mean not to say, that any pious Calvinist would advocate such a farrago of absurd impieties: I am per.

fectly aware, that he would reject it with as much abhorrence as the most zealous Arminian. I would only ask, if his sys. tem in all its rotundity is to be established by a train of abstract reasoning, what right has he to demand, that another person should not push that train to a greater length than he finds it expedient to do. I will readily confess, that I can detect no fallacy in his train of reasoning so far as he carries it: let him try, if he can detect any fallacy in that train of sup: plemental reasoning, which I have deduced from some of his own most prominent conclusions. If therefore I be required to adopt the Calvinistic system, because I am confessedly unable to confute metaphysically the train of abstract reasoning upon which it is built: let the Calvinist, if he be unable to confute metaphysically my supplemental train of reasoning, show cause, why he should not be equally required to adopt all the conclusions to which it has conducted him." p. 383, 384.

This is candour; and if we could detect no fallacy in the train of reasoning which he ascribes to Calvinists, we would adopt all legitimate consequences; for sound metaphysical argumentation, never yet led to conclu. sions contrary to the revelation of divine truth. Let us try the chain he has hung up before us.

“(1.) If any man be dead in trespasses and sin; then his condition after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God: and, if God be an absolute sovereign; he has both the right and the power to quicken those whom he thinks fit, and to leave those whom he thinks fit in a state of spiritual death." p. 368, 369.

To the latter part of this link we object, that God is not such an absolute sovereign that he has either the right or the power to quicken any sinner independently of the covenant of redemption. He might, indeed, had he thought fit, have left all men in a state of spiritual death, without any injustice; but had God resolved to quicken any sinner without having received, by covenant, satisfaction for his sins, he would have resolved to confer a favour upon one who merited nothing but punishment, and to have cleared the guilty. This, with reverence be it said, the justice of God forbids him to do; therefore he has not the right to do it; and God Vol. I.

2 N

No. 2.

cannot dishonour his justice, any more than he can lie, therefore he has not the power to do it. He is a sovereign, that did give to the Mediator by covenant, all those whom he willed to give to him, that he might make atonement for their sins, and that so, without any departure from justice, he might quicken them to a holy life. For willing to give his Son all whom he did give, he had such motives as became God; such as were presented by infinite wisdom, justice, mercy, goodness and truth, or by the united tendency of all his moral attributes.

Of Mr. Faber's second link we approve, if in place of the word force you substitute the word cause or in. fluence; for force implies physical, compulsory power; whereas the cause of a sinner's becoming a new creature is God, acting in a manner suited to the creature's intellectual, moral, voluntary nature. It is power of a certain kind that is exerted in changing a man, but it is not such a physical operation as that which governs insensible matter. The operation of the Deity on any object for the production of a given effect, is suited to the nature which in creation he was pleased to bestow upon that object. All causation is not physical or mechanical: it may be influence instead of force.

(2.) But, if man be unable to turn himself to faith and calling upon God, his turning must depend upon some extrinsic force (cause]; without which he would no more move in the spiritual world, than a dead body would move in the natural world. Now this extrinsic moving force (cause) is God: for it is written You hath ne quickened, who were dead in trespassses and sin, and It is God, which worketh in you both will and to do of his good pleasure." p. 369.

Our author continues the concatenation thus:

“(3.) But, if extrinsic force (cause] be necessary to turn a spiritually dead soul to holiness, and if that extrinsic force [cause] be God: then every person, who is so turned to holiness, must have been so turned by God; and, if any person be not so turned, the reason must be, that the extrinsic force [influence] of God has not been applied to him. For, as no spiritually dead soul can turn without that extrinsic * force [influence]; and as every spiritually dead soul to which

**

it is applied inevitably must (will] turn (because the very

first operation of that force is to incline the will; and to say, that a man REFUSES to turn when he wills to turn, is a self-evident contradiction): all, that do not turn, can never have experienced the application of that extrinsic force [influence]; and all, that do turn, must, from the very circumstance of their turning, have experienced its application.” p. 369, 370.

In the place occupied by four asterisks, we find, in the volume on the table, the word DEAD, which we presume came there by some mistake; we therefore omit it. The doctrine of the parenthesis, that "the first operation,” or rather effect, of the Holy Spirit in regenerating a sinner is to incline the will, is not a tenet of Calvinism, but of Hopkinsianism; which we deny; and think we have proved to be false, for the will of an accountable being is always dependent on the different faculties of the understanding or of feeling for its operations, and we fear no contradietion, by any person who has dili. gently studied the movements of his own mind, when we assert, that no man ever willed any thing without first having some motive for volition. Instead of the verb must we should insert will; for must frequently denotes physical necessity; whereas the mind upon which God exerts his saving influence to rectify its intellectual operatious, inevitably will turn to holiness: but will be as free in turning, and choosing the ways which please God, as it was before in electing the course of folly. We shall continue to copy from our author, and insert our explanations so far as we find it practicable.

(4.) Now, so far as matter of fact is concerned, we find some men turned to holiness, and others not turned to holi. ness. But no man can turn himself (without divine influence]; and every man who is acted upon by the extrinsic force [influence] of God must (will] turn. Therefore every holy man has been acted upon by the extrinsic force [influence of God: and every unholy man has not been so acted upon.

“(5.) But if the extrinsic force [influence of God has acted upon some, while it has not acted upon others: then God must have chosen some as the subjects of his extrinsic operation, while others he has not chosen as the subjects of the same operation.

(6.) His choice however of these some manifestly pre

« הקודםהמשך »