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a good disposition, or inclination. We then ask, what is meant by a good disposition or inclination? Is it a good thought, a holy feeling, a right volition, or such a relative state of the mental faculties as is essential to the holy exercise of them all? If the last is intended, then we agree, that such a disposition of the mental faculties by the Holy Ghost, coupled with those faculties, will constitute power to perform holy moral actions. The Doctor continues his remarks. “Now except a writer explain what kind of power he designs, there can be no close reasoning on the subject.” No sentiment is more correct. “I know of no Calvinist who denies that fallen man has power, in the sense of physical strength, to will or to act according to his pleasure, or of opportunity of acting well if so disposed, -or of a sufficient inducement to act aright.” Here the writer misuses the words power and strength for the native faculty of willing; or else he should have written, “I know of no Calvinist who de. nics that fallen man has natural power to exercise natural volitions, and act according to his pleasure, so far as his Maker has rendered the exertion of physical strength dependent on his will.” Opportunity of acting well if so disposed, all men have, without contradiction; and if sufficient inducement be used according to Cogan's distinction of it from motive, in his Ethical Questions, we acquiesce in the assertion, that all men have sufficient inducement to act aright. Any consideration proposed to a sinner which ought to move him to obedience, may he called a sufficient inducement; whether he has any right apprehension of it or not. “By MOTIVE,” says Dr. W.“ I understand, that which actually moves and determines the free will of an agent.” Def. of Modern Calvinism, p. 250.
“Many are the cases in which the natural distinction between inducement and motive, becomes obvious to every man. We know that inducements may dispose the mind to act in a particular manner, without its complying; and we know that motive is always applied to that which has finally determined the mind to act in a particular manner. We cavnot speak of motives acting in an opposite direction; the one impelling the mind to act, and the other restraining it. But we may, with
propriety, speak of opposite inducements; of which the stronger will suppress the weaker, and determine the will. These of consequence become the motives, and leave the others in the class of inducements. They become the motives, by their becoming the strongest inducements.—The very etymology of the word corroborates our statement. It is termed a motive, because it is the causa movens; that which actually moves to the performance.” Cogan's Eth. Quest. p. 140.
That an unrenewed man has no holy motives to obedience is evident from the fact, that while unrenewed he never is moved to perform one spiritually good action. Dr. Williams proceeds to say, “ The point, therefore, is simply this, Whether man in his native degeneracy, irrespective of gracious renewing influence from the Holy Spirit, has that kind of power which consists in a good. disposition or inclination?” That he has not, all the opponents of Bishop Tomline contend, whether they explain what they mean by disposition and inclination or not. Certainly, his understanding is not so disposed in relation to the Spirit of truth as to receive the rays of divine instruction and spiritually discern the things of God; nor is his heart, or the faculty of feeling, so disposed in relation to a divinely illuminated understanding, that it is natural for him to have holy feelings; nor is his will so disposed in relation to either a rectified understanding, or heart, that he can choose any spiritually good thing, from a holy motive.
“ If Saint Paul testified that he was not ‘of himself' sufficient to think a good thought, with what propriety can it be asserted that an unconverted man, who of his own nature inclineth to evil,' is of himself capable' of understanding savingly, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God?' Our Lord tells Peter that such knowledge was revealed to him by his heavenly Father. And Saint John affirms, that no man can say, that is, to saving purpose, that Jesus is the Christ, but by the Holy Ghost.' The apostle could not mean that no man, without the Holy Ghost, could say this in a cursory manner, or maintain it as a doctrinal truth, because the contrary is a plain fact. He must therefore intend to inculcate that a just knowledge and cordial approbation of Jesus as the Christ, is from the Holy Spirit.”
In Vol. I. pages 6, and 342, Dr. Scott adopts the distinction made by the father of the present distinguished Robert Hall, in his · Help to Zion's Travellers,' and by Drs. Smalley and Fuller, between a natural and moral inability to make voluntary efforts towards piety and virtue. “It may, however, be added,” says he, on the 7th page, “that few modern Calvinists hold this total inability, except in respect of things spiritually good; ' things accompanying salvation;' good in the sight of God:”” and in the page following that, he correctly asserts, “ Calvinists, in general, deem no man incapable of making voluntary and successful efforts; except in those things which must be done, (if done at all,) from holy motives, from the fear and love of God, with a hope grounded on the holy scriptures, of his gracious acceptance, and with a desire to glorify his name.” He might have said, that no Calvinist ever thought of denying that fallen man, without the renovating influence of the Spirit, has natural power to perform all natural actions to which his limited nature is competent. Indeed he has natural power to think, feel, choose, and do the greater part of actions which he ever wills to do. But the requisite ability to think right thoughts, have right feelings, apprehend right motives, will holy actions, and perform them, no man has, so long as he is destitute of supernatural teaching
In Vol. I. page 25th and elsewhere, Dr. Scott evinces that his notion of moral power, or ability, is like that entertained by Dr. Williams; for he says, “It is undoubtedly our duty to comply with every command, exhortation and counsel of scripture: but whether we have by nature, any moral ability, or disposition to do this, is precisely the question to be decided.” Moral ability we should think must mean ability to perform moral actions: it must be an ability to think, feel, choose and act for the glory of God, and from the love of obedience. Now every thing essential to the actual production of such an action as is a holy conformity to the law of God, is implied in the notion of moral ability to perform that action. The existence of the requisite faculty or faculties of mind, and the actual influence of the Holy Spirit over those faculties, so as to secure a right operation, are included: and if disposition is the word to
denote both, why then moral ability and disposition may be indiscriminately used, the one for the other. We should prefer the use of the word disposition which has been already exhibited; and then we would say, that moral ability, to love God, for instance, includes the existence of all the natural faculties of the mind, essential to the operation of loving God, together with a right disposition of them, by the Spirit, for the production of the contemplated effect. The faculty of apprehending, or conceiving of, something lovely, and the faculty of feel. ing (for love is a feeling, of the class called affections) must exist; and these must be so disposed by the government of God, that something lovely in himself shall be apprehended, and that the feeling of love for it shall follow, or else there exists no moral ability of loving God. The faculty itself is not a moral Power of loving, unless one can love without knowing what he loves, or why he loves it; and without the objects seeming to him to be lovely. If any choose to denominate the faculties of feeling, conscience, and volition, moral faculties, we have no ob. jection, but neither of them is a moral power, unless we can feel without previous thoughts, exercise conscience without any knowledge of any obligation, and will without any motive for volition. If any faculty might of itself be called a power, with strict propriety, it would be that of consciousness; but since our own mental operations are the only thing of which we can be conscious, we assert that the operation of some other mental faculty is essential to the power, not to the existence of the faculty, of being conscious.
Notwithstanding Mr. Williams's judicious remark about the use of the word Power, we find him using it in very different, and often indefinite senses. On the 34th page he confounds it with faculty; but it is no wonder, since Locke, Stuart and even Reid have done the same. Yet we confidently assert, that nothing like the precision and certainty enjoyed in natural philosophy can be experienced in the sciences of mind and of theology, until every important word is used only in one sense, according to the definition of it.
The doctrine of divine influences is the next great sub
ject of controversy between the Bishop of Lincoln and his opponents. The former says, “those who are baptiz: ed are immediately translated from the curse of Adam to the grace of Christ.— They become reconciled to God, partakers of the Holy Ghost, and heirs of eternal happiness; they acquire a new name, a new hope, a new faith, a new rule of life. This great and wonderful change in the condition of man is as it were a new nature, a new state of existence; and the holy rite by which these in. valuable blessings are communicated is by St. Paul figuratively called regeneration or new birth.” “ The word Regeneration therefore is in scripture solely and exclusively applied to the one immediate effect of baptism once administered, and is never used as synonymous to the repentance or reformation of a Christian, or to express any operation of the Holy Ghost upon the human mind subsequent to baptism."
This is the high Church doctrine rampant. In comparison with Dr. Tomline, our American Bishop White is rational. They rely on the same passages of scripture, but the first deduces much more extensively sweeping consequences from them than the latter.
Bishop White does not hesitate to avow the belief, that " of those who are baptized in infancy, no other conversion is ever afterwards required, if as they grow up, they are restrained from a state or life of sin." That children may be, and sometimes are, sanctified from the womb, the Calvinists admit; and if it pleases. God to regenerate infants in the moment of baptism, as he may do, we agree that they never will need regeneration again; for so soon as they are capable of knowing God and Christ, they will rejoice in them and glorify them. Should they backslide, and exceedingly sin, for a time, as regenerated persons may do, they would need conversion, as Peter did, but not regeneration. A man is regenerated but once: he may be converted a thousand times, or as often as he pursues an evil way, and is turned from it.
“In regard to adults,” Bishop White declares “ his never having imagined of any of them, being not fit recipients, that they were converted or regenerated, by un