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such things as his heart is fully set upon : and, if his heart were fully' set upon obtaining these spiritual victories, his efforts would be vigorous, self-denying, and pertinacious; though still inadequate and unsuccessful, without constant supplies of strength from the grace of Christ. “ Without

me ye can do nothing.” The meaning of the apostle's words, “To will is present with me, but “ how to perform that which is good, I find not;"! is probably best understood by those who have most earnestly and resolutely made, and still continue to make, the arduous attempt.

We cannot exactly ascertain how far this arises from imperfection in volition, and in what degree from natural weakness: and the endeavour to state it would plunge us in metaphysics beyond our depth. These hints therefore on this abstruse subject shall suffice.

This premised, it will readily be perceived that we deny entirely and absolutely all power in fallen man' to do what is good in the sight of God,' apart from his preventing and adjuvant grace: but this we deny exclusively in respect of moral power or ability, the total want of a willing mind; and his Lordship has conceded all that we contend for. But the difference between natural and moral inability, requires some further explanation or illustration. Natural inability renders a man wholly unable to do this or the other thing, even when most cordially willing to do it: He would, but he cannot. Moral inability, in many instances, incapacitates a man for doing what he otherwise is

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well capable of doing : He could, if not unwilling. In the former sense, the lame man cannot run swiftly, and a very poor man cannot relieve the wants of the destitute: in the latter, a very slothful man cannot labour diligently; and the very covetous rich man cannot be liberal ; he cannot find in his heart to be so. This hindrance is as real and insurmountable, except by a change of heart and disposition, in the latter as in the former case: but it forms no excuse for any one's misconduct. It is most evident that the scripture uses the word cannot in this sense in very many places, of which several have been, and more will be produced. Our Article also is very explicit in this respect : ' The condition of man, after the fall of Adam, is such that he cannot (non possit) 'turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God: wherefore we have no power (nihil valemus) to do good works, pleasant and accep' table to God, without the grace of God,' &c. So far is this moral inability to do what is good in the sight of God from excusing impenitence, unbelief, or disobedience; that, the more entirely it prevails, the deeper depravity, enmity, and wickedness are manifested, and the heavier condemnation will be awarded to those who continue under its influence. It is more absolute and determined in the devil and his angels, than in fallen man in this world: and is not their guilt more atrocious, their malignity more hateful in proportion ? On the other hand, the more entirely rational agents have a moral inability to all evil, the more exactly do they reflect the image of God who, Omnipotent,

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and Sovereign Lord of all, “ cannot lie," “ cannot

deny himself.”

It has been said, that as we represent even this moral inability as natural to us, we after all take away the difference, and state it to be a natural inability, only of another kind. But is this any thing more than a sophism? It is not natural inability in such a sense, that we cannot even were we willing : but, we cannot be willing. It is not natural to us as God created man'; but in consequence of our apostacy. It is not natural to us as the inability to fly is ;. but a propensity or disposition of our apostate nature; like that of Satan to love God and holiness, and not any more excúsable.

* What would be more unjust, than that those ‘should be punished, who are not able to do what

ought to be done? or that those should suffer, whose actions are not in their own power?'

Natural inability or incapacity to obey would certainly render punishment unjust: but does total disinclination form an obstacle of the same kind ?

Our actions are in our own power:' that is, a man has it in his power to do, or not to do, this or the other action. He may choose whether he will labour for a maintenance, or have recourse to fraud or rapine : but the state of his heart will influence his choice. " Idleness, matured into habit, prevents a man from choosing labour as effectually, but surely not so excusably, as sickness prevents a

'Chrysos. Ref. 476.

man from that labour, which he is otherwise willing to perform. “ 'The desire of the sluggard

killeth him ; for his hands refuse to labour.” 1 If moral inability renders it unjust to punish crimes, what law can be given, either by God or man, which numbers are not incapacitated to obey ? Every felon, especially the hardened felon, might plead this kind of inability : but will any judge or jury admit the plea? Why then should we think that God will admit it? The inability, of which we, certainly in unison with the scriptures, speak, is that of a miser to be liberal, not that of the apostle, “ Silver and gold have I none." And this distinction, so far from being subtle and metaphysical, as some would insinuate, is so obvious, that no man on earth, in his sober senses, ever mistook it. Every master distinguishes between the incapacity of a sick, and that of a slothful, servant. Every poor person, distinguishes between the rich man, who could relieve him, were it not for his covetousness; and the poor man, who would relieve him, were it not for his poverty.

In the case under consideration, let it be again noticed, that we maintain this total disinclination, or moral inability, only in respect of those things which are 'good in the sight of God. A dead faith, works good before men, splendid virtues; all short of genuine repentance, holy faith, and acceptable obedience; men of different characters, but destitute of true godliness, are often both inclined and able to perform, merely from selfish motives

· Prov. xxi, 25.

diversely modified, or from a sort of instinct: and they would do the very same things, if they did not believe even the existence of a God.

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* The Article proceeds to say, that 'man of his own nature inclineth to evil, so that the flesh · lusteth always contrary to the spirit.'? ... The 'article does not pronounce, with the Calvinists, * that man of his own nature can perform no* thing but evil, but that he inclineth to evil; a • doctrine fundamentally different, since an incli* nation, though strong, may be conquered.'2–The English Article runs thus, ' Man-is of his own * nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth

always contrary to the spirit.' This is more explicit than 'man of his own nature inclineth.' The Latin article is, ad malum sua natura propendeat, by nature is propense to evil : the very language which Calvin frequently uses on the subject. But not at present to insist on this, it is certainly true that ' an inclination, though strong, may be con

quered ; ' but by what means? We answer, by another and still stronger inclination, and in no other way. The strong inclination to animal indulgence has been conquered in many instances, by a stronger inclination to acquire power, honour, or riches; nay, sometimes by a prudent regard to health. The powers of the soul may govern or overcome the bodily appetites. The world is kept in order more by the restraints which one vicious inclination imposes on other inconsistent vicious inclinations, than by men's virtues. The heathen

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