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→ REMARKS ON CHAP. I.
Of Original Sin, Free. Will, and the Operation of the Holy Spirit.
Page i. It is evident, &c. The consequences of Adam's transgression, on himself, and on all his posterity, especially on their moral character, or the state of their understanding, will, and affections, must not be decided on, from the bare narrative of the fall, and the coincident events; but from the. scriptures at large; and from the state of the human race, in every age and nation, to this present time...
Numerous testimonies are found, in every part of the sacred oracles, concerning the heart of man, as descended from fallen Adam; and of the human cha racter as derived from that source: and we may know how to apply these testimonies, by recollecting, and duly considering, the words of the wise man, or rather of Wisdom itself." Keep thy heart with all "diligence, for out of it are the issues of life."* The history of mankind is a comment on these divine testimonies, or an exemplification of them. The
"It is evident from the account left us by Moses, that a con⚫siderable change took place in the minds of our first parents im
mediately after they had transgressed the prohibitory command of 'God, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; ⚫ but the conciseness with which the sacred historian has described 'the primitive condition of man, and his fall from the state in which he was created, has led to a variety of opinions respecting ⚫ the effects of Adam's disobedience upon himself and his posterity." 2 Prov. iv. 23.
language also, in which the sacred writers speak of our recovery in Jesus Christ, are directly to the purpose, as fully declaring the depth of that ruin, from which we are thus restored.
For instance: when we read as follows, in the history of the creation, "God said, Let us make "man in our image, after our likeness:"-" So God "created man in his own image; in the image of "God created he him."-" And God saw every
thing that he had made, and behold it was very "good."1 And when after the fall we read these divine testimonies; "God saw the wickedness of 66 man, that it was great in the earth; and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart "were only evil continually: and it repented the "LORD that he had made man, and it grieved him "in his heart."-And after the deluge: "The ima"gination of man's heart is evil from his youth:"2 we must conclude, from this most striking contrast, that some vast and awful change had taken place in him, as to his moral character.
This most reasonable conclusion is illustrated by the history of Cain; and by the character given to the antediluvian world. "The earth also was cor
rupt before God; and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth; for "all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.”3
In fact, the conduct of mankind, in all ages and nations; except where "the oracles of God," and
'Gen. i. 26, 27, 31. 2 Gen. vi. 5, 6. viii. 21.
3 Gen. vi. 5-12.
In acquiring virtue, or external moral good conduct, or even an external form of piety, from motives of a secular nature, such as regard to health, reputation, secular interest, peace, or respectability in society; men, unaided by divine grace, nay, wholly disclaiming such assistance, often make both voluntary and successful efforts. Whether their religious character be thus improved, or not, may indeed be questioned; as not only heathen philosophers, but modern deists and infidels have made these voluntary and successful efforts, and have been proportionably buoyed up with pride and self-complacency, and contempt of others.
Indeed no man, who has just views, concerning the best method of enjoying this present world, would lead an immoral life, even if he were an atheist in speculation: for immorality uniformly decreases enjoyment, and increases vexation and suffering, by an unchangeable arrangement of divine Providence.
Hypocrites, Pharisees, and other characters, against whom the scripture bears the most decided testimony, have in every age made these 'voluntary 'efforts,' from selfish and worldly motives, and have in some degree succeeded in them. But, "Did ye "these things unto me, saith the LORD?" “ All "their works they do for to be seen of men: Verily "I say unto you, they have their reward."
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 scripture, of his gracious acceptance, and with a desire to glorify his
P. ii. l. 18. "That faith, &c." I am confident, that the word irresistible occurs more times, in 'The 'Refutation,' than in all the works of living authors, who are called Calvinists.-In my own various publications, which may be thought, at least, sufficiently voluminous, I do not think it occurs once, in the meaning and application here intended. Indeed it has been, for some time, almost universally disallowed by our writers. The subject, of man's 'endeavour and concurrence,' will be hereafter fully considered: when it will appear, that the sentiments of modern Calvinists are misunderstood.-In the mean while, let the words of our article express them: We have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace ' of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have 'a good will, and working with us, when we have 'that good will."-As to other works, not 'pleasant ' and acceptable to God,' we believe, that carnal men are capable of them, without the grace of God by Christ.3
Man is a free agent, and therefore responsible for his conduct; but fallen man, as left to himself, is so absolutely the slave of sin, that his will is never
''That faith, and all the Christian graces, are communicated by 'the sole and irresistible operation of the Spirit of God, without any endeavour or concurrence on the part of man. The former 'is the position of the Socinians, the latter of the Calvinists.'
2 Art. x.
P. 68, 69. Ref.
free from the bondage of avarice, ambition, sensual and worldly desires, or malignant passions: above all, it is totally averse to true godliness. In this sense it is not free: and this is the only sense, in which well informed Calvinists have ever denied the freedom of the will; as it will appear most conclusively, from the writings of the reformers, and from Calvin himself, in the course of this work.
Whatever a man can properly be said to do, he does voluntarily; but it is our opinion, that fallen man is never truly willing" to work out his own "salvation;" or, (to use his Lordship's words,) 'steadily and constantly to obey good motions with
in us, whatever they may cost:' except as "God "worketh in him to will." Then indeed" to will "is present with him; but how to perform that "which is good he finds not." Yet, earnestly seeking deliverance and assistance from God, by constant prayer, and by diligently using every appointed means of grace, God worketh in him also "to do, of his good pleasure."
P. iii. 1. 3. • But though, &c." Does any body
Rom. vii. 18.
Phil. ii. 13. The same verb (Evεpy) is used in both parts of the verse. "It is God, who worketh in you, both to will and to "work effectually." (Eph. i. 11. Jam. v. 16. Gr.)
But though a propensity to evil and wickedness, universal in ' extent and powerful in its effects, was thus transmitted to man• kind, yet all idea of distinction between right and wrong was not 'utterly obliterated from the human mind, or every good affec
tica eradicated from the human heart. The general approba'tion of virtue and detestation of vice, which have universally ́prevailed, prove, that the moral sense was not annihilated.'