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the sanctifying Spirit to act on the infant mind, it is possible for the effects of his absence to be there. And what can these be but some form or other of depravity? And if it is possible for infants to be depraved and to be sanctified, who, on account of any difficulties attending the subject, will deny their actual depravity and sanctification, in direct opposition to the plain language of the Bible?
As I am dealing with the adherents of the exercise system, I shall stand on that ground through my whole argument: or if I have occasion to speak of the previous state of mind which gives effect to motives, I shall call it temper or affections. For the same reason I shall adopt their language in respect to the divisions of the mind. These I believe to be understanding, will, and affections; but to accommodate myself to their dialect, I shall include the last two under the common name of will. At present I shall consider the controversy as existing with those only who hold that the Spirit does as much for one as another, unless he stops short with some on account of the foreseen impossibility of success. For reasons already stated I think I am authorized to consider the writers in the Christian Spectator as of this class. Indeed between this theory and that of an absolute control by motives, there can be no middle ground, at least none which any text of Scripture can be pretended to support. And an absolute control by motives is no part of their creed who deny, or even doubt, that God could have prevented sin. But the grand point of difference is on the question of divine efficiency. This they
firmly deny, and this we as decidedly maintain. And we feel that where the most spiritual part of the Church since the Reformation have gone,—the Wattses, the Doddridges, the Edwardses, and the Brainerds, there it is safe for us to go; and that a new track, struck out in opposition to all these, is marked with suspicion and danger. Pres. Edwards says, “Let” the sinner “apply his rational powers to the contemplation of divine things, and let his belief be speculatively correct; still he is in such a state—that those objects of contemplation will excite no holy affections.” David Brainerd, in his account of his conversion, says, “I at once saw that all my contrivances and projects to procure deliverance and salvation for myself, were utterly in vain. I was brought quite to a stand, as finding myself utterly lost. I saw that it was forever impossible for me to do any thing towards helping or delivering myself. I saw that, let me have done what I would, it would no more have tended to my helping myself than what I had done. I had the greatest certainty that my state was forever miserable for all that I could do, and wondered that I had never been sensible of it before.” “It was,” adds the author of the Tract, “when he had thus given up all expectation of relief from his own efforts; when he was brought to see himself lost and helpless; when his former feelings were gone and he had left off all his selfish and resolute endeavours to bring himself into a better state; it was then— that unspeakable divine glory seemed to open to the view of his soul.”f This was unlike the present plan of throwing sinners upon their own resources.
*Tract before mentioned; p. 10. f id. p. 20.
The real question lies between the Calvinistic doctrine of divine efficiency and the Arminian self-determining power. If the will turns without the immediate agency of God, it is turned none the less by a self-determining power for the contemplation of motives which do not absolutely control. The old Arminians, though they denied, as the writers in the Christian Spectator do, that motives exerted an absolute dominion, and some of them talked, inconsistently enough, about the necessity of indifference, did not deny the indispensableness of motives. In that they would have bid defiance to the most familiar consciousness of the human race. But they meant to insist, as these modern writers do, that the will is not a slave to motives. If without divine efficiency the will turns in view of motives which it is competent to resist, it is turned by a self-determining power. If all that God does is to lay truth in before the mind in its most affecting aspects and relations, then it is not God, in distinction from discovered truth, that changes the heart. It is either truth, in its own affecting aspects and relations, which does the work, or the mind changes itself in view of motives. There is no escaping from this dilemma. Dr Taylor says, the mind is never changed “without an influence of the holy Spirit distinct from the natural or simple influence of truth.” But that influence of the Spirit does no more than lay in truth before the mind, not in false glosses, but in ITs own affecting aspects and relations. If the influence of truth thus made conspicuous, is in any sense “distinct from" its “natural or simple influence,” yet it is its own unborrowed influence when clearly seen. After the truth is thus made