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endeavours, but also inclined our hearts to use those endeavours. ■
*Thus, in the collect for Easter Sunday we 'pray, Almighty God, we humbly beseech thee, 'that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou 'dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy 'continual help we may bring the same to good 'effect.' Here preventing grace is acknowledged, as putting into our minds good desires: and this is something beyond ' directing and assisting our 'endeavours;' yet nothing like compulsory force.
It may here be observed, that "putting into the "heart" is in scripture, used in a sense similar to inclining the heart. "Blessed be the Lord God "of Israel, who hath put such a thing as this into "the king's heart, to beautify the house of the "Lord; and hath extended mercy to me, before "the king and his counsellors."l "Neither told "I any man, what my God had put in my heart "to do at Jerusalem."2 "Thanks be to God, "who put the same earnest care into the heart of "Titus for you. For, indeed, he accepted the "exhortation; but being more forward of his own "accord, (dvbaipsTos,) he went unto you."3
'In the collect for the ninth Sunday after Tri'nity, we pray to God, that' we, who cannot do 'any thing that is good without him, may, by 'him, be enabled to live according to his will:' we 'here confess our own weakness, and pray God to 'enable us to obey his will; which seems incom'Ez. vii.27,28. 'Neh. ii. 12. '2 Cor. viii. 16, 17.
'patible with the idea of his acting solely and 'irresistibly.'1
'We, who cannot do,' is rather more than a confession of' weakness,' it is the impossibility to which, when spoken of in our writings, objections are made. The prayer is certainly incompatible with God's ' acting solely and irresistibly,' in our doing his will; but not to his acting solely and effectually in ' inclining our hearts' to do his will; and acting with and by us when we are willing.
'A servant is faithful to his master; but a ma'chine necessarily executes the will of its maker.'2 —Do, then, the above statements represent man as a machine in obedience?
'" Whosoever will," says St. John in the Re'velation, "let him take of the water of life 'freely." This passage shows, that all who are 'willing may drink of the water of life; that it is 'in the power of every one to attain eternal happi'ness.—' Such a declaration,' says Dr. Doddridge, ''of free grace seems to have been wisely inserted 'just in the close of the sacred canon, to encourage 'the hope of every humble soul that is truly de'sirous of the blessings of the gospel; and to guard 'against those suspicions of the divine goodness, 'which some have so unhappily abetted.'3 Calvinists in general have no doubt that all humble souls, who are ' truly desirous of the blessings of 'the gospel,' will apply for them, and be made partakers of them. I shall take the liberty of showing my own views of this scripture, as written
1 Ref. 69. 'Ref. 70. s Ref. 199.
more than twenty years since.—' It behoves every 'man, who hears the invitation, to call others to 'come; and, in fine, let every one throughout the 'earth, who thirsts for salvation, come to Jesus 'Christ. Nay, lest any should hesitate, as not 'able to determine whether his thirst be spiritual 'or not, " Let whoever is willing come, and take 'of the waters of life freely," as he would take 'water from a well which belonged in com'mon to him and all his neighbours: nor let 'him think of paying for these blessings, ex'cept as he throws away his poison to receive 'food, or his dross to receive gold.'1 But the only question is, concerning the source of this willingness; whether it spring from our fallen nature, or from the grace of God? How is it that some are humbly and heartily willing, and others continue proudly and carnally unwilling?—' Cyrus, 'king of Persia, who was Christus Domini, (and 'herein but a shadow of Christus Dominus, the 'Author of our redemption,) published his pro'clamation in this manner, "Who is amongst you 'of all his people, the Lord his God be with him, 'and let him go up." 2 Now it is true, they alone 'did follow this calling, "whose spirit God had 'raised to go up."3 But could they that re'mained still in Babylon justly plead, that the 'king's grant was not large enough; or that they 'were excluded from going up by any clause con'tained in it ?—' The proclamation of the gospel 'runneth thus, " Let him that is athirst come:" 4 'for him this grace is specially provided; because 'none but he will take the pains to come: but, 'lest we should think that this should abridge the 'largeness of the offer, a quicunque vult is imme'diately added, "and whosoever will, let him take 'of the water of life freely." Yet withal, this must 'be yielded as a certain truth, that "it is God who 'must work in us to will and to do of his good 'pleasure;" and though the call be never so loud 'and large, yet " none can come except the Fa'ther draw him." l For the universality of the sa'tisfaction derogates nothing from the necessity 'of the special grace in the application: neither 'doth the speciality of the one anywise abridge 'the generality of the other.'2—In what sense ' it 'is in the power of every one to attain eternal 'happiness,' requires further explanation; for it is acknowledged that ' we have not the disposition, * and consequently not the ability, without the 'grace of God.'
1 Scott's Commentary, note, Rev. xxii. 16,17. * Ezra i. 2. 'Ezra i. 5. 4 Rev. xx. 17, 1 John vi. 44. * Archbishop Usher.
Men are, indeed, naturally willing to be saved from misery, and rendered happy: but this widely differs from willingness to repent, to believe in Christ, to deny themselves, to bear the cross, and diligently to use all the means of grace, and obey the commandments of Christ. His Lordship in one place, says, Even after ' the understanding 'became convinced that Christ was " a Teacher 'come from God," "that Prophet that should come 'into the world," not only much remained to be 'done, but that which infinitely exceeded the na^ 'tural powers of men, weakened and corrupted as 'they were by the fall of Adam, and by long and 'inveterate habits of vice and wickedness.'1 In what sense, then, is it'in the power of every one 'to attain eternal salvation?' Whether it arises from natural inability, or moral inability, it is allowed ' infinitely to exceed the natural powers of 'man;' that is, without the grace of God.
It does not belong to us fully to understand or explain the manner in which God " inclines the "heart," and " works in us to will;" but something we may perceive respecting it. Our unwillingness to that which 'is good in the sight of 'God' arises partly out of that ' blindness of 'heart,' from which in our Litany we beseech the Lord to deliver us; that corrupt state of the judgment and affections, called "the carnal mind:" and partly from our self-will and aversion to be subject to the authority of God or man. But, when it pleases God to illuminate the mind, by "opening our understandings to understand the "scriptures;" the discoveries which we make, concerning God and ourselves, our state, and character, and danger, and the eternal world, with its infinitely important realities, have a powerful tendency to produce a revolution in our judgment, purpose, and choice. This is like bringing in a light, and uncovering the eyes to a man, who, in the dark and blindfolded, was rashly and eagerly rushing to the brink of a tremendous precipice, of which he had not been at all aware. But, by the light cast on the surrounding objects, he now sees the danger, and willingly stops and turns away
1 Ref. 28.