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"That the grace of God co-operates with the * free will of man, can alone reconcile the nume'rous texts, both the preceptive and declaratory,
which relate to human conduct, and which sepafrately assert the divine and human agency.'' . The concurrence of God and man, says Arch
bishop Bramhall, in producing the act of our believing, or conversion to God, is so evident in holy scripture, that it is vanity and lost labour to 'oppose it. If God did not concur, the scripture
would not say, “ It is God that worketh in us, • both the will and the deed.” If man did not con
cur, the scripture would not say, “ Work out 'your own salvation with fear and trembling.” If 'our repentance were God's work alone, God would not say to man, “ Turn ye unto me with all your heart :” and if repentance were man's 'work alone, we had no need to pray, “ Turn us,
O Lord, and we shall be turned.” We are com'manded to repent and to believe. In vain are commandments given to them, who cannot at all concur to the acting of that which is com‘manded. Faith and repentance are proposed unto ' us as conditions to obtain blessedness and avoid
destruction. “ If thou shalt confess with thy é mouth and believe with thy heart, thou shalt be
saved :” and “except ye repent, ye shall all like- wise perish.” To propose impossible conditions,
which they, to whom they are proposed, have no • power either to accept or to refuse, is a mere mockery. Our unbelief and impenitence is imputed to us as our own fault: “Because of unbe
Ref. 44. See Section on Free Will.
lief thou wert broken off:" and, “ After thy hard* ness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up unto
thyself wrath." Their unbelief and impenitence 'were not their own faults, if they neither had
power to concur with the grace of God to the production of faith and repentance, nor yet to refuse the grace of God. The holy scripture doth ' teach us, that God doth help us in doing works of piety; “The Lord is my helper,” and “The
Spirit helpeth our infirmities." If we did not 'co-operate at all, God could not be said to help .us. There is, therefore, there must be co-operation. Neither doth this concurrence or cooperation of man, at all intrench upon the power or honour of God; because this very liberty to cooperate is his gift, and this manner of acting his own institution.'? There are expressions in this quotation from Archbishop Bramhall, to which objections might be made: but the grand outline is not materially different from the statement of reflecting Calvinists. He allows that God works
in us the will and the deed : and they admit most readily, that we ought to “work out our sal“ vation with fear and trembling.” They do not imagine that man's repentance is God's work alone, except as he inclines and enables us to repent; and the Archbishop admits that if it were our work alone, we need not pray, “Turn “thou us, O Lord, and we shall be turned.” We have by nature, both power and inclination to refuse his call: and I think, that the Archbishop would have allowed, that the willing mind to com
Abp. Bramhall, Ref. 44, 45.
ply with it is the willing work of God. The liberty to co-operate is his gift.'-And is not the inclination to do it also his gift? 1.
Many quotations are made from the fathers, on the subject of co-operation, which are often incongruous with each other. Some maintain that the beginning is from man, and exclude co-operation till we are willing of ourselves. Others (if not the same persons) suppose the beginning to be from God, but the continuance from man 3 But I see no advantage to the cause of our opponents, likely to arise from quotations which are directly opposite to their own systems, or concessions ; and I consider it as lost labour to take further notice of them.
Let us however, advert more distinctly to the words of our Article. The condition of man, • after the fall of Adam, is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself,, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God: wherefore we have no power to do • good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, ' without the grace of God by Christ preventing cus, that we may have a good will, and working ' with us when we have that good will.'4 Gratia
Dei (quæ per Christum est,) nos preveniente ut 'velimus, et co-operante dum volumus.'
"The very expression of the tenth Article ... • plainly shews, that we also work.'— The grace " of God prevents us Christians ; that is, it goes
Ref. 61. Hilary, Ref. 362. ? Chrysostom, Ref. 461, 486. • Chrys. Ref. 461.
• Art. x.
" before, it gives the first spring and rise to our * endeavours, that we may have a good will.' The words in the Latin copy of the Articles are dum volumus, while we will; which still more clearly shew that the grace of God and the will ' of man act together at the same moment.'* Thus good works are not attributed by our church
to the sole, operation of divine grace, but to the 'joint and contemporaneous operation of divine 'grace and human agency. It is acknowledged that man has not the disposition, and consequently not the ability, to do what in the sight of God is good, till he is influenced by the Holy Spirit: but this influence of the Spirit is not irresistible; it does not solely of itself produce 'good works.''
Previous to the first spring and rise of our 'endeavours, which is given by divine grace, what is there in man, which can co-operate: He cannot act voluntarily till he has a willing mind: or how can preveniente (coming before) consist with
contemporaneous,' if meant precisely of the same thing -The attentive reader cannot but observe, that all, which is grounded on this Article, is taken from the last clause; and we object to the inference, as far as that clause is concerned. The expression preventing, or coming before us, “that we may have a good will,' (preveniente ut velimus) precedes in the Article, the 'working with us when we have that good will' (co-operante dum volumus.) And this settles the question at once with all who simply adhere to the Article itself.-“Who maketh “thee to differ from another ? and what hast thou
Ref. 60, 61.
“ that thou didst not receive ? Now, if thou didst “receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst “ not received it?" From these, and many more
passages of a like nature, it is plain, that in the • promulgation of the gospel God “ was found of * them that sought him not, and heard of them
that called not upon him ;” that is, he prevented 'them by his favour, while there were no previous
dispositions in them to invite it, much less to merit it. From this it may be inferred, that the like method should be used with relation to particular persons.' _God prevents us, that we 'may will ;' here is no co-operation on our part; he co-operates' while we are willing. It is not said we co-operate with him, but he co-operates with us. • The words seem further to indicate, that the
grace of God will be withdrawn if we cease to * will conformably to its suggestions.'2 : Co-operation certainly must in that case cease, for there will remain nothing in us with which grace can co-operate : so that the same grace is needful to preserve, as to produce “ the willing “ mind.” Even when willing, we need something beyond mere assistance. Only the necessity of a
preventing and a co-operating grace, is asserted, ' against the Semi-pelagians and the Pelagians.'3 Here preventing grace is clearly distinguished from co-operating grace : yet the writer was not a Calvinist.
I would here just observe, that while I make some remarks on his Lordship's statement, I can
. 'Bishop Burnet on Article x. p. 166. Oxf. 1805 ; Ref. 61.
• Bishop Burnet on Art. x. p. 160.