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that in me, (that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me, but how to perform ( 79 xarayač:56er—the effecting-perfecting) that which is good, I find not..” It is evident, that the apostle cannot here use the word "will,” to denote a simple volition; for no one ever acts or does any thing, without some volition. The word is sometimes used, to denote the main and efficient—the leading and controling purpose;' and in this sense we suppose the apostle used it, in the context first quoted. His meaning, is, therefore, very plain. If he does not voluntarily and deliberately purpose to do evil; but on the contrary, if it is his fixed, and abiding, and studious purpose, to do what the law of God requires, it shows that the moral being—the I, whose character was to be estimated by this, its leading feature—did fully approve of the law of God, and that, therefore, of whatever deviations from it he was guiity, they were to be attributed to the influence of sin, which he personifies, and not to the deep and fixed principles of his renovated character. His will, in the main, was right, but it was resisted, counteracted, and ofttimes overpowered by various considerations, of which, he did not cordially and deliberately approve, nor of that which they led him to do. Here, again, we derive a confirmation of the views advanced, from the very objectiong urged against them.
1. Rum, viii, 15-18.
2. Such is the doctrine of the Catechism and Confession of Faith. By the corruption of man's nature, the answer to the 25th question of the Larger Catechism, says that “he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made op. posite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil.” The plain grammatical meaning of these words is, that as man is indisposed, which term describes altogether a voluntary state of mind, he is disabled, and so made opposite to all good. Nor is the idea at all different, when it is said in chap. ix. Scc, 3 of the Confession of Faith, that “man by his fall into a state of sin hath lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert him. self, or to prepare himself thereunto.” It is inability of will that is here spoken of, and none else. The operation of this sort of inability which is Thoral can never upon any fair principle of interpretation, be construed into a denial of natural ability. 1. 9s7.c Mat. xvi. 25; xxiii, 37; Mark viii, 35; 1,43, 4; Luke ix, 24; xxiii, 20. 1. Sunn. xv, 29. 3. llos. x, 7, 8. 3. Luke, xix, 42.
The inability attributed to men, in the sacred Scriptures, is wholly that of will. Man will not do what God requires, and is abundantly willing to co-operate with him in effecting. All the solemn appeals, that are made in the sacred scriptures, to the consciences, sensibilities, and judgment of men, proceed on this assumption. And, indeed, we see not how it is possible to understand the many solemn, and tender, and heart-thrilling remonstrances of God, on any other. If man is physically disabled, and it requires an act of creative power, to give him the requisite capacities and ability, to meet the requisitions of God, so that he cannot believe, he cannot repent, he cannot obey, till power is first put into his faculties; God's withholding that creative power, is a procedure directly at war with His professions. All His remonstrances, and expostulations, and exhibitions of sorrow and concern, are a mere farce! He stands accused and convicted of insincerily, and no wonder that sinners should find it difficult, and impossible to believe in such a case.
But the ever blessed God is faithful and true. And when we consider, that the whole inability under which men labour in respect of God's requirements, arises out of the aversion of their wills-their determined and obstinate refusal and resistance of Jehovah's claims-how amazing do His grace and condescension appear, in that He undertakes by considerations addressed to their reason, and conscience, and heart, to persuade them to be reconciled, and turn to him in a life of holy obedience! Every word is big with import. All is radiant, and glowing with truth. No cloud of dark and fiend-like suspicion, settles on His throne. It is our boast and glory, that “the strength of Israel will not LIE.' And thus believing; having our minds divested of every foul and malignant conjeeture, that possibly God is not sincere, our souls are melted within us, in all the tender throbbings of heartfelt repentance, as we hear Him WEEP, EXPOSTULATE, BESEECH and swear before and unto us, to induce us to believe and live.
Can it be for one moment admitted, that God does not mean exactly what He says? Say, incredulous and skeptical reader, is it all a vain show, when He delays his judgments, protests that he is lothe to inflict them, and that it is the very grief of his heart, that men will not turn to him, that they may live? Has he some private design you cannot understand, at war with his deelarations, which destroys your confidence, when He so feelingly complains, “My people are bent to backsliding from me; though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt him. How shall I give thee up, Ephraim ? How shall I deliver thee Israel? llow shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim ? Mine heart is turned withio me, my repentings are kindled together."2 Is all this grief a mere theatrical display? Was all the heart rending sorrow of the Son of God a mere exhibition, when, with flowing tears, and a soul almost overwhelmed, He esclaimed, as he lookied upon the guilty population of Jerusalem, "If thou hadst known at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!-but!-now-they are hid from thine eyes."'3 "Oh, Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Thou! which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent to thee-how ofter would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gatheis her brood under her wings; but YE WOULD NOT."
1. Luke, xiii, 34.
What mean, too, such interrogatories and declarations as these? Does God intend to deceive, when He lets us know, that the whole blame of the sinner's rebellion, is to be laid to the charge of his nbstinate will? “Why is this people of Jerusalem slidden back, with a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit; they refuse to return.
"Woe unto thee Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? When shall it once be?”. “Behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me."3 Is it all a mere sporting with their misfortune? a raunting and triumphing over their misery, when God says, “I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear; this has been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyest not my voice.” Did He employ his prophets to utter falsehood, when they went to guilty men, and, in God's name, plead with them to repent, and say unto them, “as I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, 0 house of Israel?"?5 Who can, who dare insinuate these things? He had need to tremble, who exhibits God's word to men in such way, as to render all such appeals, and protestations, and oaths, as of no value. Any system of philosophy whatever, that conflicts with these, and numerous such like proofs and exhibitions of sixcERITY, ought, at once, to be discarded. It is sapping the very foundation of our faith. It is reproaching God, and slandering Him in a vital part of His character.
It creates much of the difficulty of faith. It ruins the souls of men. Miserable philosophy! how hast thou dared to lift thine impudent face, and give the lie to God; and, having done so, sacreligiously summon to thine aid, the mysteries that attend His throne !
1. Jer. viii, 5.
4. Jer. xxii, 21.,
2. Jer. xiii, 27. 3. Jer. xvi, 12.
5. Exek. xxxiji, 11,
THE SPECIFIC CHARACTER OF HUMAX
The specific and formal character of human depravity-1 John ii, 15, 16–
James iv. 4—Romans viii, 7- The Scriptural view of this thing— The thoughts and wishes of wicked men, evincive of enmity against God—2. They dislike the word of God, and those ministers and professors, who are most pungent and faithful in urging it upon the conscience-3. They dislike serious and fervent prayer, &c.
From the remarks already made, on the subject of the derivation and moral certainty of human depravity, we may discover in what it specifically and formally consists. We have seen, that it did not consist in the loss of any one of his physical powers, or any constitutional susceptibility. He remained, after that he became a rebel, possessed of the very same natural capacities, but their exercise had become fatally disordered. We speak not metaphorically, as though disease had tainted and altered the faculties themselves, but that the laws, which regulated his thoughts, and all his actions, only operated to evince, that, instead of the feeling of love to God, being the supreme and governing principle of his soul, there was the dominion of entire selfishness, and the display of an aversion from God, or enmity against him. In this, consisted the very essence of his depravity. He became totally depraved.
His descendants all come into being, under the influence of causes, which render the same derangement, in the ex. ercise of their powers, morally certain. They no sooner