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he now pleases, or whenever he has a proper, direct and immediate desire for it. As to those desires and endeavors, that may be against the exercises of a strong habit, with regard to which men may be said to be unable to avoid those exercises, they are remote desires and endeavors in two respects. First, as to time ; they are never against present volitions, but only against volitions of such a kind, when viewed at a distance: Secondly, as to their nature ; these opposite desires are not directly and properly against the habit and inclination itself, or the volitions in which it is exercised ; for these, in them-selves considered, are agreeable ; but against something else, that attends them, or is their consequence ; the opposition of the mind is levelled entirely against this ; the inclination or volitions themselves are not at all opposed directly, and for their own sake ; but only indirectly and remotely on the account of something alien and foreign.
III. Though the opposition of the Will itself, or the very want of Will to a thing commanded, implies a moral Inability to that thing ; yet, if it be, as has been already shewn, that the being of a good state or act of Will, is a thing most properly required by command ; then, in some cases, such a state or act of Will may properly be required, which at present is not, and which may also be wanting after it is commanded. And therefore those things may properly be commanded, which inen have a moral Inability for.
Such a state, or act of the Will, may be required by command, as does not already exist. For if that volition only may be commanded to be which already is, there could be no use of precept; commands in all cases would be perfectly vain and impertinent. And not only may such a Will be required, as is wanting before the command is given, but also such as may possibly be wanting afterwards ; such as the exhibition of the command may not be effectual to produce or excite.... Otherwise, no such things as disobedience to a proper and rightful command is possible in any case; and there is no case supposable or possible, wherein there can be an inexcus. able or faulty disobedience ; which Arminians cannot affirm consistently with their principles : For this makes obedience
to just and proper commands' always necessary, and Disobedience impossible. And so the Arminian would overthrow himself, yielding the very point we are upon, which he so strenuously denies, viz. that law and command are consistent with necessity.
If merely that Inability will excuse disobedience, which is implied in the opposition or defect of inclination, remaining after the command is exhibited, then wickedness always carries that in it which excuses it. It is evermore so, that by
how much the more wickedness there is in a man's heart, by , so much is his inclination to evil the stronger, and by so much
the more, therefore, has he of moral Inability to the good required. His moral Inability, consisting in the strength of his evil inclination, is the very thing wherein his wickedness consists; and yet, according to Arminian principles, it must be a thing inconsistent with wickedness ; and by how much the more he has of it, by so much is he the further from wicked
Therefore, on the whole, it is manifest, that moral Inability alone (which consists in disinclination, never renders any thing improperly the subject matter of precept or command, and never can excuse any person in disobedience, or want of conformity to a command.
Natural Inability, arising from the want of natural capacity, or external hinderance,' (which alone is properly called Inability) without doubt wholly excuses, or makes a thing improperly the matter of command. If men are excused from doing or acting any good thing, supposed to be commanded, it must be through some defect or obstacle that is not in the Will itself, but extrinsic to it; either in the capacity of understanding, or body, or outward circumstances.
Here two or three things may be observed,
1. As to spiritual duties or acts, or any good thing in the state or immanent acts of the Will itself, or of the affections, (which are only certain modes of the exercise of the Will) if persons are justly excused, it must be through want of capacity in the natural faculty of understanding. Thus the same spiritual duties, or holy affections and exercises of heart, can
of excuse, uni uing. But the
Hot be required of men, as may be of angels; the capacity of understanding being so much inferior. So men cannot be required to love those amiable persons, whom they have had no opportunity to see, or bear of, or come to the knowledge of, in any way agreeable to the natural state and capacity of the human understanding. But the insufficiency of motives will not excuse ; unless their being insufficient arises not from the moral state of the Will or inclination itself, but from the state of the natural understanding. The great kindness and generosity of another may be a motive insufficient to excite grati. tude in the person, that receives the kindness, through his vile and ungrateful temper: In this case, the insufficiency of the motive arises from the state of the Will or inclination of heart, and does not at all excuse." But if this generosity is not sufficient to excite gratitude, being unknown, there being ** no means of information adequate to the state and measure of
the person's faculties, this insufficiency is attended with a nátural Inability which entirely excuses." 12. As to such 'motions of body; or exercises and alterations
of mind, which do not consist in the immanent acts or state of "the Will itself, but are supposed to be required as effects of the Will I say, in such supposed effects of the 'Will,"in cases wherein there is no want of a capacity of understand'ing; that Inability, and that only excuses, which consists in want of connexion between them and the Will. If the Will fully complies, and the proposed effect does not prove, according to the laws of nature, to be connected with his volition, the man is perfectly excused; he has a natural Inability to the thing required. For the Will itself, as has been obseryed, is all that can be directly and immediately required by Command ; and other things only indirectly, as connected with the Will. If, therefore, there be a full compliance of Will, the person has done his duty; and if other things do not prove to be connected with his volition, that is not owing to him.
3. Both these kinds of natural Inability that have been mentioned, and so all Inability that excuses, may be resolved into one thing, namely, want of natural capacity or strength ; VOL. V.
either capacity of understanding, or external strength. For when there are external defects and obstacles, they would be no obstacles, were it not for the imperfection and limitations of understanding and strength.
Corol. If things for which men have a moral Inability, may properly be the matter of precept or command, then they may also of invitation and counsel. Commands and invitations come very much to the same thing; the difference is only circumstantial: Commands are as much a manifestation of the Will of him that speaks, as invitations, and as much testimonies of expectation of compliance. The difference between them lies in nothing that touches the affair in hand. The main difference between command and invitation consists in the enforcement of the Will of him who commands or invites. In the latter it is his kindness, the goodness which his Will arises from : In the former it is his authority. But whatever be the ground of the Will of him that speaks, or the enforcement of what he says, yet, seeing neither his Will por expectation is any more testified in the one case than the other; therefore a person's being known to be morally unable to do the thing to which he is directed by Invitation, is no more an evidence of insincerity in him that directs in manifesting either a Will, or expectation which he has not, than his being known to be morally unable to do what he is directed to by command. So that all this grand objection of Arminians against the Inability of fallen men to exert faith in Christ, or to perform other spiritual gospel duties, from the sincerity of God's counsels and invitations, must be without force.
That Sincerity of Desires and Endeavors, which is supposed to excuse in the Nonperformance of Things in themselves good, particularly considered.
IT is what is much insisted on by many, that some men, though they are not able to perform spiritual duties, such as repentance of sin, love of God, a cordial acceptance of Christ as exhibited and offered in the gospel, &c. yet they may sincerely desire and endeavor these things ; and therefore must be excused ; it being unreasonable to blame them for the omission of those things, which they sincerely desire and endeavor to do, but cannot do.
Concerning this matter, the following things may be observed.
1. What is here supposed, is a great mistake and gross absurdity ; even that men may sincerely choose and desire those spiritual duties of love, acceptance,.choice, rejection, &c. consisting in the exercise of the Will itself, or in the disposi. tion and inclination of the heart; and yet not be able to perform or exert them. This is absurd, because it is absurd to suppose that a man should directly, properly and sincerely incline to have an inclination, which at the same time is contrary to his inclination; For that is to suppose him not to be inclined to that, to which he is inclined. If a man, in the state and acts of his Will and inclination, does properly and directly fall in with those duties, he therein performs them : For the duties themselves consist in that very thing ; they consist in the state and acts of the Will being so formed and directed. If the soul properly and sincerely falls in with a certain proposed act of Will or choice, the soul therein makes that choice its own. Even as when a moving body falls in with a proposed direction of its motion, that is the same thing as to move in that direction.