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the warrant of holy Scripture,) it follows, that the grace of God is not irresistible : that it is not certainly victorious : that it does no proceed efficacioufly and certainly to the attainment of its end: that in short it may be, and is, resisted. But as a confutation of these erroneous pofitions is of great importance to the cause of truth, the more especially by reafon, not only of their own préposterous character, but of the mischievous consequences to which they lead, I propose to give some confideration to the subject, independent of the general question with which it is connected; and endeavour to show, by express teftimonies and direct arguments from Scripture, the exo tent of the influence to be ascribed to the di.

vine grace.

I. apprehend it then to be plainly set forth in Scripture, that the operation of the Holy Spirit on the minds of men is not irresistible : but that, whilft he "prevents us with his most

gracious favour and further's us with his « continual help," and whilst from him we derive all our “ fufficiency? to do what is pleasing to God; instead of "overruling us in « our words and actions?," a doctrine' which

* 2 Cor. iii. 5.

• Communion Service.

Overton, p. 125.

66 Al

we fee perversely, ascribed to the Scriptures and to the Church of England, he leaves us at the same time the will, either to act in obedienve to his heavenly motions, or not. 166 beit God is the principal cause and chief “ worker of this justification in us, without " whose grace no man can do no good thing, “ but following his free-will in the state of “a finner, increaseth his own injustice, .and

multiplieth his sin; yet so it pleaseth the

high wisdom of God, that man prevented 6 by his grace (which being offered, man

may, if he will, refuse or receive) shall be “ also a worker by his free consent, and obe-, “ dience to the fame, in the attaining of his "own justification y.” “It is surely of the

grace of God only, that first we be inspired “ and moved to any good thing; but to regst “ temptations, and to persist in goodness and

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go forward, it is both of the grace of God, “ and of our free will and endeavour?.” Such is the doctrine, which Crạnmer and our Reformers deduced from “the oracles of God.” Such was the doctrine, believed in the ancient Jewish Church, when the wise Son of Sirach commented on the words of Moses, “ God

Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any Christian Man. Article of Justification,

: Ibid. Article of Free-will.

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6 himself made man from the beginning, and " left him in the hand of his counsel; if thou

wilt, to keep the commandments, and to 6 perform acceptable faithfulness. He hath 6 set fire and water before thee; stretch forth 6 thy hand unto whether thou wilt. Before !! man is life and death; and whether him 6 liketh shall be given bima." And such was the doctrine of the primitive Church of Christ, whose opinion, with the reason of it, is briefly expressed by Irenæus, where he says, “ God

always preserved the liberty of the will in

man, that they might be justly condemned 56 for their disobedience, who did not obey

him, and that they who believed and obeyed • him might be honoured with incorrupti"bility b.

Shall we be told, that by this doctrine, which afcribes “ the acceptance or refusal of " the divine grace to the pleasure of man, we “ take from God his omnipotence ?" God forbid, we answer, that such a blafphemous

Ecclus. xv. 14-17. -id quod erat semper liberum et fuæ potestatis in homine femper fervaffe Deum et fuam exhortationem : ut jufte damnentur qui non obediunt ei, quoniam non obedierunt; et qui obedierunt et crediderunt ei, honorentur incorruptibilitate. Iren. lib. iv. cap. 29.

Hawker's Zion's Pilgrim.

imagination should ever have had place in our minds, or fhould derive any colour from our opinions! It was finely remarked by one, who was well acquainted with the fallacies 'of those restri&tive doctrines, in the profession of which he had been educated, but from which he gloried in being delivered, that “ though

speaking of his abfolute power, God can

compel and necefsitate the will of man, and “ fo we do not make him stronger than God, “as is very weakly concluded by some; yet

he will not, because he will not violate that “ order, which he hath fet in our creation. “ He made man after his own image, invested " him with a reasonable foul, having the use " of understanding, and the freedom of will: “ he endowed him with a power to confider “ and deliberate, to consult and choofe; and • fo by confequence he gave him dominion s over himself and his own actions; that hava " ing made him lord of the whole world, he

might not be a slave to himself, but might “ first exercise his sovereignty in the free pos" fellion of his own mind. To force his will, “ were to destroy the nature of his creature, " which grace is not designed to do, but only o'to heal and affift it; and therefore God deals “' with man, as a free agent, by instructions “ and commands, by promises and threaten

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« ings, by allurements and reproofs, by re“ wards and punishments. So true is the “ saying of Tertullian, Nemo invitus fit bo6

What though we are instructed by the infallible word of truth, that “no man can

come unto Christ, except the Fatber draw 6 him;" and that if we would be fons of God, we must be “ led by the Spirit? Are we also told, that we must be cbained, and dragged, and irresistibly forced to the altar, like brute beasts, which have no understanding ? Is this the “ reasonable service," wherewith the Apostle “ beseeches us, by the mercies of « God, to present our bodies a living facrifice,

holy, acceptable unto God &?” Are these the « freewill offerings," with which the Psalmist teaches us the Lord will “be pleased h?” Nay, does not the very language of such declarations itself contradict the notion of irresistible force ? And does not our blefled Lord resolve his own expreffion into the same, as the “ being taught 4 of God,” the “ having heard and having " learned of the Father ?” “ Many men un« derstand these words,” says Bishop Hooper,

in a wrong sense, as though God required in

4. Examination of Tilenus, p. 278. e John vi. 44.

f Rom. viii. 14, & Rom. xii. I.

Pl. cxix. 108. John vi. 45.

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