Page images


reasonable man no more than in a dead “ poft; and marketh not the words that

follow, Every man, that heareth and learn“ eth of my Father, cometh to me. God “ draweth with his word and the Holy Ghost; “ but man's doty is to hear and learn, that is “ to say, receive the grace offered, consent to “ the promise, and not repugn the God that is calleth. God doth promise the Holy Ghost

unto them that ask him, and not to them rs that contemn hiink.” And such was the interpretation of the wife Melanethon, whom his lefs gentle brother in the reformation accused of “ prevaricating with Chrysostom',

""4 because he asserted the necessity of a willing mind. “ It is objected” (said that pious and learned Reformer). “ by the timid soul, I can “ not believe, unless God kindle my faith. I “ answer, it is true that men are drawn by « God; but they are drawn by the word of “ the Gospel, to which God wills thee to ass * sent, and at the same time to ask assistance,

it is written, How much more shall he give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him. 6 Do not then resist the Gospel ; do not en

* Bp. Hooper. Preface to Declaration of the Ten Com. mandments.

Multoque fatius eft quam tergiversari cum Chryfo ostomo. Culo. Inft. lib. iii. cap. xxiv. sect. 13.

courage mistrust; do not think, as Enthu“ fiafts dream, that thou must wait for a vio“ lent motion, whereby God may drag thee

on, although thou refift, and rush backward “ into wickedness: but assent to the divine « voice, and at the same time pray for allist

ance, as the suppliant in Mark, Lord, I be“ lieve, help thou my unbelief. When thou 6 doeft this, it is certain, that thou art drawn 6 and assisted by God; according to his oath, “ As I live, faith the Lord, I will not the “ death of a finner, but that he be converted 6 and live. To this effect are those sayings, 4 God draws, but he draws the willing mind; “ and again, Only be thou willing, and God. “ hastens to meet thee, as Basil fays in his dif“ course on the prodigal fon, to whom, as he “ returns, his Father


forth to meet him, « and flies into his embrace. These things we

say,” he adds, “ to comfort those who are in “ the Church, and understand that they are “ called by the voice of the Gospel, and are

willing to be converted. But if any without

repentance agitate curious questions, with “ such it were vain to dispute m.”

m Sed objicit trepida mens, Non poffum credere, vili Deo fidem 'accendente. Refpondeo, Verum est homines a Deo trahi ; fed trabuntur per vocem Evangelii, cui vult te Deus assentiri, et fimul petere auxilium, ficut fcriptum eft, Quanto inagis dabit Spiritum sanctum petentibus, Non igitur repugnes Evangelio ; non indulgeas diffidentiæ ; non cogites, ut fomniant Enthufiaftæ, expectandum esse violentum motum, quo te rapiat Deus etiam repugnantem, et iterum ruentem in fcelera : fed affentiaris voci divinæ, et fimul petito auxilium, ficut ille apud Marcum, Credo, Domine, fed opem fer imbecillitati meæ. Hoe cum fit certum eft te a Deo trahi et adjuvari, ficut jurat, Vivo ego, dicit Dominus, nolo mortem peccatoris, fed ut convertatur et vivat. In hanc fententiam et hæc dicta sunt, Deus trahit, sed volentem trahit. Item, Tantum velis, et Dents præoccurrit, ut Bafilius dicit in concione de filio prodigo, cui redeunti Pater obviam procedit, et involat in amplexum. Hæc dicimus ad confolandos eos, qui funt in Ecclefia, et fe intelligunt vocari voce Evangelii, et volunt converti. Si qui autem fine pænitentia movent curiosas quæstiones, cum talibus fruftra disputatur. Epist. ad Rom. cap. ix. Op. vol. iv. p. 160.

Have we the power then to resist the Spirit, when he would lead and draw us unto God? And is that true, which our Reformers have affirmed, that “ although the goodness of God « offereth his fpecial grace to all men, yet

they only enjoy it, which by their free-will “ do accept and embrace the fame, and that “ others by free-will abuse the grace and be“ nefits of Godm?” The Scriptures teach us that we may. We may “ hate” and “ rebel « against the light ":" we may

“ do despite “ unto the Spirit of graceo:" we may “ neglect " to stir up the gift of God that is in us,” and fo “ quench” his gracious influence in our hearts P: we may “resist him," till he will no longer “ strive with us ?;" we may

m Neceffary Doctrine and Erudition, &c. Article of Free-will.

John iii. 20. Job. xxiv. 14.
Heb, s. 29.

“ rebel “ against him,” and “grieve” him, and “ vex® him, “rejecting" the proffered means of falvation, and “thrusting from us the word of life," till he will be " turned" from us': we may provoke him by obftinate impenitence and difobedience, until he will remove his light from before us : we may " refuse to turn at his 5 counsel, and may despise his reproof,” until he will close his ear to our entreaties, and will refuse to be found of us: if we forsake him, “ he will forsake us :” and “if we do not like “ to retain him in our knowledge, he will give

us over to a reprobate mind, to do those “ things which are not convenient *." “ God “ doth by his goodnefs approach to all,” faith St. Basil, “ but we set ourfelves at distance by “ finy:" and, as another Father of the Church remarks, “they who are actuated by the Holy

1 Tim. iv. 14. 2 Tim. i. 6. 1 Thefl. v. 19. 1 Acts vii. 51. Gen. vi. 3. * If. Ixiii. 10. Eph. iv. 30. Matt. xxi. 42, 43. A&ts xiii. 46. Rev. ii. 5.

i Prov. j. 23-30. • 2 Chron. xv. 2.

* Rom. i. 28. Y Tη εαυτου αγαθοτητι σασιν ο Κυριος εγγιζει, μακρυνομεν δε εαυτους ημεις δια της αμαρτιας. Βaf. in PJ xxxiii. Op. tonι. 1. p. 155. ed. Paris. 1721.

[ocr errors]

Spirit, are not held under any necessity, but “ have a liberty to turn themselves, and do “ what they will in this life ?.”

With respect indeed to those gifts, which were miraculously conferred by the Holy Spirit on fome of the primitive converts for “ the 66 work of the ministry, and the edifying of " the Church," they seem to have been the effect of an irresistible and overruling power, and to have required no cooperation in the will of the recipient. And with a view to fuch gifts as thefe St. Paul appears to demand, “ Who maketh thee to differ from another?" But with respect to his ordinary grace, though that grace and ability is from Christ, it is our indispensable office to actuate that ability, and to cooperate with that grace, which is sent to

strengthen b," but not to force us, in the dif. charge of our duty.

“ It is an error," says Calvin, “ to make man cooperate with God, so that he


2 Ουτε γαρ ο τελειος εις το αγαθον, η βαθυς εις την αμαρτιαν, και σοιων εαυτον σκευος του διαβόλου, υφ' ου το όλον κατεκριθη εις το κακον, αναγκη τινι δεδεται· αλλ' εχει την ελευθεριαν του γενεσθαι σκευος εκλογής και ζωηςομοιως σαλιν οι μεμυθεσμενοι εις την θεοτητα, καιτοι σεπληρωμενοι και δεδεμενοι πνευματι αγιω, ουκ αναγκη τινι κεκρατηνται, αλλ' εχουσι το αυτεξουσιον του τραπηναι αυτους, και ποιειν ο θελουσιν εις τον αιώνα τουτον. Macardi Hom. xv. p. 96. ed. Paris. 1621. * I Cor. iv. 7.

Philiv. 19.

« PreviousContinue »