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SERMON XIII.

Of the GRACE of GOD.

Phil. ii. latter part of the 12th,

and the 13th verse.
Work out your own Salvation with

Fear and Trembling ; For it is
God which worketh in you, both
to will and to do, of his good
pleasure.

Here is no one Questions erm. T

in the whole System of Di- XIII. vinity, which has

raisedm greater Controversies in the

Church of God, than That concerning the Extent of the Grace of

God

Ser m. God and the Power of Man. Some, in XIII. order to vindicate God from being the

Author of Sin, have been so follicitous to maintain the perfect Freedom of Men's Faculties, and their Liberty of choosing Good or · Evil, that they either have, or have been thought to have, diminished from the absoluteness of the Sovereignty, or from the Efficacy of the Grace of God. They have been thought, I say, to diminish from the Grace of God. For whether they have really done so, or only by their Adversaries been" represented as doing so; is not very evident. In almost all Controversies, what Men say for Themselves, and what their Adversaries infer or represent them as saying, are generally two very different things : And they who will not be at the pains to consider distinctly what each side alleges for itself, but will judge of Either by the character or representation made of it by the Otber only: will for ever be led into erroneous judgments concerning Men and Things, and continue unavoidably ignorant of the True State of the Matter in Question, whatsoever it be, : Whether

therefore

N

therefore They who in Antient Times SER M.
were represented as Deniers of the Grace XIII.
of God, were rightly charged with fo do-
ing or no, does not certainly appear ; be-
cause the Ground of that charge, was on-
ly their asserting the Freedom of the Will
of Man ; which though their Adverfaries
judged to infer a Denial of the Sufficien-
cy of the Power or Grace of God, yet
perhaps They Themselves faw no such Con-
sequence of it. However That, be; O-
thers, in the contrary Extreme, that they
might be sure not to ascribe too little to the
Efficacy of the Divine Grace, have sup-
posed men to have nio natural Powers at
all of Acting or Willing, 10 Use of the
original Faculties given them at their
Creation, no Liberty of Will or Freedom
of choice, in matters of Morality and Re-
ligion. By which Doctrine they have
confequently, (even themselves seeing and
acknowledging the consequence, ) intrody-
ced an absolute Necefity or Fatality upon
Men's Actions. From whence it follows,
in the next step of deduction, ( though
This indeed they are not so willing to
see ;) but in Truth it does necessarily and

unavoidably

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ment

Serm.unavoidably follow

that God bimself, XIII. and not Man, will be the Author of

Sin.

SOMETHING not unlike to This, has happened in another Question concerning the Liberty of the Will of Man, and the Prescience or Foreknowledge of God. Some, considering that without Liberty of the Will, there can be no Religion, no Virtue or Vice, no just Punish

or reasonable Reward, have, in order to remove an Objection which they judged would otherwise lie hard against so important a Truth, denied, or seemed to deny, God's Foreknowledge of future and free Events. Others on the contrary, intent upon magnifying the Glory of the Divine Attributes, and follicitous to lecure the including all possible future Events within the Compass of God's Foreknowledge, have affirmed all the Actions of Men to be Necessary and Determined absolutely, by a Chain of certain and unalterable Causes. The Consequence of which unavoidably is, that Man in reality is no more capable of Morality or

Religion,

2

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