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that have always been urged against any thing, which approximated to them; as the quotations from the ancient fathers undeniably evince: and his answer is full to the purpose. This is so far well, if there
had been no change in men: that is, if men were now, what God at first created man; if there had been no such fact as the fall of Adam, and our fall in him; nu such doctrine as that of original sin : if Pelagius and his followers had been the only rational christians. Who does not perceive, that the denial of this doctrine, or the explaining of it in a manner, which palliates its effects, as if comparatively small, or, (which is more effectual than either,) the keeping of it, as much as possible, out of sight, gives rise and plausibility to the reasonings of Anțicalvinists, in the present, as well as in former, days? The concluding part of the quotation shews, that Calvin thought, (and he thought justly,) that blending christian doctrine with heathen philosophy, was the source of the perplexity, in which numbers were involved on these points.—By 'free-will in man,' Calvin means, the will free from slavery to the sinful passions, and receiving no bias from them. It will appear, in the course of the remarks on this book, that the author is not disposed to vindicate all Calvin's sentiments : but in this quotation, he sees much to approve, nay, to admire; and nothing of a contrary nature : except any one should think, that God's predestination, as to the fall of Adam, not being expressly mentioned in Scripture, might have been omitted. Calvin cannot well speak of philosophy and human wisdom, as to the concerns of reli. gion, in morë depreciating language, than that of the sacred Scriptures.
P. DXXVIII. I. 18. * Let this, &c." The provi. dential government of the universe is the subject here treated of, and the power exerted on the minds of men, influencing them to accomplish their part of the Lord's grand design, is intended; in which is spect this power secures not only the compliance of the elect, but of the reprobate. The word compelleth is, as I think, exceptionable ; but it does not imply, that the disobedience of the reprobate, for which they are doomed to perdition, is the effect of compulsion, or involuntary, or even committed against their will, as some might at first reading be apt to conclude. In olsequium cogat. The word avexatu answers to cogo: yet it is often used in the New Testament, where compulsion is not meant; but merely earnést means of producing voluntary compliance."
P. DXXVI. 1. 25. * This course, &c.' This is introduced by the following passage : But that the • truth of this question may the more easily shine • forth to us; I will, by the way, fix a mark, to • which the whole argument must be directed. For
? Let this be the sum ; since the will of God is said to be the cause of all things, that his providence is appointed to be the ruler in all the counsels and works of men; so that it not only exerts its power in the elect, who are governed by the Holy Spirit, but
also compels the compliance of the reprobate. Inst. lib. i. cap. • 18. sect. 2. it ;
2 Mati, xiv. 2:2. , Mark vi. 45. Luke xiv, 23. Acts xxvi. 11. xxviii, 19, 2 Cor. xii. 11. Gal. ii. 3. 14. vi. 12.
3 This course must be pursued, that inan, being assured that nothing good is left within his power, and being every where surrounded by a most wretched necessity, should nevertheless • be instructed to good, of which he is destitute; to aspire to liber.
ty, of which he is deprived; and should be roused from indo• lence with more earnestness than if he were found furnished ** with the highest degree of virtue. Inst. lib. ii. cap. 2. sect. 1.
this will be the best method of avoiding error, if the dangers be considered, to which we are on ' either side exposed. For when man is put away, ' (abdicatur) from all rectitude; immediately froın " that he seizeth the occasion, of slothfulness : and,
because it is said, that he is not able of himself to ' the pursuit of righteousness ;, he puts the whole ' from him entirely, as if not at all pertaining to him.
Again, not the smallest particle can be ascribed to • him, but both the honour of God is taken away • from him; and the man himself falls by a rash confidence. Therefore lest we should strike on these rocks, (that is, either heartless indolence, or vain self-confidence,) this course must be pursued, ' &c.'—The necessily spoken of, is that arising from 'man's natural depravity, and his situation in this world of sin and temptation ; by which he has not either inclination or power, to return to God, and recover holiness, except by special grace: and not the necessity of compulsion. The last clause is, in the :original, quum si summa virtute fingeretur instructus. • Than if it were feigned, that he was furnished, with
the greatest power.” The word fingor means either to be formed, or to be feigned: but not to be found, I suspect therefore, that here is an unnoticed error of the press, and that found is printed instead of
Translation by Thomas Norton.
formed. It appears to me, however, that Calvin used fingeretur in the latter sense; for his argument evidently requires it. Calvin would consider all real virtue, or holiness, or moral power, supposed to exist in fallen man, apart from the special grace of God by Christ, as a feigned thing, which had no real existence. To suppose, that we have this power, and can exert it, in turning from sin to God and holiness, whenever we choose, tends to presumptuous delays, or to merely transient languid attempts; and precludes the earnest and fervent prayer to the Giver of all good, both to ineline our hearts and to assist us, in this most needful concern; without which nothing effectual can be accomplished. “ Turn thou me, “ and so shall I be turned."_“ Heal me, and I shall “ be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved : for thou " art my Praise."? 1
• Create in me a clean heart, O « God, and renew a right spirit within me." 6 It " thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." But the deep sense of our total inability, in ourselves, to attain to that, without which we must be for ever miserable, joined to a believing view of the power and grace of the great Redeemer, directly tends to dictate such prayers, and to excite us to use, earnestly and diligently, all the appointed means of grace, and to observe carefully, the rules and directions, which are laid down in the sacred Scriptures. Thus, under the deep sense of our total inability for any thing truly good, without divine assistance; we come to Christ, and hear his words, and do them; and so
er. xvii. 11.
learn, that we can do “ all things, through Christ who strengtheneth us;" and that, “when we are weak, “ then we are strong, for the power of Christ resteth
on us. Thus we are more sharply stirred up from “ slothfulness, than if it were feigned,” and we imagined, that we were furnished with the greatest
power:' though not, than if we were found furnished, with the highest degree of virtue or holiness.
P. DXXIX. I. 7. • It is clear, &c.” This quotation may speak for itself. It contains precisely the doctrine of our articles and liturgy; and pushes the enquiry no further.
P. DXXIX. 1. 25. • The first part, &c.'? Some
1. It is clear, for a plain and obvious reason, that the begin. ' ning of good is certainly from no other quarter but from God
alone. For neither will the will be found inclined to good, except in the elect. But the cause of election is to be sought ex• traneously from men. Whence it is established, that mau has
a right will, not from himself, but that it is derived from the
same good pleasure by which we were elected before the creation ' of the world. Another reason, not unlike this, is added : for • since the beginning of willing and acting well is from faith, it • must be considered from whence faith itself is. But since all
Scripture proclaims that faith is the gratuitous gift of God, it • follows that it is of mere grace, when we, who are naturally
with our whole mind inclined to evil, begin to think well. Inst. lib. ii. cap. 3. sect. 8.' * * The first part of a good work is the will; the second, a
strong effort in executing; God is the Author of both....... • In this manner, therefore, the Lord both begins and perfects a 'good work in us : so that it is his that the will conceives a love.
of what is right; that it inclines to the pursuit of it; that it is
excited and moved to the endeavour of pursuing it: then that • the choice, the pursuit, the endeavour do not weary, but pro
ceed even to the effect : lastly, that man constantly goes on in