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and so great. I ask again, what could possibly have induced the will all at once to make so great and new an effort ? Motives ?. But the same motives had been resisted for years, and were firmly resisted in the very last act before the change. Now that the will should steadily resist all motives from the beginning, and all at once yield in an instant, without any new inducement, without any previous consent of its own ;-—that love should start up out of enmity in a moment, uncaused but by itself, is altogether incredible, and never was and never will be believed by any rational mind. The moment that Regeneration was proved to be an instantaneous change from unabated enmity to supreme love, the argument for the self-determining power was forever ruined.
Nor will any relief be found by seeking an ally for the will in the understanding. Universal experience proves that the understanding cannot controul, much less create, the affections. If it could, every man would be sure to do as well as he knows how. If it could, the enmity of the natural heart would be imputable only to ignorance, and then the enmity would not be directed against the true God, but against a false image of God which it is every man's duty to hate. These faculties of the mind have indeed some controul over each other, but by no means enough to support such an hypothesis. Their empires are very distinct, and divide a man as it were against himself. In its turn the understanding will not submit to the heart. Whoever
set himself down to any mental effort, for instance to write a composition, without feeling the uncertainty whether his intellect would obey his wishes ? The will has to stand and solicit, and is often held in suspense whether its suit will be favoured or denied. Hence the notion of the poets about courting the Muses. Could the heart controul the understanding, who would not at once make himself a Newton ? And it is only an equal law of nature that the understanding should not controul the heart. If it could, who would not speedily rid himself of many uncomfortable passions ? which of you would not become a Christian at once?
The theory of the self-determining power being thus set aside, those systems which have been built upon it sink of course. These systems may all be reduced to three; the Pelagian, Arminian, and Semi-Arminian. I will spend a moment in spreading out these by the side of the Calvinistick doctrine, that you may distinctly see in what points they differ.
The Pelagian theory is, that God does no more than present motives to the mind by the external light of truth : to these the will in the exercise of its self-determining power yields or refuses to yield, and the good man alone makes himself to differ from others who possess equal means of information. This system wholly sets aside the influences of the divine Spirit.
The Arminian theory is precisely the same, only it acknowledges the enlightening influence of the Spirit as an auxiliary in setting motives before the
mind. To these motives the will in the exercise of its self-determining power yields or refuses to yield, and the good man alone makes himself to differ from others who enjoy common grace.
The Semi-Arminian theory differs from the latter only in name, and in a greater confusion of language. According to this system God affords a portion of spiritual aid, producing something more than light, and something less than holiness. If that aid is improved He will afford more, and so on till the change is complete. This undefinable influence between an enlightening and a 'sanctifying one, the mind, though utterly destitute of “true holiness," is capable of improving so as to meet with divine approbation, and in reward to receive more ; but it is capable, by the self-determining power of the will which that influence does not controul, of misimproving the grace, and so losing the effect. God really does more for one than another, because one has better improved His grace, though with an unholy heart ; but he would do as much for one as another if all would improve alike. The real difference is made, not by discriminating grace, but by one's improving divine influence better than another, through the self-determining power of the will which that influence did not controul. This theory rests its weight on three columns; the self-determining power, progressive Regeneration, and the dogma that God approves of unholy deeds; all which, I persuade myself, have been proved to be but shadows.
Men go through life the dupes of names. I beg to know what can be meant by an influence which produces something more than light, and something less than holiness? Does it enlarge the understand ing? Does it strengthen the memory? And if it did, what then ? What has an enlargement of natural powers to do with a change of heart? Satan in natural
powers surpasses any saint on earth. But of a moral tendency, what other influence can there be, than that which informs the conscience or improves the heart? in other words, than that which enlightens or sanctifies? Do 'you say it is an influence which would lead to holiness if the will did not resist? But what other can that be than an enlight: ening influence? Come fix a microscopick eye on this single point. What influence can you conceive of between that which presents motives to the will, leaving it unconstrained, and that which bends the will by constraining power? Do you say there may be a pressure of power which the will resists? But upon your principle what right has power to encroach upon the freedom of the will by undertaking to compel it? If I have no right to bring a man by force to the house of God, I have no right to exert the least muscular strength upon him, or to assail him in any other way than by motives. But who knows that such a pressure is made if no effect fol. lows? Who can be conscious of a divine influence but by the effect? But if there is an effect, what effect? What effect pressing in the direction of holiness? Do you say there is thoughtfulness, solemni
ty, and distress? But these are natural effects of light carried home to the conscience. Do you say it removes prejudice? But how except by light, since it leaves the heart unaltered? Do you say it restrains from passion and sin? But how except by motives, (and by regulating perhaps the tone of the body, and the disposition of outward circumstances,) if the heart remains the same? This intermediate influence must then be an illusion unless it is something which makes the heart better without holiness. But it has appeared in a former Lecture, that in the nature of things the heart cannot be made better till it is supremely fixed on God. I have another question on this subject. What aid can the mind need other than light, when the selfdetermining power is fully competent to settle the issue? If the will cannot determine itself to good without other aid, what becomes of the boasted self-determining power? Of course I cannot comprehend what more the sinner is to receive for improving the grace. More what? More strength ? But what do you mean by more strength? Do you mean more natural powers of body or mind ? But these are not needed upon any plan, certainly not upon yours, for the will, you say, is fully competent to determine itself. Do you then mean more moral strength? But moral strength is holiness, of which the sinner possesses none till Regeneration is complete. Do you mean more strength of resolution and desire? But what are resolutions and desires that make the heart no better? Do you