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have no more doubt that their of events, except in upholding make or constitution is differ- the vast machine which, in the ent, than we have, that their beginning, he had set in motion. passions and affections are so. It is no more inconsistent with In like manner if we sce cause the holy nature of God to ope: to conclude from the uniform rate in and by the serpent, than conduct of two persons, for a to operate in and by the dove. course of years, that one loves His agency in and by the two God and his neighbor, and that she-bears out of the wood, which the other loves no being buttare forty and two children who himself, and sensibly hates all mocked Elisha, was as pure, as who stand in his way, we ne-in and by the ravens which fed cessarily conclude, that their Elijah: or, in and by the dove natures or constitutions are dif- which returned to Noah in the ferent, as well as their affections ark with the olive leaf. His and exercises themselves. So agency in afflicting Job through when we observe that an indi-the malice of Satan was as holy vidual from spiteful and mali- as it was in and by Job in feedcious becomes uniformly kind / ing the hungry and clothing the and benevolent, we conchude naked. The divine benignity is that his nature is changed ; not impressed on all his works; and his affections only, but his cor:- every creature of God, either stitution, in which we seek a by itself, or in its connectiort reason of the existence of af- with other things, and in the fections of a certain kind in a use to which it is applied by train.
him who filleth all in all, will Should it be said, that holy show forth his praise. affections, in the regenerate, The opinion, that the change are produced by a law of con- in regeneration cannot be phys. stant divine operation, it will be ical, seems to have originated admitted ; but it will be proper | in the theory, that man could to remark, that, for ought an- not be to blamë for a state of pears, all that is meant by na- unregeneracy; or for being deture, in any creature, is a law of stitute of a principle of holy constant divine operation by love, if a physical change was which, certain affections, voli- necessary as the ground of that tions, actions, or motions, are affection ; because, this would produced, in a certain stated imply a natural inability for holy course and order, so as to bring exercise ; but that he would be about the end for which the I to blame for being in that state, creature was made. Such an if the new birth were supposed idea of nature in creatures is only a moral change ; because not seen to be inconsistent with such a change would imply only sound philosophy, or divinity. a moral inability for holy exerOn the contrary, by making cise, consisting in the want of God, as it were, visible in every a heart for it. This reasoning thing and event, it has the ad- goes on the supposition, that vantage of that idea of nature natural inability excuses from which tends to exclude him blame, but that moral inability from our thoughts, as having does not. But this must be unlittle or no agency in the course I derstood with limitations. No
thing seems necessary to blame- , himself and others. Indeed, the worthiness but that the subject | temper, or the affections, are should be capable of the know-| not, nor ever can be the proper ledge of God, and should, in fact, object of choice ; for they are be destitute of love to him and independent of choice ; and the to his creatures. A creature of proper ground of it. Our being such a character, however he affected in a certain manner in became such, is worthy of blame the perception of particular oband punishment because he is jects is not the fruit of antecehostile to every interest but a dent choice, nor is it choice itselfish interest. For, the precise self ; but it is by a law of our notion of blame-worthiness in nature, as · sensitive beings. a rational agent is, that he is We do not love or hate obwholly selfish, or has no re jects because we choose to love gard to the good of others : or, or hate them ; but because they which is the same thing, is an appear to us lovely or hateful. enemy to universal being. If The perception itself of beauty any character can be blame or deformity in objects is all worthy it must be that which the love or hatred we ever exprefers a good comparatively ercise towards them. It is no nothing to that which is infinite- matter of choice whether or not Jy great : because, such choice I will be pleased with a beautiful is against reason and the fitness landscape, a well proportioned of things ; and such a character edifice, a fine poem, a beautiful surely deserves punishment, person, divine truth, the characwhich is nothing else but the ter of Christ, or any other object, opposition of the public, or of in the natural or moral world. him who represents the public, As a sensitive being, susceptible against such a character, man- of pleasure and pain, I am afifested in the infliction of natu-fected by them, and am the subral evil upon him. Brutes areject of various sensations of dewholly selfish in their actions, light, or the contrary, according and had they a moral sense by to the state I am in ; but the which they could discriminate pleasure or pain I feel is not the between right and wrong, they result of choice. Indeed, if we would be sinful creatures, and have affections, the gratification the subjects of moral govern- of which we find is hurtful to us, ment ; but being destitute of we have power, in some cases, such moral sense, their actions to avoid their objects ; and in are not moral any more than the that way, indirectly, to dimninish actions of the sun and wind. the force of those affections · The blame of a rational agent themselves. Still, it will remain does not consist in this that he true, that our affections are not had power to do otherwise if he what they are as a consequence had pleased ; nor in this, that of our choosing them ; but they his evil temper is the fruit of his are what they are, by a law of own choice; but it consists in our nature ; which is indepenthis, that his temper is, in itself, dent of our volitions and prior to evil ; prompting to a train of them. If it were otherwise, we volitions and external actions should, in a sense, be masters of which dishonor God, and injure , cur own destiny; for, as our af. fections, which are nothing more delight, they alone will be than modifications of pleasure sought on their own account, the and pain, are the spring of hap- whole enquiry will be, who will piness, and misery ; or, more shew us any good ? If spiritual properly, are themselves happi- objects afford delight, we shall ness or misery, in proportion to live a life of faith, which will their intensity, if they were the be to us the substance of things objects of choice, or choice itself, hoped for ; and the desire of we should never be the subjects our souls will be,. 6 Lord lift of pain or distress in any case. " thou up the light of thy counIndeed, the very existence of“ tenance upon us.” There is painful affections which, more no natural man, who has just or less, we always experience, speculative views of God, but such as fear, despair, envy, and knows, that the love of God shed the like, proves, that the affec- abroad in the heart would be the tions are distinct from volition or greatest of all blessings ; and choice.
| he may seek this, in the word, The view of an approaching and other means of grace, as, evil will excite fear; if seen to be being essential to his happiness, unavoidable, it will produce des- fin this world, and in the world to pair : if we love not our neigh- come : while he is wholly desbor, his good, if we covet it, will titute of it, and is conscious that excite envy ; and his opposition he is so. Nor is there any reato ours, malice. All these af- son to doubt, but sinners, who fections are modes of pain which are thoroughly convinced of the application of their objects their true character and state, will certainly produce, whether would undertake the most painwe will or not ; and the effect is ful service imaginable, and necessary by a natural necessity; would give ten thousand worlds, for it will exist, notwithstanding if they owned them, for the love any actual or supposable will or of God, as a means of escaping endeavor to the contrary. The hell. Nay, they may be satispleasing affections are equally fied, that the love of God in the independent of the will as the heart would itself be blessedpainful ones. In view of attaina-ness, and the only proper life of ble good, a man cannot choose the soul, and yet feel nothing but hone, and in the possession but enmity against him. And of it, he cannot choose but re- they might continue in such a joice : and he might be willing, state, and with such views, for in vain, to purchase love at the many years, even to their dying price of all the substance of his day, and in the agonies of death house. Our affections constitute | itself, and sink to endless woe us sensitive beings ; and they at last. In such a state they are the spring of all our volitions would know for certain, “ that and outward actions. We seek it is not of him that willeth, the good, and shun the evil, “ nor of him that runneth, but of which we find the presence of “ God that sheweth mercy." objects around us is calculated | These views, indeed, commonly to produce ; and this occupies prepare the way for the bestowthe whole of our attention. If ment of mercy; but there is no the objects of sense alone afford I certain connection between theią
and that bestowment. They are ty: I loath the very sight of not of the nature of holiness, him : my will has nothing to do . because they imply no sense of with the subject, except to shun the beauty and glory of the di- an object in itself loathsome : vine character; and are wholly my nature, or the nature of the selfish. The Saviour says, in- creature, must be changed bedeed, ye will not come unto me fore I can love him. The case that ye might have life; and this is the same with respect to is the character of every sinner. moral objects. The wicked are But coming to Christ is an exer- an abomination to the righteous, cise of that faith which worketh and the righteous to the wicked. by love ; love is pre-supposed, There is an opposition of charand is most essential in the act acter ; they cannot feel complaof coming to Christ. They can cency in each other : though will any things which does not the righteous may and do exerimply this. But he also says, cise good will towards the wick" No man can come to me, ex-ed, they cannot love their charac* cept the Father who hath sent ter. Tell a natural man to love o me draw him.” These words, Christ, and he will answer, if he in their obvious meaning, imply speak out his heart, I see no not only a want of will, but form or comeliness in him, no strictly a want of power. The beauty that I should desire him. affection of love to God, or, Offer him eternal glory if he which is the same thing, a per- will love him, and come to him ; ception of his beauty and glory, tell him that Christ is infinitely is wanting. Now it is certain, lovely, the chiefest of ten thouthat the sinner cannot obtain this sands ; that he is the delight of perception by any possible or all holy beings ; that God himsupposable volition of his own. self, whose judgment is perfect, The reason is, it is the work of loves him with infinite love ; and God alone, it is a new creation : has highly exalted him, and giyit infinitely transcends the pow- en him a name that is above er of any creature ; nor is the every name ; and he will anproduction of it connected, in-swer, it may be so; or I believe fallibly, with any thing which it is so; and I have no doubt, the sinner can do, by the pro- but if I loved the Lord Jesus mise of God.
| Christ in sincerity, I should be Ask the first man you meet blessed for ever. Yet I must say, whether he can love a toad or a as before, I see no beauty in him. viper? He will answer, it is im- Threaten him from God, the possible. Offer him an estate if God of truth, with eternal torhe will love and caress the ugly ments in hell, if he live and die creature ; he will feel himself an enemy to Christ ; and he may insulted, and will retort, Sir, you | reply that he expects to be damknow it is impossible. Tell him ned if he continue of his present his inability is nothing else but temper ; for he sees no form or the want of a will, and that he comeliness in Christ, and, feels can love the creature if he plea- that his heart is enmity against ses. He will rejoin, Sir, I per-| him ; and that he can no more ceive no beauty in the creature: change his own heart, than he I perceive nothing but deformi- can create a world. Tell him,
as some do, that he can love, who is the sum of moral excel Christ if he pleases ; it will not lence. If knowing him, I love satisfy ; for he knows, or may him not, I shew that I am not know, that it depends not at all conformed to him, or like him. on his pleasure, whether the Of consequence, if he is excellove of Christ shall exist in his lent, I am vile; if he is beauti, heart, or not ; because the scrip-ful, I am deformed. My blame tures testify, that love is of God, for not loving God and my and he that loveth is born of neighbor does not consist in this, God; and it is not of him that that I have power to do it, but willeih, nor of him that runneth, will not ; but it consists in this, but of God that sheweth mercy. that, knowing God, I am not
God has been pleased by a conformed to him, but wholly certain law of his own operation unlike him, who is the sum of to connect certain events or ef moral excellence and beauty. fects with our volitions : and the Should it be said that to obey or events which we find are con- disobey appertains to the will nected with our volitions are alone, and to no other faculty; said, in common speech, to be the answer is, that to obey or in our power. Thus on willing disobey appertains to the man, to raise my hand to my head, it and not to his faculties. The rises; this event is in my pow. command of God reaches, the er : on willing to raise a weight state of the soul, as well as its of a thousand pounds, it rises exercises. It requires not only not, this event is not in my pow. | those exercises which are evi. er. Now it is certain that the dence of love ; but, what is existence of the love of God in most essential, love itself. And the heart is not connected with the external evidence of love any volitions of the natural man, / arising from exercise derives its it is therefore not in his power ; | whole value from that love, of it is not the fruit of his agency; which they are the expression, or it is the fruit of God's agency, I supposed to be so. If I feed the and of his alone.
hungry and clothe the naked, be. If I am commanded, by one cause I delight in his happiwho has right to command, to nesss, or, in other words, bestretch out my hand, and I do l cause I love him, I obey the it not, I am to blame ; if to stop command, “ thou shalt love thy the sun in its course, and neighbor as thyself.” But if though willing, I do it not, I am | I do it, that I may have praise not to blame : because here is of men, I do not obey the coma no defect of moral character. If mand, but violate it ; for love, I am commanded to love God l and love only, with its genuine with all the heart, and my neigh- fruits and expressions, is the bor as myself, and I do it not, fulfilling of the law. I am to blame ; though the ef. To say that obedience to the sect be wholly out of my pow-l law consists in exercise, and tal er ; because there is an essen-| love is not an exercise if it be tial defect of moral character. | long not to the will, is to Deg. It is fit and right that, knowing question. All will admit that God, I should love him ; for love is the fulfilling of the law this shews that I am like him, I but that love is an exercises