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second, dependant, and instrumental causes: but God can do infinitely more, and that which we cannot possibly do, as he is the supreme, first, independent, and principal cause. This is the true account and reconciling of those texts where God and man are said to do the same thing. They both do it in a different manner, as they are different causes. We see in other things that one and the same effect may have causes of a different nature; so bere, God and man are concurrent causes of one and the same effect, that is, they are joint causes of salvation. And when we say they are joint causes, it is not to be understood as if they were causes of the same kind; for we see that they are very different ones. God is not a cause or agent in our salvation as we are, nor is it possible that we should lay claim to that causality which is proper to him. We must not share with God in the glory of this work. The honour is not to be divided between the Creator and the creature.
Hence and from what bas been before suggested, we may solve that question, whether in conversion we are active or passive. If we take conversion in the full extent and latitude of that term, as it comprehends not only the first entrance into a state of grace, but the continuance in it, and persevering in a life of holiness, we cannot say that it is altogether a passive tbing, or that man is wholly passive in it. For God in the matter of our salvation makes use of us as sensible creatures and intelligent beings, as acting under bim, as inferior and subordinate agents, as dependant and de rivative, as secondary and instrumental causes. In this sphere it is certain that we act, and therefore we may state the foregoing question from what has been said, and conclude that we are not wholly passive.
But if we distinctly and separately consider the two branches that are remarkable in the conversion of the sinner, namely, bis first entrance into it, and his continuing in the state of sanctification, then we must give a different answer to the question. With respect to the former we may justly be said to be passive, for the first effectual turning of the soul to God and holiness is the mere work of God himself. For in order to conversion, there is necessary the exciting and preventing grace of God, which is always before
the acts of a man's own will. For the will, by reason of its natural depravity, is averse to goodness, and acts contrary to the spirit of holiness; wherefore it is requisite that this faculty of the soul be moved and wrought upon by the grace of God; and this moving and working are the first essays of conversion. Whence it is evident, that we are merely passive as to this. I do not take in bere the mere preparatory acts, and those means which are used in order to this great change ; for in these, or in some part of them, man hath an agency, and doth really do something. But I speak of the effectyal turn and actual change of the will, which are the first
the first steps of conversion and regeneration ; and it is not to be doubted that these are from God alone, and that he doth all here. Man is no agent in the first successful inclining of the will; there is no concurrence, no co-operation of his in this act. God here is the sole efficient author, and man is the passive subject. As it was in the creation of the world, so it is in the spiritual creation, or regeneration. God created all things of nothing, and so he doth likewise regenerate, repair, and create men anew, when there is nothing in them to effect it. Or as it is in our first and natural birth, we are no causes of it ; $o neither are we of the second or new birth. Here the living principle of grace is God's work wholly. We are passive as to that ; but the exercise of that principle and power is from God's assisting us to put forth acts suitable to our powers. Our wills being excited and set on work hy tbe grace of God, they co-operate with the subsequent grace of God, and concur with it, to the producing of acts of piety and holiness. Being first turned by grace, we can then move and turn ourselves; and thus there is a co-operation of man's will with God's grace. Though, then, we are passive, yet it is not so to be understood as if we were void of will and choice. The true account is, that we are neither altogether active, nor purely passive; but God moves our wills, and then we will and act; which will be exemplified in the following links of our chain: and first, in REPENTANCE, as being the first spiritual motion in the soul of “ Christian.”
Repentance, heavenly monitress, reelaims
In the preceding articles of Effectual Calling, Regeneration, and Conversion, we have considered “ Christian” as passive; in the following articles, until the soul is separated from the body, we shall consider bim as active. In this view of the history and pilgrimage of " Christian," the scriptures will all harmonize, and all seeming contradictions will vanish.
Repentance properly denotes an after-thought, or the soul recollecting its own actings; and that in such a manner as to produce sorrow in the review, and a desire of amendment; as was the case with the prodigal son. It is said, (Luke xv.) “ When he came to bimself;" i. e. when he awoke from that state of delusion and profligacy into which he had fallen; he sat down and reflected, and called to remembrance his father's house, and his father's servants, and the circumstance of their having bread enough and to spare, while he was enduring all the miseries of privation. He then te pented bitterly on account of the errors and sins of his former life; and while in this conflicting state of mind, he feels a spring of action operating in his soul, which causes him to resolve, “ I will arise and go to my Father,” and confess my sio ; peradventure Le will receive me.
Here we may perceive the first spring of action in the soul of “ Christian.”—“ I will arise, and go to my Father, and will say to bim, I have sioned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.”
Thus we find the writers of the sacred scriptures have left upon record their experience:
I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not bid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of iny sin.
I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever before me: against thee, thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight
Job saith, I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men ?
Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth.
My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death. My friends scorn me; but mine eye poureth out tears unto God,
Job. Peter remembered the words of Jesus, and he went out and wept bitterly. Matt xxvi. 75.
0 wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
With Repentance we must also unite returning to God with confession, which also supposes action; and with this view of the subject the scriptures will fully harmonize.
Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law;
But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found. 2 Chron, xv. 4.
Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, and he will return to the remnant of you; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye
will return unto him, 2 Chron. xxx. 6,9. Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with your whole hearts, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness. Who knoweth if he will return, and leave a blessing behind him? Joel ii. 12, 13.
Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions ; 90 iniquity shall not be your ruin. Ezek. švüi. 30.
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matt. iv. 17.
Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke xiii. 2.
When they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized, every one of you. Acts. ii. 37.
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance; for ye were made sorry after a godly manner.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
For behold, this self-same thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you! yea, wbat clearing of yourselves! yea, what indignation! yea, what fear! yea, what rehement desire! yea, what zeal! 2 Cor. vii, 9—11.
Showing first unto them of Damascus, aud at Jerusalem, and through all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, and turn to God, and do works nueet for repentance, Acts xxvi. 20. Be zealous, therefore, and repent. Rev. iii, 5.
At Jesu's feet, where Mary sat and wept,
And bid repentance flow in tears of love,
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinver, out of a true sense of bis sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God, in Cbrist, doth, with grief and hatred of bis sin, turn from it junto God, with full purpose of, and endeavour after, new obedience.
Q. Who is the author of saving repentance?