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tions to save fouls from death, and direct them to “ Jesus Christ and him crucified,” and lead them in the way of holiness and peace. When therefore I view the charaEter of Mr. Fletcher, it is with no small regret that I find it requisite to animad. vert on his controversial writings, and to observe his prejudices running so high against-Calvinism, shall I say? Nay, rather, against a man of straw to which he gives that name.
And even in his opposition to what he calls Calvinism, I can give him full credit that his defign was praise-worthy-to vindicate the divine character, maintain the reign of holiness in the church, and spread truth in the world. In this design I have the pleasurable consciousness of concurring; but how far the system he defended, compared with what is here proposed, is calculated to promote the proposed design, is now left for public decision.
The sovereignty of subjective grace in transforming
the mind to the divine likeness.
§ 1. Difference arising from a want of precise views
of the nature of GRACE. $ 2-4. (I.) Which denotes, according to scripture, sometimes an exhibition of divine favour. § 5, 6. (II.) Sometimes the required effect of exhibited favour. And $7. (III.) Sometimes the holy state of the mind. $ 8. This produced by an internal operation of the Holy Spirit, and may be termed subjective grace. $ 9. These views of grace compared. $ 10. Since the
first constitutes but a part of the agent's motives § 11. And the second is not the mere effe&t of the first, § 12. Hence the necefsity of the third in all virtuous and holy acts. Further proved, § 13. (1.) From scripture. $14-16. (2.) From reafon. $ 17—23. (3.) From analogy. $ 24–28. The nature of fubje&tive grace more particularly afcertained.
$1. ANY controverfial differences have süb
fifted, and now subfift, not only between Calvinifts and Arminians, but among several other denominations of Christians, (some of which are making confiderable efforts, in the present day, for the propagation of their sentiments), occasioned,
I presume, by the want of precise views of the nature of GRACE. The import of the term, in general, is sufficiently plain, as Jenoting divine Javour : but the difficulty, from which arises a difference of opinion, consists in this — that such favour is represented in the sacred oracles under several afpe&ts, according to different relations and circumstances.
§ 2. (I.) Sometimes divine favour, in the way of exhibition, addressed to the intellect and will of the moral agent, is termed grace. Thus the manifeftation of covenant favours, as the love of God to a perishing world in general, and in a higher degree to his people in particular, the pardon of fin, the gift of righteousness, salvation from moral evil and from hell, with everlasting life and glory, obtains that name. The grace of God that bringesh falvation hath appeared unto all men ; that is, the gospel, which is a display of divine favour, is preached to all nations and people. When the apostle Peter says (1 Pet. v. 12.) “ This is the true grace of God, wherein ye stand,” he evidently means the gospel, in which is made a glorious exhibition of divine favour.
« The word of his grace” is a periphrasis for “ the gospel,” and often occurs in the New Testament; in which the word “ grace" must intend the divine favour in its exhibited form. When St. Paul says, “ Ye are fallen from grace," (on supposition that the persons he addressed sought to be justified by the law) he can mean only that they had fallen or
apoftatized from the true gospel, - that they had loft a just view of God's manifested favour to finful men as the ground of their faith, and hope of salvation. When St. Peter observes, (1 Pet. i. 10.) that some “ prophesied of the grace that should come unto” the persons whom he addressed; he afterwards (ver. 12.) explains his meaning thus,—" they did minister (or instrumentally exhibit) the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gofpel unto you.” The apostle Jude speaks of some
ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness.” The very terms used in the connection prove that nothing else can be meaně than the exhibition or manifeftation of covenant favour addressed to free agents, who perversely abused it. Being “ungodly” men, they were graceless, in the subjective sense of the word; and yet they abufed “grace,” which necessarily im. plies that it was something objective. It would be easy to produce other passages which are equally decisive in proof of this acceptation of the
grace,” but these, I presume, are sufficient:
$ 3. In order more clearly to prepare the way for the result intended, it is observable that the whole of divine revelation may be considered either as a testimony, or as a proclamation addressed to mankind by the King of heaven.
1. The whole of divine revelations, however diverfified, may be considered as a testimony from GOD to man.
It testifies concerning God; his
nature, his perfections, his works, purposes, and dispensations. It testifies concerning man; his nature, his dependence, his obligations, his apoftacy, his actions - good and bad, and their confequences. It testifies concerning the world and the church, the present and the future state of existence, blessings and wrath, life and death, heaven and hell.
Now every thing thus testified is addressed, immediately, to the understanding and judgment, but ultimately to the will; requiring approbation of what it testifies to be true and good, and disapprobation of what it testifies to be false and evil. I said the address is ultimately to the will of man; to his understanding only as the medium, or the way to the heart, (a word often used in fcripture as synonymous with will) which is the seat of choice and freedom, and not to the state of the mind, whether good or bad, tho' this has an important influence on the determination of the will.
2. The whole of the sacred scriptures may be confidered as a proclamation of the supreme King addressed to men. They proclaim divine favours and equitable requirements.
They proclaim divine favours. They not only testify that man is in an apoftate and ruined state, but iffue a proclamation of love, grace, and mercy. The sovereign of the universe, regarding the human race in a perishing condition, announces forgiveness, righteousness, grace, life, comfort, strength, in one word SALVATION. Such favours are implied in all the promises made to the church