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moralists and philosophers thought of nothing higher than keeping men from grovelling vice, (turpe,) by the love of honour (honestum). But the love of honour, or of the praise of men, is equally opposite with the more grovelling vices to Christian repentance, humility, faith, and holiness. What then is there in our fallen nature, apart from the grace of God, by which the strong inclination to evil, and disinclination to what is truly good, can be overcome? In order to this victory, the stronger inclination must be towards that which is 'good in the sight of God :' but 'it is conceded, 'that man has not this disposition, or inclination, 'till he is influenced by the Spirit of God.' Where then is the fundamental difference of our Article from the doctrine of the Calvinists t
'In a second collect we pray,1' O God,—be'cause, through the weakness of our mortal na'ture, we can do no good thing without thee, grant 'us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy com'mandments we may please thee, both in will and 'deed ;' which is nothing more than altering the 'words of one of our Articles, already explained, 'into the form of a prayer; and I have only to ob'serve, that the 'good thing' here mentioned 'must mean good in the sight of God: such an 'action our weak and unassisted nature will, un'questionably, not allow us to perform.'2 In respect of the collects, it should be observed that they were framed for the use of professed Christians, and members of the church of Eng'First after Trinity. 'Ref. 67.
land; admitted as such, and never expelled. The sincerity of their profession is therefore, as in numerous other instances, assumed to be sincere. They describe the case of those who, by the grace of God are true Christians, and not that of man by nature: so that no conclusion, concerning what the compilers judged of man by nature, can legitimately be deduced from them. Yet the concession made in the quotation is of great importance. Let it be compared with a passage from Mr. Overton :—' By natural good works,1 is here doubt- * less meant, those works which are outwardly and 'speciously good, and which are estimable in hu'man judgment. That he can perform these, (ci- * vilem justitiam et diligendas res rationi subjec'tas, as the Augsburg Confession expresses it,) 'nobody denies. The question is not, what his * powers are in respect of natural things, but in re
* spect of spiritual things: not what he can do which 'may please men, but what that is pleasing and
* acceptable to God: not how far he can conform 'himself to the laws of common society, but how 'far he can convert himself to true Christianity;* how far, by his own natural and unassisted powers, 'he can repent, and believe, and love God and his
*neighbour; and mortify sin, and pursue holiness, 'in the manner, and from the motives, which the 'gospel requires. Nor is it & natural, but a moral
*impotence, which is the subject of our discus'sion.'—What a grievous thing it is that men will not bestow more pains in understanding one another! His Lordship here fully concedes the grand point, for which Mr. Overton and the rest of us contend.
1 Art. x.
If we then maintain, that human nature is incorrigibly depraved, except by the grace of God; that the heart and will of fallen man, so far from beginning the needful change or renovation, or at first concurring in it, always resist conviction, till that resistance is overcome; yet that no compulsion is used in overcoming it: what is it that we avow, as to the manner in which it is actually overcome? This question leads me to another topic.
SECTION VII. On the inclining of the Heart by the Grace of God.
'The terms of scripture represent the Spirit 'of God, as an assisting, not forcing power; as 'not suspending our own powers, but enabling 'them; as imparting strength and faculty for our 'religious work, if we will use them; but whether 'we will use them or not still depending upon • ourselves.'l
There is, however, an influence, often intimated in scripture and in our authorized books, which is here entirely overlooked; and, indeed, not explicitly mentioned in any part of the Refutation: I mean that of inclining the heart. "The Lord our "God be with us, as he was with our fathers, that "he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in "all his ways, and to keep his commandments."2 "Incline mine heart unto thy testimonies, and "not to covetousness." "Incline not my heart "to any evil thing."l Indeed, wherever God promises " the circumcision of the heart to love "the Lord;" to "give a new heart;" to "write "his law in the heart;" this influence of inclining the heart is intended. In this way the words of the Psalmist are fulfilled, "Thy people shall be "willing in the day of thy power:"2 for "it is "God who worketh in us both to will, and to do."3 All the prayers grounded on these promises imply the same. "Keep this for ever in the imagination "of the thoughts of this people, and prepare their "hearts unto thyself."4 Thou hast heard the de"sire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their "heart; thou wilt cause thine car to hear."5 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew "a right spirit within me."6
1 Ref. 32, 33. . * 1 Kings viii. 57, 58.
Thus, it is evident, our church, or those who framed our authorized books, understood these and similar scriptures.—' O God, from whom all 'holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works 'do proceed.'7 Something far beyond assistance is here implied.—' It is the Holy Ghost, and no 'other thing, that doth quicken the minds of men, 'stirring up holy and good motions in the heart, 'which are agreeable to the commandment and 'will of God; such as otherwise, of their own 'corrupt and perverse nature, they should never 'have.'8 'O Almighty God, who alone canst 'order the wills and affections of sinful men, 'grant unto thy people, that they may love the 'thing which thou commandest, and desire that 'which thou dost promise.'l 'Stir up, we be'seech thee, the wills of thy faithful people.'2 'Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspira'tion of thy holy Spirit.'
1 Ps. cxix. 36. cxli. 4. "Ps. ex. 3. 'Phil. ii. 13.
4 1 Chron. xxix. 18. 'Ps. x. 17. • Ps. Ii. 10.
I Col. 2. Even. Serv. 'Horn, for Whitsunday.
But especially after each of the commandments, as read by the minister in the communion-service; the people on their knees are taught to pray, ' Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our 'hearts to keep this law.' And after the tenth they are instructed to pray, ' Lord, have mercy 'upon us, and write all these thy laws in our 'hearts, we beseech thee.'—Were it possible to write the salutary laws of our land in the hearts of all the people, and to incline their hearts to obedience: this would render the man who had been most lawless, obedient, without either 'for'ring him, or suspending his powers' "With "man," whether in respect to human laws or to the law of God, " this is impossible; but with God "all things are possible." Thus, "the saving "grace of God—teaches us, that denying ungod"liness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, "righteously, and godly in this present world." 3
'The grace of God does not act with compul'sory force, but only directs and assists our en'deavours.'4
It appears that our reformers thought, that the grace of God did not only direct and assist our
1 Col. 4 Sun. after Easter. 'Col. 25 after Trin.
'Tit. ii. 11, 12. 'Ref. 69.