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not come from cultivation; for by the supposition there is nothing of the nature of virtue to cultivate, it cannot be by repeated and multiplied acts of virtuous choice, till it becomes a habit. For there can be no one virtuous choice, unless God immediately gives it. The first virtuous choice, or a disposition to it, must be immediately given, or it must proceed from a preceding choice. If the first virtuous act of will or choice be from a preceding act of will or choice, that preceding act of choice must be a virtuous act of choice, which is contrary to the supposition. For then there would be a preceding act of choice before the first virtuous act of choice. And if it be said the first virtuous act of choice is from a preceding act of will which is not virtuous, this is absurd. For an act of will not virtuous, cannot produce another act of will of a nature entirely above itself, having something positive in it which the cause has nothing of, and more excellent than it is ; any more than motion can produce thought or understanding; or the collision of two bodies can produce thought ; or stones and lead can produce a spirit; or nothing can produce something.
§ 43. As to man's inability to convert himself—In them that are totally corrupt, there can be no tendency towards their making their hearts better, till they begin to repent of the badness of their hearts. For if they do not repent, they still approve of it; and that tends to maintain their badness, and confirm it. But they cannot begin sincerely to repent of the badness of their hearts, till their hearts begin to be better, for repentance consists in a change of the mind and heart. So that it is not men's repentance that first gives rise to their having a better heart; and therefore it cannot be any tendency in them to make their hearts better, that gives rise to it. The heart can have no tendency to make itself better, till it begins to have a better tendency; for therein consists its badness, viz. its having no good tendency or inclination. And to begin to have a good tendency, or, which is the same thing, a tendency and inclination to be better, is the same thing as to begin already to be better. And therefore the heart's inclination to be good, cannot be the thing that first gives rise to its being made good. For its inclination to be better, is the same thing with its becoming better.
§ 44. If there be any immediate influence or action of the Spirit of God at all on any created beings, in any part of the universe, since the days of the apostles, it is physical." If it be in exciting ideas of motives, or in any respect assisting or promoting any effect, still it is physical ; and every whit as much so, as if we suppose the temper and nature of the heart is immediately changed. And it is as near akin to a miracle. If the latter be miraculous, so is the former.
§ 45. Who ever supposed that the term irresistible was properly used with respect to that power by which an infant is brought into being ; meaning, irresistible by the infant? Or who ever speaks of a man's waking out of a sound sleep irresistibly, meaning, that he cannot resist awaking? Or who says, that Adam was formed out of the dust of the earth irresistibly? See what I have said of the use of such terms as irresistible, unfrustrable, &c., in my Inquiry about Liberty.
$ 46. The opponents of efficacious grace and physical operation, may be challenged to show that it is possible that any creature should become righteous without a physical operation, either a being created with the habit of righteousness, or its being immediately infused. See what I have written in my book of Original Sin, in those sections wherein I vindicate the doctrine of original righteousness, and argue, that if Adam was not created righteous, no way can be invented how he could ever become righteous.
47. As to that, Matthew vii. 7, “ Seek and ye shall find ;" it is explained by such places as that, Deut. iv. 29. “ But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” And by Deut. XXX. 246. “If thou shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice with all thy heart and with all thy soul; the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul;" which is very parallel with that, “to him that hath shall be given.”
§ 48. The Scripture teacheth that holiness, both in principle and fruit, is from God. " It is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure." And Prov. xvi. 1. “ The preparation of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” Comparing this with other parts of the book of Proverbs, evinces that it is a moral preparation, and the answer of the tongue in moral regards, that is meant.
§ 49. Reason shows that the first existence of a principle of virtue cannot be from man himself, nor in any created being whatsoever; but must be immediately given from God; or that otherwise it never can be obtained, whatever this principle be, whether Jove to God or love to men. It must either be from God, or be a habit contracted by repeated acts. But it is most absurd to suppose that the first existence of the principle of holy action, should be preceded by a course of holy actions. Because there can be no holy action without a principle of holy inclination. There can be no act done from love, that shall be the cause of first introducing the very existence of love.
$ 50. God is said to give true virtue and piety of heart to man; to work it in him, to create it, to form it, and with regard to it we are said to be his workmanship. Yea, that there may be no room to understand it in some improper sense, it is often declared as the peculiar character of God, that he assumes it as his character to be the author and giver of true virtue, in his being
called the Sanctifier ; he that sanctifieth us. " I am he that sanctifieth you." This is spoken of as the great prerogative of God, Levit. xx. 8, and other parallel places. He declares expressly that this effect shall be connected with his act, or with what he shall do in order to it. “I'will sprinkle clean water, and you shall be clean." What God does is often spoken of as thoroughly effectual; the effect is infallibly consequent. “Turn us, and we shall be turned.” Jesus Christ has the great character of a Saviour on this account, that “ he saves his people from their sins.” See Rom. xi. 26, 27. “ And so all Israel shall be saved ; as it is written, there shall come out of Zion a deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” God
“I will put my law into their heart; I will write my law in their inward parts, and they shall not depart away from me; I will take away the heart of stone, and give them a beart of flesh; I will give them a heart to know me; I will circumcise their hearts to love me; oh, that there were such a heart in them !” And it is spoken of as his work, to give, to cause, to create such a heart, to put it in them. God is said to incline their hearts, not only to give statutes, but to incline their hearts to his statutes.
Moses speaks of the great moral means that God had used with the children of Israel to enlighten them, and convince and persuade them; but of their being yet unpersuaded and unconverted, and gives this as a reason, that God had not given them a heart to perceive, as Deut. xxix. 4. " Yet the Lord hath not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.” The scripture plainly makes a distinction between exhibiting light, or means of instruction and persuasion, and giving eyes to see, circumcising the heart, &c.
$ 51. Why should Christ teach us to pray in the Lord's prayer, “ Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” if it is not God's work to bring that effect to pass, and it is left to man's free will, and cannot be otherwise, because otherwise it is no virtue, and none of their obedience, or doing of God's will; and God does what he can oftentimes consistently with man's liberty, and those that enjoy the means he uses, do generally neglect and refuse to do his will? He does so much, that he can well say, what could I have done more? And yet almost all are at the greatest distance from doing his will. See Colos. i. 9, 10.
52. If it be as the Arminians suppose, that all men's virtue is of the determination of their own free will, independent on any prior determining, deciding, and disposing of the event ; that it is no part of the ordering of God, whether there be many virtuous or few in the world, whether there shall be much virtue or little, or where it shall be, in what nation, country, or when, or in what generation or age; or whether there shall be any at all: then none of these things belong to God's disposal, and therefore, surely it does not belong to him to promise them. For it
does not belong to him to promise in an affair, concerning which he has not the disposal.
And how can God promise, as he oftentimes does in his word, glorious times, when righteousness shall generally prevail, and his will shall generally be done; and yet that it is not an effect which belongs to him to determine; it is not left to his determination, but to the sovereign, arbitrary determination of others, independently on any determination of him; and therefore surely they ought to be the promisers ? For him to promise, who has it not in his hands to dispose and determine, is a great absurdity; and yet God oftentimes in promising, speaks of himself as the sovereign disposer of the matter, using such expressions as abundantly imply it. Isaiah lx. 22. “ I the Lord do hasten it in its time." Surely this is the language of a promiser, and not
” merely a predictor. God promises Abraham, that “all the families of the earth shall be blessed in him." "every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess.” And it is said to be given to Christ, that every nation, &c. should serve and obey him, Dan. vii. After what manner they shall serve and obey him, is abundantly declared in other prophecies, as in Isaiah xi., and innumerable others. These are spoken of in the next chapter, as the excellent thing that God does.
53. If God is not the disposing author of virtue, then he is not the giver of it. The very notion of a giver implies a disposing cause of the possession of the benefit. 1 John iv. 4. “ Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, (i. e. have overcome your spiritual enemies,) because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world ;" that is, plainly, he is stronger, and his strength overcomes. But how can this be a reason, if God does not put forth any overcoming, effectual strength in the case, but leaves it to free will to get the victory, to determine the point in the conflict ?
$ 54. There are no sort of benefits that are so much the subject of the promises of scripture, as this sort, the bestowment of virtue, or benefits which imply it. How often is the faith of the Gentiles, or their coming into the Christian church, promised to Christ in the Old Testament, Isaiah xlix. 6, and many other places; and he has promised it to his church, chap. xlix. 1821, and innumerable other places. See Rom. xv. 12, 13. What a promise have we, Isaiah lx. 21. “ Thy people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hand, that I may be glorified”-compared with the next chapter, 3d verse, " That they may be called the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” See also verse Sth of the same chapter. Likewise chap. Ix. 17, 18. “I will make thy officers peace, and thy exactors righteousness; violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy border, but thou
shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise.” Here it is promised that the rulers shall be righteous; and then, in the 21st verse following, it is promised that the people shall be so. The change of men to be of a peaceable disposition is promised, as in places innumerable, so in Isaiah xi. 6—11. “ The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,” &c. Isaiah lv. 5. “Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee, because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for he hath glorified thee.” Jer. iii. 15. I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” This implies a promise that there should be such pastors in being, and that they should be faithful to feed the people with knowledge and understanding. Jer. x. 23. “ The way of man is not in himself.” Stebbing owns, that on Arminian principles, conversion depending on the determination of free will, it is possible, in its own nature, that none should ever be converted, (p. 235.) Then all the promises of virtue, of the revival of religion, &c., are nothing. Jer. xxxi. 18. “ Turn thou me, and I shall be turned,"? pared with Jer. xvii. 14. “ Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for thou art my praise.” Which shows the force and meaning of such a phraseology to be, that God alone can be the doer of it; and that if he undertakes it, it will be effectually done. Jer. xxxi. 22—35.
"Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, (which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord :) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” The prophet elsewhere tells what
” is connected with knowing God, viz. doing judgment and justice, and showing mercy, &c. Chap. xxii. 16, Jer. xxxii. 39,
c 40. “ And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them and their children after them; and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good. But I will put my fear in their hearts, and they shall not depart from me." Jer. xxxiii. 2. “ Thus saith the Lord, the maker thereof, the maker that formed it.” Verse 8. " And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me.” Ezek. xi. 18-20. And they shall come thither, and they shall