Imatges de pÓgina
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valid force in evidence that this principle is basal in the constitution of humanity.

3. Man's original freedom, possessed before the fall, was that of this alternative choice. In this and his other endowments in which he was created in the image of God, his nature gave him the sublime gift of ethical personality, with riches of blessed life, under its inseparable duties and responsibilities. Because of his freedom he was capable of the lofty reality of holy character and of maintaining it. His life came under the law of obligation and the principle of free obedience. Original man was not only constructively free, as having real personality with faculty of diversifiable choice, but, further, was endowed with real and adequate strength of moral constitution for its use in harmony with the will and law of God.

4. But the question arises, whether this attribute of free-will still belongs to man in his fallen and corrupted nature. The point is one of exceeding importance in view of his personal responsibility in respect to the opportunity of recovery through the redemptive provision of grace. To determine it, we must carefully distinguish between “formal” (or “normal,” “psycho logical") freedom, and “real” or “actual” freedom. This distinction will enable us to see in what sense man may be declared still free and in what sense not.

(a) Formal freedom is the freedom which is the essential constituent of personality, the endowment with faculty of self-determining, self-variable choice. It is the attribute in which personality exists. To lose this formal freedom would be to lose personality altogether and cease to be a man. Without it one would not be a human being. The characterizing attribute, the constitutive element of the human being, would be wanting, and he would sink to the rank of a mere animal or a thing. No human persons would exist, to be saved. There is no ground, in either revelation or reason, to think that man's personality was destroyed by his lapse into sin, or his free-will, in this prime sense of human faculty, lost from his essential constitution. Only its use is turned into misuse. The power of election, or real choice, of actually making choices, is a fact of consciousness known truth, if any. thing is known. This formal freedom is fundamental to the manhood of man, indestructible save by the annihilation of manhood itself. It lies at the basis of the universal sense of responsibility under which each sane man embraces himself and others at the root of the necessary judgments of approval or condemnation which men pronounce on their own and others' actions. The administration of justice, the judicature of the world, rests on it. God does not save men by ignoring their free-will, but through it, reaching it by the light and power of the truth of the Gospel and the enabling help of the Holy Spirit for the choice or consent of faith and obedience. Salvation has been made conditional upon its acceptance. Men can refuse, despite call, enlightenment, and divine persuasion. Disregard of the constitution of man is not in the system. That constitution is God's own work, and He does not overthrow it in saving. The poet is here the true metaphysician and theologian :

“For He that worketh high and wise,

Nor pauses in His plan,
Will take the sun out of the skies,

Ere freedom out of man.” (6) Real or actual freedom, as related to the unabridged fact of formal freedom, represents the measure of man's ability to use his personal free-agency in harmony with reason and righteousness. The question of this freedom is a question of the moral strength of the personal ego, corrupted by depravity, for the task of exercising the power of choice aright in the midst of the moral or spiritual duties and responsibilities of life. While real freedom, i. e., strength for right and holy choices, as well as formal freedom, belonged to man in his primitive integrity, the teaching of the Scriptures, sustained by observation and experience, is that he has lost actual ability for the due exercise of his formal and personal liberty in true holiness, i. e., according to reason, truth, righteousness, in right love to man and in fellowship with God. There is in him an evil bias, an alienation from God and goodness, a depravity of disposition, a sinfulness of inclination or of the affectional nature, from which it comes to pass that though he still exercises his power of choice, he does so in accordance with his inherent depravities and impulses, and consequently in what is fairly called “bondage” to his own corruption. Man has not lost the faculty of Will, but the health and order of it. Its energy for right willing in spiritual things has been lost, or so weakened under the sinful sway of inborn selfishness and godless propensities, as to be incompetent for effective choice of God's will of holiness and return to it. The loss of freedom is, there fore, not to be understood as though man has lost the human attribute and function of free-will, or the use of formal freedom, but that, while he is exercising it every day and hour, he is, if unregenerate, exercising it and making his choices in subserviency to the inherent evil of his fallen nature. His real and actual free-will has become false to God and the law of holiness. Only in things morally and spiritually indifferent, destitute of moral quality, is his Will in unbiased freedom.

This want of real freedom for its true office or function in religious and spiritual obligations, in connection with the continued possession of the psychological faculty of free-will, leads to the last topic in anthropology.

NATURAL ABILITY. Specifically, the inquiry here seeks to understand how much, if any, power man has in himself, left in his fallen state, to live the holy life of faith and obedience toward God, and love and duty to men, for which he was made; and, especially, how far, if at all, his free-will may be able to concur or co-operate with redemptive grace in his recovery and salvation. In respect to the first half of the question, the answer has already been indicated in the thraldom of the will to the dominating depravity in man's affectional nature. The true aptitudes and affinities of his heart for God and holy life have been broken and disabled by inherent sinfulness. In the loss of the order of holiness from his faculties, and of the right ethical co-ordination of his powers and affections, his life necessarily fails to realize his divinely meant standard of character, whether viewed in relation to God or his fellow-men. Without divine help, the selfhood of his personality is incompetent for the moral and spiritual task. “Without the Holy Spirit the human will cannot produce the spiritual affections which God requires.” This is the uniform teaching of the Scriptures (John iii. 6; xv. 5; 1 Cor. iii. 5; Rom. v. 10; vii. 14, 23, 24; viii. 7; Eph. ii. 1-5). This sad truth of Scripture teaching—the utter inability of fallen and corrupt man, of himself and apart from supernatural redemptive provision, to live the true life of holy obedience to God and duty to men-stands in thorough repudiation of the current rationalistic claim that salvation from sin is simply the human work of ethical self-culture under guidance of the moral teachings of Jesus.

With this truth, the conception of prevenient grace comes into view. Human inability underlies this prevenience in the method of grace. And it means that, necessarily, God's grace precedes man's moving or working in the matter of salvation. God has not only gone before in making provision for salvation through redemptive atonement, but in the application of it. He comes to men through the truth and invitation of the Gospel, with its enlightening and persuasive power, in and through which the Holy Spirit convinces of sin and enables faith. “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard ?” It is in this prevenient working of grace that God brings men to the point of possibility of meeting the condition : "He that believeth shall be saved.” God comes to us all before we come to Him, and His coming enables ours.

The second half of the question of ability is closely connected with these truths. “How far, if at all, may man's free-will co-operate with divine grace in his conversion and salvation?' This is the long-discussed question of synergism and monergism. It is whether man in any degree concurs and thus co-operates in his own conversion. Melanchthon taught a synergism of men with God in this great change, and this conception marked the representation of some of the leading Lutheran theologians till the writing of the Form

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