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HOPKINS, This same writer, however, all men a natural conscience, says, when speaking of infants, unimpaired by the fall, which “persons may be moral agents, enables them to judge between and sin without knowing what right and wrong. Emmons, the law of God is, or of what Ser. 8. “ If we were not capanature their exercises are; and ble of judging of his treatment while they have no conscious. of us, we should not be the proness that they are wrong." per subjects of his moral goSyst. Vol. 1. p. 339. vernment."
M. M. Mag. Vol. 3. p. 347.
3. Natural inability, however 3. “ If men were not moral produced, releases the subject agents, or were destitute of naof it from morai obligation.t
tural ability to keep the divine Syst, Vol. 1. p. 341. et passim. commands, they would be inca
pable of moral action. It is not possible for men to be disobedient, except they have the natural ability to be obedient. For the commands of God never exceed the natural ability of man."*
Spring's Disquisitions, p. 11.
* See note B. at the end of this chapter.
† “ It is not of creation but of the corruption of nature that men being made bond-slaves to sin, can will nothing but evil. From whence cometh this want of power which the wicked would gladly pretend, but upon this, that Adam of his own accord made himself subject to the tyranny of the Devil? Hereupon, therefore, grew the corruption, with the bonds whereof we are holden fast tied, for that the first man fell from his Creator.” Inst. B. 2. ch. 5. sec. I. The Calvinists say, that although man has lost his power to obey, yet God has not lost his right to command ; any more, than a creditor loses his right to demand payment and hold the written obligation, because the voluptuous debtor has actually become a bankrupt, and has not a dollar in the world.
In opposition to this representation, Dr. Smalley, who is very far from yielding assent to all the extravagant notions of Dr. Emmons, but who does not accord with Calvin, says, “it is to be observed for clearing up this
OTHERS. 6 Wherefore let this propor- 4. “ Man by his fall into a tion of our strength with the state of sin, hath wholly lost all commandments of God's law be ability of will to any spiritual no more enforced, as if the Lord good." had measured the rule of jus. Before the fall he had power tice, which he purposed to give to will and to do both good and in his law, according to the rate evil. Since the fall he has only of our weakness.” “ The Lord the power of willing and doing commandeth those things that evil, until he is enabled by we cannot do, that we may grace. Say. Plat. Con. C. Scot. know what we ought to ask of and Con. P. C. U. S. ch. 9.sec. 1,9 him.” « Faith obtaineth that 2, 3, 4. Also, Con. R. D. C. Art. which the la commandeth, 14. The same doctrines are yea, the law therefore com- taught in the Confessions of mandeth that faith may obtain England, France, Helvetia, Ba- . that which was commanded by sil, Bohemia, Belgia, and Austhe law.” “ Again let God give purge. what he commandeth, and command what he will."
B. 2. ch. 5. sec. n 4. Before the fall man had, not merely the capability of bea ing the subject of volitions, but the power of choice, in relation to both good and evil.
Since the fall man has the power of willing evil only, until God by the supernatural
subject, that there are two very different kinds of inability; so different that the however great, does not lessen moral obligation in the least ; where as the other, so far as it obtains, destroys obligation, and takes away all desert of blame and punishment entirely. These two kinds of inability, as I hinted, have commonly been distinguished, by calling one a natural, and the other a moral inability. Which distinction may be briefly stated thus : Nloral inability consists only in the want of a heart, or disposition, or will, to do a thing. Natural inability, on the other hand, consists in, or arises from, want of understanding, bodily strength, opportunity, or whatever may prevent, our doing a thing, when we are willing, and strongly enough disposed and inclined to do it. Or in fewer words, thus : whatever a marr
HOPKINS, 4. Moral action consists in 4. “ A moral action is an exvoluntary exercises, or choice. ercise of the will, or heart of Whoever has choice, without man.
For the heart of man is any reference to the cause or the only source of moral exerefficient agent of that choice, cise. It is the heart of man is a moral agent. Herein con- which God requires ; and with sists man's freedom that his the heart we obey or disobey choice is a choice ; or his will is the divine commands." g will. Although he be not the other words, a moral action is cause, original mover, or effi- a volition of a moral agent ; and cient agent of the choice, yet it not any animal, intellectual, is hie, being produced in him. visible or external motion. For Syst. Vol. 1. ch. 4. the law of God, which is the
only standard of moral exercise, requires the heart.”
Spring's Disquisitions, p. 54. “ The heart consists in voluntary exercises ; and voluntary exercises are moral agency."
Emmons, p. 337.
could not do, if he would, in this, he is under a natural inability ; but when all the reason why one cannot do a thing, is because he does not choose to do it, the inability is only of a moral nature."
“ Some account for God's suspending our salvation upon impossible conditions, and condemning men for not doing what it is not in their power to do, by observing, that we lost our power by the fall. Our present weak-ness and blindness was brought upon us as a righteous punishment for the disobedience of Adam ; and God, they say, has not lost his right to command, because man by his own folly and sin, has lost his ability to obey. That is, we ought, it is our present real duty to exert, not only all the strength we actually have but all we should have had, had it not been for the original apostacy. But to this it will be objected, that we never reason and judge in this manner, in any other case. We do not think those who bave lost their eyes, are still to blame for not seeing; or those who have lost their reason for not understanding."
.It must, I think, be granted, that we do generally suppose a man's pre. sent duty cannot exceed his present strength, suppose it to have been impaired by what means it will." Smalley on moral inability, Ser. 1.
God, say the opposers of this last representation, has not suspended man's salvation upon any condition which he can, or ever will perform. The atonement is the only conaition on which is suspended the sinner's sal
CALVIN, influences of his spirit, gives 5. Holiness consists in enhim ability to choose good. tire conformity to the image of
B. I. ch. 15. sec. 8. B. 2. ch. 2. God. Larger Cat. Q. 17., and sec. 6,7, and 8.
Con, C. Scot. Con. P. C. U.:S. 5. 6. and 7. Whatever con- Say. Plat. ch. 4. sec.2. « Sin is stituted that image of God, any want of conformity unto, or which Adam possessed before transgression of the law of the fall is called holiness. B. God.” Larger Cat. Q. 24. 3. ch. 3. sec. 9. This is not re- Shorter, Q. 14. Sin is either stored to us at once. Ibid. original or actual. Larger Cat. Sin is any want of conformity Q. 25. Shorter, Q. 17 and 18. to, or opposition of the will of
16. Every action of an unreGod; and does not always im- newed man is entirely sinful ;
l ply advised malice and froward- and the best actions of a be
B. 2. ch. 2. 800.. 25. liever, “ are defiled and mixed 66 There never was any work of with so much weakness and a godly man, which if it be ex- imperfection, that they cannot amined by the strict judgment endure the severity of God's of God, but will be condemn- judgment.” ed.” B. 3. ch. 14. sec. 11. Con. C. Scot. Con. P. C. U. ♡ The best work that can be S. Say. Plat. ch. 16. sec. 7 and brought forth by them, is al- .5.“.We can do no work but way sprinkled and corrupted what is polluted by our flesh, with some uncleanness of the and also punishable.” Con. R. flesh, and hath as it were some D. C. Art. 24. dregs mingled with it."
7. The character of an unre. B. 3. ch. 14. sec. 9. and B. 4. generated person is this; he is ch. 15. sec. 10.
a sinner by nature and practice : The natural man is wholly of a saint this; he is a sinner corrupted in all the faculties of saved by grace, whose very
vation. It is God who gives the principle, the ability, the exercise of faith and promises that those who receive this gift, who believe, who are made alive, shall be saved.
Fallen man has the power of sinning, and for the exercise of it, he will be punished ; while it still remains true, that grace alone gives the ability to please God. “ Can the Ethiopian change his skin ? or the leopard, his spots ? Then may ye also do good, who are accustomed to do evil.” “ Neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." “ Can the fig-tree bear olive berries ?"
5. Sin is a wrong
choice and holiness are predicable of volition. Holiness is its opponothing but moral actions. site; a right choice or volition. Syst. Vol. 1. th 129.* Nothing else is sin; nothing
Spring's Disquisitions, p. 16
and 17. 6. Every moral action is 6. «1. Is not sinfulness a either perfectly holy, or per- sinful act of the will ? 2. Is not fectly sinful. That is a good or goodness a good act of the will ? holy moral act or choice, which 3. Is the same identical açt of is 'conformed to the moral law, the will both a holy and a sinful and may be resolved into disin- act? 4. Is a holy volition a sinterested benevolence. That is ful volition ? If then sinfulness an evil moral action which is is a sinful volition ; if holiness direct hostility to the moral law, is a holy volition; and if the and may
be resolved into hatred same identical volition cannot of it, or which is the same, into be holy and sinful both, does it self-love, or supreme selfish- not inevitably follow that holi
ness and sin are never mixed in Syst. Vol. 1. Part 1. ch. 4. the same volition ? If this is and Part 2. ch, 4.
not demonstration, I will thank Mr. T. to point out the fallacy." Spring's Disquisitions, p. 179,
* “As the law requires love, and nothing but love, it may be determined with great certainty that sin consists in that which is contrary to that love which the law requires, be it what it may. There can be no neutral moral exercises, which are neither conformable to the law of God, nor contrary to it; therefore every exercise of the heart of a moral agent, which is not agreeable to the law of God, is contrary and opposed to it. It must also be observed, and kept in mind, that sin, as does holiness, consists in the motions or exercises of the heart or will, and in nothing else. Where there is* no exercises of heart, nothing of the nature of moral inclination, will or choice, there can be neither sin nor holiness.” Syst. Vol. I. p. 344. Of course, it is as suitable to speak of a sinful horse, as of a sinful human nature, or of the criminality of wanting original righteousness,
Hopkins' System abounds with such violations of the laws of the English language, for which the writer of the Contrast is not accountable.