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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 themi or not, still depending upon ourselves. Agreeably hereunto, St. Paul asserts, that there is no condemnation to them, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The promise is not to them who have the Spirit, but to them who walk after the Spirit. To walk after the flesh, is to follow wherever the impulses of sensuality and selfishness lead us, which is a voluntary act. To walk after the Spirit, is steadily and resolutely to obey good motions within us, whatever they cost us ; which also is a voluntary act. All the language of this remarkable chapter (Rom. 8.) proceeds in the same strain; namely, that after the Spirit of God is given, it remains and rests with ourselves whether we avail ourselves of it or not. through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live (u).' It is through the Spirit that we are enabled to mortify the deeds of the flesh. But still, whether we mortify them or not, is our act, because it is made a subject of precept and exhortation so to do. Health is God's gift; but what use we vill make of it, is our choice Bodily strength is God's gift; but of what advantage it shall be to us, depends upon ourselves.
(u) Rom. c. 8. v. 13.
Even so, the higher gift of the Spirit remains a gist, the value of which will be exceedingly great; will be little; will be none ; will be even an increase of guilt and condemnation, according as it is applied, and obeyed, or neglected and withstood. The 4th chapter of Ephesians, verse 30, is a warning voice upon the subject ; “Grieve not the Spirit of God;' therefore he may be grieved : being given, he may be rejected ; rejected, he may be withdrawn (u)."
“ Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware, lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness : but grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (x);" hence it appears, that there was danger, lest those " who had obtained like precious faith (y) ” with St. Peter himself, those to whom“ Divine power had given all things that pertain unto life and godliness (2),” there was danger lest persons of this description should be “ led away with the error of the wicked;" lest they should “fall from their own steadfastness,” and “ wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction (a),” although they had already received the lloly Ghost. The precept, “ Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of
(u) Paley's Sermons, p. 423. (*) 2 Pet.c. 3. v. 17 (): Pet. c. I. v. I.
(z) 2 Pet. c. S. v. 3. (a) 2 Pet. c. 3. v. 16.
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” proves, that there are degrees in grace and Christian knowledge, and that the growth and increase of these spiritual endowments must be the consequence of our own exertions. · The inspired Apostle calls upon his Christian converts to “ work out their salvation with fear and trembling,” and adds immediately as a reason, “ for it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure (a);" from which exhortation and the ground upon which it is urged, it may be inferred, First, That the personal exertions of Christians are necessary för salvation, else why should they be commanded to work out their salvation ; and that too " with féar and trembling," with an anxious care, lest their exertions should not be successful, and lest, from their negligence, the furthering help of the Spirit should be withdrawn? And, secondly, That God influences both the wills and the actions of Christians, “ God worketh in you, both to will and to do.” Thus does this passage incontestably prove both the energy of man and the operation of God, in the great work of salvation : in what manner, or in what proportion, if I may so say, God and man co-operate, I am utterly unable to explain or discover. But this is no more a reason for my disbelief of this co-operation, than my (a) Phil. c. 2. v. 12 & 13.
inability to comprehend the union of the divine and human natures in Christ is a reason for
my disbelieving that Christ was both God and man: Moduin quidem concursus gratiæ divinæ cum humana voluntate exacte definire, ac dicere, quid sola præstet g: atia, quid cum et sub gratia liberum agat arbitrium, non exiguæ difficultatis res est.
Imo hoc ipsum inter 088 bé en et áve&rquises tos odes non immerito fortassis a viris doctis ac piis reponitur. Sed modum rei utcunque ignoremus, res ipsa certe firmiter credenda est (b). Even Augustine himself seems to admit that the exercise of Free-will is not irreconcileable with the operation of divine grace, although in discussing these subjects it is difficult to maintain the one without denying the other: Si non est Dei gratia, quomodo salvat mundum? Et si non est liberum arbitrium, quomodo judicat mundum? (c) Quia ista questio, ubi de arbitrio voluntatis et Dei gratia disputatur, ita est ad discernendum dificilis, ut quando defenditur liberum arbitrium, negari Dei gratia videatur; quando autem asseritur Dei gratia, liberum arbitrium putetur auferri (d). That inan possesses Free-will, and that God by bis Spirit influences this Frecwill, withont destroying it, is indisputably true; but now this is effected, is to us an inexplicable
(b; Bull Harm. Apost. Dissert. Post. (c) Vol. 2. p.791. Ben Edit (d) Vol. 15. p. 603.
mystery. This text is also a proof that divine grace is not irresistible : "St. Paul, says Bishop Sherlock, makes God's working with the faithful, an argument for fear and diligence. From whence it is evident, that God does not so work in us as to exclude our own care and industry; that is, he does not work irresistibly. For, supposing God to work irresistibly, the wit of man cannot make an argument out of it for private care and diligence. If God does every thing in us, whether we will or no, what is left for us to do? or what have we to fear or tremble for, when God alone has undertaken the whole care and business of our redemption ? The work of the Spirit-upon the hearts of the faithful, is to actuate and inspire them : but to perform what is good, is the business of him who is actuated and inspired. Now it must be allowed, that it is one thing to give a man power to act, another to force him to act. A man's will is not influenced by his own power. He that has ten times the power to do a thing that I have, is nevertheless as free to let it alone as I am. And though the God gives us great power and ability to work out our salvation, yet the power to will and to work is no constraint either to will or to work. And in this sense the grace of God is a great argument for diligence and care : for, if he fur