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power when offered.". But, we are not certified in any express terms, as I can recollect, that this light effectually disposes any or all not to refift it, and honestly to embrace its faving power, unless it be in that paflage lately mentioned.
Now, if Mr. P. means, P. 82. by “firft moving," the grace of God's difpofing or enabling a perfon • 19. « forbear to refill," (which, in fact, is the first ftep, and, according to the moft accurate ideas of action, when applied to the mind, the act, choice, determination, or will, of the mind, fo to be) then he contradicts himself and the Apologist, and makes the salvation of the soul to be intirely of the grace of God; and though we do not affert, that it is his opinion, that this as faves men nolens volens,” P. 79.(he meant, I prefume, to have written nolentes volentes) yet, if he be thus understood, he certainly represents the grace of God as making the unwilling, willing, or those who refift, "to forbear to refift," If this be his opinion, then we ask, whether God, by his grace or
light within,” does affist and enable all men univerfally, to take the first step of being passive, or of submitting to it without resisting? If they have not taken, this step, they have not been effectually aflifted or first moved to do it ; for if they had been enabled or difposed to do it, they niuft have dope it, fince whatsoever men really chuse, or have a disposition for, they certainly do, when it is within the power of their natural ability, or else they have no freedom of action in
This " light or grace within, of its saving power
when offered," a man cannot be disposed to resist and receive, to submit to and oppose, at the fame time; because it is impossīble, that the mind fhould seill or chufe things diametrically opposire, at one and the fame moment. When, therefore, persons are dispored, or willing to receive what is oftered, they are
fapacitated for it, and indisposed to neglect or reject it': So on the contrary, if they chuse or are disposed not to feceive, but to nglect or reject what is offered them, they are incapacitated for the reception of it.
The Apologist, and his defender, it is neceffary to remark, by not attending to the distinction here pointed out, have used the words “ poffible” and “ impoffible," $6 cán” and “ cannot,' “able,” and “unable," “ ca« pacitated” and “ incapacitated," “ power" and “ ability,” when speaking of the tendency or turn, bent or disposition, of the mind, in a confused, index terminate, unguarded, and improper manner; for it is well known to every person who has attended to the operations of his mind, and the phraseology of the best writers upon 'these subjects, that no man, in a moral sense, can be said to be able to do a thing, or to have power to do that, which he has no disposition or inclination to do, though it be within the compafs of his natural ability, However, if the thing be what God has required of him, he is not only culpable for neglecting it, but his indisposedness, or disinclination itself, is highly criminal, Yet, if the thing required were what he had not a natural ability to perform, though he willed and chose to do it, he cannot, in this Gase, be chargeable with guilt, As for instance, could we fuole a man to have a divine command, to remove a mountain from its basis by his hands, though he had a disposition to obey the command, and also made an effort, but found it impracticable, he could Hot, in justice and equity, be deemed guilty, for not doing it : But God never does require of his creatures nåtural impossibilities,
Mr. Phipps, perhaps, says, “ all men might, if « they would, fubmit to the light within;" or may " become passive to it if they chuse it." True, we grant it him: But, here is the point, why are they not ?? willing", or why don't they “chule" it If any of
them be averse to it, or be not disposed to do it, in a moral sense, this indispofition, while it continues, really incapacitates thein, to submit to it. This we do allow is culpable, but how is the inability removed in any ? Is it by the grace of God, as Mr. P. expreffes it, “ first moving abilitating" them? Then, why has not this grace, by its firit moving and enabling power,' disposed or capacitated all to receive, or, at least, to forbedr to resist it ? Let him answer this question, which way he pleaseth, the unavoidable consequence will hurt him.
Speaking of regeneration, he says, P. 32. “ This “ great change is of the mind and spirit of man, in« ward and spiritual, and is, therefore, wrought by “ the power of the Holy Ghoft;"' and, in a fore, going paragraph, he writes, being upon the same fubječt, “ this is not in mans power to do for him“ felf, nor in any mans power to effect for another."
Both these propsitions we firmly believe, though we doubt not but Mr. P. intirely mittakes what is meant, in the New Testament, by the “new creature," and “ regeneration.” But does the power of the Spirit regenerate, or make new creatures of all men univerfally? Mr. Phipps shall answer, speaking of the word of “ faith," or which is the same thing with him, “ the. “ Spirit within,” he says, P. 49. “ Hence du ing the « tiine of its visitation, it is to be feared that many
slight its calls, shun its reproofs, avoid its draws
ings, fhut their eyes against its light, and fo pro“ ceed from bad to worte; till feared against it, and * hardened in iniquity, they drop into perdition.”
Here, reader, you fee, he allows it does not regenerate and save all men. It is not morally sufficient for this purpose, for it does not influence them to hear its calls, attend to its reproofs, or open their eyes to its light, and it does not prevent their going on from bad to worle till they fink into perdition.
Surely then those who are regenerated, by a creative power of the Spirit, are not left thus to shut up their ininds against his gracious calls and pressing invitations: They cannot remain hardened against it, till, in the issue, they totally perish, Have they not therefore some special influence, fome distinguishing favour shown them, which is with held from the many" whom Mr. Phipps, in the paffage above quoted, defcribes ? How then will he, how then can he; avoid the doctrine of election ? It is impossible for him to evade it, as a necessary consequence, if he means to assert, that regeneration is the sole and intire work of the creative power of the Spirit. -- Yet, let us look to what he says, in another place, and we shall find him again contradicting himself, P. 80. “ The effect propofed by the light or spirit “ within is not absolute, but conditional; it is not si salvation by compulsion, but upon terms; and it e operates according as the terms are complied with " by the subject, or not.” We object to the term “ compulsion," as much as he can do, if he means by it, the Spirit's leading the person to right action, without convincing the judgınent, or inclining the will, by the influence of the best motives. For the term,
in common language, signifies, a person's being forced to do a thing, contrary to the inclination or bent of his mind : But, there can be no such thing in true religious action, for, in order to its being acceptable, it must be voluntary. Cannot, however, the creative power of the Spirit, with all the glorious displays of the divine mercy, rationally engage the unwilling, to become voluntary and earnest, in yielding tliemielves unto God? And when wey are so engaged, do they act by constraint or compulsion ?
In the pallage above quoted, “a compliance with " the terms in the subject," is the ground, or cause, or condition, of the spirit's operating to salvation. And here, the creative power of t.ie Spirit, to induce, empower, of effectually dispose, the foul, to “a com
pliance with the terms,” is intirely forgot. The subject must first, by a felf-moving effort, " comply “ with the terms," and then, and not till then, the creative power will operate.
Upon the whole, we see, that Mr. Phipps has des fcribed, P. 31, 32, “ regeneration,” and represented its necessity, in the most nervous and affecting lana guage ; of which we acknowledge him to be a master. In terms that are remarkably expressive, he has set forth the total inability of man, to effect it for hima felf, and apparently ascribed the whole of this super, natural work to the efficacious and creative energy of the Spirit : But, when we come to examine his real ineaning, by the current sense of his obfervations, of the general import of his performance, we shall find these animated defcriptions rather calculated to deceive the serious reader, than intended to attribute this work solely and entirely to the Spirit of God. Like a geoinetrical staircale, that appears to the vulgar eye to hang upon nothing but the air, it has a concealed bafis, which stands alone, upon an effort of the human mind : I mean, “its determination to be passive, “ its chusing to submit to it,” or “ its compliance * with the terms,” This must precede, this is the necessary prerequisite ; and, for the performance of it, we can find no creative power of the Spirit granted to any, or, at least, not to all men universally.
Mr, Phipps talks much likewise, P. 100, about & the liberty of the will, and freedom of man,” and of “ Omnipotence being able to give him a power of “ choice and agency;" and then
;" and then“ desires bis oppo“ nent, to produce his reaso, against the equity and “ goodness of the Deity, it he thinks they do not in“ cline him to confer such a gift,". But what does he n.ean by “ liberty of will,” or “ a power of choice " and agency?" If he intends by this, an ability for man to do as it pleaseth him, in all matters within the