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scripture ? “God commandeth all men every where to repent.” “ Then hath God also to the gentiles granted repentance unto life.” " And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son, Jesus Christ.” “ For unto you it is given, in the behalf of Christ, to believe on his name.” Acts xvii. 30; xi. 18. 1 John, iii. 23. Phil. 1. 29. According to these passages, we know that it is the duty of men to repent and believe, because they are commanded of God to do these things : and this is proof enough of their obligation to comply. We know also that repentance and faith are the gift of God; for this also is positively and clearly asserted. And what right has any one to say, that both these can not be true?

There are some who say, they believe there is a free offer of salva. tion made to all men, and therefore they do not believe in particular election. Others, through a professed attachment to the doctrine of election, oppose a general and indiscriminate offer of salvation. But why shall we not believe them both ? They are both revealed; and, for aught I can perceive, with equal clearness. Why, then, shall we do that in relation to Christian doctrines, which the apostle dissuaded the Corinthians from doing in relation to Christian ministers, namely, to be puffed up for one against another ? It is not our proper business to determine between two of the doctrines of revelation, which of them to believe. Our duty is to believe them both; and to employ our rea. soning powers to discover their agreement. If in any case we are unable, through our unavoidable ignorance of the infinitude of divine attributes, or the manner of divine operation, to discover an agreement between two doctrines, which are plainly revealed, it becomes us to rest satisfied, that an agreement exists, though it be not discovered by us. There are undoubtedly many things that to our circumscribed minds may appear obscure, and even contradictory, which to the Om. piscient Mind are perfectly light, having no darkness at all.

III. Since much of the heresy with which the church in every age has been corrupted, is built on this, as if it were a self-evident axiom, That free agency, and absolute dependence on God for the exercise of that agency, can not both be true, it seems expedient to pay some addi. tional attention to a subject of so much importance. Though it was included, among other particulars, under the foregoing Remark, I trust the reader will bear with me in giving it a greater prominence by a distinct consideration.

I would here ask, whether it be not easy to perceive, that the pride of man (and, like Moab, “he is very proud,”) presents an obstacle to a fair investigation of this subject? Is it not manifestly the nature of pride, to be displeased with a state of dependence? The dialect which is most natural to pride, is that of self-sufficiency: “We are lords, we will come no more to thee.” “ Our lips are our own, who is Lord over us?” The pride of Pharaoh made him call the Nile his own : “My river is mine own, and I made it for myself.” The haughty spirit of Nebuchadnezzar led him to say, “ Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my pow. er, and for the honor of my majesty ?” Under the influence of pride, the wise man glories in his wisdom, and the mighty man in his might, and the rich man in his riches ; just as though this wisdom, power,

and wealth, were independently their own. Now if it is the nature of pride, to assume the attitude of independence, in relation to mere intel. lectual and corporeal endowments, and those outward blessings with which Providence has favored us, we can easily perceive that its tendency must be to render us self-sufficient in relation to our virtues ; inducing us to esteem them as our own, in the most exclusive sense, as being not only in ourselves, but of ourselves. Since pride aspires to universal independence, and especially in that which we call our goodness, it has manifestly a predisposition to fall in with the scheme of self-sufficient agency, or what is termed the self-determining power of the will. So far, then, as pride bears sway in our minds, it presents a mighty obstacle to a fair and impartial investigation of this subject. At least, its tendency must be strong to produce an aversion to that scheme of doctrine, which represents man to be, in every respect, a de. pendent creature. If, then, that scheme be the one which is founded in truth, it evidently does not stand an equal chance to gain credit, as it would do in a world where pride is unknown.

That we are free moral agents, performing actions which render us either amiable or unamiable, worthy of praise of blame, is satisfacto. rily proved by such arguments as these :

(1.) Every man is conscious of being a free accountable agent. He can not avoid making an entire distinction between the voluntary mo. tions of his will, and the involuntary motion of the blood in his veins. He passes judgment concerning the right and wrong of his own ac. tions.

(2.) Every man is constrained to view his fellow men around him as free moral agents. He therefore approves or blames them, according to the uprightness or perverseness of their conduct. All the govern. ments which exist on earth, from the government of a family or school up to that of a state or kingdom, serve to show that the sentiment is universal; that men are free actors, and that they are responsible for their actions.

(3.) It is also manifest that God treats us as free accountable agents ; which he would not do if we were not such in reality. He has given us a law, consisting of requirements and prohibitions, accompanied with moral sanctions. Since our transgression of this law, he has provided an atonement by the death of his Son, which he invites us to receive. He bids us “choose life.” And they who are saved are represented as actually doing it. See Luke x. 42. They are represented as repenting, believing, and turning to the Lord; also, as holding on their way, and keeping themselves in the love of God; and as receiving at last an acknowledgment from their Judge, that they had been good and faithful servants. Now if these, and similar representations, which are made on every page of the sacred volume, do not establish the doctrine of man’s voluntary and accountable agency, I can not see how it is possible it should be established.

I know that with some, this proof of free agency, is so much proof against an agency which is dependent on God. But I would ask, Will the same kind of arguments which serve to establish our freedom, disprove our dependence ? For example, I have shown that every man is conscious that he is free. But surely no one can pretend he is con.

scious that he is not also dependent. That you act freely is a thing of which you may easily be conscious : but I cannot see how you can be conscious of acting independently. The Supreme Agent can undoubtedly work in you, in such a manner as to elude your perception of his agency.

He moves the planets, and causes the grass to grow ; but if these parts of his works were possessed of sensation, there is no reason to think they would perceive they were operated upon. In his intelligent creatures God may work both to will and to do; and yet they remain unconscious of any thing besides their own volitions and actions. The necessity of his special agency to draw forth right affections, often becomes very apparent to the minds of men who are involved in such deep depravity, that numberless motives and those of the weightiest kind, have proved ineffectual to this end. But even in this case, when the needed agency is exerted, it is altogether unper. ceived in those minds which are transformed by it, except as it is discovered by its happy fruits. See John iii. 8.

Perhaps some may say, “ There can not be two agents employed in the same action, and yet both of them be free. The writer and his pen can not both be free agents in forming letters and words.” To this I would reply, if a writer had power to give his pen a knowledge of the good sentiments he was wishing to commit to paper, and to cause his pen to be as cordial as himself in making the record, I do not see why there might not be two agents engaged in performing the same action; and yet both of them be free and praise-worthy. The doctrine of dependent agency does not, in the strictest sense, represent the same action as performed by two different agents. It does not represent God to be the actor of our actions. As the Supreme Efficient, he is the cause of our actions; but as the doer he is not the cause. He is free in causing us to act, and we are no less free in acting. When he first made intelligent creatures, it is certain that he alone could exercise any choice in their coming into existence; but as soon as they existed, they found themselves to be free agents, possessing a holy character. They were not God himself, but were, in the most absolute sense, the work of his hands, the creatures of his power. Now since the great First Cause had skill and power to originate free moral agents, and to give them a character when he gave them their being, why should we imagine it to be a thing beyond the limit of his skill and power, to keep them always as dependent, as they must have been on their first entrance into the moral system? And who can say that their dependence for preservation is not as necessary as for existence itself? Or that their dependence for continued voluntary action is not as necessary and as complete as for its commencement ?

If dependence on God for the acts of the will, stand opposed to the freedom and accountability of those acts, it follows as a legitimate consequence, that nothing will secure their perfect freedom, short of an entire independence of the will. Were we go to frame our doctrinal system, as to diminish the dependence of the will, in the smallest degree, for the sake of avoiding the Antinomian heresy, we could not stop short of Arminianism of the rankest kind. On the other hand, should we undertake to diminish the freedom of the will, for the sake of avoiding the Arminian heresy, we shall be crowded into the other extreme. In press it?

case a perfect freedom of the will be considered as destroying dependence, a small degree of freedom must weaken it. So on the other hand, should the most perfect dependence of the will on God, be considered as destroying its freedom, the smallest degree of dependence must in this case impair and abridge it. We may therefore safely conclude, that if the human will be at all dependent on God for its exercises, the most entire dependence has no tendency to destroy, nor to diminish its freedom.

But let us now turn our attention more directly to what God himself has said on this subject. Surely he must have a perfect knowledge of his own agency and that of his creatures. I shall only place before the reader a few of the heads of scriptural proof, by which the doctrine of a dependent agenoy is supported.

First. The heart of man, the seat of all his voluntary exercises, is declared to be in the hand of the Lord, and to be turned at his pleasure. While a man's heart is said to devise his way, (which implies his free agency,) the Lord is represented to be directing his steps; and this shows that his agency is as dependent as it is free. While the apostle taught the saints at Philippi their obligation to work out their own salvation, he informed them of their dependence on God to work in them both to will and to do. Prov. xxi. 1; xvi. 1, 9. Phil. ii. 13. I would now ask, In case man's agency is as entirely dependent on God as the Calvinistic system supposes it to be, would not such language as is used in these and similar passages be well calculated to ex.

Secondly. The entire dependence of human agency, is proved by those passages which represent God as having power to effect a radical change in the heart of any sinner at his pleasure. But as this argument was pursued to some length, when treating on the subject of regenera. tion, I shall content myself with merely stating it in this place; and will pass on.

Thirdly. The certainty with which the scriptures speak of the pre. servation of a holy character, in the whole company of the regenerate, is well calculated to convince us that God has a supreme control over their hearts ; or, in other words, that their agency is dependent on him. The number of the regenerated, from the beginning to the end of the world, will be very great; and yet not one of all this multitude will fail of persevering in holiness, unto the end of his probation. This circumstance would naturally lead us to understand what is said, con. cerning their being kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation,” to imply an influence more immediate and infallibly effect. ual than mere moral suasion, by whatever agent (human or divine) it might be presented.

Fourthly. The assurance which the scriptures give us of the con. tinuance of the church of God, from the beginning to the end of the world, without undergoing the least suspension of its existence, seems naturally to induce the belief that man's agency is dependent on the all-control. ing agency of the Almighty. The Redeemer is assured that a seed shall serve him, which shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation; and that his name shall endure forever, and be continued as long as the sun. Being thus assured of the perpetuity of his church, by an un. broken succession of sanctified ones, he boldly declares, “ The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Ps. xxii. 30; lxxü. 17. Matt. xvi. 18. But what can render it certain that the church, God's kingdom on earth, shall never undergo a suspension of its existence? It has often been well nigh extinct. In the time of Noah it was reduced within the narrow compass of one family: and if its Divine Head were Dot able to exert an irresistible influence, directly on the hearts of men, we do not see what could render it certain, that a time might not come, when not a single family, nor an individual, should be on the Lord's side.

Fifthly. The scripture prophecies relating to the introduction of that period of universal holiness, which we call the Millenium, furnish a weighty argument in support of the sentiment in question. After our world has been for six thousand years in a state of dreadful revolt from God, waxing worse and worse; continually becoming more idolatrous, atheistical, and wicked; it is then, within a short period, to undergo a

a great and general reform. And how is this mountain, whose frightful head has been rising higher and higher for ages, so soon to be leveled and made a plain ? Not by, human might nor power, but by the Spirit of the Lord. Zech. iv. 6,7. That a nation, yea, that all nations should now be born at once, can not be adequately accounted for in any other way, except that, which supposes God's power over rebellious hearts to be absolutely irresistible; that he quickens whom he will; and that he now wills to quicken a world dead in trespasses and sins.

Sixthly. The everlasting stability which is given to the holiness of the inhabitants of heaven, supplies us with a strong argument in favor of the doctrine of dependent agency. It is evident from the scriptures, that none of the inhabitants of heaven, whether elect angels or redeem. ed men, will ever depart from God, or indulge an affection of heart which is not in the most perfect conformity to his law. If these crea. tures were to be left to the mere influence of moral means, and a self. determining power of the will, how could their everlasting establish. ment in holiness be made so perfectly sure ? How soon did the devil and his angels, and the first parents of our race, fall from a state of en. tire innocence. And what a propensity there is in the saints, so long as they continue on the earth, to backslide from God. How constantly do pride and other selfish affections spring up in their hearts to defile them. Now I ask, in what way shall it be accounted for, that crea. tures, who in the present state are so prone to forsake God, and to be puffed up with pride, should in the future state never forsake him, nor ever be troubled with the least rising of pride in their hearts ? In what way, except by adopting the sentiment, That the all-sufficient God exerts a direct and unremitting agency on their minds, great enough to give entire efficacy to these means of sanctification (i. e. of preserving their sanctified character) which they will then enjoy? I have never yet seen it proved to be among things possible,

that the Creator should give existence to any thing, whether it be malter or mind, which shall have self-motion, independent of his constant agency. An artist, I know, can fabricate a machine, which shall operate after it has gone out of his hands, and he has nothing more to do with it. The reason for this is plain : he avails himself of what are called

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