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of mind, are certainly no more able to make themselves new creatures than the very weakest are. And the reason of this is as obvious as the fact is certain; viz. because whatever strength any one has, he always lays it out according to his own heart, and not contrary to it. Consequently all the strength of men and angels, yea, even Omnipotence itself, if the sinner had the direction of it, would never make him good. Could

as are swayed by sound instead of sense. For, accordiag to the scripture, the same truth which saves Christ's people, torments the devils. So we find them saying, what have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time? They believe, they hate, and yet they tremble at that truth which Christ's people believe, love, and find salvation in." The difference then, in the affections excited by a belief of the gospel, in the minds of true believers and devils, arises entirely from the different circumstances they are under, and not from any difference in their tempers. The devils hate to be tormented, and Christ's people love to be treated kindly and made happy. So the same belief of the same truth, which excites the hatred and horror of the former, fills the latter with joy and love. This difference is not hard to discern; and is naturally enough accounted for. But how any one who is not swayed by sound instead of sense, should think of making more of this than only a circumstantial difference, is not so easy to be conceived. A bare change of place and external treatment would make de vils of such converts; and such converts of devils in a moment. They being after all, essentially, exactly alike.

This way of effecting all the alteration wanted in wicked men, merely by notions in the head, however firmly credited, and whether true or false, whether called an appropriating faith, or a simple belief, or by whatever other name, must for ever leave a change of nature quite out of the question. Indeed, it evidently proceeds on the supposition, that there is really no difference between saints and sinners, angels and devils, only they are treated differently, or some do not under stand things so well as others.

he have divine power at his service, according to his utmost wish, it would not be to change his heart, but to enable him to act it without control. If, therefore, sinners only knew what hearts they have, this alone would bring them to despair of help from themselves, let their natural powers be ever so good, and make them see that if ever they are saved it will be no thanks to them*.

Sinners inwardly imagine, that if they were only dealt fairly with, they should do well enough. If they perish, they think it will be owing to the fatal influence of some dark decree, or to God's requiring more of them than they can possibly do, let them exert themselves ever so faithfully. But he that imagines thus, knows not "the plague of his own heart." "He. that trusteth in his own heart, is a fool."

Should we even suppose a self-determining power in the will, those who are dead in sin would not be able to help themselves by it. For who is there to put such a power into action the right way? They will not do it. And a self-determined determination, contrary to a man's heart, were such a thing possible, would be no more thanks to him, than the having his heart changed by divine power. It can never be by their own power or holiness, that they are first determined to that which is good, when, by the supposition, they have no holiness, and all their power is employed in opposition to it.

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The natural Ability of Men to understand and embrace the Gospel considered; and the Subject applied.

JOHN vi. 44.

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him.


HE general observation raised from these words, was to this effect,

That no man is able to comply with the gospel of Christ, without the effectual grace of God.

A principal thing I had in view was to clear this doctrine of the common objection in men's minds against it, as if it represented the Most High, as being insincere and unrighteous in his dealings with sinners. Offering them salvation on terms he knows they cannot comply with; and then condemning and punishing them for their non-compliance with such impossible conditions. Accordingly I undertook, in the first place, to explain and illustrate a distinction of two kinds of inability; and to show that men are, not unfrequently, both in common speech, and in the holy scripture, said to be incapable of actions to which they have an aversion, or which they have not an inclination to perform, as well as of things which they

. could not do, if they were so disposed. As likewise, that there is a real occasion for using this and the like expressions in such a manner. There being, indeed, an absolute impossibility of a man's acting otherwise than agreeably to his own heart, as well as there is of his doing things which exceed his natural strength.

Secondly; I endeavoured to shew, that sinners, while they actually neglect the great salvation, are certainly unable, in one or other of these senses, to embrace it. That so long as they do not come to Christ, it must be true that they want, either such natural ability, or else such an heart as is necessary in order to their coming to him.

Thirdly; I considered the moral depravity of sinners; shewing that they have such an evil heart to depart from the living God, that until their natures are changed it is impossible they should come to Christ, or choose him and his salvation.

We come now, to the

4th and last head proposed; viz. To prove that sinners labour under no other impossibility of complying with the gospel, but only what arises from their disinclination to it; or from the badness of their hearts.


I do not mean, however, nor would I be understood here, to assert this of every individual of the human There are undoubtedly great multitudes in the world, who are at present, not under external advantages to obtain that knowledge of God, and of the way of salvation through Jesus Christ, which is absolutely necessary in order to the exercise of faith in him. There are some who were born in heathenism, and never enjoyed the light of divine revelation; there are others who have not the use of natural reason; and there are others who have not, nor ever had, the sense of hearing. I am not now speaking concerning those who

are under these and such like circumstances.


I here undertake to evince, is only, that persons who have ordinary intellectual powers, and bodily senses, and are arrived to years of discretion, and live under the light of the gospel, labour under no natural inaabilty to obtain salvation: But that if they cannot comply with the revealed way of life, it must be owing entirely to their disinclination to it, or to the badness of their hearts.

There are multitudes that evidently do not view the matter in this light. It is needful therefore that this point be laboured a little particularly.

1st Argument I shall make use of for the confirmation of it is, that it is not God's way to require natural impossibilities of any of his creatures; and to condemn them for not doing what they could not do if they would.

God commands none of us to fly above the clouds, or to overturn the mountains by the roots; or to do any such kind of impossibilities. Yea, we are particularly told in his word, that "if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." If a man has but little estate, it is not expected or required that he should give away a great deal to pious or charitable uses. If a poor widow casts in two mites, when it is all she has, it is as well accepted as if it were two millions. If a man has never so little strength of body or of mind, a willing exertion and good improvement of that little is all that is required of him. This is exceedingly evident from those summaries of the whole law, which we have both in the old testament and in the new.-Moses says, Deut. x. 12. “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him,


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