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ing with God's providence, and working by virtue of the motion thereof : but surely to assert such a supreme independency, and every way unbounded indifferency, as the Arminians claim, whereby all other things requisite being pre-supposed, it should remain absolutely in our own power, to will, or not to will, to do any thing, or not to do it, is plainly to deny that our wills are subject to the rule of the Most High. It is granted, that in such a chimerical fancied consideration of free-will, wherein it is looked upon as having no relation to any act of God's, but only its creation, abstracting from his decree, it may be said to have such a liberty in regard of the object; but the truth is, this divided sense is plain nonsense, a mere fiction of such an estate, wherein it never was, nor ever can be, so long as men will confess any deity but themselves, to whose determinations they must be subject: until then, more significant ternis may be invented for this free power in our nature, which the Scripture never once vouchsafed to name, I shall be content to call it with Prosper,p'a spontaneous appetite of what seemeth good unto it,' free from all compulsion, but subservient to the providence of God. And against its exaltation to this height of independency, I oppose.
First, Every thing that is independent of any else in operation, is purely active, and so consequently a god; for nothing but a divine will can be a pure act, possessing such a liberty by virtue of its own essence. Every created will must have a liberty by participation, which includeth such an imperfect potentiality, as cannot be brought into act without some præmotion (as I may so say) of a superior agent; neither doth this motion, being extrinsical, at all prejudice the true liberty of the will, which requireth indeed that the internal principle of operation be active and free, but not that that principle be not moved to that operation, by an outward superior agent; nothing in this sense can have an independent principle of operation, which hath not an independent being: it is no more necessary to the nature of a free cause, from whence a free action must proceed, that it be the first beginning of it, than it is necessary to the nature of a cause, that it be the first cause.
r Lib. Arbit. est rci sibi placitæ spoutancus appetitus. Prosp. ad Collat. cap. 18.
of any truly good and spiritual act, well pleasing unto God.
First, All spiritual acts well' pleasing unto God, as faith, repentance, obedience, are supernatural; flesh and blood revealeth not these things; Not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man; but of the will of God; Johni. 13. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit;' John iii. 6. Now to the performance of any supernatural act it is required, that the productive power thereof be also supernatural, for nothing hath an activity in causing above its own sphere, nec imbelles generant feroces aquilas columbæ ' but our free-will is a merely natural faculty, betwixt which, and those spiritual supernatural acts, there is no proportion, unless it be advanced above its own orb by inherent habitual grace. Divine theological virtues, differing even in the substance of the act from those moral performances about the same things, to which the strength of nature may reach (for the difference of acts ariseth from their formal objects, which to both these are divers), must have another principle and cause, above all the power of nature, in civil things and actions morally good, inasmuch as they are subject to a natural perception, and do not exceed the strength of our own wills : this faculty of free-will may take place, but yet not without these following limitations : First, That it always requireth the general concourse of God, whereby the whole supposition, in which free-will hath its subsistence, may be sustained ; Matt. x. 29, 30. Secondly, That we do all these things imperfectly and with much infirmity; every degree also of excellency, in these things must be counted a special gift of God; Isa. xxvi. 22. Thirdly, That our wills are determined by the will of God, to all their acts and motions in particular; but to do that which is spiritually good, we have no knowledge, no power.
Secondly, That concerning which I gave one special instance, in whose production the Arminians attribute much to free-will, is faith. This they affirm (as I shewed before) to be inbred in nature, every one having in him from his birth, a natural power to believe in Christ and his gospel : for Episcopius denies, 'that? any action of the Holy Spirit
4 An ulla actio S. S. imediata in mentem aut voluntatem, viccesaria sit, aut in
upon the understanding, or will, is necessary, or promised in the Scripture, to make a man able to believe the word preached unto him :' so that it seems every man hath at all times a power to believe, to produce the act of faith upon the revelation of its object, which gross Pelagianism is contrary,
First, To the doctrine of the church of England, affirming that a man cannot so much as prepare himself by his own strength, to faith and calling upon God, until the grace of God, by Christ, prevent him that he may have a good will. Artic.
Secondly, To the Scripture, teaching that it is the work of God that we do believe;' John vi. 29. It is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God;' Eph. ii. 8. • To some it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven;" Matt. xiii. 11. And what is peculiarly given to some, cannot be in the power of every one; 'To you it is given on the behalf of Christ to believe on him;' Phil. i. 19. Faith is our access or coming unto Christ, which none can do, unless 'the Father draw him;'John vi.44. and he so draweth, or hath mercy, on whom he will have mercy;' Rom. ix. 19. And although Episcopius rejects any immediate action of the Holy Spirit, for the ingenerating of faith, yet St. Paul affirmeth, that there is no less effectual power required to it, than that which raised Christ from the dead, which sure was an action of the Almighty Godhead. “That we may know,' saith he, 'what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead;' Eph. i. 19, 20. So that, let the Arminians say what they please, recalling that I write to Christians, I will
spare my labour of farther proving that faith is the free gift of God; and their opposition to the truth of the Scripture in this particular is so evident to the meanest capacity, that there needs no recapitulation to present the sum of it to their understandings. Seriptura proinittatur ad hoc, ut quis credere possit verbo extrinsecus proposilo, negativam tuebimur. Episcop. disput. privat.
Of the power of free-will, in preparing us for our conversion unto God.
The judgment of the Arminians concerning the power of free-will about spiritual things, in a man unregenerate, merely in the state of corrupted nature, before and without the help of grace, may be laid open by these following positions.
First, That every man in the world, reprobates and others, have in themselves power and ability of believing in Christ, of repenting, and yielding due obedience to the new covenant, and that because they lost not this power by the fall of Adam. ‘Adam after his fall,'a saith Grevinchovius, 'retained a power of believing, and so did all reprobates in him. He did not lose (as they speak at the synod) the power of performing that obedience, which is required in the new covenant considered formally, as it is required by the new covenant, he lost not a power of believing, nor a power of forsaking sin by repentance :' and those graces that he lost not are still in our power; whence they affirm, that' faith is called the work of God, only because he requireth us to do it.' Now having appropriated this power unto themselves, to be sure that the grace of God be quite excluded, which before they had made needless, they teach,
Secondly, That for the reducing of this power into act, that men may become actual believers, there is no infused habit of grace, no spiritual vital principle, necessary for them, or bestowed upon them, but every one, by the use of his native endowments, do make themselves differ from ot • Those things which are spoken concerning the infusion of habits, before we can exercise the act of faith, we reject,
a Adamus post lapsum potentiam credendi retinuit, et reliqui reprobi etiam in illo. Grevincho. ad Ames. pag. 183.
Adamus non amisit vires eam obedientiam præstandi, quæ in novo fædere exigitur, prout puta ea consideratur formaliter, hoc est, prout novo fædere exacta est, nec potentiam credendi amisit, nec amisit potentiam, per resipiscentiam, ex peccato resurgendi. Rem. Declarat. sent. in Syn. p. 107.
ç Fides vocatur opus Dei, quia Deus ipse id a nobis fieri postulat. Rem. Apol. cap. 10. pag. 112.
Ea quæ de habituum infusione dicuntur, ante omnem fidei actum, rejiciuntur a nobis. Epist. ad Wal. p. 67.
saith the epistle to the Walachians. “That the internal principle of faith, required in the gospel, is a habit divinely infused, by the strength and efficacy whereof the will should be determined, I deny,' saith another of them. Well, then, if we must grant that the internal vital principle of a supernatural spiritual grace is a mere natural faculty, not elevated by any divine habit; if it be not God that begins the good work in us, but our own free-wills, let'us see what more goodly stuff will follow. One man, by his own mere endeavours, without the aid of any received gift, makes himself differ from another: 'What matter is it in that, that a man should make himself differ from others? There is nothing truer ; he who yieldeth faith to God commanding him, maketh himself differ from him who will not have faith when he commandeth. They are the words of their apology; which, without question, is an irrefragable truth, if faith be not a gift received from above; for, on that ground only, the apostle proposeth these questions, 'Who made thee differ from another? or what hast thou that thou hast not received ? and if thou hast received, why boasteth thou as if thou hadst not received ?' The sole cause why he denies any one, by his own power, to make himself differ from another is, because that wherein the difference consisteth, is received, being freely bestowed upon him. Deny this, and I confess the other will fall of itself. But until their authority be equal with the apostles, they would do well to forbear the naked obtrusions of assertions so contradictory to theirs ; and so they would not trouble the church. Let them take all the glory unto themselves, as doth Grevinchovius: 'I makes myself,' saith he, differ from another, when I do not resist God and his divine predetermination, which I could have resisted. And why may I not boast of this as of nine own? That I could, is of God's mercy (endowing his nature with such an ability as you heard before) but that I would, when
e Principium internum fidei a nobis in evangelio requisitum, esse habitum quendam divinitus iufusum, cujus vi ac efficacitate voluntas determinetur; hoc negavi. Grevinchov. ad Ames. pag. 324.
f Quid in eo positum est, quod homo discriminare seipsum dicitur: Nihil verius, qui fidem Deo præcipienti habet, is discriminat se ab eo, qui Deo præcipienti fidein habere non vult. Rem. Apol. cap. 14. pag. 144.
Ego meipsum discerno, cum. eniin Deo ac divinæ prædeterminationi resistere possem, non restiti tamen, atqui in eo quid ni liceat mibi tanquam de meo gloriari? quod enim potui Dei miserentis est, quod autem volui cum possem nolle, id mcæ potestatis est. Grev. ad Ames. p. 253.