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PSALM CX. 3.
THY PEOPLE SHALL BE WILLING IN THE DAY OF THY POWER.
This promise to Christ respecting His future kingdom is very emphatick. It can scarcely be tortured into any other meaning than that His power should be effectually exerted to render His people willing to submit to His empire ; not indirectly by presenting to their view His miracles and the destruction of His enemies, and leaving the event to the casual operation of their self-determining power ; but by a conquest of their wills or hearts through the efficacious influence of His Spirit.
In the last Lecture it was proved that Regeneration is an instantaneous change, from exclusive attachment to the creature, from supreme selfishness, from enmity against God, to universal love which fixes the heart supremely on Him; that there is no previous abatement of the enmity or approximation towards a right temper, the heart being
at one moment in full possession of its native selfishness and opposition, at the next moment in possession of a principle of supreme love to God, acquiring thus in an instant a temper which it never possessed before. Here is a phenomenon wholly unlike any other revolution in the moral or social world. How is it to be accounted for? Is it produced by the self-determining power of the human will, or by the power of God? If
of God? If by God, is it brought about according to the stated operations of nature, or in a supernatural way? If in a supernatura) way, is it wrought on account of any thing previously done by the sinner, or in any sense by his cooperation? These three questions will form the plan of the present Lecture.
I. Is this change produced by the self-determining power of the human will, or by the power of God? Not by the self-determining power of the will, or heart, (both are included in the term as here used,) for the very last act of the will or heart before the change was entirely hostile to God, and the first right act evinces the change to be past. The will was an enemy in the last act before the act of love. Does then the foe instantly create the friend? Does an effort of enmity instantly produce love? Whenever did darkness create light, or death life? Is it eredible that the will, while fully opposed to God, should contrive and accomplish so holy and so vast a change in a moment? None will pretend it. No man in his senses ever pleaded for the self-determining power who allowed the change to be so sudden
and so great. I ask again, what could possibly have induced the will all at once to make so great and new an effort ? Motives? But the same motives had been resisted for years, and were firmly resisted in the very last act before the change. Now that the will should steadily resist all motives from the beginning, and all at once yield in an instant, without any new inducement, without any previous consent of its own ;-that love should start up out of enmity in a moment, uncaused but by itself, is altogether incredible, and never was and never will be believed by any rational mind. The moment that Regeneration was proved to be an instantaneous change from unabated enmity to supreme love, the argument for the self-determining power was forever ruined.
Nor will any relief be found by seeking an ally for the will in the understanding. Universal experience proves that the understanding cannot controul, much less create, the affections. If it could, every man would be sure to do as well as he knows how. If it could, the enmity of the natural heart would be imputable only to ignorance, and then the enmity would not be directed against the true God, but against a false image of God which it is every man's duty to hate. These faculties of the mind have indeed some controul over each other, but by no means enough to support such an hypothesis. Their empires are very distinct, and divide a man as it were against himself. In its turn the understanding will not submit to the heart. Whoever
set himself down to any mental effort, for instance to write a composition, without feeling the uncertainty whether his intellect would obey his wishes ? The will has to stand and solicit, and is often held in suspense whether its suit will be favoured or denied. Hence the notion of the poets about courting the Muses. Could the heart controul the understanding, who would not at once make himself a Newton ? And it is only an equal law of nature that the understanding should not controul the heart. If it could, who would not speedily rid himself of many uncomfortable passions ? which of you would not become a Christian at once ?
The theory of the self-determining power being thus set aside, those systems which have been built upon it sink of course. These systems may all be reduced to three; the Pelagian, Arminian, and Semi-Arminian. I will spend a moment in spreading out these by the side of the Calvinistick doctrine, that you may distinctly see in what points they differ.
The Pelagian theory is, that God does no more than present motives to the mind by the external light of truth : to these the will in the exercise of its self-determining power yields or refuses to yield, and the good man alone makes himself to differ from others who possess equal means of information. This system wholly sets aside the influences of the divine Spirit.
The Arminian theory is precisely the same, only it acknowledges the enlightening influence of the Spirit as an auxiliary in setting motives before the