« ZurückWeiter »
Conversion and Perseverance of a Christian, then all
The Question in the usual Terms, or in those in which some love to speak, is, whether Grace be re.
fistible? Which expression though it be grounded Acts 7.510 Gal. 3. 1,
: 5 ori those words of St. Stephen, ye do always resist the 5.5. holy Ghost; yet I had rather use words more frequent 2. Theff. in Scripture ; whether Grace can be disobeyed? Whe. 1. 8. :ther it can be in vain? Whether a Man can be
or. © wanting to the Grace of God, that harh him in Heb. 12. hand to convert him, or to work in him some 15 : Good.
To come to the Truth by a near and compendious way, let me take that first which is given by an ingenuous and Judicious Adversary, the Reverend Professor * Dr. Ward in his Clerum on Phil. 2. 12. who yieldeth so much to the Truth, and putteth the Question in so narrow a point, that he feémeth
to me plainly to give over the cause which he Pag. 7. would contend for. See what he grants, after much
spoken for the freedom of the Will: « for we freely
* Lady, Margts. Prof. of Divinity, and Master of Sidn, Suja Coll. Cambi
profeß neither Operating, nor Cooperating Grace, neither " in Conversion, nor a; ter conversion, doth take away " from Man's will, in the very exercise of its elicite “alt, the Power of resisting or dissentint, if he will ; S For this is natural and born with us, inseparable from " the Will it self as 'tis a natural faculty, &c. And a- Pag, 27. şs gain, It is not questioned here simply, whether God in so the work of Conversion or in any other good Work, “ doth work this to will and to do resistibly; for that “ we have already afirmed. This is given then, that resistibility is never taken away; Lei us see then what remains in Controversie: the whole dispute, faith he, is touching the manner of resistibility: for this is that which we say, when God by his effectual Grace Works in the Will ipsum velle, this Grace doth effectually produce in the Will non-resistency, and so for that time takes away actual resistance; which is brought to pass, as St. Augustine well explains it, by the holy Ghost's inspiring us with that sweetness of Grace, which renders, what he moves us to, more delightlome, than any thing that might diyert tis from it c.- therefore do we maintain actual resistance for that time to be certainly taken away; because 'tis impossible such a resistance should confift togetber with effect val Grace řeceived in the Will. --Because these two things cannot coexist together; or be composed in the Will (as the Schools fpeak,) name, hy, the Will to be wronoht upon by effettual Grace, and ike Will at the same time to refilt; which were as much as to say, in the famè inftant the Will not la resist, and to resist; or velic non refiftere, & velle refiftere,
Let us have leave a little to search into this My. stery: the whole difpute is touching the manner of reliflibility; nay truly there is no dispute at all about the manner of refiftibility; for resistibility importeth à Porver to refift, and the Act of resisting now about resistibility the Power there is no controversie; for you grant that neither the resistibility that is na
tural to us, that is, the Power, or Possibility we have of doing Evil; nor that which sprung from the cor. ruption of our Nature, that is, the proneness to E. vil, is taken away by Grace. Here then can be no question about the manner of resistibility, all must be about resistence it self; or the manner of nonresistance: for this, say you, is what we say, &c. this is what we contend for, &c. If so, you say nothing extraordinary; and contend for that which no
as to say, that where Grace is supposed to work effe&tually there remaineth any resistance; that when the will doth actually yield, that then it doth or can resist? Who bears a part in this dispute ? the ftate of the Question is plainly changed; for the Question of * contingency is not when things are actually in being, but before they were, whether they were not possible to be otherwise.
The Question then of the resistibility is before the very act of Good or Evil, not in it; it were sense I trow, to say a regenerate Man willeth Sin resistibly, not in the very moment when he willeth it, bür because ere he willed it, he could have refifted it; fo a convert obeyeth Grace, or willeth his conversion resistibly, because ere he willed it, he could have dislented: Sin is resistible, though it be too late to resist when it is consented unto ; and Grace
* Scholastici utuntur hâc eruditâ distinctione ; quod fit, confideratur duobus modis; uno, ut eft jam in se, eos extra fuas causas, ego hoc modo ipsum fieri transit in factum effe, es præfens in præteritum, proinde res illa non poteft non esse, dum eft, quia non potest non facta esse, que facta eft. Altero modo ut Auit a causa, five ut habet ordinem ad causam, id eft, quatenus eft adhuc in manu causæ: atque hoc modo so caufa eft libera de contingens, poteft res illa non esse, es contingenter est, non neceffario, quia habet ordinem ad caufam, feu ( ut loquar cum Zabarella) connexionem cum caufæ non necessariam, sed contingentem. Goclenius.
may be resisted, tho' to say so is too late, when it is accepted in the will; for to be received and be resisted cannot coexist.
Again, granting that non-resistance which is in the very act of consenting, the Question is still as doubtful what is the cause of this non-resistance, and on what its production did once depend, whether on the operation of effectual Grace, or on an effectual determination of the Will; for the selfsame may be said of the Will that you say of Grace'; when the Will obeyeth it is impossible it should disobey or will to resist. No Man can tell by the very act of obeying, which is the cause of not resisting; for put either of the two, Grace or Will, to remove resistance, it is surely gone in the act of consenting. And to me. it seemeth demonstrable, that the Will is the proper cause that endeth resistance, or refuseth to resist; first, because that effectual Grace, which you talk so much of, is but an empty name, there being no such Grace that can determine the Will but it destroyeth it, the nature of the Will being to determine it self. Secondly, because to resist and not to resist are the proper acts of the Will, as to Convert, Repent, or Believe, are the immediate acts of Man who Convert. eth, Repenteth, or Believeth, and are not the acts of God, though without his Help and Power they are not produced; which is a plain fign, that Man is later in the Operation than God, in the order of Nature, by whom the Act was terminated.
The sense of our Church in this matter is set forth in the * Homily of Salvation, where she plainly declareth, for the necessity of something to be done on our part for our justification: the sum of what is there faid is that to God's Mercy and
* Tom. I. Pag. 13. Fol.
Grace on his part and Christ's fatisfaction on his part, concurrs on our part, a true and lively Faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, which yet is not ours; but by God's working in us. How she underltands this, not ours, but by God's working in us, is explained a little lower, lively Faith is the Gift of God, and not Man's work only without God. This might fuffice sober Wits, that all confefs, God's Grace to prevent, to operate, to help Man's will, and the will of Man to have some office and part under the Grace of God, though we were not able to exprefs or declare the manner
of the coworking. God promiseth to circumcise the Deut. 30. Heart, and Man is commanded to circumcise bis own
14 Heart; God promiseth to give Men a new Heart and 10. 16.
Spiritand Men are commanded to make them a new Heart, and a new Spirit. This Promise and this Commandment
are both Evangelical, the Promise fupposeth and imEzek. 1. plyeth our utter impotency of our selves to do these 19.
fupernatural Ads, and tendreth unto us the Power; - 18. 31.'
" Affistance and Operation of God to comfort and
encourage us. The commandment supposeth and impliech à Power in us by the aslistance of God, to endeavour, and to do something towards these supernatural Acts: and that they are our Aets doth appear, for that they favour of our imperfections; from whence it is, that we daily accuse our felves, and complain of the weakness of our Faith, the coldness of our Love, and the pride of our Hearts, tho it be true that God hath given us Faith , Love, and Humility. Why do we not rather mag. nify the Gifts and Graces of God, but extenuate and disgrace them like ungrateful Persons? But be. cause we have impaired them, or made them de: fe&ive by our being wanting to the Grace of God.
Let Bernard conclude this Chapter concerning this joint acting of Grace and Freewill, who was a true Friend to the Grace of God; But fo doth