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of some men, and not of others, then the matter must be supposed to rest upon the same footing with all the rest of the divine purposes. And as it was the duty of Sihon to have accepted the message of peace and trusted in the goodness of him by whose order it was sent him, notwithstanding the purpose of God concerning him; so it may be the duty of every sinner to accept of the message of peace which is sent him by the preaching of the gospel, and trust in Christ for the salvation of his soul.
Objections equally plausible might be made to that case as to this. One might say, What end could be answered by a message of peace being sent? Peace was not ordained for him; but destruction, and his country was previously assigned to Israel for a pos session; for him, therefore, to have received the message of peace, and trusted in the goodness of the God of Israel, would have been trusting in an impossibi- ✓ lity. If told, the purposes of God are a great deep, which we cannot fathom-that if we knew the whole system, we should see it otherwise that there was no natural impossibility in the affair, no such impossibility as to cause any inconsistency in it-and that in the present state, we must take the revealed and not the secret will of God for the rule of our duty; he might have replied like Mr. B. “True, but God's secret will is the rule of his conduct to us; and surely he has not decreed, by giving Sihon up to hardness of heart, to leave him destitute of a right spirit, and then punish him for the want of it-this would be cruel and shocking!" (88.)
After all that Mr. B. has said, it is evident, from the above manner of speaking, that he does in fact make the decrees of God rules of human action; and herein lies a considerable part of the difference be tween us. We believe the doctrine of divine predestination as fully as he does, but dare not apply it to such purposes.
REPLY TO MR. B.'s XIII. LETTER, ON THE TENDONCY OF THESE PRINCIPLES TO ESTABLISH THE DOCTRINES OF HUMAN DEPRAVITY, DIVINE GRACE, THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT, &C..
I HAD observed, that the sentiment I opposed, aj well as that which I attempted to establish, represented 'man as erly unable to do things SPIRITUALLY GOOD; but then it made THAT inability to be no part of his depravity, but altogether innocent in its nature. Mr. B. quotes this passage, not however as I wrote it, but very differently, in sense as well as in words, and then finds fault with that which he himself had inserted. (96.) Inever imagined that he Would maintain men's aversion to all moral good" to be innocent--nor even their aversion to spiritual things, though I did not suppose he would have allowed that aversion to make any part of their
inability. Mr. B. complains of being injured in that he is represented as maintaining the inability of man to things spiritually good to be altogether innocent. What I affirmed was, that the sentiment, when it spake consistently with itself, did so.' I think so still; for it appears to me an inconsistency for a man to be "both naturally and morally unable" to come to Christ. Something has been said upon this subject already in the note p. 46. but as this is a subject on which Mr. B. frequently insists, let us examine it more particularly.
In the first place, supposing men's inability to do things spiritually good to be partly natural, and partly moral; then; after all, it must follow, that they are in part to blame for their non-compliance with those things; and so, consequently, the contrary must in part have been their duty. That this sentiment. follows from the position of Mr. B. is certain; but whose cause it will subserve I cannot tell: it seems to suit neither. Mr. B. beyond doubt, means all along to deny every thing spiritually good being either in whole or in part the duty of carnal men. I have attempted, on the other hand, to maintain, that such obedience is not merely in part, but fully incumbent upon them. And one should think it either is incumbent upon them, or it is not; but the above position implies that it is neither.
Farther, I question if both these kinds of inability can possibly obtain in the same instance. Where there is, and always was an entire natural inability, there appears to be no room for an inability of a mo
It would sound uncouth to affirm of any of the brutal creation, that they are morally, as well as naturally unable to credit the gospel. It would be equally uncouth to affirm of a man in his grave, that he is unwilling as well as unable to rise up and walk.
That men are capable of hating spiritual things nobody will dispute. But it is impossible that any aversion should subsist to what there is an entire natural inability to understand. We cannot hate that of which we have no idea, any more than love it. A brute, be his savage disposition ever so great, is incapable of aversion to every thing superior to his nature to understand. The same may be said of any being, intelligent or unintelligent
I may be told, perhaps, that a poor man may be of such a temper of mind, that if he had a natural ability to relieve the distressed, he would still be under a moral inability. Be it so, it is not proper to say he is morally as well as naturally unable to relieve the indigent. It might with truth be said, that he is mo rally unable to do such kind actions as are within his reach; and we may conclude he would be equally so to relieve the indigent, if his wealth were to increase. But this does not prove that moral inability can exist without natural ability. Besides, the inability of the poor man to relieve the distressed, is not in every respect total; and so is not of equal extent with that pleaded for in carnal men as to the discernment of spiritual things. No man, however poor, is destitute of those faculties and powers of mind by which generous actions are performed. It is impossible
perhaps to find a man naturally unable in every re spect to do goed in some way or other to his fellow creatures; or if a man of that description could be found, he must be utterly void of reason, and in that case he cannot be said to be morally, as well as naturally unable to do good.
They who possess great natural ability are capable of being the subjects of greater moral inability and guilt, than others whose capacities are less. It is not
some men's power to be so wicked as others. And where there is, and always was an entire natural inCapacity, there is no place for an incapacity of a moral vature in any degree. Mr. B. denies that men box orever had any natural ability for the embracing of spiritual things. We reply, they would be equally incapable of rejecting as of embracing them. The aversion of the human mind to things of that nature I conceive to be a strong additional argument in our favour; for which argument my thanks are due to Mr. Button. The above observations may be considered as a farther reply to the quotation from Mr. Brine. (p. 57.)
Can Mr. B. seriously pretend to maintain that his sentiments represent human depravity in an equal light with ours? It seems he wishes to have it thought so: but with what colour of evidence, it is difficult to conceive. We suppose men's aversion is so great as to amount to a total moral inability; and so as to render divine influence absolutely necessary. But Mr. B. expresses his surprize that we should call this inability total (56, 93.) It seems then, he does not think