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structed in the necessity of a supreme love to Christ, and gratitude for his death and sufferings, in order to his salvation from eternal misery; if under these circumstances he should, through fear of eternal torments, wish he had such a disposition : But his profane and carnal heart remaining, he continues still in his habitual distaste of, and enmity to God and religion, and wholly without any exercise of that love and gratitude, (as doubtless the very devils themselves, notwithstands ing all the devilishness of their temper, would wish for a holy heart, if by that means they could get out of hell ;) In this case, there is no sincere willingness to love Christ and choose him as his chief good : These holy dispositions and exercises are not at all the direct object of the Will: they truly share no part of the inclination or desire of the soul; but all is terminated on deliverence from torment: And these graces and pious volitions, notwithstanding this forced consent, are looked upon as undesirable ; as when a sick man desires a idose he greatly abhors, to save his life.....From these things it appears, 3. That this indirect willingness which has been spoken of, is not that exercise of the Will which the command requires; but is entirely a different one ; being a volition of a different nature, and terminated altogether on different objects ; wholly falling short of that virtue of Will, which the tommand has respect to. 4. This other volition, which has only some indirect contern with the duty required, cannot excuse for the want of that good will itself, which is commanded; being not the thing which answers and fulfils the command, and being wholly destitute of the virtue which the command seeks. Further to illustrate this matter.....If a child has a mo excellent father, that has ever treated him with fatherly kindness and tenderness, ahd has every way, in the highest degree merited his love and dutiful regard, being withal very wealthy; but the son is of so vile a disposition, that he inveterately hates his father; and yet, apprehending that his hatred of him is like to prove his ruin, by bringing him finally to poverty and abject circumstances, through his father's disinheriting him, or otherwise ; which is exceeding crosste his avarice and ambition ; he therefore, wishes it were otherwise : But yet, remaining under the invincible power of his vile and malignant disposition, he continues still in his settled hatred of his father. Now, if such a son's indirect willingness to have love and honor towards his father, at all acquits or excuses before God, for his failing of actually exercising these dispositions towards him, which God requires, it must be on one of these accounts. (1) Either that it answers and fulfils the command. But this it does not by the supposition; because the thing commanded is love and honor to his worthy parent. If the command be proper and just, as is supposed, then it obliges to the thing commanded ; and so nothing else but that can answer the obligation. Or, (2.) It must be at least, because there is that virtue or goodness in his indirect willingness, that is equivalent to the virtue required; and so balances or countervails it, and makes up for the want of it. But that also is contrary to the supposition. The willingness the son has merely from regard to money and honor, has no goodness in it, to countervail the want of the pious filial respect required. Sincerity and reality, in that indirect willingness, which has been spoken of does not make it the better. That which is real and hearty is often called sincete; whether it bo.in virtue or vice. Some persons are sincerely bad others are sincerely good ; and others may be sincere and hearty in things, which are in their own nature indifferent ; as a man may be sincerely decirous of eating when he is hungry. But a being sincere, hearty and in good earnest, is no virtue, unless it be in a thing that is virtuous. A man may be sincere and hearty in joining a crew of pirates, or a gang of robbers. When the devils cried out, and besought Christ not to torment them, it was no mere pretence; they were very hearty in their desires not to be tormented; but this did not make their Will or desires virtuous....And if men have sincere desires, which are in their kind and nature no better, it can be no excusc for the want of any required virtue,
And as a man's being sincere in such an indirect desire or willingness to do his duty, as has been mentioned, cannot excuse for the want of performance ; so it is with endeavors arising from such a willingness. The endeavors can have no more goodness in them, than the Will which they are the effect and expression of And, therefore, however sincere and real, and however great a person's endeavors are; yea, though they should be to the utmost of his ability ; unless the Will which they proceed from be truly good and virtuous, they can be of no avail, influence or weight to any purpose whatsoever, in a moral sense or respect. That which is not truly virtuous, in God's sight, is looked upon, by him, as good for nothing; and so can be of no value, weight or influence in his account, to recommend, satisfy, excuse or make up for any moral defect. For nothing can counterbalance evil, but good. If evil be in one scale, and we put a great deal into the other, sincere and earnest desires, and many and great endeavors; yet, if there be no real goodness in all, there is no weight in it; and so it does nothing towards balancing the real weight, which is in the opposite scale. It is only like the subtracting a thousand noughts from before a real number, which leaves the sum just as it was.
Indeed such endeavors may have a negatively good influence. Those things, which have no positive virtue have no positive moral influence ; yet they may be an occasion of persons avoiding some positive evils. As if a man were in the water with a neighbor, that he had ill will to, who could not swim, holding him by his hand; which neighbor was much in debt to him ; and should be tempted to let him sink and drown; but should refuse to comply with the temptation; not from love to his neighbor, but from the love of money, and because by his drowning he should lose his debt; that which he does in preserving his neighbor from drowning, is nothing good in the sight of God; yet hereby he avoids the greater guilt that would have been contracted, if he had designedly let his neighbor sink and perish. But when Arminians, in their disputes with Calvinists, insist so much on sincere desires and endeavors, as what must excuse men, must he accepted of God, &c, it is manifest they have respect td some positive moral weight or influence of those desires and endeavors. Accepting, justifying or excusing on the account of sincere honest endeavors (as they are called) and men's dojog what they can, &c. has relation to some moral value, something that is accepted as good, and as such, countervailing some defect. But there is a great and unknown deceit arising from the ambiguity of the phrase, sincere endeavors. Indeed there is a vast indistinctness and unfixedness in most, or at least very many of the terms used to express things pertaining to moral and spiritual matters. Whence arise innumerable mistakes, strong prejudices, inextricable confusion, and endless controversy. The word sincere, is most commonly used to signify something that is good : Man are habituated to understand by it the same as honest and usiright , which terms excite an idea of something good in the strictest and highest sense ; good in the sight of him, who sees not only the outward appearance, but the heart. And, therefore, men think that if a person be ancere, he will certainly be accepted. If it be said that any one is sincere in his endeavors, this suggests to men's minds as much, as that his heart and Will is good, that there is no defect of duty, as to virtuous inclination; he honestly and uprightly desires and endeavors to do as he is required; and this leads them to suppose, that it would be very hard and unfeasonable to punish him, only because he is unsuccessful in his endeavors, the thing endeavored being beyond his power.... Whereas it ought to be observed, that the word sincere has these different significations : 1. Sincerity, as the word is sometimes used, signifies no more than reality of Will and endeavor, with respect to any thing that is professed or pretended; without any consideration of the nature of the principle or aim, whence this real Will and true endeavor arises. If a man has some real desire to obtain a thing, either direct or indirect, or does really Endeavor after a thing, he is said sincerely to desire or endeavor it; without any consideration of the goodness or virtuousness
of the principle he acts from, or any excellency or worthiness of the end he acts for. Thus a man who is kind to his neighbor's wife, who is sick and languishing, and very helpful in her case, makes a shew of desiring and endeavoring her restoration to health and vigor; and not only makes such a shew, but there is a reality in his pretence, he does heartily and earnestly desire to have her health restored, and uses his true and utmost endeavors for it ; he is said sincerely to desire and endeavor it; because he does so truly or really; though perhaps the principle he acts from, is no other than a vile and scandalous passion; having lived in adultery with her, he earnestly desires to have her health and vigor restored, that he may return to his criminal pleasures with her. Or, 2. By sincerity is meant, not merely a reality of Will and endeavor of some sort or other, and from some consideration or other, but a virtuous sincerity. That is, that in the performance of those particular acts, that are the matter of virtue or duty, there be not only the matter, but the form and essence of virtue, consisting in the aim that governs the act, and the principle exercised in it. There is not only the reality of the act, that is as it were the body of the duty; but also the soul, which should properly belong to such a body. In this sense, a man is said to be sincere, when he acts with a flure intention ; not from sinister views, or bye ends: He not only in reality desires and seeks the thing to be done, or qualification to be obtained, for some end or other; but he wills the thing directly and properly, as neither forced nor bribed; the virtue of the thing is properly the object of the Will. In the former sense, a man is said to be sincere, in opposition to a mere pretence, and shew of the fiarticular thing to be done or exhibited, without any real desire or endeavor at all. In the latter sense, a man is said to be sincere, in opposition to that shew of virtue there is in merely doing the matter of duty, without the reality of the virtue itself in the soul, and the essence of it, which there is a shew of. A man may be sincere in the former sense, and yet in the latter be in the sight of God, who searches the heart, a vile hypocrite. Vol. V. 2 B