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love. “ If ye, being evil, know how to give “ good gifts to your children, how much “ more shall your heavenly Father give “ good things,” even “the Holy Spirit, to “ them that ask him.” It is also “ because “ ye are sons, that God hath sent forth “ into your hearts the Spirit of his Son, “ not the spirit of fear or of bondage, but “ the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, “ Abba, Fatherr.”
Such expressions, and more might be recited, suffer us not to acquiesce in silence, when Calvinists”, with less ambiguity and reserve, adopting the language of their opponents, “ avow the sentiment, that his “ gifts, as distinguished from rewards, are “ bestowed arbitrarily, or according to his “ sovereign pleasure";” and that “it is the o prerogative of benevolence, grace, and “ mercy, to overlook worthiness in their “ objects; and the measure of their exer“ cise is adequately found in supreme wis“ domų. It is also maintained, that to the question, “ Why should we suppose that “ God does more in the way of preventing - internal grace for some than for others, “ while all in themselves are equally un6 deserving? the true answer is, Because “ his favours are his own, and he has a ti sovereign prerogative to do what he will “ with his ownv;” “ a sovereign or arbitra“ ry right to confer his favours on whom “he pleases, when all alike are destitute “ of just claim w;" and that the influence of this indefectible principle “is no more " claimable by the creature than any “ other favour which is not in fact granted 66 him x:” :
9 Matt. vii. 11. Luke xi. 13. Rom. viii, 14. 15. Galat. iv. 6.
s This is the language of Calvinists: the meaning which it is intended to convey requires explanation. Dr. Williams, in commenting upon the position of Bishop Tomline, that faith " is a gift not bestowed arbitrarily, “ capriciously, or irrespectively,” observes : “ That the “ infinitely wise God should bestow a favour or do any « thing else capriciously without reason, or irrespective“ ly without a wise reference to a worthy end, is out of “ the question: for his Lordship must be too equitable “ to impute to Calvinists a sentiment which they utterly « abhor. But they do avow the sentiment,' &c. as in the text. Mr. Scott says: “ The words arbitrarily and. 6 capriciously,' in connection with the Lord's decrees or “ dispensations, are used exclusively by the opponents “ of Calvinism, and are not found in the writings of « Calvinists.” Vol. ii. p. 122. sec. 166. “Arbitrary will, " in the common use of words, means the will of one « who is determined to have his own way, being pos6. sessed of power to enforce his decisions. This in ge“ neral ïs unreasonable, capricious, tyrannical : often in “ direct opposition to wisdom, justice, truth, goodness, “ or mercy. Such thoughts of God's sovereignty were “far removed from Calvin's views of the subject, and so " they are from ours.” Vol. ii. p. 4. See p. 89. 170. 653. “ Indeed the word right' is wholly improper to the sub“ ject... it is unmeaning to speak of a right to do wbat “ it is impossible should ever be done.” Vol; ii. 168.
Claim we have none, and none we urge, but through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom both Jews and Gentiles “ have access by one Spirit unto the Fa“ thery.” It is on the authority of the Scriptures that we believe that God, so far from overlooking worthiness in the objects of his mercy, “ resisteth the proud, and “ giveth grace unto the humble?;" that his eyes“ are over the righteous, and his “ ears are open to their prayers, but” that his face " is against them that do evila." If any man love Christ, he will keep bis words, and the “ Father will love him,” and, with the Son, “ will come unto him," and make his "abode with him b." So it is written, that God dwelleth with him " that is of a contrite and humble spirit, 6 to revive the spirit of the humble, and “ to revive the heart of the contrite ones c;" that he looketh “ to him that is poor and " of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at his “ word d.” The same truth is conveyed in the history and character of many who have been the especial objects of divine mercy, and is worthy to be received without limitation or restriction; for it is the declared will of God, that no man should perish, but that “ all should come to re6 pentance," and " to the knowledge of “ the truth," and " be savede.”
v Williams, p. 498. 503. Scott, vol. ii. p. 3. 35. 36. 543. w Williams, p. 180. Scott, vol. i. p. 105.
» Williams, p. 257. y Eph. ii, 18.
2 1 Pet. v, 5. a 1 Pet. iii. 12. b John xiv. 23. c Isaiah lvii. 15. d Isaiah lxvi. 2.. e Ezek. xviii. 23. 32. xxxiii. 11. 1 Tim. ii. 4. 2 Pet. iii. 9.
3. Grace, in the language of Calvinists, is called special, “ because that which is “ displayed in the Gospel objectively, which “ bringeth the tidings of salvation through “ Christ, has appeared to all men, is alike « common to the converted and uncon66 verted, to numbers who perish, as well “ as to those who are eventually saved. “ Consequently, that grace which causes " the difference of result, must be subject“ ive, or internal and specialf.” It would be easy to enlarge on the apparent subtlety and real confusion in this distinction of the grace of God, as it is shewn in the publication of the word, and the renewal of the heart. The doctrine of special grace is sufficiently declared in those texts, in which it is said, that “ the manifestation of the “ Spirit is given to every man to profit “ with®;" that “grace is given to every “ one of us, according to the measure of “ the gift of Christ b;” and that we have “ gifts differing according to the grace that “ is given to us,” and “according to the
f Williams, p. 29. & 1 Cor. xii. 7. h Ephes. iv. 7.