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his disciples, had it not been for a gracious divine influe ence upon their minds, which was not granted to those murmurers and opposers ; had they not been effectually drawn, by him in whose hand are the hearts of men, and who turneth them as the rivers of water are turned. We are plainly taught in this text, taken in the connection in which it ftands, as we are also in a multitude of other places, that men do not first distinguish themselves, by hearkening to the calls of the gospel ; but that it is God that makes one to differ from another, in this respect, by his sovereign and distinguishing grace. The point of doctrine, there, fore, that I shall inlift upon from the words is this,
That none are able to comply with the gospel, but those who are the subjects of the special and effettual grace of God ; or those who are made willing, and actually do comply with it.
What I have in view, in the following discourse, is not only to confirm this doctrine ; but to endeavour to set ic in such a light, as to obviate the formentioned difficulty, of salvation's being offered on impossible conditions, and men’s being condemned for not doing, that which they. ? are incapable of. And after what has been said, I think there is no way of attempting to clear up this mystery, left, but by thewing that there are cwo essentially different senses, in which
men are said to be incapable of doing things : or, by having recourse to the distinction of natural and moral inability. Accordingly, the method I pro. pose, is, I. As clearly as I can, to state and illustrate this disa
tinction. II. To show, that men certainly labour under one, or.
the other, of these kinds of inability to comply with
tual divine grace.
narily, no other incapacity in sinners, in this matter,
but only of the moral kind, 1. Then, it is to be observed, for the clearing up of this subject, that there are two very different kinds of inability : fo different, that the one however great does not leffen moral obligation in the least ; whereas the other, as far as it goes,takes away obligation, and all desert of blame and punishment intirely:
These two kinds of inability, as I hinted, have commonly been distinguished, by calling one a natural, the other a moral inability. Which distinction may be briefly stated thus. Morat inability consists only in the want of a heart, or disposition, or will, to do a thing. Natyral inability on the other hand, conGsts in, or arises from, want of understanding, bodily strength, opportunity ;-OF, whatever may prevent, our doing a thing, when we are willing, and strongly enough disposed and inclind to do it. Or, in fewer words, thus-; whatever a man could not do, if he would, he is under a natural inability of doing : but when all the reason one can't do a thing, is because he has not a mind to, the inability is only of a moral nature,
This distinction takes place, equally with regard to evil actions, and good ones. Thus, for instance, the divine being cannot do evil ; not because he wants opporiunity, or understanding, or strength; to do, with infinite. eafe, whatever he pleafes ; but orly because he is not, and it's impossible he should be, inclined to do iniquity, He is so infinitely & immutably holy, wise, just, and good ; that it is not possible he should ever please to act otherways, than in the most holy,righteous, and best manner. Hence, though we read that, " with God all ibings are possible,”; and that he can do every thing: ; yet allewhere we are told, “ he cannot deny binafelf; and that it is imposible; “ for God to lie.
On the other hand, facan is incapable of doing right, or of behaving virtuoufy, in the least infance or degreen But not because he wants natural abilities; for undoubt
edly in that respect, he is far superior to many that are truly virtuous. His being incapable of any thing but infernal wickednefs, is altogether owing to his being of such an infernal disposition.
And it is not uncommon, to speak of incapacity in mankind, both as to doing good and doing evil, in this twofold fignification. Some persons we say are incapable of doing a mean thing: Not that we think it is above their natural capacity ; but it is beneath them; they abhor, or they would scorn to do it. Others are incapable of several sorts of villany, not through any want of good will enough that way. They only want a convenient opportụnicy, or sufficient ingenuity.-And just so it is in regard to doing good. Some have it not in the power of their hands; others have no heart to it. One is of a truly generous spirit, and nothing but his own poverty, keeps him from being what Job was, a father to the poor, the fatherless and him that has noņe to help him. Another is sich, and might be a great benefactor and blessing to all around him ; but he has no heart to devise liberal things: "He can't be free and open handed ; it isn't in him to be so, He is deaf to the cries of the poor, blind to their wants, & dead to all the generous feelings of humanity and compaffion.
SOME are fo feeble and infirm, that they can do scarce any bodily labour; though they are extremely free and willing to lay themselves out to the utmost that their strength will bear, and often go beyond it. Others are strong and healthy enough, and might get a good living, and be useful members of fociety; but such is their invincible laziness, that their hands refufe to labour, and they can hardly get them out of their bosoms. Some are effectually kept from shining, or being very useful, in az ny public sphere in church or state, through the weaknelę of their heads : others, as effectually, by the badness of their hearts. Some are incapable of being taught by reafon of mere natural dulnefs : others only because they are
of an unteachable spirit, and full of self-conceit. Some are blind, for want of eyes ; but it is an old proverb, that none are more blind, than those who won't see.
These examples, are sufficient to illustrate the distinction I am infifting on, and to make it evident, that by incapable, we often mean something very different from want of natural capacity. We may also perceive from these instances, that there is a real necessity for using such words as, unable, incapable, can't, &c. in this diversity of signification, in which we see they are used, in common speech, as well as in the scriptures. For whenever any thing, whether in ourselves or without us, is really absolutely inconsistent with our doing a thing, we have no way fully and strongly enough to express that inconsistence, but by saying we are unable, we cannot, it is impossible ; or using some word of like import. And now it is certain that want of a heart; or inclination to do a thing, may be, and is, as inconsistent with our doing it, as any thing else could be. Covetuousness is as inconsistent with liberality as poverty is, and may as effectually hinder a man from doing deeds of charity. Indolence is as inconsistent with industry, as bodily weakness and infirmity is. The want of an upright heart and a public spirit, is as inconsistent with the character of a good ruler, as the want of wisdom and understanding. And the want of all principles of virtue, must be as inconsistent with acting virtuously, as even the want of those intellectual faculties, which are necessary to moral agency. And so on the other hand, as to doing evil things. There is no poffibility of doing them, that is, knowingly, designedly, and as moral agents, without an evil disposition. Our free and moral actions, are, and must be, as invariably guided and dictated by our own minds, as they are limited and bounded, by our natural power. That is, every one muft act his own nature, and choices otherways he don't act himself; be is not the agent. And if, when we would
express this sort of necessity, we should not use the same phrases as are made use of in cases of natural necessity; but for fear of a misunderstanding, should carefully avoid saying a man cannot, when ever we mean only that he has not such a heart as is necessary, and only say that he will not, in all such cases; our language would often found odd, being out of common custom, which governs the propriety of words ; and not only so, but it would not be sufficiently expresive. Should we be afraid to say, it is imposible for a man to love God, or come to Christ, while his heart is altogether, wicked, and full of enmity against God and Christ; people would be ready to think we immagined this might fometimes happen, and that there was no real impoffibility in it of any kind. Whereas there is as real, and as absolute an impossibility in this case, as in any supposable one whatever. To be more guarded therefore, than the scripture is, in this matter, would be to be unguarded. The apostle demands, " can the fig
tree, my brethren, bear olive-berries ? either a vine “.figs " and the prophet, “ can the Ethiopian change “ his skin ? or the Leopard his spots ? then may ye also “ do good, who are accustomed to do evil.” And our Saviour says, “ a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; “ neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. A
good man out of the good treafure of the heart, bring“ ech forth good things. And an evil man out of the e " vil treasure, bringerh forth evil things. There is as certain and never failing a connection in this case, as any natural connection whatever. Which ought by no means to be diffembled, but openly maintained. But then it is certainly of a quite different, and even a directly opposite nature, to all intents and purposes of moral agency. And it is of the last importance, in my apprehension, that this also should be maintained, and manifested to every man's conscience.
Because a man must act according to bis own heart, or as he pleases; does this destroy his freedom ! it is the very