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says an opponent, "to argue from God's commands to man's dominion is no argument; God commands man to keep the whole law perfectly; it does not follow from hence that they can do it; his precepts show what man ought to do, not what he can do." In reply, to argue from God's requirement, as duty, to man's ability and opportunity is sound arguing. There may be duty, and there is duty, in cases wherein there is no choice to discharge it; but there cannot be duty where there is no natural ability, capacity, opportunity, or dominion, however this defect originated

Inference 6th. Future moral inclinations and disinclinations of mind, consisting in wishes, purposes, or volitions, may be more or less objects of mediate duty.

The dominion of man over future inclinations, can only be by a sort of sovereignty in present choices, resolutions, and volitions over them. Present strength of resolution may beget a governing purpose, which shall ensure a series of inclinations in their season. A present voluntary decree, or establishment of determination, commonly called a vow, may also do much in this way; but both have their limits. The strength of both seems to lie, either in keeping the truths which now concur to incitation, excitation, and inducement present, without intermission; or else in the habit attained, or aptitude generated to understanding, affection, and determination in the cases respected; which attained habit is the grand medium, sometimes, of the dominion of former moral resolutions and volitions, when the original reasons are forgotten, the passion extinguished, and vow uninfluential, by inducing the practical volition as occasions arise.

Inference 7th. Habits attained by repetition of discharging duty, as tending to facilitate our inclination to future duties, are themselves objects of mediate duty, and are denominated virtues And ha

bits contracted by past imputable sins, as being impediments to our inclining to future duty, are themselves imputable, and denominated vices. Repetition of any sin generates the evil habit called vice, and not only the antecedents of the vice, and the consequents of the vice, are imputable sins, but the vice itself is imputable vice, or what is scripturally called an evil heart.

Inference 8th. Present and immediate duty seems always to terminate either in prayer, or in endeavour, or in both. Prayer and endeavour, in respect of Divine precepts, are the utmost efforts of creature immediate exertion: these do admit of degrees in comparative perfection and duration, yet still a person who has made the required choice, can but pray and endeavour. Prayer proceeds from consciousness of dependance, and is the chosen act of soliciting Divine aid, or interposition. Endeavour is requisite to the performance of every thing, itself excepted, immediately within the sphere of human duty.

Endeavour respecting personal religion is the incumbent duty of every person who is favoured with access to Divine manifestation, or who sits under a gospel ministry. It involves endeavour to fix attention to what we hear or read on religious subjects,endeavour to call back the roving thought,-endeavour to unprejudicedly consider the subjects presented in reference to self-application,-endeavour after corresponding affections to our conviction of truths, also endeavouring to extinguish wrong and inordinate emotions, and to encourage the flame of right affections; the means of doing which effectually is, endeavour to seize circumstances which tend to valuable influence in respect of exciting religious admiration, love, hope, joy, and benevolence.

Inference 9th. God hath hypothetically con

nected his needful concurrence with the humble prayers and endeavours of human persons, to the

full extent requisite for the doing, omitting, enjoy ing, and suffering, which he requires of them as mediate duty. Obedience to the law of faith is feasible to the chusing mind, but it is feasible by a medium, for no person can believe at his mere option; faith being the consequent of perceived and operative evidence. Where choice existeth in submission to God, it will induce to prayer and endeavour, and these, if sincere and persevering, God hath graciously connected with actual obedience of the law of faith. To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ has been, or is the duty of every person of adequate age, who has, under Divine providence, opportunity of reading or of hearing the gospel.

That man is adequate to discharge whatever is his duty, is taught by reason and revelation. Also, that some have done it, so far as to establish a character before God, seems evident: for God said of Caleb, "He hath followed me fully."-It is said of Zecharias and Elizabeth, that "they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless," and by our Lord of Nathaniel, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile."

Axiom III. Impossibility of choice infallibly marks the non-existence of duty; and impossible to be done, is totally incompatible with moral obligation to do, respecting any precept. Impossibility occurring, terminates moral obligation, equally, as impossibility occurring, doth terminate natural obligation in mechanical and mental cases.

Inference 1st. The duty of a human being is subjected to a needful time for acquaintance with law, and for the conformity required. Hence the present instant cannot be the commencement of duty, or of imputable sin, respecting a new precept given this instant, of which there was no previous intimation. A new law may be made on a certain day, at a certain hour, but the duty of persons under

it does not commence until the essential time is elapsed, in which the ruled persons acquainted themselves, or might have acquainted themselves, with its existance, nature, and enforcements.

Inference 2nd. Duty cannot apply to the present instant of time, (philosophically or strictly conceived,) but always respects something that may be done or omitted, enjoyed or suffered at some future time. If what was my duty for this instant, is not this instant discharging, the duty is gone, through impossibility, and guilt contracted,-imputable sin existeth It is abundantly asserted by a forcible reasoner, (President Jonathan Edwards,) that the will is what is primarily commanded or required by precept. This may be true; but it is of indispensible importance to reflect, that this cannot apply to the present instant of time in respect of duty; because it is impossible that will this instant, should be as was required or commanded for this instant, if it is not actually so. For want of this reflection, the said author fell into several mistakes. There is no such thing, strictly speaking, as present duty.

Inference 3rd. We rightly infer, that in respect of undischarged mediate duty, the medium requiring time, in proportion as that essentially required time lessens, duty retires, and imputable sin advances,— the time quite elapsed, duty in that respect is gone through impossibility, and imputable sin is completed. I will make this point clear by example. A school-boy has a holiday for a week, and for exercise of memory, receives a task to repeat by memory, the first seven verses of the tenth chapter of Proverbs, which is exactly proportioned to his natural ability. Learning one verse every day is the medium. He neglects the first verse the first day, in consequence, he cannot learn more than six of the verses; duty respecting the seventh of them is no more, but he is the subject of imputable sin for his omission. It is now his mediate duty to learn sis

verses. The second day he also squanders without getting off a verse. Duty is now gone respecting another verse, and he is chargeable with a second imputable fault respecting his task: and his duty now is only to learn five verses. In short, he goes on thus until the seven days are expired. Impossibility existing, duty is now totally gone in respect of performing his task, and imputable sin in that respect, has attained its full aggregate;-school disgrace and punishment succeeds. To further illustrate the point; suppose that it was the duty of another idle scholar, by this present day of his age, to perform the golden rule of arithmetic; whereas he, through playing truant, keeping from school for feigned sickness or inattention, has not attained division, multiplication, nor even subtraction, and is now scarcely competent to addition. We naturally say, you ought before now to have been in the rule of three. Similar to the language of the apostle, Heb. v. 12.

This position respecting mediate duty, is more interesting than may be at first perceived. A man's life, in respect of religious objective advantages, may be considered commensurate to an aggregate of mediate and immediate duty. In proportion to his discharge of duty, is his advance in religious excellence and Divine approbation; consequently the highest possible attainment belongs to the mediate duty of the latter part of his life; which degree of excellence depends essentially on numerous stages of discharged mediate duty. If these mediate duties be neglected, impossibility advances, and consequently duties retire, and imputable sins accumulate. Now when we reflect on our waste of time, its abuse, and our falling short of attainments; and also, when we observe the fact respecting other persons, what a mournful picture presents itself of inexcusable defect and accumulated guilt. How interesting the advice,

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