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2. "Does our natural depravity originate in the will or the understanding?"

Answer. In the will wholly, and that blinds the understanding by its opposition, or by the alienation of the heart. This is a prejudice against the truth.

3. "Does the renewal of the soul in regeneration begin, in the will or in the understanding?" Answer. In the will. This being reconciled, the darkness of the mind, which is the effect of prejudice or alienation, is at once removed, or vanishes.


"Which would be most agreeable to the word of God, right reason, sound philosophy, and the analogy of fa and which would best evince our need of Divine illumination, and yet the inexcusableness of sinners, in their impenitence and unbelief, to say, 'That sinners would easily understand Divine things, if they had a taste for them; or to say, they would certainly relish them, if they would but understand them?”

Answer 1. It is agreeable to the word of God to say the former, but not to say the latter. The Scripture every where represents the ignorance and unbelief of the wicked as the effect of unwillingness to receive and obey the truth, or of their wickedness of heart. John vii. 17, "If any man do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." Chap. v. 40, "Ye will not," or rather, "ye are not willing (ou 0λETE) to come to me, that ye might have life." This is given as the reason of the unbelief of the Jews, 2 Thess. ii. 10. "Them that perish, be

eause they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." Ver. 12, "That they might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” To have pleasure in unrighteousness is set in direct opposition to a saving belief of the truth, implying plainly, that the former cannot co-exist with the latter. But if a saving belief of the truth do not imply the love of the truth, but may exist in the mind antecedently to it, then a man may savingly believe the truth, and at the same instant have no love to it, but have pleasure in unrighteousness. Again, it is implied in the tenth verse, that the reason why any perish is, that they receive not the love of the truth. Therefore, if any do love it, or have a taste for Divine things, this love either implies, or will produce that belief which is necessary to salvation, Rom. i. 28. The reason why the Heathen world were given over to a reprobate mind, was, that they did not like to retain God in their knowledge. And alienation is the only assignable reason that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, but became vain in their imaginations; and their foolish heart was darkened. The Apostle Peter assigns this as the reason of the unbelief of the scoffers who should disbelieve the second coming of Christ, saying, Where is the promise of his coming? The reason which he assigns is a willing ignorance of the agency of God in creation and providence. 1 Cor. i. 12, "Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God;" implies, that a worldly spirit would render us ignorant of the truths of the Gospel, and therefore unbelievers. Psalm

xxxv. 14, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him." 1 John ii. 20, "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and know all things." John viii. 31, 32, "If ye continue in my word, ye shall know the truth." Chap. x. 26, "Ye believe not, because ye are not my sheep." Psalm cxi. 10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments." Eph. iv. 18, "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness, hardness, callousness, (Twgwo) of their heart."

Answer 2. As this is agreeable to the word of God, it is also agreeable to the analogy of faith. We believe that unbelief is a damning sin; and so with regard to the darkness, blindness, &c. so often mentioned in Scripture, and which is the effect of the influence of the god of this world. But they are and can be, no sin at all, if they do not imply wickedness, alienation of heart, or opposition of will. We also believe that faith is a duty. "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." "This is his commandment, that ye believe on the name of the only begotten Son of God." The Comforter was "to convince the world of sin, because they believe not on Christ." But faith is no duty, nor any matter of command, or exhortation, unless it depend on the will or heart. Who would ever say it is the duty of an idiot to become a Sir Isaac Newton, or who would command or exhort him to become such?

Answer 3. It is also most agreeable to right reason and sound philosophy, as is implied in what has been just

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said. If sinners would not easily understand Divine things, if they had a taste for them, it is unaccountable that darkness, blindness, or unbelief, should be represented as sinful, or as deserving punishment; or that a man should be commanded or exhorted to believe, to receive the truth, the light, &c.

Answer 4. It is the only way to evince the inexcusableness of sinners in their impenitence and unbelief, to inform them that they would easily understand Divine things if they had a taste for them: but so far from evincing that inexcusableness by telling them that they would certainly relish Divine things, if they could but understand them, that if this were true, it would infallibly prove, that they are perfectly excusable, being already the subject of "a good and honest heart," cordially disposed to the love and practice of the truth, but prevented from such love and practice by nothing but an ignorance which is involuntary, and to them invincible, even though they ever so strongly wish to overcome it.



1. Does God require any worship from the unregenerate? And, if he does, of what nature is it,-whether spiritual or formal?

THAT God requires all men to worship him, and that in spirit and truth, one would expect to be as obvious to every one who reads the Bible with attention, as the brightness of the sun when it shineth in its strength.


The very Heathen are represented as inexcusable in not glorifying God as God; and as worthy of his displeasure for worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator.* To the people of Israel God says "Know thou, and see, that it is an evil and bitter thing, that my fear is not in thee;" and thus he charged their fathers with sin, for "not setting their hearts aright; and because their spirit was not stedfast with God, for not believing in God, nor trusting in his salvation." All which expressions surely imply a requisition of spiritual, and not of formal worhip. Indeed, no instance, I am persuaded, can be found in all the Old or New Testament, of God's requiring less than the whole heart, under the idea that spiritual worship could not be required of carnal men. Never did God propose to accept of the shell, because his rival claimed, or had gotten, the kernel. He never directed men to do some external service, such as might be done by those whose hearts were enmity against God, as a substitute for that sort of obedience which could imply holy love.

No farther evidence is necessary to prove this point, than the summary of the Divine law, given by our Lord, in Matt. xxii. 7-40.§ Unless it can be proved, that all unregenerate men are free from the law of God, this must clearly evince that they ought to love God supremely, to love their neighbors disinterestedly, and to act accordingly, in the whole tenor of their conduct; and that every thing short of this is sin.

* Rom. i 21, 25. † Jer. ii. 19. Ps lxxviii. 8, 22, 32, 36, 37. § See a Sermon, entitled, "The Dependence of the Whole Law and the Prophets on the Two Primary Co andments," by Dr. Ry land, of Bristol, published by desire of the Ministers of the Associa tion at Salisbury, 1798.

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