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61. It is the common way of the Arminians, in their discourses and doctrines, which they pretend are so much more consistent with reason and common sense, than the doctrines of the Calvinists, to give no account at all, and make no proper answer to the inquiries made; and they do as Mr. Locke says of the Indian philosopher, who, when asked what the world stood upon, answered, it stood upon an elephant; and, when asked, what the elephant stood upon, he replied, on a broadbacked turtle, &c. None of their accounts will bear to be traced; the first link of the chain, and the fountain of the whole stream, must not be inquired after. If it be, it brings all to a gross absurdity, and self-contradiction. And yet, when they have done, they look upon others as stupid bigots, and void of common sense, or at least going directly counter to common sense, and worthy of contempt and indignation, because they will not agree with them. I suppose it will not be denied, by any party of Christians, that the happiness of the saints in the other world, consists much in perfect holiness and the exalted exercises of it; that the souls of the saints shall enter upon it at once at death; or, (if any deny that,) at least at the resurrection; that the saint is made perfectly holy as soon as ever he enters into heaven. I suppose none will say, that perfection is obtained by repeated acts of holiness; but, all will grant, that it is wrought in the saint immediately by the power of God; and yet that it is virtue notwithstanding. And why are not the beginnings of holiness wrought in the same manner? Why should not the beginnings of an holy nature be wrought immediately by God in a soul that is wholly of a contrary nature, as well as holiness be perfected in a soul that has already a prevailing holiness? And if it be so, why is not the beginning, thus wrought, as much virtue as the perfection thus wrought?
$62. Saving grace differs not only in degree, but in nature and kind, from common grace, or any thing that is ever found in natural men. This seems evident, because conversion is a work that is done at once, and not gradually. If saving grace differed only in degree from what went before, then the making a man a good man, would be a gradual work; it would be the increasing of the grace that he has, till it comes to such a degree as to be saving, at least it would be frequently so. But, that the conversion of the heart is not a work thus gradually wrought, but at once, appears by Christ's converting the soul being represented as his calling of it; Rom. viii. 28, 29, 30. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For, whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son: that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom he
did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Heb. ix. 15. "That they which are called, might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance." 1 Thess. v. 23, 24. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God, your whole spirit, soul and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." Nothing else can be meant in these places, by calling, but what Christ does in a sinner's saving conversion; by which it seems evident, that this is done at once, and not gradually. Hereby Christ shows his great power. He does but speak the powerful word, and it is done. He does but cail, and the heart of the sinner immediately cometh, as was represented by his calling his disciples, and their immediately following him. So, when he called Peter and Andrew, James and John, they were minding other There is things, and had no thought of following Christ. something immediately put into their hearts, at that call, which makes them so immediately act in a manner altogether new, and so alien from what they were before.
§63. That the work of conversion is wrought at once, is further evident, by its being compared to a work of creation. When God created the world, he did what he did immediately; he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. He said, Let there be light, and there was light. Also, by its being compared to a raising from the dead. Raising from the dead, is not a gradual work, but it is done at once. God calls, and the dead come forth immediately. When God creates, he does not merely establish and perfect the things that were made before, but makes them wholly and immediately. The things that are seen, are not made of things that do appear. Saving grace in the heart, is said to be the new man, a new creature; and corruption the old man. If virtue in the heart of a holy man, be not different in its nature and kind, then the man might possibly have had the same seventy years before, and from the beginning of his life, and has it no otherwise now, but only in a greater degree: and how then is he a new creature?
§ 64. Again, it is evident, also, from its being compared to a resurrection. Natural men are said to be dead: But, when they are converted, they are by God's mighty and effectual power raised from the dead. Now there is no medium between being dead and alive. He that is dead, has no degree of life. He that has the least degree of life in him, is alive. When a man is raised from the dead, life is not only in a greater degree, but it is all new. And this is further evident by that representation that is made of Christ's converting sinners, in John v. 25. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming,
and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live." This shows conversion to be an immediate and instantaneous work, like to the change made in Lazarus, when Christ called him from the grave; there went life with the call, and Lazarus was immediately alive. That before the call, they are dead, and, therefore, wholly destitute of any life, is evident by that expression, "the dead shall hear the voice;" and, immediately after the call, they are alive; yea, there goes life with the voice, as is evident, not only because it is said they shall live, but, also, because it is said, they shall hear his voice. It is evident, that the first moment they have any life, is the moment when Christ calls; and, when Christ calls, or as soon as they are called, they are converted; as is evident from what is said in the first argument, wherein it is shown, that to be called, and converted, is the same thing.
§ 65. A wicked man has not that principle of nature which a godly man has, as is evident by 1 John iii. 9. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin: for his seed remaineth in him and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." The natural import of the metaphor shows, that by seed, is meant a principle of action: it may be small as a grain of mustard seed. A seed is a small thing: it may be buried up and lie hid, as the seed sown in the earth: it may seem to be dead, as seeds for a while do, till quickened by the sun and rain. But any degree of such a principle, or principle of such a nature, is what is called the seed: it need not be to such a degree, or have such a prevalency, in order to be called a seed. And it is further evident that this seed, or this inward principle of nature, is peculiar to the saints: for he that has it, cannot sin; and therefore he that sins, or is a wicked man, has it not.
§ 66. Natural men, or those that are not savingly converted, have no degree of that principle from whence all gracious actings flow, viz. the Spirit of God or of Christ; as is evident, because it is asserted both ways in scripture, that those who have not the spirit of Christ are not his, Rom. viii. 9; and also, that those who have the Spirit of Christ, are his; 1 John iii. 24. "Hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." And the Spirit of God is called the earnest of the future inheritance, 2 Cor. i. 22. and v. 5; Eph. i. 14. Yea, that a natural man has nothing of the Spirit in him, no part nor portion in it, is still more evident, because having of the Spirit is given as a sure sign of being in Christ. 1 John iv. 13. "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, because he hath given us of his Spirit." By which it is evident that they have none of that holy principle, that the godly have. And if they have nothing of the Spirit, they have nothing of those things that are the fruits of the Spirit, such as
those mentioned in Gal. v. 22. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." These fruits are here mentioned, with the very design that we may know whether we have the Spirit or no. In the 18th verse, the apostle tells the Galatians, that if they are led by the Spirit, they are not under the law; and then directly proceeds, first to mention what are the fruits or works of the flesh, and then, what are the fruits of the Spirit, that we may judge whether we are led by the Spirit.
§ 67. That natural men, or those that are not born again, have nothing of that grace that is in godly men, is evident by John . 6; where Christ, speaking of regeneration, says, "That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit." By flesh is here meant nature, and by spirit is meant grace, as is evident by Gal. v. 16, 17. Gal. vi. 8. 1 Cor. iii. 1. That is Christ's very argument: by this it is that Christ in those words would show Nicodemus the necessity of regeneration, that by the first birth we have nothing but nature, and can have nothing else without being born again; by which it is exceeding evident, that they who are not born again, have nothing else. And that natural men have not the Spirit is evident, since by this text with the context, it is most evident, that those who have the Spirit, have it by regeneration. It is born in them; it comes into them no otherwise than by birth, and that birth is in regeneration, as is most evident by the preceding and following verses. In godly men there are two opposite principles: the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; as Gal. v. 25. But it is not so with natural men. Rebekah in having Esau and Jacob struggle together in her womb, was a type only of the true Church.
§ 68. Natural men have nothing of that nature in them which true Christians have; and that appears, because the nature they have is divine nature. The saints alone have it. Not only they alone partake of such degrees of it, but they alone are partakers of it. To be a partaker of the divine nature is mentioned as peculiar to the saints, 2 Pet. i. 4. The words in this verse and the foregoing run thus: "According to his divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature; having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." Divine nature and lust are evidently here spoken of as two opposite principles in men. Those that are of the world, have only the latter principle. But to be partakers of the divine nature, is spoken of as peculiar to them that are distinguished and separated from the
world, by the free and sovereign grace of God giving them all. things that pertain to life and godliness; by giving the knowledge of Christ, and calling them to glory and virtue; and giving them the exceeding great and precious promises of the gospel, and enabling them to escape the corruption of the world of wicked men. It is spoken of not only as peculiar to the saints, but as the highest privilege of saints.
§ 69. A natural man has no degree of that relish and sense of spiritual things, or things of the Spirit, and of their divine truth and excellency, which a godly man has; as is evident by 1 Cor. ii. 14. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Here a natural man is represented as perfectly destitute of any sense, perception, or discerning of those things. For, by the words, he neither does nor can know, or discern them. So far from it, that they are foolishness unto him. He is such a stranger to them, that he knows not what the talk of such things means; they are words without a meaning to him; he knows nothing of the matter, any more than a blind man of colours. Hence it will follow, that the sense of religion which a natural man has, is not only not to the same degree, but is not of the same nature with what a godly man has. Besides, if a natural person has that fruit of the Spirit, which is of the same kind with what a spiritual person has, then he experiences within himself the things of the Spirit of God. How then can he be said to be such a stranger to them, and have no perception or discerning of them? The reason why natural men have no knowledge of spiritual things, is, that they have nothing of the Spirit of God dwelling in them. This is evident by the context. For there we are told it is by the Spirit these things are taught, verse 10-12. Godly persons, in the text we are upon, are called spiritual, evidently on this account, that they have the Spirit: and unregenerate men are called natural men, because they have nothing but nature. For natural men are in no degree spiritual; they have only nature, and no Spirit. If they had any thing of the Spirit, though not in so great a degree as the godly, yet they would be taught spiritual things, or the things of the Spirit in proportion; the Spirit, that searcheth all things, would teach them in some measure. There would not be so great a difference, that the one could perceive nothing of them, and that they should be foolishness to them, while, to the other, they appear divinely and unspeakably wise and excellent, as they are spoken of in the context, verses 6-9; and as such, the apostle speaks here of discerning them. The reason why natural men have no knowledge or perception of spiritual things, is, that they have none of that anointing spoken of, 1 John ii. 27. "But the