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Let us then, henceforth, be "fervent in Spirit, serving the Lord !” Let us love the LORD our God, and walk in His ways, and keep His commandments, that we may live, and glorify our Creator, our Preserver, our Benefactor and our Redeemer! Let us cleave unto the LORD with all our hearts, that thus we may be constrained, during the present state, “to live unto Him, Who died for us and rose again !” So that at length we may arise, by the same power, from the floods of Jordan, to dwell in the land which was promised to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob; and there to glorify and adore that same God, Whom we have faithfully served, while wandering in the wilderness of this world.
PAGE 164. The Pelagians and Socinians imagine the will of man, in a state of innocence, to have consisted in a perfect equilibrium, or indifference, without a predisposition to good. In consequence of this heresy, I have considered it necessary to be very cautious, in clearly defining the view I have been led to take. So far from approximating to the error above mentioned, it will be perceived that I have advanced an opinion directly opposite. I have asserted that man was created with an actual righteousness, and with a will inlining to moral good, I have adopted the theological distinction between a natural and a moral ability of will; denying the latter to fallen man, but attributing the former. Neither have I supposed, with the Pelagians and Arminians, that an absolute indiffe. rence, or equal indetermination in the will towards good and evil, is necessary to nian's responsibility and liberty of action, or to the natural ability of his will. But, on the coutrary, I have shewn that the nature of the will excludes the supposition of this indifference. And that, if this indetermination were necessary, neither God Hiniself, the elect angels, nor the evil Spirits could be free agents, since all are under a determinative inclimation. Liberty of action can exist, where there is an actual and natural determination in the will to good or evil. (iood or evil must be both natural anil voluntary, since the will pertains wholly to nature.
Man, in his primitive state of innocence, possessed a naturaldetermination towards moral good, similar to his corporeal appetites. But, since the fall, man has lost this moral bias, and is become prone to evil. Of his moral faculties, he has lost that
PAGE 176. The Manichean heresy consists in maintaining the existence of an eternal and independe evil principle, equal to a good principle. This opinion, however, is of far more ancient origin than the sect of the Manichees. It was held by many heathen nations, and seems to have arisen, partly from corrupted patriarchal tradition, respecting the creation and fall of man; and partly, from the difficulty of accounting for the origin of evil.
Dean Prideaux, writing on Isaiah xlv: 7, says : “This seems to be spoken in reference to the Persian sect of the Magians, who held the being of two first causes, Light, or the good gori, who was the Author of all good ; and Darkness, or the evil god, the Author of all evil; and that of the misture of these two, as they were in a continaal struggle with each other, all things were made."
In stating the existence of an evil power, opposing the good; I have shewn the former to be a created and dependant power, which is controlled by the simple Will of the eternal Godhead. To obviate objections, arising from a hasty consideration of the truth considered in the preceding sermon, I have thought it expedient thus to contrast it with error.
Throughout the written Word, there are two operative powers pointed out. All evil is ascribed to the foreign intiuence of Satan, acting through the perverted mind of man ; and all good is stated as proceeding from God only. not sufficient of ourselves, even to think any thing" that is truly good ; but “God works in us both to will and to do, of His good pleasure."
CHRIST, in His regal office, is the Sovereign of the moral world; and therefore the evil, as well as the good, must be equally under His control. Satan can do nothing, but what CHRIST pernits; and the wickedness of man is overruled tv accomplish His appointed Will. Thus, “all things are made to work together for good to them that love God:” and the permission and existence of evil, are absolutely necessary for the trial, exercise, and increase of the graces of the renewed soul.
By the flesh, in the Scriptures, we are to understand that corrupt principle in fallen man, by which the evil Spirit acts : and, by the Spirit, the renewed faculties of the mind, which are continually operated on by the influence of the Holy Ghost. The action and reaction of these two operative powers, are expressly declared by St. Paul, in the 5th chapter of his epistle to the "Galatians, and in the 7th and 8th chapters of that to the Romans. In those, who are “led by the Spirit” of God, good is the agent, and evil the reacting power: whereas, the converse is the the case with those, who are led by "that Spirit, which worketh in the children of disobedience.”
The analogy of nature, to the fallen state of man, is worthy of observation. How remarkably do the centripetal and centrifugal forces, which act on the soul of fallen man, correspond to those, by which the Planets are retained in their orbits. Throughout the natural world, the law of action and reaction is universal. It is a law which is absolutely necessary to the subsistence of the material creation. In every state, action and reaction exist between two' opposite powers. The air we breathe is the subject of