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vinity, which, instead of untying, they violently cut asunder ; and so make a sacrifice either of activity, or of dependence. Some give up activity for the sake of dependence; some give up dependence for the sake of activity; and some first give up one and then the other, for the sake of maintaining both. The fatalists give up activity for the sake of dependence. They suppose men are totally dependent and constantly acted upon, as inere machines, and of consequence are not free agents. The Arminians, on the other hand, give up dependence for the sake of activity. They suppose men have a self-determining power, or a power to originate their own volitions, and are capable of acting independently of any divine operation upon their hearts. But many
of the Calvinists endeavor to steer a middle course between these two extremes, and first give up activity and then dependence, in order to maintain both. They hold that men are active both before and after regeneration, but passive in regeneration itself
. These three classes of men, however they may differ in other respects, seem to agree in this, that no man can act freely and virtuously while he is acted upon by a divine operation; and accordingly unite in pronouncing the doctrine, which we have been laboring to establish, inconsistent and absurd. This naturally leads us to inquire,
In the second place, why activity and dependence are so generally supposed to be inconsistent with each other.
If saints do indeed work out their own salvation with fear and trembling under a divine operation, as has been perhaps sufficiently proved, then this doctrine cannotebe supposed to be inconsistent and absurd because it is so in its own nature. If it be true, it must be consistent, whether we can discover its consistency or not.
Nor, in the next place, can any suppose this doctrine is inconsistent and absurd because it is more difficult to apprehend and explain, than many other doctrines of natural and revealed religion. Who can conceive or explain how the Supreme Being exists of himself ? or how he supports the universe ? or how he fills all places and surveys all objects at one and the same time? But who, except atheists and skeptics, will presume to deny these truths, or venture to call them inconsistent and absurd ? Why then should any suppose there is the least absurdity in men's working out their own salvation with fear and trembling, while God at the same time works in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure? It is as easy to conceive of this, as to conceive of the divine existence, omnipresence, or universal providence. In all cases of this nature, the facts are plain and intelligible, but the manner of their existence or production is truly mysterious. Our own existence is selfevident; but how we were formed is to us a profound mystery. Our constant dependence on the Deity for the continuation of existence is capable of strict demonstration; but how God upholds us every moment, we are utterly unable to explain. So our dependence on the Deity to work in us both to will and to do, is equally demonstrable; but how God operates on our minds in our free and voluntary exercises, we are equally unable to comprehend. There is, therefore, no more mystery in this doctrine than.in every object we see, or every sound we hear, or every breath we draw. The subject before as may be involved in more difficulties than some other subjects which have been less examined and controverted; but there is a wide difference between difficulties and mysteries. Though we can never remove mysteries, yet we can sometimes remove difficulties. And when the difficulties are removed from a difficult subject, it then becomes plain and intelligible. Many points in physic and philosophy, which were once attended with great difficulties, have now become easy and familiar to the masters of those sciences. And nothing farther is necessary to render the subject of man's dependence and activity level to every one's apprehension, than to remove the difficulties with which it has been embarrassed by the tongue and pen of con-. troversy. It may
be proper to observe, once more, that none can suppose this doctrine to be inconsistent because they have found it to be so by their own experience. To believers we make the appeal. Did you ever feel the least inconsistency between activity and dependence? Did you ever perceive the divine agency to obstruct your own ? Did you ever find your moral powers suspended in regeneration, in love to God, in repentance, in faith, or in any other holy affection ? Were you ever conscious of being less able to grow in grace, and to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, because God wrought in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure ? Should you all speak the language of your own experience upon this subject, we presume you would with one voice declare that the Spirit of the Lord never destroyed, nor even obstructed, your liberty.
The question now returns, why is it so generally supposed that man's activity and dependence are totally irreconcilable ? I answer, this may be chiefly or wholly owing to the following
1. Some may suppose that human dependence and activity cannot be reconciled, because they are unwilling to see the consistency of a doctrine which throws them absolutely into the hands of God. The apostle evidently suggests this idea,
when he introduces a man disputing about his dependence with his Maker. “ Thou wilt say then unto me, why doth he yet find fault? for who hath resisted his will ? Nay but, О man, who art thou that repliest against God ? shall the thing formed say unto him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus ? " Many choose to deny that they are moral agents, rather than to own that they are dependent agents, who are obliged to act under the controlling influence of the Supreme Being. They wish either to enjoy dependence without freedom, or freedom without dependence; and therefore they will not, if they can possibly help it, see that harmony between both, which places them in a situation so extremely interesting and hazardous.
2. Some may suppose that dependence cannot be reconciled with activity, because they are conscious of being active, but not of being dependent. This is a strong hold in which many intrench themselves, and feel entirely out of the reach of all arguments in favor of a divine operation upon the hearts of moral agents.
They appeal to common sense as an infallible proof that men act freely and voluntarily, without feeling the least compulsion or influence from the hand of God. It is undoubtedly true that we are all conscious of activity, and intuitively know that we are free moral agents. But to what does this dictate of common sense amount ? that we are not dependent upon the Supreme Being for all our moral exercises ? 'Most certainly it does not. For supposing God does really work in us both to will and to do, we cannot be conscious of his agency, but only of our own, in willing and doing. Though in God we live, and move, and have our being, yet we are never conscious of his almighty hand, which upholds us in existence every moment. It is indeed as impossible that we should feel the operation of God upon our hearts while he works in us both to will and to do, as it was that Adam should have felt the forming hand of God in his creation. If Adam, therefore, could not have proved from his experience that he was self existent, we cannot prove from our experience that we are independent, in all our free and voluntary exertions. Hence our consciousness of moral freedom is no evidence against our absolute dependence upon God for all the inward motions and exercises of our hearts.
3. Many, by reasoning unjustly on this subject, persuade themselves that they cannot act while they are acted upon. They reason from matter to mind, which is by no means conclusive. Since matter is incapable of acting while it is acted upon, they conclude the mind must also be incapable of acting while it is acted upon. They suppose, if we are as dependent
Does it prove
upon God for all our voluntary exercises, as a clock or watch is dependent upon weights or springs for all its motions, then we are as incapable of moral agency as these, or any other mere machines. But the fallacy of this mode of reasoning may be easily exposed. The fallacy lies here. It takes for granted, that the only reason why a clock, or a watch, or any other machine, is not a moral agent, is simply because it is acted upon, or depends upon some power out of itself for all its motions. But is this true? Let us make the trial. Suppose a clock, which has hitherto been dependent and moved by weights and wheels, should this moment become independent, and move of itself
. Is this clock now any more a moral agent than it was before ? Are its motions now any more moral exercises, or any more worthy of praise or blame, than they were before? By no means. But why not? Because, notwithstanding it is now independent, and moves of itself, yet being still matter, and not mind, it moves without perception, reason, conscience and volition, which are attributes essential to a moral agent. The reason why a clock, or watch, or any other machine, is incapable of moral agency, is not because it is either dependent or independent; but simply because it is senseless matter, and totally destitute of all the principles of moral action. As neither dependence nor independence can make a machine a mind, so neither dependence nor independence can make a mind a machine. It is impertinent, therefore, to reason from matter to mind upon this subject. Our dependence on the Deity cannot deprive us of moral freedom, unless it deprives us of our moral powers. If God, while working in us both to will and to do, only leaves us in possession of understanding, conscience and volition, then he leaves us in full possession of moral agency, which must necessarily continue as long as these intellectual and moral powers remain. Indeed, there is nothing in the whole circle of created objects, which affords any argument to prove that man's dependence destroys his moral agency. There is no argument to be drawn from material objects to prove this; because they are entirely destitute of all mental properties. And there is no argument to be drawn from intelligent objects to prove this; because there is no species of intelligent creatures that we are acquainted with, who are less dependent on God for all their mental exercises than we are.
Hence it appears to be absolutely impossible for any to prove that human dependence and activity are inconsistent with each other. But I must observe once more,
4. That some involve themselves in confusion by reasoning too far upon this subject. They carry reason out of its province, and employ it in deciding that which it has no power nor authority to decide. Many complain that they have often attempted to reconcile dependence with activity, but after all their efforts, have been obliged to give up the subject, as surpassing the reach of their comprehension. And to keep themselves in countenance, they bring in Mr. Locke, that oracle of reason, who ingenuously owns that he could never reconcile prescience in the Deity with human liberty; or, in other words, man's dependence with moral freedom. This however will not appear strange, if we consider that it belongs not to the office of reason to reconcile these two points. Though activity and dependence are perfectly consistent, yet they are totally distinct; and of course fall under the notice of distinct faculties of the mind. Dependence falls under the cognizance of reason; but activity falls under the cognizance of common sense. It is the part of reason to demonstrate our dependence upon God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being. But it is the part of common sense to afford us an intuitive knowledge of our activity and moral freedom. We must therefore consult both reason and common sense, in order to discover the consistency between activity and dependence.
Nor is this a singular case. There are many other subjects upon which we can form no proper judgment, without the united aid of reason and common sense. Should I observe to a person walking with me in a garden, that a certain flower is the product of divine power, and possesses a beautiful color, and should he call upon me to prove my assertions, I should be obliged to have recourse first to reason, and then to common sense. I could prove by reason, that the flower was the product of divine power; but as to its color, I could only refer him to the evidence of his own eyes. If I should see a servant destroy his master's property, I could prove to him by reason, that he had injured his master; but I could not prove to him by reason, that he had broken a moral obligation and committed a crime. I could only represent the nature and extent of the injury which he had done to his master, by this instance of his conduct, and then refer him to the dictates of his own conscience; and if he should still continue unconvinced of his criminality, it would be out of my power to give him conviction, by any arguments drawn from reason. You may read a fine poem, and your reason may discover the unity of design, the connection of parts, and the regular construction of periods ; but if at the same time, you perceive the harmony of numbers, the sublimity of sentiment, and the beauty of character, this is not owing to any peculiar intellectual acumen, but to a correct taste, or the finer feelings of human nature, well cultivated and improved. These instances clearly show that reason and