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yet has attempted to argue the matter out by rea
I had said, “It appears to me, that the scripture knows nothing of natural holiness as distinguished from spiritual holiness; that it knows of but one kind of real holiness, and that is a conformity to the holy law of God.' In answer to this, Mr. B. does not pretend to inform us where the scripture does make this distinction, or from what parts of it such a distinction may be inferred; but only asserts, that 6 there is a difference,” and goes about to inform us wherein that difference consists. (67, 68.) Let us now attend to what is there advanced. The sum of the supposed difference is made to consist in three things.
1. The one was possessed by Adam in innocence; and would have been conveyed by natural generation to his posterity; the other we derive from Christ, by the influence of the Holy Spirit. Answer, this does not prove them to be of a different nature, but merely to spring from different causes, and to flow through different channels. Man in innocence enjoyed the approbation of his Maker; so do believers, as justified in Christ's righteousness, and sanctified by his Spirit. Divine approbation, in itself considered, is the same thing in the one case as in the other; but the means by which it is enjoyed are very different.
2. “ Natural holiness consists in conformity to the holy law of God;--spiritual holiness to the law and gospel too.” Answer, That all holiness is a confornity to some law, or rule of action given by God to his creatures is certain; and if spiritual holiness is a
conformity to the gospel in something wherein it is not a conformity to the moral law, then the gospel must, after all, be a new law, or a new rule of action. But what necessity for this? If the “pure and holy law of God requires every man cordially to receive, and heartily to approve of the gospel," as Mr. B. elsewhere says.it does, (49) then what room is there for the above distinction? A cordial reception, and hearty approbation of the gospel, is the very essence of conformity to it.
3. “ Natural holiness was liable to be lost; but spiritual holiness never was liable to; never was, never can be lost." Answer, This proves nothing to the point, unless the reason why spiritual holiness cannot be lost is owing to its nature or kind, and not to the promise and perpetual preservation of the Holy Spirit. A principle the same in nature, may be produced in one subject, and left to the conduct of that subject to preserve it in being; while in another subject in different circumstances its existence may be infallibly secured by the promise and power of God. It is generally supposed that the elect angels were confirmed in their state of original purity. Supposing this to have been the case, that confirmation, though it rendered their holiness, like that in believers, inadmissible; yet it did not, in the least, alter its nature. It had not been a confirmation if it had. Nor is there any reason, that I know of, to conclude that the holiness in the elect angels was of a different nature from that which originally existed in those who fell. I have no notion of any principle in my soul that is in its own
nature necessarily immortal. My experience teaches me, that I should as soon cease to love. Christ, and the gospel, and every thing of a spiritual nature, as Adam ceased to love God, were it not for the perpetual influence of his Holy Spirit.
That none of the above differences make any thing in proving the point, is equally evident from Mr. B's own principles as from what has been now alledged. He supposes spiritual holiness, or the holiness which | is in believers, to be a conformity to the law, though
not to the law only. Very well, so far then, as spiritual holiness is a conformity to the law, it is, and must be the same in nature as what he calls natural holiness; and yet they differ in all the circumstances above mentioned. That conformity to the law, of which believers are now the subjects, and which must have been incumbent upon them while unbelievers, is “ derived from Christ as their head, and comes by the influence of the Holy Spirit, and not by natural generation"-neither “ can it ever be lost,” so as to become totally extinct. These are things, therefore, which do not affect the nature of holiness; and so are insufficient to support a distinction of it into two kinds, the one essentially different from the other.
Upon the whole, I think Mr. B. in treating upon this subject has proceeded in much the same manner as when discussing the definition of faith. In order to prove that holiness in the hearts of believers is something essentially different, or different in its nature from what was possessed by man in innocence,
he proves, or rather asserts from Dr. Owen, that it 6 is an EFFECT OF ANOTHER CAUSE, and differs in the objects of its vital acts, there being new revelations now which were not before.” (76, 77.) All this is allowed, and it proves what Dr. Owen meant it to prove, viz. that we are not, after the manner of the Socinians, to make christianity a mere revival of the law of nature. It proves
that there are
some differ ences," as he expresses it,* between the life of Adam, and that of a believer; but it does not prove an essential difference in their principles; nor did the Doctor mean it, I should suppose, to prove any such thing
THE CAPACITY OF MAN IN INNOCENCE TO BELIEVE,
AND DO THINGS SPIRITUALLY GOOD, FARTHER CONSIDERED.
WE now proceed to the second question, viza WHAT HAS MR. B. DONE TO OVERTURN THE ARGUMENTS ON THIS SUBJECT WHICH HE HAS UNDERTAKEN TO ANSWER? Some things he has passed over: he has said nothing, for instance, to what was ad
Owen on the Spirit, p. 241.
vanced on the case of Cain and Abel; or on the difference between an essential and a circumstantial inca. pacity in our first parents to believe in Christ. I had attempted to prove, that the spirit and conduct of Adam in innocence, were nothing more nor less than a perfect conformity to the holy law of God that the same might be said of Jesus Christ, so far as he was our example and consequently the same of christians, so far as they are formed after that example. In proof of the two last positions, several passa
of scripture were produced. On these Mr. B. has made some remarks.
Psalm xl. 8. I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.-What Mr. B. says (79) of the will of the Father extending to Christ's laying down his life as a sacrifice for sinners, I think is true, but nothing to the purpose. I was speaking of Jesus Christ so far as he was our example; but what have his sufferings," as a sacrifice for sinners,” to do in this matter? Was he designed herein to be our example? surely not. If the moral law be allowed to be “ herein included,” that is sufficient. And if this were not allowed, since Mr. B. acknowledges, “ that the Lord Jesus Christ, through- out his life, yielded obedience to the moral law," and has pointed out no other obedience than this wherein he was our example,* the point is given up, and all the questions in p. 78 and 81, are to no purpose.
* 'Tis true, Christ' was our example in his conforming to positive institutions; but this is included in obedience to the moral