« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
Maker capacities and powers to do the will of God acceptably. And if others did not act in like manner, it was not owing to their not having received like natural powers, but to their not making à like improvement of them.
But let us attend to some passages which have been produced in proof that man is not, by nature, able to do the will of God, or that his Maker has not given him capacity and ability to know and do his will acceptably, without the superadded operations of special grace to remedy his natural inability.
i Cor. ii. 14. “ But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolish. ness unto him ; neither can be know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
Upon this text I would observe first ; that the word, which is here translated natural, properly signifies animal, or sensual. Thus 1. Cor. xv. 44, 46. the apostle uses the same word three times for that body which dies, and is buried, to distinguish it from that spiritual body which shall rise again; where the word animal much better expresses the apostle's meaning than natural. Again James uses it, ch. iii. 15. where our translators have rendered it sensual. "This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” It is also used, ver. 19. of Jude's epistle, and rendered sensual. “ These are they who separate themselves,” sensual," having not the spirit.” These are all the passages of the New Testament where I find this word used. And it appears ::: :. A 5
that where it denotes the character of persons, or the moral quality of things, our translators have rendered it sensual. Consequently, in consistency with themselves, they should have rendered the text under consideration, But the sensual man (who has 10 higher aims than the gratification of his animal senses) seceiveth not the things of the spirit of God, &c. This would have been readily understood and acknowledged by all, and is perfectly consonant to what he says to the Romans, viii. 7. “ The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be.” . Secondly: In this chapter the apostle assures the
Corinthians, that the doctrine which he had preached to them did not take its rise from worldly wisdom, or philosophy, but was that only which had been revealed to the apostles by the spirit of God, ver. 10. Thal he had preached this doctrine in those terms only which the same spirit dictated, comparing the several particulars of it one with another, and with those things which the same spirit had revealed to the patriarchs and prophets of old : That none of the wise or powerful men of this world had, or .could possibly have discovered these counsels of God revealed by the spirit of God in the gospel, which spirit the apostles have received, that they might know and instruct others in the things that are freely given us of God. “But the sensual man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God,” revealed by it to the apostles, and preached by them to the world, “ for they are
foolishness foolishness to him,” contradicting all his former sentie ments and principles, to which he still adheres, “ neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned,” i. e. by the sole instructions of the spirit, to which he neither attends nor submits. “ But the spiritual man discerneth or judgeth all things," i. e. all the forementioned things of God revealed by his spirit; all gospel truths; - “but he himself is discerned or judged of no man,” i. e. he is not subjected in these respects to the judicature of the powers of this world, to the principles of human science, or the rules of human oratory.
Hence I would observe, first, that the deep things of God, or the things of the spirit of God, which the apostle speaks of in this chapter, are the doctrines of the gospel revelation. Now it is readily allowed, that as men were not endowed with any natural powers whereby they could discover these, they could not know them before they were revealed. But then, they were not under obligation to know or comply with them, till they were revealed. Secondly, That they who did not receive and comply with them, when revealed, are not represented as incapable through want of natural abilities and powers, but only as disqualified, or under a moral impotence through sensual dispositions which they indulged, and habits which they had contracted...
By the spiritual man seems to be primarily meant here, the apostles, to whom the spirit of God revealed the truths of the gospel';.' but they also may
be comprehended under the denomination, who receive the gospel truths, believing in the veracity and submitting to the authority of the spirit which revealed them.
John xv. 5. “Without me ye can do nothing." This single clause of a long sentence, being separated from its connection with what goes before it, is produced as a proof that man is not able to do the will of God, acceptably, without the immediate assistance, or operation, of special grace upon him through Christ. But, if we look into our Lord's discourse, we find him exhorting his disciples to adhere steadfastly to him and his doctrine, “that they might bring forth much fruit.” He reminds them, that they had already gained much spiritual improvenient by his instructions, ver. 3. “ Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” He intimates that, if they abandoned him and his doctrine, they would deprive themselves of the means of fruitfulness. He is not speaking then of the natural powers of man, but of the importance of the doctrines which he taught to render men fruitful in good works; but this seems necessarily to suppose a capacity in man to understand and improve his doctrines to these purposes. ..
It seetris to be treating Christ and his words with great irreverence, to apply then to other purposes than those for which he used them. We all readily agree that in our Lord's sense of the expression) “ without him we can do nothing." i. e. If we aban
don him and the gospel, we cannot be fruitful in holiness or good works; and are very thankful for the provision he hath made, and the assistances he hath afforded us - by his word, “that we may bring forth much fruit.”
Philip. ij. 13. “For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
In this passage the apostle exhorts the Philippians to "work out their own salvation with fear and trembling," from a grateful sense of the goodness of God in granting them, for that purpose, the instructions and motives of the gospel, by which such convictions hau already been awakened in them, as had excited them both to choose and perform what God required. The energy, or operation of God here spoken of, seems to be the energy of instruction and persuasion. No doubt it is a very reasonable and powerful mutive to us all to work out our salvation, that God, in unspeakable love and good-will, is continually working in us, by the truths and motives of the gospel, to choose and perform what he hath required of us.
i Cor. xv. 10. " But by the grace of God I am what I am.”
Let any one carefully attend to the whole case of Paul's conversion, from being a perseculor to become a preacher and an apostle of Jesus Christ, and then say whether it be reasonable to draw general conclusions respecting all men from such a case. However, we will all readily adopt his words, and say, through the grace of God, and his favours freely