Of the Pollution of the VVill of man by Origi∣nal Sinne.
JOHN 1. 13.
THe original pollution of the Vnderstanding, Conscience and Memory, hath been largely and fully discovered; We now proceed to the other part or power of the rational soul, which is the will; That is in the soul like the primum mobile in the Heavens, that doth carry all the inferiour orbs away in its own motion, or like the fire among the elements that doth as∣simulate every thing else to it self. This is the whole of a man; A man is not what he knoweth, or what he remembreth, but what he willeth; The understanding is but as a Connsellour; The will is as the Queen sitting upon its Throne, exercising its dominion over the other parts of the soul; The will is the proper subject and seat of all our sinne, and if there could be a Summum malum, as there is a Summum bonum, this would be in the will. Seeing therefore that our will is the master power of the soul, and is to that, what the heart is to the body, the principle of all motion and action, the more we find this will, tho∣rowly infected with sinne, the greater will our misery appear: Neither mayest thou fear that the doctrinal discovery of that poisoned fountain in thee, and the representation of thy soulness and loath somness upon thee may discourage thee, but hereby thou wilt be brought to loath thy self, and admire the riches of grace in Christ, which shall pardon and glorifie such a noisome wretch as thou art by nature. Indeed Lorinus (Comment. in 17. chap. Act.) relateth of Ptolomy King of Aegypt, that he banished one Hegesius a Philosopher and eloquent Orator, because he did so pathetically and sensibly Declaim upon the miseries of mans life, that many were thereby cast into such grief, that they made away themselves; but our end in discovering of this universal leprosie of sinne upon us by nature, is to bring us into an holy despair of our selves, a renouncing of our righteousness, that so Christ may be all in all.
Come we then to make inquiry into the original pollution of our will, which is a subject of very large territories; The Disputes about it are voluminous, but I shall be as brief, as the nature of this truth will permit, and whereas concerning the will, we may consider the nature of it absolutely, in its proper works and Page 269 operations, or relatively in its state, as free or enslaved. I shall treat of both, because herein original sinne hath put forth it self more then in any other parts of the soul. And
First, I shall begin with the will absolutely considered, as it is the great and mighty part of the soul, and that from this Text, which because of the differ∣ent thoughts of learned Interpreters, doth deserve a diligent explication. And
For the Coherence of it, you may take notice of the sad and bitter event de∣scribed by the Evangelist, of Christs coming as light into the world; Though he came to his own, and that as a Physician to the sick, as a Saviour to such who were lost, yet his own received him not. Now lest it might be thought this reje∣ction of Christ was universal, he addeth, Some did receive him, and 〈…〉 d∣clareth the unspeakable benefit and priviledge vouchsafed to such. So that in the words we may take notice,
1. Of the Subject, who are thus honoured and highly blessed by Christ, Such as received him, and what this is, is explained, viz. Such who believe on his Name. In this is comprehended all our Evangelical Duty, and that both in∣wardly and outwardly, onely faith is expressed, because this is virtually all. This is the seed and the root, the soul and life, the salt that seasoneth the whole man.
2. We have the Priviledge or Benefit, which is said to 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the right or dig∣nity of being the sonnes of God, for so the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is to be understood, and therefore Popish Disputes about the power of free-will in holy things from this place. is wholly impertinent, onely the difficulty is,
Quest. How they who believe in Christ can be said to have this priviledge given them of Sonship, seeing that they could not believe, unlesse they were first born of God, and so the sons of God?
Answ. Some therefore do understand this Sonship in respect of that future glo∣ry, which in Scripture is sometimes called Adoption, and 1 John 3. 1. Then it will properly appear that we are sonnes of God; But we may well enough un∣derstand it of our Adoption and Sonship even in this life, and this is said to be obtained by faith, because in our sense and feeling there must be believing, be∣fore we come to know this priviledge doth belong to us; or else though faith and Sonship be together in time, yet in order of nature one precedeth the other.
Thus we have the Subject and the Priviledge; But in the next place, we have the Description of the efficient cause, for it was not their own power and free∣will that made them believe; Therefore the efficient cause is set down, first, Ne∣gatively, and then Positively; Negatively, by removing those false causes that men might imagine; and we have a three-fold enumeration of them, Not of blood, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man. Divers Interpreters go divers wayes, though much to the same sense: Some think the Evangelist by blood doth not in the general mean natural generation, and then afterwards distribute it into two particulars, not of the will of the flesh, that is of the woman; Nor of the will of man, that is not of the man. Others (supposing the general) interpret the distribution thus; Not of the will of the flesh, that is not naturally; Nor by the will of man, that is, not by humane adoption, for so some are made legal sonnes amongst man. Others, they think all these enumerations are but to signifie one thing, and therefore the opposition to all is God; But we may not think the holy Ghost doth so industriously reckon up these several wayes, but that some special thing is intended by every one; Although, as Erasmus obser∣veth, the emphatical Article is not in the original. By blood therefore we under∣stand any dignity or excellency of birth, it's bloods in the plural number, either by an Enallage, and so an Hebraism, as Maldenate; Or else because of the long suc∣cession Page 270 by birth: And this may well oppose the carnal opinion reigning both with Jew and Gentile, for all know how the Jew boasted in his birth, because he was the seed of Abraham, therefore he thought the favour of God necessarily an∣nected to him; And for the Gentile, What a vanity and sinfull humour is in per∣sons to be proud of their birth, that they come of noble parents? For, although this be an outward civil dignity amongst men, yet it maketh nothing at all to their spiritual dignity, yea many times hindereth it, according to that observation, Heroum filiinoxae, Regeneration then doth not come according to such civil and political respects.
2. Not of the will of the flesh] that is, not of the natural will and choice of 〈◊〉 he hath no power or ability in him so much as to will a better condition then 〈◊〉 is in.
Lastly, Not of the will of man] that is, not by the will of man, though per∣fected and adorned with many acquired perfections; Not by the will of a Plato, or an Aristotle, or a Seneca; So that here is a two-fold will denied from efficacy in grace, the will considered in its natural abilities, or in its acquired abilities: Thus 2 Pet. 1. 21. The prophesie in old time is said, Not to come by the will of man, but the will of God; The will of man is there supposed to be in some raised and eminent ability above what it naturally hath, and therefore opposed to the will of God in a more peculiar and extraordinary manner putting forth it self. Thus we have all false causes removed, and the true one affirmed, which is God himself.
So that this Text doth plainly triumph over all the proud opinions of Pelagi∣ans, Socinians, Arminians and Papists, who either give whole or part of the work of conversion to the will of man; For the Evangelist is very diligent to exclude the will from any efficiency herein, under any respect whatso∣ever. Observe,
The will of every man is naturally so polluted, that it cannot produce or cause our regeneration. It is not by the will of the flesh, or by the will of man, that we are born again.
Propositions concerning the Nature of the Will.
BEfore we come to lanch into this ocean of wormwood and gall (for the pol∣luted will, polluteth all other things) Let us say something to the nature of the will, not enlarging our selves, either as Philosophers or Divines do in this point, but select only what is fit for our purpose.
First, Therefore consider, That God hath appointed and ordered in nature, that every apprehensive power should have an appetitive power proportionable thereunto. The apprehensive being like the eye to discern and discover the object; The ap∣petitive like the hand to imbrace it: Thus the Angels, as they have an under∣standing to know things, so they have a will to desire them; In beasts there is a sensitive apprehension by imagination, and a sensitive appetite accordingly. Now because man in his soul is like an Angel, and in his body communicateth with beasts, therefore he hath both a two-fold apprehension, intellectual and sensi∣tive, understanding and imagination; and also a two-fold appetite, a rational one, which is the will, and a sensitive one, which is the sensitive appetite in a man, wherein the passions and affections are seated; The will then is in a man his rational appetite, following the proposition and manifestation of the understand∣ing: For if a man did know what was good, or what is evil, and no appetite to Page 271 imbrace the one, or avoid the other, he would be no better than a stone or a statue for all his reason. We see then why God hath placed such a power in the soul, as the will is; It is that the good which the understanding manifesteth may be imbraced and entertained, and the evil it doth discover may be shunned, Whe∣ther this will be distinct really from the soul it self, and from the understanding is a Philosophical Dispute, and will not tend to your edification.
Secondly, Though it be the appetite in a man, yet it is a rational appetite, it is subjected in the rational soul. There is a three-fold appetite,
1. Natural, which is in the motion of inanimate things, as in the stone to descend downwards, this is called an appetite, though properly it is not so, be∣cause it doth not follow knowledge, but is consequent upon the forme imme∣diately.
2. There is the sensitive appetite, which moveth upon the knowledge of sense, and this is both in beasts, and also in men, yea naturally we live and desire, even all the motions of the soul are according to sense, and so in this respect man is become like the bruit beast: But of this afterwards.
3. There is the rational appetite, and that is called the will, and this is in man onely; a beast hath not properly any will, no more then he hath understanding, so that the will of a man is a noble and high faculty in him, appointed to follow reason, and to be regulated by it in all things; and therefore Austin saith, Vo∣luntas tantum est in bonis; The will is only in good things; If a man love evil or desire evil, this is not voluntas (saith he) but cupiditas; It doth not deserve the name of the will, but of lust, but common speech is otherwise, there is a bad will, a corrupted will as well as a good will, only when we say, the will is a ra∣tional appetite, that must not be understood formaliter, but participativè, as they say, that is, the will doth not know, doth not reason, but is directed there∣by, therefore it is called coeca potentia, a blind power, and if you say, it is blind, How then can it see the good proposed? I answer, it followeth the good propo∣sed, not because it knoweth it, but because of its essential subordination to the understanding; Hence it is that to have a good will, it is so requisite to have a sound mind. Ignorant and blind minds are alwayes accompanied with corrupt and polluted wils; There cannot be a sanctified will, where there is not an en∣lightened mind; This should make the ignorant and stupid to tremble in their estate they live in: This should make you prize knowledge above gold and pearls, as also to wait upon the Ministery with diligence, seeing that by knowledge the will com∣eth to be made holy.
Fourthly, we are the more to inform our selves about its depravation, by how much the more noble and excellent it is. It is hotly disputed between the two facti∣ons of Thomists and Scotists, which is the more excellent faculty, the understand∣ing or the will; The Thomists are for the understanding; the Scotists for the will, but these two cannot absolutely and in every respect be commended before each other, only in respect of power and efficacy, the will is more eminent, for the understanding it self in respect of its exercise is subject to the dominion of the will, and the will also is properly the original and fountain of all good or evil in a man; for though the understanding hath actual sinfulnesse, and the affections, yet this is because of the will either directly or indirectly; so that to an actual deliberate sinne there is required some kind of voluntarinesse, either expresly or interpretatively, either in se, or in causâ; Original sinne (you heard) was vo∣luntary in some sense, although we need not judge of that by Aristotle's rules, who was ignorant of any such thing. Therefore Julian the Pelagian triumphed in his Aristotelical Philosophy against original sinne, despising his Ecclesiastical Judges, as not knowing Aristotle's Categories; as if (saith Austin) he desired a Synod of Peripateticks rather than Judges in the Church; but though original sinne, with the indeliberate motions thereof, have not the actual personal will Page 272 of a man, yet all other sinnes have, so that the pollution of the will, is in effect the pollution of the whole man. Hence
In the fifth place, There is this difference between the understanding and the wil in relation to its objects, The understanding doth receive the species of the object, to it self, not the objects themselves; and therefore when we know or under∣stand evil as an object, this doth not defile the understanding, but is a per∣fection of it. Thus Godknoweth all the evil committed in the world, yet his knowledge is not polluted thereby, Scire malum, non est malum, but the will that goeth out to the objects as they are in themselves, and thereby loving of them, is what the object is. Thus if we will sinne it is sinne, and not if we know sin, because the will goeth out to a sinfull object as it is in it self, so that above all keepings we are to keep the will, for what that is placed upon, it presently becomes like it; If thou lovest the world, or earth, thou art earth, thou art of the world: Hence all the while sinne is kept out from the will, though it be in thy mind, though it be by suggestion to thee, yet because there is no consent, it is not thy sinne but thy misery. I speak not of the motus principatus, which are antecedent to our will, but of suggestions only offered from without, but when the will yeeldeth, when that consencs, it becometh thy evil immediately, as poison while it is in the remote parts of the body may not kill, but when it striketh to the heart, then it is mortall. Thus sinne in temptation, sinne in suggestion doth not destroy till the will receive it, so great a matter is it to look to this power of the soul. For
In the sixth place, Because of this rule and dominion the will hath therefore it is called the universall appetite of the whole man. We see all the other powers of the soul have their peculiar and proper inclination, The eye to see, the ear to hear, the understand to know, but the will is to will the good for the whole person, therefore it is not limited to one good object, more then another, but bonum in communi, the good in general is the object of it, so that the will is the universall appetite and inclination of the whole man; now if this great wheel that moveth all, be irregular and out of order, what good can be ex∣pected in the less wheeles, if the foundation be destroyed, how can the building be established: Let then your attention, your thoughts and affections be greatly quickned, while we anatomize all the evil of the will. This is the most grievous and most dreadfull instance of all the pollution original sinne infecteth us with.
In the 7th place, When we speak of the pollution of the will, The wera [will] may be take ambigously; for sometimes therby is denoted, the power to will, someomes again the very act of willing, and somtimes the object that we do will, is often called our will: Thus when the Scripture speaketh of Gods will, it doth sometimes mean the object willed, and this is often called Gods will, sometimes the act of willing, thus (if God will) and sometimes that power whereby he doth will, not that there is, Potenis volendi properly in God, for all power is, Perfectibilis per actum, whereas every thing in God, is actum purus, only we speak so of God, according to our capacity. Some indeed have questioned, Whether we may porperly attribute the word [will] to God; or metaphorically only? but seeing that simply to will, is, Perfectio simpliciter simplex, and absolute and most simple per∣fection, therefore it is not to be denied to God; for as the Psalmist saith He that maketh man know, shall not be know? Thus he that maketh man will, shall not he will? only will is not in God, as it is in man, for mans will is carried out to a good desired, or not enjoyed. In our will there is, convenientia and indigentia; First, A convenience, or sutebleness between the faculty and the object, and therefore we will it: And then there is an indigency or want of it; Now Gods will being the same with his Essence, is absolutely perfect and sufficient, but the created will in man is otherwise, and this will since mans Page 273 fall, whether taken for the power to will, or the act of willing, or the object will•d, is altogether a corrupt and a diseased will, there is nothing found or good in it; Although our purpose is to speak of the will as a power in the soul, yet prone to put it self immediately into actings.
In the eighth place, The will having this great dominion over the whole soul, and being the universal appetite of a man, therefore it is that in it is seated obedi∣ence or disobedience to God. Obedience or disobedience to God is not properly, at least not primarily, or radically, in any part but in the will. It is true, all the other parts of the soul in regeneration are made holy and sanctified, and thereby in their way conformable to the will of God, yet obedience and disobedience are primarily acts of the will; so that as the will is qualified, so is a man said to be obedient to God: A good will is the good tree, that ma∣keth the fruit good, and a bad will is the bad tree that maketh the fruit bad. As then all the evil or good of a tree cometh from the root, so doth all the evil or good of a man come from his will; For till this be sanctified, till this be renewed, nothing can be good in a man; Therefore if you examine, what is the cause of all the impiety, and all the wickedness that most commit, it is because their wills are corrupt, their wils are rebellious; Their minds, their consciences many times, tell them they ought to do other∣wise, only their wils are slubborn and contumacious, Joh. 5. 40. Ye will not come unto me that ye may have life: So in the Parable, Mat. 21. 29. when the sonne was commanded to go, and work in the vineyard, he saith, I will not, It is then the will of man, that is the desperate and implacable enemy to all the things of God, men may delude themselves with reasons and fair glosses, but it is their will, and only their unsanctified will, that maketh them continue in such opposition to God; now the will is therefore the root of all obedience, of disobedience in a man, because that is like the Centurion in a mans soul, whatsoever it biddeth this, or that power of the soul do, it doth; what it bids the mind think, it thinketh; what it bids love to love, it loveth; what it bids the hand move to, it moveth to; for there are two acts of the will wherein it demonstrateth its dominion, The Elicite acts, and the Imperate; Elicite are those which the will doth immediately produce, as election, intention, consent, &c. and herein it hath full power, yet so, as that it's in subordination to God; The Imperate acts, are those which are produced by other parts of a man, yet from the command of the will, so when we move our hands or our feet, these are imperate acts of the will; Thus when we turn our mind from one object, and place it upon another, this is an imperate act of the will: The affections also they are in some measure under the command of the will, but not so absolutely as the body and the motions thereof are. By which you see that all things in a man are reduced to his will, and therefore the more active and universal this is, the greater is the defilement thereof.
In the ninth place, The will in regard of its constitution at first, hath for its object that which is good; And in the state of integrity it was alwaies a true real good, but in this state of revolt from God, the will cannot indeed be carried out to any thing but what is good, only it's but an apparent good, a disguised good, it is a true and real evil. As the object of the understanding is truth, and it cannot give its assent to that which doth appear to be false, so the object of the will is good; neither can the will have any motion or tendency to any object, which hath not the colour (at least) of some good. As the Devil ap∣peared in Samuel's cloaths, and so was believed to be Samuel; Thus doth all the evil in the world, which doth at any time seduce and draw the will aside, it hath the mantle and covering of good; It being impossible that the will should desire evil▪ as it is evil. It is true, some deny, that bonnus is the ob∣ject, adiquate, and general of the will; but they say, good is the object of the Page 274will, as it is prosequntiva, prosecuting and desiring; but malu•• is the object of the will, as it is persequntiva and aversiva, as it doth repel and dislike, so evil is the object of the will; For displicency and hatred are acts of the will, and the ob∣jects of these is evil. But we speak of the will now, as it is a rational desiring appetite, satisfying it self with love of some object, and if this be not good, either real or apparent, the will can no more tend to it, then the eye to musick, or the car to colours; onely by original sinne, herein ariseth our unspeakable miserey, that the good which the will doth now imbrace, is onely a counterfeit specious guilded good, no true real good; They are but seeming goods, and real evils; Like the Glow-worm that shineth in the night, and is nothing but an earthly worm; Like a rotten Post or Tree, that in the night seemeth to be glori∣ous, but in the day we know what it is: Thus if we could take off the visor, the painting from those objects, we place our wils upon, we shall see nothing but damnable guilt, and real abominable evils, which will at last damne our souls, Per falsa mala itur ad vera bona, per falsa bona itur ad vera mala; by that which is speciously good, we come indeed to that which is truely evil; and by that which is apparently evil, we come to what is substantial∣ly good.
Lastly, In the will (according to those that are exercised in School-Divinity) We are to conceive in it sutable and proportionable affections, to those we call passions in the sensitive part. Thus in the will (as it is a rational appetite) there are love, joy, desire, fear and hatred. This is plain, because in Angels there are such affections; so also in the soul separated, there is love and joy, earnest desire for the coming of Christ, and its reunion to the body; by which it appeareth evidently, that besides those passions in a man, which work by a corporal trans∣mutation, there are these spiritual and immaterial affections, or rather actions, and operations of the will; So that the will loveth, the will rejoyceth, the will desireth, &c. This is the more to be attended unto, because hereby this pol∣lution of original sinne, will appear the more extensive and diffusive; The love of the will, the desire of the will, the joy of the will are become abo∣minable.
The Corruption of the Will in all its several Operations.
THese Doctrinal introductions thus substracted, Let us proceed to open this noisom Sepulchre, this dead and defiled will, which hath been spiritually dead, not as Lazarus four dayes, but ever since Adam's fall, and there∣fore must needs be stinking and unsavoury to a spiritual discerning. And let us
First, Take notice of its defilement in all its several operations, which the will aboundeth with; And we find them out of the Schoolmen thus marshalled; The will (say they) may be carried out to good simply, and absolutely as good, and then it is only a bare volition, which is either inefficacious and conditional, called velleity or efficacious and absolute, then it is volition in the general; or else it may be carried out to good relatively, as it is finis, an end, and then either this end is enjoyed and possessed, which maketh the act of the will, called fruition, or else Page 275 it is desired and purposed to be obtained, which maketh another act of the will cal∣led intention.
In the next place, The will may be considered, as it operates about the means to its intended end. And
1. There is a yeelding unto and imbracing of such a mean propounded to that end; and this act in the will is called consent, for the understanding that doth pro∣perly assent, and the will consent. This act of the will to consent unto a thing is of great importance in Casnistical Divinity, for there may be suggestions and fiery injections of diabolical temptations, but if the will doth not consent, as you see Christs holy will did not in his combate with the Devil, they do not become our sins. Of this consent more in its time.
2. If there be several means conducible to such an end, then cometh another act of the will, called Election, or a choosing of one thing rather than another, that which consulation is in the understanding, Election is in the will.
Lastly, When the Will hath thus intended the end, and chosen efficaciously its means, then is there the last act of the will, which is called usus the use or the ap∣plication of all the other powers of the soul, to bring this end about. It useth the understanding, it useth the affections, it useth the whole body to accom∣plish it.
Thus you see what are the several operations of the will; It is now necessary to take all these singly by themselves, to shew how grosly the will is disordered, and by that you will be convinced, that the corruption of the will, is indeed the corruption of the whole man, which made Austin frequently define sinne by a mala volunt as, and that which is good by a bona volunt as, because of the domini∣on the will hath in the whole man.
The Corruption of the Will in its general Act, which is called Vo∣lition.
FIrst therefore, Let us begin with the general act, which is called Volition, the bare willing of a thing, which you heard, was either conditional and imper∣fect, or efficacious; for the former kind, How much corruption is there in the will, and that both about sin, and also about good? About sinne, What secret wishes and wouldings are there in a man naturally, that sinne were not sinne, Vtina•n hoc non esset peccare, said he, that thy pleasures were not sinnes, that thy unlawfull profits were not sinnes, there is this secret corruption in the will, whereby it would have the nature of things changed, vice to be virtue, and virtue to be vice. Some indeed dispute, Whether there be any such actings of the will as may be called velleities, and not volitions? But experience teacheth there are, so the Apostle, Rom 9. 3. I could wish my self accursed, there is an incompleat act of the will; When the Psalmist saith, The fool hath said in his heart there is no God, Psa. 14. 4. that is in his wish, in his incompleat will; for absolutely a man cannot will that which is impossible; If then we do but ob∣serve the motions of the will in this respect, we shall find the number of these sinnes, to be like the sand upon the sea shore: Oh the many secret ungodly wishes that do by swarms rise up in thy will, which though thou takest no notice of, yet God doth and will accordingly judge thee!
As thus the will is sinfull in one way by its incompeat acts, so also when it com∣eth to what is good, when it should in a powerful, lively and efficacious manner be carried out to it, it is very remiss and languid; insomuch that they are but velleities, Page 276 they are the sluggards wishes, that desireth and yet starveth himself, because he ne∣ver putteth out his hands to work; Is not this half and faint willing of the things that are good, the root and cause of most mens destruction? Preach to them, presse them about repentance, about conversion to God, and they promise you they will do it, and God give us his grace to do it, and no more is done; whereas thou shouldst will what is good with all thy might and strength, above gold and silver, above life it self: These wishers and woulders in Religion never make true converts. But of this more in its time.
The Corruption of the Will in its Absolute and Efficacious Willing of a thing.
COme we then to the next act of the Will, which is an absolute and efficacious willing of a thing, and here no tongue of men and Angels can expresse the depravation of it; For if we do consider the true proper and adequate object of the will, it is God only; He is the supreme and universal good, having in him af∣ter an eminent manner all good whatsoever; So that no object can fill the capa∣city of the will but God only. The good things of the creature can no more fill up the will, then the air can the stomack of an hungry man; but if we consider how it standeth with our will, as it is now corrupted, of all objects it is most averse to God; Hence the Scripture describeth every wicked man by this, That he hateth God, not under the notion as he is good, but as he is holy, as he is a just Judge, who will punish every wicked transgressor; Know then, and bewail this unspeakable defilement upon thy will, that it is most averse to its proper ob∣ject, no stone doth more naturally descend to the center, then thy will should tend to God, Amor mens pondus meum, illuc feror, quocunque feror, A mans love is his weight; now if thy love be spiritual, that weigheth thee to God, but if thy will be carnal, that presseth thee to carnal objects.
2. Thy will is corrupted in respect of its object, because all the creatures are to be willed by thee, no otherwise then they tend to God, or lead thee to him, whereas naturally we will the creatures, for the creatures sake, and so make it in¦stead of a God to us: As the Sunne being the primum visibile, all things are to be seen by the light thereof; so God being the primum amabile, the first and chief∣est thing to be beloved, all things are to be loved with a participation from it: But who may not groan under our corruption herein? Every creature we desire, we are apt to terminate our selves upon that, and to go no further; Do we will health, parts and the comforts of this life, in reference to the glory of God? So that herein we may see the depth of our corruption: It was not thus with Adam in his integrity; There is not a creature, that thy will is pitcht upon, but thy soul commits fornication with it; Leave not the meditation of this point, till thy heart in an holy manner break within thee.
The Corruption of the Will in its Act of Fruition.
THe next Act is that which is called Fruition; An operation (you heard) of the will, when it doth possess a thing, as its ultimate end, end resting in it, as a center, and desiring no further; For as the stone cannot of it self hang in the air, but must descend to the earth, and there it resteth: So the will of man mo∣veth up and down in a restless manner, like Noah's Dove, till it find out an ob∣ject wherein it doth acquiesce with fulness of content. Now there is no object that we may thus frui, enjoy ultimately, and for it self's sake, but God onely. That distinction of frui and uti, to enjoy and use only, which Austin first exco∣gitated, the Schoolmen are large upon; To enjoy a thing, is to have it for its self sake, referring it to no further end, for the Rule is, Appetitus finis, is in∣finitus, The soul never hath enough of that which it ultimately desireth, but yet desireth nothing else but that. As in Philosophy it is said, Materia semper appetit formam, the Matter doth constantly desire new forms in sublunary things; Hence is that frequent alteration, transmutation and generation, but in the hea∣venly bodies, the matter (they say) is satiated, desireth no other, because of the great activity and perfection of that form; Thus it is in moral things, the heart of a man, while carried out to any earthly thing, cannot meet with its complement and fulness of blessedness, and therefore like the Horsleech still cry∣eth, Give, give, Sen caret optatis, seu fruitur miser est. It is a Sheol that is alwayes craving, onely when terminated upon God, because he is bonum quo nihil melius, there cannot be any good desirable, which is not transcendently in him; therefore the sanctified will doth enjoy him onely: Thus David, Whom have I in heaven but thee, and none in earth in comparison of thee; In Heaven Da∣vid had none but God, not Angels nor Arch-angels, Heaven would not be Heaven, if God were not enjoyed. Indeed Divines do commonly call the en∣joyment of God in Heaven fruition, and that is immediate, compleat and perfect fruition, but yet even in this life, believers partake of God, have communion with him, and do enjoy him. It is indeed by saith, not yet by vision, but the object of faith is as real and operative in the soul, though not to such a full de∣gree, as the object seen Thus you see, that according to the true order and constitution of things, God onely is to be enjoyed, he onely is to be loved, and desired for his own sake, and all things else in reference to him. But on the breadth, the depth and length of our natural defilement therein! What spiritu∣al Geometry can measure the dimensions hereof? For doth not every natural man enjoy something or other, which is as a God to him? Why is Covetousness called Idolatry? Why are some said to have their belly a God? Is not all this, be∣cause they love these things, and enjoy these things for their own selfe's sake? Whereas we ought only to use them, as instruments of Gods glory, and advan∣tages of grace, not to abide or dwell in them; They are to be taken as Physick, which is not received for its selfe's sake, but because of health; So that were it not for health, a man would never use it: Thus it ought to be with us, in all the comforts we have in this world, to use them no further then they are subservient to our spiritual condition; we are ex officio discendere, not cupiditate ruere, such a crucified and circumcised heart the Apostle exhorteth to, 1 Cor. 7. The time is short, those that marry must be as if they married not, those that rejoyce, as if they rejoyced not If a man desire a garment, he would not have all the cloath in the Countrey, but as much as serveth for his garment; So neither are we to desire wealth, riches, honours, any comfort without end, but as much as will conduce Page 278 for Heaven. The travailer will not burden himself, no not with gold and silver, who hath a long journey to go; Oh then call off thy will again and again? Say, Why art thou fastned here? Why stayest thou here? Look further, look higher, This is not God; As the Angel did on a suddain so ravish John, that he was ready to worship him, but the Angel forbad him, saying, I am thy fellow-servant, worship thou God; So these creatures had they a voice would speak, when thou art at any time ravished with the excellency of them, do not love us, love God; do not delight in us, delight thou in God, we are but thy fellow-creatures, yea not so much, but inferiour and more ignoble then man. Jansenius (Lib. 2. de statu naturae lapsae.) following his Austin, will not allow us any love to any thing but God; we may use it (say they) but not love it; yea he rejects that assertion, we may love the creatures, but moderately; this is (saith he) as if we should say, there is a moderate covetousness, a moderate pride; and we must grant, that the Scripture doth many times speak of the love of the creature, as absolutely and intrinsecally a sinne. Thus, Love not the world, nor the things of the world, 1 Joh. 2. 15. He doth not say, Use not the world, but love not the world; and thus, The love of money is the root of all evil, not the having of it or using of it. But this seemeth to be too rigid and stoical; and it is indeed a meer Que∣stion De nomine; for, take love in the sense they do, for the willing of a thing, for its own selfe's sake, thus it is intrinsecally a sinne to love any creature, it is spi∣ritual Idolatry, and a breach of the first command, but then the Scripture doth allow us to love the creatures, so we do not love them more then God. Thus Husbands are commanded to love their wives, and we are to love our Neighbours as our selves; So that to love the creatures is our duty, we should sinne, if we did not, onely the excesse and inordinacy is sinfull, and this we are guilty of, when we enjoy any thing but God, Now though none will acknowledge them∣selves guilty of this sinne, yet every natural man doth enjoy some creature or other, his will is fastened upon something that is not God: It is true, this sinne is very secret and subtile, the godly themselves have much ado to find it out in their own hearts; the will of a man is such an unsearchable Abisse of all evil, but do not thou crawl on the ground like a worme any longer, Set thy affections on things above. It is indeed a Question worthy much enquiring into, How a man shall know whether he doth enjoy a creature or use it onely, when it is a Sarah, when an Hagar onely? And here the godly themselves are often in great uncertainties; The root of things lieth hid under ground; The first Letter com∣monly which beginneth a Book hath so many gaudy flourishes about it, that it is hard to know what it is: Thus also it is in our hearts and conversations; what is the Summum bonum, the great wheel that moveth all, the ultimate rest of our soul, it is very difficult to find out; but it is not my work now to dive into this, it is enough that we know, The will of every man is naturally so polluted, that it enjoyeth a creature in stead of God, it cannot will, love, and imbrace him as the chief∣est good. Proceed we then to the next act of the will about the end, and that not as possessed and enjoyned, but 〈◊〉 be obtained and acquired, and that by some means, which we call Intention, and we shall find the will horribly corrupted in this respect also.
The Pollution of the Will in its Act of Intention.
THe word Intention is a Metaphor from the Archer, who aiming at a mark, useth his greatest skill and endeavour to hit. The Scripture speaks of the Benjamites, as famous in this way; Now every thing that man doth as a rational agent is to have some end, some mark and aim, and what that is, the Scripture doth direct unto, Gods glory is the aim, What ever ye do, do all to the glory of God, 1 Cor. 10. 31. So then we see, what is to be the object of our intention, what we are to aim at in all that we do; Whence also we must be directed and guided therein (viz) by the Word of God. This being concluded on, we see that the will in every sinne it commits, doth fail and erre in its intention, therefore is all sinne called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, an aberration from the scope: Every action that is not done for God, is like an arrow shot besides the mark, that shooting is lo••, it was to no purpose, and it cannot be recovered again. All rational agents intend an end, and if that be not obtained, there is a miscarriage; So that as in natural things, when there is some errour, a monster is brought forth: Thus it is in voluntary and moral things; Every sinne is a monster, and thou oughtst to be more asto∣nished and trembling under every sinne, then a woman would be in seeing a monster come from her; So that in every sinne the will is corrupted in its inten∣tion; But yet more particularly let us consider, how the intention of the will is deprived, and that in these wayes:
First, When the chief end is not intended, but secondary ends, intermedious ends; Yea when those things which should be but means are intended as ends, when we make a wildernesse a Canaan, a Tabernacle, the Temple, the Inne, a Dwelling∣place. A secondary end which a man is to intend is the salvation of his own soul, the principal and most noble is the glory of God. It is true, God hath so inse∣parably conjoyned his glory, and mans salvation together, that one cannot be divided from the other: Therefore it is too rigid of some, who press this as a duty upon Christians, to be willing to be damned for Gods glory; That we are to will our destruction, so that God may be glorified thereby, for we are to seek for immortality and glory; It would be a sinne to will our damnation, only this is a subordinate end, Gods glory is the principal: Neither is a Christian anxi∣ously to perplex himself with this Question, Whether they love Gods glory, or their own salvation best? Some timorated consciences, and tender spirits have been apt to judge themselves hypocrites in this thing, thinking they serve God only for Heavens sake, for their own ends and safety, not for Gods glory, which yet is a greater good, and more to be preferred then the salvation of the whole world; better all men be damned, then God not be glorified. But it is not good for a Christian to put such Questions to his soul; Neither was that a wise wish of one, who desired there were neither Heaven or Hell, that so he might know whe∣ther he served God purely for himself or no. Though these things are to be grant∣ed, yet on the other we must also yeeld, That the glory of God is the ultimate end, and our salvation in subordination thereunto; Not that they are to be divi∣ded or opposed, for Subordinata non pugnant, onely one is lesse principal, and the other more principal; But how corrupt is the wils intention herein? How many will Heaven as a place of Salvation, but not as a place of Gods glory; they desire Salvation as it freeth from Hell torments, but not as it is a perfect sanctifica∣tion of the whole man for the enjoyment of God? Here thy intention is sinfull and incompleat, when thou intendest Heaven and happiness, thou art to desire all of it, not some parts of it.
Page 280 Again, Our intenton is much more corrupted in making the meanes to be the end; we make a perfect period and stop at a Comma, or a Colon; and truly this is the general and universal corruption of every mans natural intention; he shooteth his arrow too short, he intends no further, then an happy plea∣sant and merry life in this world; one intends honours, another intends wealth, another intends pleasures: There is no natural man can intend any higher good then some creature or other; That as the bruit beasts have a kind of improper intention, as they have of reason, whereby they are carried out to those things only that are obvious to sense: Thus it is with man in his na∣tural estate, destitute of regeneration; a worme can as soon fly like a Lark towards Heaven, as this man intend any thing that is spiritually good: for the natural man hath neither a mind or an heart for such holy things, and so is like an Archer that hath neither eyes or hands, and thereby can never reach the mark.
Secondly, The intention of the will is corrupted in its error and mistake about its object, it shooteth at a wrong mark▪ It's really and indeed evil which he in∣tendeth, though it be apparently good, it is in truth poison, though it be guil∣ded; It is true, the rule is, Nemo intendens malum operatur; No man inten∣deth evil as evil, but it is propounded under the notion of good, and that even in those who sinne against the light, and dictates of their own conscience: But yet the Scripture speaketh constantly of wicked men, as those that love evil, and will evil, and hate good, because it is evil, which their wills are car∣ried out unto, though it hath the outward bait and colour of what is good. Herein then we have cause with bitterness of heart to bewail our sinfull inten∣tions, thou dost but cosen and delude thy own self, Though thou hast many glosses, many colours and pretences to deceive thy self with, yet that which in deed and truth doth alure and bewitch thy soul is evil in the ap∣pearance, (as it were) of some real good: a strumpet, in Matrones cloaths.
Thirdly, The intention of the will is herein also greatly defiled, that when it doth any holy and spiritual duties, the true motive and proper reason of their in∣tention is not regarded, but false and carnal ones. Finis operis, and Finis operan∣tis are not the same, as they ought to be. This is the wickedness of man, so great that no heads, though fountaines of waters, can weep enough because of it: The Pharisees they were very constant and busie in prayers, in giving of almes, but what was their intention all the while? It was to be seen of man; and therefore in the just judgement of God, they had that reward. This in∣tention of the will, is thought by some to be the eye our Saviour speaketh of, If that be darke, the whole body is darke, Matth. 6. 22. Jebus did many things in a glorious manner, as if none were so zealous as he, but like the Kite, though he soared high yet still his eye was to see what prey lay on the ground, that he might devour it; it was a kingdome not Gods glory he intended. Thus Judas intended a bag, and riches, in all that seeming love and service he professed to Christ: Oh take heed of the intention of thy will in every holy duty! This maketh, or marreth all.
To what hath been said may be further added,
First, That we foolishly labour to justify our bad and sinfull actions by our good intentions, as if they were able to turne evil unto good, and black into white: Is not this a continuall plea among natural people, that though what they do be unlawfull, yet they mean no hurt in it, they have good hearts and good intentions? Hence it is, that when they have done evil in the eyes of God, then they study to defend themselves by some intended good or other: Thus Judas, when he muttered about the ointment, powred on our Saviour, yet he pretends to good intentions, That the ointment might Page 281 have been sold and given to the poor. Saul, when he had rebelliously spared the best of the Cattel, yet he carrieth it, as if his intention had been to keep them for a Sacrifice to the Lord: Yea, the Pharisees in all their malicious and devilish designs against Christ, would be thought, that their high and pure intentions for the glory of God, did carry them forward in all they did. By such instances we see how prone every man is to put a good intention upon a bad action, and there∣by think to wash himself clean from all guilt; but it is against the principles of Divinity, that a good intention should justifie that which is a bad action: It is true, a bad intention will corrupt a good action; so vain glory, or to do any religious duty to be seen of men; This is a worme which will devour the best rose; This is a dead Flie in a box of ointment: But it doth not hold true on the contrary, That a good intention will change the nature of an evil action; The reason whereof is that known Rule, Malum est è quolibet defectu, bonum non est, nisi ex integris causis: Even as in a Picture, one defect is enough to make it uncomely, but the beauty of it is not, unless every thing be concurrent; So in musick, any one jarre is enough to spoil the harmony; but to make sweet mu∣sick, there must be the consent of all: Do not therefore flie to thy good heart, to thy good meanings, thou intendest no hurt, for if thy action cannot be war∣ranted by the Word, if it have not a good and lawfull superscription upon it, this will never endure the fiery trial: The Apostle maketh all such conclusions full of horrour and blasphemy (as it were) that argue, Let us do evil that good may come of it, Rom. 3. 8. Austin said, It was not lawfull to lie, though it were to save a world. Consider then the sinfulnesse of thy will, and be more affected with it, then hitherto thou hast been: When thou art over∣taken with any sinne, Doest thou not excuse thy selfe with a good intenti∣on? Doest thou not plead some good or other though aimest at in all such unlawfull wayes? But though man cannot judge thee, yet the All-seeing eye of God doth pierce into all thy intentions, and he knoweth thee better then thou knowest thy self.
Secondly, The intention of the will is greatly corrupted in this particular also, That it will adde to the worship of God, and accumulate precepts and means of grace (as they think) in his service, and all this while think a good intention will bear them out. If you ask, Why the Church of God hath not alwayes been contented with the simplicity of the Gospel, why she hath not wholly kept her self to divine Institutions? You will find this corrupt intention of the will to be the cause thereof. A good intention brought in most of the superstituous and un∣instituted Ceremonies that ever have been in the several ages of the Church, Mat. 15▪ 9. In vain do ye worship me, teaching for Doctrines the commandments of men; The Pharisees thought by their commands and Doctrines to teach men the fear and the worship of God: This corrupt intention hath eaten out the very life and power of godliness; men taking upon them a more excellent stay (as they think) then the Scripture hath revealed, to teach reverence and devotion; From whence are those frequent commands to the people of Israel, That they must not go after the imagination of their own hearts; That they must not do what is good in their own eyes; That they must not adde to, or take from the word of God; By these straight and close injuctions, we see that no inten∣tion whatsoever (though never so seemingly pious and reverential) will warrant a man to appoint any worship of God from his own head. Vzzah had a good intention, when he endeavoured to stay the Ark from falling; but God was so displeased thereat, that he struck him dead immediately; now the reason was, because Gods order was not kept about the Ark; Vzzah's intention did not pre∣serve him from Gods displeasure, so neither will their devout intention justifie such who do superadde to Gods worship. Some observe that expression of Eve's, Gen. 3. 3. where she saith, That God had said, they should not eat of it, Page 282 nor touch it, left they die; We do not read that God forbad them to touch, yet (it's thought) this was added by Eve for caution sake, as if she were so carefull to keep Gods command about eating, that she addeth, they must not so much as touch it; From whence Ambrose gathereth, Nihil vel boni causâ addendum est precepto: But oh how busie and active have many at all times been in the Church to bring in new worship, new institutions, of which there is no footstep in Gods Word, as if they were more carefull of Gods honour and glory, then he himself is! But though with men this sinne be accounted small, saying, They cannot worship God too much, they cannot be excessive in serving of him, yet this is an high sinne in the Scripture account; It being one of Gods royalties, to pre∣scribe what shall be his Worship: Shall a servant take upon him to make Rules in his Masters house? Let men that dote upon superstition, and are inamoured with customs of devotion, that have no command from Scripture; Lay this ve∣ry seriously to heart: Oh how terrible will it be, when thy Devotion and Reli∣gion will appear abomination! God asking thee, Who hath required this thing at thy hands? The Ape is therefore the more deformed, because so like a man, and yet is not a man: Thus all that worship, which hath the greatest appearance of humility, zeal and mortification, which yet hath not its original from God, is the more loathsome to such as are of a spiritual tast and judgement in heavenly things, serving of God, not in the way they chuse, but in the manner he hath commanded. And thus much for the act of Intention.
The Pollution of the Will in its Acts of Election or Chusing.
WE shall in the next place, consider those that relate to the means which lead to the end; and I shall first begin with Election or Chusing, be∣cause in that is contained either life or death; For as the Election of God, or his meer chusing of some to eternal life, is the fountain of all the good, which such persons partake of, all their springs are in it; So the election or choice of man is the womb, wherein all happiness or misery is conceived: If a man have right in∣tentions and true ends, yet if he chuse false, sinfull and ungodly means, he can ne∣ver come to that end; It is as if a man should intend his home, or dwelling-place, which is in the North, and he chuse that road or way, which leadeth into the South. It is acknowledged by all, That in every man there is an innate appetite to the chiefest good; but as naturally all men do erre about the knowledge of it, what it is, so also about the means, how to attain it. But let us open this viper, and see what a poisonous brood is in it. As
First, Herein is the sinfulness of the wils choise manifested, That it electeth and imbraceth such things as are pleasing to flesh and blood, that are suitable to sense, although there be never so many snares and temptations, thereby to endanger the soul. As it was with Lot, Gen. 13. 10, 11. when he beheld all the plain of jor∣dan to be well watered, and that it was like the garden of God, he chose all that countrey, and departed from Abraham; But in what sad dangers did this unwise choice of his cast him into? And thus it is with every man naturally, he chuseth such conditions, such wayes, as are full of pleasure, profit and advantages, in the mean while not considering how quickly this honey is turned into choler, that rugged and difficult wayes had been better then such sweet and pleasant wayes: Whereas then Moral Philosophy maketh a three-fold good, Vtile, Jucundum and Honestum, Profitable, Pleasant and Honest, or Virtuous, and the later is properly and fully the object of the will, that is so depraved, that it chuseth only Page 283 what is advantagious or pleasant. Experience doth abundantly confirm this, for what man naturally till regenerated doth chuse any thing, but as it is connatural to, and commensurated with that depraved appetite within: David being en∣livened with a supernatural life, see what a choise he declareth that he had made, Psal. 119. 30, 173. In both those verses he professeth, He had chosen the Com∣mandments of God: Hence the Wiseman, who knew what was fittest to be cho∣sen, saith. Prov. 16. 16. That wisdome and understanding (which is nothing but grace) is to be chosen rather then gold or silver: If then the will were truly sanctified, it would not chuse a thing, because it is delightsome and profitable, but be∣cause it's holy and commanded by God, Isa. 7. 15. it is made the description of a child, That he knoweth not to refuse the evil, and chuse the good: Thus the child (and a fool) he will chuse his bauble before gold or silver; such folly and sim∣plicity is upon us; The will is so perverted that it will chuse any thing rather then that which is indeed and solidly good.
Secondly, The election of the will is grosly depraved, In that it chooseth uncertain things before certain; not only pleasant and profitable things before holy and honest, but uncertain and fading things, before that which is eternal and will continue ever; And wherein can the wils sinfulness be proclaimed more then in this? Is it not a rule commended by all wise men, Tene certum & de∣mitte incertum, Hold that which is certain, and let go that which is uncertain? All men have such a will in worldly things, they would chuse a certain estate, ra∣ther then what is meer arbitrary, and may be lost the next day; but if we bring these men unto spiritual objects, and temporal objects, lay one in the one side, and the other on the other side, yet they will chuse the temporals, and let go the spirituals; Though the temporals are transitory and fleeing away, whereas spiritual things would be eternal, they would continue thine for ever: Oh foolish and unwise men who make such a choice! And yet this is the state of every unre∣generate man, What doth he say? Give me the good things of this world, though I lose Heaven and eternal Glory; Let me have a day pleasure, a mo∣ments profit, though I have an eternity of loss and torments: Consider then with thy self, what a foolish choise thy will doth make all the day long; Thou chusest that which will leave thee, which is here to day, and like the grass to morrow is thrown into the Oven, and in the mean while there is that good which will abide, though Heaven and Earth should fall, and this thou art willing to pass by: Was not Dives called a fool upon this account? This night thy soul shall be taken away, and then whose shall all these things be? The sinfulnesse of thy will herein, will ne∣ver be enough lamented, till with Dives thy eyes be opened in Hell, and then thou behold what a choice thou hast made. Christ giveth Mary this commenda∣tion, That she had chosen the better part (Luke 10. 42.) and that should never be taken from her. Oh that this also could be said of thee truly, thou hast chosen the good part! Though the wicked and ungodly of the world think it is the worse part, and they would never take it, yet it is the good part, and that because it will never be taken from thee: Thy grace, thy good workes will ne∣ver leave thee, but they will goe to the grave with thee, to Heaven with thee.
Thirdly, This sinfulness of thy Will in chusing, is seen, when thou hadst ra∣ther sinne then become afflicted; and yet this is naturally adhering to every one, he will rather chuse to wound conscience, to goe against light rather than be brought into trouble: Doth not every man naturally judge this the best, and so chuse it? Hence he never mattereth what God requireth, what may damn his soul hereafter, only he is resolved he will not put himself upon any hardship for Christ, but will launch no further in this deep then he can safely retire back again: Every man would naturally get an Ark to save himself in, when any publick wa∣ter do overflow; so they escape danger, they regard not Gods glory, or the Page 284 Churches good; Job's friends did fasten this upon him, but falsly, Job 36. 21. Take heed, regard not iniquity, for this hast thou chosen rather then affliction; They thought Job desired to sinne, and would chuse that rather then to be afflicted by God, though Job being sanctified was free from this charge; yet it is too true of every man by nature: Oh what power of grace is necessary to make a man chuse to do his duty, rather then have all the advantages of the world! It was Anselm's expression, That if sinne were on one side, and hell flames on the other, he would chuse rather to go through them rather then sinne: Even Aristotle could say, A virtuous man would die rather then do any dishonest thing: But the Scripture giveth an admirable commendation of Moses, worthy all our imitation, Heb. 11. 25. Chusing rather to suffer for Christ, then the pleasures of Aegypt; Moses that might have had all the pleasure and honours of Aegypt, yet because he could not have them without sinne, he rather chuseth the poor and despised estate that his brethren were in. So that Moses doth in this case something like Hiram, 1 King. 9. 13. to whom Solomon gave many Cities, but Hiram did not like them, and called that place Cabul, that is, displeasing or dirty: Thus Moses called Pharaoh's Court, and all his honours Cabul in respect of Christs favour and his love. Did not all the holy Martyrs likewise do the same things? Were not many of them offered life, liberty, yea great places of honour, if they would re∣nounce Christ, if they would forsake his way? But they did not stand delibera∣ting and doubting, what they should do, they immediately chuse to be imprison∣ed, burnt at the stake, rather then not confess Christ and his way; but the will naturally cannot make such a choice.
The Wils loss of that Aptitude and readiness it should have to follow the deliberation and advise of the Understanding.
THe sinfulnesse of the Will in its noble and famous operation of Election or chusing hath been in a great measure considered, I shall adde two particu∣lars more, and what is further to be taken notice of in this point, will seaso∣nably come in, when we are to treat of the Will in its freedome, or rather servitude.
The first of these two to be mentioned is, The losse of that aptitude and readinesse it should have to follow the deliberation and prudent advise of the understanding. For this is the privitive Institution and nature of the soul in its operations; The understanding when the end is pitched upon doth consult and deliberate in a pru∣dential way about the means which may conduce to that end, and when prudence doth direct about those things which are to be done, then the will is to imbrace and elect that medium rather then any other, which reason doth thus wisely sug∣gest; Thus it ought to be, now the will being wholly corrupt doth not chuse according to the dictates of prudence, but the suggestions of sense, and the carnal affections within us; So that naturally a man chuseth an object, not because reason or prudence saith, This is good, this is according to Gods will, but because sense or affection saith, this is pleasant and delightfull. This sad perverting of the order of the will in its operations, if rightly considered, would throw us upon the ground, and make us with great amazement and astonishment cry out of our selves; For what can be more absurd and grievous then the will, which is so essentially subordinated in its chusing to the guidance of the understanding, should now be so debased, that like Samson without eyes, it is made to grind in evey mill, that any carnal affection shall command; we may see the good method and rule the will should walk by in Page 285 its choice, by that which Moses said, Deut. 30. 15. 19. See, I have set before thee this day life and death, good and evil. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and eath, cursing and blessing; therefore choose life. Observe what should direct us in choosing, viz. That which the servants of God deliver from the Word, and so that which the mind of a man enlightned from thence doth declare to us, and for defect herein it is that we choose evil and death, for how often doth the Minister of the Gos∣pel yea thy own conscience it may be within thee, obtest and adjure thy will, as herein the Text Moses did the people of Israel. I call heaven and earth to witness, saith conscience, that I have shewed thee the good thou wert to do, I have terrified and threatned thee with hell, and that vengeance of God which will follow thee upon the commission of such sinnes: Therefore look to thy election, see again and again what it is that thou choosest. But though all this be done, yet the will will choose what affections say, what sense sug∣gesteth, dealing herein like Rehoboam, who would not hearken to the advice and direction of the ancient grave and wise counsellors, (thou plus valet umbrasenis, quam gladius juvenus, as the expression is in the civil law) but he gave his ear to the yong men that flattered him, and were brought up with him, which proved to his desiruction. Thus the will in its choice it maketh, list∣neth not to what the mind doth with deliberation and prudence direct to, but what the inferior appetite doth move unto, that it followeth: And this is the foun∣dation of all those sad and unsuccesfull choices we make in the world, this layeth work for that bitter repentance and confusion of soul which many fall into afterward; Oh that I had never choosen this way! Oh that I had never used such meanes! Oh me never wise! Oh foolish, and wretched man that I am? Especially this bitter bewailing and howling about what we have chosen, will be discovered in hell, what will those eternal yellings and everlasting roarings of soul be, but to cry out, Oh that I had never chosen to commit such sinnes! Oh that I had never chosen such companions to acquaint with! Thus the foo∣lish and sinnefull choice thou makest in this life, will be the oil as it were poured into those flames of fire in hell, to make them burne seven times hotter.
Secondly, The other particular wherein this corrupt frame of the will in election is seen is, That in the meanes it doth choose, it never considereth how just, and lawfull, and warrantable, the meanes are, but how usefull; and there∣fore, though God be offended, though his Law be broken, yet he will choose to do such things, whereas we must know that God hath not only required the goodness of an end, but also the lawfulness, and goodness of the meanes, and the sanctified will, dareth not use an unlawfull medium to bring about the most desired good that is; but the carnal heart, taketh up that rule of the A∣theistical Politian, Quod utile est, illud justum est, That which is profitable, that is just and righteous: That famous act of the Athenians, being provoked to it by Aristides the Just, may shame many Christians, when Themistocles had a stratagem in his head against their enemies, telling the people, he had a matter of great weight in his mind, but it was not fit to be communicated to the people, The people required him to impart it to Aristides, who being acquainted with it, declareth it to the people, That Themistocle's counsell was utile, but injustum, profitable but unjust; by which meanes the people would not pursue it. Here was some restraint upon men by the very principles of a natural conscience, but if the will be left to it self, and God neither sanctifying or restrayning it; it looketh only to the goodness and profitableness in means never to the lawfulness of them. Some have disputed, Whether it be not law∣full to perswade to use a less evil that a greater may be avoided? They instance in Lot offering his daughters to the Sodomites to be abused by them, rather then Page 286 commit a more horrid impiety, by abusing themselves with mankind (as they thought those strangers to be) but the Scripture rule is evident and undeni∣able, We must not do evil that good may come of it, Rom. 3. 8. Neither doth a less evil cease to be an evil, though compared with a greater; and therefore as in a Syllogisme, if one of the premises be false, there cannot be inferred a true conclusion, è falso nil nisi falsum, so also, è malo nil nisi malum, from an evil meanes there can never come, but that which is evil, though indeed God may by his omnipotent Power work good out of evil; know then that it cometh from the pollution of thy will, that thou darest make choice of means, not because just or righteous, but because profitable for that end thou de∣sirest.
The Pollution of the Will in its Acts of Consent.
VVE proceed to another act of the Will, as it is exercised about the meanes which is called Consent; for though in order of nature, this doth precced election, yet because I intend not to say much about it at this time, because more will be spoken to it, when I shall treat of the immedi∣ate effects of original sinne; I therefore bring it in, in this place. And for to discover the sinfulness hereof, we must know, That the will hath a two-fold operation or motion in this respect, for there are motus primo primi, the im∣mediate and first stirrings of the will antecedently to any deliberation or con∣sent; The natural man being wholly carnal cannot feel these, no more then a blind man can discern the motes in the air, when the Sunne-beames do en∣lighten it; but the godly man, as appeareth Rom. 7. he findeth such motions and insurrections of sinne within him, and that against his will. Now al∣though it be true, when there are such motions of the will, but resisted and gainsayed, they are not such sinnes as shall be imputed unto us; and thus far Bernards, expression is to be received, Non necet sensus rei deest consensus, yet they are in themselves truely and properly sinnes. The Papists and Pro∣testants are at great difference in this point. The Romanists denying all such indeliberate motions antecedent to our consent to be properly sinnes, but the Reformed do positively conclude they are, and that because the Apostle, Rom. 7. calleth them often sinnes, and sinnes that are against the law, and which ought to be mortified. It is true, we further adde, when the sanctified soul doth withstand them, cry out to God for aid against them; as the maid in dan∣ger to be defloured, if she called out for her help, the Law of God did then free her; so God also will through Christ forgive such sinfull motions of thy soul, which appear in thy heart, whether thou wilt, or no; yet for all this, these stirrings of the will being inordinate and against the Law of God, which requireth not only pure streames, but a pure fountain also, therefore they are truly culpable, and so damnable. Let then a man observe, whether Egypt was once fuller of flyes then thy heart is of inordinate motions; for as the pulse in the body is alwayes beating, so the will is alwayes in action, it's alwayes moving to some object or other, and being naturally corrupted, it doth al∣wayes tend, either to an object unlawfull, or if lawfull, in an unlawfull and immoderate way.
But in the second place, Besides these indeliberate motions, there are those which are deliberate, to which the will doth give free and full consent; and these are greater sinnes then the former, because the more voluntary; and certainly Page 287 the will of a man is as full of sinfull consents, as the Sea is of water: When∣soever any lust, any sinne cometh to tempt thee, How easily and quickly is thy consent obtained? Indeed outwardly to commit the sinne that is ma∣ny times hardly accomplisht, there may want the opportunity, fear or shame may restrain men, but to consent to sinne, yea that which is most abomina∣ble, may be a thousand times over committed by the will in a little space. Now that the wils consent to a sinne is a sinne, if it be kept within onely, and not expressed in the outward act, is difficulty believed; even as they think their thoughts, so also the desires of their will are free in this parti∣cular; Yea it seemeth to be the constant Doctrine of the Pharisees, That if a man did externally obey the Law of God, though in his heart he did will the contrary, yet the Law did not condemn him: Hence it is that Matth. 5. our Saviour doth expound the Law so exactly and spiritually, and that it seemed a great Paradox to the received Traditions at that time, for our Lord, doth there shew, That if a man doth lust after a woman in his heart it is adultery and so of all other grosse sinnes: If then thou doest will in thy heart, desire and consent in thy heart to any sinne, though thou canst not, or darest not commit it; Here God looketh upon thee, as such a sinner; for as in holy things God accepteth the will for the deed, so in evil things, the will to do it, the consent to do it, is as if thou hadst done it, Tan∣tum fecimus, quantum volumus, even Seneca could say. What thunder and lightning is in this truth, if rightly understood; Goe and search thy will, make strict examination about it, and thou wilt find sparks, doe not flie fa∣ster from the forge then sinfull consentings doe issue from thee all the day long. No sooner doth any voluptuous, ambitious or profitable object ap∣pear in thy soul, but thy will hath secretly consented to it, and imbraced, even before thou canst tell what thou hast done: Now this sinfull temper of the will is the more pernicious and dangerous, because these consentings in∣wardly to sinne, are so sudden and imperceivable, that thousands of them came from the soul almost in a twinkling of an eye, and the heart feel∣eth them not: Doe not then thinke to justifie thy selfe, because thou canst with the Pharisee thank God, that thou art no adulterer, no drunkard, no Publican, for if thou hast at any time a secret consent to these things, if thy heart imbrace them, though thou darest not externally commit them; The holy and spiritual Law of God will find out these sins in thee, and con∣demn thee for them.
In the next place, Consider also that there is a two-fold consent to a sinne, Expresse and Formal, or Interpretative and Virtual; an expresse consent is, when the will doth actually yeeld it self up to any lust that doth tempt it: Thus Cain expresly consented to the murder of Abel; Judas to the betray∣ing of Christ. But a virtual consent is, when we yeeld to that from which such a sinne will either necessarily, or probably follow, although we do not expresly think of the sinne: Thus a man that is voluntarily drunk, if in his drunken fits he kill any, or commit any other grosse impiety, he may be said interpretatively to will all that wickednesse, though for the present he knoweth not what he doth. Thus the best Casuists doe determine, and the reason is, because such a man doth voluntarily expose himself to the cause of all such evils, and he who willeth the cause of a sinne, may be justly said to will the sinne that is the effect; Know then thy consent to sinne may extend further then ever thou thoughtest of; Such sinnes may lie at thy door ready to arraign thee, because though thou didst not expresly will them, yet by consequence thou didst. Therefore Matth. 25. 44. when those workers of iniquity plead, They never saw Christ hungry or in prison, and did not mini∣ster Page 288 to him; Our Saviour replieth, That because they did not such things to his Di∣sciples, they did them not to him.
Lastly, This consent of the will is not onely to the evil that we doe in our own persons commit, but also to that which others are guilty of. And here now might be a large field, wherein the sinfulnesse of our corrupt will may be discovered; and this consent of the will to other mens sinnes, may be (as Divines shew) many wayes, but I must not enlarge therein: It is enough for the present, to know the will is so corrupt, that as if it were too little to consent to its own sinne, it's frequently yeelding to the sinnes of others, whereby the sinnes of other men are made ours, and so at the day of Judgement shall stand arraigned, both for our own and other mens sinnes also.
The last act of the will is, That which they call usus, the application of the other parts of the soul and body to bring about the evil desired. In this al∣so the will, because of the universal dominion it hath, doth demonstrate the vast extent of its sinfull kingdome. This sinfull will commands the body in a despicable manner to be instrumental to sinne; It bids the eye look upon wanton objects, and it doth it; it commands the tongue to speak obscene∣ly, wantonly, to lie, or curse, or swear, and it doth it; all thy bodily sin∣fulnesse is committed, because the will commandeth it to be done: And al∣though the affections are not under such an absolute command by the will, but rather they sometimes subjugate and keep that under them, yet at other times, the will causeth them to arise, men love and hate, because they will. Mel•cthon is said to write thus to Calvin, Judicas prout amas, aut odio habes, amas vero aut odio habes, prout vis; The will of a man is that which sometimes stirreth up all the passions of the soul; Hence is that usual ex∣pression, I will have my will whatsoever it cost me. Yea the understanding, though it be a light, yet the will many times putteth it under a bushel; yea it will command the minde to divert its thoughts; Hence men will not un∣derstand, will not be convinced, because the will applieth to other objects. But of this more in its time.
The Defilement of the Will in its Affections and Properties, or the sin∣full Adjuncts inseparably cleaving unto it.
ROM. 9. 16.
HItherto we have been declaring the native pollution of the noble faculty of the Will in the several operations thereof; but we have not (as yet) manifested the least of all that filthiness which adhereth to it; You have seen but a drop in respect of the Ocean: We proceed therefore to a further discovery of the original contagion thereof, and that in its Affections and Properties: The sinfull Adjuncts inseparably cleaving to it, proclaim it to be a defiled subject.
This Scripture opened, vindicated and improved against the Doctrine of Free-will.
THis truth cannot be superstructed better, then upon this foundation in the Text, which is a noble ingredient into that famous portion of Scripture, wherein the Doctrine of those sublime mysteries about Election and Reprobation are professedly handled, and those Objections which the presumption of humane reason is ready to produce, are fully answered. So that whereas in other places that Doctrine is only occasionally or incidentially handled, here the Apostle doth industriously treat of the nature of it. Thus it hath of old been interpreted, and of late by the Orthodox. Onely Arminius following Suecanus in part, and the Remonstrants after Arminius they have excogitated a new Analysis of this Cha∣pter, full of absurdity and impertinencies; for they would not have the Apostle at all to treat of Election and Reprobation of persons, they turn themselves and the Scripture into all shapes and forms to evade that, but they interpret it of a two-fold Purpose or Decree of God, The one whereof they say is, That whoso∣ever doth believe shall obtain Justification, Adoption and Salvation: The other, That whosoever seek for righteousnesse by the works of the Law shall be rejected from all these. This (they say) is the scope of the Apostle: But who seeth not what forcing and wresting this is of Scripture? So that we may wonder, how such an interpretation could come into their mind; for the Apostle doth not speak of Conditions, but of Persons, his scope is not to shew, that they are be∣lievers who are received, and workers who are rejected. The Apostle had abun∣dantly confirmed this in the fourth Chapter, but he intends to shew the Dominion and Sovereignty of God in the eternal disposing of mens persons, and that upon the occasion of Gods rejecting the Jews, and calling in the Gentiles. Therefore he saith, To whom he will, he sheweth mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth: whom he will] He puts the discrimination upon Gods will, not upon any inter∣nal Page 290 qualification in the subject. Also he instanceth in Esau and Jacob before they had done good or evil, whereas if Jacob were considered as a believer, then God did look upon him as having good in him. Further, he bringeth in Pharaoh for an example, how that God did reject him, and whether the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, vers. 17. be rendred, I have raised thee up, or I have kept thee alive in those judgments, and not destroyed thee, as the Remonstrants and others vehemently contend; yea some Orthodox do yeeld, it will all come to the sense, that he was an object on whom God would demonstrate his power and justice, or kept by God for a while, as some Anatomists do a dead body before they bury it, to gather profita∣ble observations for the good of others: not that God infused any evil in Pha∣raoh's heart (though the Scripture useth three words concerning Pharaoh, the one is to confirm or corroborate his heart, and that is ascribed to God seven times. The other is to harden, and that is once (though we render the word to corrobo∣rate, to harden.) The last is, To aggravate or make heavy, which is once like∣wise ascribed to God, (which is also rendered by our Interpreters to harden,) not (I say) that this expression denoteth, God did put any sinfull frame into Pharaoh's heart; nor yet on the other side, is it to be understood of a meer bare permission of God, as if he did no more then suffer him by his patience to be hardened, but God as a just Judge did for Pharaoh's sinne antecedent justly deny him any molifying grace, leaving him to his lusts, which in such occasions as he had, did break out into a more violent flame; So that the whole blame lay upon Pharaoh himself, not on God; Hence it is, that he is so often said, To harden his own heart. Now this example of Pharaoh could not make at all to Paul's purpose, if his in∣tent was to prove, that God would reject all such who seek for righteousness by the works of the Law, for Pharaoh was an Heathen, he was ignorant of Gods Law, and could not seek for Justification by the works thereof. Besides, if the Apostle did not intend to shew Gods purpose absolutely and inconditionately (in a well explained sense) about persons, but only his Decree about their qualifica∣tions, what occasion was there for Paul to make such an Objection, Is there un∣righteousnesse with God? And then first to objurgate the Objector, Who art thou, O man, that disputest against God? And then returneth a full answer to the Obje∣ction, from the lesse to the greater, from the Potter, who hath power over the same clay to make a vessel of honour or dishonour. These Objections and Answers could have no place in the Remonstrantical Analysis and Interpretation; For who would argue it injustice in God to reject such who did not believe in Christ, but sought for Justification by the Law? If the Apostle did prove only two such De∣crees about the wayes to salvation and damnation, here was no such mystery transcending humane expectation. This is certain, the Remonstrants commend their way of common Election, making the determinate event to be by man him∣self, in a most plausible and colourable manner, as being most agreeable to hu∣mane reason and equity. There is no man would dispute against God in this, whereas the other exposition strongly pursued by Austin, and for the dreadful∣ness of it to flesh and bloud, which is ready to call God to an account for his administrations was greatly disliked by many and a scandal to them; Even as at this day, it still meeteth with the same unkind entertainment from Lutherans, Socinians and Arminians, who make an Universal Conditional Election, whereby (they say) God would have all to be saved, even the Calvinists themselves, as they are pleased to instance by derision. Well if this part of Scripture will not convince, I know not what light will, and they must needs be prepossessed, who can let their judgements assent to such a remote and forced explication; Not to adde that the Decree which they make about Gods rejection of such who seek for Justification by works is false; for did not many Jews following the righteousness of the Law, at last believe in Christ; Was not Paul once zealous for the works of the Law? Yet afterwards an affectionate admirer of the righteousness by faith. Page 291 But we leave these bold Interpreters who do assume more to themselves in turn∣ing the sense of these words this way and that way, then do allow God in the disposing of mankind, as if the Text were like the Potters clay, that they might make a sense of honour and a sense of dishonour.
Come we therefore more particularly to the words in hand, and as appeareth by the illation [So then] they are an inference from Paul's preceding Discourse; As for those, though men of great Antiquity, who suppose these words spoken not by Paul himself, as in his own person, but in the person of some opponent, it is so weak that it is not worth the resuting; For the Apostle in the beginning of the Chapter, useth great asseveration and atteslation, even with a solemn oath concerning his great affection to the Jews and their salvation, to whom also he attributeth great Church priviledges and spiritual prerogatives, and this he doth, because he was to deliver most dreadfull matter, which would be exceeding dis∣pleasing to that Nation, and which might seem to come from hatred to them: But this Preface is to mollifie them: And whereas it might be objected, If a greater part of the Jews, who were once Gods people, and to whom the promi∣ses did belong, were rejected, how could Gods word be true? The Apostle di∣shtinguisheth of the Israelites, and sheweth, that the promise in regard of the spiritual efficacy did belong only to Abraham's seed after the promise, or who were the children of Abraham in a supernatural way, imita•ing him and walk∣ing in his slept; The other were Abraham's sonnes after the flesh, not but that they were children of the promise also in respect of the Covenant externally ad∣ministred, they were circumcised as well as the other, and called Act. 3. The children of the promise, and if this were not so, the Apostle should in the same breath almost have contradicted himself, for he said of the Nation in the general, That to them did belong the Covenants and the Promises: Hence that whole Nation is sometimes called his sonne, yea his siest born, and sonne of delights; But though Abraham's children thus after the flesh, and in some sense of the promise also, yet not in that sense, as the Apostle meaneth here, so as to be the blessed seed, and elected by God in Christ: Hence Paul sheweth, That the promises in respect of the efficacy and gracious benefits flewing from them did belong onely to the elect; And this he proveth, first from Ishmael and Isaac; And whereas it might be said, Ishmael for his actual impiety deriding of, and persecuting Isaac was rejected, and also that he was born of Hagar a bond-woman; then he fur∣ther exemplifieth in Esau and Jacob, born both of the same father, and of the same mother, and at the same time, and yet before they had done good or evil; The one even the younger was loved of God, and the Elder to whom the birth∣right did belong was hated. Whether these instances be propounded as types on∣ly (so that for all this both Ishmael and Esau might be elected, as some have charitably thought of Elau, that he repented of his cruel intentions to his bro∣ther, changing his mind to him, and so (as they think) dying a converted man, or whether they be propounded as Examples also as well as Types (viz.) as those persons whom God had excluded from grace, and therefore the Scripture giveth this Character of Esau that he was a profane man,) is not much material. This is enough, that the Discourse of Paul is carried on with great strength: And whereas it might be objected, That God was unrighteous in making such a dif∣ference between those that were equal, the Apostle answereth from a Text of Scripture, Exod. 33. 19. where Moses desiring to see the glory of God, God grants his request, giving this reason, I will be gracious to whom I will be gra∣cious, and mercifull to whom I will be mercifull: Thus even Moses hath that great glory put upon him, even to speak to God face to face, and that not for any worth or dignity in himself, but the meer gracious will of God; Therefore there is no unrighteousnesse in this act, whereby God receiveth one and leaveth ano∣ther, because this Assumption is an act of grace and savour, and in things of fa∣vour Page 292 and liberality, there is no injustice: If I meet two poor men equally indi∣gent, and I relieve one passing by the other, there is no injustice in not relieving of him. Now from this expression of God to Moses, the Apostle maketh this inference in my Text, removing all causes and merits of the grace of God from man, and attributing it wholly to God.
In the negation we have a distribution, It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth. [It is not.] Here is much dispute, what is meant by that? But the Context maketh it evident, that election is not, nor the blessed effects of Election, Conversion, Justification and Salvation. Some also adde, The act of volition, It is not of him that willeth to will; for God worketh in us to will: So that all is to be given to God; for Voluntas bons, is one of Gods good gifts to us, Nelentem pravenit ut velit, volentem subsequitur ne finstra velit: A good will cannot precede Gods gifts, seeing that it selfe is one of Gods gifts.
Not of him that willeth] Here we see plainly the will of man so importent, yea so polluted by sinne, that it cannot put it self forth to any good.
Again, It is not of him that runneth.] The Remonstrants limit this too much (as if it were) an allusion to Esau, who neither by running (when he wearied himself in hunting for venision;) nor by willing (when with tears he so earnestly desired the blessing) could obtain it; for the Scripture doth usually compare Christianity to a race, and our conversation to a running. So that it is neither our inward willing, or outward performing of duties, (though with much industry,) that make us obtain this grace from God: Not that we are to sit still and to be idle, but we are to wait on the means onely, it's Gods grace not our wils which do make us holy and happy. Therefore you have the positive cause of all, But it is of God that sheweth mercy,] It is then the meer mercy and compassion of God, which maketh a diffrence between men lying in the same sin and misery; he speaketh not of justifying mercy, adopting mercy, but of electing mercy, converting and calling mercy. This discriminating power and grace of God doth evidently appear every where, there being two in a family, one taken, the other left; Two hearing a Sermon, one humbled and converted, the other remaining blind and obdurate; If to this it be replied, that the meaning is, It is not of the will alone, nor of him that runneth alone, but of Gods mercy also, then (as Austin of old did solidly observe) it might as truly be said, That it is not of God that sheweth mercy, but of him that willeth and runneth; And this is very absurd, Pia aures non ferunt, Godly ears (saith Aquinas on this place) would not endure it; and Newe Christianus dicere andebit, (said Austin.) The weightiness of the matter hath made me thus long in opening the Text: We come to the Observation, viz.
That the will of man is so greatly defiled by sinne, that we cannot obtain any spiritual mercy by it. It's the grace of God, the compassion of God that maketh thee abhorre thy sinnes, and close with that which is holy, thy will is na∣turally an enemy and an adversary to it; Should God let thee alone, till thou come to meet him, thy condition would be hopeless; The will of a man naturally stands at a defiance against the things of God; else why is it, that under such means of grace that many enjoy, why is it that when there are so many invitations and ex∣postulations that the understanding and conscience is convinced, that cannot tell what to say, yet the will of a man is obstinate and refractory?
The Will is so fallen from its primitive honour, that it's not worthy to be called Will but Lust.
LEt us take notice of the great depravation of the will. And
First, It is seen in this, That it is so fallen from its primitive honour, That it is no more worthy to be called voluntas but cupiditas, not will, but lust. For the will signifieth a rational appetite following the dictates of reason, but our will doth not, cannot do so, and therefore as she said, Call me no more Naomi, but Marah; So it is here, Call it no more a will, but a lust; and thus the Scri∣pture doth by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 mean lust, Ephes. 2. 3. Fulfilling the desires, or lusts of the flesh; (The wils, as it is in the original, 1 Pet. 4. 3.) To work the will of the Gentiles, is explained by walking in lusts; and vers. 2. the lusts of men, which is nothing but their wils is opposed to the will of God; Thus those that will be rich, 1 Tim 6. 9. that will to be rich, is a sinne against that command, Thou shalt not lust. Oh then think seriously of this, my will is become a lust, my virgin an whore, I cannot will any thing, but it is a lusting after it rather then a willing of it! It is not willing of riches, but lusting after them; not willing of honours, but lusting after them; we call it a lust not a will, because it doth excessively (and beyond Scripture-bounds) will a thing neither doth it will with subordination and reference to Gods glory. Thus a mans will is his lust.
The Will is wholly perverted about the Ultimate End.
ALthough the will of man be subject to more defilements, then the body of a man is exposed to diseases, yet I shall briefly select some of the more re∣markable instances. And
First, Herein is the natural sinfulnesse of the will manifested, In that it is wholly perverted about the ultimate end, which is the proper and adequate ob∣ject of it; God is the supream and ultimate end of the will: Therefore were our souls endowed with this noble faculty, that the will might firmly and immo∣vably adhere to him; That as the elements have their proper principles of mo∣tion, whereby they never rest, till they come to their center, or ultimate term in which they wholly acquiesce; Thus also if we respect the primitive institution, the will was given us for such a principle which should carry us out constantly to the enjoying of God. But oh the sad perversion and inordinacy that is now come upon this chief power of the soul, for now a mans self is put into Gods room; So that whereas God was the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end of a mans will; Now a mans self is made his god, he willeth himself, he loveth him∣self, all things are done in reference to himself, as the utmost end: So that this self-seeking, this self-loving is the root of all other iniquities; when the Apostle was to reckon up a Catalogue of manifold notorious impieties, 2 Tim. 3. 2. he reckons up men, lovers of themselves, as the bitter root of all wormwood spring∣ing from it; you cannot reckon up any sinne, whether spiritual or carnal, that doth not flow from this, because a man doth inordinately will, and love himself; That as Aristotle reporteth of one Antipheron, which through the weakness of his eyes, the very air was in stead of a Looking-glasse, making a constant refle∣ction, Page 294 so that he saw himself, beheld himself all the day long; Thus it is with the will, all the motions and actings of it are onely to self-glory, self-pleasure, self-profit, &c. whereas at first the will was created so subordinate to God, that it did will the glory, and honour, and blessedness of God infinitely above its own self; If they could say to David, Thou art worth ten thousand of us, how much more could Adam in the state of integrity say unto God, that his Name, his Glory and Majesty were to be esteemed and set up farre above the good of all men and Angels. Austin observeth truly, That those two Cities, Jerusalem and Babel, of God and the Devil, had these two contrary foundations, Babel had Amor sui usque, and Contemptum Dei, The love of a mans self, even to the contempt of God and Jerusalem, The love of God, even to the contempt of a mans self: Oh then look upon this as the Goliah-sinne, as the Beelzebub-evil in thy will, that it cannot, it doth not any thing, but excessively will and love it self to the contempt of, and rebellion against God! The Command of God is, To love him with all our heart, soul, and might, and to love our neighbour al∣so, but there is no injunction to love our selves; Indeed that is supposed as a duty, when a mans self is made the rule and measure of love to our neighbour: Some think the reason why there is no expresse command to love our selves, is, because that is required in loving of God, because he onely loveth himself that loveth God, and in loving of God we love our selves; whereas when we love our selves for our selves sake, not subordinately to God, we do indeed hate our selves, pro∣curing our self damnation. Let us then bewail this fall of the will by original sinne from God into its self, whereby we will our own glory rather then Gods; our own interest then the great Gods, who yet giveth us all we have; This is to break the order which the wise and holy will of God hath immutably ordained, viz. the submission and subjection of the creature to the Creator.
The Privacy and Propriety of the Will.
SEcondly, Another extensive and powerfull defilement of the will is a conse∣quent from the former, viz. The Privacy and Propriety of it; For whereas by the primitive Institution our will is to be commensurated and regulated by the will of God; now it naturally abhorreth and refuseth any such agreement, as if our will were to take place of Gods will, as if the prayer were that our will (not Gods will) might be done; In this is an Abysse of all evil, that our will naturally inclineth to be independent on Gods will; we would have that a measure and rule even to Gods will, that God should not will, but what we would have: Oh hor∣rible blasphemy and confusion! for the humane will of the Lord Christ was not a rule and measure of things to be done, being the will of a creature, therefore he prayeth, Not my will, but thy will be done, Luk. 26. 39. If then Christs humane will was to be regulated by that superiour and increated will, how much more is the will of a sinfull and corrupt man; This then is that which maketh the whole soul like a Blackmoor; This is the essence (as it were) of all sinne; A mans own will, not Gods will is regarded, but a mans own proper will is wholly followed, we would give Laws to God, and not God to us; Whensoever thy heart is carried out to lusts, to any wickedness, What is this but to exalt thy will, and to depress the will of God? Hath God said, Be not proud? thou wilt be proud: Hath God said, Swear not? thou wilt swear: Thus all sinne is nothing but a mans own will lifted up against the will of God: No wonder then if one said, Cesset voluntas propria & non ardebit g•henna; Let there be no longer Page 295 our own will, and there will be no longer any hell; It's this proper private will of ours that was the cause of hell: Adam and Eve they preferred their will before Gods will, and that brought in death and demnation: Therefore regeneration is the writing of Gods Law in our hearts, whereby we come to say, as Christ, I come to do thy will O God, and Paul immediately upon his conversion saith, Lord what wilt thou have me do, he giveth up his will as a blanck on which God may write his will, O Lord there shall not be any longer my will to persecute, my will to oppose thy Church, I will break this will of mine, renounce this will of mine: Thus as a vessel melted in the fire may be put into any forme or fashion the artificer pleaseth, so was it with Paul's will: This proper private will of thine, likewise maketh all the trouble and misery thou meetest with; it is thy own will that maketh thee to walk so heavily and dis∣contentedly, for were thy will resigned up into Gods, were thou able to say in all things, the will of the Lord be done, I have no will, but what God would have me to exercise; this would keep thee in a quiet calm frame all the day long, whereas now all the dispute and contention is, whether thy will or Gods will must give place to each other. Oh vain and wretched man! how long shall this self-will of thine be thy ruine; Is it not reason that the will of the creature should give place to the will of the Creator, as the starres do not appear, when the Sunne beginneth to arise.
The Pride and Haughtiness of the Will.
THirdly, The great and notable pollution of the Will, Is the pride and haugh∣tiness of it, not only refusing subjection to the Will of God, and to be under that, (as hath been shewed) but in some remarkable particu∣lars.
The first whereof is, an affectation of equality with God himself. Thus the will of a poor weak wretch, that cannot turn a white hair into black, whose breath is in his nostrils, that hath the same originals for his body as a worm hath, yet the aspireth after a Deity, and would be like God him∣self. As
1. in attempting to make gods, and then to worship them. What pride and vanity is in man to take upon him to make what he intends to worship; so that what man pleaseth shall be a god, and what pleaseth him not shall be none, Deus non erit Deus nisi homini placuerit. Thus whereas God at first made man after his image now man maketh God after his image; Besides the horrible blindness that is upon the mind in this thing, there is also pride and arrogancy of the will; what is this but to assume superiority over their own gods, which yet they worship, and adore? But
2. This pride of the will is more conspicuously manifested, In affecting to be like the true God, not to endure him to be a superior above us: While our first parents had not any internal pollution at all upon them, yet this sinne did presently insinuate them, whereby they aspired after a Deity: therefore the Devil tempted them with this sutable bait, Ye shall be like Gods knowing good and evil: That sinne of Adam hath still a more peculiar impression upon man∣kind: Whence came that abominable and blasphemous custome into the world of deifying men, (which they called Daimons,) but from that inbred pride of the will, desiring to be like God▪ Ezek. 28. 2. Thus it was with that Prince of Tyrus, he lifted up himself and said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, thou Page 286 hast ser thine heart as the heart of God; What detestable and loath some arrogan∣acy is here? Oh the patience of God, that doth not immediately consume such a wretch, as he did Herod who sinned not so highly, for he did not proclaim he was God only the people by way of flattering cryed out the voice of God, and not of man, which because he did not disclaim but secretly owned, there∣fore was such a remarkable punishment inflicted upon him. We see from these instances what pride lurketh in mans will, there is the cockatrice egg which may quickly prove to be a flying Serpent: This pride is thought also to be the sinne of the Devil, whereby he was not contented with the station God had put him, but was ambitious of a divine nature, as if he with Christ might think it no robbery to be equal with God. This unspeakable arrogancy did shew it self notoriously in some great Potentates of the world, Caius Caesar especially, (for which cause Grotius though absurdly maketh him to be the Antichrist) that did exalt himself above all that is called God. This mad∣ness of pride was as visible in Alexander, who though sometimes through the consciousness of humane imbecillity (as when he was wounded and saw bloud fall from him) would refuse such a thought, yet at other times he did industri∣ously affect to be related among the number of the Gods, and to have divine worship performed to him, and as the sonne of Jupiter, Hammon, would be pictured with hornes, and Jupiters Preist meeting of him instead of that form, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, did purposely mistake, saying, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Haile thou sonne of Jupiter; yea, he sends into Greece, that by a publique Edict, he might be ac∣knowledged for a god, which the Lacedemonians in scoff did without scruple admit, saying, Qundoquidem Alexander vult esse Deus, Deus esto; Seeing Alexander will be god, let him be one: But the Athenians being more scru∣pulous, or at least of greater hatred against him, punished Demades the Ora∣tor for advising them to receive him as god; for he had said, Look (Oye A∣thenians) Nè dum coelum custodies terram amittatis, while ye keep heaven ye loose the earth: This carnal counsel, is admired as infallible policy almost by all the Potentates of the world; Thus you see what pride is latent in the will of a man, and how farre it may rise by temptations; though the experience of humane imbecillities may quickly rebuke such mad insolencies, yet some ex∣cuse or other they use to put it off, as when it thundered, one asked Alexan∣der, wheather he could do so; he put it of, and said, he would not terrifie his friends: if you say this corruption of the will is not in every man by nature, I grant it for the degree, but it is habitually and radically there. Let any man be put in such temptations, as Herod and Alexander were, and left alone to this inbred pride and original pollution, it would break out into as great a flame: Origi∣nal sinne needeth time to conceive, and bring forth its loathsome mon∣sters.
3. This pride of the will is seen, In the presumption and boldness of it, to in∣quire into the consels of his Majesty, and to call God himself to account for his administrations. Rom. 9. 20, who art thou (O man) that disputest against God? [O man,] that is spoken to humble and debase him; Wilt thou call God to an account? Shall God be thought unjust, because thou canst not comprehend his depths? Certainly God hath more power over us then the Potter over his clay, for the Potter doth not make the materials of that, he only tempreth it, wher∣as God giveth us our very beings; and therefore it is intolerable impudency for us to ask God, why he made us so? yet how proud and presumptousis man, to dispute about Gods precedings, whereas the great Governors of the world will not allow any Subject to say, why dost thou so to them? The Psalmist com∣plaineth of this pride in some men, Psal. 12. 4. Our lips are our own, who is Lord over us? Thus Pharaoh said to Moses, who is the Lord that I should obey him? This pride in the will, whereby men will audaciously intrude into things Page 297 they know not, hath made these heretiques in judgements, the Pelagians and Socinians, Their will doth not captivate their understanding to Gods Ipse dixit, for us the Schoolemen observe truly, in every act of faith, there is re∣quired pia affectio, and inclinatio voluntatis, and when that is refractory and unsubmitting, it causeth many damnable heresies in the judgement; for it is the pertinacy of the will, that doth greatly promote the making of an here∣tique.
Lastly, This pride of the will is seen, In raging and rebellious risings up against God in his proceedings against us. In this the pride of the will doth sadly discover it self, what rage, what fretting and discontent do we find in our hearts, when Gods will is to chastise or afflict us? If we could bind the armes of the Omnipotent to prevent his blowes, how ready is presumptuous man to do it? It is therefore a great work of regeneration to mollity and soften the will, to make it sacile and ductile, so as to be in what forme God would have us to be. When David had such holy power over his will, 2 Sam. 15. 26, that in his miserable flight from Absalom, he could say, If ye have no delight in me, behold here I am, let him do to me as seemeth good to him; he could abound and want, be rich and poor, a king and no king all in a day, this argued the great work of sanctification upon his will. This iron was now in the fire, and so could be molleated as God would have it; Thus in the fore mentioned in∣stance of Paul, when he cryed out, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Here was a tender humble resignative of the whole will to God, without any con∣ditions or provisoes; But oh the pride and unruliness of the will, if left to its natural pollution! When God shall any wayes bring his judgements upon us, how impatiently do we rise against God, even as if we would be revenged of his Majesty? As it is said of the Thracians, when it thundereth and light∣neth, they shoot against heaven, as if they would bring God to order. Xerxes scourged the sea, and sent a Bill of defiance against the hill of Athos. Augustus being beaten with a tempest at sea, defied their god Neptune, and caused his image to be taken down from the place where the rest of their gods were. Yea Charron speaketh of a Christian King, who having received a blow from God, swore be would be revenged, and gave a commandment, that for ten yeares no man should pray to him, or speak of him; I tremble to mention these dreadfull instances, but they are usefull to demonstrate, what pride and unsubdued contumacy is in the will of man, even against God him∣self, when he crosseth us of our wills: Yea do not the godly themselves though grace hath much mollified their will, and made it in a great measure obsequi∣ous to God, yet do they not mourne, and pray, and groane under the pride of their will? do they not complain, oh they cannot bring their will to Gods will! They cannot be content and patient under Gods dispensations, they fret, they mutter, they repine. Is not all this because the will is proud, the will doth not submit? Heavenly skill and art to order thy will, would make thee find rest in every estate.
The Contumacy and Refractoriness of the Will.
ANother instance of the native pollution of the will is, The contumacy and refrractioness of the will, it is obstinate and inpenetrable; The Scrip∣ture useth the word heart for the mind, will and conscience not attending to philosophical distinctions, so that the stony heart, the uncircumcised heart, Page 298 is the same with a stubborn and disobedient will. Thus the Scripture putteth the whole cause of a mans not conversion, of his not repenting upon the resractory will in a man especially, Levit. 26. 14. If ye will not hearken to me, and will not do these Commandments, vers 18. If ye will not for all this heark∣en to me, vers. 23. If ye will not be reformed, but will walk contrary to me; Observe how all is put upon the will, so that if their will had been pliable and ready, then the whole work of Conversion and Reformation had been accom∣plished; So Matth. 21. 29. The disobedient sonne returneth this answer to his father, I will not. This contumacy therefore of the will may be called the bad tree, that is the cause of all thy bad fruit; A regenerated will, a sanctified will, would make thee prepared for every good work. It is for want of this that all preaching is in vain, all Gods mercies, and all judgements are in vain; Why should not the ham∣mer of Gods word break it? Why should not the fire of it melt it? but because the stubbornness of the will is so great, that it will not receive any impression, 'tis called therefore a stony heart, not an iron heart, for iron by the fire may be mol∣lified and put into any shape, but a stone will never melt, it will sooner break in∣to many pieces, and flie in the face: Thus the will of a man hath naturally that horrible hardness and refractoriness, that in stead of loving and imbracing the holy things of God, it doth rather rage and hate with all abomination such things.
The Enmity and Contrariety of the Will to Gods Will.
IN the second place, That imbred sinfull propriety of the will, which accom∣panieth it, as heat doth fire, is, The enmity and contrariety of the will to Gods will; There is not onely a privative incapacity, but a positive contrariety, even as between fire and water; Gods will is an holy will, thine is unholy; Gods will is pure, thine is impure; Gods will is carried out to will his own glory, ho∣nour and greatness, thine is carried out to will the dishonour and reproach of God: Thus as Gods will is infinitely good, and the cause of all good, so in some sense, thy will is infinitely evil, and the cause of all that evil thou art plunged into; Therefore when the Apostle saith, That the carnal mind is enmity against God, Rom. 8. 7. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 comprehends the actings of the will and the affections, as well as of the mind; It is enmity in the very abstract, so that it is neither sub∣ject to God, nor can be: Oh that God would set this truth more powerfully upon our hearts, for what tongue can express the misery of this, that thy will should naturally have such irreconcilable opposition and implacable enmity to the Law of God, that it should be diametrially opposite to Gods will, which at first was made so amicable and compliant with Gods will, that there was the Idem velle, and Idem nolle. Besides, many other considerations there are two especially that may break and exceedingly humble our souls herein: For
1. Gods will and his law, which is his will objectively taken, are absolutely in themselvs very good, and therefore the proper object of thy will; So that if thy will be carried out to any thing in the world, it should be carried out to Gods Law above any thing: This is to be willed above any created good what soever, How is it that thou canst will pleasures, profits and such created good things, and art not more ravished and drawn out in thy desires after the chiefest good, but to be in a state of opposition to this chiefest good, to contradict and withstand it, this is the hainous aggravation? Could there be a Summum malum, it would be in the will, because of its direct opposition to the Summum bonum? Herein mans will, and the Devils will, do Page 299 both agree, that they are with hatred and contrariety carried out against Gods will: If therefore thou wert to live a thousand and thousands of years upon the earth, and thou hadst no other work to do, but to consider and meditate about the sinfulness and wretchedness of the will in this particular, thou wouldst even then take up but drops in respect of the Ocean, and little crums in respect of the sand upon the sea-shore. But
Secondly, This contrariety of thy will is not only against that which absolutely in it self is the chiefest good, but relatively it would be so to thee, and therefore thy contrariety to it is the more unjustifiable. What to be carried out with un∣speakable hatred, to that which would be thy blessedness and happiness, who can bewail this enough? To have a delight and a connaturality with those things that will be thy eternal damnation, with much readiness and joy to will them, and then to be horrible averse and contrapugnant to those things, which if willed and imbraced would make thee happy to all eternity: Oh miserable and wretched man, thy condition is farre more lamentable then that of the beasts, for they have a natural instinct to preserve themselves, and to desire such things as are wholsom to them, but thou art naturally inclining to will and imbrace all those things which will be thy eternal woe and misery! What is the cause that thy will cannot imbrace the Law of God? Why art thou so contrary to it? Alas there is no just reason can be given, but original sinne is like an occult quality in thy will, making an Antipathy in it against the same; so that thou doest not love what is holy, neither art thou able to say, Why? only thou dost not love it; yea, there is the greatest reason in the world, and all the word of God requireth it likewise, that thy will should be subordinate and commensurated unto it, but there is no other cause of this evil will, then the evil of it; It is evil, and therefore cannot abide that which is good.
The Rebellion of the Will against the light of the mind, and 〈◊〉 sla∣very of it to the sensitive part in a man.
THirdly, The original pollution of the will is seen in the rebellion of it against the light of the mind, and the slavery of it to the sensitive part in a man, to the carnal and sinfull affections therein: Both which do sadly pro∣claim how the will is by nature out of all holy order, and fallen from its primi∣tive integrity; For in the former respect therefore did God give us reason, that by the light and guidance thereof, the will should proceed to its operations; So that for the will to move it self before it hath direction from the mind, is like the servant that would set upon business before his master commands him, like an un∣natured dog, that runneth before his master do set him on: To will a thing first, and afterwards to exercise the mind about it, is to set the earth where Heaven should be: But oh the unspeakable desolation that is brought upon the soul in this very particular! The will staieth for no guidance, expecteth no direction, but willeth because it will, what is suteable and agreeable to the corrupt nature thereof, that it imbraceth be it never so destructive and damning; God made the mind at first, that it could say like the Centurion, I bid the will go and it goeth; the affections move, and they move; but now the inferior souldier biddeth the Centurion go and he go∣eth; This then is the great condemnation of the will, that though light come in upon it, yet it loveth not the light, but rebelleth against it; and this sinfulness of the will is more palpably discovered under the means of grace, and the light of the Gospel, then under the light of nature meerly, for such are said compara∣tively Page 300 to sit in darkness, and to have no light; The more then the light of the Gospel doth appear, the more any beams of truth do gloriously shine into thy breast, and thou for all this gain-sayest them, livest against them, the more is thy will in a sinne. This then doth greatly aggravate the polluted nature of the will, that it can contradict the powerfull arguments of the soul, when it was made subordinate to knowledge, then to become tyrannical and usurping over it, this argueth the will hath a peculiar infection in it, insomuch that if it had never so much light, yet that would be evil, because it will be evil. I know there are ma∣ny learned men, that say, The will cannot but follow the practical dictate of the understanding; There is (say they) a natural connexion between them, so that if the will at any time offend, it is because the light and conviction of the mind is faint and inefficacious: But this opinion doth greatly retract from the nature of grace, and the nature of our original sinne, from grace, as if that did sanctifie the understanding and affections only, and from original sinne, as if that were not seated in the will, but in the other parts only, whereas the will of a man may be called the throne of wickedness, because from it properly all sinnes have their rise and being; Do we not see this plainly in the Devils, who are 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, great∣ly knowing and understanding, yet no Devil is able to will what is good, but willeth to sinne alwayes, and cannot resrain it; How cometh this about? They do not want knowledge, they are not capable of sinnes of ignorance, and yet with what irreconcilable enmity is the Devil set against that which is good, inso∣much that he cannot all the day long, but will those things that are offensive to God. Although they know this is to their eternal torment; By which you see how depraved and poisoned without Christ the will is, though the understanding meet it like an Angel to stop this Balaam in wicked and unjust wayes: Never then plead ignorance, or plead passions, for it is the defect and wickedness of the will that makes thee so vile; But as the will in the upper region (as it were) is so much polluted, so in the lower region also; for if we consider it as bordering upon the affections, there we shall find as horrible a sinne daily committed, as when Gods Law sorbids a woman to fall down before a beast; for when the will, which is in it self a rational appetite, shall make it self like one of the vile affe∣ctions and passions; what is this but a spiritual and unclean lust with a beast; Lay then this more to heart than thou doest; Think how horrid a sight it would be, if thy body should become like a beasts, and thou go on the ground as that doth, what would then become of that Os sublime? And is not this as bad, when thy will is made a vassal to every inordinate affection? Thou willest what thy passions call for, yet thus it is with every one till grace doth elevate the will, and set it in its proper throne.
The Mutability and Inconstancy of the Will.
FOurthly, The mutability and inconstancy of the will about what is holy, is a great part of the original desolation upon it. It is true, Adam's will was mutable at the first Creation, though he had full power and perfection to stand, yet because his will was changeable, therefore he fell from his holy estate, and no wonder that Adam's will was mutable, for the will of the Angels so great∣ly transcending man in glory, was also vertible and changeable, so that to have the will confirmed in what is good, that it cannot fall into the contrary condition, is a blessed and gracious priviledge vouchsafed by God alone; Therefore there Page 301 are no men, though never so much sanctified, but their wils would make them fall off from God, did not God outwardly support him. This natural mutability is in the will, because it's the will of a creature, onely the will of God is immuta∣ble and unchangeable, and this is onely a negative imperfection, it is not a sinne, but the inconstancy and changeablenesse that I now mention is a sinfull and cor∣rupt one. This mutability of the will and instability, discovers it self in these par∣ticulars,
1. In some great fears or judgements of God upon a man, then though he hath no more but nature, yet his will doth sometimes seem to yeeld, and to melt before God. Thus Pharaob's will, Ahab's will, did abate of their contumacy while the heavy rod of God was upon them, but how quickly did they lick up their vomit again? When the iron was taken out of the fire, it grew as cold as ever; And is not this inconstant will the ruine of many? Oh that thou hadst such a will alwayes, as thou hadst in such straits, in such extremities, then how happy wouldst thou be!
2. This inconstancy of thy will appeareth to thy undoing, When in some Or∣dinance the Word preached, the Sacrament administred or reproof applied to thee, then thou beginnest to yeeld, then thou sayest, I will do it, I will be so no more, I will become new, but these April showrs hold for a season, the winter will come when all will be frost and snow. Mat. 21. 29. One of those sons, who said to his father, I go, sir, seeming to be very willing; (whereas on the other side, I will not,) did quickly falsifie his Word; So that he who refused at first, proved better then he that seemed so forward, and thus truly it falleth out sometimes, that the later end is farre better of some, who for a long while say, they will not, that are stubborn and rebellious, but God afterwards maketh them to will, then of such who give many fair promises, now they will, and then they will, in such sickness they will, in such a powerfull motion they will, but afterwards they will not.
3. The sinfull inconstancy of the will about holy things, is, When after a rea∣dy and willing profession of Christ, in times of temptation and great extremities then they fall off, and their fall is great. This is because the will was not resolved and fixed, that whatsoever should fall out, yet they would not treacherously depart from God, Act. 11. 23. Barnabas exhorted the Disciples, That with purpose of heart they should cleave to God, otherwise if the will be not stedfast and resolved, every temptation is able to drive it back.
Lastly, The lazy, sluggish and half-desires of the will about good things, mani∣fest the inconstancy of it. Jam. 1. A double-minded man, (and so a double-willed man) is inconstant in all his wayes; when the will is divided between the creature and the Creator; or when like the sluggard, he desireth meat, but will not put forth his hand out of his bosom, he willeth and willeth, but never doth effectu∣ally set himself upon working: This man is like a reed that is tossed up and down with every wind. Many more sinfull affections might be named, for they are like the motes in the air, or the sand upon the sea shore; But let this suffice, because more will then be discovered, when we speak of the slavery of it to evil, having no freedom to will what is good. Only let this Truth be like a coal of fire fallen upon thy heart, let it kindle a divine flame in thy breast, consider this corrupt will is the root of all evil; If thy will were changed, if thy will were turned to God, this would bring the whole man with it: Oh pray to God, to master thy will, to conquer thy will? Say, O Lord, though it be too hard for me, yet it is not for thee; Remember hell will be the breaking of thy corrupt will; Thou that wouldst not do Gods will here, shall not have thy will in any thing when in hell.
Of the Natural Servitude and Bondage of the Will, with a brief Dis∣cussion of the Point of Free-will.
JOH. 8. 35.
HItherto we have been discovering the vast and extensive pollution of the will, in its Originals and Naturals, both in the several operations and affections of it; The next thing in order is, To treat of the will in regard of its state, as in freedome of servitude, about which so many voluminous Controversies have been agitated: And indeed a sound judgement in the point of Free will is of admirable consequence to advance Christ, and the grace of the Gospel; For whosoever do obscure the glory thereof, they lay their foundation here; They praise nature to the dispraise of grace, and exalt God as a Creator, to the prejudice of Christ as a Redeemer.
Although it is not my purpose to go with this Point as many miles as the Con∣troversie would compel me, yet because the Doctrine of Free-will is so plausible to flesh and bloud, that in all Ages of the Church it hath had its professed Pa∣trons; And because the cause of Christ and the Gospel is herein interessed, and further, because it is of a great practical concernment to know what a slavery and bondage is upon the will of man to sin; it will be necessary and profitable (in some measure) to inlarge upon it; for there is scarce one in a thousand, but is pus∣sed up with his own power and strength, so that he feeleth not the want of grace.
This last mentioned Scripture opened.
THis Text I have pitched upon will be a good and a sure foundation for the superstruction of our future Discourse; For Austin in his hot disputes with the Pelagians about the freedom of the will to what is good, doth often flie to this Text, as a sure Sanctuary: And Calvin (gravely upon this Discourse of our Saviour) saith, Eunt nunc Papistae (we may adde Arminians and Socinians) & liberum arbitrium factuosè extollunt, &c. Let them presumptuously exalt free will, but we being conscious of our own bondage, do glory in Christ onely our Redeemer: Though Maldonate is pleased to censure this expression of Cal∣vin, us Sententia digna verberibus, vel igne.
Let us therefore take notice of the Coherence, and we will go no higher then to the 30th verse, where we have specified a blessed and fruitfull event upon Christs Discourse, concerning his Person and Office, For as he spake those words, many believed on him; not by their own natural ability and power, but the Fa∣ther did draw them by his omnipotent and efficacious grace: Christ while he spake Page 303 to the ear did also reach to the heart; he did not onely preach, but could inable the hearer also to believe, herein exceeding all Pastors and Teachers that ever were in the Church of God; Christ plants and watereth, and giveth the increase likewise all of himself; Yea Christ seemeth here to sow his seed upon the high way, and among thorns and stones, yet some seed cometh up and prosper∣eth well.
Upon this we have the love and care of Christ mentioned to these new Con∣verts, he immediately watereth these plants, and swadleth these new born In∣fants that they may not miscarry; This is seen in the counsel suggested to them, where you have, The Duty supposed, and the admirable Priviledge issuing from it▪ The Duty supposed, If ye continue in my Word; It is not enough to begin, unless there be perseverance. It is not enough to receive Christ and his Word, unless we abide therein and have our ears (as it were) boared, never to depart from such a Master; The neglect of this maketh all that dreadfull Apostasie, and those sad scandals to Religion, which in all Ages do terribly break forth, Except ye abide in Christ, as well as be in him, we shall fall short in the wilderness, and not be able to enter into Canaan.
It is also observable, that Christ saith, If ye abide in my Word; it must be the true Doctrine of Christ; it must be what he hath delivered, which denoteth two things:
1. That heresie and errour can no wayes make to our Christian-Discipleship, they cannot set us at liberty from any lust or sinne; and therefore no wonder if you see men of corrupt judgements at last fall into sinfull and corrupt practices; For the word of God is only the instrument and instituted means of sanctification, Sanctifie them by thy word, Joh. 17.
2. Hereby we see the necessity of the Ministry of it; by the preaching of Gods word they are first brought to believe, and after that are continually to depend on it; The Ministry is both for the begetting of grace, and the increase of it; Those that despise and neglect the Word preached, do greatly demonstrate they never got any good by it.
The consequent Priviledge upon this continuance in the Word, is to be Christs Disciples indeed; From whence we have a distinction of a Disciple in appearance and shew, or profession onely, and a Disciple indeed. There were many that became Christs Disciples in profession onely, they followed him for a season, but afterwards forsook him, which caused our Saviour so much in his Parables and Sermons to press them upon a pure. thorow and deep work of grace upon their souls: The title without reality will be no advantage. Musculus observeth, That Christ useth the Present tense, Then are ye my Disciples indeed; From whence he gathers,
First, Ye shall know the truth; when they did at first believe the Word, they did know the Truth in some measure, but now their knowledge should be more evident, clear, and encreasing; And indeed the godly they do so grow in know∣ledge about heavenly things, that they account their former knowledge even nothing at all.
The second Priviledge is, The truth shall make them free; Every man (till rege∣nerated) is in bondage and captivity, to blindness in his mind, to lust in hiswill;Page 304 And there is nothing can set us at liberty from this dungeon and prison, but the grace of God by the Word preached.
But no sooner is this Priviledge spoken of, then it stirreth up the Cavils and Objections of some that heard it, They answered him, We be Abrahams seed, and were never in bondage to any man, How then doest thou say, Ye shall be made free? Some think, That those who are said to believe did argue thus; But this seemeth very harsh; Therefore no doubt some others that were in the multitude, that did not believe, they were offended at this speech of our Saviours, and therefore dispute against it, arrogating to themselves both a Native freedom, We are A∣brahams seed; and also an actual one, We were never in bondage to any man. This expression exerciseth Interpreters very much, for whether by [We] they mean their Ancestours or Themselves, living at that time; It is plain, at first they were in bondage in Aegypt, afterwards in Babylon, and at that present in bondage to the Roman Empire, How then could they affirme such a notorious lie, that they were never in bondage to any man? Some say, They mean of such vassals and slaves, as sometimes in warre are taken and sold to others: Now (though the Israelites were often conquered, and brought under the power of others, yet) they were never sold slaves, and so not in bondage in that sense. Others say, They doe not speak of a Civil, or Publique, and State-Liberty, but (as it were) a religious and holy freedome; For, though they were in civil bondage, yet they glorified in Abraham's seed, and the religi∣ous freedome thereby in respect of Gods favour. So Hensius (in his Ari∣starchus Sacer. upon this place,) They (saith he) who spake this, did at∣tend to the Law and Covenant, for such who obeyed the Law, they called free. Hence they had a paradoxal Proverb, None unlesse he exercise himself in the study of the Law, is to be accounted a free man; And, Qui observat legem esse Regem, even as the Stoicks say of their wise man. Sixtus Senesis ma∣keth these words to be spoken by some of the Galileans, who would never owne any forreign power, but did chuse rather to die, then to make such an acknowledgement. That which many pitch upon is,
But our Saviour speaking of one kind of freedome and slavery, and they of another, he doth in the next verse more particularly open his meaning, and withall layeth a foundation to prove, That though they boasted and glo∣ried in their freedome, yet they were indeed servants and slaves; This he proveth by that universal Proposition, Whosoever committeth sinne is the ser∣vant of sinne; You must lay an Emphasis in that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, it is not to be understood of every actual committing of sinne, but of the wilfull, ha∣bitual and constant committing of it: And thus though great men may boast in their Sovereignty they have over many others; though they may glory in multitude of servants, yet if they be overcome by any one vice, they be the vilest slaves and vassals of all, Quot vitia, tot Domini, so many vices, so many Lords: Now original sinne that is a Lord and Master to every one, that reigneth over all mankind; some actual sinnes enslave one man, and some another; but original sinne doth every man; yea though the godly are (in some measure) freed from the dominion of it, yet it keepeth up a tyrannical dominion over the most holy, as appeareth Rom. 7. by that com∣plaint of Paul, He could not doe the good he would, because he was sold under sinne.
Page 305 This foundation then being laid, our Saviour shewing the difference between a servant and a sonne, doth in my Text suppose,
1. A necessity of every one till sanctified to be made free.
2. The Manner how. And
3. That this is freedom indeed.
The Necessity supposed is, If the Sonne make them free; Though he speaketh this to those Jews who were in a two-fold bondage to sinne, original and actual; natural and voluntary, yet this is to be applyed to every man that is not in the state of regeneration, He hath no liberty or freedome of will to do what is good, but is a vassal to all sinne; sinne is the lusts thereof do prevail-over him, so that he hath neither will or power to come out of this bondage.
2. There is the Manner how, or the Person by whom we obtain true liberty, If the Sonne make you free. In some Cities the elder brother had power to adopt sonnes, and so to make free, however Christ is therefore called the Redeemer, because he doth obtain spiritual freedome for his people, and that not onely in respect of the guilt of sinne freeing from that; which grace of Christ the Pela∣gians did acknowledge (and would constantly interpret my Text in this sense onely) but also the power of sinne by inherent Sanctification and Renovation of the whole man; and of this freedom the Text doth here principally speak, not so much the freedom from the guilt of sinne; by justifying grace, as from the power of sinne by sanctifying grace.
3. You have the Commendation of this spiritual liberty, it is called freedome indeed, implying, that though they had never so much civil freedom, never so much dominion and power, yet if servants to sinne, they were in the vilest bon∣dage that could be: Civil freedom is thought to be so great a good, that it can never be prized enough; Therefore the Rabbins have a saying, That if the Sea were ink, and the world parchment, it would never serve enough to contain the praises of liberty. The Scripture informeth us, how great an honour it was ac∣counted to be free of Rome, but if all this while men are captivated either to personal sinnes, or to sinnes of the nature, they remain in worse bondage, then ever any Gally-slaves were in; The people of Israel in their iron furnace and house of bondage did cry and groan for a Redeemer; but this is the un∣speakable evil of this soul-bondage, that we delight in it, that we rejoyce in it; all our indeavour and care is, that we may not be set at liberty, and have these chains taken off us. From this explication observe,
That no man hath any liberty or freedom of will to what is good, till Christ by his grace hath made him free. We do not by freedom of will obtain grace, but by grace we obtain freedom of will: So that by the Scripture we have not any true ground for a liberum, arbitrium, but a liberatum in spiritual things; There is no such thing as a free-will, but a freed will in a passive sense, and tunc est liberum, when it is liberatum, as Austin; Then it's actively free, when it is first passively made free, Rom. 6. 16. Being made free from sinne; He doth not say, you have made your selves free, but ye are made frre by the grace of Christ. And again, vers. 22. Ye are now made free from sinne; and Rom. 8. 2. The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the Law of sinne and death: By which expressions is implied, 1. That all men till sanctified are in an absolute vassalage and thraldom to sinne. And, 2. That it is onely the grace of Christ that doth deliver from this bondage. It is Christ not our own will that ma∣keth us free.
Of the several Kinds of Freedome which the Scripture speaketh of.
TO enter into the depths of this Doctrine, Consider, What kinds of free∣dome the Scripture speaketh of, and which is applicable to our purpose. The Schooles have vast disputes about liberty and free-will, What it is, whe∣ther a compounded faculty or a simple one; and whether a faculty, or ha∣bit, or act; especially they digladiate about the definition of free-will, what it is; but if any thing shall be thought necessary to be said in this point, it may be pertinently brought in, when we shall answer such Objections as the Patrons of nature do use to bring in the behalf of Free-will: only it is good to know, that in the Scripture we find a civil liberty and a spiritual liberty spoken of, a civil liberty; Thus bond and free are often opposed, Ephes. 6. 8. Col. 3. 11. 1 Cor. 7. 22. But this is not to the Text, nor to our purpose; Therefore the Scripture speaketh much of a spiritual freedome, and that is,
First, In the translating of us out from the dominion of sinne and Satan, into a gracious state of holiness; and this is called by Divines, Libertas gratia, or (as Austin) libertas à peccato. The freedome of grace of which those Texts speak that we mentioned before.
Secondly, There is the Evangelical and Christian liberty, whereby we are freed from many things of the law, not only the curse of the moral law and the spirit of bondage, which did accompany the legal administration thereof, but also from the obligation unto, and exercise of the ceremanial; This Evan∣gelical liberty is often commended in the Scripture, as the glorious priviledge of the Christian Church, which the legal Church wanted; of this legal servi∣tude, and Evangelical freedome the Apostle, Gal. 4, doth largely, and most di∣vinely treat, This Christian liberty also from Jewish rites, The Apostle, Gal. 5. 1. ••horteth us to stand fast in, as being purchased for us by the death of Christ, as a glorious priveledge; only the Apostle Peter, 1 Pet. 2. 16, giveth good advice, That we turn not our liberty into licentiousness; It is true, the Apostle doth once use the word [free] abusively and improperly, Rom. 6. 20, where the servants of sinne are said to be free from righteousness, or to righteous∣ness, now this is improperly called a freedome; for as the service of God is the truest freedome, so freedome from holiness is the greatest slavery. Al∣though Austin doth from this Text make a division of liberty into two kinds, which he maketh perpetual use of, Libertas à peccate, and Libertas a justitiâ; The godly man hath the former liberty, the sinner hath the latter, but this latter is improperly called liberty.
Lastly, There is a spiritual freedome mentioned by the Scripture, as the utli∣mte and complete perfection of all, when the soul shall be freed not only from the dominion of sinne, but the presence of it, all the reliques and remainders of it, and the body shall be freed from death, pain, and all corroptibility, Rom. 8. 2. This is called, the glorious liberty of the sons of God; and for this every godly man is to groan and mourn, even as the woman in travel to be delive∣red; This is called by Divines libertas gloriae, and libertas à miserià. But we are to speak of the liberty of grace; and herein we are not to admire the Free∣will of man, but the free grace of God: man hath no free-will to do that which is spiritual and holy; Free-will is an Idol which the corrupt heart of man is apt to advance; he is unwilling to be brought out of himself, to be behold∣ing to the grace of Christ only; therefore Austin observed well, That this truth is to be found out by prayer and supplication, sooner then by disputati∣on; Did men commune with their own hearts; did they observe the Abyss and Page 307 depth of all evil that is in their corrupt will, how intangled and in slaved to the creature, they would quickly fall from disputation to humiliation, and turne arguments into prayers.
The Names which the Scripture expresseth that by, which we call Free-Will.
THe next thing in our method that will be explicating of the Doctrine, is to take notice of, What names the Scripture useth to express this thing by, that we call Free-will; for free-will is not a Scripture name, but Ecclesialsical, yet the sence of it is in the Scripture; for 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is often used in the Scripture, to will, and that in such things wherein freedome is necessarily supposed, Luk. 22. 9. Where wilt thou, that we prepare a place? Joh. 9. 27. Wherefore would ye hear it again, will ye also be his Disciple? Act 7. 28, wilt thou kill me also, &c. and in many other places, hence 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used for the free-will of a man, 1 Cor. 7. 37, and indeed it is disputed, whether to do a thing voluntariè, and liberè, voluntarily and freely be not all one, and so libertas, and voluntas, only voluntas denoteth the power and liberty, the qualification of it in its working. Jansenius is most consident, that in Austin's constant dispute with the Pelagians, liberum arbitrium, is no more then voluntas, and that to do a thing freely, is no more then to do it voluntarily; this he maintaineth against the Jesuites, and withall wonders at a late Writer of their own (whom he na∣meth not) which writeth, that the word servum arbitrium, was not heard in the Church of God for fifteen hundred yeares, It is Bellarmine that saith so, but our Divines had detected this falshood long before Jansenius. Howsoever Austin may use the word, yet the Scripture expresseth that which we call the will by, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. A second word to express liberty is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, liberty, yet this is not so much applied to the liberty of the will, as to the liberty of a man, as here in the Text, the sonne shall make you free, your persons not your wils; but because there is an universal bondage in all the powers of the soul to sinne, blindness in the mind, contumacy in the will; (for Quid est libertas sine gratiâ, nisi contumacia.) What is liberty in the will without grace, but contumacy against God, and a wilfull delight in evil wayes, Inordinacy in the affections: therefore the person is said to be made free, not but that the will is principally included in this, only the will is not all that is made free, 2 Cor 3. 17, where the spirit of the Lord is, thereby is liberty; It's from the Spirit of God we obtain liberty from sinne, and also from servile slavish feares. The Jesuites would have this liberty nothing to the purpose in the controversie de libero arbirio, for (say they) this is a spiritual mistical liberty, libertas à peccate, and they are treating of libertas naturae, which they make to consist in an indifferency to good or evil, but by their favour this is a proper liberty, and it is this that the Pelagians did most controvert about, and still the proper dis∣pute between the orthodox and their adversaries is in this particular, Whether there be any liberty or freedome in a mans will without grace to shake off the demi∣nion of sinne, so that they keep most properly to the state of the question, who are diligent in the opening of the nature of this liberty. Another word which the Scripture useth to express this free-will by, is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, 1 Pet. 5. 2, Phil. 1. 4, and this is very proper and full, when we do a thing not by constraint, or by a natural necessity, then we do it freely, therein we shew our liberty, so that liberty doth oppose coaction and natural necessity; It is im∣possible Page 308 the will should in its immediate elicite acts be compelled, for then it should be voluntas and noluntas, at the same time; then velle would be nolle, which is an high contradiction: Therefore liberty doth necessarly oppose constraint, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, doth also oppose a natural necessity (I say) a natural necessity (for there are other necessities that liberty doth consist with, yea and the more necessary the more free, as in time is to be shewed.) Thus though the stone hath an inclination to descend downwards, yet because the stones motion is from a natural necessary principle, therefore it is not free: Beasts likewise though, they exceed the inanimate creatures, yet they do not agere〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, voluntarily. They do act spontaneously, but not voluntary, because a natural principle of sence doth determine them. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 indeed, Heb. 10. 26, is translated wilfully, If we sinne wilfully after we have known the truth; but there it signifieth an high degree of the obstinacy of the will, and a confirma∣tion in evil against great light and knowledge; but commonly it signifieth doing a thing, so as not to be constrained to it. Platonical Philosophers call free-will 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, too proud a word to be given to a creature; and there∣fore the ancient Greek Fathers being many of them Platonists, did greatly obscure the glory of grace by receiving Platonical words, of which this is one: Indeed they gave to God 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but yet 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is too much for a crea∣ture, which hath a necessity of subordination to God, and dependency on him. The Stoicks they express free-will by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that which is in our own power. The Aristotelians express it by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which is the Scripture expression like∣wise; Though the Scripture and Aristotelians differ as much as light and dark∣ness about the nature of liberty, As the Ancients by following Platonical Phi∣losophy: so the Neotericks (especially the Jesuites by following Aristotle,) have greatly prejudiced the Doctrine of free-grace, setting up free-will in the room thereof. There is one expression more, and the Scripture hath it but once, which is the most emphatical in describing of this liberty, and that is 1 Cor. 7. 37. Having power over a mans own will,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, for liberty lieth in some kinds of some dominion to have our own will; hence in liberty we may conceive something Negative and something Positive; Negative, and that is not to be compelled, not to be constrained, not to be inslaved: Positive, and that is to have some power and dominion over the actions of our will, as the Apostle instanceth in him, who had decreed to keep his virgin from marriage, This man is said to have power over his own will. By these Scripture words we may come to understand in a great measure, what liberty and freedome of will is.
Some Observations concerning the Promoters of the Doctrine of Free-Will, how Unpleasing the contrary Doctrine is to flesh and blood, with some advice about it.
SEcondly take notice, That it is the great purpose and design of some to go con∣trary to the plain intent of the Scripture; For many in all ages of the Church have (with all their learning and parts) endeavoured to set up this Idol of Free-will, whereas the great drift of the Scripture is to advance and set up the free grace and free gift of God: The Apostles they write to debase man and to exalt the grace of God; Erronious persons, they dispute, and write, to exalt the will of man, and to take off from the grace of God; What a loud trumpet is Paul in his Epistles to sound forth the praises of free grace, not only Page 309free grace in justification, but free grace also in sanctification? It's the grace of God that doth not only pardon the guilt of sinne, but conquer the power of it: Consider then whether it be better, to set up Dagon or the Ark, the free-will of man, or the free gift and grace of God. Truly it is a very uncomfortable task, to be disputing against that grace, which yet we must wholly rely upon, when we come to die. It is one thing what men write while they are in health, what cobweb-distinctions they please themselves with in their voluminous writings, and another thing when they are in the agonies of death, and are to appear at the tribunal of a righteous God. It was that (which that famous Champion for the grace of God) Bradwardine comforted himself with, when he undertook the cause of God against Pelagians, That he could pray for the grace of God, to help him in his undertakings, to be present with him, and to direct him, whereas his adversaries could not do so. And indeed how can an Arminian, or a Pelagian with any of those Naturists, cordially pray for the grace of God to assist them, while they write against grace, and patronize free-will? Let them sacrifice to their own nets, to their own parts and abilities; It's from their will that grace is efficacious. This arrogancy is like that of the Heathens, whose saying was, Ignavis opus est auxilio Dei, It is only the sluggish that need the help of God: Yea Tully argueth the case, That we are not beholding to God for our vertue; therefore (saith he) our ancestors have praised the gods for their success and outward advantages, but never for their vertues; Happily it is awe and reverence that men bear to the Christian Religion, that keepeth them from such blasphemous expressions; yet even in Christian Writers (pleading for the power of nature) instances might be given of proud and swelling expressions.
Thirdly, It is good to observe, That even in all those whose end avour hath been to advance the free-will of a man to what is truly good, there hath appeared some guiltiness (as it were) in them, therefore they have often changed, (if not their minds yet their words) thus they have removed from the mountaines to the valleys: The Pelagians did incrustate their opinions often, and the Papists speak sometimes so plausibly, that you would think Bellarmine and Calvin did imbrace each other. Pelagius did at last come to use the word grace, yea did anathematize such as should not hold the grace of God requisite to every good act; by which crafty guiles he did deceive the Eastern Bishops, and still in the serpents-skin do the Jesuites and Arminians appear; They think it the greatest calumny that can be cast upon them, to say, they are against the grace of God; hence they use the word of grace often, as well as of free-will, but all this ariseth from guilt; they do use the word grace ad frangendam invidiam, to decline, envy, to insinuate more into the hearts of credulous hearers: so that men sacrilegiously advance the will of man' make man to have the greatest praise in converting himself, in saving himself; and whereas Paul said, Not I, but the grace of God with me; They will on the contrary affirm, Not the grace of God, but I; yet for all this they would be thought to advance the grace of Christ, but that is a true rule of Austins, Gratia non est gratia ullo modo nisi sit gratuita omni modo; Grace is not grace any way, unless it be free and gra•uitous every way; Therefore the inconstancy, the changes and shifts all such are put to, who plead for this liberty of the will, argue they are not in the Truth, but like thieves do hate the light, and change their garments often, that they may not be discovered; They are afraid of the Scripture, and would more gladly have the controversie ended by Aristotle, then by Paul; so that this Pelagian error hath had Cain's curse (as it were) upon it, a trembling, lest every place of Scripture it, does meet with) should kill it.
Fourthly, To maintain the slavery of the will to sinne, and to deny any liberty Page 310 to that which is holy and godly, is a truth so unpleasing to flesh and blood, doth so reproach (as it's thought) mankind, that it hath alwayes in the Church of God, (by some heretical persons or others) been spoken against; It hath been judged very scandalous and offensive, as that which did lay the axe to the root of all Religion and holiness; But yet experience hath taught us, that none have expressed so much holiness in their lives, as those who have had this truth of Christs grace incorporated into them; and on the other side, the Pelagian Doctrine hath left upon mens spirits, like leaven, à cornu & tumorem, a sowreness and bitterness, as also a tumor and vaunting confidence in them∣selves; So that if the denying of free-will and exalting the grace of God be so prophane an opinion in its genius and inclination (as some calumniate,) it's a miracle, that from such a poisoned fountain such sweet streames should flow, and from such thornes so pleasant grapes should grow. But the reason of this offence to flesh and blood, is the self-love and self-fullness that is in every man by nature; spiritual pride and self-confidence do reign in all men by nature; hence it is that though they be naked, yet they are not ashamed of it, which in Adam (while innocent) did come from his integrity, but in cor∣rupt man from his senslesness and stupidity. No wonder then if this Doctrine of grace be not justified cordially, and as it ought to be, but by the sonnes of grace, who have felt the power and efficacy of it upon their hearts, who have ex∣perimentally found the grace of God freeing their will from all that bondage it was in to sinne and Sataen.
Fifthly, From this it is, that a gracious heart is required to study this point, as well as a learned head. Experience of regeneration, of being made a new creature, of the conflict between the flesh and the spirit, will excellently direct in this controversie. I wonder not to see a man, though come out of Egypt loaden with Egyptian gold, to make a molten-calf for a god and to worship it: men of great learning, and it may be of great external civility (as they say of Pelagius) if not humbled by the grace of God, and throughlyu emptied of themselves, how can they stoop and yeeld all up to Christ? It was therefore Austin's wish, That the Pelagians would turne their disputations into prayers, for it is the heart as well as the head that is usefull in this point. Though all Divinity be practical, and practice is the end of knowledge, yea in Scripture language, Tantum scimus quantum operamur, we are said to know no more then we do; yet some truths have a more immediate influence into practice then others, whereas some opinions do stand in the Court (as it were) others enter into the holiest of holiest: Now this truth about the grace of God, and free-will is practice (practice) as I may say, what some do of the ultimate dictate of the understanding; This truth lieth in the vitals of Religion, and therefore the experience of all the godly is justly brought after Scripture ar∣guments to confirme this great truth; Therefore humble your selves more, commune with your own hearts, be much in prayer and self-emptiness, and you will quickly find the light of this truth shining into your hearts; Come and tast, Come and see, what you hear with your eares; pray that God would grant you an experimental knowledge of grace, and then you will quickly confess not unto your own free-will, but to the free grace of God, all praise, and glory doth belong.
Sixthly, This truth therefore being so contrary to flesh and blood, It is by the grace of God that we come to acknowledge the grace of God. Error in mind is part of our bondage, as well as lust in our heart; It is therefore by th• grace of God that we are delivered from both these thraldoms; we have a freed mind from ignorance, and a freed will from concupiscence; It is the Spirit of God that leadeth us into all truth, called therefore the Spirit of truth, John 14. 17. It is by the grace of God that thou fallest not in this errour of advancing free-will; Page 311 It's by the grace of God that thou art no Pelagian or Arminian; It is this that maketh thee to differ from them; Thy judgment, thy heart would be self-confident herein, did not the Spirit of God teach thee.
Lastly, Consider that the grace of God is necessary to guide us in this point, Because this Question hath alwayes seemed very difficult. Austin acknowledged it so; Hence he saith, That when grace is defended, we are thought to destroy free-will, and when a free-will is acknowledged (though in some sense onely) we are thought to deny free-grace. Indeed the Truth is not so difficult (viz.) that we have no spiritual liberty to what is good, or that grace onely maketh the will free; but how to reconcile this with the natural liberty of the will, that it shall not be as a stock or stone, that hath seemed to some even insoluble, and therefore they advise to captivate our understandings in this point, as we doe in the Doctrine of the Trinity; however whether soluble or insoluble, the diffi∣culty argueth the necessity of Gods assistance, while we preach, and you hear about it.
The first Demonstration of the slavery of the Will is from the Necessity of sinning that every man is plunged into.
SEveral particulars being premised as introductory to our intended matter, our next work is to shew, Wherein this servitude & slavery of the will doth consist; Not that you are to conceive of the will, as some prisoner who is chained up in a dunge∣on, that hath power to walk and run, only those external impediments do hinder him, which is Bellarmine's similitude about the inability of a natural man to su∣pernatural good: So the will hath some inward power and ability to do that which is holy, onely there are lusts, which are vincentes and vincientes, as Au∣stin expresseth, conquering and binding this will, that it cannot actually perform what internally it hath a power to do, here is no such thing, for we must con∣ceive of this habitual depravation and defilement of the will in its state and con∣dition more inward and deeply rooted in it.
First therefore, That the will of man is destitute of any freedome to what is good, appeareth, In the Necessity of sinning that every man is plunged into, that he cannot but sinne in all that he doth; That as the Angels and Saints in Heaven have Beata Necessitas, a blessed necessity of loving of God, and delighting in him, so that no temptation in the world can draw them off: Thus every man by nature is in an unhappy and wretched necessity of sinning, Dura Necessitas, as Austin called it. Insomuch that though the Scripture doth represent the things of Heaven in a most glorious manner to affect us, yet we cannot be taken off from our sinne to love that; Hence it is that every man till regenerated is com∣pared to an evil tree, and Tit. 1. they are said to be unclean, and every thing made unclean to them; The person being not accepted, neither can any duties be: This is our sad and miserable condition by nature, But whose heart is throughly affected with it? Thy eating, thy drinking, thy buying and selling, yea thy praying and all other duties, as they come from a man not sanctified by grace are sinnes in the eyes of God. Think then to what an infinite aggravation they will arise, and whether thou mayest not truly complain, they are more then the sands upon the Sea-shore; so that as the Toad and Serpent do necessarily vent what is poison, and can never do that which is sweet and wholsom: Thus no man in his natural estate can ever do any thing but be sinning, and so damning of himself all the day long; Onely when we say it is thus naturally necessary to a man to sinne Page 312 in all things he doth, you must know, that we do not herein make him absolutely like a bruit beast, which is not capable either of vice or virtue; for this necessity is voluntarily brought by man upon himself, he did wilfully strip himself of all power and ability to do that which is good, and so having shut out the light from himself, he doth necessarily remain in the dark, having chaced away the Spirit and presence of God from his soul, which is the life thereof, he becometh spiri∣tually dead, and so in a necessity of sinning: But it is not thus with Serpents and Toads; for whether they were at first created solely, with such a poisonous nature, or whether upon Adam's fall it was inflicted upon those creatures as a curse, it is plain, that these creatures could not with any will or consent bring themselves into this estate, but man did voluntarily at first, having no seed of evil, or inward propensity to sinne transgress the Commandment, whereupon his soul became more shamefully naked then his body. This necessity therefore whereby he is de∣termined onely to sinne, ariseth from his own free and voluntary impiety; As a man that hath wilfully put out his own eyes must blame himself for ever if he can∣not see: If then this bondage be upon thee, that in all things thou sinnest, what∣soever thou undertakest, evil is presently over ruling of thee, blame not God, or any providence of his, no nor the Devil neither, for though he doth tempt, yet he doth not necessitate to sinne, but thy own self, for from thy own bowels this destruction doth arise.
That a Necessary Determination may arise several wayes, some where∣of are very consistent with Liberty, yea the more necessary the more free.
IT is good to observe, and it may clear many difficulties in this point, That a necessary determination may arise several wayes, some whereof are very consi∣stent with liberty, yea the more necessary the more free. Thus God himself doth ne∣cessarily will that which is good, and yet freely also: And if you ask, Whence doth it arise that God is thus determined to what is good? I answer, It is from the infinite and absolute perfection of his holinesse, whereby he is not, nor cannot be a God that willeth iniquity. Arminius indeed maketh it little lesse than bla∣sphemy to say, God is liberè bonus, but that is, because he cannot part with his Helena, or Dalilah (viz.) That liberty consists in an indifferency to good and evil, and in this sense to say, God doth so freely will good, that he can as freely will evil, would be blasphemy; but to will evil is no part at all of freedome, it is a defect in a mutable creature, as is to be shewed. Such a determination to good only was in Christ also from his perfection, and is likewise in the Angels confirm∣ed, and Saints glorified; here is no power to sinne, yet have they liberty in an eminent degree, though determined to good onely: On the contrary, the De∣vils and damned men they are necessarily determined to that which is evil, they cannot but hate God, they are not able to have one good thought, or one good desire to all eternity, yet all this is done freely by them; Now as the determina∣tion to good did arise from perfection, from the strong principles of holinesse within, so in these their necessary determination to evil doth arise from that pow∣er of iniquity and sinne they are delivered up unto: In this necessity of sinning are all natural men (till regenerated) absolutely plunged into, and that from the dominion which sinne hath over them; Onely herein they differ from the Devils and damned men, they are in their termino, in their journeys end, and so are not in a capacity of being ever freed from this necessity and thraldome to Page 313 sinne: There will never be a converted Devil, or a converted man in hell, their state is unchangeable, and they can never be recovered, but with wicked men in this life, God hath dealt in many plentifull wayes of mercy, so that though for the present determined only to evil all the day long, though for the present under the chains and bonds of sinne, Yet the grace of God may deliver them out of this prison, and set them at liberty, but till this be, they are as the Devils carried out necessarily in all hatred unto God, and this determination to one is from imper∣fection.
Lastly, There is a determination to one from principles of Nature without rea∣son and judgement, and where such is there cannot be any liberty, for reason and judgement is the root of liberty, though it be formally in the will.
By this then you see, That this necessity of sinning doth not take away the natural freedome that is in the will, so that a man and a beast should be both alike. Luther (De Servo Arbit.) indeed wished that the word Ne∣cessity might be laid aside; Neither doth Bradwardine like that expression, Ne∣cessitas immutabilitatis, as applied to man, but in the sense all that are Orthodox do agree.
The second Argument of the Servitude of the Will is its being carri∣ed out unto sinne voluntarily, and with delight.
SEcondly, This necessity of sinning doth not at all take off from the volunta∣rinesse and delight therein, but every natural man is carried out so volun∣tarily and readily unto every sinne suggesting it self, as if there were no ne∣cessity at all. Hence man by nature is said To swallow down iniquity like water, Job 15. 16 Even as the feavorish or Hydropical man is never satiated with wa∣ter; Therefore the necessity of sinning is never to be opposed to his willingness and freedom; for though a man hath no freedom to good, yet he hath to evil, Eoque magis libera, quo magis Ancilla, the more he is subject to sinne, the more enslaved to it by his delight therein, the freer he is to act it; We must not then imagine such a necessity of sinning in a man, as if that did compel and force a man against his inclination and desire: You must not think that it is thus with a man, as if he could say, O Lord, my will is set against sinne, I utterly abhorre and detect it, but I am necessitated to do it; for the will being corrupted, doth with all propensity and delight rejoyce in the accomplishing of that which is evil.
3. The Bondage of the Will is evident by its utter impotency to any thing that is Spiritual; And wherein that inability consists.
THirdly, This bondage of the will to sinne is evidently manifested in its utter impotency and inability to any thing that is spiritual. It's like Samson, that hath lost its strength, God made man right, whereby he had an ability to do any thing that was holy, there could not be an instance in any duty, though in the highest degree, which Adam had not a power to do, and now he is so greatly Page 314 polluted, that there is not the greatest sinne possibly to be committed by the vilest of men, but every man hath the seed and root thereof within him, for this rea∣son man by nature is not onely compared to the blind and deaf, but also to such who are wholly dead in sinne: So that as the dead man hath no pow∣er to raise himself, so neither hath a man who is spiritually dead in his sinnes.
That this Truth may greatly humble us, Let us consider, wherein this ab∣solute impotency to what is holy, is in every man, for this is a great part of the demonstration of our spiritual bondage to sinne and Satan. And
First, Such is the thraldom of the will, That a man by nature cannot resist the least temptation to sinne, much lesse the greatest, without the special grace of God helping at that time. We matter not those Pelagian Doctors who hold a man by his own power may resist lesse temptations, yea more grievous ones, though not continually; for when our Saviour teacheth us to pray, That we may not be lead into temptation, doth not that imply, whatsoever is a temptation, whether it be small or great, if the Lord leave us thereunto, we presently are overcome by it. Certainly, if Adam while retaining his integrity in a temptation, and that about so small a matter comparatively, for want of actual corroborating grace, was overtaken by it: Is it any wonder that we who have no inward spiri∣tual principle of holiness within us, but are filled with all evil and corruption, that we are reeds shaken with every wind? The rotten Apple must fall at every blast: Know then that it is either sanctifying or restraining grace, that keeps thee from every snare of sinne thou meetest with; Thou wouldst every hour fall into the mire did not that uphold: These Dalilahs would make thee sleep in their laps, and then as Jael to Sicera, so would they do to thee. Herein is our bondage discovered.
Secondly, Our thraldome is manifested, In that we are not able of our selves to have one good thought, in reference to our eternal salvation; But if any serious apprehension, if any godly meditation be in thy soul, it is the grace of God that doth breath it into thee; The wilderness of thy heart cannot bring forth such ro∣ses: Thus the Apostle, We are not able of our selves (2 Cor. 3. 5.) to think any thing as of our selves; Though the Apostle speaketh it occasionally in his mini∣sterial imployment, yet (it holdeth generally true of every one, of thy self) then thy heart is like a noisome dung-hill, nothing but unsavoury thoughts doe arise from it; but if at any time any good motion, any sad and serious thought stirreth within thee, know this cometh from without, it is put into thee, as the cup of gold in Benjamin's sack; and therefore this must greatly debase us.
Thirdly, We are not able of our selves to have the least desire or longing after grace, and a state of holinesse. Not only Pelagianism, but Semi-pelagianism is a dangerous rock to be avoided: The later made our desires to begin, and then Gods grace to succeed and accomplish; But there is not so much as the least groan, the least desire can arise in thy heart: Oh that God would change me! Oh that I were in the state of those that do truly fear God! And the reason is, because the Scripture describeth us by nature to be dead in sinne, and compareth the work of grace to a spiritual resurrection: Oh how great is thy bondage which doth so farre oppress thee, that thou canst not so much as long for any freedom! Oh hopeless and wretched man, if left to himself!
Fourthly, From this followeth the next demonstration of our vassalage and spiritual impotency, That we cannot pray to God, that he would deliver us out of this misery. No natural man can pray, it is the grace of God that doth inable thereunto, he may utter the words of prayer, he may repeat the expressions, but (alas) he doth not, he cannot pray, as God requireth, and so as he will ac∣cept of it. The Apostle is clear for this, Rom. 8. 26. The Spirit helpeth our in∣firmities, Page 315 for we know not what to pray for as we ought; Is not this unspeakable misery, who needeth to pray more then thou, and yet thou canst not pray? Thou art sinning, thou art dying, thou are damning, and yet canst not pray: Is not thy heart like an adamant, if this break thee not?
Fifthly, Such is our impotency and bondage, That we are not able to affect our selves with the fear and terrour of the Law, thereby to be convinced and humbled in our selves. If we cannot do the preparatories for grace, much lesse grace it self; if we cannot do the lesse, How shall we do the greater? Now one great preparatory work is, To have a divine and powerfull fear in our souls, by reason of the Law, whereby we are afraid of hell, of the day of Judgement, and can∣not have any rest in our spirits, because of this. Now this is wrought by the Spirit of God in a preparatory way, Rom. 8. 15. It is called The Spirit of bon∣dage: And Joh. 14. The Spirit doth convince the world of sinne; So that in and through the preaching of the Law, and discovery of sinne, the Spirit of God doth awaken and terrifie the conscience of a man, maketh him afraid, that he cannot eat, or drink, or take the delight he used to do. It is true, the slavish sinfulness of this fear the Spirit of God doth not work, but the heart being like a mudded pool, when it is moved, such slavish fears will arise likewise; But how farre is every natural man from this, he is secure and jolly, blessing and applaud∣ing himself, crying peace, peace, all is at quiet within him, because the strong man doth keep the house? It is the voice of the Lord only that can make these mountains to quake and melt.
Sixthly, Such is our weakness, That we cannot barden or soften our hearts in the least manner, but they remain obdurate and like brasse and iron. Thy heart is like a stone within thee, and thou art no wayes able to mollifie it; Therefore God maketh it his work, and he graciously promiseth, I will take away the heart of stone (Ezek. 11. 19.) and give an heart of flesh; As if God had said, I know this work is above you, you are not able to do it: And certainly, if the godly themselves (because of the remainders of original corruption doe complain of the hardnesse of their hearts,) cannot mollifie or soften them, as they desire; Is it any wonder if the wicked man be not able to remove the stone from him.
Seventhly, A man cannot by the power of nature believe, no not so much as with an historical faith, till grace prepare the heart therein. Now faith is the first foun∣dation-stone, Heb. 11. He that cometh to God must believe he is, and so he must believe the truth about Christ; But we see by the Pharisees, who heard Christ preach, saw the wonderfull miracles he did, yet in stead of believing in him did deride and oppose him; so that all the acts of faith, whether dogmatical or sa∣ving, we are enabled unto only by the grace of God, Matth. 13. 11. To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but not to them: Thus Act. 18. 27. the Disciples are said to believe through grace, faith then is the gift of God, not the work of mans free-will.) And if he cannot do this, it is plain, he cannot move one foot of himself towards Heaven.
Lastly, Such is our impotency, That when grace is offered and tendered to us, the will of it self hath no power to consent to it, or make improvement of it. It can, and oft doth resist and refuse grace, but of it self it cannot imbrace it. It is true, Papists and Arminians plead hard for this power of the will, but this is to give more to mans will then to Gods grace, this is to make man to differ himself from others.
It might be thought, that the will indeed cannot chuse Christ, or receive him as a Lord, because there is no revelation or manifestation of a Christ; They are a people happily who sit in darkness, and have no light; and therefore though they may have an inward power to see, yet for want of light to actuate the me∣dium they cannot; so that the defect ariseth not from the power within, but the Page 316 manifestation of the object without: And this indeed is gratly to be consider∣ed, whether an Infidel or Pagan (for example) doth not believe, because there is no proposition of the object in the Ministry, otherwise if he enjoyed that, then he had power over his own to assent to it. Now even the Pelagians themselves, and their followers, yea even all that give not grace its full due, yet thus farre they do acknowledge there must be a doctrinal revelation by the Spirit of God, of the truths to be acknowledged; and when this light is set (as it were) upon the Can∣dlestick, then a man of his own self is able to see; but such is the corruption of man, that not only grace must bring in the light, but it must also give the eye to see; So that the work of Gods grace is both objective and subjective, objective in revealing the object, and subjective in preparing and fitting the subject; It being the Lord who doth give the seeing eye, and the hearing ear, Prov. 20. 12. Yea the Arminians go further, acknowledging that grace doth irresistibly work upon the understanding of a man, for it being a passive faculty it cannot with∣stand its illumination, but the will that retaineth its indifferency, when grace hath done all it will do: This therfore is granted, That without the grace of God enlightning and revealing, we are not able to believe the mysteries of Christ Kingdom; but though all this be granted, yet we say, That without further grace (even grace regenerating and sanctifying the will.) we are not able to cleave to that which is good: You must not then conceive, as if God only offered grace in the Ministry, and then the will of man by its own self doth love and delight in it; No, the heart of stone is first to be removed, we are to be new born, and made new creatures, before we can put forth any spiritual life at all; Not that a man is converted without his will, or that he doth not believe or repent, but the grace of God, only God changeth the will, he quickneth it, and enliveneth it so, that whereas it was like Sarah's dead womb before, now it was made fruitfull. The grace of God doth not compel the will, but change it; As if water which natu∣rally descendeth be turned into air, then it doth as naturally ascend; Indeed this is a physical change, but the moral change by grace in the will, is as notable to its operations. To consent therefore to grace is the work of grace; It is grace that maketh us to will and receive grace: Hence we see by experience of those many who enjoy the means of grace, how few do effectually and powerfully im∣prove them: Whence is this difference? Is it because one doth use his free-will better then another? Surely this would attribute farre more to free-will, then to Gods grace; for it's the will of man that maketh grace effectual, not grace that maketh the will of man pliable: By this Peter should be no more beholding to the grace of God then Judas; nor David then Saul, seeing (ex parte Dei) all had grace alike, onely one used this grace of God by his own power better then another, and thus we shall have something that we did not receive, and we shall make our selves to differ from other; How derogatory and injurious is this to the grace of God?
That man naturally loves his Thraldome to Sinne, and contradicts the Means of Deliverance from it; is a great Aggravation of the Bon∣dage and Servitude of the Will.
SEcondly, The miserable bondage of the will to sinne, is the more to be aggra∣vated, In that it loveth this thraldome, delights to be in this drudgery, even as the Swine doth in its mire; yea it doth vehemently oppose and contradict all the means of deliverance from it. Austin complained, Velle meum inimicus capti∣vum tenebat: Our will is kept captive; So that if the grace of God come to set us free, we love our bondage better then liberty; we had rather be in our prison with chains upon us, then abide in Gods palace: So that this vassalage of the will to sinne, is not like a bodily one, which is troublesome and very grievous to those that are detained therein, as we see it was to the Israelites groaning under the yoke, but naturally we delight in this slavery, and look upon that freedom which grace would procure for us, as the greatest misery, and this maketh us unspeak∣ably miserable, according to that known Rule, Quid miserius misero, non mi∣serante seipsum, What is more miserable then that wretched man, who doth not, who cannot pity himself? You must not therefore conceive of the will of man thus captivated to sin, as if it were against its inclination, as if of it self it did endea∣vour to cast off this yoke, as it is with some people, who being over-powered, are forced to submit, but yet they wait for, and long for an opportunity to set them∣selves at liberty: No, but the will doth delight and rejoyce in this servitude: A man doth willingly give his ears to be boared by his lusts, resolving never to go from this Master, unless grace change him, and make him a new creature all over.
The Bondage of the Will is seen in its Concupiscential Affection to some Creature or other, never being able to lift its selfe up to God.
THis want of freedom to any thing that is good, is seen, In the concupiscen∣tial affection to some creature or other, never being able to lift it self up to God: And certainly, if you ask, Wherein doth the bondage of the will to sin consist? We may in the general say, in its creature affection, so that the will, which while entire and sound did love God as the chiefest good, and all creatures in reference, and with subordination to him, is now so debased that it creepeth upon the ground, and is not able at all to love any thing but it self and the creature; So that now every one taketh up that request Psal. 4, Who will shew us any good? Any temporal good, they desire the Devils offer; So that if he would shew them the glory of the world, and bestow it on them, they would presently fall down and worship: Oh the unhappy and miserable change that sinne hath now made upon the will! being in absolute subjection to every thing that he was made lord over; God put all things under his feet, and now all things have put man under their feet: It's the love of the world, and the things of the world, that is the Iron chain about the will, as that about Nebuchadnezzar's stump of the Tree; Page 318 so that it can never lift it self up to what is Heaven: This maketh the will like that woman, who was bowed down with her infirmity, and could not look up, till Christ healed her, and made her straight: This maketh the necessity of a spiri∣tual resurrection, that so we may set our affections upon things above. This love of the world, and the things thereof, is the Summe of all those particular wayes, whereby we are thus wretchedly enslaved; Therefore grace when it com∣eth doth loosen these bonds, and make us free, by working in us a contrary love, and a contrary sweetness and delight; So that now all the world, with the dain∣ties thereof, are but as so many husks in comparison of that manna he now feed∣eth upon; And as he that stedfastly beholds the Sunne for a while, his eyes are so dazeled, that he cannot for a season behold any thing else: Thus when grace hath so sanctified and affected the will, that it findeth no greater sweetness and delight then in holy things, this presently maketh him throw away all those bonds that were upon him.
Herein is the Bondage of the Will seen, That when it doth indeavour to overcome any sinne, it is by falling into another.
FOurthly, Herein is the bondage of the will seen also, That when it doth endea∣vour to overcome any sinne, it is by falling into another. So that the Argument usually brought to prove, that the will hath some freedome to what is good doth indeed more confirm the servitude of it to sinne; For it is often objected, That if the will be thus in absolute bondage to sinne, How cometh it about that even Hea∣thens have by their own strength reformed their lives, and have abounded in justice, fortitude and chastity even to admiration? Is not that instance of Polemon famous, who though a drunkard, yet coming to hear Xenocrates his Lecture about tempe∣rance, was so immediately perswaded thereby, that he presently forsook that beastly sinne? In this Argument Julian the Pelagian did often triumph; But Austin's answer was good, and justifiable by Scripture, That when they left one sinne, they fell into another, they did cure one lust by another lust, a carnal one by a spiritual one; for when they did abstain from such sinnes, it was not in re∣ference to God, and from faith in Christ, but it was either from vain glory, or to be sure a sinfull confidence, and resting upon themselves; and therefore even the Stoicks, who pretended the highest, viz. That we were to do virtuous actions for virtues sake, yet they came too short of the right mark; for virtue is not to be loved ultimately for virtues sake, but that thereby we might draw nearer to God, and be made happy in enjoying of him; Therefore the Stoicks opinion did teach a man nothing but self-confidence and self fulness, which sinnes are forbidden by the Word of God, as well as Epicurean and grosse sinnes: Oh then the unspeak∣able bondage of the will to sinne! That as the bird in a net, the more she stri∣veth to get out, the more she intangleth her self: Thus it is with the natural man, the more he striveth of himself to come out of this mire, the faster he stic∣keth in: Thou then who art a natural man, though such a sinne and such a sinne be left, yet see if when the Devil was cast out, a worse did not come in the room thereof; See if it be not with thee, as in that representation to the Prophet, Thou hast broken a woodden yoke, and an iron one is made in stead thereof; Thou hast cured a carnal sinne by a spiritual one; For you must know, That not onely grace doth expell sinne, but sometimes one lust may expel another, as the Phari∣sees spiritual pride, and self-righteousness did make them abhorre the Publicans sinnes; so that even then the natural man cannot but sinne, while he is casting Page 319 off sinne. Therefore though unregenerate persons may do that which is materi∣ally good, and for the substance of the act, yet they can never do that which is formally so; or as Austin expressed it of old, we must distinguish between the Officium, the Duty it self, and Finis, the end of the Duty: Now the end of all till regenerated, can never be right or pure, it never ascends high enough even to God himself, because they want faith; So that though Aristides was just, yet he was not the Scriptures just man, that liveth by faith; None of the renowned Hea∣thens were chaste by faith, charitable by faith, temperate by faith, and therefore their glorious actions were only splendid, glistering sinnes, they had a pompous appearance, but were indeed real vices, which were so farre from profiting them as to eternal happiness, that they were an hinderance to them, for hereby they trusted in themselves; The Epicurean he said, It is good for me frui carne, To enjoy the body; The Stoick he said, It was good for me frui mente; But David he said, It was good for him to draw nigh to God.
The more Means of Grace to free us, the more our Slavery appears.
FIfthly, Herein is our miserable bondage to sinne manifested, That the more we have the means of grace to set us at liberty, the more doth our slavery disco∣ver it self: So that whatsoever good and holy thing we meet with, it draweth out our corruption the more. This the Apostle complaineth of, as part of that capti∣vity he groaned under, Rom 7. That the Law which was for good, wrought in him all manner of evil: Thus the Gospel, yea Christ preached, is the occasion of more wickedness and impiety in unregenerate men, then otherwise they would be guilty of; And if this be so, though our heads were fountains of water, yet we could not weep enough for the guilt and wretchedness we are in by this means, for our remedies make our diseases greater, light increaseth our darkness, life causeth death; Insomuch that did not God work by his own power mightily in the use of these means, they might be no longer the means of grace, but of anger and judgement, and the preaching of the Gospel, because of the sad effects which it hath through the wilfull indisposition of many who hear it, might be as much trouble to us, as the presence of the Ark was to the Philistims: Therefore the clearer light, the more powerfull means of salvation a people do enjoy, the more is the impiety and wickedness of such (whom grace doth not convert) daily increased; insomuch that the Gospel shining upon such men, is like the Sunne shining upon a noisome dunghill, which maketh it the more loathsome; How then can there be free-will in a man to good, when if left to himself all helps are an hindrance to him, and all remedies are more destructive? Hence the Scripture calleth it, making of the heart fat, Isa. 6. an allusion to beasts, which are prepa∣red to destruction by their best pastures.
The Necessity of a Redeemer demonstrates our thraldome to sinne.
LAstly, That the will is inthralled irrecoverably unto sinne, appeareth, In the necessity of Grace, and of Christ as a Redeemer, if we were not in bondage, what need we have a Redeemer? Let not then the common expression in the Page 320 Schooles be liberum arbitrium, but liberatum, which is a phrase we seldome meet within them; It is good to know the full latitude of that glorious title of our Saviour, (viz.) a Redeemer; he is so called, not only, because he redee∣meth us from the curse of the law, and the guilt of sinne, but also because we were under the power and dominion of sinne and Satan, daily fulfilling the works of the flesh, so that his death was not only to obtain remission of sinnes, but to make us a peculiar people zealous of good works, Tit. 1. 14. And hence also he is said, to offer himself a sacrifice, that he might present to God, a Church without spot or wrinckle, Eph. 5. 27, which will be compleatly perfected in heaven. To set up free-will then, is to pull down our Redeemer, as much as we give to that, we deny to Christ, we make him but a half-Saviour, and an half-Redee∣mer, while we maintain, that we set our selves at liberty from the power of Satan: Oh then let the name of a Redeemer for ever make thee blush and asha∣med to speak of a free-will.
An Examination of the Descriptions and Definitions of Freedome or Liberty of Will which many give it; Shewing, that none of them are any wayes competent to the Will unsanctified.
WE proceed therefore to make a further discovery of the bondage of the will to sinne, and that it hath no liberty, no power or ability to do any thing that is truly godly; If we take notice of all those wayes, wherein learned men do place liberty or freedome of will, we shall find evidently, that none of these descriptions, or definitions are any wayes competent to the will, while it is unsanctified; For,
First, if that opinion be received, (which Bellarmine and others follow) That liberty is radically in the understanding, though formally in the will, (that is) the reason of the wils liberty is from the understanding, which doth propound several objects, and thereupon the will is indeterminate, whereas in beasts their appetite is plainly limited, because they want reason; as it is arbitrium, so (they say) it is in intellectu, as liberum so in voluntate. Now (I say) let this be received (for I do not dispute the truth of it) then we must say, The will hath no liberty to what is good, because it faileth in the root; The streame cannot runne, when the spring is dried up; for if we take the understanding in respect of spiritual, and heavenly things, so it is altogether darkened and blinded; Therefore there is the grace of illumination required that it may know and believe the things of God, without which men love and delight in darkness rather then light: The things of God are said to be foolishness to a natural man; so that all the while a man hath no more then nature in him, he is like those birds that can see in the night, but are blind in the day; They have quick and sharp appre∣hensions in worldly and earthly matters, but are altogether stupid and sensless in regard of heavenly; How then can the will be free, when the mind is alto∣gether dark; for God in conversion, when he will set the will and affections at liberty from sinne, begins first in the understanding, light in the mind is first created, there are holy thoughts and spiritual convictions wrought in the soul, and by this light the other parts of the soul they come to be sanctified; now then if there be not so much as this antecedaneous work upon the mind, the will is as yet very farre from the Kingdom of heaven? Wonder not then if ye see unregenerate men walking and stumbling in the dark; that you see them so captivated unto every lust; you may as soon remove a mountain out of its Page 321 place, as take them off from their iniquities; For how can it be otherwise while the will hath no guid to lead it, none to informe it concerning the evil and danger of those wayes it is going in? If there be no light in the mind, there is no liberty in the will; so that hereby both horse and rider are (as it were) thrown into the sea.
Secondly, If to be that liberty doth consist in an active indifferency to good or evil, then the will is not free, because the former part of this description (upon Scripture-grounds) can no wayes be accommodated to the will. This description is gene∣rally received and applauded by Arminians and Jesuites as the best, (though Gibieus saith it is the worst) making the very formal nature of liberty to consist herein, that when all requisites to an action are supposed, yet the will can do, or not do; and this they extend even to spiritual objects, to that great work of conversion, affirming, when grace doth assist and help all it can; (so that Ex parte Dei, all things are ready that do concurre to our conversion;) yet the will, because it is free, retaineth an active indifferency, either to accept of this grace offered, or to reject it. This description we do no wayes acknowledge, as that which depriveth God, Christ, and the glorified Saints from liberty; and besides, liberty being perfection, and so in the most perfect manner in the most perfect subjects, this doth debase it making a defect part of this perfection: It is wholly absurd to make a power to sinne part of liberty: Indeed this was a concomitant of Adam's liberty, but not because liberty, but because his will was mutable and changeable, so that if he had been corroborated and confirmed in grace, he had not put forth any such experience of his liberty: well though we cannot assent to it, yet let it be supposed to be true; The Scripture is very clear and pregnant, That a man hath no such indifferent power in him to good or evil; Indeed to evil, that he is carried out unto with all delight, he can of himself kill himself, but he cannot of himself give life to himself: But as for the other part, to be able to love what is good, to believe and to turn himself unto God, this is above his power, for the order of nature and of grace differ as much, as the order of sense and reason; so that as the sensitive faculty cannot put forth acts of reason, (the eie cannot discourse and reason,) so neither can the rational faculties put forth the acts of grace, which come from a divine na∣ture, and that which is borne from above; All these places which describe man in a spiritual sense to be blind in mind, deaf in eares, and hardned in understan∣ding, yea which say, he is dead in sinne; and therefore the work of conversion is compared to regeneration, and to a resurrection; all these do plainly declare, that the will hath no activity at all as to the first beginnings of grace. It is true indeed, there are commands to repent, to be converted, yea we are bid to choose life and death, but there are none of these duties commanded, which in other places are not made the gracious gifts of God; so that to repent, to be con∣verted, they are promised by God as the workings of his grace, whereby they are both duties and gifts; Although the Arminian thinketh that impossible: They are duties because we are the people who do believe and do repent, and are commanded thereunto; They are also gifts because it is the grace of God alone that doth enable thereunto; when therefore you read of such commands, you must not think, that they imply our power and ability, for then grace would be wholly excluded, seeing these Texts speak absolutely, as if a good work were wholly done by our own power; whereas the Ar∣minian and Papist will not wholly exclude grace, and so these Texts would prove more then they contend for; But such commands are still imposed upon us by God, to shew what doth belong to him; what he may justly expect from us; for seeing he created man with full power and ability to keep these commands, if man wilfully cast himself into an utter impotency, God hath Page 322 not thereby lost the right of commanding, though we have the power of obeying.
Besides by these Commands, as we are to know our duty, so thereby also we are provoked to be deeply humbled under our great inability, seeing our selves treasuring up wrath every day, and preparing more torments for our selves, un∣lesse the grace of God doth deliver us; Yea by these commands God doth work grace, they are practical and operative means, whereby he doth communicate life unto us.
And lastly, Therefore God doth use Commands, Because this way is suit∣able to man, who is a rational Agent; For although the work of grace is more than meerly swasive, it is efficacious and really changing the heart, so that the Spirit of God doth farre more in converting of a sinner, then the Devil doth in tempting to sinne; yet God dealeth suitably to the nature of a man; We are not like stocks and stones, to whom it is ridiculous to preach, there being not in them a passive capacity of receiving the worke of grace; Hence it is that the Word is preached, Miracles are wrought, powerfull Arguments are used to draw off the heart; So that grace doth worke Ethicophysically (as some expresse it,) Commands then and Threat∣nings are used, because grace is wrought in us after a rational manner, in an attempered manner to our constitution; The understanding being first wrought upon, that so the will and affections may more readily give up themselves.
Thirdly, If liberty be the same with voluntariness and no more, (as many learn∣ed men do contend, making voluntas and liberum arbitrium all one, as that which is opposed to coaction and natural necessity; yea if we adde Aurtelus his opinion to this, that libertas was nothing but complacentia, liberty is the complacency and delight of the will in its object) then in this sense, (if rightly understood,) a man hath no freedom to what is holy. It is true indeed, the learned to shew, that grace in converting doth not destroy the liberty of the will, (viz. the natural liberty) no more then the will it self; Grace doth not compel the will, or put an inherent natural necessity upon it; for if there could be coaction, the velle would be nolle, which is a contradiction; and if a natural necessity could be imposed upon it, it would not be appetitus rationalis, a rational appetite; so that though grace in converting of man doth insuperably, and invincibly change the will, making it of unwilling willing, so that there is a necessity (not natural,) but of immu∣tability and unchangeableness; The will doth most certainly give it self up to the grace of God mollifying and fashioning of it for that purpose: This Iron (as it were) is put into the fire, and then it is made pliable to receive any form or impression, yet the essential liberty is not destroyed; For the Question about Free-will is not An sit? but Quid possit? And herein lieth the difficult knot in this whole point about grace and the will of man, How to assert the irresistible (as many call it, but others reject that expression, though the sense of those who use it, is very sound and significant enough) work of grace, insuperably deter∣mining the will to that which is good, and yet to be free from coaction or such a necessity as is destructive to liberty? The Quomodo. How these two are to be reconciled, is that which in all ages hath exercised the most learned and ju∣dicious; insomuch that some have advised to rest in it by faith, as in a mystery above our understanding, even as we doe in many other Doctrines to be belie∣ved by us; But I am not to ascend this mountain at this time; This is enough for our purpose, to shew, That if liberty be said to consist in willing a thing freely from coaction and necessity, even in this respect, we have not thus farre liberty to good, because it is God that worketh in us to will. Indeed when we doe will, we are not compelled by the Grace of God, onely we cannot will till the Grace of God enable us thereto; It is Page 323 not of him that willeth, but of God that sheweth mercy; Neither are, we born of the will of man, but of God; It is grace then onely that maketh us to will the good things tendered to us, though the will in eliciting of this is not com∣pelled, but doth it freely, yea grace giveth this freedome to it, so that grace doth not destroy, but give liberty; And therefore Austin of old urged,
Fourthly, If liberty consist in having dominion and power over our actions, then also the will cannot be said to be free, as to doe holy things; For al∣though the will, when it doth will, is the subordinate cause under God of its own action, and as a cause, so also may be said to have dominion over it, yet because the actual willing of what is good, doth not arise or exist by the strength of the will, but by the grace of God, therefore it is that (in re∣spect of good things) the will cannot be said to have the dominion over them. This Definition of liberty (viz.) [to have a dominion over our own actions,] is by Jansenius asserted to be the true and proper meaning of Augustine, that his judgement is, then the will is said to be free, when it hath dominion and power over what it doth; and if so, no wonder then the will be so often said to be captivated and enslaved, that it hath no freedom to what is holy; For what power can the will have over holy actions, when it is corrupted and defiled, that no holy thought, or holy motion is under the power of it. It was Ambrose his complaint of old, That Cor nostrum non est in nostrâ potestate; Our heart is not in our power, but sinnefull and evil workings of soul rise up in us, which we are no wayes able to extin∣guish.
Fifthly, If liberty be (as Anselme of old defined it, to which some Ne∣otericks doe adhere, viz) Facultas servandi rectitudinem, propter rectitudi∣nem ipsam, That it is a power to observe that which is right, for righteous∣nesse sake, then this doth evidently proclaime, That man hath no Free-will, for to observe that which is holy and righteous for holinesse sake, which must needs argue a man regenerated and borne again; And indeed liberty in this sense is nothing but the Image of God repaired in a man, and so is no more then to be like God himself; And now that every man by nature hath lost this Image of God, is so plain, that the experience of every man concerning his distance from God may fully confirme it. If to this be ad∣ded Aquinas his Description, That it is, Vis electiva mediorum servato or∣dine ad finem. A power to chuse means with a due order and respect to the end (yet still freedome in the will to what is good cannot be found) For as (saith he) The understanding which is an apprehensive faculty, hath its simple and bare apprehension of a thing (viz. of the first principles) And then it hath another act, which is to Reason and Discourse, and that is pro∣perly of Conclusions to be deduced from those principles; So what princi∣ples are in respect of conclusions to the Understanding, the same the end is, in respect of the means to the will; And therefore as the understanding doth necessarily erre, when it doth not discourse suitably to the first prin∣ciples; So the will, which is the appetitive part of a man, must necessarily sinne, when it doth not chuse means with a due order to the end: Now God being the chief end of all our actions, how impossible is it for the will corrupted as it is, to will riches, health, learning, or any creature in reference to God as the end.
Page 324 Lastly, If liberty consist (as Gibieuf would have it) in an amplitude of spirit and independency upon the creature, so that it is above every created ob∣ject with an eminent magnanimity of spirit adhering to God alone, and resting in him as the chiefest good, then it is plain also, That by nature the will of man is utterly impotent to this thing, for the love of the creature is so predominant that we live and doe all things in reference to that; So that whereas grace maketh us to doe all things of God, and through God, and to God; Now the creature doth so reigne in our hearts, that we move on∣ly in all the workings of our soul to it. Aristotle observeth, That some
Thus we have at large discovered the bonds and chaines of sinne our wils are fastened in; Oh that in the reading of this, God would breathe into the souls of such wretched sinners, strong desires and ardent groans to be redeemed from this thraldome! Shall the ungodly say, (Psal. 2.) concern∣ing Christ, Let us break his bonds, when yet they are bonds of love, which are for our eternal happiness? And wilt not thou rather cry out, concern∣ing these bonds, and these yokes, which are for thy eternal damnation, Let us break them and rend them asunder? Doth not the senslesnesse and stupi∣dity of men, while they hear these things too sadly evidence the state of thraldom we are in to sinne?