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raised about your soul, and your pen in a happy moment recorded it. You will not, I think, contend that a sinner has a knowledge of himself, has a conviction of his depravity and sinfulness, without the illumination of the word or Spirit of truth. If you do, you thereby supercede the necessity of the gospel word, and set aside also the necessity of the Holy Spirit, which, according to the declaration of the Lord Jesus, is sent to reprove, or convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and judgment, John xvi. 7, 13.
5. These arguments you may attempt to evade, by saying that a man may have the grace of convic- . tion, and of self-knowledge, and yet be totally depraved. It is granted that a man's having spiritual light and knowledge, does not disprove that he was totally depraved, nor that there is much depravity yet remaining ; but it undoubtedly proves, according to your own definition of it, that he is not totally so, when he has such light and knowledge. The apostle Paul, speaking of the depraved state in which the Ephesians formerly were, says, Ye were sometimes darkness. If then a man can be totally depraved, while illuminated by the Spirit of truth, he may then be in total darkness, while blessed with the light of truth, i.e. in total darkness, and not in total darkness at the same time! A man totally depraved is totally blind. And if a man totally blind, can nevertheless see himself, he can see without any medium of vision, i. e. he can see and not see at the same time, which is a contradiction! By admitting
therefore, that a man is convicted so as to see himself, before he is regenerated, you give up your doctrine, and acknowledge that a sinner is not totally depraved until justified.
6. To show the inconsistency of your doctrine on this subject, in a still plainer point of light, I shall examine your text, in connexion with your comment. You have repeatedly asserted, and in this respect we agree with you, that the new birth is a “radical change;" and you also contend that
> in the 7th of Romans, out of which your text is chosen, the apostle relates his then present experience and exercise as a christian, after having experienced this “radical change.” The word radical
' come from radix, root. A radical change, therefore, signifies a change at the root, heart, or seat (according to Dr. Watts) of the affections. This radical change, therefore, must signify a thorough renovation of the root, or heart of man. mean by total depravity? Answer, p. 32. “But by total depravity is meant that the heart is wholly and Tontinually under the power of sin—that every desire or thought of the heart is wrong—that there is no hearty obedience rendered to the law of God that the heart is directly the reverse of what it should be.” This doctrine of total and universal depravity you think is contained in your text, which Paul applied to himself in his converted state. What was Paul's state when he wrote his epistle to the Romans? Answer, p. 30, “Before this,” (before he wrote this epistle) “ he had been effectually
What do you
called into the fellowship of the gospel, and made a partaker of the divine nature.” This we fully believe; but we do not believe that in the 7th of Romans, he designed to describe the experience of a christian brought into the liberties of God's children ; which I hope will appear evident, when we come to consider the doctrine of christian perfection. But after making this assertion, how can you consistently, represent him as affirming, that he was at the same time totally sinful! Is there no difference between the “ fellowship of the gospel," and having the “divine nature," and the being “wholly and continually under the power of sin ?". Again, p. 30, “ But it was not strictly, and in every sense, true, that Paul had no good thing in him, at the time he wrote this epistle.” How then can you suppose that he declared himself totally depraved in your sense of the word, “ when he wrote this epistle.”- — If he had some “good thing” in him, his heart could not have been “ directly the reverse of what it should be." Let your doctrine therefore be true or false, it is not, according to your own assertions, contained in your text.
Understand me right-1 do not deny that human depravity is expressed in the text; but only, according to your view of the subject, it cannot be; because you assert that Paul was then speaking of his own spiritual state, as an experimental christian. According to this representation of the subject, Paul was a totally depraved christian! in total darkness, although in possession of the light of the gospel--having his heart full of sin, and yet enjoying, at least, “ some holiness.” For as strenuously as you plead for indwelling sin in your fourth sermon, you are constrained to acknowledge, that when Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans, he had “ some holiness.". “But by total depravity is meant that the heart is wholly and continually under the power of sin.”— And was Paul's heart “wholly and continually under the power of sin," when he wrote his epistle to the Romans. If the verse you have chosen for your text, expressed his then present state, as you suppose it did, and if you have hit the genuine meaning of it, he certainly was continually under the power of sin, not only at that time, but also all the days of his life-and yet, if we may credit you
in another place, he was at the same time “ brought into fellowship of the gospel," and had the “ divine nature." Will
be so kind as to inform the world in what part of Paul's heart the “ divine nature” was, while his heart was wholly and continually under the power of sin-how much “ holy affection” he had while his heart was “ directly the reverse of what it should be,">how much hearty obedience he paid to God, while he “ rendered no hearty obedience ?" When
When you have fairly solved these difficulties, and reconciled those palpable contradictions, you will convince the world that Hopkinsianism is consistent with scripture and rea
Such being the absurd consequences flowing from your ideas of total depravity, they cannot be founded in truth.
7. If the reader wishes to know our ideas upon depravity, I will try to satisfy him in a few words. We believe that when Adam transgressed the law of God, he thereby lost, not only the image of God, in which he was created, but also all ability to obey and love God. With Mr. Williston, we believe, apostate Adam begat a son in his own fallen, depraved likeness; and that all who are born into the world possess nothing morally good which they inherited from their ancestors. But we likewise believe that when God made the promise of a Saviour to Adam, he restored to him spiritual light, with power to repent, and return by faith in the promise, to his offended Maker. - We furthermore believe, that on account of Jesus Christ, sufficient light, grace, and ability is given to every man, at some period of his life, to enable him to repent and believe in Jesus Christ, (if he live under the light of the gospel) to the salvation of his soul: and that through the atoning merits of the Lord Jesus, the guilt of Adam's sin is not so imputed to his posterity, that any of them shall be finally and eternally miserable, merely because Adam sinned. Ye shall no longer use this proverb in Israel, the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge ; but the soul that sinneth, it shall die. When the covenant of grace is taken into consideration, and mankind are viewed in relation to it, we conclude none are condemned under it, but those who sin against its provisions, and regulations. But infants are not capable of sinning antecedent to all knowledge