Page images

for them, that “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, " and the love of God, and the communion," or fellowship, or participation, “ of the Holy Spirit,

might be with them."

Every thing, in which there can be co-operation, in any respect, is uniformly spoken of, by the terms συνεργέω and συνεργός : for συνέργεια does not occur in the New Testament. “ Eurepyéw, Mark xvi. 20, Rom. ‘ viii. 28, 1 Cor. xvi. 16, 2 Cor. vi. 1, James ii. 22.

Gr. Evvegyòs, Rom. xvi. 3, 9, translated helpers ' and helper ; 21, work-fellow ; 1 Cor. iii. 9, la' bourers together; 2 Cor. i. 24, helpers ; viii. 23, ' fellow helper ; Phil. ii. 25, companion in labour ; · Col. iv. 11, fellow workers ; 1 Thes. iii. 2, Philem. * 1. 24, fellow labourers ; 3 John 8, fellow helpers.? Very few texts can be fairly interpreted of the cooperation of man with God; and these chiefly relate to the ministry of the gospel, in which man, as the servant, or instrument, was rendered successful by the power of God working with and by him.

· St. Peter says,

“ Ye have purified your souls, ' in obeying the truth, through the Spirit:"? that ‘ is, the purification of the souls of these Christians

was in part owing to their own act, in obeying • the truth, through the assistance of the Spirit. * And the same co-operation of man and of the 'Spirit of God is acknowledged by St. Paul, when 'he tells the Romans, “ If ye through the Spirit ' do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” 3


· Mark xvi. 20. Acts xiv. 27. xv. 4. 12. 1 Pet. i. 22.

* Rom. viii. 13. Rom. xv. 18 1 Cor. iii. 9.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


And speaking of himself he says, " Whereunto 'I also labour, striving according to his working · which worketh in me mightily.”) The mighty

working, therefore, of the Spirit did not super'sede St. Paul's own labour, his own striving, in

conjunction with, and in conformity to, that mighty working.'?

Had the apostle been asked, concerning this last quotation, what he intended as to co-operation, he would probably have said, “ It is God that worketh “in me to will and to do, of his good pleasure:” but, being thus inclined and enabled, I labour most freely and earnestly, not only in “ working out

my own salvation,” but in seeking the salvation of other men. The duty of exertion, yea much exertion, is fully allowed by us, as it will appear in the section on Exertion : our only question now is, Whether man co-operates with God in producing the willing mind for that exertion. So far was the Spirit of God from superseding' the apostle's own labour, that he both excited, directed, and powerfully assisted it.

'We sometimes find them' (the good works of men) in scripture ascribed to God, without any re

ference to man, and sometimes to man, without any reference to God.'3

I cannot find, after careful examination, a single text in scripture, in which the good works of men *are ascribed to God alone, without any reference

to man. “We indeed, are his workmanship, cre“ated in Christ unto good works :” and those

[ocr errors]

Col. i. 29.

? Ref. 41, 42.

3 Ref. 43.


“ fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus “ Christ to the praise and glory of God,” are coincident with “ the fruits of the Spirit :" yet they are not ascribed to God without any reference to

man, but are considered as performed by man, through the renewing influence of the Holy Spirit. The will and the power in fallen man to perform good works is, in the scripture, and in our liturgy, articles, and homilies, ascribed to God alone but still the good works themselves are spoken of as our's :-and they cannot be ascribed to 'God without any reference to man,' except by considering man as acted upon, not as an intelligent agent, but as a machine. Of holding this doctrine our opponents most unjustly accuse us. Calvin indeed says that our good works are called ours, as food for our bodies is called “our daily bread ;' becoming ours by the gift of God: yet he did not mean that God wrought them in us and by us, without our willing and active concurrence ; but only that the will and power were both to be acknowledged as his gift to us. On the other hand, our good works are not always in scripture expressly ascribed to the grace of God : for, the general principle being abundantly established, it was not necessary, by constant repetitions, to call the attention to it. The general language, however, is far indeed from 'speaking of the good * works of men, without any reference to God.' In fact the instances are few in which this is wholly the case : much fewer than most persons seem to suppose.

Gal. v. 22, 23. Eph. ii. 10. Phil. i. 11.



[ocr errors]

"That the grace of God co-operates with the free will of man, can alone reconcile the nume* rous texts, both the preceptive and declaratory,

which relate to human conduct, and which separately assert the divine and human agency.' • The concurrence of God and man, says Archbishop Bramhall, in producing the act of our believing, or conversion to God, is so evident in ? holy scripture, that it is vanity and lost labour to

oppose it. If God did not concur, the scripture " would not say, “ It is God that worketh in us, « both the will and the deed.” If man did not concur, the scripture would not say, “ Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." If our repentance were God's work alone, God ' would not say to man, “ Turn ye unto me with 'all your heart :” and if repentance were man's ' work alone, we had no need to pray,

O Lord, and we shall be turned." We are com'manded to repent and to believe. In vain are

commandments given to them, who cannot at 'all concur to the acting of that which is commanded. Faith and repentance are proposed unto us as conditions to obtain blessedness and avoid destruction. “ If thou shalt confess with thy ' mouth and believe with thy heart, thou shalt be 'saved :” and “except ye repent, ye shall all like'wise perish.” To propose impossible conditions, which they, to whom they are proposed, have no power either to accept or to refuse, is a mere mockery. Our unbelief and impenitence is im'puted to us as our own fault : "Because of unbe

“ Turn us,

1 Ref. 44.

See Section on Free Will.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* lief thou wert broken off:” and,“ After thy hard'ness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up unto

thyself wrath.” Their unbelief and impenitence ' were not their own faults, if they neither had power to concur with the grace of God to the production of faith and repentance, nor yet to ' refuse the grace of God. The holy scripture doth ' teach us, that God doth help us in doing works

of piety; “The Lord is my helper,” and “The Spirit helpeth our infirmities.” If we did not co-operate at all, God could not be said to help us. There is, therefore, there must be co-ope• ration. Neither doth this concurrence or co* operation of man, at all intrench upon the power

or honour of God; because this very liberty to co* operate is his gift, and this manner of acting his

own institution.'! There are expressions in this quotation from Archbishop Bramhall, to which objections might be made: but the grand outline is not materially different from the statement of reflecting Calvinists. He allows that God works ‘in us the will and the deed :' and they admit most readily, that we ought to “work out our sal“ vation with fear and trembling.” They do not imagine that man's repentance is God's work alone, except as he inclines and enables us to repent; and the Archbishop admits that if it were our work alone, we need not pray, “Turn “thou us, O Lord, and we shall be turned.” We have by nature, both power and inclination to refuse his call: and I think, that the Archbishop would have allowed, that the willing mind to com

[ocr errors]

Abp. Bramhall, Ref. 44, 45.

« PreviousContinue »