The principal matters in this chapter are--I. A recapitulation
of the former chapter, proving, from passages of Scriptures that the intellect
and will of man are so corrupted, that no integrity, no knowledge or fear of
God, can now be found in him, sect. 1 and 2. II. Objections to this doctrine,
from the virtues which shone in some of the heathen, refuted, sect. 3 and 4.
III. What kind of will remains in man, the slave of sin, sect. 5. The remedy
and cure, sect. 6. IV. The opinion of Neo-Pelagian sophists concerning the
preparation and efficacy of the will, and also concerning perseverance and
co-operating grace, refuted, both by reason and Scripture, sect. 7-12. V. Some
passages from Augustine confirming the truth of this doctrine, sect. 13 and
2. The heart also involved in corruption, and hence in no part of man can integrity, or knowledge or the fear of God, be found.
3. Objection, that some of the heathen were possessed of admirable endowments, and, therefore, that the nature of man is not entirely corrupt. Answer, Corruption is not entirely removed, but only inwardly restrained. Explanation of this answer.
4. Objection still urged, that the virtuous and vicious among the heathen must be put upon the same level, or the virtuous prove that human nature, properly cultivated, is not devoid of virtue. Answer, That these are not ordinary properties of human nature, but special gifts of God. These gifts defiled by ambition, and hence the actions proceeding from them, however esteemed by man, have no merit with God.
5. Though man has still the faculty of willing there is no soundness in it. He falls under the bondage of sin necessarily, and yet voluntarily. Necessity must be distinguished from compulsion. The ancient Theologians acquainted with this necessity. Some passages condemning the vacillation of Lombard.
6. Conversion to God constitutes the remedy or soundness of the human will. This not only begun, but continued and completed; the beginning, continuance, and completion, being ascribed entirely to God. This proved by Ezekiel's description of the stony heart, and from other passages of Scripture.
7. Various Objections.--1. The will is converted by God, but, when once prepared, does its part in the work of conversion. Answer from Augustine. 2. Grace can do nothing without will, nor the will without grace. Answer. Grace itself produces will. God prevents the unwilling, making him willing, and follows up this preventing grace that he may not will in vain. Another answer gathered from various passages of Augustine.
8. Answer to the second Objection continued. No will inclining to good except in the elect. The cause of election out of man. Hence right will, as well as election, are from the good pleasure of God. The beginning of willing and doing well is of faith; faith again is the gift of God; and hence mere grace is the cause of our beginning to will well. This proved by Scripture.
9. Answer to second Objection continued. That good will is merely of grace proved by the prayers of saints. Three axioms 1. God does not prepare man's heart, so that he can afterwards do some good of himself, but every desire of rectitude, every inclination to study, and every effort to pursue it, is from Him. 2. This desire, study, and effort, do not stop short, but continue to effect. 3. This progress is constant. The believer perseveres to the end. A third Objection, and three answers to it.
10. A fourth Objection. Answer. Fifth Objection. Answer. Answer confirmed by many passages of Scripture, and supported by a passage from Augustine.
11. Perseverance not of ourselves, but of God. Objection. Two errors in the objection. Refutation of both.
12. An objection founded on the distinction of co-operating grace. Answer. Answer confirmed by the testimony of Augustine and Bernard.
13. Last part of the chapter, in which it is proved by many passages of Augustine, that he held the doctrine here taught.
14. An objection, representing Augustine at variance with himself and other Theologians, removed. A summary of Augustine's doctrine on free will.