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Once more: He who really believes on the Son of God, when conscious of open or secret backslidings, will be sincerely desirous of exercising godly sorrow, and of humbling himself before the Lord. The true Christian regards the frame of, his heart in the sight of Omniscience, as well as the course of his life in the sight of men. His latent backslidings--those which are internal, respecting the will and affections, are, therefore, the objects of his detestation, and sources of real sorrow, as well as those departures from the line of duty which are visible to his fellow creatures. Now, as these backslidings, whether open or secret, are prineipally from his innate depravity; so that depravity is considered by him as his greatest enemy, and his greatest sin, as being the malignant fountain from which all the streams of his actual, transgression flow: and, consequently, is the grand occasion of holy shame and penitential sorrow in his daily intereourse with Heaven. Yes, the real Christian finds abundantly more reason to mourn from day to day over that sin which dwells in him, than over any thing elsethan over all things besides. So fully am I convinced of this, that I cannot look upon him as a subject of regenerating grace, who does not find it to be the case, and actually so mourn. This, in my opinion, is one of the best evidences that we love God; and that is the most substantial proof of our faith in Jesus Christ.--Particulars might be multiplied, but these may suffice; I shall, therefore, only observe,

I do not mean, that every real believer in Jesus Christ must be conscious of possessing all these evidences of true faith, and that at the same time;

nor yet that all real Christians have them at any time, in the same degree. No; in a time of temptation from Satan, in seasons of backsliding from God, and when under the power of melancholy disease; all may appear dark and gloomy in the breast and in the experience of a real Christian. It must also be admitted, that the fruits of the Holy Spirit are not equally strong, and lively, and active in all believers, nor yet in the same believer, at different times. It should be carefully remembered also, that the conclusion we form of ourselves, as believers, is not to be inferred from transient and merely occasional dispositions of mind toward holy or forbidden objects; but from the habitual, or generally prevailing turn of our hearts

THOUGHTS

ON

DR. EDWARD WILLIAMS's HYPOTHESIS,

RELATIVE TO

THE ORIGIN OF MORAL EVIL.

NOW FIRST PUBLISHED.

THOUGHTS

ON

DR. EDWARD WILLIAMS's HYPOTHESIS

RELATIVE TO

The Origin of Moral Evil.

Thus the Doctor speaks: We assert, that the origin of moral evil is to be found in the union of two principles, neither of which considered alone partakes of a moral character. These two prinples are liberty and passive powerBy passive power I mean, that which is of unavoidable necessity found in every creature, as such, in direct opposition to the self-existence, independence, and all-sufficiency of God. In other words, It is that tendency to nihility, physically considered, and to defection, morally considered, which of absolute necessity belongs to every dependent or created nature. That there is such a principle is self-evident, nor is it probable that any reasonable being will ever controvert its existence.'* Again, he thus expresses himself: What is passive power? In general, it is that which distinguishes the creature from the Creator. But more particularly, it is that tendency to nothing as to being, and to defection, as to well

• Predestination to Life, Notes, p. 38, 39. Or Second edition, p. 42, 43.

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