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3. That natural self-love is, in its very nature, unlike holy self-love. Natural self-love is a mere instinctive love of personal happiness, or the love of one's self as a rational and moral being. A holy self-love flows from, or is a direct operation of, supreme love to God and the love of our neighbor as ourselves; a principle wrought alone by the Holy Ghost. It is a love of one's self, not only because he is a rational and moral creature of God, formed originally in his image and constituted to serve and enjoy him, but because he is one to whom the lost image of God is restored. In loving himself he now loves that reflected image wrought by the IIoly Ghost, just as he loves Christians, not merely as natural men, but as men renewed after the image of God. He loves them as brethren who are one with Christ; he loves them with the same love in kind with which he loves Christ, and with this same love in kind he now loves himself – a being wrought into a resemblance of his great Exemplar by the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Besides, the renewed sinner will have new views of God and of himself; these new views will be attended by new feel. ings respecting both God and himself.
4. That there is an immutable difference between natural and Christian morality; that the last alone constitutes a part of Christian character; that however much of the former men may possess, they are still enemies of God " in the gall of bitterness," and on the way to everlasting destruction.
5. That disinterestedness is the essential characteristic of the Christian, i. e., that God, his holiness, his law, his glory, duty, Christ and his atoning work, are loved for what they are in themselves, aside from all mercenary motives.
6. That God is under no obligation to regard with favor the actings of mere self-love or of natural men ; that he has made no promises to natural men as such ; that their prayers and tears and strivings for salvation, remaining impenitent sinners, put God under no obligation to regard
them; that he has “a just liberty” (is the language of Edwards) " with regard to answering the prayers or succeeding the pains of mere natural men, continuing such.” “ That idea, of God's just liberty,'” says Dr. Joseph Tracy, " is an idea of tremendous power. It includes all that is meant by the doctrine of election, and expresses it most philosophically, unincumbered with forms of speech derived from human ideas of time. God is at liberty with respect to bestowing salvation. His liberty is perfect. Nothing that the natural man’ has done, or can do, while 'continuing such,' in any way impairs that liberty, or binds God to a favorable decision. And this his liberty is just.' It is right that it should be so."
7. That the grace by which sinners are saved is sovereign
sovereign in its origin, and sovereign in its application. For salvation men are indebted alone to free grace; that good works are not a ground of justification, but the evidence of it.
8. That the justice of God was unimpaired, and the inviolability of the Divine law unweakened by the atoning sacrifice of Christ; that, on the contrary, the whole scheme of redemption was so arranged and executed that the Divine justice should shine with the same brightness, and the Divine law remain of the same force as before, so that, in the words of Paul, “God could be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus ;” that the law in all its extent and spirituality is as binding on the believer as on the unbeliever, requiring him to be personally holy as God is holy; that the sin of the believer is as offensive to God as the sin of the unbeliever, so that his salvation, from its commencement to its consummation, is all of grace ;, and that all who neglect the offer of free salvation through Christ, will be eternally left without mercy, - lost forever, according to the threatening of Christ subjoined to his promise, “ He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.”
9. That while men are totally depraved, dead in sin, yet
they have a natural ability to put forth holy cxercises, an ability which renders them perfectly responsible ; and therefore it is the duty of ministers to press on the consciences of sinners the obligation of immediate repentance and faith ; and also on Christians the obligation to become entirely consecrated to their Master, and to rise to the highest state of activity in his service.
10. That the regenerate have a conscious experience of the change, an experience so definite that it can be described to the apprehension of others, and ought to be communicated to the church before candidates are received as members.
11. That church discipline ought to be faithfully maintained both in regard to errors in practice and in doctrine.
A cursory glance at these two sets of views will show their strong contrast. Most, indeed, advocated by the Edwardeans, came in direct conflict with those entertained by the churches where Stoddardism had reached maturity. The teachings of the former painfully roughened the way to those desiring an easy passage to heaven. They revealed at once the treacherous quicksands of Stoddardean assumptions. They shattered the fabrics of formalism.
They knocked away all platforms of self-righteousness; gave no quarters to delusive hopes of winning the crown by good works. They stripped away all subterfuges of hypocrisy, and lifted the soul, “naked and bare," with no possible covering but " the white robe" of him who alone expiated “the sin of the world." They constrained the sinner to see that he must be justified by the blood of atonement, or not at all. They compelled the conviction that religion must be the work of a loving heart or nothing ; that God must be adored, Jesus must be trusted, the Spirit must be cherished, otherwise there could be no salvation for the sinner. The very excellences of the system rendered it unpalatable to those who were working out a righteousness of their own.
Not that the New Divinity," as it was then called, was 80 much new as old. It was rather a resuscitation than a
NEW DIVINITY NOT NEW.
creation. It was in fact little more than the biblical theology of the Pilgrims ; the theology on which their churches had rested and flourished, till, swayed by the popular currents of the times, they accepted the “new departure" of Stoddard. More explicitly, it was the Calvinism of the Puritans put through the philosophical crucible of the giant Edwards and his able coadjutors. They made no pretension of having either added to the system, or taken from it, a single biblical truth. It was the old, entire; its different parts only rendered more consistent with each other, and with the whole, by a severe analysis and comprehensive synthesis, adapted to meet the anti-Calvinistic errors of the day. It rather exalted than lowered the idea of God's sovereignty and electing grace. It diminished not the idea of human depravity or of human dependence. It placed the sinner not less in the hands of God; it represented him not the less helpless and ruined. It only represented him responsible, while dependent; as free, while in the hands of God; as naturally able to do all God's will, while morally helpless; indeed, this helplessness as inarking his exceeding sinfulness. The sharp points of Calvinism were by no means blunted, its keen edge by no means dulled, but rather whetted, fitting it to penetrate the deeper into the heart and conscience. So far from smoothing away any of those parts which lacerate the disobedient and the unsanctified, the “ New Divinity” rendered them more rough and piercing. It had no leaning to Arminianism ; it was designed expressly to combat Arminianism. It stood out in all its determinative doctrines decided Calvinism; so much so, that its advocates were called “high Calvinists."
When these Edwardean doctrines, especially ceptableness of unregenerate works ; " the divine sovereignty in connection with unimpaired freedom ; total depravity combined with a responsible ability to repent and obey the divine law, were fully understood, and their just bearing seen by those to whom they were addressed, violent
" the unac
opposition not unfrequently arose. These were truths fitted to rasp some of their acutest sensibilities. They disturbed not only their self-flattering quiet regarding the divine claims, but endangered their social respectability. They smote them on all sides. Whichever way they turned, the blows still fell upon them. History has recorded their effect in Northampton. Edwards, great and good as he was, could no longer be endured. The fact that he had been the instrument of promoting among them some of the most powerful revivals of the age, indeed of any age, and that many recognized him as their spiritual father, seem to have been forgotten in the frenzy of the hour. IIe was driven away by what to us appears rather the firy of a mob, than the deliberations of Christian men. Dr. Hopkins, the coadjutor of Edwards, and at that time pastor in Great Barrington, was also strongly opposed for the same reason, and his dismission hastened. Indeed, efforts were made to drive him from all New England pulpits. Similar effects were produced wherever the “New Divinity" was introduced, especially those doctrines of sovereignty — total depravity and the unavailableness of all efforts of the impenitent, continuing such, to secure salvation -- doctrines, not “new," but “old ” as Calvinism, ay, as the Bible itself; and “new only to those who had been blinded by the mist generated by Stoddardean views and practices. The violence, however, somewhat abated as time moved on. The correctness of Edwards's opinions became better understood, and their beneficial tendencies better appreciated; yet they ceased not to produce trouble whenever presented to Stoddardean churches. They were regarded as hard doctrines. Some fifiy years after Edwards's dismission from Northampton, an Hopkinsian minister preached to a neighboring church the doctrine of the divine sovereignty in connection with the obligation and moral helplessness of the unconverted. It was objected,
It was objected, “You leave the sinner in a dreadful situation." It was deemed a just reply, “Does