penitent, trusting, humble believer.? ?Whatever people may say,? added Mr. Webster, ?nothing can convince me that anything short of the grace of Almighty God could make such a change as I, with my own eyes, have witnessed in the life of John Colby.? When they got back to Franklin, New Hampshire, in the evening, they met another lifelong friend of Mr. Webster?s, John Taylor, standing at his door. Mr. Webster called out: ?Well, John Taylor, miracles happen in these latter days as well as in the days of old.? ?What now, Squire?? asked John Taylor. ?Why,? replied Mr. Webster, ?John Colby has become a Christian. If that is not a miracle, what is??
(b) To the Arminian view, that regeneration is the act of man, cooperating with divine influences applied through the truth (synergistic theory), we object that no beginning of holiness is in this way conceivable. For, so long as man?s selfish and perverse affections are unchanged, not choosing God is possible but such as proceeds from supreme desire for one s own interest and happiness. But the man thus supremely bent on self-gratification cannot see in God, or his service, anything productive at happiness. If he could see in them anything of advantage, his choice of God and his service from such a motive would not be a holy choice, and therefore could not be a beginning of holiness.
Although Melanchthon (1497-1560) preceded Arminius (1560-1609), his view was substantially the same with that of the Dutch theologian. Melanchthon never experienced the throes and travails of a new spiritual life as Luther did. His external and internal development was peculiarly placid and serene. This Preceptor Germanic had the modesty of the genuine scholar. He was not a dogmatist and he never entered the ranks of the ministry. He never could be persuaded to accept the degree of Doctor of Theology though he lectured on theological subjects to audiences of thousands. Dorner says of Melanchthon: ?He held at first that the Spirit of God is the primary and the word of God the secondary, or instrumental, agency in conversion while the human will allows their action and freely yields to it.? Later, he held that ?conversion is the result of the combined action (copulatio) of three causes, the truth of God, the Holy Spirit and the will of man.? This synergistic view in his last years involved the theologian of the German Reformation in serious trouble. Luthardt: ?He made a facultas out of a mere capacitas. ? Dorner says again: ?Man?s causality is not to be coordinated with that of God, however small the influence ascribed to it. It is a purely receptive, not a productive, agency. The opposite is the fundamental Romanist error.? Self-love will never induce a man to give up self-love. Selfishness will not throttle and cast out
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?