intellect, affection, conscience, and will). For his inability, in both these aspects of it, man is responsible.
The sinner can do one very important thing, viz.: give attention to divine truth. <19B959>Psalm 119:59 ? ?I thought on my ways, And turned my feet unto thy testimonies.? G. W. Northrup: ?The sinner can seek God from
(a) self-love, regard for his own interest, (b) feeling of duty, sense of obligation, awakened conscience, (c) gratitude for blessings already received and (d) aspiration after the infinite and satisfying.? Denney, Studies in Theology, 85 ? ?A witty French moralist has said that God does not need to grudge to his enemies even what they call their virtues and neither do God?s ministers. But there is one thing which man cannot do alone; he cannot bring his state into harmony with his nature. When a man has been discovered who has been able, without Christ, to reconcile himself to God and to obtain dominion over the world and over sin, then the doctrine of inability or of the bondage due to sin, may be denied; then, but not till then.? The Free Church of Scotland, in the Declaratory Act of 1892, says ?that, in holding and teaching, according to the Confession of Faith, the corruption of man?s whole nature as fallen, this church also maintains that there remain tokens of his greatness as created in the image of God. Man possesses knowledge of God and of duty. He is responsible for compliance with the moral law and with the gospel and that, although unable without the aid of the Holy Spirit to return to God, he is yet capable of affections and actions which in themselves are virtuous and praiseworthy.?
To the use of the term ?natural ability? to designate merely the sinner?s possession of all the constituent faculties of human nature, we object upon the following grounds:
A. Quantitative lack ? The phrase ?natural ability? is misleading. It seems to imply that the existence of the mere powers of intellect, affection, and will is a sufficient quantitative qualification for obedience to God?s law. These powers have been weakened by sin, and are naturally unable, instead of naturally able, to render back to God with interest the talent first bestowed. Even if the moral direction of man?s faculties were a normal one, the effect of hereditary and of personal sin would render naturally impossible that large likeness to God, which the law of absolute perfection demands. Man has not therefore the natural ability perfectly to obey God, He had it once but he lost it with the first sin.
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