(b) choose the less sin rather than the greater,
(c) refuse altogether to yield to certain temptations,
(d) do outwardly good acts, though with imperfect motives or
(e) seek God from motives of self-interest. On the other hand, the sinner cannot
(a) by a single volition bring his character and life into complete conformity to God?s law.
(b) He cannot change his fundamental preference for self and sin to supreme love for God, nor can he
(c) do any act, however insignificant, that will meet with God?s approval or answer fully to the demands of law.
So long, then, as there are states of intellect, affection and will which man cannot by any power of volition or of contrary choice remaining to him, bring into subjection to God, it cannot be said that he possesses any sufficient ability of himself to do God?s will. If a basis for man?s responsibility and guilt be sought, it must be found, if at all, not in his plenary ability, his gracious ability, or his natural ability, but in his original ability, when he came, in Adam, from the hands of his Maker.
Man?s present inability is natural, in the sense of being inborn; it is not acquired by our personal act, but is congenital. It is not natural, however, as resulting from the original limitations of human nature or from the subsequent loss of any essential faculty of that nature. Human nature, at its first creation, was endowed with ability perfectly to keep the law of God. Man has not, even by his sin, lost his essential faculties of intellect, affection, or will. He has weakened those faculties, however, so that they are now unable to work up to the normal measure of their powers. But more especially has man given to every faculty a bent away from God, which renders him morally unable to render spiritual obedience. The inability to good, which now characterizes human nature, is an inability that results from sin and is itself sin.
We hold, therefore, to an inability, which is both natural and moral (moral, as having its source in the self-corruption of man?s moral nature and the fundamental aversion of his will to God). It is natural (as being inborn, and as affecting with partial paralysis all his natural powers of
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