demands of God?s law. Parental and civil law implies a certain kind of power. Puritan theology called man ?free among the dead? ( <198805>Psalm 88:5, A. V.). There was a range of freedom inside of slavery; the will was ?a drop of water imprisoned in a solid crystal? (Oliver Wendell Holmes). The man who kills himself is as dead as if he had been killed by another, (Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:106).
Westminster Confession, 9:3 ? ?Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation. As a natural man, being altogether averse from that good and dead in sin, he is not able by his own strength to convert himself or to prepare himself thereunto.? Hopkins, Works, 1:233 ? So long as the sinner?s opposition of heart and will continues, he cannot come to Christ. It is impossible, and will continue so, until his unwillingness and opposition be removed by a change and renovation of his heart by divine grace, and he be made willing in the day of God?s power.? Hopkins speaks of ?utter inability to obey the law of God, yea, utter impossibility.?
Hodge, Systematic Theology, 2:257 ? ?Inability consists, not in the loss of any faculty of the soul, nor in the loss of free agency, for the sinner determines his own acts, nor in mere disinclination to what is good. It arises from want of spiritual discernment, and hence a want of proper affections. Inability belongs only to the things of the Spirit. What man cannot do is to repent, believe or regenerate self. He cannot put forth any act, which merits the approbation of God. Sin cleaves to all he does and from its dominion he cannot free himself. The distinction between natural and moral ability is of no value. Shall we say that the uneducated man can understand and appreciate the Iliad, because he has all the faculties that the scholar has? Shall we say that man can love God, if he will? This is false, if will means volition. It is a truism, if will means affection. The Scriptures never thus address men and tell them that they have power to do all that God requires. It is dangerous to teach a man this, for until a man feels that he can do nothing, God never saves him. Inability is involved in the doctrine of original sin and in the necessity of the Spirit?s influence in regeneration. Inability is consistent with obligation, when inability arises from sin and is removed by the removal of sin.?
Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:213-257, and in South Church Sermons, 33-59 ? ?The origin of this helplessness lies, not in creation, but in sin. God can command the ten talents or the five, which he originally committed to us, together with a diligent and faithful improvement of them. Because the servant has lost the talents, is he discharged from obligation to return them with interest? Sin contains in itself the element
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