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ject of it is both active and passive. He is passive in the change of nature; and passive also as a recipient of those influences of the Spirit, which indirectly through a change of nature, and then directly, cause him to act aright. But in those exercises in which the change as a moral change consists, the regenerated man is active. He acts while and because he is acted upon. Thus Dr. Hopkins says: "So far as the Spirit of God is the cause or agent, the subject, the heart of man, is passive, being the subject on which or in which the effect is wrought. Though the effect be activity or the exercise of the new heart, in which the renewed person is the agent, yet in the operation which causes the effect to exist, and therefore in the order of nature is antecedent to the effect, the Spirit of God is the only agent and man is the passive subject."1 Here, the only effect of the Spirit's operation spoken of is the soul's ac tivity; no allusion being made to any change of nature prior to activity. And so far as the change is a change of moral exercises, the soul is active in it, and passive only in the same sense in which it is always passive, when influenced to act by motives or otherwise. Hence Hopkins not only teaches that man ought to renew his own heart, and has the natural ability to do so without the regenerating influences of the Spirit, but actually does renew his own heart under the operations of the Spirit. "Whenever and wherever God gives a new heart, the man makes himself a new heart, in that agency and those exercises in which a new heart consists. He renews and cleanses his own heart, circumcises it, by turning from sin to God." "The sinner's heart cannot be made a clean heart by the divine agency in any other way but by the sinner's cleansing his own heart; because a clean heart consists in those exercises of the man in which he does cleanse his own heart." 2 In very similar terms does Dr. Emmons speak of the sinner's activity in the change. "If the making of a new heart
1 Works, Vol. I. p. 367. See also Vol. III. p. 554.
consists in the exercising of holy instead of unholy affections, then sinners are not passive but active in regeneration." "It has been the common opinion of Calvinists that a new heart consists in a new taste, disposition, or principle, which is prior to and the foundation of all holy exercises. And this idea of a new heart has led them to suppose that sinners are entirely passive in regeneration. But if a new heart consist in holy exercises, then sinners may be as active in regeneration as in conversion. Though it be true that the divine agency is concerned in the renova tion of the heart, yet this does by no means destroy the activity of sinners. Their activity, in all cases, is owing to a divine operation on their minds."1
We must, then, first determine in what sense divines of this school use the term "regeneration," before we can know in what sense and to what extent they regard the sinner as active, and in what sense and to what extent as passive, in the change. They all agree, however, in denying that the sinner is passive in the sense that he passively receives a nature which, irrespective of all voluntary exercises is holy, in the place of a nature which, irrespective of all voluntary exercises, was sinful; and they all agree in teaching that the sinner cannot have a new, holy heart without himself actively putting forth those holy affections in which a new heart consists; and they all agree in teaching that he never does, though he has natural ability to, put forth those holy affections, except under the special influences of the Holy Spirit.
Does the Holy Spirit, in regeneration, act directly on the soul, or by means of the truth? If regeneration be used in the comprehensive sense, then all New England theologians would agree in saying God regenerates the soul by means of the truth, for holy exercises are holy choices, and choice always implies motive. "It is out of the power of Deity, therefore, to oblige men to act, without making them willing to act in the view of motives. Accordingly, when 1 Works, Vol. V. Sermon 52.
he works in us to will and to do, he first exhibits motives before our minds, and then excites us to act voluntarily in view of the motives exhibited." 1
If regeneration be used in the restricted sense, to denote the change of nature which precedes choice, then in effecting it the Spirit acts, first, directly, to excite attention to the truth, then makes the truth the means of exciting the sensibility, and then through the sensibilities causes the will to act in view of the truth. Edwards represents God as acting in the first place directly on the soul, communicating a "new perception or sense" of the truth, and then, through this, acting to excite the will or heart to put forth "gracious affections."2 Hopkins says the change in this restricted sense is "wrought by the Spirit of God immediately," and "is not effected by any medium or means whatsoever;" "light and truth, or the word of God, is not in any degree a means by which this change is effected." Still he holds that " means are necessary to be used to prepare persons for regeneration." "Speculative knowledge" of the truths of revelation, "attention of mind to them," and such a sense of heart of them as an unregenerate sinner is capable of, are necessary to prepare a person to act when regenerated. Means are also "absolutely necessary in order to any exercise of the new heart," for there can be no holy voluntary exercise at any time unless there is truth before the mind as an objective motive.3
But he does not mean that the agency of the Spirit is confined to the presentation of the truth either before or after regeneration. The influence of the truth is necessary to voluntary action, but alone does not secure it. The Spirit acts directly to cause the sinner not only to attend to and perceive the truth, but also to yield to it or act in view of it. Hence Dr. Emmons, who said little or nothing about a change of nature, and much about a change of exercises in
1 Dr. Emmons's Works, Vol. IV. p. 351.
2 Treatise on the Affections, Part III.
* Works, Vol. III. p. 570, 571.
regeneration, declares that "no means nor motives are sufficient to produce benevolence in the heart of a totally selfish sinner," and that "accordingly the sacred writers uniformly ascribe regeneration to the immediate efficiency of a divine influence."1 The manifest aim of these divines in their treatment of this subject, was to exalt the agency. of God as the primary efficient cause of the comprehensive change, without excluding either the voluntary agency of the subject of it, or the instrumental agency of the truth. Perhaps the following general statement would be assented to by most or all of those who have adopted the leading views of these eminent divines on this vital article of religious faith. In regenerating men, God in some respects acts directly and immediately on the soul, and in some respects he acts in connection with and by means of the truth. He does not regenerate them by the truth alone, and he does not regenerate them without the truth. His mediate and his immediate influences cannot be distinguished by consciousness, nor can their respective spheres be accurately determined by reason.
As to "substance of doctrine," the New England theology is thoroughly Calvinistic on the atonement; but adopts a theory or philosophy of the atonement differing in some important particulars from that generally held by the old Calvinistic divines. That the atonement was necessary, that it has an efficacy God-ward as well as man-ward; that it is vicarious, i. e. is substituted for deserved penalty, and that it is the ground of pardon and salvation to all who are saved, are points in which the "new divinity" is in entire agreement on this subject with the old. But questions like these: Why was the atonement necessary? What is its nature? What its design? What its extent? suggest points of dif ference between the old theory and the new. The early fathers of New England theology, Edwards, Bellamy, and 1 Works, Vol. V., Sermon 54.
VOL. XXII. No. 88.
Hopkins, did less directly towards developing and shaping those peculiar views on the atonement which have been held by their successors, than they did towards developing other parts of the system. In general they adopted both the views and favorite expressions of the old Calvinists on this subject. The atonement was not assailed in their day, so much as other doctrines were, nor so much as it was subsequently; hence they were not driven to any thorough original investigations in its defence. Their strength was mainly expended in defending those other parts of the evangelical system, which subtle errorists were then seeking to undermine. Still, the germs of the new theory are contained in their views of holiness and sin, and of natural ability and of divine sovereignty. And the general spirit and drift of their theological inquiries was away from the old and towards the new mode of stating and defending the doctrine of the atonement. The school which they founded, only carried out consistently to their logical results, and applied to this subject, certain great principles which they had elaborated and taught. But it was to the second generation of divines of this school that we are indebted for the formal, scientific statement of the New England doctrine of the atonement. The younger Edwards, Smalley, Dwight, Griffin, and Emmons, though not entirely agreed among themselves, have contributed more, perhaps, than any others to elucidate this doctrine, and set it in harmonious relations to other parts of the system to which it logically belongs. The more important features of the doctrine of atonement received and taught by this class of theologians, may perhaps be sufficiently indicated by showing how they answer two inquiries, viz. What is the nature of the atonement? and, What is the design of the atonement?
I. What is the nature of the atonement, or in what does it consist? It consists in the sufferings and death of Christ, and not in his holy life, i. e. in his passive and not in his active obedience. The old doctrine is, that the atonement consists both in the active and passive obedience. The new