June 22, 2010

Hugh Knox (c.1733–1790) on Moral and Natural Inability

The distinction between natural and moral inability, I have ever thought an important and useful one, when well stated and explained. My worthy and excellent friend president Burr was the first who ever gave me an idea of this distinction. He did it in three sermons preached from Joshua xxiv. 19. "Ye cannot serve the LORD; for he is an holy GOD," &c. He acknowledged they were the substance of Mr. Edwards' book relative to that subject, and expressed a pretty strong desire of having them printed, as some of the most useful and important he had ever preached. All the world I suppose are agreed in the idea of natural inability; and were I to define moral inability, it would be in terms like these; "A natural and contracted disinclination or aversion to the exercises of piety and moral virtue, which becomes faulty and criminal by our resisting motives which would have overcome it, and wilfully neglected to apply to GOD, thro' the REDEEMER, by prayer and the other instrumental duties of religion, for those influences of his HOLY SPIRIT (freely offered to all who seek him) by which it would have been totally subdued, and our volitions and actions engaged on the side of piety and moral rectitude.
Hugh Knox, A Letter to the Rev. Mr. Jacob Green, of New Jersey, Pointing out some DIFFICULTIES in the CALVINISTICK Scheme of Divinity, respecting FREE WILL, DIVINE DECREES, PARTICULAR REDEMPTION, &c. and requesting a SOLUTION of them (London: printed for G. Keith, J. Johnson, E. Englefield: and sold by J. Gore, in Liverpool; P. Broster, in Chester; W. Pine, in Bristol; Newton, Clarke, and Harrop, in Manchester; and the princip alsic booksellers in Leeds, 1770), 39.


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