VI. OBJECTIONS TWENTY and TWENTYONE. "The apostle informs us, Philippians 2:13, that 'it is God that works in us both to will and do;' and prays " he would work in us what is well pleasing in his sight." (Hebrews 13:21) Whatsoever therefore we will, or do, that is good, God does it in us."
ANSWER. That God does this, is not denied; the question is, whether he does it by a physical operation, unfrustrable by the will of man, or by internal suasion or inducements to prevail upon us thus to will and do: And that he does this only in this latter sense, is evident from these very words, " not only in my presence, but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that works in you, etc."
For if, beyond his inward suggestions and persuasions, some physical and irresistible operation were required on God's part, which makes it necessary for us to will and do, why are we then commanded to " work out our own salvation?" For can we act where we are purely passive? Or can that be a reason why we ourselves should work, that another will effectually do that very thing without our co-operation? Is it not rather a manifest reason why we should neither will, nor work at all, since both is and will be irresistibly performed without us?
(ii.) Why are we bid to work out our salvation with 'fear and trembling? For can there be any cause of fear lest that salvation should not be wrought out, which God works in us irresistibly? Surely if God unfrustrably works in us both to will and do, there can be no possibility of our miscarrying, and so no ground for fear and trembling.
iii.) Why are the Philippians exhorted to do this, 'much more in St. Paul's absence than in his presence if when he was present God wrought in them-irresistibly to will and do, and could do no more in his absence, surely no reason can be given of these words but this, — that whereas he being present stirred them up by his counsels and exhortations to do what was according to the mind of God, they in his absence were immediately excited to those things by the suggestions of the Holy Spirit.
Secondly. That the word enegpein doth not require, this sense is evident, because in scripture it occurs very often, where it must be understood not of a physical but only of a moral operation; as when Satan is said, ' TO WORK IN the children of disobedience,' and the mystery of iniquity ' to work.' (Ephesians 2:2)
(ii.) When it is attributed to those causes which produce not their effects by a physical, but only by a moral operation, as when the word is said to be, energes POWERFUL; (Hebrews 4:12) the word o energeitas, 'WHICH WORKS EFFECTUALLY in them that believe; (1 Thessalonians 2:13) when it is said that 'faith works by love; (Galatians 5:4) that ' charity is EFFECTUAL; (Philemon 1:6) and of concupiscence, that' IT WORKETH IN our members.'
(iii.) When it is ascribed to God sending upon men, the efficacy of deceit; for surely God works no evil physically.
Thirdly. Both these places speak of men already believing and converted, and therefore, by the third general rule, must be impertinently alleged to prove men must be purely passive in the work of conversion.