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Calvin and Calvinism » Blog Archive » Thomas Manton (1620-1677) on Moral and Natural Ability: Informal Reference


(3.) Impotency and weakness, which lies in the willfulness and hardness of their hearts. Our non posse is non velle. Our inability lies in our unwillingness: Ps. Iviii. 4, 5, “They are like to the deaf adder, that stops her ear, which will not hearken to the charmer, charming never so wisely.” Mat. xxiii. 37, “How often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not?” Luke xix. 14, “His citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” Now what more proper cure for all these evils than the word of God? Teaching is the proper means to cure ignorance, for men have a natural understanding. Warning of danger and mindfulness of duty is the proper means to cure slightness. And to remove their impotency (which lies in their obstinacy and willfulness), there is no such means as to beseech them with constant persuasions. The impotence is rather moral than natural. We do not use to reason men out of bare natural impotency, to bid a lame man walk, or a blind man see, or bid a dead man live; but to make men willing of the good which they rejected or neglected; in short, to inform the judgment, awaken the conscience, persuade the will: yet it is true the bare means will not do it without God’s concurrence, the evidence and demonstration of the Spirit; but it is an encouragement to use these means, because they are fitted to the end, and God would not appoint us means which should be altogether in vain.

Thomas Manton, “Sermons Upon 1 Peter 1:23,” in, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1873), 21:332. [Some spelling modernized; italics original; and underlining mine.]

[Credit to Tony for the find.]

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 at 8:50 am and is filed under The Distinction Between Natural and Moral Ability. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 comments so far


Fantastic quote. Thank you!

May 28th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

December 23rd, 2019 at 6:14 pm

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