I would here have you especially notice the distinction between natural and moral inability, which clearly reconciles human responsibility with divine sovereignty. There are some who, feeling a difficulty here, bring this objection; It is, say they, in fact the same whether you make the limit in redemption or election, since; after all, it is only the elect that can be saved. We reply; It is not the same. There is all the difference between a natural and a moral inability; and moral inability is sin. If there were any for whom Christ did not die, it could not be, imputed to them as personally blame-worthy that they are not saved; for the hindrance would not be in themselves alone, but in God. The justice of God would form an impassable barrier to their entrance into life. On the other hand, granting that redemption is general, the work of Christ threw down that barrier, and now the only hindrance is in themselves. It is in their dislike to, enter. It is true that this dislike can only. be overcome by divine grace; but that does not render it less their own fault that they retain it. We will make this more plain by an illustration.

Suppose a man chained to the walls of a dungeon; you throw open the prison doors, and without removing his fetters, you tell him he is at liberty! Alas! you do but mock him; he may see the light, and long for liberty, but his fetters still bind him to his prison; and if the poor man die a captive, it does not prove his unwillingness to be free. But suppose you not only throw open the prison-doors, but also break his fetters, and tell him he is free; but the man still loiters amongst his prison companions, and takes such delight in their company and their avocations as to disregard the blessings of light and liberty; then it will be admitted it is his own fault that he does not enjoy liberty, and he could not more show himself unworthy of the privileges of a free man. Now this is what Christ has done for the world.

He has not only thrown open the doors of invitation, but he has broken the fetters; that is, he has removed every external hindrance; and the only impediment in the sinner’s way to liberty, is his love of spiritual slavery. It is true this love of slavery can only be overcome by divine power, and this is the work of the Holy Ghost in the elect; but this does not make it less blame-worthy in the sinner to retain it. This brings us to our third point.

William Dodsworth, General Redemption and Limited Salvation (London: James Nisbet, 1831), 59-62.

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