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II. We next inquire what is implied in this fact and what must be inferred from it?

God is physically omnipotent, and yet His moral influences exerted by the Spirit may be resisted. You will readily see that if the Spirit moved men by physical omnipotence, no mortal could possibly resist His influence. The Spirit’s power would, of course, be irresistible—for who could withstand omnipotence?

But now we know it to be a fact that men can resist the Holy Ghost; for the nature of moral agency implies this and the Bible asserts it,

The nature of moral agency implies the voluntary action, of one who can yield to motive and follow. light or not as he pleases. Where this power does. not exist, moral agency can not exist; and at whatever point this power ceases, there moral agency ceases also.

Hence, if our action is that of moral agents, our moral freedom to do or not do must remain. It can not be set aside or in any way overruled. If God should in any way set aside our voluntary agency, he would of necessity terminate at once, our moral and responsible action. Suppose God should seize hold of a man’s arm with physical omnipotence and forcibly use it in deeds of murder or of arson; who does not see that the moral, responsible agency of that man would be entirely superseded? Yet not more so than if, in an equally irresistible manner, God should seize the man’s will and compel it to act as Himself listed.

The very idea that moral influence can ever be irresistible originates in an entire mistake as to the nature of the wilt and of moral action. The will of man never can act otherwise than freely in view of truth and of the motives it presents for action. Increasing the amount of such influence has no sort of tendency to impair the freedom of the will. Under any possible vividness of truth perceived, or amount of motive present to the mind, the will has still the same changeless power to yield or not yield—to act or refuse to act in accordance with this perceived truth.

Force and moral agency are terms of opposite meaning, They can not both co-exist. The one effectually precludes the other. Hence, to say that if God is physically omnipotent, He can and will force a moral agent in his moral action, is to talk stark nonsense.

This fact shows that any work of God carried on by more and not by physical power not only can be resisted by man, but that man may be in very special danger of resisting it. If the Lord carries the work forward by means of revealed truth, there may be most imminent danger lest men will neglect to study and understand this truth, or lest, knowing, they shall refuse to obey it. Surely it is fearfully within the power of every man to shut out this truth from his consideration, and bar his heart against its influence.

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