Thoughts On The Will


J. H. Oliphant



Liberty of will, in some sense, is essential to moral government; we must make a distinction between man and inanimate objects. Exhortation, persuasion, commands, are proper, and in this, man is regarded as capable of voluntary action, and of being influenced in his conduct by these things.

I have found that it is essential to the well being of a church that the brethren be exhorted to duty, to love and good works, and I believe our people have neglected these things too much. I have felt the need of these things myself, and when I have been urged to duty by my brethren I have sensibly felt the benefit of it.

The doctrine that the will is determined by the strongest motive is consistent with exhortation, and makes it proper that we persuade men to obedience.

The notion that the will is self-determining is not consistent with exhortation, for if it be self-determining it is capable of choosing independent of motives.

I hope nothing I have said in these pages will be so construed as to interfere with exhortation, and the propriety of urging our people to do their duty in all the relations of life.

It would be as easy to reason sunshine out of the solar system as to destroy, in mankind a sense of obligation to God. That when we do wrong we should own that the sin is ours. In all our statements of the doctrine of predestination we should avoid any statement that would seem to apologize for sin, for so far as we do apologize for it we destroy the basis of the doctrine of salvation by grace. The great end of God in our salvation is that "In the ages to come He might show forth the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us." That we "should be to the praise of the glory of His grace."

If there is any excuse or apology for sin, this fact would tend to destroy the doctrine of grace.

If we love that doctrine, and feel it our duty to maintain it among men, we should not only oppose Arminiamism, but we should oppose every other sentiment that would tend to the overthrow of it. I hope the readers of these pages may be led to a better understanding of the subject and that these pages may be a blessing to our people.

I feel thankful to our people for the kind reception they have given my books heretofore. I trust my object in offering these pages to the public is good, and if it should in any way aid our people in their search for truth, I shall feel rewarded for my labors.



Crawfordsville, Ind., September 11th, 1899.


Thoughts On The Will. J.H. Oliphant. Press of Moore & Langen Printing Co. Terre Haute, IN. 1899. Pages 3-4.