IV. Are the works of the unregenerate, which proceed from the powers of nature, so pleasing to God, as to induce Him on account of them to confer supernatural and saving grace on those who perform them?
IV. Are a serious consciousness of sin, and an initial fear so pleasing to God, that by them He is induced to forgive sins, and to create a filial fear?
ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION
Christ says, |To him that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.| Not, indeed, because such is the worthiness and the excellence of the use of any blessing conferred by God, either according to nature or to grace, that God should be moved by its merits to confer greater benefits; but, because such are the benignity and liberality of God, that, though these works are unworthy, yet He rewards them with a larger blessing. Therefore, as the word |pleasing| admits of two meanings, we can reply to the question proposed in two ways - - either affirmatively, if that word be viewed as signifying |to please,| |to find favour in his eyes,| and |to obtain complacency for itself;| or negatively if |placeo| be received for that which it also signifies, |to please by its own excellence.| Yet it might be said, that good works are rewarded, in a moral view, not so much through the powers of nature, as by some operation in them of the Holy Spirit.