“Dr. Priestley labours hard to overthrow the doctrine of immediate Divine agency, and contends that all Divine influence upon the human mind is through the medium of second causes, or according to the established laws of nature. “If moral impressions were made upon men’s minds by an immediate Divine agency, to what end,” he asks, “has been the whole apparatus of revealed religion?” This, in effect, is saying that, if there be laws for such an operation on the human mind, every kind of influence upon it must be through the medium of those laws; and that, if it be otherwise, there is no need of the use of means. But might he not as well allege that, if there be laws by which the planets move, every kind of influence upon them must have been through the medium of those laws; and deny that the Divine Being immediately, and prior to the operation of the laws of nature, put them all in motion? Might he not as well ask, If an immediate influence could be exercised in setting the material system in motion, of what use are all the laws of nature, by which it is kept in motion?
Whatever laws attend the movements of the material system, the first creation of it is allowed to have been by an immediate exertion of Divine power. God said, “Let there be light, and there was light;” and why should not the second creation be the same? I say the second creation; for the change upon the sinner’s heart is represented as nothing less in the Divine word; and the very manner of its being effected is expressed in language which evidently alludes to the first creation—” God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Not only Scripture, but reason itself, teaches the necessity for such an immediate Divine interposition in the changing of a sinner’s heart. If a piece of machinery (suppose the whole material system) were once in a state of disorder, the mere exercise of those laws by which it was ordained to move would never bring it into order again; but, on the contrary, would drive it on further and further to everlasting confusion.”
Excerpt From “The Calvinistic and Socinian Systems Examined and Compared”, 1802
Fuller, Andrew, The Works of Andrew Fuller. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2007.