For instance, ‘That Jesus Christ was crucified’ mentioned by the apostle, 1Cor. 2.2 ) is a proposition whose sense and importance a natural man may understand. And in the due investigation of this sense, and judging thereon concerning truth and falsehood, lies that use of reason in religious things which some would ignorantly confound with an ability of discerning spiritual things in themselves and their own proper nature. This, therefore is granted… None pretend that men are, in their conversion to God, like stocks and stones, or brute beasts, that have no understanding’.(261) But ‘between the natural capacity of the mind and the act of spiritual discerning there must be an interposition of an effectual work of the Holy Ghost enabling it thereunto’. (262)
The natural man is here allowed to be the rational man, the learned philosopher, one walking by the light of human reason; which complies not with their exception to this testimony who would only such a one as is sensual and given up to brutish affections to be intended…..The apostle in the whole discourse gives an account why so few received the gospel, especially of those who seemed more likely so to do, being wise and learned men, and the gospel no less than the wisdom of God; and the reason hereof he gives from their disability to receive the things of God, and their hatred of them, neither of which can be cured but by the Spirit of Christ.