Edwards on common restraining grace

Here is Marc D. Carpenter quoting some heretical notions of Edwards that represent what many Calvinists believe about "restraining grace" and their "god's" alleged "control." [Underlining emphasis mine--CD] 
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 http://www.outsidethecamp.org/romans75.htm

And finally we come to Jonathan Edwards, whose words on restraining grace are often quoted by others. 

And now for Edwards on common, restraining grace, from two of his sermons and one of his discourses: 

"There are in the souls of wicked men those hellish principles reigning, that would presently kindle and flame out into hell fire, if it were not for God's restraints. There is laid in the very nature of carnal men, a foundation for the torments of hell. There are those corrupt principles, in reigning power in them, and in full possession of them, that are seeds of hell fire. These principles are active and powerful, exceeding violent in their nature, and if it were not for the restraining hand of God upon them, they would soon break out, they would flame out after the same manner as the same corruptions, the same enmity does in the hearts of damned souls, and would beget the same torments as they do in them. The souls of the wicked are in scripture compared to the troubled sea, Isaiah 57:20. For the present, God restrains their wickedness by his mighty power, as he does the raging waves of the troubled sea, saying, 'Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further;' but if God should withdraw that restraining power, it would soon carry all before it. Sin is the ruin and misery of the soul; it is destructive in its nature; and if God should leave it without restraint, there would need nothing else to make the soul perfectly miserable. The corruption of the heart of man is immoderate and boundless in its fury; and while wicked men live here, it is like fire pent up by God's restraints, whereas if it were let loose, it would set on fire the course of nature; and as the heart is now a sink of sin, so if sin was not restrained, it would immediately turn the soul into fiery oven, or a furnace of fire and brimstone.

Does anyone recognize that quote? It's from Edwards's most famous sermon, entitled "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Here's a quote from a sermon entitled "True Grace as Distinguished from the Experience of Devils": 

"There are many in this world who are wholly destitute of saving grace, who yet have common grace. They have no true holiness, but nevertheless have something of that which is called moral virtue, and are the subjects of some degree of the common influences of the Spirit of God. It is so with those in general that live under the light of the gospel, and are not given up to judicial blindness and hardness. Yea, those that are thus given up, yet have some degree of restraining grace while they live in this world, without which the earth could not bear them, and they would in no measure be tolerable members of human society. But when any are damned, or cast into hell, as the devils are, God wholly withdraws his restraining grace, and all merciful influences of his Spirit whatsoever. They have neither saving grace nor common grace, neither the Grace of the Spirit, nor any of the common gifts of the Spirit, neither true holiness, nor moral virtue of any kind. Hence arises the vast increase of the exercise of wickedness in the hearts of men when they are damned. And herein is the chief difference between the damned in hell, and unregenerate and graceless men in this world. Not that wicked men in this world have any more holiness or true virtue than the damned, or have wicked men, when they leave this world, any principles of wickedness infused into them: but when men are cast into hell, God perfectly takes away his Spirit from them, as to all its merciful common influences, and withdraws from them all restraints of is Spirit and good providence." 

And now here is Edwards from his discourse entitled "Men Naturally Are God's Enemies": 

"Restraining grace a great privilege. If natural men are God's enemies; then hence we may learn, how much we are indebted to God for his restraining grace. If all natural men are God's enemies, what would they not do, if they were not restrained! ... And hence natural men have nothing within them, in their own nature, to restrain them from any thing that is but, and therefore their restraint must not be owing to nature, but to restraining grace. And therefore whatever wickedness we have been kept from, it is not because we have not been bad enough to commit it; but it is God has restrained us, and kept us back from sin. ... If we have seen others do things that we never did; and if they have done worse than we, this is owing to restraining grace. If we have not done as bad as Pharaoh, it is owing to divine restraints. If we have not done as bad as Judas, or as the scribes and Pharisees, or as bad as Herod, or Simon Magus, it is because God has restrained our corruption. If we have ever heard or read of any that have done worse than he; if we have not gone the length in sinning, that the most wicked pirates or carnal persecutors have gone, this is owing to restraining grace. ... The world is full of inhabitants; and almost all are God's enemies, his implacable and mortal enemies. What therefore would they not do, what work would they not make, if God did not restrain them? God's work in the restraint that he exercises over a wicked world, is a glorious work. God's holding the reins upon the corruptions of a wicked world, and setting bounds to their wickedness, is a more glorious work, than his ruling the raving of the sea, and setting bounds to its proud waves, and saying Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further. In hell, God lets the wickedness of wicked spirits have the reins, to rage without restraint; and it would be in a great measure upon earth as it is in hell, did not God restrain the wickedness of the world. But in order to the better understanding how it is owing to the restraining grace of God, that we are kept and withheld from the highest acts of sin, I would here observe several things. 1. Whenever men are withheld from sinning by the common influence of God's Spirit, they are withheld by restraining grace. If sinners are awakened, and are made sensible of the great guilt that sin brings, and that it exposes to a dreadful punishment, under such circumstances they dare not allow themselves in wilful sin: God restrains them by the convictions of his Spirit; and therein their being kept from sin, is owing to restraining grace. And unawakened sinners that live under the gospel, who are in a great measure secure, commonly have some degrees of the influence of God's Spirit, with his ordinances influencing natural conscience. And though they be not sufficient thoroughly to rouse them out of security, or make them reform, yet they keep them from going such lengths in sin, as otherwise they might do. And this is restraining grace. They are indeed very stupid and sottish: yet they would be a great deal more so, if God should let them wholly alone. 2. All the restraints that men are under from the word and ordinances, is from grace. The word and ordinances of God might have some degree of influence on men's natural principles of self-love, to restrain them from sin, without any degree of the influence of God's Spirit: but this would be the restraining grace of God; for God's goodness and mercy to a sinful world appears in his giving his word to be a restraint on the wickedness of the world. When men are restrained by fear of those punishments that the word of God threatens; or by the warnings, the offers, and promises of it; when the word of God works upon hope, or fear, or natural conscience, to restrain men from sin, this is the restraining grace of God and is owing to his mercy. It is an instance of God's mercy that he has revealed hell, to restrain men's wickedness, and that he has revealed a way of salvation, and a possibility of eternal life. This, which has great influence on men to keep them from sin, is the restraining grace of God. 3. When men are restrained from sin, by the light of nature, this also is of grace. ... In all these things, the restraining grace of God appears. -- It is God's mercy to mankind, that he has so ordered their state, that they should have so many things, by fear and a regard to their own interest, to restrain their corruptions. It is God's mercy to the world, that the state of mankind here differs from the state of the damned in hell, where men will have none of these things to restrain them. The wisdom of God, as well as the attributes of his grace, greatly appears in thus disposing things for the restraining of the wickedness of men."

So there we have some Calvinists on hardening, including how it ties in with common grace and common operations of the Spirit. In any of these, did you find the truth that God sovereignly, actively causes people to sin certain sins? No. Instead, we found that they believe that God leaves men to their natural blindness, to the hardness and unrestrained tendencies of their hearts, to the corruptions of their nature, to their own wills and desires, by removing restraining grace, withdrawing gracious influences, leaving them to themselves so they are free to act according to their own depraved inclinations and the free exercise of their evil dispositions. What does this all mean? You won't find any of these ideas in the Bible, either expressed or implied. Well, for one thing, we can see that these Calvinists only deny free will when it comes to a wicked person's inability to do good. When their god removes some of his restraining grace, he does not cause them to act in any particular way; instead, he just leaves them to their own wills and desires so they are free to act according to their own evil hearts.