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pulsive? What wheel has he touched, what cord relaxed, what veil removed? We only know the fact that he does, not the mode how he does, the glorious wonder. A wise man, who knows the rational horizon of the mind, and can see to the boundaries of human intelligence, in rebus—certi denique fines, confesses his total ignorance, where fools luxuriate in the pride of knowledge. Acts, 16 : 14. John, 3:8. Col. 2 : 18. This difficulty, though practically it has no existence, resolves itself ultimately into the inscrutable mode of a most palpable fact—the necessary and absolute dependence of a created moral agent.
(4) The all-important matter is THE RESULT of these influences. The process is valuable only for the sake of the result. This is the grand desideratum in self-examination. Whatever influence, otherwise definable or not, brings its subject to evangelical results, in thought, motive, conduct; that influence is to be ascribed to the Spirit of God. Hence the criteria of discrimination that abound in the sacred volume. Hence the results described in such passages as the following ; “ the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,” &c. Gal. 5 : 22–24. Eph. 5 :9. 1 Cor. 12 : 3. Observe, how totally devoid of all extravagance are these texts! There are thousands more in the Bible of the same kind. It is plain then if a man love God, if he really love him, if it be a fact that he loves God, that man is a christian and will be saved, whether he can give the history of the affection or not. “ Believest thou this,” O reader? “ Lovest thou me?"
(5) The subjects are conscious ALONE of the objective influence; while, by faith only, and not by feeling, they ascribe it to the Spirit. I mean by this that a man is conscious of the agent, only through the instrument; or, he is solely conscious of the action of truth on his powers and of his own mental exercises and acts in view of truth; and is in no other way conscious (or “sensible," as Friends say) of the influence of the Spirit. Psalm 55 : 5. Acts, 9 : 5. Heb. 4:12. Psalm 19: 7. John, 14 : 22, 23. The fancy of an immediate consciousness of the Spirit evades every rational criterion, and is most probably all delusion and materialism :-beside, its result is generally mystical or corrupt or ambiguous.
(6) The forms, reasons, circumstances, and degrees of influences, perpetually vary, not only in different subjects, but at different times in the same subject; nor may any form or style be prescribed as a standard of genuineness, since nothing must supersede the rule of judging by the result. “By their fruits” alone, may the children of God be discriminated; and this according to the rule of the written word. The history therefore of the mode and order of their experiences is at best of very subordinate importance. 1 Cor. 12: 6. Phil. 3:13. Heb. 10: 32.
(7) The whole economy of these influences, as of any others, depends supremely on the sovereign pleasure of "the only wise God.” I mean by this not to exclude human agency or accountability from their proper place and mediate influence in the event; nor to favor any notion of fatality, or destiny independent of the voluntary conduct of men ; but I do mean to deny the existence of absolute chance, and to put the event, in common with all other events, in the sovereign arbitration of God. I mean to deny the Arminian view which enthrones eternal chance and exalts the autocrasy of the creature “ above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ;” and puts the Creator in a posture of waiting ignorance or sincere discomfiture, rather than of dominion “over all, blessed for ever.” All this as a fact, and as a doctrine both of reason and scripture, I believe. It is an article of faith, properly such; not a rule of action. It is one of the "things that we are to believe concerning God;" not otherwise one of the “duties that God requires of man.” Our duty is one thing: the government of God is another. It is also of immense importance to ourselves, and of most auspicious bearing upon our own salvation, to know the truth, and especially to love the truth, in this sublime relation. No Friend however can, I think, “receive the love of the truth" in respect to the proper dominion of the Eternal-intelligently receive it, without ceasing to be a Friend. Though Barclay makes some exceptions in favor of singular individuals, such as David, Paul, and others, yet the system which he strenuously upholds is diametrically opposite to the position at the head of this paragraph: in this he is true to the doctrine of the society, but false to the oracles of God. “Let God be true, but every man a liar, as
it is written." Without this enthronement of the divine sovereignty in our faith, we shall worship a being, as God, who is not the true and “ only wise God,” who has not all and especially the grandest events in his hand, and whom any freak of chances may occur to frustrate and confound. Besides, we shall be in perpetual collision with our own eternal interests and with the God of the Bible. 2 Tim. 1:9. 2 Thes. 2: 13, 14. 1 Thes. 1 : 4,5. 1. Cor.
. 3:5–7. Rom. 8: 28–30. 9: 16, 18. 11:5–7. I just add that the doctrine of sovereignty in no aspect excludes those whom the doctrine of regeneration or faith would not equally exclude. Properly understood it militates not against any other doctrine of scripture; nor will it ever debar from the kingdom of heaven one who does not. also debar himself by pride, prejudice, obstinacy, and love of the world.
What is adventitious in the experiences of a converted sinner; that is, what results from his temperament, his history and circumstances, and not from the nature of religion, being neither essential nor proper to its possession ; and what is thus the fruit of the subject and not "the fruit of the Spirit,” to whatever degree it may extend, and however it may modify those experiences, in time, form, or intensity, I both distinguish from religion (confused as they generally appear) and also omit at present to consider. It is of importance, however to remark that what the Spirit produces we at the same time subordinately perform ; since his influence succeeds only to bring us to deeds and courses of evangelical obedience. Holiness is not an abstraction, nor a dormant principle, nor the offspring of physical influence-except possibly in -a subsidiary way. Holiness is an abstract word; but the thing is nothing other than a cordial self-consecration to God, in a way of obedience, not to our own imagination or devices, but to his rational and excellent will revealed in the gospel. The word holiness is applicable, with all its cognates, sanctify, sanctification, saints, holy, and others, to persons and things equally ; being so used abundantly in the scriptures : their common import being-sct apart from a common to a sacred use; set apart for God. Thus, the temple with all its premises, furniture, and service, was holy; and holiness to the Lord is the motto of his universal worship. Here then, is the clue to its personal meaning; those persons are holy who, being enlightened to know and regenerated to love the gospel, are willingly consecrated or set apart for God. To produce and sustain this result is the design of the Spirit's influence and of the means of
grace. When any one finds himself thus serving Christ, he is a saint, and the Spirit of God hath hallowed him as a living temple of his influence. In conversion itself the subject is brought to adopt other views, feelings, motives, and ends of conduct, than he previously ever knew. He is changed in Itis estimate of objects and in his volitions concerning them and in his relations to them. Before, the world, in some form, was his idol, his pleasure, his all; and to it he sacrificed his conscience, his reason, his salvation; while God and religion were