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well-taught children do by their parents. Whenever any thing valuable is given them, they put it into their parents' possession to preserve for them until they want it. Reader, let you and I do the same: Let us commit into the hands of the Holy Ghost all those precious things which he hath mercifully taught us in respect to our salvation; and blessed spirit, I would say:"* &c. &c. One quotation more from this specimen of methodistical orthodoxy, (if the reader's patience be not already exhausted,) will shew his ability as a commentator, as well as an evangelist. "My brother, is it your happiness to be thus taught of God? and have you this testimony to the work of the spirit in your heart? Let this be the standard with you at least, for ascertaining all the doctrines proposed to you by men:-Put that question, which Paul the Apostle proposed as the first, and most important of all questions to the church of Ephesus, to every one who would tempt you to swerve from the truth once delivered to the saints: Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? This will be the only method to prove the doctrine, whether it be of God; for the time is arrived, which the apostle predicted, "when men will not endure sound doctrine." And it is in vain to oppose argument to argument, for even the scriptures themselves are perverted and wrested by the several advocates
Spirit's Work, &c. p. 39.
of the various heresies of the present day, to countenance their several tenets. But in the blessed spirit's work in the heart, there can be no possibility of error. And when the word and the testimony are confirmed by his almighty assurance, they exactly correspond, like as the impression made by the seal on wax, manifests their relation to each other. And this is what, if I mistake not, the apostle meant, when he said, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses, shall every word be established. The heart which is taught of God is one, the word of God is another; and God himself the Holy Ghost is the third, who sets to his seal in the heart all the great truths, as yea and Amen in Christ Jesus."* What an etraordinary gloss!
From these extracts, which are thus largely adduced, both because it would scarcely be credited by many readers, that such divinity existed if it were not placed before their eyes; and because their author stands foremost in the ranks of methodism, and is a principal pillar of that church: The tenets of his coadjutors, (which shall hereafter be considered) as well as his own, may be justly estimated, on that most awful and important subject above mentioned: the influenceof the divine spirit: most awful in itself, but how debased, how vilified by such presumptuous familiarity! Could it have been believed, did not
Spirit's Work, &c. p. 42, 43.
their own words testify against them, that such confused, unmeaning, and fanatic rant, should pass current as the very essence of christianity? This maze of error would be as unaccountable, as it is inextricable, did not Dr. Hawker, by his own avowal, give us some insight into his mental incapacity. "His memory of divine things" he tells us, is so treacherous, that, like a sieve, every thing valuable runs through, and leaves nothing of the finer part behind." What wonder, then, that instead of refined gold, we find the coarsest dross! But, in the name of Religion, is a person, thus deficient, qualified to instruct others in its most valuable doctrines, which, according to his own acknowledgement, he forgets himself? Since the blind cannot lead the blind, without the utmost hazard, can the forgetful teacher assist the recollection of his disciples, and direct it to the indispensable principles of christianity? or, is it consistent with that modest humility, which would most become him, to attempt so great a work? Is it reasonable that he should expect the holy spirit to supply his natural defects, when, in spite of those defects, he assumes the high prerogative of ghostly wisdom, and delivers his opinions as if they were the indisputable oracles of truth? A heathen poet would suggest a more prudent conduct :
Metiri se quemque suo modulo ac pede verum est.
In order to relieve himself from that difficult and perplexing obstacle of his favourite theory, called Reasoning-Dr. Hawker says, "It is in vain to oppose argument to argument, for even the scriptures themselves are wrested by the several advocates of the various heresies of the present day, to countenance their several tenets." This might have been supposed a sufficient cause for confuting such erroneous interpretations of holy writ, by more convincing arguments, drawn from the source of truth. But, no: This is a test which the author's divinity will not bear. His favoured heresy must have the immediate aid of heaven. He asks but one immediate question, "Have you received the Holy Ghost since believed?" We know what that inquiry in the methodistical sense implies: "Have you felt the irresistible impulse of the divine spirit? Have you experienced the precious evidences of his truth in the daily occurrences of your life? Let this be your standard for ascertaining all the doctrines proposed by men."* But what if some humble unassuming Christian should not be conscious to himself of these "practical, experimental lessons taught by God the spirit?"* What if he do not perceive "the blessed spirit witnessing his adoption-character,* and dare not assert an appropriating right to call Jesus, brother, kinsman, husband, friend?"* What if he be
* Spirit's Work, passim.
without these "truest evidences of soul-experience;" and have not discovered so much sweetness in a promise and its contents so exactly suited to his own case and circumstances, as if it had been purposely written for him?"* Why then, adds Dr. Hawker, "I pity the man who is altogether unconscious of this work of God the spirit in the soul, and hath yet to learn what his influence means, when drawing nigh the mercy seat."* This is gentle treatment where nothing less than utter reprobation was to be expected. His pity, however, is such as is shewn by a spectator to a condemned criminal whose doom is irreversibly fixed. For according to him, "Every truly regenerated believer in Christ hath those evidences in his own experience ;"* and we know, from a higher authority than Dr. Hawker's, that "Except Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The evidence of the new birth being resolved solely into the sensible experience of it, which, in his opinion, is necessarily felt by the "truly regenerated believer ;** it follows that the wretched man, who is unconscious of this work of God, is excluded from the kingdom of heaven. This is the unavoidable conclusion resulting from the premises of a writer, who ventures to advance this bold unqualified declaration, "That an infallible method is discovered at once to secure
'Spirit's Work, passim.