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from the possibility of apostacy, and to afford comfort and satisfaction to the believer's own mind concerning the great truths of God, namely, from the spirit's work in the heart.* How naturally does this remind us of those infallible remedies, which are daily announced by other empirical doctors of great note, not less versed in the science of medicine, than is the vicar of Charles in that of divinity! The pompous and high sounding apostolie address by which this "infallible remedy" is ushered into the world, might well make one exclaim with profound astonishment,
Quid dignum tanto, feret hic promissor hiatų?
"To the church of Christ throughout the earth, grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied!" The note of admiration is Dr. Hawker's own, as well as the salutation; Is he amazed at his own sublimity? Then follows the performance, thus solemnly announced, with this exordium: "I send
* Spirit's Work, &c. p. 6.
In treating lightly any circumstances belonging to a subject, which regards the sacred principles of our holy faith, we tread on tender ground, and may stand in need of some apology. But when it is considered that such wild fanaticism admits no other kind of argument, and that serious reasoning would in this case be entirely misapplied and lost: the liberty, which is taken here, and in some other instances, it is hoped, will not appear improper. In fact, the cause of religion is no more injured by the ridicule of enthusiasm, than that of reason is by the means which are used to cure the ravings of a disordered mind.
forth this little tract:" the poet's answer to his question, will suggest itself to every reader:
Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.
But puerility and bombast are not the greatest defects of this writer; for he appears to contradict his own assertions, on a point which is of infinite moment to our frail imperfect nature. "Man is not only altogether as passive in the new creation as in the old, but he is altogether as unconscious of it."* Leaving the first position uncontroverted at present, we scarcely need observe how repugnant the second is to the feeling and experience of which these preachers boast. Many pages are employed in resolving the influence of the spirit entirely into feeling, by the same author, who here asserts, "That these acts of the spirit are all wrought by his almighty power, at a time and in a manner perfectly unperceived and unknown to the soul.* Thus, in another passage, even of this very tract, he speaks another language. "If you say, how shall the soul know when it is the spirit's work, and not man's ?" The answer is direct. "The very state of the soul will readily distinguish the Lord's absence from his presence." When the spirit returns, (and well is it for sinners that he doth not wait for their first approaches to return,) he comes with a quicken
* Spirit's Work, p. 19.
+ Id. p. 42, 43.
ing, illuminating, and reproving power,* of which the inspired person cannot be unconscious, if he will listen to his sage instructor, who thus admonishes him: "Do you feel the rising desire, the awakening prayer opening in the soul, that Jesus would again draw you with the cords of his love, that ye might run after him? Go then, my brother; go to the still waters and the pastures of his ordinances, beside which Jesus feedeth his flock, and maketh them to rest at noon.-Depend upon it, these feelings of your's are among the first intimations of his blessed spirit's work on the soul.-Every sweet movement you feel is from his blessed spirit, who turns the heart," &c. So far, then, is the time and manner of the spirit's agency from being unknown to the soul, that it is assured by feelings of his first approach, and "sweet moveevery ment" that he makes. We are afterwards required to seek those out-pourings of the Holy Ghost, yet we had been previously informed that man is "altogether passive."-From these unfounded assumptions of spiritual wisdom, not less contradictory than absurd, let us turn to the real doctrine of Jesus Christ, and guide our souls by that unclouded light, which will at once dispel the mists of doubt and error, and direct us in the way of truth.
We are taught in holy scripture, that the
* Id. p. 42, 43.
+ Id. p. 47.
↑ Id. p. 54.
Righteousness of God by Jesus Christ is unto all, and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.* That he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.t That by one spirit we are all baptized into one body. That by baptism attended with repentance, and faith working effectually (egyeon) by charity, § we shall be saved; having become new creatures by the mystical washing away of sin, when we were admitted into the christian covenant, when we were born again of water, and the holy spirit," and rendered meet for the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven. We believe, therefore, that being thus made members of Christ, we partake of his grace, even as they who pretend to more extraordinary endowments. "That unto every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ; which grace is sufficient for us, if we grieve not the holy spirit, whereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption ;** wherefore receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, since God hath placed it in our own power: "whereby we may serve him acceptably with reverence and godly fear."++ Since God
* Rom. iii. 22, 23, 24. § Gal. v. 6.
+ Mark xvi. 16.
1 Cor. xii. 13.
|| John iii. 5.
** Id. 30.
hath been gracious to all, let us all be obedient to him. "For the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared unto all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly."* If we thus do, we shall obtain the recompence of reward;" but if professing that we know God, in works we deny him, being abominable and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate;† "then we do despite to the spirit of peace, and shall be judged worthy of the sorest punishment.”‡
These are the doctrines which we receive and teach; they are in admirable harmony with each other, as well as with the perfections of God, and the imperfect nature of man: worthy of the Creator who revealed them, and adapted to the creature to whom they are applied: calculated to promote the great ends of true religion, glory to God, peace on earth, and good will amongst men to humble our vain hearts, to excite our most earnest diligence, to animate our devotions, inflame our gratitude, and raise our affections to things above. This we aver to be the purport of that gospel which hath brought life and immortality to light; and we venture to assert, that if the style and matter of the Methodistical teachers on this awful subject be fairly compared with the tenor of that gospel, they will appear a vile and spurious copy of a divine original.
*Titus ii. 11, 12.
+ Id. 16.
↑ Heb. x. 29.