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a voice from the Excellent Glory: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."*
In whatever point of view, therefore, we consider the Christian religion, it exbibits to us a plan and design worthy of our great and gracious Creator; and so well adapted to the state of the human heart, that nothing appears to be wanting, but the acceptance of the terms on which it is offered. Yet, as the condition on which only we can be true Christians, requires us to deny ourselves, and take up a daily cross to our evil propensities, this doctrine and that foundation on which it is built, are now, as formerly, to some a stumbling block, and to others, foolishness. It is indeed to be feared, that many who adopt the Christian religion in theory, are but little acquainted with it in practice. True Christianity is more adapted to the heart, than to the head : it is not so much a system of doctrines, as it is the power of God unto salvation. Nevertheless, it necessarily includes doctrines; but then it requires a union of the spirit with the letter; of faith and of works; of the power and of the form of godli
To unite these in our hearts, and in our actions, is what appears to me to constitute the true and perfect Christian.
* 2 Peter i. 16, 17.
On the Enfluences of the Holy Spirit.
The Gift of the Spirit an essential of Christianity.—Different names of the Spirit.-Necessity of its assistance.-Universally afforded
and in all ages, but most plentifully in the Gospel. Unconditional election and reprobation disowned and disproved.
IN the preceding chapter, the gift of the Holy Spirit has been considered as an essential part of true Christianity ; but as it is a doctrine on which we insist,* more than other professors of the Christian name, I have apprehended it proper to appropriate a chapter to this subject; and, for that reason, have said less upon it than I should otherwise have done, when treating of the general doctrines of Christianity.
* The word “insist,” is here used, because it is not a doctrine peculiar to us, but only one on which we lay more stress than most other Christians. The church of England holds the doctrine much as we do, as may be seen in the liturgy, from which are extracted the two following collects, and to which others of a similar tendency might be added : “ The Fifth Sunday after Easter.”--- O Lord, from whom all good things do come! grant to us, thy humble servants, that, by thy holy inspiration, we may think those things that be good; and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.” “ The 19th Sunday after Trinity.”“ O God! forasmuch as without Thee we are unable to please Thee; mercifully grant that thy Holy Spirit may, in all things, direct and rule our hearts, through,” & ComSee also Knox's Christian Philosophy,
There are different names in the Scriptures, by which this Spirit is denominated. It is not only called the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God, and of Christ; but it is also distinguished, with great propriety, by the appellation of “the Grace of God;"* as being a mark of his peculiar favour to mankind. Another appropriate denomination is “ Light,” by which are evinced its effects, in manifesting what is good and what is evil : 6 For whatsoever doth make manifest is Light.”+ Other names might be enumerated by which the same thing is distinguished; but these may be sufficient to convey a clear idea of what I have in view.
The Holy Scriptures so frequently make mention of this Divine influence; and enforce it with so much energy, that there is no doctrine derived from these writings, on which they appear to be more clear and explicit, and to afford less room for objection and controversy
* In some instances, the word grace in Scripture simply means favour; but in others, it evidently implies an inward operative principle, and is synonymous with the Holy Spirit.-See Cruden's and Taylor's Concordances, under Grace.
+ Ephes. v. 13.
In considering this subject, it may be proper to advance and support the following positions.
1. The necessity of the assistance of the Holy Spirit, for understanding the things, and for working the works, of God.
2.-That such a portion of this Spirit, as is necessary for working out the soul's salvation, is afforded to mankind universally.
With regard to the first position, the apostle Paul argues the case so forcibly, and with such logical clearness, that I shall quote his words, both as the best arguments and the best authority, that can be adduced on the occasion; “ What man,” saith he“knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”* After which he proceeds thus : “ Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God: which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."*
* 1 Cor. ii. 11.
In the epistle to the Romans, the apostle also shows the necessity of the assistance of the Spirit, saying expressly :“ If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his---for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God : for ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have re. ceived the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Fatber. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.—Likewise, the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered.”+
From these passages, and from many others which might be adduced, it appears clearly,
* 1 Cor. ii. 12-14. + Rom. viii. 9, 14, 15, 16, 26.