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of men an impression that the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, partly consists in disclosing to the understanding some arguments and motives not revealed in the Scriptures ?

In no part of this system is it apparent what the Holy Spirit accomplishes. Each of these three descriptions of His operations is so confused, that it is impossible to learn from it the nature of His work. A discriminating mind immediately rejects them as phrases without sense. But it is not so with a great portion of those who either hear or read them. They suppose them to have a most precious meaning; and they see also that they cannot mean merely the truths of the Scriptures. They infer, that the Spirit communicates something additional to these truths. What it is, they are not so informed, that they can understand. Even in the most favourable circumstances, an indefiniteness, a mist, hangs over the subject, which they cannot remove. They are left to conclude that a knowledge of it can be obtained only by watching the movements of their own minds. They are never taught that the Holy Spirit prepares the heart to be affected by the truth, nor that He produces faith, love, humility, and every Christian grace. They understand that He produces something which is an antecedent to these graces, and which, if carefully cherished and followed, will invariably produce them. And yet this antecedent is not the Scriptures; but certain effects on the truth, or impressions on their minds, which they are bound to regard as indications of their duty.

These effects, or impressions, relate to the understanding. They are of an intellectual character. This was the avowed doctrine of Pelagius and Celestius. They limited the operations of the Spirit to the understanding, and denied to Him all access to the will, except by persuasion. Arminius, though in some instances inconsistent with himself, assigned " to grace its own part, and this the principal one, in persuading the will to assent to those things which are preached.” Dr. Whitby says, “ it therefore can be only requisite to these ends,” (choosing the chief good, and avoiding the worst evil, “ that the good Spirit should so illuminate our understandings, that we, attending to, and considering what lies before us, should apprehend, and be convinced of our duty, and that the blessings of the Gospel should be so propounded to us, that we may discern them to be our chiefest good; and the miseries it threateneth, so as we may be convinced they are the worst of evils, that we may choose the one, and refuse the other."* The Rev. Charles G. Finney says, “ Sinners can go to hell in spiie of God.” “ All God's influence in converting men, is moral influence. He persuades them by his word and his Spirit. If men will not yield to persuasion, they must be lost.”+ On the main point under consideration, all these individuals agree.. It evidently makes no difference in this respect, whether they declare that God illuminates the understandings of sinners by his Spirit, or persuades them by his word and his Spirit. Though designed ultimately to have a moral influence on the determinations of the will

, it is all primarily an operation on the understanding. Here again, with anxiety, we ask, what are we to understand by such phrases, “ as persuading the will by grace ?” “ persuading men by the Spirit ?” Something more is evidently meant, than the operation of the simple truth. What is it? If any such thing exist, its properties can be declared. It is impossible that persuasions, in addition to the precepts and motives of written Revelation, have been set before the mind as often, and as impressively as these writers declare, and yet no one be found, who is able to de. scribe them, and specifically tell what they are. If such persuasions had ever been perceived, we should suppose they would have been remembered and recorded. Phenomena so remarkable, certainly ought not to have escaped notice, and careful preservation, by those whose eternal interests are represented as entirely dependent on them. The question still returns, and loudly demands an unequivocal answer; what are these persuasions of the Spirit? What are these illuminations of the understanding If none of the patrons of these views is adequate to reply, we shall be compelled to propose the question to one of another school, who has thoroughly examined their principles. Perhaps no other man has ever been better qualified to solve this question, than President Edwards. In his remarks concerning “ EFFICACIOUS GRACE,” he says, Doctor Whitby's notion of the assistance of the Spirt, is of the same sort with inspiration."I As all

* Whitby's Discourses, p. 169.
+ New-York Evangelist, August 25, 1835.
$ Edwards' Works, New York, 1829. Vol. VII. p. 452. Sec. 21.

the before

mentioned writers teach substantially the same doctrine respecting the operations of the Spirit; if it be true of one of them, that his views in this particular imply inspiration, it is also true of them all. We have, then, the judgment of Edwards, rendered after a most thorough examination, and applicable to the case before us, that these instructions respecting the work of the Spirit, involve the idea of an immediate revelation to the understandings of those on whom he operates.

But though the judgment of Edwards in this matter, has great weight with us, we are not, therefore, willing to adopt it, without examining the discourses of Whitby, to which he probably refers. The following passages seem fully to justify the decision of Edwards:

“ Doth it not seem unreasonable to deny that influence to God and his good Spirit, to incline men to goodness, which generally is, and must, according to the Scriptures, be allowed to the evil spirit tempting men to wickedness? Now though this evil spirit cannot lay us under a necessity of doing wickedly, yet is he represented in the Scriptures, as the great tempter to sin, which he can only be IMMEDIATELY BY RAISING IDEAS IN OUR BRAIN," etc.*

“ Moreover, the evil spirit is represented as a lying spirit in the mouth of Ahab's prophets. He moved David to number the people. He entered into Judas. He filled the heart of Ananias, to lie to the Holy Ghost. All which things cannot be accounted for, without allowing him some power to work upon the minds of persons, so as to raise in them, some such IDEAS, as would excite and stir them up to the performance of these actions. When, therefore, God is said to put a new spirit within us, to create in us a clean heart, and renew in us a right spirit, to put His fear and His law in our hearts, to circumcise and to convert the heart ; if He by his good Spirit, raiseth no good motives, or IDEAS IN US, which may dispose us to His fear, and by attention to them, may convert and cleanse our hearts; if He vouchsafes to us no INWARD ILLUMINATIONS, by attending to which, we may discern the wondrous things of His law, what can these metaphors mean?”+

In various other places Doctor Whitby describes the op


* Whitby's Discourses, p. 165.

+ Ibid. p. 166.




erations of the Spirit, by such phrases as the following: “Illuminate the understanding."

-“ Divine impression on the mind, which is God speaking inwardly to man.”_“ Raise an idea in my brain.”—“ These ideas thus raised in us by God alone." _« Such ideas raised in us.”—“ As these ideas raised in us are powerful inducements to the performance of duty."* In addition to these citations, which were is easy to increase, Doctor Whitby, in concluding the first chapter of this discourse, has the following sentence: “ That any supernatural habits must be infused into us in an instant, and not produced by frequent actions, or that any other supernatural aid is requisite to the conversion of a sinner, besides the forementioned illumination of the Holy Spirit, and the impression which He makes upon our hearts by the IDEAS which he raises in us, is that which my hypothesis by no means allows; which ideas, though they be raised by a physical operation, yet are they moral in their operations.”ť

These passages, in which he has incidentally disclosed his views of the operations of the Spirit, demonstrate them to be “ of the same sort with inspiration.” It is easy to see, that under such instruction, individuals of ardent temperament, and fertile imagination, can hardly fail of imputing to the suggestion of the Holy Spirit, every strange, and extravagant, and ruinous notion, which, under the pressure of religious excitement, their own minds may bring into exist

It is scarcely possible for them to avoid the conclusion, that they are favoured with instructions immediately from God. To see how such individuals in these circumstances can be kept from hurtful fanaticism, is far more difficult, than to tell how they are led into it. The passage, under such instruction, to the most mischievous errours, is direct and inviting. No thinking man can deny that this view of the work of the Spirit tends to produce, or to countenance the most fatal delusions.

But it may be asked how this view of the subject can affect the question concerning the origin of American Perfectionism, and its kindred branches of fanaticism. We reply, that although Pelagius, Arminius, and Whitby are dead, they yet speak. Though their works may be rarely known even by scholars, and probably were never read by scarcely


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* Whitby's Discourses, p. 178.

+ Ibid. pp. 169, 170, 175, 176.

1 * Sermons on various Subjects, by C. G. Finney, No. 1. p. 19. t Ibid. p. 21.

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an individual of their theological posterity ; their system exists and is openly taught. Are we asked again, how the modern teachers learned it? We reply, in the same manner as their predecessors learned it. Mankind need no guide to errour in religion. The human heart has always been reluctant to receive a doctrine so humbling as that, which denies regeneration to be the choice of “ the flesh." While, therefore, we concede, that the promoters of this system in our land, may never have read the authors which have just been named; it is not difficult to show, that in their leading principles, there is an entire agreement. It is here a source of unfeigned regret, that of those preachers in our generation, whose views of the work of the Spirit are of the same sort as those of Whitby, few have published them. On this account, it is impossible to substantiate, by their own writings, the grossest forms of this errour as it has been publicly taught, and we are therefore compelled to quote from the most cautious, and probably the least exceptionable of them all.

The Rev. Charles G. Finney, in his discourse, entitled, “ Sinners bound to change their own Hearts,” enquires,“When the Son of God approaches you, gathering motives from heaven, earth, and hell, and pours them in a focal blaze upon your mind, how is it that you are strong enough to resist ?"* Here then the subject of divine operation is taught, that in this process there are both motives and a “focal blaze;" and perhaps he will draw the conclusion, that they may exist either in combination or separately. Again, the author says, “ Not only does the preacher cry, Stop! but, through the living voice of the preacher, the Spirit cries, Stop ! The preacher cries, Turn ye, for why will ye die? The Spirit pours the expostulation home with such power, that the sinner turns.”+ In this instance every intelligent man will desire to be informed, whether the cry of the Spirit be any thing distinct from the cry of the preacher ? He can readily understand what it is for the preacher to cry,“ Stop !" But what is this additional cry, through the living voice of the preacher ? Does the Spirit increase the power of the voice, or give additional meaning to the words of the preacher, or convey some meaning entirely distinct from them?


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