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sary powers to know, love, and make choice of God. He has, however, all the powers necessary to render him an accountable being. Why then does he not perform the duties just named? I answer, he is totally depraved, and destitute of all the requisite powers to perform them. What then is necessary to enaable a sinner to know, love, and serve God? To this I answer, powers, which, as a sinner, he never possessed: powers which he cannot acquire by the operation of any, nor by the combined operation of all the powers he possesses. They are powers of the new heart which is produced by the regenerating spirit. These powers seem to consist in the new perceptions and new relish of the renewed mind.
The change, produced in regeneration, does not include ang new mental faculties, but new intellectual views of the divine perfections, and new feelings towards God, which induce the mind to approve and make choice of him as the best portion.
Regeneration heals the disorders of the mental faculties; re- . moves blindness from the understanding, hardness from the feeling faculty, perverseness from the will, and communicates the powers necessary to know, love and serve God.
Such is the constitution of the human mind, that as soon as we perceive the loveliness of an object, we necessarily love it, and if so circumstanced as to be an object of choice, we choose it for a possession. Love does not depend on the will, any more than vision depends upon the ears.
As soon as the sinner obtains a spiritual knowledge of God, he immediately and necessarily loves and chooses him as his God and portion, under the influence of the motives which are furnished by his intellect. And as soon as he understands the laws of God, he esteems them righteous and excellent, and devotes himself to the service of his Supreme Sovereign.
J. F. (To be continued.)
TRUE WISDOM. While we are in this state of being, we must encounter difficulties, and struggle with uneasiness. The heart will be often dissatisfied, we know not why, and sigh for, we know not what: our noblest faculty will stand an unconcerned spectator, as if unconscious of its power. In such cases, reason ought to be roused from its stupor, and to a reminiscence of the task to which it is appointed. It should be reminded of the exalted office it holds in the economy of the soul, and made to know the insidious snares and watchfulness of its enemies. But while we labour under the restlessness of discontent, we cannot
take a surer method to recover our peace of mind, than calmly to survey the folly, the unsatisfactoriness of every passion that centres in earth, and of the pursuits that end with our present mode of existence. Suppose our earthly aims were directed to: their object by the favouring gale of fortune? Suppose our pursuits should be crowned with all the success that Aattering hope assigns them? Yet, impotent, vain and variable as we are, the attainment would not be worth a momentary triumph. While the heart turns on an earthly axis, like this perishable sphere that it loves, it will be variously affected by external influence. At one time it may bear the fruits of gladness, at another be the desert of sorrow. One while the sun of pleasure may rise upon it, and again it will be shrouded in the gloom of discontent. The cause of this is, not only that the human heart is in itself changeable, often deriving its sensations from constitutional influence, but that the objects, if they are earthly, on which it depends for happiness, are all liable to variation and decay.
Under the impression of these circumstances, the heart still feels a void, which nothing can fill, but the unsearchable riches of the love of God in Christ Jesus. It is then religion presents views, where our hope of happiness is fixed on a sure foundation, on one certain event, on the love of Him who pities us, as a father, full of commiseration, who is in himself invariably the same, yesterday, to-day and forever. It is then we see that happiness is not to be derived from the world, or from ourselves, but from Him who loved us, and gave himself to die for us, that our hope of immortal happiness might be secure, when we live in the faith and practice of his pure and undefiled religion to the end. This event, though remote, cannot be altered by any human contingency. Here the heart has a sure foundation, on which it may rest. Without this sure anchorage of the soul amidst the storms of life, we should be tossed to and fro by every tempest of passion, by every wind of fortune and doctrine, the sport of folly and the dupes of fallacious expectation. To this immoveable rock religion directs us, in the hopes of immortality.
If we examine with candour, the principles, operation and effects of true religion, and compare it with every enjoyment that is of an earthly and transitory nature, we may trace the superiority of the wisdom that comes from above. We know from the words of divine revelation we shall exist in another state of being, after our present tabernacle is crumbled into dust. We are confirmed in this exalted hope, by every benevolent purpose of the God of love, through his grace in Christ Jesus, that by faith in his atoning blood, our future existence shall be infinitely happy. In this glorious hope, the interests
of a temporary life are swallowed up and lost. This hope, like the serpent of Aaron, devours the mock phantoms created by the magic of this world, and at once shows the vanity of all earthly pursuits, when the heart rests on them for happiness. Compared with this prospect, how poor, how barren, would every scene of mortal happiness appear! How despicable at the best, yet how liable to be destroyed or lost by every storm of adversity! For are we not exposed to a thousand accidents, the most trifling of which may be sufficient to break a scheme of happiness, however providently laid ?
What are those conditions in life that are most eagerly sought or admired ? Are they not, the splendour of the great, the affluence of the rich, the voluptuousness of the sensualist, which are generally preferred to true religion?
But are these above the reach of misfortune? Are they exempt from the importunities of care? The exalted station of the great is but the object of envy, of impertinence and pride. Riches create often more wants than they are able to gratify. Were our wishes that lead to these accomplished, we should in the end unavoidably be disappointed. The acquisition for a time might soothe our vanity ; but the heart would soon sigh for ease and seclusion; it would envy
and content of those, whom pride would call our vassals. If wealth or grandeur then cannot afford us happiness, where shall we seek it? Is it to be found in the cell of the solitary hermit? or does it keep its midnight vigils in the cloister, or watches it the lamp of the learned? Loves it the society of laughing mirth? or does it court the pensive pleasures of meditation? Is it only genuine in the cordiality of friendship? or in the lasting tenderness of married love ? Alas! this train of alternatives will not do. Should we shun the troubles of social life by flying to the lonely desert, we would soon sigh for the enjoyment of those things we had Aed from and quarrelled with. The strongest mind would not long contain the burden of uncommunicated thought, and the firmest heart languish in the stagnation of melancholy. Ask the solitary scholar, if ever, in his learned researches, he beheld the retreat of happiness. Investigation for amusement is all that he will pretend to; amusement, in quest of which the active powers of the mind are frequently jaded, the understanding enervated by the pains of attention, and the memory oppressed by ideas that can never profit.
Yet perhaps she may be found mingling with society, and swelling the echo of boisterous festivity. Ah! no, the joy of the light footed dance, the bravo! bravo! that dins the ear from the pit, or boxes of the theatre, cannot be called happiness; for the noise of mirth will vanish, like the echo of the VOL. II.-Presb. Mag.
evening; even in laughter the heart is often sad. If in the philosophic entertainment, that feast of reason, we are able to distinguish the elegance of conversation, we shall often be disgusted with the arrogance of pride, or the impertinence of folly: and if not, we may be amused with the scene, but can never taste the pleasure of society. From the tender engagements of friendship and love, we have as little reason to hope for happiness. For the condition of human life is at best so uncertain, that it is even dangerous for the heart to form any connexions that are dear and tender. The tenderness of love lays the heart open to many sufferings, to many painful apprehensions, for the safety of its object, to many uneasy sensations, both from real and imaginary causes. From want of a better remedy, to these ceaseless evils, the wisdom of ancient philosophy taught her votaries to bid a brave defiance to the influence of pleasure and pain. This maxim it urges with unremitting assiduity, without making any allowance for particular tempers or circumstances; without instructing us how to behave under the solicitations of joy or pleasure; how to defend the heart from the inroads of sorrow, or guard against the unseen stratagems of distress.
Under these evils and disappointments, where can the human heart turn, but to the gospel of our Redeemer, which affords the noblest and the safest refuge. With the exalted hopes that it presents to us, the sufferings of the present life ought not to be compared. The pleasures of this divine wisdom, never cloys the desire, nor enfeebles the powers of the immortal mind. In the glorious hopes that the gospel inspires, let us bury every anxious thought, the uneasiness of discontent, and the solicitude of care. Let us by faith obey its precepts, adhere to its promises, and practise the injunctions of the religion which Christ revealed and established, as in this we shall find a happiness and peace which the world can neither give nor take away. A very few years, perhaps a few months, or weeks, or days, may bring us into a state of being, where sin and misery shall perplex no more. Though we have now our bed in darkness and our pillow on the thorn, yet the time draweth nigh, when we shall taste of life without anguish, and enjoy the light without bitterness of soul. At that hour, religion we find our only aid and comfort; when worldly enjoyments recede from our view, love to the glorious Author and Finisher of our faith can give us true happiness. As the day of life is far spent, and must terminate in the moonless night of the grave, let us now watch the seductions of the world, which promises happiness, but can never bestow it. We are momently hastening to that scene of existence, where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest--where hope
shall no more be cut off by disappointment, and where the distresses of time are forgotten in the joys of eternity-where love flows from heart to heart, without the stream from the fountain being lessened by the number who receive its influx, and where real happiness cannot be interrupted.
To this superiority must be carefully connected the proper • choice and criterion of a true religion. Amidst the vast variety of religious systems now in vogue, it behoves us to make the proper distinction and prefer the best. Examiné, if you can, that which is called the religion of nature the religion of the Heathen-of the Pagan—of the Mahomedan-their religion too who have set up reason as their deity, through all the intermediate steps of deism, down to that which is gratuitously called rational Christianity. Examine all their precepts and the legitimate practice to which they lead. Take an impartial view of the obscene rites and idolatrous worship of the Gentile nations -the lascivious paradise, and the bloody and tyrannical dogmas of Mahomed--the accommodating tenets and spirit of those who have assumed the name of Christ, yet deny his proper deity, and risk their salvation and future happiness on the critical explanation of a few words; who, to maintain a system, would rob God of justice and holiness, and of the glory of salvation. With these compare the doctrines, the precepts, the promises, the threatening, which purport to be the revelation of the will of God, by Christ Jesus, his only begotten Son and express image, who was made flesh and dwelt amongst us-who came to redeem our fallen race. Recollect his character. Keep a steady eye on the permanent expression of his good will to his followers, in which he lived, by which he suffered, for which he died. What now would you expect from a mind so purely and habitually benign? Is it possible that a heart so warm and wide, could harbour a narrow wish or utter a partial sentiment; could do one act, or assume one prerogative, that would derogate from the glory of God, who sent him down as mediator between him and his revolted creatures? Most fortunately, on this point, the fullest satisfaction is in every man's power. Go search his gospel, the religion God has revealed, and Christ has published to men, for their instruction and belief, to the bottom. Search it not, however, in those artificial theories, which have done it the most lasting injury: not in their manner,
who his name, but overlook his example of humility; who say they believe in the merits of his death, without practising those graces that adorned his life: not in those wild, deluded, and romantic opinions, which, to make us Christians, would make us fools:But in those writings given by inspiration, containing the history of God's dealings with mankind, and his gospel, which, in the most peculiar and exclusive sense, are the words