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What if you hold from fortune's flattering smile,
Turn, turn to Christ; be teachable and mild,
Many have long been of the opinion, and still feel, and express the decidedly erroneous sentiment, that the religious views and principles of the venerated and deceased Bishop Hobart were of a cold and formal character, and that he assumed that “an entire change of the natural heart of man was not necessary to his salvation."
It is our purpose to do away such error, and that "the memory of the just be blest,” we give his own language on that vital and truly-important subject.
MAN'S NATURAL DEPRAVITY, AND THE NECESSITY OF THE NEW BIRTH.
(Extracted from his Posthumous Works.] “ In his general character, man must be born again, must undergo a spiritual change, as a fallen and corrupt creature.”
“ Blind to spiritual truth, and incapable of spiritual good, except as he is enlightened and sanctified by the DIVINE SPIRIT, it is apparent that fallen and corrupt man requires the renewing agency of this divine Guide and Sanctifier. On account, then, of the misdirection and abuse of his powers and propensities, his state by nature, independently of divine grace, is characterized as a state of blindness, impotency and sin. The natural man discerneth not the things of the Spirit of God.' "The carnal mind is enmity against God.' We are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves.' This is the language of Scripture. What is the language of fact? Who are they that understand and relish the sublime and holy truths of the Gospel? Who are they that exhibit a uniform and consistent course of piety and virtue? Who are they that not only do justly and love mercy, but walk humbly with their God'— revering and loving his attributes, serving him in righteousness and holiness, submitting to his institutions and ordinances ? Are there any who thus merit the character of holy and righteous men— none but those who, in humility and sincerity, , have invoked, and in the use of the prescribed means, have received the enlightening and sanctifying influence of the Divine Spirit? Fact, then, as well as Scripture, enforces the necessity of a spiritual change in man, as a fallen and corrupt being."
“Self-love may attempt to blind and to flatter thee; and yet, successful as may be her efforts, she cannot conceal from thee the lamentable fact, that, under the guidance, and with the efforts of thy own reason and strength, thou art in a greater or less degree, under the dominion of corrupt passion, and far, very far from those holy attainments that mark the righteous man. What, then, should be the conclusion? That thy corrupt nature must be purified by a power superior to thine own, — by that agency which in mercy God has provided for the sanctification of his fallen creatures the renewing of the Holy Ghost. - Thou must be born again."
RECTOR OF ST. JAMES' CHURCH, WILMINGTON, NORTH-CAROLINA.
Acts xxiv, 25—“And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come,
Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a more conrenient season, I will call for thee."
The subject, though one of every-day consideration, is replete with profit to the inquiring mind. It equally exhibits those truths which it most behoves us to contemplate — the effect which it is their object to accomplish, as awakening to the consciousness of sin—and the manner in which they are received often by those to whom they are declared.
The characteristics of the human heart are always the same. Circumstances alone occasion the differences which are every day observable. And individuals are ever the representatives only of the species to which they belong, exhibiting in their own condition and habitudes the leading traits by which the whole are distinguished ; and standing forth as examples of what man is in his generic character, and the course he will follow under the combined influence of certain prevailing motives, and, unrestrained by the operations of sanctifying grace, to the rejection even of those duties which conscience designates as right.
As attending to this, we are possessed of no ordinary advantage in our estimate of human condition ; and we have the inestimable benefit also of applying it as a test of personal character in the sight of God. Indeed, the only profitable way either to read the Scriptures, or to hear them preached, is with a view to this their particular and most undoubted application.
We must feel that we have an interest in them; that they are addressed directly to the conscience — that they have an immediate claim upon the heart — and that their examples have been set forth as illustrations chiefly of what human nature is in the different situations which it is called to occupy, and the different relations which it is left to sustain in this present life. The great mirror of truth is thus held up in such a diversity of lights before us, as that we cannot fail to discern ourselves in it. And such a knowledge is thereby imparted to us also of the heart, in the midst of its corruptions, as utterly to preclude a misjudgment concerning it, where an inquiry as to its character is dispassionately begun; and so as to conduct us likewise to its ultimate and complete renewal, where the work of its rectitification is persevered in, with an humble reliance upon the assisting grace of God.
These things are abundantly “profitable therefore for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” This is their design; improved, this will will be their end. They show forth the nature, the power, the efficacy, of Gospel truth. They exhibit it in its application to ourselves. They call us to make a sanctified use of it; and accordingly, as we shall be enabled to discern the leading features of our minds, and to trace out the prevailing affections of our own hearts, so as to be instructed and warned by their examples, shall we be in the end benefited by them. For, as saying to us, in the emphatic language of the Prophet to David, “Thou art the man;" and, as opening to us such views of our own condition before God, as we find exhibited in his holy word, they fit us for that use and improvement of them which will set their examples as beacons before us, to warn us from the paths of error, and guide us into the way of truth. Therefore, this defence of St. Paul before the Roman Governor was put upon record; and, in the course of it, whilst those things are declared which may be felt to be of the deepest and most lasting importance to each of us, with their legitimate effect in awakening to the consciousness of individual guilt, we shall find exhibited also, in the utter aversion of the heart from the contemplation of spiritual truth, one of the prime instruments of self-deception, and one of the most powerful weapons with which “the adversary” accomplishes the destruction of immortal souls. “Go thy way for this time,” is the plausible evasion offered; “when I have a more convenient season I will call for thee,” the excuse with which conscience is satisfied; and though awakened to the most sensible conviction of sin, of righteousness, and of a judgment to come;" yea, though so awakened as even to tremble under the apprehensions which are excited by them, the voice of admonition is silenced — the stirrings of the HOLY Spirit are resisted the fear of God is successfully banished from the heart; and the dupe of a self-practised deception perseveringly encourages himself in the indulgence of a false security when every thing is conspiring to assure him that only sudden and irremediable destruction is awaiting bim.
1. In the text, we have exhibited, in the first place, the substance of Gospel trụth. Paul “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come.” He “reasoned”-he addressed himself to the understanding and the heart. It formed no part of his endeavor to excite the passions, to create an undue effervescence of feeling which would subside with the preacher's voice. His subject was an important one. It was of the most weighty import to those especially who were then before him. He addressed himself therefore particularly to them; and, though their prisoner, under restraint before them, with matchless intrepidity, he declared to them the truth - he set before them the character of their past lives he addressed himself to their consciences on the ground of their transgressions—he accused them of their violations of the moral law and forewarned them of the fearful consequences of their sins, when they should be called into judgment finally on account of them.
And these are things which it behoves us, my hearers, to make the subjects of particular and patient consideration — “Righteousness,” “Temperance,” “ Judgment.” In the first is included those rules by which we must be governed in our