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mankind. Some extol the native powers of the human soul to such a degree, that one would imagine they had never heard or read of the Fall; or that they had resided amongst a race of mortals allied in power and spirit to the angels above. They talk of good hearts, and good intentions, and good dispositions, and good actions, and good every thing. They magnify the power of the will, as if it could accomplish all that is great and noble. They eulogise the powers of the mind, as if they were equal to fathom the deepest, or to reach the loftiest subjects, in natural and revealed religion.

Others there are, who, in their zeal to debase human nature, make man no better than a mere machine, acted upon by a dire necessity; so that every sinful action, instead of being the product of his own rebellious will, and thus deserving of eternal punishment, is attributed to some secret impulse, over which the man has no control. He does, what he does, because, as they express it, "He is fated to do it." Such doctrine opens the flood-gate of iniquity. If men can believe that they are not responsible for their conduct, they are prepared for every work which Satan urges them to perform.

These two statements are equally opposed to the Scriptures of Truth. The path of truth lies between the two extremes.

To those who unduly extol human nature, I would say,-Man is a fallen creature, yet still possessing some relics of his original glory. He is endued with an immortal spirit; with a mind which can soar among the stars, measure their distances, and span their mighty bulk. He is like a palace in ruins.

The powers of the human mind are indeed vast, when exercised upon natural things. How wonderfully has Newton discovered the laws which regulate and govern our solar system. With what discriminating judgment has Locke unfolded the various faculties of the understanding. All this proves that man, though fallen, is a being far superior to the

rest of animated nature. He can look before and after. He can reason, reflect, and draw conclusions.

Yet, deny this who can. His natural understanding is dark respecting the things of God. His will is averse from the will of God. His affections recoil from the holy law of God. The pride of his reason rises against "the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh."* He spurns at the sublimity of those evangelical doctrines which are calculated to humble him in the dust, and to exalt the Redeemer on the throne of his glory.

Hence, it is evident, that "the world by wisdom knows not God;"+ that mere science, unaided by light from above, will never lead the philosopher to the foot of the Cross, or transform him into a little child, into an humble, docile learner in the school of Christ, Yet, blessed be God, his grace has accomplished even such a wonder as this! Newton, the prince of philosophers, consecrated his master-mind to the service of religion, which has thrown a halo of glory around his name.‡

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"He was of a very meek disposition, and a great lover of peace. To his other great qualities, he added a serious and devou reverence for religion. His favourite study was the Bible; the prophecies of which he illustrated by his researches. He conformed to the Church of England, but he lived in friendship with good men of all communions; and he was an enemy to every kind of persecution. Sir Isaac had a great abhorrence of infidelity, and never failed to reprove those who made free with Revelation in his presence, of which the following is an instance :-The learned Dr. Halley was sceptically inclined, and sometimes took the liberty of sporting with the Scriptures. On one occasion, Sir Isaac said to him, 'Dr. Halley, I am always glad to hear you, when you speak about astronomy, or other parts of mathematics, because that is a subject which you have studied and well understand; but you should not talk of Christianity, for you have not studied it; I have, and know you know nothing of the matter." "Biog. Brit.

It is beautiful to behold philosophy as the handmaid of religion, to see the loftiest scientific mind lowly bending at the foot of the Cross.

If it be asked, can unassisted reason find out God? Can it find out the Almighty to perfection? St. Paul has answered the question :- 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."* Our spiritual ignorance, then, is so great through the Fall, and the enmity of our will to divine truth so bitter, that nothing can remove the one or destroy the other, but the Spirit of God himself. Whenever this operation takes place in the soul, it is altogether undeserved on the sinner's part, and consequently an act of sovereign grace on the part of the Almighty. Salvation is of the Lord.† Destruction is from ourselves.‡

To those who represent man as a mere machine, acting from necessity, I would say, It is true man has no power to come to Christ for life and salvation, without the supernatural operation of the Holy Ghost; but whence arises this inability to come to Christ?

Properly to understand this point, would prevent many fatal errors. Man does not labour under a natural incapacity, but under a moral inability in the performance of divine things. He who said, "No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him,"§ said also, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."||

God made man perfect. He endued him with an understanding capable of contemplating the Author of his existence; with a will ready to obey his commandments; with affections to love him and delight in him; with a memory to retain whatsoever things were pure and lovely; with speech to extol and praise him; and with a body in every way calculated to promote the end and design of his creation.

When Adam fell through wilful transgression, these various powers and faculties of soul and body

Hosea xiii. 9.

* 1 Cor. ii. 14.
§ John vi. 44.

+ Jonah ii. 9.

|| John v. 40.

became perverted and corrupt. The blinding, hardening nature of sin, in conjunction with the power which Satan had over him, through yielding to his temptation, was the sole cause of his inability to love and serve his Creator. The image of God, in which he was originally created, departed from him, and the image of the evil one was impressed upon him. His mind became darkened; his heart, hardened; his will, obstinate; his affections, carnal; his memory, the storehouse of evil things; his tongue, an instrument of mischief; his whole body, polluted and unclean. Thus man is an object of the divine displeasure, a child of wrath, an heir of hell! His opposition to the will of heaven arises from the rooted enmity of his will to God and goodness; and herein principally lies the guilt and turpitude of sin, whereby man renders himself peculiarly obnoxious to eternal holiness and justice. Is it not, then, evident that man does not perish from the want of any natural power or capacity to serve God, but from the determined opposition of his depraved and rebellious will to the rich grace and mercy so freely offered to him in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Describing the state of the heathen world, St. Paul declares, "Their foolish heart was darkened......God gave them up unto vile affections........God gave them over to a reprobate


Take the most inveterate sinner, and ask him, Have you not an equal power of body to walk into the church, as into the tavern or the theatre ? Or, does all natural strength fail, as soon as the temple of God is proposed to be visited by you?

Have you not as much power to read the Bible, as to read a novel and a newspaper? Or, do your eyes grow naturally dim the moment you open the sacred pages?

Have you not as much power to beg of God to help you in time of need, as to seek it from an earthly friend in seasons of distress? Or, does some strange

* Rom. i. 21, 26, 28.

fit seize you at the moment of commencing prayer, and render you incapable of imploring aid?

The answer to these questions is self-evident. No one can say, that any sinner has a natural incapacity to perform these outward duties. Why, then, does he not perform them? Because he wILL NOT. The impediment lies solely in the will. His inability is altogether of a moral nature, and consequently he is without the least shadow of excuse.

It may be said, and scripturally so, that should the sinner perform these duties with ever so much exactness, yet, without the grace of God, ordinances, would be to him as "clouds without water;" as food, without nourishment; that the Bible would be as a sealed book, and prayer no better than an empty


This is true, for, by 66 grace are we saved,”* and not by any works of our own. Without Christ we can do nothing that is good; nothing that is acceptable, or well-pleasing unto God. But, is not this, I would ask, an additional argument why we should seek this help, and implore this salvation? Ought not this conviction of our helplessness to drive us to him who is almighty to deliver? And is not this salvation freely offered in the gospel to every seeking soul? Oh! that men would but act in spiritual, as they do in temporal things. If they were as careful of the soul, as they are of the body, we should not be troubled with so many nice and subtle distinctions, and disputations, about the freedom and bondage of the will; such extremes in setting forth the dignity and the debasement of man, such darkening of the plainest and simplest truths of the gospel. How strong are the exhortations of St. Paul to sleeping sinners: "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."+" Awake to righteousness, and sin not."+

Men scruple not to use the ordinary means for preserving the health of the body,

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and to apply

1 Cor. xv. 34.

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