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beauty and harmony, and which, at the same time, satisfactorily developes our relations towards him, and his dealings towards us, is unquestionably revelation. Now, whatsoever external light and knowledge respecting God and his truth is derived to us through the medium of revelation, is plainly to be attributed to the influence and operation of the Holy Spirit, who not only dwelt immeasurably in Jesus Christ, but filled and animated the patriarchs, the prophets, the evangelists, and the apostles, qualifying them for service, dictating their predictions, and inspiring all their doctrine. We are assured by the apostle Peter, that it was the Spirit of Christ in the ancient Israelitish prophets, which "testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow :" 1 Pet. i, 11. "My speech and my preaching," said Paul to the Corinthians," was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:" 1 Cor. ii, 4. "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:" 12, 13, &c.
As the ministry of the apostles and their followers was inspired by the Holy Ghost, so were they qualified by the Spirit to be instruments in the working of those miracles, by which the divine origin of their doctrine was publicly demonstrated to the world. Whatsoever gifts indeed have been at any time bestowed on the Lord's servants, for the establishment and maintenance of the church on earth, they are all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another, the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another, faith by the same Spirit; to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, discerning of Spirits; to another, divers kinds of tongues; to another, the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will :" 1 Cor. xii, 7—11.
If, then, the true church of Jesus Christ on earth (composed as it is of all real Christians under whatsoever name) is, in a certain limited sense, "the pillar and ground of the truth;" (1 Tim. iii, 15;) if the universal society of the disciples of Jesus is "the light of the world-a city set on a hill," which "cannot be hid;" (Matt. v, 14;) if divine truth is, through this appointed means, outwardly maintained and pro
mulgated in the world-such a result is to be primarily attributed to the operation of the Holy Spirit. And to the same divine Agent is to be primarily attributed also, the existence of that sacred volume of the Bible-that free and invaluable gift of God to man-which contains (as I have already endeavoured to demonstrate) a divinely authorized record, of all the doctrines which we are required to believe, and of all the duties which we are bound to practise : see Essay V.
It is not, however, the possession of information respecting the truths of religion, nor the conviction of the natural understanding of their reality, that will be sufficient, in themselves, to save the soul from death, or to prepare it for the unsullied happiness of the heavenly mansions. Saving knowledge is not a mere intellectual acquirement; it is a spiritual apprehension of divine things. Whatever may be our measure of mental cultivation on the subject of religion, we are destitute of this saving knowledge until we form something like a just estimate of the Supreme Being, as an object, at once, of reverential fear, and of filial love and confidence-until we behold things temporal, and things eternal, in their true relative proportions--until we entertain an adequate view of the deformity of vice, and of the beauty and excellence of virtue--until, above all, we have been impressed with a lively sense of the boundless mercies of God in Christ Jesus, and, with the eye of faith, have beheld the unspeakable grace and beauty of the Beloved of Souls.
Now, in order to the attainment of this just view—this essential, practical, knowledge-of divine things, it is indispensably necessary that the perverted moral optics of fallen man, should be changed and rectified; and this work can be effected only by the Holy Spirit, who not only causes the truths of Christianity to be outwardly revealed to us, but bestows upon us that sound and experimental sense of them, which is alone effectual for our regeneration and salvation. It was the prayer of the apostle Paul for his Ephesian brethren, that God would give unto them "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation," in the knowledge of Christ; " the eyes of their understanding being enlightened," that they might know "what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power:" Eph. i, 17-19. And that all such saving knowledge of the truth is foreign from our own nature, and is wrought in man by the Holy Spirit, the same apostle has expressly determined in the following com
prehensive passage: "The natural inan 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 but he that is spiritual (i. e. he that is influenced by the Spirit) discerneth* all things, yet he himself is discerned of no man :" 1 Cor. ii, 14, 15.
With that divine illumination of the understanding to which we have now adverted, respecting God and Christ, sin holiness, life, death, and eternity, is closely-perhaps inseparably -connected a corresponding change of the heart or affections. Those who have attained to a spiritual apprehension of the power, the sovereignty, the wisdom, and all the moral perfections, of the Supreme Being, can scarcely fail to fear, honor, love, and desire him above all things. Those who have been enabled, by divine grace, to embrace any adequate view of the comparative nothingness of things temporal, and of the unsearchable depth and importance of eternity, will not long continue destitute of a powerful impulse to deliver themselves from the bondage of the world, and to lay firm hold of everenduring happiness. Those who are quickened of God to a due sense of the deep depravity of sin, and of the unblemished loveliness of virtue, will assuredly be anxious to escape from the corruptions of their fallen nature, and to live in conformity with the divine law, which is holy, and just, and true. Those, lastly, who know that God is their reconciled Father through Christ, and that Jesus has bought them with the precious price of his own blood, are furnished with almost irresistible motives to devote themselves to the service, and to follow the footsteps, of their Holy Redeemer. Now, this change of mind and affection, as well as of sentiment, is the work, not of the natural man, nor of any of his faculties, but solely of the Lord's Spirit for persons in whom such a change has taken place are spiritually minded, and they only are spiritually minded who have submitted themselves to the influence, and are, therefore, following the dictates, of the Converter and Sanctifier of men. "To be carnally minded," said the apostle Paul to the Romans, "is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So, then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the SPIRIT OF GOD
* 1 Cor. ii, 15. àvangíve" discerneth." I have here adopted the common English marginal version, which is evidently correct: comp. v, 14: vide Schleusner lex. in voc.
DWELL IN YOU. Now, if any man have not the SPIRIT OF CHRIST, he is none of his :" Rom. viii, 6-9.
Now, I conceive, that all those persons, of every denomination and condition, who have experienced such a change, of view on the one hand, and of disposition on the other, are properly described as the regenerate children of God. They are introduced to a new world, and are animated by new principles of action. A "new heart" is given to them, and a "new spirit" is put within them. They are born a second time, born from above, born of the eternal Spirit of the Father of light and holiness. "As many as received him," says the apostle John respecting Jesus Christ, "to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God:" John i, 12, 13.
Under that free operation of the Spirit, which is as the wind blowing where it listeth, examples may probably sometimes occur of the very rapid and even sudden production of that revolution in the sentiments and affections of fallen man, which has now been depicted, and of which the beginning only can be properly described as a new birth. Such an example is afforded by the history of the apostle Paul, who, within the compass of one short journey, was first a persecutor of the Christians, and afterwards a preacher of Christianity ;—who left Jerusalem, the proud, furious, sanguinary, bigot,—and entered Damascus the subdued and contrite believer, prepared to be an instrument of honor in his master's hands, for the most extensive propagation of the Gospel, which any individual has ever been the means of effecting. But, in general, this vital change is very gradual, and its precise commencement, as well as the daily progress of its growth, are often impalpable alike to the regenerate man himself and to the persons by whom he is surrounded. "So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground, and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself, first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear:" Mark, iv, 26-28. All that we can, for the most part, safely say on the subject is this-that, as the vital principle of religion-the immortal seed of the kingdom-springs up and unfolds itself in the heart of the believer, the celestial plant is known by its fruits.
During the progress of the work of religion-a work in general, slow and gradual-of which the commencement is regeneration, and the end salvation, it cannot be denied, that the
individual who has been really quickened by the Spirit, and is therefore born again, is nevertheless exposed to many seasons of doubt and darkness, and wages a painful, and sometimes unequal warfare, with the infirmity and corruptions of the flesh, with the temptations of the world, and with the power of the enemy. Such a warfare is described, in affecting terms, by the apostle Paul :-"We know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do, I allow not for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I....I delight in the law of God after the inward man. But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" The answer to this question was, "I thank God," or according to another reading of the Greek Text, " the grace of God* through Jesus Christ our Lord;" and this answer introduces the full enunciation of that glorious doctrine already adverted to, that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus "makes free from the law of sin and death❞—that, "what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled (or completed) in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit :" Rom. vii, 14-25; viii, 2—4.
Although, therefore, the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit, which strive within us, and are contrary the one to the other, is often long-continued, and perhaps is seldom entirely finished, until the moment when the thread of the Christian's life is cut, and death is swallowed up in victory, we ought, nevertheless, to be consoled and encouraged under the assurance that divine grace is omnipotent, and to press forward with holy diligence and magnanimity towards the only practical standard proposed to us by the Gospel--the standard of uninterrupted piety, charity, and holiness.
This remark will form a natural introduction to the doctrine of Scripture, that the Holy Spirit not only regenerates fallen man, by effecting in him the first change from darkness to light, and from moral death to a spiritual life, but, during the whole progress of the work of religion in our souls, is our teacher, our helper and comforter, and, above all, our sancti
χάρις τοῦ Θεοῦ, instead of Εὐχαριστώ τῷ Θεῷ. Vide Gr. Test Griesbach; Rom. vii, 25.
+ Rom. viii, 4, wangu. Vide Schleusner lex. in voc. 5 & 6.