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by extraneous circumstances merely, the work of the flesh; for “they are that ihe deluded subject may fancy contrary the one to the other." 'l'hen, that he is under iminediate divine in- by considering which of these two we spiration. These feelings are stronger perform, we shall be able to determine in youth than in age; in health, than whether we are in a state of grace or in sickness ; in persons of weak judg. not. It is not by glows and ruptures, ment and nervous constitution, than in as some have vainly imagined, that we those of sound understanding and strong can know of our conversion, but it is
Christianity," says a learn- by our actions. “Now the works of ed divine," is a religion of action, upon the flesh," says St. Paul, “are manithe foundations of principle and calm fest; which are these ; adultery, fornireflection. This doctrine of perceptible cation, uncleanness, &c. &c. &c. of cmversion, reduces it to a religion whole which I tell you before, as I have also ly of feelings, uncertain, variable, and told you in times past, that they which unsatisfactory. A healthy or a weak do such things shall not inherit the state of the body-hunger, or stimulat- kingdom of God.” Gal. v. 19-21. ing diet-animated or languid preach. We have here a catalogue of vices, ing-solitude, or the communicated which are the works of the flesh, such impulse of congregational enthusiasm as the unrenewed nature of man is inelevations, or depressions produced by clined to practice, and which will exa variety of circumstances, may exalt clude him from the kingdom of heaveil. or abate a man's opinion of his state If, therefore, we habitually and willingbefore God, while it actually continues ly indulge in any of these, our nature unaltered by any of these agencies. is unrenewed, and we cannot be in a They are therefore inadequate and im- state of grace. On the other hand, proper standards for measuring a sense of the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, our spiritual condition.” Our blessed peace, long-suffering, gentleness, good. Lord himself assures us, that we can ness," &c. &c. &c. Gal. v. 22-24. only discover the operations of grace. The apostle has here enumerated some by its effects. “The wind," says he, of the fruits of the Spirit, and opposed "bloweth where it listeth, and thou them io the works of the flesh. Now in hearest the sound thereof, but canst order to know whether we are not tell whence it comelb, nor whither of the Spirit,” we have only to in. it goeth ; so is every one that is born of quire of ourselves, whether we bring the Spirit."
forth its fruits. Have we crucified the But, my dear sir, as you have asked flesh, with the affections and lusts? Do my opinion on this important subject, I we love God and our neighbour ? Are must beg your indulgence if I appear to we in charity with all mankind ? forbe too tediously minute ; for I wish to bearing one another in love ?" Are we state my ideas on a matter of such vital temperate in all things ? never abusing concern, so as, if possible, not to be mis- the blessings of Providence to the panunderstood. Let me now request your pering our vicious appetites ? Are attention to the solution of this question we patient under our afflictions ? Do -How can a person know whether be we not habitually and wilfully conhas been born of the Spirit? This is an tinue in any known sin? Do we strive, inquiry of infinite importance ; for our as much as in us lies, to perform the
except a man be born whole will of God, relying on his grace of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter to assist our feeble endeavours ? In a into the kingdom of God." John iii. 5. word, do we practice righteousness? If In order to come at a right solution of we do these, we may rest assured that this question, we must know what are we are under the gracious influences of the fruits of the Spirit, as opposed to God's Holy Spirit, although we cannot 4
ADVOCATE, VOL. II.
tell the manner how, or the time when ley, “a bewitching doctrine, which it operates on our hearts. “Every may easily steal upon the unwary; one,” says the beloved apostle of our upon men of a sanguine temper and of Lord, “ that doeth righteousness is born a weak judgment, because it seems to of him." 1 John, ii . 29. In like open a new source of comfort.
But manner says St. Paul; “ the fruit of this persuasion is not of bim that called the Spirit is in all goodness, and righ- us. It is visionary and vain. We have teousness, and truth.” Ephes. v. 9. the express declaration of him, wbo But we have not only the authority of alone has a perfect understanding of the apostles for this doctrine, but also man's nature and of God's, who alone the declaration of our Saviour himself. therefore understands the manner in In the passage which I have before which the divine Spirit acts on man's; cited, he compares the operations of we have the express declaration of bin the Spirit to the wind, of which we who sends the Spirit into the hearts of can only judge by the effects wbich it his disciples, that its operation is no produces. The words have been thus otherwise to be perceived than in its paraphrased by Dr. Campbell ; “ As if effects." our Saviour bad said to Nicodemus when A want of attention, my dear sir, to he expressed his surprise that a man this all important subject, as it is set must be born again, and his ignorance forth in the scriptures, appears to be of what it meant: Nor is there any the source of your disquiet, as it has thing in this, either absurd or unintel- been that of many others witbin my ligible. The wind, which in Hebrew knowledge. These persons to wbom is expressed by the same word as I allude were really serious and pious ; spirit, sball serve for an example. It they were sensible that they must be is invisible; we hear the noise it makes, converted, for so their bible taught but cannot discover what occasions its them; but having inadvertently imbibrise or its fall. It is known to us solely ed the false notion that this change of by its effects. Just so it is with the heart is always sudden and perceptisecond birth. The Spirit bimself, the ble, they were still in doubt whether great agent, is invisible; his manner of they were really renovated or not ; be. operating is beyond our discovery; cause they had never experienced those .but the reality of his operation is per internal feelings, which some pretend ceived by the effects produced on the to. They waited, but waited in vain disposition and life of the regenerate for such a testimony of their conversion; person.'
but by the blessing of God, they have There are many, as I before remark- now more enlighteped views, and are ed, who pretend to some sensible im- persuaded that they might have waited pulse, some internal feeling, wbich as- for ever in vain, for such assurance ; sures them that they are in a state of their life and conduct now do honour grace. This is a persuasion calculated to their profession, which is a far less to take with the young and ignorant, faHible test of their renewal. It is the with persons of strong passions and duty of every minister of religion to weak nerves ; because if they can once remove such doubts when they are ill bring themselves to believe that they founded ; happy shall I be, if I am perhave been made the favoured reci. mitted to do it without giving any false pients of this divine afflatus, they feel encouragement to the sinner. confident that their salvation is secure, Now with respect to conversion, it without any
further effort on their part. is obvious that it will show itself very But there is no authority in sense, or differently, in different individuals, acscripture, for this doctrine. “ It is in- cording as their education and habits deed,” says the eminent bishop Hors- of life have been. A person, for in
sfance, who has led a profligate and degrees gets strength, recovers from wicked life, who, from the effects of a his distemper, and finds himself in a bad education, or the abuse of a good good state of health. But can the man
has been guilty of every species thus recovered be sensible of the exof vice, if at last he should be brought act time he became a sound man ? to a sense of his guilt, will undoubted- · He may remember his taking medily manifest his deep contrition, by im. cine, his sometimes growing better, inediately renouncing his former habits, and recovering at last, perhaps after and commencing a new course of life. several relapses, and yet not be able But this, as I before remarked, is only to name the punctual minute, day, or the commencement of his renovation ; week, when he could on good grounds he must still go on continually pero i say he was cured of his disease. His fecting holiness in the fear of God," or health came gradually and insensibly, he will never attain to the rewards of and when be lost all symptoms of sickthe righteous.
ness, he had causc to rejoice. But it On the other hand, a' përson born df. would be idle for him to say, he bepious parents who used every method came well at such an hour, or to be so to instil into his infant mind the first confident of his health as to lay aside principles of religion ; who has always all fear of future danger, or to doubt been taught to reverence the Christian of his recovery, because he cannot institutions ; to love and fear his God; name the time, 'manner, or circumto attend punctuälly on the services of stance with which it was effected."* the church ; who "ha's never been 'guilty. This illustration'is so plain, and so of any grossly immoral conduct ; has much to the point, 'as to need no com. been just, temperate and charitable ; ment. such a person, growing up in this ha Thus, my dear sir, I have endea. bitual
reverence for every thing sacred, voured to stale my ideas respecting the will experience no such sudden change questions proposed in your letter, with as the abandoned and habitual profilin: as much clearness and precision as my gate. Yet, I would ask, is his conter. humble talents would allow, without sion the less real, because less südden" entering into any nice or critical invesand less perceptible ? Surely it is not. ' tigation of the use of disputed terms. It matters nothing how, or where, ör' I liave given you, together with my When, this change was effected, provid. own opinion, that of some of the most ed it has actually taken place ; and learned and pious men of my own this can be determined only by the in. church. I am not so anxious that these fallible rule which I have before laid sentiments should be found to corres. down, namely, by the fruits of the pond with yours or those of any other
buman and fallible being, as that they To set this subject in the clearest shoulų be found to agree with the possible light, I shall give you a very scripture of truth, tbat only rule of our happy illustration from the pen of the faith. venerable archbishop Sharpe ; a man You will, therefore, not deem it eminent both for his talents and piety. amiss if I should request you not to Suppose," says be, “ a man lan. take these things for granted, but, after' guisheth under a tedious distemper, the example of the:Bereans, to “search but though he follows the advice of the scriptures, and see whether they physicians, he doth not quickly mend; are indeed so. be is sometimes better, at other times Above all, my dear sir, cherish those, Worse ; but at last, with time and the good feelings which are now excited in strength of nature, good prescriptions, your breast; do nothing to “grieve' regularity, and God's blessing, ke by the Holy Spirit, but seek to retain bis
gracious influences by continual watch- has bitherto been engaged in repelling fulness over your thoughts and actions, the rude and often times wanton at. and by frequent and fervent prayer to tacks of her adversaries, and in recomthe Father of mercies. He is ever mending her doctrines and her disci. ready and willing to hear all those pline in spite of misrepresentation and who approach him through the merits caluinny, I may now be permitted to of his Son, and whatsoever you ask in call the attention of my brethren to his name, he has promised to grant. a subject, which solely regards ourHis arms are opened to receive every selves and our own duty. returning prodigal; with the most com I have heard, too often heard, the passionate tenderness he invites all who ministers and members of our church
weary and heavy laden to come taxed with want of zeal by those wbo unto him, and he will give thern rest.” understood little of our character, and Without his Holy Spirit aiding us, vain still less of the true nature of zeal it. will be our endeavours to please him ; self. It is well known, that, by some, without it we can do nothing, but with this alleged want of zeal on our part, it, we can do all things.
is cited as an excuse for separating Frequently let your thoughts dwell from our communion. But while I laon the boundless love of God, in re- ment that our accusers should not deeming Jost and perishing sinners at have given us an example of the consuch an infinite price as that of the sa• duct they recommended without se. crifice of bis dearly beloved, only, and parating from our communion, as it eternal Son. Follow the precepts of surely would have been better both for this your God and Saviour in all things. us and them, I may be excused in enLet his gospel be the rule of your faith deavouring to stir up my brethren to and the guide of your life. Look to the manifestation of a zeal more accuhim continually for counsel and sup- rately defined and better directed.port. Through the difficulties and dan- That zeal which preserves unity as well gers of life, he will be your guide ; ag fervour, and obedience as well as ihrough the dark valley of the shadow enthusiasm, has long been, and I trust of death, he will be your support; will long continue to be, a characterisand he, and he alone, will present you' tick of our holy church. Guided by pure and spotless before the throne of prudence, and accompanied by knowhis Father, where you will dwell for ledge, earnestness and sincerity may length of days, even the days of eļer. well and naturally follow in train. pity.
But proverbially liable as all men are That such may finally be your hapo when released from one errour to fall l'y lot, is, dear sir, the sincere prayer into its opposite, I would wish in this of your friend and obedient servant. manner to excite my brethren, those
especially, who are entering upon responsible stations in the church, to the
exhibition of a spirit thus equally reTo the Editor of the Gospel Advocate.
moved from lukewarmness and extra
vagance. Never, I believe, since the The passing cvents of the day, and first planting of the church in our counthe peculiar circumstances and neces. try, was there greater need of an awasities of the church, have led me to kened and earnest zeal than there now address its members through the me- exists; and never greater necessity that dium of your publication. I can only that zeal should also be an enlightened hope that the same causes will interest one. I bless God, therefore, when I them in what I am about to say. see so many young men as there are
Successfully as I believe the church at this time pressing forward to enter
REMARKS ON AN ENLIGHTENED ZEAL.
the sacred ministry of our church. I rity of his holy church ? I trust there bless him, too, for that wise provision are many such. I trust there are many in our discipline, which requires much who,when hearing the cries of the needy and laborious study and investigation, and the destitute, will thrill with anima. before entering upon the awful and re- tion and desire, to answer the call, and sponsible duties of the office. What be self-devoted to the duty, bow arduous I would therefore beseech of my breth- soever. “To save souls'' is not that en is, that, while engaged in those lite- a work earnestly and ardently to be rary pursuits necessary to their due dis. sought for and discharged ? To feed the charge, and honourable in their com- hungry with the bread of life-to in. mencement, of the ministerial office, struct the ignorant—to confirm the wathey would not forget how holy, how vering—to auimate the depressed responsible, bow interesting, and of and to rescue immortal souls from the how active a nature that office is. vortex of sin and schism has such a Were they to be destitute of that ar work no charms? Is there aught to dour which ought to flow from a true weigh in the opposing scale ; by which sense of the value of souls and the we can precisely ascertain the gain or knowledge that the salvation of such is loss, or be made to regret the hard. perhaps dependent upon them, they ship and privation ? would find their acquisitions useless, These things are not causelessly and their prudence nugatory. While said : nor is my design either vague or so many, ardently attached to our ill-defined. Nor would I be thought church are calling in the language of thus to exhort others to strive, were it supplication and entreaty for ministers not that they should strive lawfully. to come among them, methinks, that But let us remember, that he that strive no fear, no causeless fear of temporal eth, how lawfully soever, must not be privations, should prevent the beralds of too much "entangled with the cares the gospel from seeking them out, un- of this life," but be “ able to endure der whatever difficulties, or administer. hardness as a good soldier of Jesus ing to their spiritual wants, at the price Christ.” Let us remember that they of any self-denial bow great soever. who pray for more labourers in God's I am neither authorized by office, nor harvest, pray for those who are laenabled by talent to press with suffi. bourers indeed: for those whose " loins cient force or clearness upon the minds are girded, and whose lights are burn. of candidates or the younger clergy, ing." Do the privations of the west the great deprivations and pressing discourage us ? " They are not so great wants of thousands throughout our coun as they seem to be :" there is no lion try, who are, and ve long been, des in
way; nor are the mountains betitute of the services and ministrations tween us and them impassable. And of our holy church. But having both the more heralds of the gospel who go seen and heard how great these wants thither, the less arduous and extended and deprivations are, 1 may, I do ex-. will be their individual labours. Why hort them to great animation and are then cannot our young men, at their dour in the discharge of their office. first entrance on their sacred office, Sball not the poor be fed with spiritual unincumbered with care,
and unemfood? or have they less need than barrassed with worldly ligatures, as at others, of the support and consolations that time they generally are, devote the of the gospel ? And are there not some * first fruits," of their ministry to the among us, who are willing to carry immediate extension of the Redeemer's thein that food, and supply them with kingdom, by self-devotion to missionathose consolations, for the love of God, ry duties. In this way they would, ii and the interest they feel in the prospe- that be indeed necessary, learn more of