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reside within us ; it is a disposition of soul to acquire therefore that which is not yet acquired; to change that which is not yet changed; to go to the root of the malady: to cleanse and purify the inside of the cup, the foulness of our mind, is a work for the Spirit of God within us. Nay, more, many (as the Scripture most significantly expresses it) are dead in sins and trespasses; not only committing sins and trespasses, but dead in them : that is, insensible of their condition under them, as a dead man is insensible of his condition ; of his danger, of his fate; in a word, he must, by some means or other, be brought to feel a strong compunction. This is also an office for the Spirit of God."*

They who admit the doctrine of the Influence of the Holy Spirit on the souls of men, for their sanctification, are far from being agreed in their sentiments, on this momentous subject. Some contend that these influences are nothing more than helps and assistances to man's own exertions, and have no concern whatever in effecting any change in their dispositions and principles of action. The terms in which the operations of the Holy Spirit, on the hearts of men, are described in Scripture, are such as follow. The effect of his operation is called a new birth, a new creation, the quickening of men who were dead in trespasses and sins, a resurrection, the giving men a neve heart, and a new spirit ; creating a clean heart, reneveing a right spirit within men; taking away the heart of stone, and giving a heart of flesh. If these, and many other expressions of a similar kind, mean nothing more than assisting men, and helping their own endeavours, never were terms of such seemingly mighty import, employed

• Posthumous Sermons. Serm, XXVIII, l'art 3.

with so little meaning ; never were any so calculated to animate the hopes of men, and yet in the issue to leave them in disappointment. Those who confine the influences of the Spirit to assistances, must believe, either that the will and the heart of man are corrupted and evil, or that they are not. If they believe them to be corrupted and evil, mere assistance can never make them better ; but must infallibly make them worse.

To assist a wicked man, is only to co-operate with him in his wickedness. The necessary consequence, therefore, of this representation is, to attribute that to the Spirit of God, which the Scripture ascribes to evil spirits. They assist and work in the hearts of the children of disobedience. If the advocates of this doctrine do not believe that the hearts and wills of men are corrupted and evil, upon their own principles, Divine assistances and helps are entirely unnecessary ; for the measure of our natural strength is, upon this supposition, the measure of our duty. No man is bound either to love God, or to serve him with any thing more than with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind, and with all his strength, and consequently such assistances are not only useless, but absurd. Whatever be the weakness of our minds and powers, if they be free from moral guilt, we are just as holy and good as we ought to be, and want no assistance whatsoever.

Others consider the grace of God as a principle that prevents Christians, that they may have a good will; or, in other words, as a principle that so changes their wills, that they afterwards move in an opposite direction, and are actuated by motives, directly the reverse of those which formerly governed them. This heavenly birth is certainly described in Scripture, as proceeding, not from the will of those who are the subjects of it, but of him who has begotten them again to that lively hope. “ They are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God.” The mighty success of the Gospel in the conversion of men, by the ministry of the Apostles, is ascribed by them to the operation of the Father of lights. Is an, accession of members received into the society of the faithful, their language is, “ The Lord added to the Church such as should be saved.” Do they give an account of their own conversion, or of that of Christians in general; of his own will begat he us," say they, “ with the word of truth," Do they or the Evangelists descend to the history of particular conversions, the hand of God does all. “ The Lord opened the heart of Lydia, so that she attended to the things that were spoken by Paul." In the salvation of men, where many modern Christians can see every thing but the grace of God, those venerable fathers could see nothing but the power and triumphs of that grace. The rectifying of our wills, they describe as the work of God. “ It is God who worketh in you both to will, and to do, of his good pleasure.” When God works in a man to will, his grace gives that will, for the production of which it works. The Spirit of God, indeed, is never said. to force our wills; but in a rational manner he inclines and draws them. He enlightens the understanding, and through that medium, he melts and moulds the affections of the heart. The will which was formerly rebellious and stubborn, he makes soft and pliant, and, while he draws with the cords of love, he does it also with the bands of a man. Questions which are difficult, and questions which perhaps it is impossible for the ingenuity of man satisfactorily to resolve, may easily be raised from this deep and awful subject. It may be represented as an arbitrary system. And what if it be? The Donor is certainly the best Judge in the distribution of his own gifts. If any man can advance a just claim upon his Maker, it will not want its retribution. " Who hath given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again.”—It may again be asked, is the grace of God then irresistible ? This is a term which is never, in Scripture, applied to the grace of God, and therefore the introduction of it into the present question, is rather calculated to lead to metaphysical subtlety than to preserve the simplicity of the Gospel. The scripture never represents any persons as created again in Christ Jesus, to good works, as made new creatures, and as born of God; but it represents them as overcoming the world, as loving God, and, consequently this grace is never received in vain.

The offer of God's holy Spirit being made to all men to whom the Gospel of reconciliation comes, every man has the promise of God, and of his Son, as his , security, that if he sincerely and perseveringly seek these Divine influences, he shall not seek them in vain. “ Ask, and it shall be given you, seek, and ye shall find ;' knock, and it shall opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth, and he that seeketh, findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.”—Math. vii. 7, 8. “ If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the holy Spirit to them that ask him.”- Luke, xi. 13. These promises are the comfort and hope of every pious man ; and every careless sinner they leave without ex

From the testimony of God himself, we are sure that no case ever did happen, or will, to the end of time, take place, in which, during the day of our merciful VOL. I.

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visitation, God refused, or will refuse to hear the prayers which proceeded, or which shall proceed, from a contrite heart. He who will not ask, has himself wholly to blame, that he does not receive. Thus, while salvation is wholly of God, every man's ruin is wholly of himself.

When a man is born of the incorruptible seed of God's word, and has become a follower of Christ in the regeneration, he becomes a worker together with God, and it is by the assistance of God's Spirit, that his labours are not in vain, in the Lord. To such a man the promise of the holy Spirit to aid and help him, is particularly suitable. The Sanctifier has already wrought in him to will, and it is necessary that he also work in him to do, of his good pleasure. The Christian has to combat the remains of sin in himself, the temptations of the great foe of mankind, and the seductions and blandishments of the world. Hence, his need of assistance, and his dependence on Him who has begun the good work, for its being carried on to perfection.

Some divines have considered regeneration and conversion, as terms of the same import, and by thus confounding them, have run themselves into some difficulties, from which they found it no easy matter to escape. But these doctrines, though nearly connected, are different. Regeneration is of universal and absolute necessity, to the whole human race.

But it is not absolutely necessary to every individual of mankind, that he be conscious of the manner, or recollect the time in which that change took place. It may have taken place in his infancy. He may have been sanctified from the womb, and, consequently, he may not be able to recollect any period of time, when he was a stranger to the grace of God. The man who uas thus been planted with his Saviour, and has risen like

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