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as to administer fuel to the flame of enthusiasm, or to afford a convenient cloke to disorder and licentiousuefs. The fchifmatic fanctifies his breach of constituted order, his disobedience of established laws, his licentiousness of principle in religious concerns, and his correspondent licentiousness of practice, whereby he converts the Church of Christ into a scene of difcord, tumult, and confusion, by pleading that he acts under the guidance of the Holy Spirit: and because we deny the fufficiency of an appeal to the inward motions of the Spirit, and refer to the revelation of his will contained in his written word; and because the more fober notions of his influence, which that word appears to us to supply, do not carry us the same length as the unbridled conceptions of the enthusiast ; we are calumniated, as facrificing the truth of God at the idolatrous fhrine of human learning or human presumption; as being our feļves deftitute of the Spirit, and as renouncing the Gospel, of Christ.
Convinced of the perpetual operation of the Holly Spirit on the hearts of believers ; contemplating him, with lowly devout and grateful adoration, as the Regenerator, the Renewer, the Guide, the Enlightener, the Strengthener, the Comforter, and the Sanctifier of all the elect people of God; firmly perfuaded of these important truths, as most evidently re
Yealed in Scripture, and as forming an essential* part of the scheme of our redemption ; I can unite with the most ardent advocate for
in loudly proclaiming, that “ the Holy Ghost, like his almighty Purchaser, is “ the fame to-day as he was yesterday ; that “ he is now, as well as formerly, in the use of - all instituted means, appointed to convince “ the world of fin, of righteousness, and judge “ ment; to lead them into all truth by spiritu* ally opening their understandings, that they
may understand the Scriptures; and to renew
a clean heart and right fpirit within them 66 here, in order that they may be thereby “ prepared for the full enjoyment of a triune 6 and ever blefled God hereafter d.”. Bat convinced at the same time, with our pure and evangelical Church, that we may “ abuse the
goodness of God, when he calleth us to re• pentance," and that we may “ depart from
grace given, and fall into fin”;" and further convinced with her, that “ the inward motions “ of the Holy Ghost” in our hearts are an object less of sense than of faith, less of certainty than of “ truft*;" I fee not on what authority
a Whitefield's Works, vol. iv. p. 287. • Commination Service. f Article 16. 8 See the Ordering of Deacons.
we are required, either to believe ourfelves, or to teach others, that his ordinary operations on the minds of men have that irresistible, or that sensible, influence, which are wont to be afcribed to them by those, who accuse us of not preaching the Gospel.
There is much found fenfe in the observation of an acute Remarker on Ecclesiastical History, and the times, wherein we live, fully prove the importance and the value of the obfervation, that “ whilst we acknowledge the “ gracious influences of Providence in every
thing, that tends to make us better and 6 wifer and happier, we must be very care“ ful to keep the sober mean between the ex“ tremes, the one of excluding the divine in
terposition in the natural and moral world; " the other of destroying human agency, or of “ ascribing the wild fancies of our own heads “ to the suggestions of the Holy Spirit ." Whether this sober mean is observed by those, who with the Calvinist attribute every thing in the work of man's falvation to the exclusive and irrefistible energy of the divine grace; or by thofe, who with the Enthusiast are for refolving his influence into sensible manifestations and experiences, to the neglect, if not to the exclusion, of all other rules of judging; is a
Jortin on Ecclefiafiical Iliftory, vol. ü. p. 26.
question which the present inquiry will probably tend to answer.
1. On the irrepstibility of the divine grace our accusers speak in the strongest terms. The fact, I apprehend, is notorious; but it may be well to establish it by the adduction of particular proofs. They tell us then, that “ divine grace proceeds efficaciously and cer6 tainly to the attainment of its endi:"--that “ its impulses are strong, and can by no means 66 be refifted k;"- that " God himself had need o to draw with omnipotent efficacy, to draw " us off from the world and sin and self, that 66 we may come sincerely and eagerly to 66 Christ":"—that “converting grace is irre66 fistible, that is, efficacious, invincible, and 66 certainly victorious m."—that "the finner in «6 vain strives to resist the resistless grace of 66 God":"—that “ there proceeds from God an efficacious
which sweetly over66 rules the finner's natural will •:"—that “ neiof ther evidences the most conspicuous and “ multiplied, nor arguments the most powerful ms and convinciog, nor demonstration itself,
Christian Obferver, Jan. 1806. p. 34. k Whitefield's Works, vol. vi. p. 380. | Evangelical Magazine, April 1808. p. 153.
Toplady; Church of England vindicated, p. 78. Rowland Hill's Sermon on Sunday Schools, p. 26, Whitefield's Works, vol. vi. p. 54.
can produce faith, which is a divine work,
a creation in the heart by the Spirit of 8. Christ P:"—that “ the elect Mall come to “ God, and if they tņemselves will not, the, • Lord will make them willing in the day of “ his power":"-thạt“ believers are constrain« ed by a powerful and irresistible influence:" --and that “it is only fovereign, distinguish« ing, irresistible grace, which brings men to 66 heaven'."
To meet these and similar positions, which are frequent in the mouths of our accusers, we may, in the first place, proceed upon the ground of those general arguments, which prove the election of men to be conditional. In proof of that doctrine we maintain, that
Christ died for all men,” in the plain, and obvious, and large signification of the phrase ;
—that salvation is proffered to all men ;--that " the grace of God, that bringeth salvation," the faving grace of God, η χαρις του Θεου η σωτηgros, “ hath appeared to all mens.” But, if the faving grace of God hath appeared to all men, and if all inen notwithstanding are not saved, (a supposition, which is too well supported by
• Evangelical Magazine for 1807. p. 81.