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raoh was a splendid example of this sort: and so were the Gentiles of whom Paul speaks. And when, in the one instance, God is said to have hardened Pharaoh's heart, and in the other to have given them over to “ vile affections,” and “a reprobate mind,” no other agency on His part is implied than His abandonment of them. Withdrawing from them the restraints of His truth and grace, and letting circumstances occur in His providence, which irritate and exasperate their corruptions, they become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Falsehood is believed in preferince of ihe truth. Conscience often resisted, is easily bli le ho pot reasonings, and loses all power to contro!

... Like raging waves of the sea, they foam out : Sin', " speaking evil of those things which they low aot, a id what they know naturally as brute beasts, i. those they corrupt themselves."'2

The same account is also given by the Apostle, when speaking of those who are devoted to destruction for their adherence to that wicked one, “whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders.” He says that the corrupting and hardening influence which is exerted on sueh, so far from being from God, is from the Devil, and is “ with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.” It is the deception which they practice on their own minds, through their ingenious acts of disobedience, that holds them in guilt, and hardens their hearts. God does not choose to counteract their wilFUL resisting of the truth.

Yea for this very thing he abandons them. "Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved--and for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, (it results in His providence, and according to the great principles of His government, that they should believe a lie; that they

1. Rom. i. 21-32.

2. Jude 10 v.

1

all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”” So God Himself predicted that it should be, and so He denounced His vengeance against the rebellion of those who would not be influenced by the truth, to make choice of Him, and submit to His sway. “They have chosen their own ways, and their scul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them, because when I called none did answer, when I spake they did not hear, but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not."2

The result is manifest. God is not to blame. Ile is not the efficient agent in blinding the minds, and hardening the hearts of impenitent men. They destroy themselves. They arm the very capacities and susceptibilities of their natare against themselves, and by opposing the will of God, secure through the very operation of the laws ordained for the government of the human mind, their own defilement and damnation. Yea, and they expose themselves by the indulgence of deceitful lusts, to the caprice and tyranny of the enemy of all good,--that fell “spirit of the storin,” that rides in the tempests of human passion, and guides them at his will. For, "if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom, the god of this world, (not Jehovah,) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the lighit of the glorious gospel of Christ, should shine unto them."

Reader, art thou resisting thy conscience, shutting out the light, rejecting the Saviour, receiving not the love of the truth, and sporting thyself with thine own vain imaginings? Thou art in the pathway to Hell. The strong blasts from the deserts of earth, are sweeping thee away. The prince of the power of the air, is assuming a control

1. 2 Thes. ii. 9-12.

2. Isai. Layi. 3, 4.

3. 2 Cor. iv.3, 4.

in thy heart. The dimness of thy perceptions, the numbness of thy sensibilities, indicate the thickening gloom of that tempest of wrath, which will presently burst around thee. Repent, believe, and receive the love of the truth, or thou shalt be swept, as with the besom of destruction, into the bottomless aby ss!!

CHAPTER XXVI.

THE MORAL SUASION OF THE SPIRIT.

The word of God the instrument of Regeneration--That woni not a crede

tive fiat, but the facts and truths of scripture—These well adapted to the result designed by them— The Spirit gives them efficacy-Inquiry wbe. ther this efficiency is in the suasive influence of truth, or by acts of physical power-The persuasive influence of truth felt in sume degree by all hearers of the gospel-The Spirit's influence something more than the mere exhibition of truth to the mind-The influence of minil on mind—Its potency-Its availableness—The Spirit's peculiar to HimselfExerted through the truth-Not a physical energy-Quotations from Dr. Owen-Examination of the argument in favor of a physical efficiency which is adduced from that class of scriptural testimonies which speak of faith and repentance as gifts of God-An illustration—The commonsense view of the subject.

That the Spirit of God is the author of regeneration, is not denied by those who speak of it as the commencement of a change in the character of our voluntary exercises. Whether that change is the result of a creative act of God's physical power-terminating on our constitutional capacities and susceptibilities; or consists in the substitution or succession of new exercises of these capacities and susceptibilities, the exercises taking their character from the objects and motives inducing them, are questions which have been already answered. Even they who contend for a literal interpretation of the phrases, create anew, new creature, as denoting an act of physical power on the part of God, will nevertheless admit, that the power of God exerted in regenerating a sinner, is through the instrumentality of the truth or word of God-a fact essentially at war with the idea of a literal creation. Such a creation

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is without means- there being nothing on which to operatc, and creation being the production of something out of nothing. But in the moral creation, means are employed by God. “Of his own will begat He us with the word of Truth."

It is assumed that this sword of truth" is not the creative fiat of the Almighty, but the facts and truths revealed in the sacred scriptures. Every one who will attentively consider the subject, cannot fail to perceive, that these facts and truths are admirably adapted to engage the rational mind and sensitive soul of man, in exercises evincive of a change of heart. In order, however, to induce these exercises for which the word of God is actually employed, common sense at once teaches, that the truths and objects revealed in the scriptures, must be brought to bear upon our minds, i. e. must be so presented to us as to engage our attention, and ruuse our mental and other capacities into action. This the Spirit does in various ways, and does effectively, in all that believe. In what His efficacy consists, is a question of deep interest, and in attempting to meet it, it becomes necessary to inquire whether the Spirit's agency is in the suasive influence of truth, or by some act of physical power irrespectively of the appropriate influence of the truth.

That the great facts revealed in the word of God, with its doctrinal instruction, its promises, its precepts, its threatenings, its examples, its precedents, its motives, are adapted to produce distinct impressions on the minds of men, and designed to teach them how to live to God and enjoy His communion, no one who is acquainted with the sacred volume can deny. It is through this that we are commanded and exhorted to turn ourselves to God and live. By whatever instrumental agencies that truth is exhibited, whether by the living teacher-the ministry of

1 James, i. 16.

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