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countability of man; and that any individual should be destitute of any one is his guilt, and will most justly contribute to his damnation. Say not then, impenitent and graceless reader! that you are under no obligations to exhibit “the fruit of the Spirit” in your walk and conversation. You are commanded to repent of your sins and to believe, to love, to fear and hope in God. You have the capacities and susceptibilities which are adapted to such exercises. As directed in their execise towards God, and divine things, they become the graces of the Spirit. To induce such exercises of them He operates continually through the truth--presenting the objects and considerations which are calculated to secure them, and giving ellicacy to that truth, and impressiveness to those objects. Nor would any one ever love, trust, or hope in God, save for His blessed agency. But that is not because there must be previously some created cause lodged in the soul, of which they are destitute, nor because the capacities requisite to be acted on are wanting, but because the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, do hold the thoughts and hearts of men aside from the consideration and choice of God and divine things. That these things are so, is their damning guilt, And that Gud by His Spirit should take care, in any, to awaken these characteristic emotions is grace indeed. This He actually does in those whom He makes willing to renounce the world and turn to Ilim. And having once awakened these emotions, He does, by the same means, continually operate to secure their growth, and increasingly effective influence, in the production of the various subordinate graces of the christian character, and in the blessed expansion and exercise of every capacity of the rational and sensitive soul of man.
THE MEANS OF GRACE.
A fourth inference from the fact of the Spirit's moral suasion, viz: the
means of grace become efficacious as the Spirit operates by them and secures the fixed and interested attention and the voluntary consecration of the soul to God—The means of grace all properly resolvable into the truths and facts of scripture, as they awaken ani fix the attention of the mind--A natural tendency in these truths to induce Regeneration-Whence the obligation instantaneously on the exhibition of the truth, to exercise and express the affections appropriate-Several propositions stated, riz: 1. There are means of grace--2. They are adapted to the end designed in them—3. Yet do they not possess eificiency in themselves—4. Nor does their efficacy depend entirely on the agency of man–5. But sioply as the use of them secures the divine agency-Inquiry as to the character of that agency–The result of special design and not a fixed lavAppeals to it therefore are of a different character from those made to laws of nature-Much superstition has been the result of practical error here - Much antinomianism also-And a deluding, soul-destroying system of spiritual tactics—Instances of their practical bearing—The proper course to be pursued with anxious souls-A contrary course produc. tive of self-righteousness-Inconsistent with itself-What the means of grace which may correctly be denominated sci--- The same employ, ed by God alike in securing the conversion of the soner and the sancti. fication of the believer-'l'he divine example ani exhortat ons a sufli. cicnt testimony in favor of the principles, and warrant for the mode of procedure, advocated in this chapter.
Much of what might appropriately be brought into view in this chapter has been anticipated. Yet are there some things which demand particular attention. These, we shall notice, in the observations suggested by a fourth inference from the fact of the Spirit's moral suasion, as already stated, viz:
4. THE MEANS OF GRACE become efficacious as the
Spirit by them, and in a manner perfectly adapted, alike to their own nature and to that of the human mind and heart, secures the fixed and interested attention and the voluntary consecration of the soul to God. may all be ultimately resolved, into the truths and facts of scripture, as brought to bear upon the mind of rational and feeling man. For bowhat,” says an eloquent writer, "are bibles, serinons, and sacraments, but instruments to carry truth to the understanding and heart? What are all the expostulations of others, but efforts to press the motives contained in truth, upon the sensibilities of the soul? What are the passions which preachers address, but channels, through which truth is carried to the quick, or instruments to rouse the soul to view it with sharpened attention? What does Providence more than illustrate, and enforce revealed truth? Sabbaths are not means of grace, so much as opportunities to attend on ordinances and exercises that are.” The believing prayers of christians, in relation to the unconverted, which are made, in the closet or apart from them, are but means of securing, in the good providence of God, that impressive exhibition of the truth, through which the Spirit subdues the heart. The gracious exercises, and other efforts of christians, are but a preparation for its more decisive and effective appeals. And the efforts of the unconverted, to which, by some, a superstitious, and by others, a self-righteous, importance has been attached, are all reducible, when properly examined, to the attention which the mind gives to the truth, or to the ordinances or means through which it is exhibited.
Now it is obvious, that there is a natural tendency of the truths and facts revealed in the scriptures, to induce those exercises, appropriate to the capacities, condition, and relations of men, in the commencement of which consists regeneration. We are required to love and confide in
1 Part street Lectures, p. 135,
God, to repent of our sins, and to hope in and fear Him. All of which things are affections of the renovated man, and without which, no one can lay claim to the christian character. But in the bible, the truth, faithfulness, benevolence, justice, holiness, grace and compassion of the divine nature, are unfolded, and specific declarations are to be met with, in the form of promises, giving clear and decided intimations of these things, and they certainly have, in the nature of things, as obvious a tendency to produce the affections of love for, and confidence in God, as have the exhibitions of similar traits of excellence, and proots of regard, when coming from man to man, to induce such exercises between them. The dreadful nature of sin, its damning consequences in us, its frigł tful impeachments of the divine character, and its horrid malignity as depicted in the scriptures, are calculated to move to repentance, And the views which are given, of the bliss and glories of Heaven, and of the character of God as a Moral Governor, have as manisest a tendency to excite hope and fear.
The opposition, which the heart may and does make against these things, and their failure, in any case to produce such results, do not disprove the tendency of the truth to secure them. Nor, do the special influences of the Spirit, which are NECESSARY in consequence of the rebellion and resistance of men against the trulh, fornish any argument, against the adaption of that truth, to the circumstances, eharacter, condition, and constitutional capacities of man, and consequently, its natural tendency to produce the affections contemplated. So far are the scriptures from sanctioning such an idea, that they do actually urge the ORLIGATION, arising out of the very erhibilion of thc truth, made to the mind and heart of man, instantaneously to exercise, and express the affections appropriate.
I''ith the following examples, the scriptural reader is
familiar. "Thou blind Pharisee! cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.”
"Put of all these; anger, wrath, malice,"? &c. "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.""3 “Stablish your hearts."'4 “Set your affections on things above." “Make to yourselves a NEW HEART and a new spirit.' "Oh Jerusalem wash thy heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved." "Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” “My son give me thy heart.""9
Whatever influence the IIoly Spirit excrts, to awaken and induce such feelings and exercises in men, is and must be, in entire accordance with their moral agency. For, unless men exalt their philosophy above the bible, it is undeniably through the truth, that it is imparted. This very circumstance, implies that the solemn consideration of the facts or objects, which that truth makes known, isi intimately connected with the sinner's conversion. Indeed we do not perceive how else a rational and accountable creature such as man is, is to be made willing to renounce his sinful, selfish, sordid attachments, and bestow his affections on spiritual things.' The idea of immediate power on the soul, or a physical efficiency determining the will, is a contradiction. If he is voluntarily to turn from sin to God, and the will is always determined by motives, appropriate motives must be presented and the attention interested. This in the very nature of things, is necessary; and may serve to throw some light upon a subject, exceedingly perplexed, and obscured by the false philosophy and false theology of some, viz: the use of the means of grace. 1 Mat. xxiii. 26. 2 Col. jii. 8.
3 James iv. 8. 4 James y. 8. 5 Col. iii. 2.
6 Ezck. xviii. 21. 7 Jer. iv. 14. 8 Acts ii. 40.
9 Pov. xxii. 26. Other instances of the same sort, may be seen in James i. 21; 1 Pct. i. 22, n. 1; Col. i. 12-15; lieb. xii. l; Deut. 1. 12-16; Jer. iy 3, 4.