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none will deny. But it is not the fact. Many profess, and no doubt have both, and yet do not believe. Now whence cames this? Is it not the nature of the human mind to be determined in its convictions, by the force of evidence? A man cannot believe a proposition which he thinks is not true. Let him however be convinced of its truth, and it is just as impossible for him not to believe. It is obvious therefore, that there must be some other evidence to produce faith than what has been stated. But what can this be? We apprehend that it is to be found in the nature of the second conviction stated above, viz., that what God says is true. There is something more necessary to induce confidence, than the mere intellectual conviction, that a man speaks the truth. There must be some feeling of approbation, some love for the character of that man, if not of his person. We often misplace our confidence, and believe implicitly the falsehood which some unworthy object of our friendship may assert: while, on the other hand, through prejudice or improper feeling entertained towards another, his testimony is rejected though he speaks the absolute truth. It would seem then that the heart is the great seat of that perplexity and difficulty under which any one may labour, as it respects believing the word of God. Let the heart-the sensibilities of man's nature, be brought into unison with the convictions of his understanding, and there will be no difficulty.
The fact of such difficulty however is not to be questioned, and for its removal some divine influence is in reality as necessary as were the communications of God in making the orignal disclosure of the facts themselves. The removal of this is attributed to the same great agent that revealed men the Spirit of God, who exerts an influence designed to counteract the depraved perceptions of the mind and vitiated taste of the heart. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.” 1 In exerting this influence the Spirit of God is spoken of in the sacred scriptures, as producing a new life-awakening the mind to new perceptions and energies, and bringing the heart under the power of new emotions. So Paul speaks of his own perception of the truths of the gospel, and of his successful exhibition of them to his hearers. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life." While therefore it is conceded that human reason or the mind of man is the percipient principle, in the appropriate exercise of which alone, we can have any knowledge of divine things, we are far from granting that it is possessed of original and independent power to discover the things which the Spirit of God has revealed, or is placed in circumstances and found affected so as rightly to perceive and appreciate those things while uninfluenced by the same Spirit. The life-giving influence of the Spirit of God in the human soul, is essential to right and clear perceptions of the truth, so that it is utterly extravagant and absurd to claim for the unrenewed mind of man the right to sit as umpire and judge of what can or cannot be, of what is or is not the revelation of God. The character of the facts, and the discordant state of the human mind seem alike to require an influence of the Spirit, in order to a right apprehension of them.
This subject will again occur, when it must receive a more minute examination. It is only referred to at present with a view to urge the necessity, and importance, of laying aside every thing like the pride of human reason, and an overweening conceit of our own worth, and "receive with meekness the ingrafted word which is able to
II Cor. Ü. 14.
2 2 Cor. üi. 5, 6.
save our souls." We must bring our minds to the contemplation of divine truth, unbiassed by any preconceived opinions, unaffected by any dislike of the character of God, or of the matter of his testimony. That testimony is indeed humiliating to us. It writes "tekel" on all our fancied merit, and “Ichabod” on all our lofty gloryings. And unless we consent to sit at the feet of Jesus, and learn of him-unless we be converted and become as little chil. dren-unless our hearts are attuned to the instruction He gives, and we are willing to know and believe implicitly as he teaches, we shall torment ourselves with our vain reasonings, and live and die without the hope that He inspires. We shall not even be able to comprehend His instruction. All things will be perplexing and irritating His language will be ofttimes unintelligible, even when it is most plain, and we shall find ourselves at a loss in apprehending those truths on which the simple, humble believer feeds, and grows, and thrives. As long as we are affected by a dislike of his character, or of the truth he teaches, we shall find it impossible to understand the scriptures. But, if with a docile mind, and a willing heart, we come to them to inquire that we may “do the will of God, we shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God." Let us apply all the energy of our minds to the study of the lively oracles, and diligently and accurately investigate the meaning of their language according to the rules of legitimate criticism;—but having ascertained the meaning of the Spirit, let us submit our vain reasonings to His dictation.
3 James, i. 21.
2 John, vii. 17
THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THE AUTHOR OF
The power and Spirit of God not synonymous-Regeneration the work of
divine power exerted by the Spirit-A peculiar reason for this being referred to His agency-An order of operation correspondent with the order of subsistences in the divine nature-An example—The Spirit of God the great author of Life in all its varieties—No law of nature adequate to explain the production of Life—The nature of causality—Resolvible into the will and agency of God-Applied to the subject under consideration Account of the creation-Gen. i. 2-Job. xxvii. 3—Psal. cxxxix. 13, 16–The Mosaic account of the vivification of man-John, XX. 22—The natural history contained in the bible-Reflections.
The power of God, and the Spirit of God are both spoken of in the sacred scriptures as being concerned in the regeneration of a sinner. The production of faith in the heart, which is one of the constituents and evidences or the commencement of this change, is attributed by the apostle to the exceeding greatness of His power (who is the Father of glory) to us-ward who believe according to the working of His mighty power."! And yet it is as distinctly and specifically attributed to the agency of the Spirit as being indispensible to salvation—"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Hence, as we have seen, some have inferred that the power and Spirit of God are synonymous expressions.
The inference, however, is not legitimate. For, according to the views already given of the nature and persons of Deity, it is very easy to render such phraseology per. 1 Eph. j. 19.
2 John, iii. 7.
fectly consistent, and to free the sacred writers from the charge of mysticism, and of useless multiplication of terms which would otherwise lie against them. The power of Omnipotence—that power which is strictly proper to the divine Being, is specially exerted by God, in the person of the Holy Spirit. Should it be objected, that in speaking of the persons of the Godhead, we speak of something unintelligible and undefinable, it may be replied, that so does the physiologist when treating of Life-a thing, the reality of which we dare not doubt, but the nature and origin of which are utterly incomprehensible. This is no valid objection, if, as has been shown, the word of God does teach the fact, that God, the one infinite Supreme, exists in three persons. We hope to make it appear in the prosecution of this work, that the Spirit of God, the third person of Deity, is not without reason referred to peculiarly, and specifically in the great work of a sinner's regeneration, a work accomplished by the energies of God. It is unnecessary here to repeat or multiply quotations on this point. No one can have read the sacred scriptures, without noticing the fact, that the Spirit of God is the special and immediate agent in this thing, though the power be divine.
This is not accidental. There is a peculiar reason for it, which, with deference, we submit. Although there is much that is awfully mysterious in the nature of the divine Being; and although the infinite Supreme, Jehovah, the one simple, undivided, uncompounded, and eternal divine essence, lives in three distinct and co-equal subsistences or persons--a fact totally inconceivable and incomprehensible by our finite minds; yet must we nut fear so to think and speak of Him. For, the sacred scriptures, which reveal this fact, actually go further, and represent the persons of the Godhead, not only as being three distinct co-equalities, but as having an order of subsistence, and a correspondert order of operation. The Father, as the first person,