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who, clearing what was obscure, correcting what was mistaken, and supplying what was defective, first of all qualified them for the apostolical office, then accompanied their ministrations with visible attestations to the truth of what they taught; and, finally, by his gentle, but efficacious influence on the heart, “convinced the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment,” in order to the “glorifying of Christ.”'
On the Ordinary Influence of the Holy
BETWEEN the extraordinary, and what, to distinguish it, is termed the ordinary influence of the Spirit, there is a wide difference. The subjects of the former were, as such, wholly instrumental, and received nothing of sanctity from its possession and exercise. If the instances of Balaam, of Caiphas, of Judas, and of the Corinthian church,' could by any possibility be construed otherwise, the words of our Lord are decisive : “Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord,
· Numb. xxiii; xxiv. John xi. 52. Luke ix. 1, 6. 1 Cor. xiii. 1 ; xiv.
have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils ? and in thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you ; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”.
The ordinary influence of the Spirit, on the contrary, is essential to personal religion. Every thing that is holy, everything that is excellent, is traceable up to that Spirit whose power, operating on the mind, receives its name from the effect produced.
Nor let such a sentiment be discarded as enthusiastic-the mere emanation of a lively imagination. For surely it will not be denied that He, who formed the mind of man, who is intimately acquainted with all its movements, has endowed created spirits with the power of reciprocal communication, and who acted upon that material creation at its formation, which has since been preserved by him, can, on what occasions and in what manner is fitting to his own wisdom, influence the human mind. To suppose that he does not do so, involves the consequence that he has banished the intellectual world from his paternal care, and left it as an orphan in the universe; and that after having amply provided for the wants, the comfort, and the delight of the inferior part of the creation, he passes by that superior and more important part of it, which he had formed in his own image: -a consequence as dishonourable to the Deity, as it is gloomy and untenable.
2 Matt. vii. 22, 23.
Shall an earthly sovereign, who by his example, and authority, and influence, promotes the intelligence, happiness, and prosperity of his people, be hailed as their father, and the interposition of the great Sovereign of all be regarded as superfluous ? May an intelligent and benevolent parent instill those principles, cultivate that rectitude, and those kindly feelings in his offspring, which shall shed a lustre over their path in active life, and render them a permanent blessing to society; and it be thought unreasonable in “ the Father of the spirits of all flesh” to prepare them for “the inheritance of the saints in light ?”
Even the wisest and best of the heathen faintly recognised it, since they attributed not only the direction of human affairs to the pervading deity, but also their moral qualities to his influence.
Hence, Homer represents Agamemnon, while conceding superior bravery to Achilles, as saying, “ You will not at least deny that it is the gift of a god.” Socrates, “thought the gods took particular care of men, not according to the views of the multitude, who supposed them to know some things, but to be ignorant of others. Socrates, on the contrary, maintained that they were intimately acquainted with all things, whether spoken, or done, or secretly deliberated; that they are everywhere present, and convey their mind to men concerning their af. fairs."
3 Iliad i, 178; xx. 242.
4 Xenoph. Mem. Lib, i. $ 19.