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not alike share. The Saviour has explicitly asserted the fact, “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." Unto alltaat truly believe, there is actually a pledge of special strength and grace given. “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." "Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will help thec; yea I will stengthen thee; yea, I will uphold thee, with the right hand of my righteousness." What does such language mean! Is it not pre-eminently calculated to deceive, if it is not designed to teach us, that God does and will vouchsafe His special agency, to them that believe and bestow on them another sort of care, from that which he imparts to sinners in general.
The fact must be beyond all dispute, among those that accredit the word in its plain common sense meaning, and receive it as of paramount authority. “ The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand."! - The Lord
6. knoweth (that is takes a special and approving cognizance of) the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” God has determined, as the Apostle intimates, " to make known the riches of his glory or, the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory." Here is a special gracious agency on the part of God, distinctly and positively asserted, embracing alike His providence and His spiritual communications, and exerted with the express design of bringing guilty sinners to Himself; and, in exact accordance with this view, the same Apostle, in addressing himself to a body of reputed and professing christians, expressed his entire confidence, that “He which had begun in them a good work, (would) perform
1. John vi, 44-65. 4. Psalm, xxxyii. 23--24,
2. 2 Cor. xii, 9.
5. Psalm, i. 6.
3. Isai. xli, 10. 6. Rom. ix. 23.
it until the day of Jesus Christ." Nothing can be more explicit than the following, which, in fact, asserts a special agency on the part of God for the salvation of his people from the beginning to the end, well sustaining the title given to our Redeemer, when He is said to be “the author and finisher of our faith."2" Whom he did foreknoir, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom Ile called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them he also glorified. "3 This is not theory. It is the Spirit's own declaration of facts, and if it is lawful to take the plain and obvious import of expressions, and language can have any definite meaning at all, a special divine agency in the sinner's salvation, is most clearly and conclusively taught.
To trace the effects of that agency, on the different constitutional or characteristic properties of our nature, is as legitimate as it is interesting and profitable. For there is abundant evidence, appropriate to the subject, and as satisfactory as any other species of evidence, which subserves our acquisition of knowledge;--it is that of consciousness. Consciousness takes cognizance not of abstract essences; but of the acts or doings, and feelings, or emotions of our own minds and hearts. These acts and exercises are as strictly matters of fact, as any thing can be: for they do as actually take place in the mind and heart of the individual, as the events which trauspire in the world around us.
The heart is itself a world in miniature, and there needs but very little attention to discover, what scenes are transacted there, and how incessantly and actively, the thinking and feeling soul of man, is occupied according to its various capacities. Discase may, through the sympathy be
tween mind and body, derange or powerfully excite; but even of our most bewildered and extravagant and delirious thoughts and feelings, consciousness makes faithful report, though indeed, for very sufficient and obvious reasons, memory is oft-times unable to recall them. However wild may be the vagaries of human thought, they are nevertheless real events or acts, in the life and history of the individual moral being, and, as far as they are faithfully reported by consciousness, and recorded by memory, become legitimate matters of investigation. Now, the reality of the special agency of the Spirit of God, in the production of gracious affections, or in giving character to the moral being, by eliciting appropriate acts and exercises of his constitutional capacities, is perfectly ascertainable. For, God Himself, in His own word, has described to us, most accurately, those gracious affections, which, while they are our own voluntary exercises, and as such, are strictly cognoscible by consciousness, are nevertheless denominated, “the fruits of the Spirit," and referred to the Spirit and His special influence, as their appropriate
of the precise manner in which the blessed Spirit comes in contact with our minds, if we may so speak, or how it is that He throws back the current of our disordered affections, and restores the mind and heart to their appropriate exercise, we cannot tell. We know not how he preserves in appropriate action, any living creature what.
But, we may know and trace the immediate effects of his agency, inasmuch as they all lie in our own voluntary acts and exercises, of which we are distinctly conscious, and are produced, through the instrumentality of the truth, or word of God, which is adapted to our apprehension as intelligent creatures, and is calculated to arrest our thoughts, attract and rivet our hearts. An apostle has enumerated some of those things which are to be referred
to the immediate special agency of the Spirit, and which, every reader, at first signi, will per vive, are to be classed amour voluit)! Xar.sns. **?':: fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, pece,!1suring tleness, goodness, faith, meulness, tenperance: against such there is no law.
In the existence and play of these, and their kindred voluntary exercis's, by which the soul turps away from earth and sin to God and holiness, consists the very essence of spiritual life, and accordingly, the Apostle has noticed this circumstance in immediate connection with his enumeration of the fruits of the Spirit. “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit, not being desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” With the exact method by which the Holy Spirit, awakens and elicits those affections or dispositions which influence and determine our choice and actions, we are unacquainted. We know not how one spirit acts upon another, yet do we every day attempt to affect the hearts of those with whom we have much intercourse. And no one thinks it to be altogether a vain attempt. It is by mind and spirit acting on mind and spirit, that all the mighty movements among mankind are effected. Appropriate instrumentalities however, are employed. It is by the feeling uttering of our own thoughts, or the manifestation of emotions, which agitate our own soul, that we affect others. This is all we know in the matter, And the utmost that we know of the Spirit's influence on our hearts, is that it is “ by the word” – “through the truth.” But if through consciousness we can discover in ourselves the various voluntary exercises of faith, love, repentance, hope, fear, and the like, which are
1. Gal.v. 22-23.
2. Gal. v. 24, 25, 26.
described in the sacred Scriptures, as the fruits of the Spirit, we have evidence full and satisfactory of the reality of that special agency by which the sinner is first translated from darkness into light, and being prepared for glory. We have the witness of the Spirit with our spirits, that we are the children of God. Neither sophistry nor ridicule can destroy the evidence of the fact, while such exercises continue. And hence it is, that the simple honest-hearted christian, who has had a vivid experience, whose affections have been excited, and, through the various channels in which they flow, been directed to God in Christ, as His Father and Redeemer,-possesses in himself the witness, which is of more value and efficiency, than all the arguments and philosophy of the wise and learned. “ He that believeth, hath the witness in him, self.' His experience corresponding with the delineation of gracious principles and affections given in the sacred Scriptures, the result of the Spirit's special agency, furnishes him invincible proof of its reality in his own
Human consciousness, and the unerring testimony of the Spirit, unite to prove “his calling and election sure.”