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to the immediate special agency of the Spirit, and which, every reader, at first sight, will perceive, are to be classed among our voluntoy exercises. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.""

In the existence and play of these, and their kindred voluntary exercises, by which the soul turns 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.

case.

CHAPTER XXIV.

THE METAPHYSICAL NATURE OF

REGENERATION.

THE impossibility of speaking long on such a subject, without indicating our peculiar philosophical views, as to the operations of the human mindNecessity, therefore, of dispassionate inquiry-The philosophy of divines of former centuries-The Shorter Catechism's metaphysical description of Regeneration-Its philosophy not binding on the conscience of any one, who adopts it as a confession of faith-Notice of different philosophical systems, and their influence on the current phraseology of their votaries— A brief view of our constitutional susceptibilities and capacities-Obvious results from it-The laws which regulate the exercise of our constitutional capacities-Analogical illustration-Spiritual objects not cognoscible by our senses---The Bible disclosing spiritual objects to our view, and faith the medium of our knowledge of them—The different effects produced by these objects-Their saving and salutary impressions, referrible to the influence of the Holy Spirit-The christian's evidence of the Spirit's influence on him, not delusive.

It is impossible to speak on the subject of the metaphysical nature of Regeneration, without betraying the peculiar philosophical views, which are taken of the operations of the human mind. How important, therefore, is it, that mutual forbearance, calm and dispassionate inquiry, and brotherly love should prevail, in order to the clear and accurate apprehension of each other's views, as to matters of fact, instead of zealous and animated contention, about points in philosophy, where, perchance, both may be equally far from the truth.

It is easy to perceive, that while the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Larger and the Shorter Catechisms of the Presbyterian Church, have not defined Regeneration, or spoken explicitly on the subject, its metaphysi

cal nature is described, in the account which is given of "EFFECTUAL CALLING." This description was evidently influenced by the particular views, in mental science, entertained by the framers of that "form of sound words." The moral being, or rather the rational soul of man, is contemplated, as being endowed with various faculties or powers, which are, at least, virtually considered as distinct from the mind itself. The general classification of these powers, was into Understanding, Will, Affections, Memory and Conscience, and in some treatises on Regeneration, composed by Theologians of former centuries, we may trace the influence which their philosophy had, upon their Theological views of this subject. The "Understanding" being accounted the supreme and governing faculty, men's aberrations from rectitude, and their disrelish of a life of holiness, were mainly referred to some obliquity in it, or to some injury it had sustained by the fall, which actually incapacitated it for clear and correct apprehensions of the truth. And, in support of this view, it was common to adduce those passages of the word of God, which intimate a darkness and blindness of the understanding.

The above distribution of the faculties of the mind, being assumed as correct, and the understanding being considered as supreme,-as invested with authority, by the great Creator, to control the passions, and determine the volitions, according to its peculiar views of truth or excellence, it was concluded, that what was chiefly wanting towards the conversion of the sinner, was, to introduce into his understanding, correet views of divine truth. Hence, the chief attention was paid by ministers and parents, to the doctrinal instruction of their hearers and children. An undue importance was attached to the illumination of the mind, because it was thought, that, by means of enlightening the understanding, the Spirit renewed the heart.

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The reader will at once perceive, from the answer to the question, “what is effectual calling,” how the views of the Westminster divines, as to the metaphysical nature of Regeneration, corresponded with, or were suggested by, the system of mental philosophy, adopted by them. “Effectual calling,” say they, “is the work of God's Spirit, whereby enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, He doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel." Now, so far as these words describe facts and acts of the mind, no one, who has experienced a saving change of heart, can question their correctness. The three most important facts stated, are illumination of mind, renovation of will, and the cleaving of the affections to the blessed Redeemer, as the object of supreme delight, love, and choice, &c.—and these are attributed to the Spirit's agency. That all these things, which imply acts and exercises of man, as a rational and feeling creature, are to be attributed to the agency of the Spirit, no one who admits the fact of Regeneration will deny. Nor does the answer in the Catechism, intimate any thing like an agency of that Spirit on the soul of man, changing its essence, or altering its constitutional properties, or laying any foundation in nature, by an act of creative power. These things did not seem to be a part of the philosophy involved in it. But from the order in which the different acts and exercises of the mind, which characterize the regenerate sinner, are enumerated, it would seein that the framers of the Catechism thought, that a mere intellectual perception of the truth, followed by a change in the faculty of the will, upitedly secured the giving of the heart to Christ, or bestowing of the affections on Him.

This is altogether philosophical theory. Will any man say, that it is a point of faith, and that, in adopting the

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