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sion is overcome, by the special influence of the Holy Spirit, who, in some way entirely unknown to us, but in perfect consistency with the established laws, which regulate the exercise of our capacitics, gives an impressiveness to these truths and objects, excites the feelings, secures the attention, engages the affections, and so making the man willing and determined to embrace and cleave to them for ever as to realities substantial and eternal, revolutionizes his whole character and conduct, and develops in him a new life.
termining character. But in all this, there is no new foundation laid in nature, by any creative act—no production of a new principle or cause of action sui generis, but simply the eliciting of constitutional susceptibilities in new exercise, and of such sort—so vivid, so strong, so influential, as to secure their easy and frequent repetition. It is philosophy that talks of some peculiar adaptation of created nature, that is the specific cause of those acts and exercises, which as they are strung together in series, or become habitual, we denominate dispositions. And it is, as we apprehend, an improper use of the term-one which common sense will not sustain, to designate, as a dispo. sition, a mere modification of created nature; for such according to the philosophical use of the term just noticed, it must mean. We use it commonly, to denote any particular class of acts, and exercises towards given objects as they operate on our constitutional capacities and susceptibilities, and not as efficient causes per se, lodged in the structure of the soul, or super added to its properties.
3. Neither does spiritual illumination consist in the commanication of any new faculty, or sense, or instinct, to the soul. For if so, then it follows, as in the former case, that the subject of it ceases to be a human being. We may be unable to know what they might do with it, yet we can conceive it possible that there should be creatures, whom the power of God may create, having all our senscs, and
more superadded. The addition of these new senses, would constitute them creatures of a different constitutional nature from ourselves; and should we, by any exercise of divine power, become similarly endowed, we should cease to be human beings. The same things hold true, with respect to our intellectual, as well as to our sensitive nature. Say that our minds have been rendered ca pable of new, or angelic modes of thought, and we have ceased to be med. Beside, if illumination consists in per
ceptions, through a new sense, or by means of a new fan culty, or instinct, created in the soul, the unregenerate man is no more under obligation to understand and approve of spiritual things, and act accordingly, than the blind man can be, to perceive and understand colors, or the deaf man -sounds. Without the capacity or faculty, requisite to perceive and understand the truth, all moral obligation would cease; and, accordingly, the Saviour has authorized us to believe, that the ignorance and blindness of men, on spirit. wal subjects, is not owing to the destitution of any of the natural faculties or capacities for mental action, employed in the perception of truth. Whatever derangement sin may have produced in our moral nature, one thing is certain it has not robbed us of any distinctive power, or capacity, with which we were originally endowed by our great Cre ator, It is not a necessary consequence of the fall, that any of the natural operations of the human mind should be destroyed. Instances, it is true, do occasionally occur in the case of idiots and lunatics, where the rational powers are withheld, suspended, or not developed, --sad proofs, indeed, of the havoc which sin has made, but not the necessary and infallible consequences of the fall. For, he that would conclude from such facts, that the fall of man has deprived us of any mental faculty, must, by the very same mode of reasoning, infer from the fact of some being born blind, and others being naturally deformed, or deaf mutes, that it has also deprived us of corporeal powers. The absurdity of this last idea is obvious; and, therefore, by a parity of reasoning, we are forbidden to conclude, that the fall has divested the human mind of any of its natural capacities or powers, and, consequently, that illumination no more consists in restoring the lost capacity, than in imparting new. Man is still posessed of all those powers, which are necessary to constitute him a moral agent. To deny this, iş 1o deny buman accountability,
4. Nor does spiritual illumination consist, in removing any natural imbecility of mind, or "depravation of the faculty” of understanding, which may be supposed to prevent the exercise of the intellectual powers, in the perception of spiritual truth. Dr. Owen speaks of "a two-fold impotency on the minds of men, with respect to spiritual things. 1. That which immediately affects the mind, a natural impotency, whence it cannot receive them, for want of light in itself. 2. That which affects the mind by the will and affections, a moral impotency, whereby it cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God, because, unalterably, it will not." This is a legitimate inference, from the doctrine of physical depravity. To present truth to the mind of man, thus disabled, would be just as absurd, as to reason with an idiot. If, however, the mind is not physically disabled, created defective,--spiritual illumination cannot consist in restoring, by a new creative process, what had not been lost.
5. Neither does illumination consist in any new and peculiar mode of mere intellectual perception of truth. For both the renewed and the unrenewed, possess the same essen. tial capacities, and are governed by the same general laws of thought. And the former, sustaining no change in the essence of their being, nor receiving any superadded facul. ty or sense, their intellectual operations cannot differ, essentially, from those of the latter. How far the exercise of the intellectual powers, on the part of the unrenewed, may be impeded by the corruption of their hearts, is a question we shall not undertake to solve. That in regard of spiritual and moral truth, the perceptions of men of quick understanding have been greatly blunted by the disordered state of their hearts--by the prevalence of corrupt inclinations, is a fact, of which there is abundaat proof. And,
1 Owen on the Spirit, rol. I, p. 417.
inasmuch as almost all our intellectual knowledge has, or may be made to have, some bearing on moral and spiritual things, the man of depraved taste, who is not only destitute of a relish for holiness, but actually disrelishes it, labours under the influence of prejudices, which may, and often do prevent him from perceiving truth perfectly obvious. He is actually, in this state of mind, disqualified for iinpartial investigations, so that the very energies of his mind may he employed, in the miserable attempt to confirm and illustrate, what is absolutely false. The apostle has told us, that “the world, by wisdom, knew not God— They became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened; prosessing themselves to be wise, they become fools," and he gives us the most palpable proof of it in the fact, that they "changed the glory of the incorruptible God, into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and to four-footed beasis, and creeping things.” The christian man, whose mind is free from the prejudices against God and holiness, engendered in a depraved heart,' is unquestionably, all other things being equal, more likely to make the most rapid and extensive acquisitions in valuable science. And facts will confirm the assertion.
Any advantage, however, which a renewed man may possess, in this respect, is not to be attributed to the removal of any constitutional or peculiar obliquity, or imbecility of intellect, but to the healthful exercise of all the moral powers, secured by the Spirit of Life. The advantage, in respect of moral and divine truth, is undeniable.
But this is not owing to any thing in the truths of the Bible, beyond the natural capacities of the human mind, or requiring peculiar 'modes of intellectual perception. We are distinctly told, that, as it regards the great truths of the Bible, “the way-faring men, though fools, shall not err
1. Rom. i, 31---23.