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fore it might have been in vain. The influence, therefore, of the Spirit, may not prevail, even as the admonitions of a friend, the warnings of a parent, may not prevail, may not be successful, may not be attended to; may be rejected, may be resisted, may be

, despised, may be lost. So that both in its gift, in its degree, operation, and progress, and, above all, in its final effect, it is connected with our own endeavours; it is not arbitrary. Throughout the whole, it does not supersede, but co-operate with ourselves.

But another objection is advanced, and from an opposite quarter. It is said, that if the influence of the Spirit depend, after all, upon our endeavours, the doctrine is nugatory : it comes to the same thing, as if salvation was put upon ourselves and our own endeavours alone, exclusive of every further consideration, and without referring us to any influence or assistance whatever. I answer, that this is by no means true : that it is not the same thing either in reality, or in opinion, or in the consequences of that opinion.

Assuredly it is not the same thing in reality. Is it the same thing, whether we perform a work by our own strength, or by obtaining the assistance and co-operation of another ? Or does it make it the same thing, that this assistance is to be obtained by means which it is in our own choice to use or not? Or because, when the assistance is obtained, we may, or may not, avail ourselves of it: or because we may, by neglecting, lose it? After all, they are two different things, performing a work by ourselves, and performing it by means of help.

Again ; It is not the same thing in the opinions, and sentiments, and dispositions which accompany it. A person

who knows or believes himself to be beholden

to another for the progress and success of an undertaking, though still carried on by his own endeavours, acknowledges his friend and his benefactor ; feels his

: dependency and his obligation ; turns to him for help and aid in his difficulties; is humble under the want and need, which he finds he has, of assistance; and, above all things, is solicitous not to lose the benefit of that assistance. This is a different turn of mind, and a different way of thinking, from his, who is sensible of no such want; who relies entirely upon his own strength; who, of course, can hardly avoid being proud of his success, or feeling the confidence, the presumption, the self-commendation, and the pretensions, which, however they might suit with a being who achieves his work by his own powers, by no means, and in no wise, suit with a frail constitution, which must ask and obtain the friendly aid and help of a kind and gracious benefactor, before he can proceed in the business set out for him, and which it is of unspeakable consequence to him to execute somehow or other.

It is thus in religion. A sense of spiritual weakness and of spiritual wants, a belief that divine aid and help are to be had, are principles which carry the soul to God; make us think of him, and think of him in earnest ; convert, in a word, morality into religion ; bring us round to holiness of life, by the road of piety and devotion; render us humble in ourselves, and grateful towards God. There are two dispositions which compose the true Christian character ; humility as to ourselves, affection and gratitude as to God: and both these are natural fruits and effects of the persuasion we speak of. And what is of the most importance of all, this persuasion will be accompanied

with a corresponding fear, lest we should neglect, and, by neglecting, lose this invaluable assistance.

On the one hand, therefore, it is not true, that the doctrine of an influencing Spirit is an arbitrary system, setting aside our own endeavours. Nor, on the other hand, is it true, that the connecting it with our own endeavours, as obtained through them, as assisting them, as co-operating with them, renders the doctrine unimportant, or all one as putting the whole upon our endeavours without any such doctrine. If it be true, in fact, that the feebleness of our nature requires the succouring influence of God's Spirit in carrying on the grand business of salvation ; and in every state and

progress, in conversion, in regeneration, in constancy, in perseverance, in sanctification ; it is of the utmost importance that this truth be declared, and understood, and confessed, and felt : because the

perception and sincere acknowledgement of it will be accompanied by a train of sentiments, by a turn of thought, by a degree and species of devotion, by humility, by prayer, by piety, by a recourse to God in our religious warfare, different from what will, or perhaps can, be found in a mind unacquainted with this doctrine; or in a mind rejecting it, or in a mind unconcerned about these things one way or other.

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XXVII.

ON THE INFLUENCE OF THE SPIRIT.

(PART II.)

1 Cor. 111. 16.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that

the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

It is undoubtedly a difficulty in the doctrine of spiritual influence, that we do not so perceive the action of the Spirit, as to distinguish it from the suggestions of our own minds. Many good men acknowledge, that they are not conscious of any such immediate perceptions. They, who lay claim to them, cannot advance, like the apostles, such proofs of their claim as must necessarily satisfy others, or, perhaps, secure themselves from delusion. And this is made a ground of objection to the doctrine itself. Now, I think, the objection proceeds upon an erroneous principle, namely, our expecting more than is promised. The agency and influence of the Divine Spirit are spoken of in Scripture, and are promised: but it is nowhere promised that its operations shall be always sensible, viz. distinguishable at the time from the impulses, dictates, and thoughts, of our own minds.

I do not take upon me to say that they are never so: I only say that it is not necessary, in the nature of things, that they should

be so: nor is it asserted in the Scripture that they are so; nor is it promised that they will be so.

The nature of the thing does not imply or require it : by which I mean, that, according to the constitution of the human mind, as far as we are acquainted with that constitution, a foreign influence or impulse may act upon it, without being distinguished in our perception from its natural operations, that is, without being perceived at the time. The case appears to me to be this: The order in which ideas and motives rise up

in our minds is utterly unknown to us, consequently it will be unknown when that order is disturbed, or altered, or affected: therefore it may be altered, it may be affected, by the interposition of a foreign influence, without that interposition being perceived.

Again ; and in like manner, not only the order in which thoughts and motives rise up in our minds is unknown to ourselves, but the causes also are unknown, and are incalculable, upon which the vividness of the ideas, the force and strength and impression of the motives, which enter into our minds, depend. Therefore that vividness may be made more or less, that force may be increased or diminished, and both by the influence of a spiritual agent, without any distinct sensation of such agency being felt at the time. Was the case otherwise; was the order, according to which thoughts and motives rise up in our minds, fixed, and being fixed, known : then I do admit the order could not be altered or violated, nor a foreign agent interfere to alter or violate it, without our being immediately sensible of what was passing. As, also, if the causes, upon which the

power and strength of either good or bad motives depend, were ascertained, then it would likewise be ascertained when this force was ever increased or dimi.

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