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mind, he ufes no other inftrument but the written word, fo in all his future inftructions, quickenings, &c. he proceeds by the fame rule; which rule is the only touchstone that we have to try the operation of fpirits by.

To conclude: as the whole process of divine grace is fovereign, free, and efficacious; fo the work of the Spirit uniformly wears the fame afpect. All his operations are fovereign :-in every act the arm of the Lord is manifefted, John iii. 8; no one can affign a reafon why the wind fhould come, at any particular time, from one point in preference to another; or why it goes in that direction, not in this, but that so it pleaseth its fovereign director. Neither can any account for one out of a particular company of hearers, and he perhaps the most illiterate, unthinking, and rebellious, coming to the knowledge of the truth and rejoicing therein, while the reft continue in enmity to it; but that the Spirit quickeneth whom he will. All his operations are alfo perfectly and unconditionally free. It was the crime of Simon Magus that he thought the Holy Ghoft might be purchased with money: and it would have been a happy circumftance, had the spirit and effence of his crime died with him, or with that age; but alas! it is but too evident, while we find perfons faying, that when we exert our natural efforts, &c. the Spirit will help us, and turn our natural acts into fupernatural ones, that though the letter of Simon's crime is not common among us, the effence of it ftill prevails. But if the exertions of our natural abilities are the inducements, or circumftances, that encourage the Spirit to work, grace is no more grace. And as all his operations are fovereign and free, fo are they effectual. For as the rain cometh down, and the fnow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give feed to the fower, and bread to the eater; SO SHALL MY WORD BE THAT

GOETH

GOETH FORTH OUT OF MY MOUTH; IT SHALL NOT RETURN UNTO ME void, but IT SHALL ACCOMPLISH THAT WHICH I PLEASE, AND IT SHALL PROSPER WHEREUNTO I SEND IT.--Ifaiah Iv. 10, II.

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SECTION VI.

"On the Principle of GRACE in the Heart. T is thought a matter of very little importance

of grace in the heart previous to, and fo diftinct from the word of grace, or infift that the word of life, implanted in the foul, is that principle. With all becoming deference to the learned perfons, who have attempted to accommodate matters in this refpect, the writer of thefe Effays takes the liberty of faying, that in his view of the matter, one of the most important diftinctions is to be made,, that concerns the whole fyftem of experimental Chriftianity; and that the schemes established upon thefe two hypothefifes, are as much opposed to each other, in their nature, and neceffary tendency, as light and darkness, or Chrift and Beliel.

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The reader will obferve, that the important difference attempted to be stated in this section, is not whether there is any fuch thing as a fupernatural principle, or habit of grace, in the foul; nor whether that principle be abiding when implanted; nor yet whether it is the work of the Holy Spirit to implant it all these things are admitted, as important and undeniable facts. But our principal inquiries are, wherein does the nature of the principle of grace confift? and, are there any preparatives of any kind thereunto? It will not be amifs here to lay down fome general, and fcriptural truths, which

may

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may tend to fhorten this Section: fuch as that, man is by nature dead in fins, nothing but fpiritual death is to be found in the unregenerate foul, all works proceeding from man in that ftate are dead works; for an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit: there can no fpiritual life be infufed into man but what proceeds from Chrift; fo that " He that hath the Son, hath life, and he that hath not - the Son of God, hath not life ;"-the figures, metaphors, representations, &c. which fet forth the darknefs of the mind, or man's fintul ftate by nature, do not lead us to any grofs conceptions of the difeafe, as though it is fomething material, and fo needs fome phyfical or mechanical power to be exerted to rectify it*: but rather, the fcripture doctrine of the fall is, that the moral rectitude of the foul is difordered, the und rftanding darkened through error, ignorance, and unbelief, whereby the will is influenced to rebellion, the affections are become unholy, fenfual, and brutal; all of which is made manifeft by false worship, false hope, falfe comforts and evil works; by the deep-rooted enmity of the heart against God, and the averfion there is to depend fimply upon his word. These things premised, I fhall now proceed to take fome notice, of the prevailing notion of a principle of grace in the foul, I mean previous to the word of life being implanted there, by the Holy Spirit.

What is generally afferted upon this fubject is this, that there is in regeneration, an inherent, fpiritual principle implanted in the foul, previous to, and fo feparate from the hearing, understanding, and

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receiving

No fubject has been more betroped and befigured than the article of inberent grace. Scriptural writers fpeak figuratively of the religion of the heart-they call it circumcifion— dying—Irvingfeed-creation, and fo on; and many divines, inftead of reducing metaphor to meaning, affix grofs notions to thefe terms, and cover them with groffer ftill, till one would think converfion confifted in the actual addition of fome new bodily organs, or mental powers, when nothing perhaps is intended but the belief of a truth or the practice of a virtue, -Claude's Effay on the compofition of a Sermon, vol. 1. p. 398.

receiving the gofpel of Chrift. The nature of this principle, the manner of its coming into the foul, and the use that should be made of it when discovered there, are matters about which the profeffing world is by no means agreed; fome plead for certain principles in the foul, previous to this principle; but here again they are divided, wherein these principles confift; while others maintain, fo far juftly, that there is no medium betwixt being dead in fins, and being new creatures; and thefe generally hold, that this principle is infufed into the foul, it does not know when, how, or where, or in fact whether it is there or no, till by the help of fome kind, cafuiftical friend, he is enabled to perfuade himself that it is fo. Though it frequently happens, that to a perfon's dying day he remains in pa nful fufpenfe, and dreadful anxiety about it. But let us hear each of these divided parties fpeak for themselves.

"Man comes to the grace, whereby we are regenerated in Chrift, by a natural faculty; as in afking, feeking, knocking; and before they are born again, there is repentance, a forrow for fin, a change of life for the better, and a beginning of faith, and an initial love of God, and a defire of grace: these are an occafion" (how modeftly expreffed)" by which God is moved to bestow his grace. For fuch is the mercy of God, that he recompenfes these very small beginnings of good, with this illuftrious reward." We have the fame fentiment given us in the following words. "Some work of man therefore goes before his vivification; viz. to acknowledge and bewail his death; .to will and defire deliverance from it; to hunger, thirft, and feek after life. all which and a GREAT DEAL BESIDES is required by Christ in those whom he will make alive." To thefe things it has been replied, that fince we are dead in trefpaffes and fins we can do nothing before, by way of preparation for grace, unless we think finful thoughts and rebellious actions will do it. But, moreover,

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we have seen perfons, the beft difpofed for this kind of grace, the perfon mentioned Matt. xix, for inftance: he was full of good intentions, inflained with a defire after heaven, and of a blameless life before men, notwithstanding which, he was difap-proved of; and there was another, whom we are. told was not far from the kingdom of heaven, wanted, as it were, but one ftep, and yet publicans and harlots, who were void of the leaft good qualification, went in before thofe who were civilly righteous, and externally religious. Nor does it happen favorable to this fcheme, that the fcriptures point out feveral examples or actual proofs of the affertion, that in the firft manifeftation of grace to the foul, God is found of them that fought him not: and made manifeft to them that afked not after him. But we have been ingenioufly informed upon this head, for the encouragement of the well-difposed, that "He is fometimes found of them that feek him not ;-much more will he be found of them that feek him, in his appointed way." If we call to mind the true fignification, of the grace of God that bringeth falvation unto men, it will readily appear that, upon this plan, grace is no more grace.

There are others who agree in the main with the clafs above referred to, about the nature of this principle, and with them infift upon the neceffity, of fome kind of pre-requifites thereunto, who yet would seem to differ from them, about the author of thefe previous principles, and the defign of their "In perfons to be being wrought in the mind. regenerated is required a breaking of the natural ob. ftinacy, and a flexibility of the will-a found lawwork upon the foul-a legal fear of punishment and a dread of hell, &c. and fome anxiety about deliverance." But then we are informed that, Thefe things are not produced by nature alone, but are rather to be conceived of as the effects of the fpirit of bondage preparing a way to himself for their ac

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