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whose splendours you have never seen,-of a territory, whose wealth you have never ransackedof a world, whose glories have never beamed upon you, whose odours have never been wafted to you, whose breezes have never fanned you, whose music has never fallen on your ears, and whose Spirit has never breathed into your heart. You deny the Holy Ghost: this is your sin, and your sin is your punishment. You deny the Author of divine life, light, and revelation;—marvel not that, all that appertains to experimental godliness is to you, death, darkness, and mystery. Without this blessed Spirit, you can never know yourself, nor Christ, nor God, nor heaven. Trifle no longer with this subject,—refuse Him no longer divine honour,—lay aside the prejudices of education and of creeds, and fall down and supplicate the teaching of this Spirit, whose personal dignity you have so long denied, whose Word you have so long rejected, whose voice you have so long disregarded, and all whose influences you would, were it possible, this moment quench. Yet, He is faithful, kind, and forgiving. You have denied Him, but “He cannot deny himself”—though you believe not, yet “He abideth faithful.” He can dissolve your heart, give you true contrition, and lead you to the atoning blood of Jesus for the pardon of your sin. But, if resolved to adhere to your present views, remember the awfully solemn words of our Lord, and may they sink down into your ears,—“Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
THE SPIRIT, A QUICKENER,
THE SOUL BEFORE CONVERSION.
" It is the Spirit that quickeneth.”
John vi. 63.
Having laid the basis of the Holy Spirit's work in his PERSONAL DIGNITY, it will now be an easy, and a more delightful, because less controversial, task to raise the superstructure.
Commencing from such a foundation—the GodHEAD of the Spirit—what dignity and glory attach to his various offices and operations, as contained in the covenant of redemption, and as unfolded in the work of grace upon the heart. How important that we should enter upon its discussion, deeply impressed with the spirituality of our theme, with its essential relation to the eternal happiness of the soul, and with fervent prayer for his own divine illumination.
It will be perceived that, in unfolding his work, we commence with the Spirit's first gracious and divine act—The breathing of spiritual life in the
soul. This must be regarded as an operation anterior to all others. The Spirit as a Quickener, must ever precede him as a Sanctifier and a Comforter. If we look for him in any of his offices before we have received him as the Author of divine life in the soul, we reverse bis own order, and cover ourselves with disappointment. We enter upon the discussion of this subject the more readily, and we trust, prayerfully, from the conviction that, the modern views of the doctrine of regeneration, as held and preached by many, are not only widely different from the old standards of doctrinal truth, but what is more serious and deeply to be deplored, are such as the Word of God clearly and distinctly disowns, and upon which there rests the darkness of its frown. Regeneration, as taught by many in the present day, differs widely from the doctrine as preached in the days of the Apostles and Reformers. In their writings, and discourses, the basis was deeply and broadly laid in the original and total depravity of man, this doctrine is now by many greatly modified, if not absolutely denied. In the days of primitive Christianity, the utter helplessness of the creature, and the absolute and indispensable necessity of the Holy Spirit's influences in the regeneration of the soul, were distinctly and rigidly enforced; sentiments the reverse of these, subversive of the
scripture doctrine of regeneration, and destructive of the best interests of the soul, are now zealously and widely promulgated. Surely, this is a cause of deep humiliation before God; may He turn to his ministers and people, a pure language, and graciously revive the precious, soul-humbling, Christ-honouring truths, once the safeguard and the glory of our land. We propose in this and the following chapter, to present a simple and scriptural delineation of the doctrine of regenerationthe office of the Holy Spirit in its productionand some of the holy effects as traced in the life of a believer. May there descend on the reader the anointing of the Holy One, and may the truth empty, sanctify, and comfort the heart.
Regeneration is a work standing alone, and distinct from all the other operations of the Divine Spirit. It is to be carefully distinguished from Conversion, Adoption, Justification, and Sanctification, and yet must be regarded as forming the basis and the spring-head of them all. For instance, there can be no conversion without a principle of life in the soul, for conversion is the exercise of a spiritual power implanted in man. There can be no sense of adoption, apart from a renewed nature, for adoption confers the privilege only, not the nature of sons. There can be no comforting sense of acceptance in the Beloved,