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rate, his whole frame quivers; and by this last effort, his unfortunate soul tears itself reluctantly from that body of clay, falls into the hands of its God, and finds itself alone at the foot of the awful tribunal, there to be judged according to the deeds done in the body.
But the spirit of prophecy has foretold a more terrible day of the divine displeasure, than that which we have described-a day when the wrath of God shall burn to the lowest hell--a day when he will rain upon the wicked fire, and snares, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest-a day that is emphatically styled THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH. It shall be ushered in with the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of the archangel—the signal shall be heard by the sleeping millions, who shall come forth from their dusty beds--the sea shall cast up its dead, and roll on the majestic wave its living forms to the shore—the living shall be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye—and all shall be caught up into the regions of the air—the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, the elements melt with fervent heat, and the earth and the works thereof burnt up: In the midst of these august scenes, fear and dismay will seize the ungodly; in their frantic rage they shall gnaw their tongues for pain, and shall call upon the rocks and mountains to fall upon them, to hide them from the presence of God, and to shield them from the wrath of the Lamb—but rocks and mountains shall flee away, and deny their friendly protection. The Judge shall descend in awful grandeur to take vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not his gospel. He shall proclaim, as when seven thunders utter their voices, bring hither these mine enemies, that would not that I should rule over them, and slay them before me. And, O my God, will the unconverted, who hear me this day, be among the number? will they appear before this awful tribunal naked and unprepared to meet their Judge? will they be exposed in that awful period, to that devouring wrath which will consume their souls?
My friends, we have consecrated this solemn fast to avert this impending storm, which ere long will burst upon the guilty heads of the wicked. And how many of our parents, and our children, and our companions, and our associates, are among the number of the wicked, and exposed to the fiery indignation of the Almighty ? and can we bear the thought of their going on in sin, and finally laying down in sorrow? · Will that awful sound fall upon our ears, Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels? Shall these eyes behold the flaming sword of divine justice unsheathed against those bound to us by the strongest ties of nature ? Shall we see them, all pale and ghastly, sinking down into the shades of darkness, to rise no more? O come, fellow sinner, and unite with us to-day, in rending the heart, in weeping over the perishing condition of man, and in calling upon God to avert this impending storm of divine wrath! O God, save the
ungodly from the power and dominion of sin; save them from the corroding cares of the world ; save them from the snares of the devil; save them from the pleasures of sense ; save them from the fear of death and the horror of hell; O save them from the storm of vengeance in the great DAY OF Wrath !
On the Doctrine of Divine Influence. By the term divine influence, I mean the agency of God operating upon the souls of men, by which they are illuminated, disciplined, and improved ; all that support which God affords in temptation, trial, and sorrow; all that spiritual aid which he imparts to man, for the moral and religious improvement of his character here in this world, and by which he is prepared for a higher state of being in the world which is to come. In the discussion of this subject, I propose to show, that God not only grants to men the outward dispensations of his word to be the ordinary means of their conversion and sanctification, but, also, the inward operations of his Holy Spirit.
I. And, in the first place, we observe, that it is highly reasonable that such an influence should be imparted. God has created man, and placed him here in this lower world in a state of trial ; and what is more reasonable than to suppose, that he should hold an intimate intercourse with the souls he has called into being ? There is nothing absurd, irrational, or difficult in the supposition. God has given to man all his powers and capacities, and is intimately acquainted with all the laws by which his mind is governed, with all the springs which excite him to action, and with all the avenues which lead to the heart. By elevating or depressing his spirits, he can present new views to the mind; by an impression upon the brain, he can excite a new train of thought and reflection ; and by touching the springs of action in the heart of a man, he can add intensity to the slightest emotions that affect him. Thus God, in a thousand ways, can give to men clearer ideas, quicker apprehensions, and more extended views of divine truth. He, indeed, when no miracle is wrought, can lead man to any result-can interpose, and influence, and guide him to will and to do, of his good pleasure, by the agency of those laws which govern the human mind. Thus we see, in the very constitution of man, that God has made provision for the exercise of his moral providence, by which he is to be disciplined and improved, and, finally, prepared for a higher state of happiness and felicity. We, therefore, consider the doc
trine of divine influence in accordance with every principle of reason, and a denial of it as most irrational and absurd.
Again, it is obvious that the presence and agency of God with the human mind may be inferred from all his perfections ; since it is irrational to suppose that these perfections would exhaust themselves on inferior objects, and leave untouched that Spirit of man, for the use and development of which, all things else were made. For instance, we ascribe to God spirituality. But can we conceive of an inactive Spirit ? And if it be admitted that this Infinite Spirit is active, that it pervades, as the lite-giving principle, all creation ; that it is the first cause, the continuing power, and the last and of all material things; can we believe that it avoids or neglects the soul of man, which is the brightest image of it? Again, we ascribe to God, Omnipresence and Omnipotence. We maintai that God is present in every part of space by an all-pervading, all-controlling energy; that he is above us, around us, and beneath us; and shall we make an exception of the human soul, and affirm that this energy, which is everywhere else, never touches the human heart, never impresses the mind of man?
Once more, the doctrine of a divine influence rests upon the same foundation as the doctrine of a particular providence ; indeed, it is a branch of the same doctrine. They must stand or fall together. They rest upon the same evidence, and are proved by the same arguments. By a particular providence, we mean, that care which God extends to every part of creation, to the smallest as well as to the greatest events, to all the parts as well as to the whole of creation, and is as complete in a grain of sand as in a world, and is as regular in the actions of an individual as in the conduct of a nation. Indeed, neither the natural, nor the moral government of God, can be carried on in any other way. The results to which nations are guided, depends upon the conduct of the individuals which compose them. We are not to suppose, that the energy of God is exhausted upon nations and communities, and that individuals are left untouched by it; for the energy of God is infinite. That Infinite Being who guides the sun in his course, who marshals the host of heaven, who gives motion to the planetary system, and life and being to the ten thousand forms which inhabit the earth, also watches over the good man in his cottage ; kindles devout aspirations in his heart, and accepts the homage, the praise, the adoration, he offers to his Maker. How delightful to look upon a world of human beings, all under the care and government of God—a God whose infinite energy turns the hearts of men, as the rivers of water are turned, restraining the wrath of one, and kind ing the devotion of another; guiding this man to one conclusion, and that man to another; bringing order out of confusion and good out of evil; and thus performing all his will and all his pleasure ; and yet no miracle is wrought, no man's free agency is invaded. That this doctrine is true, is evident from the fulfil
ment of prophecy. Some of the prophecies were foretold several thousand years before they were accomplished ; and their fulfilment depended upon the actions of millions and millions of human beings, and thousands and thousands of contingencies beyond the control of man.
These prophecies were fulfilled in the course of human events, as all other events occur. We are, therefore, led to the conclusion, that the providence of God is carried forward by the exercise of an all-pervading energy, and that nothing occurs under the whole heaven, only by the direction or permission of the Supreme Ruler of the universe.
But this doctrine is fully established by the Holy Scriptures. It was affirmed by Christ himself, that the Comforter, by which we understand the Spirit of God, should reprove the world of sin. It is by the law that we have the knowledge of sin. By the law we understand the written word, that was-engraven upon the tables of stone, and given to man as a rule of life, every deviation from which is a moral offence. This law extends not only to outward actions, but to every inordinate desire. The Spirit, in reproving the world of sin, reveals to the mind the spirituality of the law, by which sin is made to abound; or, in other words, by this act of the Spirit, the understanding is enabled to our sins in a clearer and stronger light. By this act of the Spirit, also, we discover the strength and vehemence of our sinful passions and appetites. This is what St. Paul meant, when he said, Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupis
Thus, by the operation of the Spirit, we see, in a strong and clear light, the corruption of the human heart, the number and aggravation of our offences; and are led to regard sin as exceedingly sinful. The Spirit, then, in reproving world of sin, gives to the mind a more deep and vivid impression of these great truths, than it could possibly have, if no such energy had been imparted by God. It is under the influence of this conviction, the soul cries out: Wo is me! I am undone : behold, I am vile ; I repent and abhor myself in dust and ushes. Under these impressions, the Spirit becomes broken and contrite, and such a spirit God will not despise.
Our Lord, in conversation with Nicodemus, affirmed, “ Unless a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The phrase, born of the Spirit, can mean nothing less than a special, though not a miraculous effect; produced by an influence proceeding from God, as its cause, and operating through the religion of his Son, as the means. That saving change which wrought in the mind, when a man is brought from sin to holiness, and passes from death to life, here denoted by the phrase, born of God, is always ascribed to the Spirit as the efficient cause. The apostle, speaking of this, says: And such were some of you ; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. The washing, sanctification, and justification here spoken of, is ascribed to
the agency of the Spirit.
of the Spirit. Again, the apostle says: We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.'' And again, He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God; who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. By this saving change, which is wrought by the Holy Spirit, the man is made a partaker of a divine nature, and is altogether a new creature.
If the Holy Spirit is not the agent in producing and carrying on the new life, why is he styled a life-giving Spirit ? Seeing all vital operations issue from a Spirit acting in us, why are we said to live in the Spirit, and to walk in the Spirit, and to be led by the Spirit? For, as in natural and moral actions, we cannot be said to live or walk, without an inward principle of life and motion, or to be led or guided in those actions by the light of reason: So neither can we properly be said to live and walk in the Spirit, or to be guided by him if he imparts no inward light to guide us in the way of piety, no inward motions to excite us to walk in them, no inward strength or vital efficacy for the performance of them. And were it otherwise, why are all those inward habits and dispositions which adorn the soul, and make it meet for the inheritance of the Saints in light, styled the fruits, not of the preaching of the word, or of our own considerations, but of the Holy Spirit ? For how are they his fruits, if they are not produced by him?
Christians are said to be the habitation of God through the Spirit ; and he is further to operate in us effectually for all the ends and purposes of our salvation, producing in us all the fruits of goodness, and righteousness, and truth. His motions may not unfitly be compared with the operation of the soul in the human body. Without the soul, the body cannot perform any vital function whatever: but when that spiritual inhabitant is present with, and discharges its proper offices, we show, by the various exercises of our mind and body, that it really dwells in us. Now, the spirit of God performs in the soul an office somewhat analogous to this. The soul, by itself, has respect only to things visible and temporal ; but when filled by the spirit of God, it occupies itself about things invisible and eternal
. And precisely as the body needs the presence and operation of the soul for the discharge of the offices in relation to this world, so does the soul need the influences of the Holy Spirit for the discharge of its duties in reference to the world to come. This exactly corresponds with what St. Paul says: “I am crucified with Christ : nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” And again he says, “ When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Hence, true religion, as said an eminent minister of the gospel, is the life of God in the soul.
Hence, God is said to put his fear and his law in our hearts, and his Spirit within us, to create in us a clean heart, and to renew in us a right spirit, to give us a new heart, to circumcise and convert the heart. By this language we are to understand, that God by