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I. That there is much in the na- upon us, he would find a soil conture of man to oppose the move- genial to bis labours, and would mients of the Holy Spirit.
see a harvest at once spring up II. That the interferences of the under the sunshine of his presence. Holy Spirit are many and great for But this is not the state of any our safety.
heart by nature. I will not deny III. That there is a time after that there is a difference in the which the Spirit ceases to interfere natural character of men. But
IV. That this time is the moment in none is that difference so of our ruin.
great, as to render the heart pro1. It appears, in the first place, pitious to the movements of the that there is much in the nature of Spirit. Mark the expression of the man to oppose the movements of text ; “My Spirit sball not always the Holy Spirit.
STRIVE with man." There is then a In man, as he was first created, struggle between the movements of doubtless there was much to assist God, and the corruptions of man. and promote the movements of the God finds in the soul, not a friend Spirit of God. As there is in the but an enemy-- not a beart to plant much to assist the action of which he is a welcome guest, but a the sun in promoting its growth; as heart occupied by very different in every part of nature, there is possessors-by deep-seated lusts, much to promote the end for and indwelling corruptions. Let which God designed it; so man me then say to you, Look to the also was formed to yield to that state of your own minds. Indulge blessed influence which would have no fond conceits of your own exmade him good and happy. But cellence. Liemember that there is mau fell—and, from that instant; no law to exempt you from the his nature took the part of sin, and common destiny of inan ; that the opposed the will of God. Such is common curse of human vature has the description given of our pre- fallen upon you; that the widesent state in the Bible. "The spread leprosy of corruption has flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and seized you ; that if good shall the Spirit against the flesh; and ever predominate over evil in your these two are contrary one to the soul, it is to be considered, not as other.” In like manner, says St. an achievement of your own, but Paul, speaking of the conflict be, as the triumph of your God. O tween good and evil in the nature could we pierce the cloud which of man, between the Spirit of God sonceals the mighty movements of and the corruptions of the heart, the band of God, how many arrows “ I delight in the law of God after of conviction should we see, disthe inward man; but I see another charged from Heaven, and blunted law in my members warring against by the stony bosom of man. Rethe law in my mind, and bringing member this, and feel that a heart me into captivity to the law of sin. so hard is not to be trusted, or Such then is the real state of our flattered, or neglected; but that, hearts by nature, and it is of vast by earnest prayer, we are to call importance to be fully aware of it, down those dews of grace by which that we may guard against its con- alone it can be softened and presequences. Allow me to say, that pared for the seed of religion. it is almost certain, that there are II. But, secondly, it appears from some among ourselves who think the text that the interferences of the too favourably of the state of our Spirit of God are many and great own minds—who fancy that we have for our safety.-The inhabitants of more disposition to right than the world before the flood, as it wrong-who conceive that, if the appears, had little or no conception Spirit of God were to descend of the storm that was about to break
over their heads. But it is equally your soul ; tbat, if you were now evident that this state of ignorance to die and perish, the stroke would was their own fault, and not tbe not have been preceded by those appointment of God. If any one visitations of mercy, by those movehad said to them, “ Your God has ments of the Spirit in your favour, long been speaking to you by his which ought in justice to precede ministers; has been warning you of so awful a punishment. You might the evil and danger of sin; has indeed say this; but, if you did, been stretching a drawn sword you would betray your own ingratiacross your guilty path ; has an- tude without criminating the chanounced to you, by many a herald, racter of God. No: God, from the awful ruin that approaches "— your infancy, bas “ striven” with they would probably have answer. you: be has visited you by his Spirit: ed,"“ No: God has doue nothing he has himself contended, and he has for us. He gave us over to our strengthened you to contend with corruptions, to the dominion of the your corruptions: he has watched world, and of the devil; and we you in the hour of danger : he has have seen and felt nothing of the stood ready to interfere with a movements of Providence till now mighty arm, had you but called that the foundations of the world upon him: he has checked you in are broken up, and a flood is about a thousand crimes, prompted you to destroy the whole creation of to a thousand virtues, detached
you God.”—But would these declara- from sin, and called you to retions have been just? Was it the ligion. He has spoken to you fact that God had done nothing for upon the bed of sickness ; comthem? Did he in the first instance muned with you in the hours of stretch out his arm only to scourge darkness ; breathed upon you from and to slay them? Had not the the pages of his word ; touched showers of mercy preceded the your conscience with a mysterious tempest of wratb. Had not the sun hand ; filled you with many a wish, of bis grace shone on them before perhaps with many a resolution, to the clouds began to lour? Hear be good. How vast is the contrast the text; " My spirit shall not al- between the dealings of God and ways strive with man.” Hence it man! Look into the world, and appears, that God had long striven men are warring one with another; with them; that he had employed army is drawn out against army, mouths, and years, and ages in and each man sharpening his sword order to rescue a guilty world ; that "to flesh it” upon the body of his he had been long warning, teach- brother. God also“ strives" with ing, admonishing; that he bad sent man, not to destroy, but to save; them his Spirit, but they had re- not to wound, but to heal; not sisted it. “ The day of the Lord" to rob him of any right, but to did, indeed, at length overtake give him a title and right to heaven; them.“ as a thief in the night"- not to possess himself of the inhewith all the silence and secrecy of ritauce of man, but to impart to the most unexpected assailant. But man the treasures, the glory, the this ought not to have been their unmixed goodness and unclouded state. God had striven with them happiness of heaven. He is “ the till his mercy was exhausted, till Lord, the Lord God, merciful and patience would have been weak. gracious, long suffering, and abunDess; till the perfection of his na. dant in goodness and truth.” Shall ture required that Mercy should we then complain of such a God? quit the throne, and Justice take it. Shall we basely charge any part of And this is applicable to ourselves. our deficiencies upon him? Will You may perhaps feel disposed to you not call to mind how numerous say, that God has done little for are the mercies which have hitherte been wasted and abused by you, marked by any such awful outward and humble yourself at the foot- demonstration, still, as surely as stool of the Divine compassion ?- we have sinped up to the assigned In order, under the Divine blessing, point-as surely as the measure of to lead you to this course of con- our iniquities is full-so surely bas duct, I proceed to observe, the Spirit of God abandoned us to
III. That there is a period at our corruptions and our ruin. which it appeurs that the Spirit of I may, at this instant, be speaking God ceases to act upon those who to some person who, though he resist. him.-- There is, doubtless, a has not actually reached this trepoint at which mercy would begin mendous point, may, by his longto be weakness. At that point, of continued negligence of the adcourse,
mercy of God, which monitions of conscience and the cannot be indulged at the expense voice of God, be fast approachof lis other qualities, must stop. ing it. I may be speaking, to And such is the case which is some who, though they know they placed before us by the text. God, are wrong, neglect to do betterfrom the commencement of the to some who have a secret persuaworld to the period of the flood, sion that their way of life does had been in vain pouring out liis not fit them for death, and who mercies upon mankind. Justice yet refuse to change it-to some now demanded that the punish- who, though they design to mend, ment of their crimes should be in
as yet delay the work of reformaficted; that an example should be tion-to some who are by degrees provided for all generations, that stifling the voice of conscience and * God would not be mocked.” quenching the light of Heaven. I Then it was, he declared, “ My do then most solemnly adjure such Spirit.shall not always strive with persons to beware of their ruin. man,”—“ he has passed beyond The Spirit of God shall cease to the proper limits of compassion- strive with you. The season of he has exhausted the stores of grace may be already nearly gone grace. Mercy will no longer lift bye. The year prayed for by the up her shield to oppose the weapou great Intercessor may have already of wrath, Man has sinned, and he been granted, and have nearly exmust suffer.” God said, and it was pired; and the final sentence be done. And how tremendous was about, perhaps, instantly to be the result! The “ fountains of executed—“ Thou shalt cut it the great deep were broken up ;" down.” Is this, then, I ask, a the “ windows of heaven were situation in which it is wise or safe opened: “ all in whose nostrils to trifle; to wear out life in cayil(except Noah and his family) was ling at religion, in the indulgence the breath of life, died ;" and of the body, or in laying some “every living substance was de- fattering unction to the soul? By stroyed."-Is the picture awful? If all the joys of heaven, and the so, remember, that it is sketched, not terrors of hell; by all the powers as a fiction of the imagination, but of God to save, or to punish; by as the record of a fact; and of a all the agonies of Christ; by his fact desigued, not merely to punish “ cross and passion," all endured the sufferers at that period, but to for you; and by those agonies inscribe, as upon au awful monu- which, if impenitent, and unchanged ment, for future ages, the solemn by the Spirit of God, you yourlesson, that those who resist God selves shall be called to endure, must expect Him to depart from I adjure you to “ awake and arise, them. And permit me to observe, that Christ may give you light." that although the departure of the And, the more to impress this duty Spirit from ourselves is not now upon you, I would beg you to coi-.
sider the fourth and last point to in his fancied security, shall behold which I proposed to call your at, its flaming waves now swell to his tention, viz. that,
feet, and now rise to his breast; IV. The departure of the Spirit when the grave of hell, the Tophit of God is the final destruction of of everlasting destruction, shall the soul.—How awfully is this truth yawn upon a guilty universe, and illustrated in the text! The Spirit thousands of the unholy and imof God ceases to strive with the penitent shall descend into it, and inhabitants of the workl. And the “smoke of their torments shall what ensued? At once, the floods ascend for ever-their groans outdescended,—and dismissed the last the sphere of nature-and whole creation, not merely to an their agonies only begin to be uutimely grave, but to the dread when tine shall be no more. judgment-seat of an angry God.- my brethren, “what manner of men My brethren, it is terrible to read ought we to be,” when, on the one even of their earthly suffering. It hand, such torments must be enis terrible to conceive the mother dured by the hardened and imgrasping her perishing child-to penitent sinner--when, on fancy a man escaping for a few other, a God of mercy, a dying moments, perhaps, by his accidental Saviour offers to all men a free elevation, the growing ruin, but at ransom, an escape from these torlast sucked in by the overwhelming ments, an entrance, and an waters—to see one dark and im- during inheritance in the regions measurable grave gradually swal- of unutterable peace and glory!-lowing up all the fair creation of May God give us a heart to accept God. But carry your view, I the offer!
But let us not delaybeseech you, beyond the grave.
“ Now is the accepted time ; now There is a lake, compared with is the day of salvation.” The inwhich, these horrible waters are tercession of Christ is still offered. as the fountains of life and streams The Spirit of God still strives with of joy,the “ lake that burneth From the altar of our God a with brimstone and with fire.” voice speaks :
“ Come unto me, There is a grave, to which this all ye that are weary and heavy universal charnel-house is as the laden”-“if any man sin, he has abode of peace and happiness – an Advocate with the Father, Jethe “ pit whose smoke ascendeth sus Christ the Righteous.” Come, for ever and ever.” Endeavour, then, and let us seek our ComI entreat you, to realize the scene forter and our God. Come and at that awful hour when the mother let us devote ourselves to him who shall
, perhaps, feel herself, or see is able and willing to “save to the her child overwhelmed by that uitermost all who come unto him fiery flood; when the man, proud through Jesus Christ.”
however laudable it may be in its To the Editor of the Christian Observer. design, able in its execution, and OBSERVING that a book, entitled correct and useful in many of its "A Comparative View of the arguments and inferences, it conChurches of England and Rome,” tains some sentiments upon the most has hitherto escaped your notice, important subjects, erroneous in and that, I believe, of most other their nature and pernicious in their Reviewers, and conceiving that, tendency, I am induced to call the
attention of your readers to some only sect, that admits the authority remarks upon them, and to pre- of tradition as a rule of faith. But vent, if possible, the mischief which the Professor thiuks fit bere to they are calculated to produce. travel out of his record, in order to
The general subject of the work seize, or rather to create, an opporis likely to attract and to conciliate tupity of aiming a side-blow at many, especially among the clergy. some of bis Protestant and even It professes to declare, distinctly ministerial brethren-men who difand exclusively, the doctrines offer from himself in some material the Established Church. And the points of doctrine, and whom he station and character of the author therefore represents as differing secure for it a peculiar degree of from their common standard-the weight and respect. He speaks Established Church. on theological points é cathedra ; He employs the 9th, 10th, 11th, and, however the propriety and 12th, and 13th Articles of our utility of their application may Church as the vehicle for this have been doubted by some, his attack ; and he prefaces his introlearning and critical acumen are duction of this apparently extrascarcely denied or disputed. But neous matter with this plausible all these advantages only make it reason : that otherwise the more necessary to caution the whole purport of these Articles public against any errors which would not be understood.” they may serve to accredit; and The doctrines to which these we must not give way, no, “not Articles relate, viz. original sin, for an hour,” to one who “ seemeth the influence of Divine grace, and to be somewhat," even “ a pillar" justification by faith, constitute in the church, where the funda- the very basis of religious truth. mental truths of religion are con- The language of the Ariicles themcerned.
selves many have thought most It is my intention to appeal to explicit aud forcible; but we sball the law and to the testimony," to see how, what I must venture to call, the Scripture-to its authorised dextrous sophism can obscure their expositions, and to some of the most clearness and impair their force. justly eminent amongst our elder di- He begins with the 9th Article. vines, against a few of the decisions What be affirms with regard, both to of our modern Professor of Divi- its near approach to the decree nity; trusting to his candour and of the 5th session of the Council love of truth for some alteration in of Trent, and its diversity and a second edition of his work, if I distinction from that decree, is should be able to prove any part easily verified by a reference to of his statements to be neither safe Father Paul's History. The ananor true.
themas, of which that decree is In his third chapter, the author composed, fully justify his asserprofesses to " review the doctrinal tion. But surely at this point Articles of our Church, in order to he might have stopped short, and exemplify the effects of her reject- declined the gratuitous and bold ing the authority of tradition, as a assertion, that the Article was "derule of faith, and founding her signed virtually" to oppose an doctrines on the sole authority of error directly contrary to that of Scripture.” It might have been the Pelagians, which it professes thought that the discussion of this to refute, when no trace of such subject, like that of the rest of design is discoverable in any auwhich he treats, would involve thorised comment or contemporary alone the Churches of England and history. On the contrary, the Rome; since the latter is the only words of the Article are considered, church, or even, I believe, the by Bishop Burnet and