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and they would manifest the same enmity, as before. They have experienced no change of character-nothing like what the scriptures mean by a change of heart.
In a real change of heart, not only the object of one's affections is changed, but the nature of them. Indeed the object of affection may not be changed. Before that change of heart, which the Bible terms conversion, or being born again, the sinner loves himself selfishly and supremely, i. e. because it is himself, and more than all other beings: after that change, he loves himself disinterestedly and subordinately, i. e. because his interest is nearly valuable, and far less than God and the public good. And so, before a change of heart, the sinner may love God, from a mistaken apprehension that God loves him and will exert bis Almighty power to save and bless him; but after that change, he loves God for what he is in himselffor the inherent and moral perfection and beauty of his Divine character, aside from all considerations of a personal nature, and can say with Job, “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”
I fear, that calling such a mere circumstantial change as the preacher described, a change of heart, may mislead hearers who are not very discerning and void of self-flattery, and be the occasion of their imagining, that the great moral change, in which men 'pass from death to life,' is no more than a circumstantial change of feeling and conduct, without any radical change of the nature of the voluntary affections and exercises w.bicli compose the heart.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A GENUINE CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE.
Extracted from the Christian Spectator. First, is it tounded in a knowledge of the truth? "sanctify them," said our Saviour, “through the truth.” “Being born again, ' said Peter, "by the word of God.” I have begollen you in Christ Jesus,” said Paul, "by the gospel.” All holy affections have their foundation in divine knowledge. They are the result of a spiritual illumination. The character which they form answers to the nature of those objects, as the image upon the wax, to the seal by which it is impressed. Hence, true christians are described as being “renewed in knowledge," as "receiving the truth in the love of it," as “having purified their hearts in obeying the truth, through the Spirit.”
“Ye are our epistle,” it is also said; our doctrine is written upon your hearts and made legible in your lives. “Ye have obeyed from the heart, that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you;" or, more literally, into wbich, as the flowing metal into a mold, ye were delivered. the system of truth revealed in the gospel, is the most ample and illustrious display of the glory of God to be found this side of heaven. Hence it is the most decisive test of human cbaracter. To hearts at enmity with God, it is unwelcome; but to the renewed it is spirit and life. Hence, also, it makes no progress among men,
Characteristics of a general christian experience.
except by the energy of that Spirit who revealed it. The experiment has long been making. When He published it, who spake as never man spake, and confirmed it by miracles, public, frequent and indubitable; not an individual was converted, except by a special divine influence. He knew it would be so; and laid down the maxim, that no man could come to him, except as drawn of the Father; and the guilty cause, he always laid at man's own door. “He that is of God,” he said, “heareth God's words. Ye hear them not, because ye are not of God.” So also the apostle Paul, however he reasoned out of the scriptures, and joined miracles to arguments, and travailed in birth, day and night, for bis hearers, found the result all the same. The Jews were incensed, and the Gentiles mocked. None believed except as the Lord gave to every man. Hence, in the trial of christian experience, whether our own, or that of others, it is the truth of God understood, received and obeyed? the truth concerning the holiness of his character; the obligation of his law; the sovreignity of his dominion; the nature of sin; the conditon of sinpers; the way and terms of salvation; and the dependence of fallen man on free, regenerating, victorious grace? Is there any religious excitement, to which a clear and convincing exhibition of the truth, concerning these things, would put an end? any which arrays the subjects of it in utter bostility against the truth? any which inclines them to keep out of the sight and hearing of it? Could this be the fact, were it a work of the Spirit of truth? Is the work of the Spirit, so contrary to the word of the Spirit?—that word which he employs as the well adapted instrument of his work, and which it is the object of his work to put into the mind, and write upon the heart, so making it effectual to salvation? Or is the scheme of christian doctrine so inconsistent with itself, that a person may truly understand and cordially receive one part, and be violently hostile to another part of it? It cannot be, "He that is of God, heareth God's words.”
Secondly. Did our supposed christian experience, commence in an unconditional submission to God? By this we mean, a cordial consent to the government of God, without respect to our personal interest in his favor, as our deciding motive. Easy it were for the most malignant spirit in bell to submit to God, on the condition that his government were to be employed in snbserviency to the individual benefit of that spirit. Sinners love those who love them. Selfishness dictates this. Let the sinner who has long quarrelled with the justice or the sovereignty of God, strongly conceive himself forgiven; and nothing more is needful to lay him, meek as a lamb, at the feet of his almighty friend. But how shall a sioner find good evidence that he is forgiven, until submission is rendered? The uniform declaration of God is, “ I love them that love me.” “Except ye repent, ye shall perish.” It is then important to ask, in what state of mind, originated that flow of feelings, which is usually called christian experience? Did it commence with preconceived persuasion of forgiveness, or a strong expectation of it, as the exciting cause? or in a cheerful acquiescence in God's sove, reignty and law, a subdued, penitent, child-like feeling; before the persuasion of forgiveness was indulged, and as the ground of it? Selfishness is the ruling principle of the patural heart. Let that heart be employed in religion, it is selfish still. Its love, its joy, its hopes terminate on self; and the character, the law, the purposes, the government of infinite love, are now as much opposed to its religious, as they before were, to its worldly, feelings. But true religion is love; that love which exalts God, which makes his glory its end, and subordinates self to the objects which his law is employ. ed to secure. This is the harmony of the soul with God, the commencement of its peace, and the foretaste of heaven. “Every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God, for God is love."
Thirdly. Is our experience characterized by humility? When David was leading out his thousands on a perilous expedition, the people, flocking around him said, “Thou shalt not go forth, for thou art wortb ten thousand of us.” Just so when a person, in the expansive feelings of divine love, begins to estimate things according to their worth, he learns to esteem others better than himself, and in honor to prefer them. If, in this manner, he submits himself to his fellow servants, of what worth does he consider bimself, in comparison with God? his own wisdom in comparison with God's; his own interests and gratifications, in comparison with the glory of God and the interests of his kingdom? "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear," is the sentiment of his heart, “but now mine eye seeth thee, wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes." His illumination in the knowledge of God, his perception of the nature of sin, as against God, his minute and ansious observation of the secret workings of his own mind, as all open and naked to the view of God, his every sentiment and feeling in the great concerns of religion, dispose him to take the place of the least of all, and the servant of all. Hence there is no one thing, by which redeemed sinners are so often characterized in the scriptures as this; “ Thus saith the high and losty one that inhabiteth eternity, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a humble and contrite heart." Do you then see a person whose religious experience breaks down his self-confidence and self-complacency; makes him diffident of his own wisdom, low in his estimate of his own attainments, and distrustful of his own beart; willing to be guided, and if occasion demands, to be admonished and reproved; and, by his habitual demeanor, convincing you that he cares but little whether himself be accounted any thing, if only God may be glorified, and his kingdom advanced? Or, on the other band, do you find him self-willed, self-sufficient, self-complacent, self-exalted; fond of holding himself up to observation and assuming to himself the direction; pleased with his flatterers, and bitter, resentful and censorious, in his treatment of those whose sentiments and feelings do not harmonize with his own?. We have said, do you find this spirit in another? Alas! we are too apt to discover it in every one, rather than in ourselves. True humility, however, detects this sin of sins in one's self, sooner than in any other. Candor is its attendant virtue, because it is self-observant. But in judging of the grace of God, whether in ourselves or in others, let
Characteristics of a genuine Christian Experience.
this decision of his word never be forgotten, “His soul that is lifted up,” though he speak with the tongue of men or of angels, though he have a martyr's zeal or an apostle's faith,“ his soul that is listed up, is not upright in him."
Finally, does the experience of any person, dispose him to an habitual, conscientious, practical fear of God? Does it result in a ready, filial, unreserved obedience to his will? Is he governed, not by his interest or his feelings, but by the bible, as his rule? Is he anxious to know what God would have him to do? and does he repair to the word of God, that he may know? Is he apt to receive the declarations of his will, when set before him; and does he cheerfully yield his worldly gratifications, connections and hopes, in submission to them? As a husband, a parent, a child, a neiglıbor, a member of the church, a master, a servant-in regard to his words, as well as deeds--in the government of his temper, as well as the conduct of his life in the use of his time, his property, bis influence in the regulation of the whole man, the inner and the outer man, does he come before God and say, “I count all thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and hate every false way?” Wha a religion is this! Who could think lightly of christian experience, were this the uniform and conspicuous result? Let these questions be answered in our favor, and we need not envy the experience of all the boasted joys of sins forgiven, without this evidence, which the world has known. “ This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” « Blessed is the man that feareth alway.”
In these remarks, we have not intended to encourage the too common practice of judging others, but to exhibit the standard by which every person may safely judge concerning himself. For this purpose, the distinction between true and false experience in religion, which we have endeavored to draw, cannot be too carefully made. Reader, what concern on earth is of the least importance to you, as an individual, compared with your discerning and following that real holiness which will not deceive you, and not substituting for it a delusion which will only render your final perdition the more sure and terrible? Who can paint the terrors of that man who dies, full of the joy of an expected heaven, and finds himself ushered, a hopeless rebel, into the torments of hell? Who, in prospect of the approaching decision, would not most earnestly pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart?” But that you make this discrimination, is scarcely less important, to prepare you to give a right direction to your inkluence over others. Their opinions, feelings, and conduct, cannot be slightly affected by your communications and examples. Surely, you would not say a word, with the view of hindering the work of God in their conversion. And ought you not to be equally cautious of giving your countenance to the work of the deceiver, in their destruction? Often do we hear it said, “It is of no consequence where a person gets religion,”but is it of no consequence what religion he embraces? Were it not better for him to remain with no religion, and to lie open to the alarm which truth would hardly fail, in that case to excite, than to quiet himself with a delusive hope?' "The effect of such an error is not often repaired. One delusion is only exchanged for another;-graceless fervor for desperate security; and false hopes for confirmed scepticism and infidelity. Conscience is seared, prejudices are riveted, useful connections are broken off, the means of grace are abandoned, and the last state, in every respect, is worse than the first.
From the Boston Telegraph. SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD AND SUPRALAPSARIANISM. At the last meeting of the Pastoral Association of Massachusetts, May 24th, the Sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Beechera We have hitherto deferred any remarks upon that performance, hoping to see the sermon in print; as a copy was requested for publication. We have however waited in vain, as we understand, Dr. Beecher has not seen fit to comply with the request. What could be the Dr.'s motive in withholding a copy from the press, we are at a loss to determine; unless he considers the sermon so vulnerable, and so far a departure from the faith of the Protestants, that he has exposed himself to just and severe criticism. If the positions he attempted to establish were true, and of sufficient importance to be held up before that large and respectable body of clergymen; then they are certainly capable of being maintained, and are of sufficient importance to be put in the hands of the public. If the sermon was not true, in all its parts, but some of the positions advanced were untenable; then the discourse ought to be put into a tangible shape, that those errors may be met and refuted. In either case, Dr. Beecher owes a duty to the christian public, which he cannot fulfil, without giving a copy of his sermon for the press; and until he does this, we have the right to conclude, that he feels conscious of having assumed ground, which he is unable to defend and maintaio.
We have long considered Dr. Beecher as holding the first principles of Arminianism; and the sermon to which we refer, has established us more firmly in that opinion. It is true, as the text very naturally opened the way, he attempted to discuss the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty, and to remove objections, which are commonly urged against it: but he could scarcely be said to enter even upon the threshold, and, in our view, he advanced nothing, except contradictions, to which a Wesleyan Methodist would not most coraially assent. When the Dr. said, that divine sovereignty “always flows in certain channels;" we were strongly inclined to ask him, Who made those channels? Did they come by what he would call “the liberty of contingency?"-or were they fore-ordained in the counsels of eternity? When he says, that the sovereignty of God
is usually dispensed with reference to a faithful use of means;' we would ask, Who ordained the faithful use of means? or did the use of means have no place in the counsels of eternity? When the Dr. asserted, that the sovereignty of God is not unconditional and irrespective election;' that, in view of the conduct of sinners, God de