Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

sion of a slave, not the cheerful acquiescence of a son. To produce this change is the peculiar office of the Holy Spirit: and, since none but he can produce it, his ordinary influence is absolutely and universally necessary at present, and will be equally so even to the very end of the world.

In the following pages, I have endeavoured to state what appears to me the plain doctrine of Scripture and of the Church of England, and of primitive Antiquity. Though we are repeatedly assured by the word of God, that of ourselves we can do no good thing : yet we are never represented as mere machines, subjected to an overwhelming and irresistible influence. The aid of the Holy Spirit is freely offered unto

all: nor does that blessed Person cease to strive even with the most profligate, till they have obstinately rejected the counsel of God against themselves. The still small voice of conscience, which is in effect the voice of God, long continues to admonish them: and the extreme difficulty, which they find in silencing it, sufficiently shews, how unwilling the Almighty is that any

should perish. All, that will, may be saved : for our Lord hath expressly declared, that, whosoever cometh unto him, he will in no wise cast him out. Let none, therefore, despair, on the ground of their being rejected by a tremendous and irreversible decree of exclusion : for, surely, if such a decree existed, God's repeated expostulations with sin

ners for slighting his gracious offers, when at the same time they lay under a fatal necessity of slighting them, would be a solemn mockery unworthy of a being of infinite mercy and holi

ness.

In fact, the general experience of mankind perfectly agrees with Scripture. There never yet was a good man, who did not find that he both required and received divine assistance to enable him to overcome his corruptions : and there never yet was a bad man, who did not perceive somewhat within him forcibly restraining him from the commission of sin, and strenuously urging him to the practice of holiness. Half of the follies and vanities of the world are mere contrivances to silence this

troublesome monitor. Men love darkness rather than light, simply because their deeds are evil.

May 21, 1800.

А

PRACTICAL TREATISE,

&c.

CHAPTER I.

THE NECESSITY OF THE ORDINARY OPERATIONS OF

THE SPIRIT SHEWN FROM A VIEW OF THE STATE

OF MAN BY NATURE; HIS UNDERSTANDING, HIS WILL, AND HIS AFFECTIONS, BEING ALL DEPRAVED IN CONSEQUENCE OF ORIGINAL SIN.

In the last solemn discourse which our blessed Lord addressed to his disciples immediately before his bitter sufferings upon the cross, he promised them another Comforter, who should abide with them for ever. Though he himself was about to be shortly separated from them and to sit down at the right hand of his Father, yet his place should be abundantly

« ForrigeFortsæt »