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alone carry with them sufficient authority to justify me fully in recommending that evidence of the gospel truth which arises from divine influence, consequent on obedience to its precepts. An orthodox life, I am convinced, is the best preparative to the entertainment of orthodox opinions; and I rejoice to find such men as Townson enforcing the doctrine, “ that if any man will “ do the will of Christ, he shall know of the doctrine 6 whether it be of God.” He does not refer us to systematical or philosophical works, but to the teaching of the Holy Ghost, for the attainment of this knowledge; a knowledge, compared to which all other is to man, condemned as he is shortly to die, but puerile amusement, a house of cards, a bubble blown up into the air, and displaying deceitful colours in a momentary sunshine.
Dr. Doddridge on the Doctrine of Divine Influence.
“ ANY degree of divine influence on the mind, “ inclining it to believe in Christ and to practise virtue, “ is called GRACE. All those who do indeed believe in “ Christ, and in the main practise virtue, are to ascribe “ it not merely or chiefly to their own wisdom and “ goodness, but to the special operation of divine grace “ upon their souls, as the original cause of it. None “ can cleny, that God has such an access to the minds of “ men that he can work upon them in what manner he “ pleases: and there is great reason to believe, that his “ secret influence on the mind gives a turn to many of “ the most important events relating to particular per
« sons and societies*, as it is evident many of the public “ revolutions, mentioned in the Old Testament, are " ascribed to this cause f. Though the mind of man “ be not invincibly determined by motives, yet in mat“ ters of great importance it is not determined without “ them: and it is reasonable to believe, that where a “ person goes through those difficulties which attend “ faith and obedience, he must have a very lively view " of the great engagements to them, and probably, upon “ the whole, a more lively view than another, who, in “ the same circumstances, in all other respects acts in ! “ a different manner. Whatever instruments are made « use of as the means of making such powerful impres« sions on the mind, the efficacy of them is to be ascribed " to the continual agency of the first cause. The preva“ lence of virtue and piety in the church is to be ascribed “ to God, as the great original Author, even upon the “ principles of natural religion. Good men in scripture, " who appear best to have understood the nature of God, “ and his conduct towards men, and who wrote under a “ the influence and inspiration of his Spirit, frequently 6 offer up such petitions to God, as shew that they be“ lieved the reality and importance of his gracious agen“ cy upon the heart to promote piety and virtuet. God “ promises to produce such a change in the hearts of “ those to whom the other valuable blessings of his word " are promised, as plainly implies that the alteration " made in their temper and character is to be looked “ upon as his work ll.
* Prov. xxi. 1.
* Psal. li. 10-12. xxxix. 4. xc. 12. cxix. 12. 18. 27. 33–37. 73. 80. 133. 1 Chron. xxix. 18. 19. Eph. i. 16, &c. Col. i. I 11, &c. sim.
!| Deut. xxx. 6. Psal. cx. 3. Jer. xxxi. 33. xxxi. 39, 40. Ezek. xi, 19, 20. xxxvi. 26, 27. Compare Heb. viii. 8–13.
“ The scripture expressly declares, in many places, " that the work of faith in the soul is to be ascribed to “ God, and describes the change made in a man's heart, “ when it becomes truly religious, in such language as 6 must lead the mind to some strength superior to our « own by which it is effected*. The increase of Chris“ tians in faith and piety, is spoken of as the work of « God; which must more strongly imply that the first “ beginnings of it are to be ascribed to himt. The “ scripture does expressly assert the absolute necessity “ of such divine influences on the mind, in order to faith “ and holiness, and speaks of God's giving them to one « while he with-holds them from another, as the great “ reason of the difference to be found in the characters “ of different men in this important respect t.
“ It appears probable from the light of nature, and “ certain from the word of God, that Faith and repen« tance are ultimately to be ascribed to the work of spe“ cial grace upon the hearts of menll. As to the man
* John, i. 13. iij. 3. 5, 6. Acts, xi. 18. xvi. 14. 2 Cor. iii. 3. Eph. i. 19, 20. ii. 1. 10. iv. 24. Phil. i. 29. Col. i. 11 12. i. 12, 13. Vid. James, i. 18. 2 Tim. ii. 25. To this catalogue we scruple not to add Eph. ii. 8. though some have objected that t&lo cannot refer to TIGEWS; since the like change of genders is often to be found in the New Testament; compare Acts, xxiv. 16. xxvi. 17. Phil. i. 28. 1 John, ïi. 8. Gal. iii. 16. iv. 19. Matth. vi. ult. xxviii. 19. Rom. ii. 14. Elsner's Observ. vol. i. p. 128. Raphel. Observ. ex Herod. in Matth. xxviii. 19. Glassii Op. 1. iii. Tract. ii. de pr. Can. xvi. p. 524—526.
† Psal. cxix. 32. Phil. i. 6. q. 13. 1 Cor. vii. 25. jii, 7. iv. 7. xy. 10. 2 Cor. v. 5. Heb. xiii. 20, 21. 1 Pet. v. 10. Jude, ver. 24, 25.
| Deut. xxix. 4. Matth. xi. 25, 26. John, vi. 44, 45, 46. xii. 39, 40. Rom. ix. 18.-23.
|| Lime-street Lect. vol. ii. p. 242—245. Tillotson's Works, vol. ii. p. 80, 81. Limb. Theol. 1. iv. c. 14. § 4. 21. Brandt's Hist. of the Ref. vol. ii. p. 75. Doddridge on Regen. Serm. vii. tner in which divine grace operates upon the mind,
considering how little it is we know of the nature and “ and constitution of our own souls, and of the frame of “ nature around us, it is no wonder that it should be un“ accountable to us*. Perhaps it may often be, by im« pelling the animal spirits or nerves, in such a manner “as is proper to excite certain ideas in the mind with a “ degree of vivacity, which they would not otherwise “ have had: by this means various passions are excited; 6 but the great motives addressed to gratiiude and love “ seem generally, if not always, to operate upon the will 66 more powerfully than any other, which many divines “ have therefore chosen to express by the phrase of de“ lectatio victrixt.”
The Opinions of Mr. Locke and Mr. Addison.
It will be difficult to prove that any of the modern worshippers of their own reason possess understandings better illuminated than those of the great ornaments of our country, Locke and Addison; and they have left on record their opinion on the reality and necessity of supernatural assistance. It is evident, I think, that Mr. Locke's understanding and temper were very little inclined to admit any thing fanatical. He appears to have weighed well, in the balance of reason, whatever he advanced; and therefore his testimony may be supposed to have authority on the minds of those who, in forming their religious principles, lay claim to pre-eminent RATIONALITY. .
p. 221–233, Jortin's Six Dissertations, No, 1. Warburton's Doctrine of Grace. Fost, Sermons, vol. ii. No. 5. præs. p. 104, 105.
* John, iii. 8.
+ Compare Deut. xxx. 6. Psal. cxix, 16. 20. 32, 47, 48.97, 103. Psal. xix. 10, 11, Rom. vii. 22. 1 John, iv. 18, 19. Rom. v. 5, Le Blanc's Thes. p. 527, 553. Burn. Life of Roch. p. 43–51. Barclay's Apol. p. 148. Burnet on Art, p. 120. Whitby Com. ment, vol. ij. p. 289, 290. Scougal's Works, p. 6-10. Seed's Serm. vol. i. p. 291. Ridley on the Spirit, p. 210. King's Origin of Evil, p. 71.376_380, fourth edition.
Mr. Addison is universally allowed to have united in himself the scholar, the philosopher, and the gentleman. His liberal and polished mind always appeared to me peculiarly formed for theological subjects, and he treats them in a most pleasing and persuasive manner. Let us hear both these great men on our present subject.
“ To these I must,” says Mr. Locke, “ add one ad. “ vantage more we have by Jesus Christ, and that is, “ the promise of ASSISTANCE. If we do what we can, « he will give us his SPIRIT to help us to do what, and “ how we should. It will be idle for us, who know not “ how our own spirits move and act us, to ask in what “ manner the Spirit of God shall work upon us. The “ wisdom that accompanies that spirit knows better than “ we how we are made, and how to work upon us. If “ a wise man knows how to prevail on his child, to bring « him to what he desires, can we suspect that the spirit “ and wisdom of God fail in it, though we perceive or 6 comprehend not the ways of his operation ? Christ has “ promised it, who is faithful and just, and we cannot « doubt of the performance. It is not requisite, on this « occasion, for the inhancing of this benefit, to enlarge “ on the frailty of minds, and weakness of our consti6 tutions; how liable to mistakes, how apt to go astray, « and how easily to be turned out of the paths of virtue. “ If any one needs go beyond himself and the testimony “ of his own conscience on this point; if he feels not his " own errors and passions always tempting him, and