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terest. The fire of devotion may not, indeed, be equally supported, because such equability is not consistent with the constitution of human nature; but it will, for the most part, burn with a clear and steady flame, and will certainly, at no time, and in no circumstances, be utterly extinguished.
Where the heart is deeply interested, there will be eagerness and agitation. Suppose a man, who speaks, in the church, of the Holy Ghost and other most important religious subjects with perfect sang froid, repairing to the stock-exchange, and just going to make a purchase. The price fluctuates. Observe how he listens to his broker's reports. His cheeks redden and his eyes sparkle. Here he is in earnest. Nature betrays his emotion. It is not uncharitable to conclude that his heart is literally with his treasure; and that with respect to the riches of divine grace, he values them little ; and, like Gallio, careth for none of these things. View him again, at a great man's levee, and see with what awe he eyes a patron. His attention approaches to adoration. He is tremblingly solicitous to please, and would undergo any painful restraint, rather than give the slightest offence. The world will not condemn, but applaud his anxiety; yet, if he is earnest and fervent, when his interest is infinitely greater, in securing the tranquillity of his mind, under all the changes and chances of life, he is despised as an enthusiast, a bigot, a fool, or a madman.
A man of sense and true goodness will certainly take care not to make an ostentation of his devotional feelings; but at the same time he will beware of suppressing, in his endetavour to moderate and conceal them.
He will never forget, that the same sun which emits light, gives, at the same time, a genial heat, that enlivens and cherishes all nature.
On Divine Attraction.
Shall we believe our Saviour himself, or some poor mortal, who has learned a little Greek, Latin, or Hebrew, and upon the strength of his scanty knowledge of those languages, and a little verbal criticism, picked up in the schools of an university, assumes the pen of a controversialist, and denies the evident meaning of words plainly and emphatically spoken by Jesus Christ ? Our Saviour says, in language particularly direct, “No man can come unto me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.'
Faustus Regiensis, Wolzogenius, Brenius, Slichtingius, Sykes, Whitby, Clarke, and many others, endeavour to explain away the meaning of the word • draw,' (enkvon,) because they have taken a side in the polemics of theology, against the doctrine of divine grace.
But what have we to do with Faustus, Wolzogenius, Slichtingius, and the rest, when we have before us the words of Jesus Christ ? By them it appears that there is an attraction in the spiritual world as well as the natural; and that the Spirit of God, a benign philanthropic Spirit, unites itself to the soul of man, and communicates to it comfort, sanctity, and illumination.
Men do not controvert the received systems of natural philosophy. They believe in the attraction of gravitation, cohesion, magnetism, and electricity. But in this there is no visible agency, no sensible efflux, influx, or impulse. Yet they believe it, and certainly with reason; but why should they think that God acts thus on matter, comparatively vile, and leaves mind uninfluenced ? Mind, that pure, etherial essence, which must be said to approach in its nature to divinity, (if man can conceive any thing of divine,) and which has an inborn tendency to assimilate with its like.
God, we are told in Scripture, is love. But love always attaches itself to its object. It is not compatible with love to be selfish and solitary. It delights in assimilation. The Spirit of that God who is love, still unites itself with man, for whom it has already shown so much affectionate regard, in the creation and redemption. It could not be consistent with the love and mercy of God to man, to leave him entirely, for ages, without any intercourse, any light, any communication, but a written word, in a language unknown, unread by many, and which, without divine interposition, might be corrupted by the wickedness of man, or lost by his negligence. God's Spirit, acting upon the soul of man, at this hour and for ever, is a living, energetic, and everlasting gospel. The promise of God's assistance by his Spirit, (as St. Peter assured the first converts to Christianity,) was unto them, and unto their children, and to all that were afar off, their successors to the remotest ages, 'even to as many as the Lord their God should call.''
Man must be attracted to God by the spirit of love in the divine nature, or else he ceases to be in the Christian system; and what may be the consequence to the soul in its aberration, is known only to him who knoweth all things. But surely every thinking mortal will gladly follow the divine attraction, since it gradually draws him from this low vale, where sin and sorrow abound, up to the realms of bliss eternal; and affords him, during his earthly pilgrimage, the sweetest solace.
The human soul assimilating with the divine, is the drop of water gravitating to the ocean, from which it was originally separated; and cohering with it as soon as it comes within the sphere of its attraction; it is the child clinging to the bosom of its parent; it is the wandering, weary exile hastening with joy to his native home. Let us endeavour to cherish an inclination for reunion ; let us follow all the known means of accomplishing it, and it will be finally and completely effected by the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of love. ?
Acts, ii. 39. ? Let us hear a heathen philosopher speak on the union between God and good men : Inter bonos viros ac Deum, ami. citia est, conciliante virtute ; amicitiam dico ? etiam necessitudo et similitudo.” Seneca. _“ Between good men and God there subsists a friendship, under the mediation of virtue; a friendship do I say? It is more. It is an intimate union and resemblance."
On the Difficulties of the Scripture.
In his solis literis et quod non assequor, tamen adoro.'
If there is any thing in human affairs to be approached with awe, and viewed with veneration, it is the written word of revelation. Acknowledged sanctity and long duration combine to throw an air of divinity around it. It is worthy to be kept in the holy of holies. But I cannot agree with those zealous votaries who pretend either that there are no difficulties in it, or that they are all removable by the light of learning. I confess that criticism has removed many difficulties; but I am convinced that many still remain, which, I fear, will never give way to human sagacity. There they must reinain, with all the majesty of clouds and darkness around them, till the Sun of righteousness shall appear in his full glory.
But shall difficulties cause disbelief ? Are there then no difficulties in human nature, as well as in the world of grace? I cannot step into the garden or the meadow; I cannot cast my eyes to the horizon, without encountering difficulties. Yet I believe the existence of the things I see there, and I am led from the observation of general good, mixed with partial evil, to conclude, that verily
16 In this part of literature alone, even what I do not understand, I yet revere.”