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must conclude, that he understood the Christian religion better than most of the sons of men; because, to abilities of the very first rank, he united in himself the finest feelings of devotion. His authority must have weight with all serious and humble enquirers into the subject of Christianity, and his authority strongly and repeatedly inculcates the opinion which I wish to maintain, that the best evidence of the truth of our religion, is derived from the operation of the Holy Spirit on every heart which is disposed to receive it.
And I wish it to be duly attended to, that the discourse from which the above extracts are made, was not addressed to a popular assembly, but to the clergy of an university, and at a solemn visitation. The Bishop evidently wished that the doctrines which he taught might be disseminated among the people by the parochial clergy. They were disseminated ; and in consequence of it, Christianity flourished. They must be again disseminated by the bishops and all parochial clergy, if they sincerely wish to check the progress of infidelity. The minds of men must be impressed with the sense of an influential divinity in the Christian religion, or they will reject it for the morality of Socrates, Seneca, the modern philosophers, and all those plausible reasoners, to whom this world and the things which are seen' are the chief objects of attention. The old divines taught and preached with wonderful efficacy, because they spoke as men having authority from the Holy Ghost, and not as the disputers of this world, proud of a little science, acquired from heathen writers in the cloisters of an academy. There was a celestial glory diffused round the pulpits of the old divines; and the hearers, struck with veneration, listened to the preacher as to an undoubted oracle. Full of grace were his lips; and moral truth was beautifully illuminated by divine. She easily won and firmly fixed the affections of men, clothed, as she was, with light as with a garment.
Passages from the celebrated Mr. John Smith, Fellow
of Queen's College, Cambridge, corroborative of the opinion that the best Evidence of the Christian Religion arises from the energy of the Holy Spirit.'
“ Divine truth is not to be discerned so much in a man's brain as in his heart. There is a divine and spiritual sense which alone is able to converse internally with the life and soul of divine truth, as mixing and uniting itself with it; while vulgar minds behold only the body and outside of it. Though in itself it be most intelligible, and such as the human mind may most easily apprehend, yet there is an incrustation, as the Hebrew writers call it, upon all corrupt minds, which hinders the lively taste and relish of it.
“ The best acquaintance with religion is a knowledge taught of God:3 it is a light which descends from heaven, which alone is able to guide
1 See his Select Discourses. ? Incrustamentum immunditiei.--" An incrustation of filth.” 3 Oɛodiðakros yuwoic.
and conduct the souls of men to that heaven whence it comes. The Christian religion is an influx from God upon the minds of good men; and the great design of the gospel is to unite human nature to divinity.
.“ The gospel is a mighty efflux and emanation of life and spirit, freely issuing forth from an omnipotent source of grace and love; that god-like, vital influence, by which the Divinity derives itself into the souls of men, enlivening and transforming them into its own likeness, and strongly imprinting upon them a copy of its own beauty and goodness : like the spiritual virtue of the heavens, which spreads itself freely upon the lower world, and subtly insinuating itself into this benumbed, feeble, earthly matter, begets life and motion in it; briefly, it is that whereby God comes to dwell in us, and we in him.
“ The apostle calls the law the ministration of the letter and of death, it being in itself but a dead letter, as all that which is without a man's soul must be; but on the other side, he calls the gospel, because of the intrinsical and vital administration of it in living impressions upon the souls of men, the ministration of the Spirit, and the “ministration of righteousness ;' by which he cannot mean the history of the gospel, or those credenda propounded to us to believe ; for this would make the gospel itself as much an external thing as the law was; and so we see that the preaching Christ crucified was to the Jews a' stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness. But indeed he means a vital efflux from God upon the souls of men, whereby they are made partakers of life and strength from him.
“Though the history and outward communication of the gospel to us in scriptis is to be always acknowledged as a special mercy and advantage, and certainly no less privilege to the Christians than it was to the Jews, to be the depositaries of the oracles of God, yet it is plain that the apostle, where he compares the law and the gospel, means something which is more than a piece of book-learning, or an historical narration of the free love of God, in the several contrivances of it for the redemption of mankind.
“ The evangelical or new law is an efflux of life and power from God himself, the original of life and power, and produceth life wherever it comes; and to this double dispensation of law and gospel does St. Paul clearly refer: 'You are the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone.'' Which last words are a plain gloss upon that mundane kind of administering the law, in a mere external way, to which he opposeth the gospel.
“ The gospel is not so much a system and body of saving divinity, as the spirit and vital influence of it spreading itself over all the powers of men's souls, and quickening them into a divine life; it is not so properly a doctrine that is wrapt up in ink and paper, as it is vitalis scientia, a living impression made upon the soul and spirit. The gospel does not so much consist in verbis as in virtute ;-in the written word, as in an internal energy.”
He who wishes to have an adequate idea of this profound scholar and most excellent man will
12 Cor. iii. 3.
find a pleasing account of him in bishop Patrick's sermon at his funeral, subjoined to the Select Discourses, which abound with beautiful passages, illustrative of the true Christian philosophy.
Dr. Isaac Barrow's opinion of the Evidence of Chris
tianity, afforded by the illuminating operation of the Holy Spirit; and on the Holy Spirit in general.
“ Our reason is shut up, and barred with various appetites, humours, and passions against gospel truths; nor can we admit them into our hearts, except God, by his Spirit, do set open our mind, and work a free passage for them into us. It is he who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, that must, as St. Paul speaketh, “illustrate our hearts with the knowledge of these things.' An unction from the Holy One, clearing our eyes, softening our hearts, healing our distempered faculties, must, as St. John informeth us, teach and persuade us this sort of truths. A hearty belief of these seemingly incredible propositions must indeed be, as St. Paul calleth it, the gift of God,' proceeding from that Spirit of faith whereof the same apostle speaketh; such faith is not, as St. Basil saith, engendered by geometrical necessities, but by