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effects of that supernatural grace which is given unto us by the good pleasure of God the Father, merited for us by the precious blood of God the Son, and conveyed into our hearts by the sweet and secret inspirations of God the Holy Ghost. Love, joy, and peace are fruits, not at all of the flesh, but merely of the Spirit.
“ All those very many passages in the New Testament which either set forth the unframeableness of our nature to the doing of any thing that is good, ('not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think a good thought; in me, that is, in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing ;'' and the like,) or else ascribe our best performances to the glory of the grace of God, (without me you can do nothing. All our sufficiency is of God. Not of ourselves; it is the gift of God. It is God that worketh in you both the will and the deed ;'and the like,) are so many clear confirmations of the truth. Upon the evidence of which truth it is that our mother the church hath taught us in the public service to beg at the hands of almighty God that he would endue us with the grace of his Holy Spirit, to amend our lives according to his holy word:' and again, (consonantly to the matter we are in hand with, almost in terminis,) that he would 'give to all men increase of grace to hear meekly his word, and to receive it with pure affection, and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit. As without which grace it were not possible for us to amend our lives, or to bring forth such fruits, according as God requireth in his holy word.
" And the reason is clear: because as the tree is, such must the fruit be. Do men look to gather 'grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ?'' Or can they expect from a salt fountain other than brackish water ? Certainly, what is born of flesh can be no better than flesh. Who can bring a clean thing out of that which is unclean ??? Or how can any thing that is good proceed from a heart, all the 'imaginations of the thoughts whereof are only and continually evil ?»3 If we would have the fruit good, reason will (and our Saviour prescribeth the same method) that order be taken, “first to make the tree good.'
“But you will say, it is impossible so to alter the nature of the flesh as to make it bring forth good spiritual fruit; as it is to alter the nature of a crab or thorn, so as to make it bring forth a pleasant apple. Truly, and so it is : if you shall endeavour to mend the fruit by altering the stock, you shall find the labour altogether fruitless ;-a crab will be a crab still, when you have done what you can: and you may as well hope to wash an Ethiopian white, as to purge the flesh from sinful pollution.
“The work therefore must be done quite another way: not by alteration, but addition. That is, leaving the old principle to remain as it was, by superinducing ab extra a new principle, of a different and more kindly quality. We see the experiment of it daily in the grafting of trees; a crabstock, if it have a scion of some delicate apple artfully grafted in it; look what branches are suffered to grow out of the stock itself, they will all follow the nature of the stock, and if they bring forth any fruit at all, it will be sour and stiptic. But the fruit that groweth from the graft will be pleasant to the taste, because it followeth the nature of the graft. We read of loyos eu utos, an ingrafted word. Our carnal hearts are the old stock; which, before the word of God be grafted in it, cannot bring forth any spiritual fruit acceptable to God: but when, by the powerful operation of his Holy Spirit, the word which we hear with our outward ears is inwardly grafted therein, it then bringeth forth the fruit of good living. So that all the bad fruits that appear in our lives come from the old stock, the flesh : and if there be any good fruit of the Spirit in us, it is from the virtue of that word of grace that is grafted in us.”
I Matt. vii. 16.
9 Job, xiv. 4.
What modern philosopher or divine can rival this great prelate ? His Prelectiones rank him with Aristotle; his piety, with the chief of the apostles.
Bishop Smalridge on the absolute Necessity of Grace.
“He who is not convinced of the absolute necessity of God's grace to invigorate his obedience to the divine laws, must be a perfect stranger to himself, as well as to the word of God; and must have
been as careless an observer of what passes within his own breast, as of what is written in the Holy Scriptures. When one gives himself leisure to take a survey of his own faculties, and observes how darksighted he is in the perception of divine truths; with what reluctance he sometimes chooses what his understanding plainly represents to him as good, and refuses what his own conscience directly pronounces to be evil ; how apt his affections are to rebel against the dictates of his reason, and to hurry him another way than he knows he should, and, in his sober mind, very fain would go; when he sets before his thoughts the great variety of duties commanded, and of sins forbidden, and the perverseness of his own depraved nature, which gives him an antipathy to those duties and a strong inclination to those sins; when he reflects on the power and cunning of his spiritual enemies, always alluring him to sin, and seducing him from the practice of virtue; when he weighs with himself the necessity of practising every duty, and forsaking every kind of wickedness, in order to secure a good title to the promises of the gospel ; when he takes a view of those particular obstacles which hinder him in the exercise of several graces, and of the strong temptations which prompt him to the commission of several sins; when he considers the aptness of human nature to grow weary of performing the same things, though in themselves never so pleasant, and its still greater disposition to grow faint, when the actions continually to be repeated are burdensome to flesh and blood; when he compares the necessity of perseverance with the difficulty of it, the prevalence of things present and sensible with the weakness wherewith those objects
affect us that are absent and spiritual ; when, I say, a considering man puts all these things together, he cannot but be convinced, that ‘narrow is the path that leads unto everlasting life, and that without illumination from the Spirit of God, he shall not be able rightly to discern it; that 'strait is the gate which opens an entry into heaven; and that he cannot by the force of his own natural strength, without new power given him from above, and the secret influences of God's Holy Spirit, adding force and energy to his own endeavours, force his way through it. Conscious, therefore, of his own weakness, he will acknowledge the necessity of God's grace; and being ready to sink through his own natural weight, unless supported by foreign help, he will cry out with St. Peter, "Save me, Lord, or else I perishi
“Some philosophers of old, flattered the pride and vanity of men, by teaching them that they wanted nothing to make them virtuous, but only a firm and steady resolution of being so; that this resolution they themselves were masters of, and might exert at their own pleasure. They confidently boasted that their happiness was a thing wholly in their own power; that they need not ask of the gods to be virtuous, nor consequently to be happy, since they could be so without their aid or concurrence, or even in despite of them. The Pelagians afterwards raised their heresies upon the principles which these heathen philosophers had first broached ; they engaged in the quarrel of depraved nature against divine grace : all our disorders they would have to be the effects not of sin but of nature; all our evil inclinations seemed to them capable of being subdued by our own unas