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sisted reason; and they did not think the succour of any supernatural grace necessary either for the combating of vice, or the maintenance of their integrity and virtue. But the sober Christian hath learned from the Scriptures to speak and to think more humbly of himself, and more becomingly and magnificently of God; we are there taught that
we are not sufficient of ourselves to think,' much less to do, “any thing as of ourselves, but that our sufficiency is of God;' that it is God, which worketh within us both to will and to do of his good pleasure ;' that it is by the Spirit' we must ‘mortify the deeds of the body,' if we would live; that it is God who, by his Spirit, ‘makes us perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight. The humble and devout Christian being thus satisfied of the necessity of God's grace, both from his own experience, and from the Scriptures, and being assured of the vital influences of this Spirit from the promises made to him in the gospel, will not be over-curious to inquire into the secret and inconceivable manner of its operation. He will choose rather to feel these influences, than to understand or explain them, and will not doubt of that power, which, though he cannot give an account of as to the manner of its working, he plainly perceives to be great and marvellous from its mighty and wonderful effects : for when, in reading the Holy Scriptures, he finds the veil of darkness removed from before his understanding; when those clouds of ignorance that had overcast his mind, are presently dispersed; when the doubts under which he had for some time laboured, are on a sudden cleared ; when such pious thoughts as were wont to pass transiently are
long dwelt upon, so as to leave behind them deep and lasting impressions; when these are suggested to him, without his seeking, and are urged and pressed upon him so importunately, that he cannot choose but listen unto them; when, from a calm and serious consideration of the state of his own soul, the odiousness and danger of sin, the beauty and necessity of holiness, he is led to make good and pious resolutions of serving God with greater purity for the time to come; when he finds a sudden impulse upon his spirits, rousing him up to the performance of some important duty which he had before neglected; or an unexpected check, stopping him in the midst of his course, when he is rushing on blindly and impetuously to the commission of some heinous sin ; when in his devotions he finds his attention fixed, his affections inflamed, and his heart melted within him ; when, while the voice of God's minister preaching the saving truths of the gospel sounds in his ears, he is sensible of an inward voice speaking with greater force and efficacy to his soul, to his understanding, and to his heart; when, under the pressure of any grievous affliction, he feels unexpected joy and comfort; when light rises up in the midst of darkness;' when there is
given unto him beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;' upon all these and the like occasions he is sensible of the presence and aid of God's Holy Spirit, whose grace alone is sufficient to all these purposes, and whose strength is thus made perfect in his weakness.
“ How the operation of God's Holy Spirit is consistent with the freedom of our own wills: how far we are passive, and how far active in those good thoughts, words, and works, which are wrought in us by the influence of this Holy Spirit, the practical Christian doth not much trouble himself to inquire. Whatsoever is good in him, that he devoutly ascribes not unto himself, but unto the grace of God which was afforded him : 'O Lord, not unto me, but unto thy name be the glory;' or having by his former sins justly merited to be left destitute and forsaken; in the latter case he is as ready to make Daniel's humble acknowledgment, 'O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto me confusion of face. He will leave it to others to dispute about the nature, extent, and efficacy of this grace, and will make it his own chief labour to obtain, to cherish, and to improve it; he strives, according to the best of his judgment, to form right notions of its efficacy, but he is still more solicitous that no mistakes in his opi. nions about it may have any dangerous influences upon his practice. He cannot be very wrong in his notions, whilst he believes that man's will is neither so free, as without God's grace to do good, nor so enslaved, as not to be at liberty either to concur with or to resist that grace : but whether these notions about a matter so intricate be exactly right or not, he is fully assured that he cannot be mistaken in his measures of acting, if he exerts his own endeavours with as much vigour and earnestness, as if by them alone he were finally to stand or fall; and, at the same time, implores God's grace with as much fervency, as if that alone could support him : if he neither relies so far on his own strength, as not humbly to acknowledge that it is · God alone who works in him both to will and to do,' nor so far depends on the grace of God to save him, as to forget that he is required to work out his own salvation :-if, lastly, at his approaches to the holy altar, he doth prepare himself for the reception of the blessed sacrament, with as much care, diligence, and scrupulosity, as if the benefits he there expects did entirely depend upon the disposition he brings along with him, and his own fitness to communicate, and yet, at the same time, not trusting on his own imperfect righteousness, but on God's infinite mercy, he doth there, with faith, with humility, with reverence, address himself to that blessed Spirit, who is the • giver of every good and perfect gift,' that he may be fulfilled with his grace and heavenly benediction.”
I cannot but hope that these opinions of a classical scholar, a man adorned with all elegant and polite learning, as well as with philosophy; a man whose habits of life and social connexions tended to remove him from all contagion of enthusiasm, will have great weight with the elegant and polite part of the world, in recommending the neglected or exploded doctrine of grace. No man needs blush to entertain the religious sentiments of bishop Smalridge; nor can folly or fanaticism be reasonably imputed to divines like him, whose minds were enriched with all the stores of science, and polished with all the graces of ornamental literature.
Human Learning highly useful, and to be pursued with all Diligence, but cannot, of itself, furnish
Evidences of Christianity completely satisfactory, - like those which the Heart of the good Christian
feels from the divine influence : with the opinion of Doctor Isaac Watts.
LEARNING should be the handmaid of religion. She must not take upon her the office of a judge or arbitress. Her employment is bighly honourable and useful, though subordinate. Let learning be cultivated, and continue to flourish and abound. Religion is the sun to the soul; the source of light and the cherisher of life. But because there is a sun, must there be no inferior lights ? God has made the moon and the stars also, and pronounced that they are good.
Never let the enemies to Christianity triumph over it, by asserting that it is an enemy to learning, and tends to introduce the ignorance of barbarism. Learning, under due regulations, contributes to soften the mind, and prepare it for the divine agency. A learned, virtuous, and religious man, whose religion is vital and truly Christian, is a superior being, even in this mortal state, and may be imagined, by us his fellow-creatures, to be little lower than the angels.
Nobody can hold learning, and the inventions