Page images

To those who, by patient continu- | the word of God. But to prove this ance in well-doing, seek for glory, to the satisfaction of the candid, we honour, and immortality, God will shall present, by the request of a give eternal life. Rom. ii. 7. brother, a speech delivered on this

Blessed are they who do his com- subject in the year 1844, in the premandments, that they may have a sence of an immense congregation, right to the tree of life, and may enter collected from all denominations of in through the gates into the city. professed Christians. The speaker, Rev. xxii. 14.

in his eleventh and closing address For the Lord himself shall descend on the influence and work of the from heaven with a shout, with the Holy Spirit in voice of the archangel, and the trump

CONVERSION, of God, and the dead in Christ shall says—Mr. Rice's allusions to repentrise first. Then we which are alive ance unto life and remission of sins and remain shall be caught up toge | are more for appearance than from ther with them in the clouds, to meet any new ideas or new arguments. I the Lord in the air, and so shall we have shown it to be not individual be for ever with the Lord.

and personal, but commensurate with We have, in this short address, the Gentile world_a rich and glopresented the gospel of Jesus Christ rious tender to all the nations of the as a system of facts, commands, earth-a matter alike unexpected by threatenings, and promises. We Jew or Gentile. might have added invitations, which He says there is a certain power are numerous, and of the most ani- displayed in conversion, and so say I. mating and cheering kind. These And does it not come with as good a you will find in the bible. This grace from me as from him? But he system came from God-given for says he goes for a power beyond the our salvation_intended to excite or naked Word, and that, too, an accreate in us faith, repentance, fear, companying power. Well, the word hope, love, and obedience; without accompanying explains not the nature the possession of which, no person of that power, and for that I have has the least foundation to hope for | asked more than once, but I have the enjoyment of eternal blessedness. I asked in vain. He can neither ex

But it is possible that you have plain what the “ accompanying powbeen taught, that the baptism of the er" is, or can be, nor how it operates; Holy Spirit is necessary first to rege- and, therefore, whether or not we nerate the heart, to enable you to agree, I could not say. I believe the believe the gospel ! This, be assured, Spirit accompanies the Word, is is both absurd and false-altogether always present with the Word, and contrary to the teaching of Jesus and actually and personally works through of his disciples. A wicked, diso- it upon the moral nature of man, but bedient unbeliever cannot receive the not without it. I presume not to Holy Spirit. Jesus said to his disci- speculate upon the nature of this ples, “If ye love me, keep my com- power, nor the mode of operation. mandments; and I will pray the I believe the Holy Spirit sheds abroad Father, and he shall give you another in our hearts the love of God, and comforter, who shall abide with you dwells in all the faithful ; that it sancfor ever ; even the Spirit of Truth, tifies them through the truth; that whom the WORLD CANNOT RECEIVE."” “it works in them to will and do," This ought to be sufficient to convince and that it comforts them in all their all that the Holy Spirit is given to afflictions. none but disciples of Christ. Faith But the Spirit of God does not cometh by hearing, and hearing by thus enter into the wicked. When it fell from heaven on Pentecost, it “ And when they believed Philip fell only on the one hundred and | preaching the things concerning the twenty, and not upon the promiscuous Kingdom of God and the name of the assembly. For the multitude, after | Lord Jesus, they were baptized, both the Spirit's descent, did still upbraid men and women.” So the Samaritans the disciples with drunkenness. Those were regenerated by the Holy Spirit who first received it that day, preach- through faith in the Word, which ed by it to the audience. The thou- | Philip preached. sands who heard, were pierced to the A fifth example is found in the heart, and yet had not received the euruch. “If thou believest with all Spirit. They believed, and were in thy heart, thou mayest.” He said: an agony of fear and terror, but yet “I believe that Jesus Christ is the had not received the Spirit. They Son of God.” Then he, too, was asked what should they do, and yet born of the water, and converted, had not received it. Peter command- not without the Word. ed them to “Repent and be baptized, Paul furnishes a sixth case. When every one of you, for the remission he had fallen to the ground, he heard of sins, and you shall receive the gift “ a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, of the Holy Spirit.” Of course, then, why persecutest thou me—I am they had not yet received that gift. Jesus whom thou persecutest.” His They, however, gladly received his case is certainly one of indisputable word, and were baptized. We have, certainty. He both saw, heard, and then, the first three thousand converts believed, and was baptized. regenerated by gladly receiving the Eneas furnishes a seventh case. Word and baptism. This is a strong And Peter said to him, “ Eneas, fact for the first one in my fourteenth Jesus Christ maketh thee wholeargument.

arise and make thy bed.” The second fact of conversion is The citizens of Lydda and Saron found, Acts iv. and the question is, furnish the cighth case. Of them we how were they regenerated ? We read~" All that dwell in Lydda and shall read the passage. “Now that Saron, saw Eneas” made whole by many of them which HEARD THE Peter, and they turned to the Lord.WORD believed, and the number of The people of Lydda and Saron were the men was about five thousand.converted by what they saw and We are now morally certain that heard. Conversion here, too, was these five thousand were converted not by the Spirit alone. by the Spirit only through the Word. The inhabitants of Joppa furnish We have already eight thousand of the ninth case. On Peter's visit, our allegation, and not one instance and the revival of Dorcas, through of one converted without the Word. his preaching, many believed in

Our third exemplification is found, the Lord. So that Peter tarried there Acts v. 14: “And believers were many days. the more added to the Lord, multi- / Cornelius and his friends furnish tudes of both men and women.” Wo- the tenth case. That is so notorious, men are here mentioned as well as it needs only to be named. Peter men. We have, then, got multitudes told the words of salvation, and the of both sexes to add, in proof that Spirit miraculously sustained him. the Spirit converted these, not with- So that he, also, and his friends, were out the Word, but by what they saw regenerated, through both the Word and heard. '

and the Spirit. We shall find a fourth example, The Antiochians constitute the Acts viii. 5, 6, 12. Philip went to eleventh case. Common preachers, Samaria and preached Christ to them. exiles from Jerusalem, came to Anti

och, Phenice and Cypress. The daily, therefore many of them behand of the Lord was with them. lieved.” Here are twenty-one clear They spake unto the Grecians, preach- and distinct cases recorded in one ing the Lord Jesus, and a great book, containing, in all, probably not number believed and turned unto the less than from thirty to fifty thousand Lord. See also Acts xiii. 43–48. persons; in every one of which they

Sergius Paulus, deputy governor heard, believed, and were baptized. of Paphos, gives us the twelfth case. So that, as far as sacred hisiory goes, When he saw Paul strike Elymas, the Spirit of God never did operate the sorcerer, blind; and heard Paul in conversion without the Word. preach, he believed, being astonished Now I ask Mr. Rice to bring forat the doctrine of the Lord.

ward one single case of any one being Lydia constitutes the thirteenth converted to the Lord without the case. Lydia, a pious lady, a wor- Word being first heard and believed! shipper of God, whose heart the Lord If the salvation of world depend on had formerly touched, attended to it, he could not give it. It is, then, Paul's preaching, believed, and was so far as the New Testament deposeth, baptized.

idle, and worse than idle, to talk The Philippian jailor heard Paul ; about sanctification or conversion, he and all his house believed in God, without the Word and Spirit of God. and were filled with joy. This is They are always united in the great the fourteenth special case.

| work. No one is converted by the Dionysius, the Areopagite of Word alone, nor by the Spirit alone. Athens, Lady Damaris and others Having then surveyed the premiwith them, heard Paul, believed, and ses, and heard the arguments and clave unto him and the Lord. These objections from the other side, I pronoble Athenians constitute the fif- ceed, with great haste, to place in a teenth case.

miniature view the whole argument Crispus, the chief ruler of the before you I. The first of this series Corinthian synagogue, and all his of thirteen arguments was drawn family, hearing Paul, believed on the from the constitution of the human Lord. This is the sixteenth case. mind, intellectual and moral. It was

The Corinthians constitute the shown that the human mind, like the seventeenth example. Many of the human body, has a specific constituCorinthians hearing, believed, and tion, which is never to be violated. were baptized. The whole story is In no instance does God, in the here beautifully told in the three government of the universe, violate words, “ hearing, believing, and be- the laws and constitution which he ing baptized.”

has given, in effecting the ordinary The Ephesians constitute the eight-objects of his providence, moral goteenth case. Many of them hearing vernment, orin the scheme of redempPaul, believed, came and confessed tion. He always addresses himself their deeds, burned fifty thousand to man in harmony with his constitupieces of silver worth of books; “ so tion : first addressing his understandmightily grew the word of the Lord, ing, then his conscience, then his and prevailed.”

affections. Miracles only excepted, To these I may add the cripple at he has never violated the powers Lystra, as a nineteenth case; the given to man. He gives no new people of Iconium as a twentiethpowers, annihilates no old powers, “To whom Paul so spake, that a but takes the human constitution as multitude believed ;” and as the he made it; and by enlightening the twenty-first example, the noble Be- understanding, and renewing the reans, “who searched the scriptures | heart by the gospel, effects, through his Holy Spirit, that grand moral, not be urged that the same order and change which constitutes a new moral arrangement of things is necessary, creation.

because that is not implied as always II. Our second argument was de- essential; but so much of order, duced from the fact, that from the arrangement, and circumstances, as earliest antiquity till now, there never are essential to the production of one has been found a human being in any ear of corn, are uniformly and incountry or age, possessed of one varibly necessary. Just so in the spiritual idea, impression, or feeling, new birth. When called to assert where some portion of the Word or and maintain any fact, we are not revelation of God had not been spo- obliged to explain the whole nature, ken to him, or read by him. So that reasons, and contingencies thereof it appears, in fact, indisputable, that I am only obliged to establish the fact the Spirit of God rather follows, and itself. Natural birth is always the in no case precedes, the progress or same thing. So is the spiritual. arrival of his Word. We have the Baptism is always the same thing. history of man, in the four quarters Mr. Rice, without knowing it, or deof the world, in attestation of this signing it, was constrained to come most significant aud momentous fact. to this result. While, in fact, seek

III. By an induction of many cases ing to oppose it, he came to the very of personal experience, from observa- same conclusion. He first argued tion, and, I may add, by a general for infant regeneration without faith; concession, it appears, that amongst he then sought to have believers rechristians the most gifted and en- generated in some way different, but lightened, not one idea can be suggest- ultimately he asserted that regeneraed from the most gifted, the most tion was also before faith in adults, eminently illuminated with spiritual and thus, by the force of universal light and intelligence--not one idea law, he came to my grand conclusion, can be expressed, not taken from the that whatever is necessary to the new IIoly Scriptures. Not one thought, birth, or regeneration, in one case, is idea, or impression, truly spiritual, necessary in all other cases. And so can be heard from any man in Chris- that point is decided. tendom, nor borrowed from that V. My fifth argument is deduced Holy Book, directly or indirectly. from the name, Advocate, given to These two matter-of-fact arguments, the Holy Spirit by the Messiah, as on almost every other subject, would his official designation, in conducting be deemed all-sufficient.

the work of conversion, convincing IV. My fourth argument consisted the world of sin, righteousness, and in the avowal and development of judgment. He was, then. to use that great law of mind, and of all words in pleading this cause ; hence organic existences, animal or vege- it is a moral argument, and a change table, viz. that whatever is essential to effected by motives. the production of any specific result, VI. My sixth argument is drawn is necessary in all cases. Whatever from the commission given to this is essential to the production of any Advocate in pleading his cause. He one effect, or offspring, vegetable or was to convince the world of sin, animal; any one result, intellectual righteousness, and judgment, by ceror moral, is always and invariably tain means. The Messiah prescribes necessary to the consummation of the the topics. He furnishes the argusame results. Therefore, whatever is ments, and states them to the disciples essential to the conversion of one in- in advance. The first topic is dividual, is essential to the conversion “Because they believe not in me :" of every other individual. It need the second—“ Because I go to my

Father, and you see me no more ;" | of the Word of God, which liveth and the third-“ Because the Prince of abideth for ever.” Here is as clear this world is cast oul.” In this way, an indication of the instrumentality then, the work was to be conducted, of the Word as can be expressed in and it has been conducted. And so human language. To explain these proceeded the apostles through their passages away is impossible, and you whole ministry. And useful and see how my opponent has evaded successful pleaders, in all ages, have them. Paul, also, in various forms been obliged to adopt this course. of speech, gives us similar views of And while the human constitution the instrumentality of the Word. He remains as it now is, the same course told the Corinthians that he himself must be essentially and substantially had “begotten them through the pursued.

gospel.” Thus making the gospel VII. My seventh argument is the indispensable instrument of regefounded on that most significant and neration. Peter, indeed, asserted sublime fact, that the first gift the before all the apostles in the convenSpirit of God bestowed on the apos- tion at Jerusalem, that God purifies tles was the gift of tongues. What the heart by faith. But it was recould have been more apposite to served to these latter times to assume teach that the Spirit of God was to and teach that God purifies the heart operate through the Word, than, as without faith, before faith, and indeprefatory to the work, first of all pendent of the Word of God. giving to its pleaders the gift of IX. I elicited a ninth argument tongues ? that, by the machinery of from the commission given to the words, he might accomplish his glo- Messiah, as reported in Isaiah, and rious work of regenerating the world. from the commission given to Paul These seven arguments I distinctly from the Messiah in person, with stated in my first address on this respect to the conversion of the subject. To some of these there was Gentiles. The commission is reno reply whatever made. To none ported by Paul himself in his speech of them was a direct and formal before king Agrippa, Acts xxvi. refutation attempted. I regard them These commissions show the aras I did at first, not only as unassailed, rangement of means in reference to but unassailable.

conversion, remission, and sanctificaVIII. My eighth argument was tion, in the Divine mind, purpose, composed of the direct and explicit and plan. Illumination through the testimony of the apostles, affirming gospel is always first. The apostle regeneration and conversion through was sent to “open the eyes” of the the Word of God, as the seed or nations. He was “ to turn them principle of the new life. The instru- from darkness to light, and from the mentality of the Word was asserted power of Satan unto God, in order by James as the will or ordinance of to their forgiveness and participation God. We had the united testimony of an inheritance amongst those sancof two apostles directly and positively tified through faith.affirming the very issue in our pro- X. My tenth argument consisted position. James affirming, that of of those scriptures which show that, his own will begat he us BY, not whatever is ascribed to the Holy without, the Word of Truth. And Spirit in the work of salvation, is Peter saying, “We are born again;" also ascribed to the Word; and that or, according to M‘Knight, “We are what is ascribed to the Word, is also regenerated, or having regenerated ascribed to the Spirit. The gentle : us, not by corruptible, but through," man has not found a single exception not without, “ the incorruptible seed' to it. Are persons said to be en

« PreviousContinue »