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there is a God. I conclude in the same manner, from what I do understand and know to be good in the gospel, that verily Jesus is the Christ; and that the parts of the gospel which I do not comprehend, are good, because those which I am able to understand are so beyond all doubt and comparison.
All that is necessary to my happiness in the gospel is sufficiently clear. I learn there that the Holy Ghost is vouchsafed to me and to all men, now and till time shall be no more. This I consider as the living gospel. This supplies all defects, if any there should be, in the written word; and the dark and unintelligible parts of the gospel, surrounded by celestial radiance, become like spots in the sun, which neither deform its beauty, nor diminish its lustre. I regard them not therefore; I bow to them with reverence, as to sacred things upon the altar, covered with a veil from the eyes of mortal or profane intrusion. It is enough that I have learned in the gospel many moral truths, and this one great truth, that God Almighty, at this moment, pours an emanation of himself into the souls of all who seek the glorious gift by fervent prayer, and endeavour to retain it by obedience to his will. It is enough : why need I perplex my understanding with searching into those secret things which belong unto the Lord; or acquire a minute, cavilling habit, which can never discover any thing of more importance than that which I already know; but which, if indulged presumptuously, may lead me to scepticism, and terminate in infidelity ? Some parts of the holy volume are sealed : I will not attempt to burst it open; or vainly conjecture what these parts conceal. I will wait with patience and humility
for God's good time. In the meantime I will rejoice; and my flesh shall rest in bope; because I have been admitted to inspect the book, and have learned that the Spirit still attends the written word, ministering at this hour, and illuminating, with the lamp of Heaven, whatever darkness overshadows the path of life.
This persuasion adds new glory to the written gospel. It throws a heavenly lustre over the page. It is not left alone to effect the great purpose of men's recovery; so that whatever difficulties or defects it may be allowed to retain, by the wise providence of God, the difficulties will be removed, and the defects supplied, so far as to accomplish the great end, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, which accompanies it in its progress down the stream of time, like the pillar of fire, attending the children of Israel.'
1 Οσοι υιοι εισι του φωτος και της διακονιας της καινης διαθηκης εν τω πνευματι αγιω, ΘΕΟΔΙΔΑΚΤΟΙ ΕΙΣΙΝ· αυτη γαρ η χαρις επιγραφει εν ταις καρδιαις αυτων τους νομους του πνευματος" ουκ οφειλουσιν ουν εις τας γραφας μονον τας δια μελανος γεγραμμενας πληροφορειθαι, αλλα και εις τας πλακας της καρδιας η χαρις του θεου εγγραφει τους νομους TOV avevpatos kai ta kroupavia uusnpia.-“ As many as are the sons of the light, and of the ministration of the New Testament in the Holy Spirit, are taught of God; for grace itself inscribes upon their hearts the laws of the Spirit. They are not therefore indebted to the Scriptures only, the word written with ink, for their Christian perfection ; but the grace of God writes upon the tablet of their hearts the laws of the Spirit, and the mysteries of Heaven.” Marcarius in Homil. 15.
The Omnipresence of God a Doctrine universally.
allowed; but how is God every where present but by his Spirit, which is the Holy Ghost ?
They who maintain, if there be any such, that God, having, about eighteen hundred years ago, signified his will to mankind, has ever since that time withdrawn his agency from the human mind, do, in effect, deny the omnipresence, and with it the omniscience, providence, and goodness of the Deity. But what say the Scriptures? 'He is not far from every one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being.'?
But is it to be believed, that when he is thus . intimately present with us, he either cannot, or will not, influence our sentiments ? Why is he thus present ? or why should he confine his agency over us to a little book, in a foreign and dead language, which many never see at all, which more cannot read, and which few can perfectly understand; and concerning the literal meaning of the most important doctrinal parts of which, the most learned and judicious are to this hour divided in opinion ?
The heathens had more enlarged and worthier
1 “ Nothing is without Deity.” 2 Acts, xvii. 27. 3 Ipse Deus humano generi ministrat; ubique et omnibus
ideas of the divine nature. They indeed believed in supernatural agency on the mind of man; though they disgraced their belief by the absurdities of polytheism. Every part of the universe was peopled by them with supernatural agents, and the most distinguished among them believed their virtuous sentiments inspired, and their good actions directed by a tutelar deity. I dwell not upon the instance of Socrates's demon;'
and I only mention the topic, to prove that the doctrine is not likely to be very unreasonable, since it was maintained by men who are acknowledged to have been singularly endowed with the rational faculty.
The omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience of God were strenuously maintained, not only by the wisest of the heathens, but the most learned and rational Christian divines; among whom was Dr. Samuel Clarke, a man by constitution and studies, as far removed from enthusiasm as it is possible to conceive. But the omnipresence of God being allowed as a true doctrine, it will not be difficult to believe his agency on the human mind by supernatural impression. The difficulty would be to believe that the divine Spirit could be present always and every where with us, and yet never act upon us, but leave the moral world, after the writing of the New Testament, to depend on the fidelity of translations, the interpretations of fallible men, the preaching and teaching of scholars, deriving all they know from dictionaries, and differing continually even on such doctrines as constitute the very corner-stones of the whole fabric.
The doctrine of God's total inaction, in the moral and intellectual world, is irreligious and unphilosophical. The wisest heathens exploded it. Fortunately it is refuted in the strongest language of Scripture. For after our Saviour's ascension, the Holy Spirit was expressly promised, and the ministration of the Spirit co-operating on and then you will use those means by which you may know the good from ill, which, in your present state, you seem to me unable to distinguish.”
The philosopher seems to have seen the necessity of divine revelation, and to have predicted the illumination of the Spirit