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away even that which he hath." But there is a point still remaining, viz. whether this scripture rule be applicable to spiritual gifts. I answer, that it is so applied, more especially to spiritual knowledge, and the use which we make thereof. "Take heed how ye hear; unto you that hear shall more be given; for he that hath, to him shall be given, and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath." So stands the passage in Mark, and substantially the same, that is, with a view to the same application, the passage stands in Matthew and Luke. I consider it, therefore, to be distinctly asserted, that this is the rule with regard to spiritual knowledge. And I think the analogy conclusive with regard to other spiritual gifts. In all which there is nothing arbitrary.

Nor, thirdly, is it arbitrary in its final success. "Grieve not the Spirit of God:" therefore he may be grieved. "And hath done despite unto the Spirit of Grace." (Heb. x. 29.) therefore he may be despised. Both these are leading texts upon the subject. And so is the following" And his grace, which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain:" (1 Cor. xv. 10.) therefore it might have been in vain. The influence, therefore, of the Spirit may not prevail, even as the admonitions of a friend, the warnings of a parent, may not prevail, may not be successful, may not be attended to, may be rejected, may be resisted, may be despised, may be lost; so that both in itsg ift, in its degree, operation, and progress, and above all, in its final effect, it is connected with our own endeavours, it is not ar

bitrary. Throughout the whole, it does not supersede, but cooperates with ourselves..

But another objection is advanced, and from an opposite quarter. It is said, that if the influence of the Spirit depend, after all, upon our endeavours, the doctrine is nugatory; it comes to the same thing, as if salvation was put upon ourselves and our own endeavours alone, exclusive of every further consideration, and without referring us to any influence or assistance whatever. I answer, that this is by no means true; that it is not the same thing either in reality, or in opinion, or in the consequences of that opinion.

Assuredly it is not the same thing in reality. Is it the same thing, whether we perform a work by our own strength, or by obtaining the assistance and cooperation of another? or does it make it the same thing, that this assistance is to be obtained by means which it is in our own choice to use or not? or because, when the assistance is obtained, we may, or may not avail ourselves of it; or because we may by neglecting, lose it? After all, they are two different things, performing a work by ourselves, and performing it by means of help.

Again; It is not the same thing in the opinions and sentiments, and dispositions which accompany it. A person, who knows or believes himself to be beholden to another for the progress and success of an undertaking, though still carried on by his own endeavours,

acknowledges his friend and his benefactor; feels his dependency and his obligation; turns to him for help and aid in his difficulties; is humble under the want and need, which he finds he has, of assistance; and above all things, is solicitous not to lose the benefit of that assistance. This is a different turn of mind, and a different way of thinking, from his, who is sensible of no such want, who relies entirely upon his own. strength; who, of course, can hardly avoid being proud of his success, or feeling the confidence, the presumption, the self-commendation, and the pretensions, which, however they might suit with a being, who achieves his work by his own powers, by no means, and in no wise, suit with a frail constitution, which must ask and obtain the friendly aid and help of a kind and gracious benefactor, before he can proceed in the business set out for him, and which it is of unspeakable consequence to him to execute some how or other.

It is thus in religion. A sense of spiritual weakness and of spiritual wants, a belief that divine aid and help are to be had, are principles which carry the soul to God; make us think of him, and think of him in earnest; convert, in a word, morality into religion; bring us round to holiness of life, by the road of piety and devotion; render us humble in ourselves, and grateful towards God. There are two dispositions, which compose the true christian character; humility as to ourselves; affection and gratitude as to God; and both these are natural fruits and effects of the per

suasion we speak of: and what is of the most importance of all, this persuasion will be accompanied with a corresponding fear, lest we should neglect, and by neglecting, lose this invaluable assistance. On the one hand, therefore, it is not true, that the doctrine of an influencing Spirit is an arbitrary system, setting aside our own endeavours.-Nor, on the other hand, is it true, that the connecting it with our own endeavours, as obtained through them, as assisting them, as cooperating with them, renders the doctrine unimportant, or all one as putting the whole upon our endeavours without any such doctrine. If it be true, in fact, that the feebleness of our nature requires the succouring influence of God's Spirit in carrying on the grand business of salvation, and in every state and stage of its progress, in conversion, in regeneration, in constancy, in perseverance, in sanctification; it is of the utmost importance that this truth be declared, and understood, and confessed, and felt; because the perception and sincere acknowledgment of it will be accompanied by a train of sentiments, by a turn of thought, by a degree and species of devotion, by humility, by prayer, by piety, by a recourse to God in our religious warfare, different from what will, or, perhaps, can be found in a mind unacquainted with this doctrine, or in a mind rejecting it, or in a mind uncon¬ cerned about these things one way or other.

SERMON XXIV.

ON THE INFLUENCE OF THE SPIRIT.

(PART II.)

1 CORINTHIANS, iii. 16.

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

*

It is undoubtedly a difficulty in the doctrine of spiritual influence, that we do not so perceive the action of the Spirit, as to distinguish it from the suggestions of our own minds. Many good men acknowledge, that they are not conscious of any such immediate perceptions. They, who lay claim to them, cannot advance, like the Apostles, such proofs of their claim, as must necessarily satisfy others, or perhaps, secure themselves from delusion. And this is made a ground of objection to the doctrine itself. Now, I think, the objection proceeds upon an erroneous principle, namely, our expecting more than is promised. The agency and influence of the divine Spirit are spoken of in scripture, and are promised: but it is no where promised, that

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