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verts to Christianity,) was unto them, and unto their children, and to all that WERE AFAR OFF*, their suc cessors to the remotest ages, even to as many as the Lord their God should call.
Man must be ATTRACTED to God by the spirit of love in the Divine nature, or else he ceases to be in the Christian system; and what may be the consequence to the soul in its aberration, is known only to him who knoweth all things. But surely every thinking mortal will gladly follow the Divine attraction, since it gradually draws him from this low vale, where sin and sorrow abound, up to the realms of bliss eternal; and affords him, during his earthly pilgrimage, the sweetest solace,
The human soul assimilating with the Divine, is the drop of water gravitating to the ocean, from which it was originally separated; and cohering with it as soon as it comes within the sphere of its attraction; it is the child clinging to the bosom of its parent; it is the wandering weary exile hastening with joy to his native home. Let us endeavour to cherish an inclination for re-union; let us follow all the known means of accomplishing it, and it will be finally and completely effected by the Holy Ghost, the spirit of lovet.
*Acts, ii. 39.
† Let us hear a Heathen philosopher speak on the union be tween God and good men.
Inter bonos viros ac Deum, amicitia est, conciliante virtute; amicitiam dico? etiam necessitudo et similitudo
On the Difficulties of the Scripture.
In his solis literis et quod non assequor, tamen adoro.
If there is any thing in human affairs to be ap
proached with awe, and viewed with veneration, it is the WRITTEN WORD of revelation. Acknowledged sanctity and long duration combine to throw an air of divinity around it. It is worthy to be kept in the holy of holies. But I cannot agree with those zealous votaries who pretend either that there are no difficulties in it, or that they are all removable by the light of learning. I confess that criticism has removed many difficulties; but I am .convinced that many still remain, which, I fear, will never give way to human sagacity. There they must remain, with all the majesty of clouds and darkness around them, till the sun of righteousness shall appear in his full glory.
But shall difficulties cause disbelief? Are there then no difficulties in nature, as well as in the words of grace? I cannot step into the garden or the meadow; I cannot cast my eyes to the horizon, without encountering difficulties. Yet I believe the existence of the things I see there, and I am led from the observation of general good, mixed with partial evil, to conclude, that verily 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 GOSThis 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 am not therefore offended by them; 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 never can 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 mean time I will rejoice; and my flesh shall rest in hope; 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*.
The OMNIPRESENCE of God a Doctrine universally allowsed; but how is God every where present but by his Spirit, which is the HOLY GHOST.
Ουδέν Θεων κενον.
Nothing is without Deity.
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,
* Όσοι υιοι εισι του φωτος και της διακονίας της καινής διαθής της εν τω πνεύματι αγίω, ΘΕΟΔΙΔΑΚΤΟΙ ΕΙΣΙΝ' αυτη γαρ η χωρίς επιγραφεί εν ταις καρδίαις αυτών τους νόμους του πνευμαλος οὐκ οφείλουσιν ουν εις τας γραφας μόνον τας δια μελανος γεγραμμένας πληροφορείθαι, αλλα και εις τας πλακας της καρδιας η χαρις του Θεού εγγραφειτους νόμους του πνεύματος καὶ τὰ Staugavi vsngia. 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.
MACARIUS in Homil. 15.
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 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
Acts, vii. 27.
† Ipse Deus HUMANO GENERI ministrat; ubique et omnibus presto est.-God himself administers to the human race; he is present every where, and to every man. SENECA EPIST.
Quocunque te flexeris, ibi illum videbis occurrentem tibi. Nihil ab illo vacat. Opus suum ipse implet.-Whichever way you turn, you will meet God. Nothing is without him. He fills his own work completely. SENEC. DE BENEFIC. Lib. 4. Cap. 8.
It is worth while, however, to insert the following fine passage from Plato, in which Sccrates asserts the necessity of supernatural agency, in removing a dark CLOUD from the human mind, previously to its being able to learn how to regulate conduct, either towards gods or men. Reason, till this dark cloud should be removed by divine Providence, he thought incapable of discovering either moral or divine truth with certainty.