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Opinions of Bishop Taylor respecting the Evidence of the Holy Spirit;"shewing" (as he expresses it) "how "the Scholars of the University shall become most 66 LEARNED and most USEFUL.”
WE have examined all ways, in our inqui
"ries after religious truth,' but one; all but God's WAY*. “Let us, having missed in all the other, try this. Let "us go to God for truth; for truth comes from God "only. If we miss the truth, it is because we will not "find it; for certain it is, that all the truth which God "hath made NECESSARY, he hath also made legible and "plain; and if we will open our eyes we shall see the "sun, and if we will walk in the light we shall rejoice in "the light. Only let us withdraw the curtains, let us "remove the impediments, and the sin that doth so "easily beset us. That is GOD'S WAY. Every man "must, in his station, do that portion of duty which God "requires of him; and then he shall BE TAUGHT OF "GOD all that is fit for him to learn; there is no other way "for him but this. The fear of the Lord is the begin"ning of wisdom; and a good understanding have all "they that do thereafter. And so said David of him"self: I have more understanding than my teachers; be“cause I keep thy commandments. And this is the only way which Christ has taught us. If you ask, what is "truth? you must not do as Pilate did, ask the question, "and then go away from him that only can give you an (6 answer; for as God is the Author of truth, so he is "the TEACHER of it, and the way to learn is this; for
* See Bishop Taylor's Via Intelligentiæ.
"so saith our blessed Lord; If any man will do his will, " he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God or no. "This text is simple as truth itself, but greatly com"prehensive, and contains a truth that alone will enable you to understand all mysteries, and to expound all "prophecies, and to interpret all scriptures, and to "search into all secrets, all, I mean, which concern our "happiness and our duty. It is plainly to be resolved "into this proposition:
"THE WAY TO JUDGE OF RELIGION IS BY DOING "OUR DUTY; AND THEOLOGY IS RATHER A DIVINE "LIFE THAN A DIVINE KNOWLEDGE.
"In heaven indeed we shall first see and then love; "but here on earth we must first love, and love will 66 open our eyes as well as our hearts, and we shall then "see and perceive and understand.
"Every man understands more of religion by his "affections than by his reason. It is not the wit of the man, but the spirit of the man; not so much his head "as his heart that learns the DIVINE PHILOSOPHY.
"There is in every righteous man a NEW VITAL PRIN"CIPLE. The spirit of grace is the spirit of wisdom, " and teaches us by secret inspirations, by proper argu"ments, by actual persuasions, by personal applications, "by effects and energies; and as the soul of man is the "cause of all his vital operations, so is the Spirit of God "the life of that life, and the cause of all actions and "productions spiritual; and the consequence of this is "what St. John tells us of; Ye have received the UNC"TION from above, and that anointing teacheth you all "things,—all things of some one kind; that is, certain"ly all things that pertain to life and godliness; all that "by which a man is wise and happy. Unless the soul "have a new life put into it, unless there be a vital prin."ciple within, unless the Spirit of life be the informer of "the spirit of the man, the word of God will be as DEAD
" in the operation as the body in its powers and possi"bilities.
"God's Spirit does not destroy reason, but heightens "it. God opens the heart and creates a new one, and "without this creation, this new principle of life, we may "hear the word of God, but we can never understand it ; hear the sound, but are never the better. Unless "there be in our hearts a secret conviction by the Spirit "of God, the GOSPEL ITSELF IS A DEAD LETTER.
"Do we not see this by daily experience? Even those "things which a good man and an evil man KNOW, they "do not know both alike. An evil man knows that God "is lovely, and that sin is of an evil and destructive "nature, and when he is reproved he is convinced; and "when he is observed, he is ashamed; and when he has
" done, he is unsatisfied; and when he pursues his sin, "he does it in the dark. Tell him he shall die, and he (6 sighs deeply, but he knows it as well as you. Proceed, "and say that after death comes judgment, and the poor "man believes and trembles; and yet, after all this, he "runs to commit his sin with as certain an event and "resolution as if he knew no argument against it.
"Now since, at the same time, we see other persons, "not so LEARNED, it may be, not so much versed in the "scriptures, yet they say a thing is good and lay hold of "it. They believe glorious things of heaven, and “they live accordingly, as men that believe themselves. "What is the reason of this difference? They both read "the scriptures; they read and hear the same sermons; "they have capable understandings; they both believe "what they hear and what they read; and yet the event " is vastly different. The reason is that which I am now "speaking of: the one understands by one principle, the "other by another; the one understands by NATURE, the "other by GRACE; the one by human learning, the other "by DIVINE; the one reads the scriptures without, and
"the other within; the one understands as a son of man, "the other as a son of God; the one perceives by the "proportions of the world, the other by the measures "of the Spirit; the one understands by REASON, the "other by LOVE; and therefore he does not only under"stand the sermons of the Spirit, and perceive their "MEANING, but he pierces deeper, and knows the mean66 ing of that meaning; that is, the SECRET OF THE SPI"RIT, that which is spiritually discerned, that which "gives life to the proposition and activity to the soul. "And the reason is, that he hath a divine principle "within him, and a new understanding; that is plainly, " he hath LOVE, and that is more than KNOWLEDGE, as 66 was rarely well observed by St. Paul. Knowledge "puffeth up; but charity* edifieth; that is, charity "maketh the best scholars. No sermons can build you 66 up a holy building to God, unless the love of God be in "" your hearts, and purify your souls from all filthiness "of the flesh and spirit.
"A good life is the best way to understand wisdom "and religion, because, by the experiences and relishes "of religion, there is conveyed to them a sweetness to "which all wicked men are strangers. There is in the "things of God, to those who practise them, a delicious"ness that makes us love them, and that love admits us "into God's cabinet, and strangely clarifies the under"standing by the purification of the heart. For when "our reason is raised up by the Spirit of Christ, it is "turned quickly into EXPERIENCE; when our faith re"lies upon the principles of Christ, it is changed into “vision; and so long as we know God only in the ways ❝ of men, by contentious learning, by ARGUING and disr pute, we see nothing but the shadow of him, and in "that shadow we meet with many dark appearances,
* Ayary-Love of God.
66 apostle. "If we stand up
"little certainty, and much conjecture; but when we “ know him λόγω αποφαντικώ, γαληνῃ νοερᾷ, with the eyes ❝of holiness and the instruction of gracious experiences,, "with a quiet spirit and the peace of enjoyment, then "we shall hear what we never heard, and see what our 66 eyes never saw; then the mysteries of Godliness shall "be open unto us, and clear as the windows of the "morning; and this is rarely well expressed by the from the dead and awake "from sleep, then Christ shall give us LIGHT." "For though the scriptures themselves are written "by the Spirit of God, yet they are written within and "without; and besides the light that shines upon the "face of them, unless there be a light shining within our "hearts, unfolding the leaves, and interpreting the mys ❝terious sense of the Spirit, convincing our consciences "and preaching to our hearts; to look for Christ in the "leaves of the gospel, is to look for the living among "the dead. There is a life in them; but that life is, "according to St. Paul's expression, hid with Christ in "God, and unless the spirit of God draw it forth, we "shall not be able.
"Human learning brings excellent ministeries to"wards this: it is admirably useful for the reproof of "heresies, for the detection of fallacies, for the letter "of the scriptures, for collateral testimonies, for exterior "advantages; but there is something beyond this, that "human learning without the addition of divine can 66 never reach.
"A good man, though unlearned in secular know"ledge, is like the windows of the temple, narrow with"out and broad within; he sees not so much of what "profits not abroad, but whatsoever, is within, and con"cerns religion and the glorifications of God, that he "sees with a broad inspection; but all human learning "without God is but blindness and folly. One man