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"discourses of the sacrament, another receives Christ; "one discourses for or against transubstantiation; but "the good man feels himself to be changed, and so "joined to Christ, that he only understands the true "sense of transubstantiation while he becomes to Christ "bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh, and of the same "spirit with his Lord.
"From holiness we have the best instruction. For “that which we are taught by the Holy Spirit of God, "this new nature, this vital principle within us is that "which is worth our learning: not vain and empty, idle "and insignificant notions, in which, when you have "laboured till your eyes are fixed in their orbs, and your “flesh unfixed from its bones, you are no better and no "wiser. If the Spirit of God be your teacher, he will "teach you such truths as will make you know and love "God, and become like to him, and enjoy him forever, "by passing from similitude to union and eternal fruition.
"Too many scholars have lived upon air and empty "notions for many ages past, and troubled themselves "with tying and untying knots, like hypochondriacs in "a fit of melancholy, thinking of nothings, and troub❝ling themselves with nothings, and falling out about "nothings, and being very wise and very learned in "things that are not, and work not, and were never "planted in Paradise by the finger of God. If the Spi"rit of God be our teacher, we shall learn to avoid evil " and to do good, to be wise and to be holy, to be pro"fitable and careful; and they that walk in this way shall "find more peace in their consciences, MORE SKILL IN "THE SCRIPTURES, more satisfaction in their doubts, than ❝ can be obtained by all the polemical and impertinent "disputations of the world. The man that is wise, he "that is conducted by the Spirit of God, knows better “in what Christ's kingdom doth consist than to throw "away his time and interest, his peace and safety, for
"what? for religion? no: for the body of religion? not "so much: for the garment of the body of religion? no, "not for so much: but for the fringes of the garment "of the body of religion; for such, and no better, are "many religious disputes; things, or rather circum"stances and manners of things, in which the soul and "spirit are not at all concerned.. The knowledge which “ comes from godliness is θειοτερον τι πασης αποδείξεως, "something more certain and divine than all demon"stration and human learning.
"And now to conclude:-to you I speak, fathers and "brethren, you who are or intend to be of the clergy; 66 you see here the best compendium of your studies, the "best alleviation of your labours, the truest method of "wisdom. It is not by reading multitudes of books, "but by studying the truth of God; it is not by labori❝ous commentaries of the doctors that you can finish your "work, but the exposition of the Spirit of God; it is not "by the rules of metaphysics, but by the proportions of "holiness; and when all books are read, and all argu❝ments examined, and all authorities alledged, nothing " can be found to be true that is unholy. The learning "of the fathers was more owing to their piety than their "skill, more to God than to themselves. These were "the men that prevailed against error, because they "lived according to truth. If ye walk in light, and live "in the spirit, your doctrines will be true, and that "truth will prevail.
"I pray God to give you all grace to follow this wis"dom, to study this learning, to labour for the under"standing of godliness; so your time and your studies, 66 your persons and your labours, will be holy and use"ful, sanctified and blessed, beneficial to men and pleas"ing to God, through him who is the wisdom of the "Father, who is made to all that love him, wisdom, and " righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
Will any one among our living theologists controvert the merits of Bishop Taylor? Is there one whom the public judgment will place on an equality with him? Will any one stigmatize him as an ignorant enthusiast? His strength of understanding and powers of reasoning are strikingly exhibited in his Ductor dubitantium, his Liberty of prophesying, and in his polemical writings. I must conclude, that he understood the Christian religion better than most of the sons of men; because, to abili ties of the very first rank, he united in himself the finest feelings of devotion. His authority must have weight with all serious and humble inquirers into the subject of Christianity, and his authority strongly and repeatedly inculcates the opinion which I wish to maintain, that the best evidence of the truth of our religion is derived from the operation of the Holy Spirit on every heart which is disposed to receive it.
And I wish it to be duly attended to, that the discourse from which the above extracts are made, was not addressed to a popular assembly, but to the clergy of an university, and at a solemn visitation. The Bishop evidently wished that the doctrines which he taught might be disseminated among the people by the parochial clergy. They were disseminated; and in consequence of it, Christianity flourished. They must be again disseminated by the Bishops and all parochial clergy, if they sincerely wish to check the progress of infidelity. The minds of men must be impressed with the sense of an influential DIVINITY in the Christian religion, or they will reject it for the morality of Socrates, Seneca, the modern philosophers, and all those plausible reasoners, to whom this world and the things which are seen are the chief objects of attention. The old divines taught and preached with wonderful efficacy, because they spoke as men having authority from the Holy Ghost, and not as the disputers of this world, proud of a little science ac
quired from heathen writers in the cloisters of an academy. There was a celestial glory diffused around the pulpits of the old divines; and the hearers, struck with veneration, listened to the preacher as to an undoubted oracle. Full of grace were his lips; and moral TRUTH was beautifully illuminated by divine. She easily won and firmly fixed the affections of men, clothed, as she was, with light as with a garment.
Passages from the celebrated Mr. John Smith, Fellow of Queen's College, Cambridge, corroborative of the Opinion that the best Evidence of the Christian Religion arises from the Energy of the Holy Spirit*.
DIVINE truth is not to be discerned so much
"in a man's brain as in his heart. There is a divine " and spiritual sense which alone is able to converse in❝ternally with the life and soul of divine truth, as mix“ing and uniting itself with it; while vulgar minds be❝ hold only the body and outside of it. Though in itself "it be most intelligible, and such as the human mind « may most easily apprehend, yet there is an INCRus"TATION, as the Hebrew † writers call it, upon all cor66 rupt minds, which hinders the lively taste and relish "of it.
"The best acquaintance with religion is a KNOW“LEDGE TAUGHT OF GOD‡: it is a light which de"scends from heaven, which alone is able to guide and “conduct the souls of men to that heaven whence it
* See his Select Discourses.
+ Incrustamentum immunditiei-An incrustation of filth.
† θεοδίδακτος γνοσις.
The Christian religion is an influx from God upon the minds of good men; and the great design of "the gospel is to unite human nature to divinity.
"The gospel is a mighty efflux and emanation of life "and spirit, freely issuing forth from an omnipotent 66 source of grace and love; that godlike, vital influence, "by which the Divinity derives itself into the souls of (1 men, enlivening and transforming them into its own "likeness, and strongly imprinting upon them a copy of "its own beauty and goodness: like the spiritual virtue "of the heavens, which spreads itself freely upon the "lower world, and subtilely insinuating itself into this "benumbed, feeble, earthly matter, begets life and mo"tion in it; briefly, it is that whereby God comes to "dwell in us, and we in him.
"The apostle calls the law, the ministration of the "letter and of death, it being in itself but a dead letter, << as all that which is without a man's soul must be; but "on the other side, he calls the gospel, because of the "intrinsical and vital administration of it in living im<< pressions upon the souls of men, the ministration of the "spirit, and the ministration of righteousness; by which " he cannot mean the HISTORY of the gospel, or those "CREDENDA propounded to us to believe; for this would "make the gospel itself as much an external thing as "the law was; and so we see that the preaching of "Christ crucified was to the Jews a stumbling-block, and "to the Greeks foolishness. But indeed he means a VITAL EFFLUX from God upon the souls of men, "whereby they are made partakers of life and strength "from him.
66 Though the history and outward communication of "the gospel to us in scriptis is to be always acknowledged "as a special mercy and advantage, and certainly no less "privilege to the Christians, than it was to the Jews, to "be the depositaries of the oracles of God, yet it is plain