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however aided and prompted, can, by their proper operation, as has been observed, produce no effect other than after their kind. In the effect of their production there must be wanting all that which essentially distinguishes the new and divine from the old and earthly nature, the spiritual from the carnal, a principle of piety from the reverse, or from the counterfeit, or mere semblance of it. In the one, “ all old things," at least in their principle, remain; in the other, they “ are done away, and all things have become new."
According to these representations, which I believe to be just and scriptural, I think, I may correctly and philosophically say: that, in regeneration, a new simple perception obtains in the human mind; or, in other words, new apprehensions, or notions of divine things, altogether foreign and specifically different from any heretofore possessed, take place. * Not that any faculty, such as we call natural, in contradistinction from the moral, is, in this instance, created, or in any wise imparted to the human mind. The soul of man, in its original constitution, is endowed with every natural faculty needful to the purpose. But, these faculties, by our fatal defection, have become most wretchedly vitiated and disordered. Through the prevalent influence
It is well known by the learned, that, the perceptions or ideas, of the class here referred to, whether communicated by sensation or reflection, or otherwise, (if otherwise communicable) are the origin, and compose the ground-work, or materials of all our knowledge. They are the impressions made on our minds, independently of our own choice, on occasion of objects presented, through whatever sense or medium conveyed. And they are called simple, as being, though distinctly discernible, yet, in their nature undefinable, and wholly incommunicable to those who are devoid of the senses or other powers, by which, according to the established order of things, they are conveyed; or to those whose powers of perception bave been disqualified by accident, disease, or any disorder, whether natural or moral. When these powers are possessed in sound condition, they receive the true impression or notion of the properties of the objects presented; when unsound, they either receive them not at all, or they receive false impressions. And where the mind is furnished with true simple ideas, it has the power to repeat, compare, and combine them even to an almost infinite variety. If, accordingly, it has the power of perception, or spiritual discernment in its healthful and competent state, it will admit the true notion of spiritual things, and it will be affected by them according to their nature, or their true and specific qualities. Moreover, carrying this notion with it in its contemplations through all the variety of the works of God, and of the forms of his revealed perfection, it will be wrought into the various sentiments, and delightfully animated to the practice of universal holiness.
of sinful principle and habit, they have become incapable of sucha moral preceptions, as accord with the distinct and specifical nature of divine and spiritual things. And, so long as this moral vitiosity and disorder remains in its power, it is in vain to expect, that any such notions of God, or of whatever appertains to his nature or works, should so obtain and exist in our minds, as to produce in us the affections and determinations which correspond with their peculiar characters, or with the nature of that religion which he requireth of us. These impediments once, in proper measure, removed; this disorder rectified; this disease corrected, or overpowered by a superior counter-operation, divine objects, in their genuine forms presented, will have their free and proper impression. Their truth, their importance, their peculiar beauty, excellence, and glory will be sensibly perceived and felt; the heart will delightfully embrace them; and the man, with all his soul, and strength, and mind, will devote himself to the love and service of God forever,
SUCCESS NOT THE SUBJECT OF REWARD. MR. EDITOR, The public were advertised in the prospectus to the Assembly's Magazine, that nothing would be admitted into it that should be found decidedly hostile to the doctrines contained in the public standards of the presbyterian church; and I think we have since been informed, that it would not be open to much controversy, All this appears to me perfectly right. But I presume, notwithstanding, that you will admit without reluctance a portion of temperate debate, on such subjects of theology and morals, as are not explicitly settled by our received creeds. I therefore send you the following discussion, on a point on which you have, indeed, already admitted controversy: I mean the point which a writer in the magazine for July controverts with Dr. Nott, and which the doctor had thus stated: “ In the estimation of heaven our sere vices are appreciated, not by the good we accomplish, but the sincerity, the strength, and constancy of our exertions."
Believing, as I assuredly do, that Dr. Nott's opinion is correctly true, and accurately expressed, and of course that your correspondent is entirely erroneous, I will offer my sentiments with as much precision, candour, and brevity, as I can. Ist. By stating the point in debate. 2. By trying it on the principles of natural reason and equity, sanctioned by the general scope of revelation. 3. By consulting the direct testimony of scripture
on the subjeet. 4. By answering some particular arguments and objections of my opponent.
1. Let us endeavour clearly to state the point, or subject in debate, which, in every controversy, is of the first importance. It is not, as I understand it-whether a man who performs good actions with bad motives, is entitled to any reward? Neither side supposes this. In the sight of the heart-searching God nothing is done rightly, the motive to which is not right; and therefore, no reward, either great or small, will be conferred on him whose actions are good, if so they be called, while his motives or intentions are vile. Again: It is not held by either side, that pure motives, accompanied with zeal and diligence in duty, will in any case fail of a suitable reward. My opponent seems desirous to inculcate the idea that the faithful service of of God will, in all cases, be rewarded graciously, adequately, and fully; and I advert te the fact to show that I understand and recollect that he has made this statement. But the point in controversy is distinctly this: That, other things being equal, something more will be awarded to him who is successful than to him who is not. So that take two persons whose purity of views and whose vigorous and persevering exertions to promote the gospel, are supposed to be exactly the same, but the one successful, and the other not; then, he who is successful will have a higher reward than he who is not. This is what my opponent affirms, and what I deny. I deny that in the case supposed the reward will be unequal, but maintain, that it must be perfectly the same; and consequently that it will not depend more or less upon success, but entirely on other considerations and causes, and will be meted out according to the sincerity, the strength, and the constancy of our exertions.” .
2. The principles of natural reason and equity, confirmed by the general scope of revelation, are, in my apprehension, decisively in favour of the opinion which I advocate. That mortals cannot command success, is a maxim confirmed explicitly by scripture..“
“ I returned,” says Solomon, “ and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” “ I have planted," says Paul, “ Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth but God that giveth the increase.” If then the best dispositions and most judicious, able and persevering efforts, will not ensure success, and yet re.
ward is in any measure made to depend upon it, in that very measure, it will depend on something with which our personal qualities, character, and exertions have nothing to do. Now, I think that reward thus conferred is, to the apprehension of our natural reason and sense of equity, bestowed capriciously, wantonly, arbitrarily, and unjustly. Or rather, indeed, what is so conferred cannot properly be called reward at all. It is something bestowed for nothing. The success was nothing that was properly produced by him to whom it fell to be successful. Before success crowned his labours, and when it crowned them, he was, by the supposition, in possession of no one internal, inherent, or personal excellence, to which his brother could not make as fair and full a claim as himself. And yet for the event of success, with which the personal agency of the one had no more to do than that of the other; which depended on a power exterior, and equally and perfectly beyond them both, the one is to receive a reward, and the other not. He who was not successful, might as properly have been so as he who was; and he who was, had no more to do with it, than he who was not; yet the one receives as a reward what is denied to the other. If our natural reason and sense of equity do not pronounce this procedure to be unjust, I can scarcely conceive a case, in which they would give such a sentence.
It is readily admitted, that among men it is usually success father than desert, which receives a reward. But it is believed, that this always proceeds from ignorance or injustice, or from both united. To show that such is the fact, let us suppose the following case. A father has two sons, to whom he assigns a service to be done for himself, with the expectation on their part of a just remuneration for what they shall do. The service is performed, and the father admits, that the one son has been just as capable, faithful, and persevering, as the other; but the one has been more successful than the other; I put it to my opponent whether the father, in these circumstances, ought to remunerate the successful child more than his brother: whether, if he did, the child who received the less reward would not think, and every equitable person think with him, that a hard, unjust, and cruel award had been made. On the contrary, suppose the father to say to the unsuccessful son, “ You have not been a much favoured in the event of your exertions as your brother; but this was no fault of your's; you did in all respects as well as he, and therefore I reward you equally with him." Would not all impartial persons, would not the successful child himself, if he possessed a proper temper, approve and commend this as an equitable decision?
In reply to all this, however, it is probable that my opponent will be ready to remark, that the apostle Paul declares, that he “ obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful,” and that the scope of scripture manifestly shows, that fidelity in the gospel ministry is as much the gift of God as success itself; and that if he reward his own gift of fidelity, he may also reward his own gift of success: this is certainly specious; and yet, if I mistake not, it is no more than specious; it is not solid and conclusive. To demonstrate this, let it be carefully observed, that in whatever way fidelity is obtained, it is, when obtained, a personal possession, a personal quality, a personal excellence, and as such precisely it is viewed and treated, when it becomes the subject of reward. But success is never a personal possession, a personal quality, a personal excellence, and therefore differs essentially from the other; and cannot be the subject of reward. Fidelity, howsoever obtained, is a christian grace. But success is no christian grace. It al· ways remains simply a gift or act of God. In a word, fidelity is man’s, success is God's. This distinction is most pointedly and clearly kept up by the apostle Paul in the passage already quoted : “ I have planted, Appollos watered, but God gave the increase.” Here planting and watering are recognised as the acts of man, the increase or success is stated, and in the way of contradistinction, to be simply the act or gift of God. And the same idea is repeated and fortified in what follows: “ So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.” That is, in the matter of success man has no immediate agency, no personal propriety, he is, and always remains, absolutely nothing. God is here to be considered as acting by himself; he and he only has to do with success. To say, therefore, that success will be rewarded, is to say, that man will receive a reward from God for one of his own acts. No one can more sincerely believe than I do that the entire reward of every believer will be of grace. It will be in virtue of his union with the Saviour as the meritorious cause; a union produced by the sovereign grace of God conferred upon him; and every grace that shall be rewarded is entirely the divine gift. Still, however, it is a gift that has had an effect in making the believer possess a personal character and excellence, and in making him active in his Saviour's cause. This, I apprehend, is to decide the measure of his reward. Such is the determination of God, and such the dictate of equity. For to apportion reward in any measure or de