« VorigeDoorgaan »
Keeping ever in view his grand object, the conversion matters it had been Mr Eliot's great wish to see, and the of the Indians to the knowledge, the belief, and the time had come when he was ready to say, like Simeon obedience of the truth as it is in Jesus, he made use of of old, “ Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace ; all the means which Providence placed in his power to for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." promote the mental cultivation of the converts. On Feeling himself no longer capable of discharging his this point, a striking lesson may be learned from the pastoral duties, Mr Eliot wished to resign his charge at un wearied efforts of this devoted missionary. The de- Roxbury. To this, however, his congregation would lusion has been too prevalent in the Christian world, by no means consent. In suggesting the election of a that the work of a missionary must be almost exclu- colleague and successor, his conduct was truly disintersively limited to preaching the Gospel. He ought to ested. “ « 'Tis possible,' he said, when addressing be a a man armed at all points, and ready to adopt expe-them on this subject, ' you may think the burden of dients of all kinds, as well for the eradication of preju- maintaining two ministers may be too heavy for you, dice and error, as for the communication of truth. but I deliver you from that fear. I do here give back
Mr Eliot's labours, however, were considerably re- my salary to the Lord Jesus Christ ; and now, brethren, tarded by a war which the colonists of New England you may fix that upon any man that God shall make a had waged against Philip, the principal chief of the In- pastor for you.' His Church, to their immortal honou, dians. The converts naturally attached themselves to assured him, that they would count his very prezence their benefactors, and some of them even took up arms among them worth a salary, when he should be altogeagainst their infidel countrymen. Yet the fact, that a ther unable to do them any further service." The few of the professors of religion had been induced to choice of the congregation having fallen upon Mr Nejoin Philip's forces, was sufficient to excite the preju- hemiah Walter, a graduate of Harvard College, a Foung dices of the colonists against the converts. They man of great piety and worth, the venerable pastor rea. viewed them with abhorrence and distrust; they sub- dily received him, and like another Elijah, threw off his jected them to severe persecution, and judged them even robe and gave it to his successor. So completely satisworthy of death. Mr Eliot exerted himself to protect fied was he, in fact, with his youthful brother, that he the persons and interests of his spiritual children; and could scarcely be prevailed upon to perform any public in doing so, exposed himself to much calumny and re- service for a year or two before his death. The last proach. An event occurred, which showed the ma- occasion on which he appears to have preached, was on lignity which rankled in the bosoms of some of the co- the day of a public fast, when, after expounding with lonists towards this devoted servant of the Most High. his wonted clearness and simplicity the eighty-third “ On a certain occasion, during the war, Mr Eliot went Psalm, he concluded with an apology to his hearers for to sea in a small boat, which happened to be upset by "the poorness, and meanness, and brokenness of his me. a larger vessel. When about to sink, without the ex- ditations,” and adding, “ My dear brother here will, pectation of rising again, he exclaimed, “The will of by and by, mend all.” When at last compelled to abthe Lord be done!' He was happily rescued from the stain from his public duties in the Church, he would say imminent danger in which he was placed ; but his de- with a tone peculiar to himself,
I wonder for what liverance, instead of being a matter of joy to all his ac- the Lord Jesus lets me live,-he knows that now I quaintances, led one of them to remark, that he wished can do nothing for him.” But even when unable he had been drowned !”
any longer to preach to the English, he still continued At length, after a severe struggle and much loss, once a-week to catechise and instruct the Indians. At the war was terminated by the slaughter of Philip and length it was evident, that, in the ordinary course many of his warriors, on the 12th of August 1676. of nature, his end could not be far distant. - But On its conclusion, Mr Eliot found that several of the having been attacked with a considerable degree of towns, inhabited by the Indian converts, had been des- fever, he rapidly sunk under his disorder. While he troyed; some of them had perished in the contest, | lay in the extremity of his sufferings, seeing Mr Walwhile others had fallen away from their Christian pro- ter come to him, and fearing that by petitioning for ks fession. Trusting, however, in Him whose ambassador life, he might detain him in the vale of tears, be said, he was, he went forward with alacrity and vigour in ' Brother, thou art welcome to my very soul. Pras his labours among the heathen; and the Lord was retire to thy study for me, and give me leave to be pleased to accompany his exertions with no small suc- gone.' Having been asked how he did, he answered
, ". The Eastern Indians," he remarked in a letter * Alas! I have lost every thing; my understanding dated 4th Nov. 1680, and addressed to Mr Boyle, “ do leaves me,-my memory fails me, -my utterance tists offer to submit themselves to be taught to pray unto me; but I thank God my charity holds out still :-1 God. A chief Sachem was here about it, a man of a find that rather grows than fails.' When speaking about grave and discreet countenance. Our praying Indians, the propagation of the Gospel among the Indians, be both in the islands and on the main, are (considered remarked, • There is a cloud, a dark cloud, upon the together) numerous: thousands of souls, of whom some work of the Gospel among the poor Indians. The Lari are true believers, some learners, and some are still in- revive and prosper that work, and grant that it mean fants. All of them beg, cry, and entreat for Bibles, live when I am dead. It is a work which I have been having already enjoyed that blessing, but now are in doing much and long about. But what was the word great want."
I spoke last? I recal that word, my doings ! Ala: Mr Eliot now directed his efforts towards the publi- they have been poor and small and lean doings; and cation of a second edition of his translation, first of the I'll be the man that shall throw the first stone at them New, then of the Old Testament. This important all.' He used many similar extraordinary and precious work he was enabled to accomplish by the remittances expressions in his dying moments. which from time to time he received from England; and words he uttered were, * WELCOME JOY;'and his voice it appears to have been one of the last public employ- for ever failed him in this world, while he repeated ments of this indefatigable missionary. He had now Pray, Pray, Pray.' He departed from this life in reached the advanced age of fourscore years, and was the beginning of 1690, and in the eighty-sixth year so weakened by the extent and variety of his labours, his age. that he was unable to preach to the Indians oftener than The fall of such a man as Mr Eliot could not fail to once in two months. An Indian pastor, named Daniel, excite a strong sensation, not only in New England, br presided over the Church at Natick, and almost all the also in Britain, the land of his fathers, and the land other Indian Churches listened studiously to the instruc- too, which had fostered and encouraged bin in his tions of pastors from their own tribes. Such a state of holy labours among the Indians. The language of Dx
Among the last
ITS EXPLANATION BY DIVINE REVELATION,
Mather, who knew him well, shows the feeling preva- as aquatic animals appear to have been produced before lent at his death.
** Bereaved New England, where terrestrial, and every living substance to have originatare thy tears at this ill-boding funeral ? We had a tra
ed from a form or nucleus exquisitely simple and mi. dition current among us, that the country would never perish as long as Mr Eliot was alive! But into whose nute, and to have been perpetually developing and exhands must this Hippo fall, now that the Austin of it is panding its powers, and progressively advancing togone? Our Elisha is gone, and who must next year wards perfection, man himself must have been of the invade the land ? I am sure that it is a dismal eclipse aquatic order on his first creation ; at that time, indeed, that has now befallen our New English world. If the imperceptible from his exility, but in process
years, dust of dead saints could give us any protection, we are or rather of ages, acquiring a visible or oyeter-like not without it. We cannot see a more terrible prog- form, with little gills, instead of lungs, and, like the nostic, than tombs filling apace with such bones as the renowned Eliot's: the whole building trembles at the oyster, produced spontaneously, without distinction fall of such a pillar. We hope that all true Protestants into sexes ; that, as reproduction is always favourable will count it no more than what is equal and proper, to improvement, the aquatic or oyster mannikin, by that the land which has in it the grave of such a re- being progressively accustomed to seek its food on the Tharkable preacher to the Indians, as our Eliot, should nascent shores or edges of the primeval ocean, must be treated with such a love, as a Jerusalem uses to find have grown, after a revolution of countless generations, from them that are to prosper."
first into an amphibious, and then into a terrestrial
animal.' THE ORIGIN OF MAN; *
" It is not necessary to notice this dream of a poet. ITS EXPLANATION BY HUMAN REASON CONTRASTED WITH | izing philosopher, which had also been dreamt of long
before his own day, any further than to remark that " Are the different distributions of man mere varieties it is in every respect inferior to the opinion of two of of one common species, or distinct species merely con
the most celebrated schools of ancient Greece, the Epi. nected under an imaginary genus?
curean and the Stoic; who, though they disagreed on
Has the human race proceeded from one source or from many ?
almost every other point, concurred in their dogma " In a country professing the Christian religion, and concerning the origin of man ; and believed him to have appealing to the records of Moses, as an established sprung, equally with plants and animals of every kind, and veritable authority, I ought, perhaps, to blush at
from the tender soil of the new-formed earth, at that proposing such a question in public: but the insinua
time infinitely more powerful and prolific. tions which have in various ways been thrown out
“ In the correct and elegant description of Lucre.
tius, against this authority demand it, and I am desirous to rescue, so far as I am able, the first and most interest
* Earth fed the nursling, the warm ether clothed,
And the soft downy grass his couch composed.' ing account we possess of the creation of man, from
And frivolous as such a theory may now appear, it the philosophical doubts which have been thrown upon it, and to reconcile it with the natural history of man
was the only one which was current among the Grein our own day.
cian or Roman philosophers, except that which sup, “ The Mosaic statement has met with two distinct posed mankind to have been propagated by eternal classes of opponents, each of which has assumed a dif- generation, and, of course, the universe, like himself
to be eternal and self-existent: compared with which, ferent ground of objection. The one has regarded this statement as altogether untrue, and never intended to
an origin from the dust of the earth, even after the be believed : as a mere allegory or fiction ;-a beautiful
manner of vegetables, is incomparably less monstrous
and absurd. mythos often indulged in by other oriental writers in the openings of their respective histories ;-as an en
“Let us now pass on to the hypothesis of those molivening frontispiece to a book of instruction. The
dern philosophers who would associate the tribes of other class has been in some degree more guarded in its
man with the tribes of the monkey, and originate both attack; and has rather complained that the statement is from one common stock, in the same manner as the ox
and buffalo are said to be derived from the bison, and inexplicit than that it is untrue. These last philosophers have found out that in its common interpreta- the different varieties of sheep from the argali.
“ There are a few wonderful histories afloat of wild tion it does not accord with the living volume of na
men and wild women found in the woods of Germany ture; and they hence contend that the common interpretation is incorrect; they perceive, or think they per. and France ; some of which are said to have been ceive, a variety of chasms in the sacred text, which it dumb, others to have had the voice of sheep or of is necessary to fill up before it can be made to harmo-oxen, and others again to have walked on all-fours. nize with natural facts and appearances.
And from these few floating tales, not amounting, in “ At the head of the former class stand the names
modern times, to more than nine or ten, Linnæus. of some of the first natural historians and scholars of thought proper to introduce the orang-otang into the modern times, as Linnæus, Buffon, Helvetius, Mon human family, and to regard such instances of wild men boddo, and Darwin. And from whom do these philo
as the connecting species between this animal and sophers, thus departing from the whole letter and spirit mankind in a state of civilized society. Whence Lord of the Mosaic history, pretend to derive the race of Monboddo has amused us with legends of men found man? The four former from the race of monkeys ; in every variation of barbarism ; in some instances even and the last, to complete the absurdity, from the race ungregarious or solitary; in others, uniting, indeed, of oysters; for Dr Darwin seriously conjectures that into small hordes, but so scanty even in natural or inar
ticulate language, as to be obliged to assist their own • From " The Book of Nature," by Dr John Mason Good. 3 Vols, Longman and Co. London: 1834.
meaning by signs and gestures; and, consequently, to
be incapable of conversing in the dark; of a third sort Now, a cautious perusal of the Mosaic narrative who bave in some degree improved upon their natural will, I think, incontestibly prove that the two accounts language, but have still so much of the savage beast of the creation of man refer to one and the same fact, belonging to them, as to employ their teeth and nails, to which the historian merely returns, in the seventh which last are not less than an inch long, as weapons
verse of the second chapter, for the purpose of giving of defence; and of a fourth sort, found in an island of it a more detailed consideration; for it is expressly the Indian seas, with the full possession of speech, asserted in the fifth or preceding verse but one, as but with tails like those of cats or monkeys; a set of the immediate reason for the creation of Adam and dreadful cannibals, which at one time killed and de- | Eve, that at that time there was not a man to till the voured every Dutchman they could lay their hands ground;' while, as to the existence of artificers compeupon.
tent to the formation of the first rude instruments em“ It is truly wonderful that a scholar of Lord Mon-ployed in husbandry, and a few patches of mankind boddo's accomplishments could have allowed himself scattered over the regions adjoining that in which Cain to be for one moment imposed upon by a mass of trash resided, at the period of his fratricide, it should be reso absurd and extravagant, as not to be worth the collected that this first fall of man by the hand of man, trouble of confuting. Such romances are certainly did not take place till a hundred and twenty-nine years in existence; but they are nothing more than the after the creation of Adam: for it was in his one bunfabled news of a few illiterate mariners, whose names dred and thirtieth year, that Seth was given to him in were never sufficient to give them the slightest degree the place of Abel : an interval of time amply sufficient, of authority, even when they were first uttered; and especially if we take into consideration the peculiar which, for the most part, dropped successively into an fecundity of both animals and vegetables in their prime. obscure and ignominious grave on the moment of their val state, for a multiplication of the race of man, to an birth, and would have silently mouldered away into extent of many thousand souls. their elemental nothingness, had not this very singular “ On such a view of the subject, therefore, it should writer chosen to rake up their decomposing atoms, in seem that the only fair and explicit interpretation that order to support an hypothesis which sufficiently proves can be given to the Mosaic history is, that the whole its own weakness by the scouted and extravagant evi- | human race has proceeded from one single pair, or in dence to which it is compelled to appeal.
the words of another part of the Sacred Writings, that “ But throwing the monkey kind out of the ques. God hath made of one blood all nations of men for tion, as in no respect related to the race of man, it dwell on all the face of the earth.' The book of namust at least be admitted, contend the second class of ture is in this, as in every other respect, in union with philosophers before us, that the wide differences in form, that of Revelation : it tells us that one single pair must and colour, and degree of intellect, which the several have been adequate to all the purposes on which this divisions of mankind exhibit, as you have now arranged class of philosophers have grounded their objections : them, must necessarily have originated from different and it should be further observed to them, that thus to sources; and that even the Mosaic account itself will multiply causes without necessity, is not more inconsisafford countenance to such a hypothesis.
tent with the operations of nature than with the prin“ This opinion was first stated, in modern times, by ciples of genuine pbilosopby." the celebrated Isaac Peyrere, librarian to the Prince of Condé; who, about the middle of last century, con
DISCOURSE. tended, in a book which was not long afterwards condemned to the flames, (though for other errors in con
BY THE REV. JAMES SOMERVILLE, junction with the present,) that the narration of Moses
Minister of Drumelzier. speaks expressly of the creation of two distinct spe
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling: cies of man ; an elder species, which occupied a part
For it is God which worketh in you both to will
and to do of his good pleasure.”_Phil. ii. 12, 13. of the sixth day's creation, and is related in the first chapter of Genesis; and a junior, confined to Adam In a former discourse on this passage, we endeaand Eve, the immediate progenitors of the Hebrews, to
voured to illustrate the duty to be performed by whom this account was addressed, and which is not us, “ Work out your own salvation with fear and referred to till the seventh verse of the second chapter, trembling;” and we now proceed to consider the and even then, without any notice of the exact period motive which is here set before us, to encourage in which they were formed. After which transaction, us to engage and to persevere in the performance ihis writer and those who think with him, observe the of this duty; “ For it is God which worketh in historian confines himself entirely to the annals of his you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." own nation, or of those which were occasionally con
I. That which needs to be wrought in us, is nected with it. Neither is it easy, they adjoin, to con
“ to will and to do of God's good pleasure," or, in ceive, upon any other explanation, how Cain, in so early other words, that which is pleasing to God. He a period of the world as is usually laid down, could desires to see us such, as that he may be able to have been possessed of the implements of husbandry look upon us with complacency ; to see in us all which belonged to him; or what is meant by the fear those principles, tempers, dispositions, and all that he expressed, upon leaving his father's family, after the course of conduct, which will render us pleasing murder of Abel, that every one who found him would in his sight. God desires to rejoice in all has slay him; or, again, his going forth into another coun-works, and especially in man, whom he placed at try, marrying a wife there, and building a city soon af- the head of his works in this world, and made very ter the birth of his eldest son.
good, after his own image. To enter into a par
ticular enumeration of every thing that is pleasing | bent to that which is right, this is a state of the or displeasing to God, in human character and soul good in itself, and therefore pleasing to God, conduct, would be to transcribe a great part of his and it will lead to all that is right and good in word. Briefly, it may be said, that we are objects outward conduct. In a word, as the will is, such of his good pleasure, when, in looking upon us
is the man. both with regard to heart and life, he beholds us This is what we need to have wrought in us, bearing his own image, which consists in know that the will may decidedly prefer, and choose, and ledge, righteousness, and true holiness. In this adhere to that which is good. This is indispenstate, man at first came out of his creating hand, sably necessary for us ; for in our natural state, and it is the great object of God's good pleasure the will is wholly inclined to evil, and averse from to have this image again restored. We are pleas- good. In his natural state, man has no will to ing in his sight when he sees us holy, harmless, love God, and to obey him—no will to seek for undefiled, and separated from sinners. As he happiness in pleasing him, or enjoying him as a hates all sin, we are the objects of his good plea- portion—no will to work out his own salvationsure when it is wrought in us also to hate it. As no will to come to Christ as a Saviour—no will he delights in holiness, we are pleasing to him to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to when he beholds us loving it. His good pleasure live soberly, righteously, and godly. Now that is in the course of being wrought in us, when he state of the will must be changed, and it must resees us in the way by which his image can be receive a completely contrary bent, so that, instead stored to our souls, coming with gratitude to Jesus, of being contrary to the will of God, it shall be the Mediator, through whom alone sinful creatures in accordance with it. Instead of preferring and can come to a holy God and find acceptance. His choosing those things which are earthly, sensual, good pleasure is wrought in us, when we are and sinful, it shall choose those which are heavenbrought to see our need of a Saviour—when we ly, spiritual, and good. True religion must begin see the sufficiency and suitableness of his Son- in the soul; and the faculty of the will is one of when Christ is rendered truly precious to us, and the first and chief powers of the mind, which we determine to look for salvation to his merits must be changed. alone. We are pleasing in his sight, when, in When the will is brought to be decidedly on consequence of this, we are sanctified by his Spi- the side of what is pleasing to God, the most imrit, so that we love him supremely, and are wil- portant and difficult part of the work may lingly subject to his authority in all things. We sidered as accomplished. But there is still a great are pleasing in his sight, when, as sinners, he be deal more to do: for though, doubtless, when the holds us humble and contrite, and ready to tremble will is decidedly bent to that which is pleasing to at bis word, penitent for sin, and resolved against God, the general conduct will, on the whole, be it. His good pleasure has been wrought in us, right also ; yet, between the choice of the will, when the works of the flesh do not predominate, and the carrying of that choice into actual pracor rule over us, such as adultery, fornication, un- tice, there occur osten so many and great difficulcleanness, idolatry, hatred, variance, emulations, ties and hinderances, that the choice of the will wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, evaporates in mere empty purposes and wishes, revellings, and such like ; and when, on the con- without the actual doing of the good that was intrary, the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, long-tended. Even bad men, when their will has made suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, its choice of doing something evil, are often pretemperance, are to be found prevailing in us. In a vented from carrying the choice of their will into word, we are pleasing in his sight, when the inward effect, by some check or restraint, so that they state of our hearts, and the outward state of our cannot always get all the evil done which they conduct, accord with his holy nature and holy law. wish. But much more is this the case with good
This is what we need to be brought to, and to men, when their will has chosen that which is have wrought in us; and to the attainment of this good and pleasing to God. There are innumerstate, there are two things which must be accom- able temptations, snares, and hinderances, from plished in us, first, to will, and, secondly, to do, within, and from without, which compel them to what is pleasing to God. First, the will must be adopt the language of the apostle, “ to will is prebrought to prefer, and choose, and adhere to, that sent with me, but how to perform that which is which is pleasing to God; and next, we must be good I know not.” Rom. vii. 18.
“ For the good enabled to follow up the choice of the will, and that I would, I do not, but the evil that I would reduce it to actual practice. The will is the rul- not, that I do.” ver. 19. It is necessary, then, that ing faculty of man ; and according to its choice, it be wrought in Christians, not only to will but such will be the general conduct. If the will be to do, of God's good pleasure. It is necessary decidedly averse to that which is pleasing to God, that they should be strengthened with all might and decided in its choice of those things which are in the inner man, to do his will; that their good displeasing to him, the soul of that person must intentions may not pass away in mere empty inefnot only be extremely vile and hateful in the sight fectual wishes, but that they may become active of God, but still more so, as the general tenor of practical Christians, abounding in all the fruits of the outward conduct will follow this evil state of righteousness, which, through Jesus Christ, are to the will. On the other hand, when the will is the praise and glory of God.
II. It is implied in the text, that mankind can- to do. Thus, when their will is brought truly to not, of themselves, do any thing effectual in this desire to repent, he works in them the grace of work. It is not supposed that they are mere in- repentance. When they are brought to wish animate masses of matter to be wrought upon, earnestly that they were enabled to believe in the and formed and fashioned by an external operator, Saviour, he works in them the grace of faith. without any consciousness or activity on their When they truly and earnestly desire to be enabled part. They can understand, and think, and con- to love God, he works in them to do so, and sheds sider ; they can look forward to consequences, and abroad his love in their hearts, by the Holy Ghost judge what are to be the effects of certain courses given unto them. When they truly and earnestly of conduct, either good or bad; and they can use wish to be stedfast and unmoveable, and to be a variety of means. But when the natural hard- | always abounding in the work of the Lord, he ness of the heart is considered, the strong hold imparts to them grace and strength to carry these which sin has of it, and the innumerable tempta- desires into effect. He communicates to them such tions to which mankind are exposed, they have supplies of grace and strength, that they are the fullest ground to conclude, that they shall strengthened with all might in the inner man to never work out their salvation by any power of do his will. He enables them, on the whole
, to their own.
An unconverted sinner has every overcome all the difficulties, hinderances and tempreason to conclude, that without an exertion of tations which tend to prevent their actively doing divine power in taking away the hard and stony the will of God; so that, by his grace, they are heart, and giving him a new heart and a right not only kept from falling away, but are enabled spirit, he never would be brought into a saving to abound in doing the will of God. state: and the converted sinner, who is in a The whole tenor of Scripture confirms this doesaving state, has equal reason to conclude, that trine. « The Lord is the strength of my life." unless divine power were exerted to uphold, says David, “of whom shall I be afraid ?" Psal. strengthen, and carry him forward, he would cer- xxvii. 1. “ The Lord will give strength to his tainly turn back unto perdition.
people.” Ps. xxix. 11. “God is our refuge and III. It is clearly taught in the text, and in vari- strength, a very present help in trouble.” Ps. xlvi. ous other parts of Scripture, “ that it is God who 1. “ The Lord will perfect that which concernworketh in his people, both to will and to do of eth me.” Ps. cxxxviii. 8. “ Being confident of his good pleasure.” He has immediate access to this very thing, that he which hath begun a good the soul, and to all its powers, and complete power work in you, will perform it, until the day of Jesus over it; so that he can turn it, like the rivers of Christ.” Phil. i. 6. “In the day when I cried, water, whither he will. He does this, not by thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with forcing the will, but by his powerful and efficaci- strength in my soul.” Ps. cxxxviii. 3. Tbs ous working, inclining it to those things which people shall be willing in the day of thy power." are right and pleasing to God. Under this work- Ps. cx. 3. “ They that wait on the Lord shall ing of God, the man who is the subject of it, acts renew their strength; they shall mount up
with most freely and willingly; but God, by his graci- wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary: ous influences, has so operated on his will, that he they shall walk and not faint.” Isa. xl. 31. “ Withfreely and willingly chooses that which is good, out me,” says our Saviour, “ye can do nothing;" and rejects that which is evil. God thus works John xv. 5. In accordance with this, his apostle in and upon his people, by the truths of his word, says, “I can do all things through Christ, which by his providence, and by the influences of his strengtheneth me.” Philip.iv. 13. On this ground, Spirit, presenting to their minds such reasons and he exhorts Christians, “to be strong in the Lord, motives as may produce an effect on their will, and in the power of his might.” Eph. vi. 10. And causing them to see and to feel the strength and the same apostle tells us, that, in answer to his weight of these reasons and motives, and to yield prayer, he obtained the promise from Christ, “ My to them, and thus making them a willing people grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made in the day of his power. This work is generally perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. xii. 9. very slow and gradual, and often almost, if not al- therefore, ought to be all our dependence, and to together imperceptible. They who are the sub- him should all the glory be ascribed. jects of it, in general, feel at first only some slight IV. This doctrine furnishes us with a most inclination toward that which is good
, and this is encouraging motive to work out our salvation. If clinations towards that which is evil; but, under the charge would be just, if we had the offer of the influences of the divine Spirit, their inclina- assistance to do a work for which we ourselres tions towards that which is good, gradually be- were quite able. But if we are called to perform come stronger, and weaker towards that which is a work which is manifestly beyond our strength, evil, until at last the will is brought to cleave we will either never attempt it, or soon give it strongly, decidedly, and habitually, to that which over ; the promise and offer of sufficient assistance is right, and to reject that which is displeasing to is the very way to induce us to shake off our inGod. Thus God works in his people to will of dolence, and rouse ourselves to the most vigorous his good pleasure.
exertion. If an officer, with a very small force, It is God also, who works in them effectually were ordered to engage an enemy vastly superior