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stowments ? Their answer was prompt,“We believe the Gospel.” It was immediately rejoined, “I believe the Gospel too, but I cannot affirm that it produces in me such happiness and spirituality as it appears to effect in you, — pray, what is your view of the Gospel ?”
With the answer, the Author could not, at that time, fully sympathize ;-and yet, while opposing it, he felt distinctly conscious that the spiritual effects of his own limited and contracted views of the Gospel, - either in himself or others aronnd him—were far beneath those which he now witnessed. Awakened while in earliest youth to the realities of eternity,-he had for a long time sought and struggled after the spiritual liberty,-after the steadfast peace,—the continuous love to God and holiness, described in scripture as, in every. case, resulting, under the Spirit of God, from
a distinct knowledge of God and of his Son Jesus Christ. But, on the contrary, much
– very much — of his Christian experience was characterized by mournful fluctuation. He knew not the cause.
By the circumstances narrated above he was led, through the blessing of God, immediately, and with great importunity, to the “throne of grace,"—to ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit, — and especially that he would graciously discover to him the true hindrance in his soul to the full enjoyment of the Gospel. He felt assured that the philosophical axiom stands equally true in relation to things spiritual as to things natural--namely, “ that the same causes will ever produce the same effects in like circumstances,”-and that, where the revealed fruits of the knowledge of the truth are not habitually realized in any soul, there must be a proportionate ignor
ance or misconception of the Gospel-a deficiency more or less of that knowledge which is unto eternal salvation.
In the course of a few days thereafter, the Lord, in answer to believing prayer, unfolded the glorious Gospel in its simplicity to the Author's mind; and at once he realized its primitive effects ;-saw and felt that it was the power
of God to salvation. He was now convinced (a conviction which has ever since increased in his mind,--attested by an accumulating amount of evidence that the real root of the abounding evils and alarming defections in the Christian world, the chief cause of the sad contrast between the general state of the vineyard now and what it was in the most prosperous primeval ages,-is (comparatively speaking) dim—contracted—incomplete-or erroneous views of the Everlasting Gospel. For although all holiness—all spi
ritual excellence, is the fruit of the Spirit nevertheless, (as is more fully shown in the introductory chapter) the appointed door of the Spirit's entrance into the heart, and the grand means by which he sanctifies the soul, -is the belief of the Gospel ; and where that only medium is beclouded by error, to that extent are the rays of the Sun of Righteousness arrested at the very entrance into the soul.
No sooner did the Author come to know
more fully and blessedly the Gospel for himself than he hastened (though in much imperfection) to disclose the glad discoveries to others. And, to the glory of free and sovereign grace, he would add,- not without effect. For in a very great number of cases (as far as man could judge) the Lord has affixed the signet of his Spirit and blessing to these declarations. This has especially been the case during the
last twelve years in many parts of the United Kingdom, —especially where much earnest, believing, persevering prayer was previously called forth amongst the people of God. And where the truth thus proclaimed in the strength of God, was truly believed,—the glorious scriptural consequences have been abundantly and permanently realized. How many living witnesses are there who can truly attest this great fact !
Having been often requested to embody in some permanent form the simple truths he has preached, and which God has so powerfully blest, he frequently essayed to accomplish it. But many depressions of deep and chequered trial, on the one hand, and multiplied engagements, both at home and elsewhere, on the other,-have prevented this till now.
In the year 1843, a very earnest request was made to the Author to publish a sermon