« PrécédentContinuer »
which this seed or leaven operates; and every one acquainted with the nature of leaven knows, that its operation is gradual and not instantaneous.
The operation of the seed of the kingdom is also thus illustrated by our Saviour : "Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard-seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth; but, when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs." * And we very well know, that the growth of a seed is not instantaneous, but gradually progressive.
The nature of the new birth is, likewise, described by a late writer, agreeably to my idea of it.
"The increase and operation of this living principle becomes a new life in and to the obedient soul, quickening and refreshing it with a sense of Divine love, strength, and comfort. This life being begot and brought forth by the Holy Spirit in the willing mind, is called a birth of the Spirit; and being its new production there, it is styled the new
* Mark, iv. 30.
birth and seeing our first parents, immediately upon their creation, were favoured with this spiritual birth in them, and lost it by disobedience; the renewal of it, both in themselves, and in their posterity, has taken the terms of regeneration and renovation, or the birth of divine life nenewed in man". Phipps' Original and Present State of Man, page 37.
I cannot admit these sentiments to be, (as Hibbard says,) confounding conversion with conviction; but, on the contrary, believe, that admitting his position, would be perfectly doing this; for, I conceive, that conviction must always precede conversion; because, man, as a moral and free agent, being first convicted of his sin, must assent to, or unite with the spirit, or grace of God, which thus convicts him, before he is brought into a state of repentance and amendment of life, through which, conversion is experien
I am aware, that some who hold conversion to be an instantaneous work, adduce the instance of the thief on the cross, and the case of the apostle Paul: but these prove no such thing. As to the first, it doth not appear but that he had previously been under conviction, and brought into a state of
repentance, so as to be prepared to receive the remission of his sins, with the gracious promise; "to day shalt thou be with me. in Paradise." y And I have no idea, that Paul immediately experienced conversion, or the new birth, at the instant when the light shone round about him; for, although he had felt the convictions of divine grace, it is evident, he had not yielded thereto, as is implied in the language," Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." Here his judg ment was convinced, but he was not immediately relieved from a state of powerful conviction and exercise; remaining for a time' in a state of blindness, and not knowing what to do ; but, as he passively submitted to the convicting evidence of this light, or principle of divine grace, and united with its operation, he came to experience a state of conversion, or the new birth; in which, he witnessed a gradual advancement, or growth in grace," according to the measure of the gift of Christ," even "unto a perfect man."
y Luke, xxiii. 43. Aets, ix. 4; 5.
Eph. iv. 7. 13:
His next charge, page 20, is in these words; "Quakers deny an obligation to "obey the fourth commandment, by observ"ing the first day of the week as the sab"bath of the Lord." I conceive that neither himself, nor any other man, has a right to marvel at this, seeing there is no mention in the fourth command, or any other part of the Bible, for observing that, or any other day, in lieu of the Jewish sabbath.
He then has a quotation from Barclay's Apol. page 349, in which are these words: "We, not seeing any ground in Scripture for "it, cannot be so superstitious as to believe "that either the Jewish sabbath now continues, or that the first day of the week is the "anti-type thereof, or the true christian sab"bath; which, with Calvin, we believe to "have a more spiritual sense: and therefore "we know no moral obligation by the fourth "commandment, or elsewhere, to keep the "first day of the week, more than any other, holiness inherent in it."
" or any
Hibbard then adds, "This is a profess"ion of great ignorance." And in page 23, he says, "had Mr. Barclay read and un"derstood the words of Christ, 'for the Son
"of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day,' she "would not have been so ignorant. For this "declaration of Christ implies that he was "the author and institutor of the day, as "it is written, "all things were made by દ him, and without him was not any thing "C made, that was made." Then to him we * owe the observance of it. So the apostles "understood it, and ever after called it the "Lord's day; which name implies that the day should be kept holy unto the Lord." I apprehend none of us call in question Christ's being Lord of the sabbath, and every other day; but that this declaration of his instituted the first day for a sabbath, instead of the seventh, cannot be infered. The reader, in perusing Mark, ii. 23, to the end, will observe, that the occasion of our Lord's making this remark was, that his disciples were charged with a breach of the sabbath, made in his presence; for which he did not reprove, but justified them. His reply to their accusers, "the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath," is by no means establishing the first day of the week as a sabbath, instead of the seventh; but, I apprehend, it may clearly be infered from this
b. Mat. xii. 8.