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LANGUAGE WHICH HE FIRST HEARS.
in this way all admit, from one fact, to wit: EVERY ONE SPEAKS THE
This is his vernacular. A miracle is before us. The first man spoke without being spoken to; else God spoke to him. Either is a miracle: and of the two, the latter is of the easiest credence; and, indeed, it is to the faithful evidently true from the words of Moses. With Plato, then, I say, that God taught the primitive words, and from that, man manufactured the derivatives. With Newton, I say, God gave man reason and religion by giving him speech. With tradition, I say, that the god THATH of the Egyptians is the Theos of the Bible, and the Logos of the New Testament. The Logos incarnate is the Messiah of Christianity. Therefore, the Spirit of God, now the SPIRIT of the WORD, is the origin of all spiritual words and conceptions. With Paul, therefore, I say, “We speak spiritual things in spiritual words, or words which the spirit teacheth, expressing spiritual things in spiritual words."
An Eighth argument may be drawn from 1 Peter i. 23, “Being born again, not of corruptible secd, but of incorruptible seed, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever.” Now, as we all remember, our Lord himself compares bis Word, or the Word of God, to seed planted or sown; and, under the parable of the sower, represents its various fortunes, and beautifully teaches the true philosophy of conversion in the fact, that the good ground is the man who " receives the Word of God in an honest heart." Uuder both metaphors, drawn the one from the vegetable, the other from the animal kingdom; the Word of God is the seed, of which we are born again or renewed in heart and life. This Word of God liveth and abideth: for God lives and abides for ever.
With regard to the essentiality of the seed. We all know that in the vegetable kingdom, without seed there is no harvest, no fruit. And, as certain it is, that when the Word of God is not first sown in the heart, there can be no regeneration, or renewal of the spirit, and, consequently, no fruit brought forth unto eternal life. So the metaphors taken from the animal and vegetable kingdoms, teach the same lesson. But does not the mere fact that Peter says, “we are born again of incorruptible seed," declare that where this incorruptible seed is not, there can be no birth!
Is it necessary now to traverse the whole face of nature, to ex. plore the whole kingdom of botany, to find a plant without a seed, in order to prove the proposition, that every ear of corn comes from one grain of seed deposited in the earth? No more is it essential to my argument, that I should first hear all the conversions in the world,
before I conclude that there is one that originated without the word of God having been first sown in the human heart. Will not all the world believe me, that if I prove in one case that without the specific seed, --corn, wheat, &c., we cannot have a crop, that it is true in all other cases, without a particular examination of every alleged
And from every principle of analogy, if I prove the Word in one case of a new heart to be necessary, it needs not that I prove it to be so in every other heart, and in every other case.
The mere fact of calling the Gospel the incorruptible seed, is enough. Where that seed is not, the fruit of it cannot be.
The phrase, “the incorruptible seed" of any thing, indicates, in the ears of common sense, that is essential to that thing; and if so, then who can be a Christian without being born?-and who can be born but according to one uniform and immutable law? Now, in the theory we oppose, there is no uniformity; there is a plurality of ways of being born, which, to my mind, is most palpably at fault in every particular.
But I will adduce some other testimonies under this head of argument. We shall hear James the apostle, chapter i. 18: “Of his own will begat he us by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creation." Hence the truth again appears as an instrument of regeneration. God's will is the origin of it; his Spirit the efficient cause of it; but the Word is the necessary instrument of it. By the Word of Truth, then, we are begotten, and not without it, according to James. We may add testimonies without increasing either authority or evidence; but, for the sake of illustration, if not for authority, we shall offer a few other testimonies to complete this particular argument. We shall hear Paul, as a father, speak to his sons in the faith in Corinth-1 Cor. iv. 15: “As my beloved sons I warn you; for though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you have not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus have I begotlen you through the gospel.” Paul regards the gospel just in the same attitude in which James represents it. The gospel is here the seed, the instrument of the conversion of the Corinthians.
But the whole oracle of God is unique on this subject. God “purifies the heart by faith," that is, the truth believed—not by be. lieving as an act of the mind, but by the truth believed, which constitutes “ the faith.” Paul also told the Thessalonians that God had, " from the beginning, chosen them to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Here again
SERIES III.- VOL. VI. 36*
the belief of the truth is the instrument of sanctification and salva. tion. I shall conclude this little summary of a portion of the direct and positive testimony of God, in proof of my grand position on the Holy Spirit's work of conversion and sanctification, by the testimony of the Messiah, in person: “ Sanctify them through thy truth, O Father, for thy Word is the truth.” Whether, then, we call the truth the Word, the Word of God the gospel, it is called the seed, the incorruptible seed of the new birth; by which a sinner is quickened, begotton, born, sanctified, purified, and saved. I regard this my eighth argument as a host in itself-nay, as a solemn, direct, and unequivocal declaration of God, in attestation of the entire truth and safety of the proposition concerning both conversion and sanctification. Still I will yet add other arguments.
IX. One shall be based on the special commission given to Paul, as expounded by that given to the Messiah himself. And, therefore, we shall read that to the Messiah, as introductory to that presented to the apostle Paul. • I give thee,” says Jehovah, “ for a covenant of the people; for a light of the gentiles; to open the blind eyes; to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house." “ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn." Isaiah xlii. 6, 7; Ixi. 1, 2. We shall now hear Paul relate his own, as he had it from the mouth of the Lord: “ I have appeared unto thee for this purpose to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delievering thee from the People and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee-to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive the forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith, that is in me.” Here, then, we have a full development in these grand commissions, of the manner and means employed in the wisdom and grace of God in converting and sanctifying the nations of the earth, through the mediation of the Messiah. The most conspicuous point, or the chief means stated, is—that God would use light, knowledge, the gospel, and that he would (PEN THE EYES of men-turning them from darkness to light, and from the kingdom and power of Satan to God. God, then, who commanded light to arise out of darkness, has used moral spiritual light-that
is, revelation, the gospel-as the means of conversion and sanctification. Illumination is, therefore, an essential prerequisite to conversion and holiness. Without light there is no beauty; for in the dark, beauty and deformity are undistinguishable. Without light there is nothing amiable, because amiability requires the aid of light for its exposition, as much as beauty. The power of Satan is in darkness; the power of God is in light. God, therefore, works by light; and Satan by darkness. Hence, in Paul's commission, it reads, 66 Turn them from darkness to light;" and the consequences will be, 6 from the power of Satan to God;" and the ultimate effect will be remission of sins, and an inheritance among the sanctified. After the study of these, and many such similar documents, found in the Bible, I confess I am wholly unable to conceive of a religion without knowledge, without faith, without an apprehension, an intelligent, as well as a cordial reception of the gospel of Christ. I repudiate, therefore, with my whole heart, a notion of infant, idiot and pagan regeneration--this speculative conversion, without light, knowledge, faith, hope or love. It makes void the whole moral machinery of the Bible, the Christian ministry, and the commission of the Holy Spirit. It is no advocate of Christ; it is no comforter of the soul, on the hypothesis of infant, and pagan, and idiot regeneration.
X. Whatever influence is ascribed to the Word of God in the Sacred S:riptures, is also ascribed to the Spirit of God. Or in other words, what the Spirit of God is at one time, and in one place, said to do, is at some other time or in some other place, ascribed to the Word of God. Hence I argue that they do not operate separately, but in all cases conjointly. We shall give an induction of a number of cases in exemplification of the fact. Are we said to be enlightened by the Spirit of God? We are told in another place, “ The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Again“The entrance of thy word giveth light, and makes the simple wise." Are we said to be converted by the Spirit of God? we hear the prophet David say, “ The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Are we said to be sanctified through the Spirit of God? we hear our Lord pray to his Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy Word is the truth.” Are we said to be quickened by the Spirit of God? the same is ascribed to the Word of God. David says, “ Thy Word, O Lord, hath quickened me,”—“Stay me with thy precepts, thy statutes quicken me.” This is one of the strongest expressions.
In other forms of speech the same effects and influence are
ascribed to both. Paul, in one text, says, “ Bc filled with the Spir. it;” and when again speaking of the same subject, in another, he says, “ Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” In both cases the precepts are to be fulfilled in the same way, “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in your hearts to the Lord.” “The Spirit,” says Paul to Timothy, “speaketh pressly that in the latter days some shall depart from the faith.” Again, “ Know ye, in the last days perilous times shall come." Again, Paul says he has sanctified the church and cleansed it with a bath of water and the Word.” In another instance he says, he hath saved us “with the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Are we said to be s born of the Spirit ?” we are also said to be born again, or “regenerated by the Word of God.” I might trace this matter much further, but, I presume, as we have touched upon the most important items, we have found such an induction as will satisfy the most scrupulous. Until questioned, I shall strongly affirm it as a conclusion fairly drawn, that whatever effects or influences connected with conversion and sanctification are, in one portion of Scripture, assigned to the Word, are ascribed also to the Spirit; and so interchangeably throughout both Testaments. Whence we conclude, that the Spirit and Word of God are not separate and distinct kinds of power—the one superadded to the other, but both acting conjointly and simultaneously in the work of sanctification and salvation.
XI. My eleventh argument is deduced from the important fact, that resisting the Word of God, and resisting the Spirit of God, are shown to be the same thing, by very clear and explicit testimonies: such as Stephen, the proto-martyr, when filled with the Holy Spirit, and, indeed, speaking as the Holy Spirit gave him utterance, in the presence of the Sanhedrim, said, “ You uncircumcised in heart and ears, as your fathers did, so do you. You do always resist the Holy Spirit.” What proof does he allege? He adds, “As your fathers did, so do you,” (resist.) “Which of the prophets did they not persecute?" This, then, is his proof. In persecuting the prophets, they resisted the Holy Spirit; because the words spoken by the prophets were suggested by the Spirit. We are said to resist a person when we resist his word. When, then, any one resists the words of the prophets or the apostles, he is said by inspired men to resist the Holy Spirit. This important fact should be more frequently insisted on than it is. Men should be taught, that in resisting the words spoken by apostles and prophets, they are, in truth, re