Images de page

Neither is this Spirit unnecessary, even where men profess an attention to the literal precepts of the Gospel. For, in

proportion as men are in the way of attending to the outward Scriptures, they are in the way of being inwardly taught by God. But without this inward teaching, no outward teaching can be effectual; for though persons may read the Scriptures, yet they cannot spiritually understand them; and though they may admire the Christian religion, yet they cannot enjoy it, according to the opinion of the Quakers, but through the medium of the Spirit of God.






This Spirit, as it has been given universally, so it

has been given sufficientlythose who resist this Spirit are said to quench it; and may become so hardened in time, as to be insensible of its impressions--those who attend to it, may be said to be in the way of redemptionSimilar sentiments of MonroThis visitation, treatment, and influence of the Spirit usually explained by the

Quakers by the parable of the Sower. As the Spirit of God has been thus afforded to every man since the foundation of the world to profit withal, so the Quakers say that it has been given to him in a sufficient measure for this

purpose. By the word “ sufficient” we are not to understand that this Divine Monitor calls upon men every day or hour, but that it is within every man, and that it awakens him seasonably, and so often during the term of his natural life as to exonerate God from the charge of condemning him unjustly, if he fail in his duty, and as to leave himself without excuse. And in proportion as a greater or less measure of this Spirit has been afforded him, so he is more or less guilty in the sight of his Maker.

If any should resist these salutary operations of the Holy Spirit, they resist it to their own condemnation.

Of such it may be observed, that they are said to quench or grieve the Spirit, and not unfrequently to resist God, and to crucify Christ afresh; for God, and Christ, and the Spirit, are considered to be inseparably united in the Scriptures.

Of such also it may be observed, that if they continue to resist Gods Holy Spirit, their feelings may become so callous or hardened in time, that they may never be able to perceive its notices again ; and thus the day as it were of their visitation


be over : for “

my people,” saith God, “would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me; so I gave them up to their own hearts' lusts, and they walked in their own counsels*.” To the same import was the saying of Jesus Christ, when he wept over * Psalm lxxxi. 11, 12.

Jerusalem :

N 2

[ocr errors]

Jerusalem : “ If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes*.” As if he had said, There was a day, in which ye, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, might have known those things which belonged to your peace. I was then willing to gather you, as a hen gathereth her chickens ; but, as ye would not suffer me, the things belonging to your peace are now hid from your eyes. Ye would not attend to the impressions by God's Holy Spirit, when your feelings were tender and penetrable ; and therefore now, the day having passed over, ye have lost the


of discerning them.

Those, on the other hand, who, during this visitation of the Holy Spirit, attend to 'its suggestions or warnings, are said to be in the way of redemption or salvation.

These sentiments of the Quakers on this subject are beautifully described by Monro in his Just Measures of the pious Institutions of Youth. “ The Holy Spirit,” says he, “ solicits and importunes those who are in a state of sin, to return, by inward motions and impressions, by suggesting good thoughts and prompting to pious resolutions, by checks and controls, by conviction of sin and duty; sometimes by frights and terrors, and other whiles by love and endearments. But if men, notwithstanding all his loving solicitations, do still cherish and cleave to their lusts, and persevere state of sin, they are then said to resist the Holy Ghost; whereby their condition becomes very deplorable, and their conversion very difficult : for the more men resist the importunities, and stifle the motions, of the Holy Spirit, the stronger do the chains of their corruption and servitude become. Every new act of sin gives these a degree of strength, and consequently puts a new obstacle in the way of conversion ; and when sin is turned into an inveterate and rooted habit, (which by reiterated commissions and long' continuance it is,) then it becomes a nature, and is with as much difficulty altered as nature is. “Can the Ethiopian change his colour, or the leopard his spots ? Then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil.'” “The Holy Spirit, again,” says he, "inspires

* Luke xix. 42.

in a

« PrécédentContinuer »