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tions 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 in a 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
the prayers of those who, in consequence of his powerful operations, have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, with devout and filial affections, and makes intercession for them with sighs and groans which cannot be uttered. He guides and manages them. The sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. He makes his blessed fruits, righteousness, peace, joy, and divine love, more and more to abound in them. He confirms them in goodness, persuades them to perseverance, and seals them to the day of redemption.”
The Quakers usually elucidate this visitation, treatment, and influence of the Holy Spirit, by the parable of the Sower, as recorded by three of the evangelists.“
“Now, the Seed is the Word of God.” But as the Word of God and the Spirit, according to St. John the evangelist, are the same, the parable is considered by the Quakers as relating to that divine Light or Spirit which is given to man for his spiritual instruction and salvation. As the seed was sown in all sorts of ground, good, bad, and indifferent, so this Light or Spirit is afforded without exception to all. As thorns choked this seed, and hindered it from coming to perfection, so bad customs, or the pleasures and cares of the world, kinder men from attending to this Divine Principle within them, and render it unfruitful in their hearts. And as the seed in the good ground was not interrupted, and therefore produced fruit in abundance; so this spiritual principle, where it is not checked, but received and cherished, produces also abundance of spiritual fruit in the inward man, by putting him into the way of redemption from sin, or of holiness of life.
The Spirit of God, therefore, besides its office of a
Teacher, performs that of a Redeemer of menRedemption outward and inward-outward is by the sufferings of Jesus Christ—these produce forgiveness of past sins, and put men into a capacity of salvation-inward, or the office now alluded 10, is by the operation of the Spirit this converts men, and preserves them from sins to come-outward and inward connected with each other.
The Spirit of God, which we have seen to be given to men, and to be given them uni
versally may be
versally to enable them to distinguish between good and evil, was given them also, the Quakers believe, for another purpose; namely, to redeem or save them. Redemption and salvation in this sense are the same in the language of the Quakers, and mean a purification from the sins or pollutions of the world, so that a new birth produced and maintained in the inward man.
As the doctrine of the Quakers with respect to redemption differs from that which generally obtains, I shall allot this chapter to an explanation of the distinctions which the Quakers usually make upon this subject.
The Quakers never make use of the words Original Sin, because these are never to be found in the Sacred Writings. They consider man, however, as in a failen or degraded state, and as inclined and liable to sin. They consider hiin, in short, as having the seed of sin within him, which he inherited from his parent Adam. But though they acknowledge this, they dare not say that sin is imputed to him on account of Adam’s transgression, or that he is chargeable with sin until he actually commits it.
As every descendant, however, of Adam has this seed within him, which, amidst the numerous temptations that beset him, he allows some time or other to germinate, so he stands in need of a Redeemer ; that is, of some power that shall be able to procure pardon for past offences, and of some power that shall be able to preserve him in the way of holiness for the future. To expiate, himself, in a manner satisfactory to the Almighty for so foul a stain upon his nature as that of sin, is utterly beyond his abilities; for no good action that he can do, can do away that which has been once done. And to preserve himself in a state of virtue for the future is equally out of his own power, because this cannot be done by any effort of his reason, but only by the conversion of his heart. It has therefore pleased the Almighty to find a remedy for him in each of
Jesus Christ, by the sacrifice of his own body, expiates for sins that are past; and the Spirit of God, which has been afforded to him as a spiritual teacher, has the
power of cleansing and purifying the heart so thoroughly, that he may be preserved from sins to come.