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The Christian religion is an influx from God upon the minds of good men; and the great design of “ the gospel is to unite human nature to divinity,
“ The gospel is a mighty efflux and emanation of life * and spirit, freely issuing forth from an omnipotent source of
grace and love; that godlike, vital influence, by which the Divinity derives itself into the souls of “ men, enlivening and transforming them into its own “ likeness, and strongly imprinting upon them a copy
of its own beauty and goodness: like the spiritual virtue 6 of the heavens, which spreads itself freely upon the “ lower world, and subtilely insinuating itself into this “ benumbed, feeble, earthly matter, begets life and mo
tion in it; briefly, it is that whereby God comes to 56 dwell in us, and we in him.
“ The apostle calls the law, the ministration of the “ letter and of death, it being in itself but a dead letter,
all that which is without a man's soul must be; but on the other side, he calls the gospel, because of the « intrinsical and vital administration of it in living impressions upon the souls of men, the ministration of the spirit, and the ministration of righteousness; by which he cannot mean the HISTORY of the gospel, or those
CREDENDA propounded to us to believe; for this would « make the gospel itself as much an external thing as “ the law was; and so we see that the preaching of ** Christ crucified was to the Jews a stumbling-block, and « to the Greeks foolishness. But indeed he means a
VITAL EFFLUX from God upon the souls of men, “ whereby they are made partakers of life and strength " from him,
“Though the history and outward communication of “the gospel to us in scriptis is to be always acknowledged
as a special mercy and advantage, and certainly no less privilege to the Christians, than it was to the Jews, to “ be the depositaries of the oracles of God, yet it is plain
" that the apostle, where he compares the law and the
gospel, means something which is more than a piece “ of book-learning, or an historical narration of the free 66 love of God, in the several contrivances of it for the “ redemption of mankind.
“ The evangelical or new law is an efflux of life and power from God himself, the original of life and
power, and produceth life wherever it comes; and to “ this double dispensation of law and gospel does St. 6 Paul clearly refer, 2 Cor. iii. 3. You are the epistle « of Christ ministered by us, WRITTEN NOT WITH INK, 66 but with THE SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD.-Not in « tables of stone; which last words are a plain gloss upon " that mundane kind of administering the law, in a mere “ external way, to which he opposeth the GOSPEL.
“ The gospel is not so much a system and body of “ saving divinity, as the spirit and vital influence of it “ spreading itself over all the powers of men's souls, and
quickening them into a DIVINE LIFE; it is not so pro
perly a doctrine that is wrapt in ink and paper, as it “ is VITALIS SCIENTIA, a living impression made on the “ soul and spirit. The gospel does not so much con66 sist in verbis as in virtute ; in the written word, as in
an internal energy.",
He who wishes to have an adequate idea of this profound scholar and most excellent man, will find a pleasing account of him in Bishop Patrick's sermon at his funeral, subjoined to the SELECT DISCOURSES, which abound with beautiful passages, illustrative of the true Christian philosophy.
SECTION VIII. Dr. Isaac Barrow's Opinion of the Evidence of Christi
anity, afforded by the illuminating Operation of the Holy Spirit; and on the Holy Spirit in general.
OUR reason is shut up, and barred with va" rious appetites, humours, and passions against gospel « truths; nor can we admit them into our hearts, except “ God, by his spirit, do set open our mind, and work a “ free passage for-them into us.
It is he who com“ manded the light to shine out of darkness, that must,
as St. Paul speaketh, illustrate our hearts with the know“ledge of these things. An Unction from the Holy One, "clearing our eyes, softening our hearts, healing our
distempered faculties, must, as St. John informeth us,
TEAch and persuade us this sort of truths. A hearty " belief of these seemingly incredible propositions must - indeed be, as St. Paul calleth it, the GIFT of God, pro« ceeding from that Spirit of faith whereof the same " apostle speaketh; such faith is not, as St. Basil saith, “ engendered by geometrical necessities, but by the ef« fectual operations of the Holy Ghost. Flesh and “ blood will not reveal to us, nor can any man with “ clear confidence say that Jesus is the Lord (the Mes
SIAS, the infallible Prophet, the universal Lawgiver, " the Son of the living God) but by the Holy Ghost.
Every spirit which sincerely confesseth him to be the “ Christ, we may, with St. John, safely conclude to be " of God; for of ourselves we are not sufficient, as the " apostle says, dori@soforti, to reason out or collect any “ of these things. We NEVER, of our own accord, with6 out DIVINE ATTRACTION, should come unto Christ; that " is, should effectually consent unto and embrace his in6 stitution, consisting of such unplausible propositions
“ and precepts. Hardly would his own disciples, who
had so long enjoyed the light of his conversation and 6 instruction, admitted it, if he had not granted them « that Spirit of truth, whose work it was oddyary, to lead “ them in this unknown and uncouth way; cvey leader to “ tell them again and again, that is, to instil and incul“ cate these crabbed truths upon them; vrouiuinoxers, to « admonish, excite, and urge them to the marking and
minding them; hardly, I say, without the guidance of “ this Spirit, would our Lord's disciples have admitted “ divers evangelical truths, as our Lord himself told " them. I have, said he, many things beside to say to you, but
ye cannot as yet bear them; but when he, the 6 Spirit of truth, shall come, he shall CONDUCT YOU INTO
" As for the mighty sages of the world, the learned 66 scribes, the subtle disputers, the deep politicians, the « wise men according to the flesh, the men of most re“ fined judgment and improved REASON in the world's
eye, they were more ready to deride than to regard, “ to impugn than to admit these doctrines; to the “ Greeks, who sought wisdom, the preaching of them 6 seemed foolishness.
“ It is true, some few sparks or flashes of this divine “knowledge may possibly be driven out by raiional con“ sideration. Philosophy may yield some twilight glim
merings thereof. Common reason may dictate a faint
consent unto, may produce a cold tendency after some “ of these things; but a clear perception, and a resolute .6 persuasion of mind, that full assurance of faith and in« flexible confession of hope ομολογια της ελπιδος ακλινης, 6 which the apostle to the Hebrews speaks of, that full “ assurance of understanding, that abundant knowledge “ of the divine will in all spiritual wisdom and under
standing, with which St. Paul did pray that his Colas“ sians might be replenished; these so perfect illustra
« tions of the mind, so powerful convictions of the heart,
argue immediate influences from the Fountain of life " and wisdom, the divINE SPIRIT. No external in“struction could infuse, no interior discourse could ex“ cite them; could penetrate these opacities of igro"rance, and dissipate these thick mists of prejudice, “ wherein nature and custom do involve us; could so “ thoroughly awaken the lethargic stupidity of our souls; “ could supple the refractory stiffness of our wills; could
mollify the stony hardness of our hearts; could void « our natural aversion to such things, and quell that Φρονημα σαρκος, ,
that carnal mind, which, St. Paul says, is " enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, “ neither indeed can be; could depress those esfapata, " those lofty towers of self-conceit, reared against the “knowledge of God, and demolish those oxuę we are, “ those bulwarks of self-will and perverse stomach, op
posed against the impressions of divine faith, and cap“tivate Fav yonjece, every conceit and device of ours to " the obedience of Christ and his discipline. Well, " therefore, did St. Paul pray in behalf of his Ephesians, " that God would bestow on them the Spirit of wis“ dom and revelation in the acknowledgment of him, " and that the eyes of their mind might be enlightened,
so as to know the hope of their calling; that is, to un" derstand and believe the doctrines of Christianity: ****
“ We proceed now to the peculiar offices, functions, " and operations of the Holy Spirit: Many such there
in an especial manner attributed or appropriated “ to him; which, as they respect God, seem reducible " to two general ones: the declaration of God's mind, " and the execution of his will; as they are referred to "man, (for in regard to other beings, the scripture doth
not so much consider what he performs, it not concern"ing us to know it) are especially the producing in us " all actions requisite or conducible to our eternal happi