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necessity of supernatural assistance. It is evident, I think, that Mr. Locke's understanding and temper were very little inclined to admit any thing fanatical. He appears to have weighed well, in the balance of reason, whatever he advanced; and therefore his testimony may be supposed to have authority on the minds of those who, in forming their religious principles, lay claim to pre-eminent RATIONALITY.
Mr. Addison is universally allowed to have united in himself the scholar, the philosopher, and the gentleman. His liberal and polished mind always appeared to me peculiarly formed for theological subjects, and he treats them in a most pleasing and persuasive manner. Let us hear both these great men on our present subject.
“ To these I must,” says Mr. Locke, “ add one advantage more we have by Jesus Christ, and that is, “ the promise of ASSISTANCE. If we do what we can, “ he will give us his spirit to help us to do what, and “ how we should. It will be idle for us, who know not “ how our own spirits move and act us, to ask in what. “ manner the Spirit of God shall work upon us. The “ wisdom that accompanies that spirit knows better than
we how we are made, and how to work upon us. If
a wise man knows how to prevail on his child, to bring “ him to what he desires, can we suspect that the spirit “ and wisdom of God fail in it, though we perceive or “comprehend not the ways of his operation? Christ has “ promised it, who is faithful and just, and we cannot “ doubt of the performance. It is not requisite, on this « occasion, for the inhancing of this benefit, to enlarge “ on the frailty of minds, and weakness of our consti& tutions;
how liable to mistakes, how apt to go astray, “ and how easily to be turned out of the paths of virtue. “ If any one needs go beyond himself and the testimony 66 of his own conscience on this point; if he feels not his “ own errors and passions always tempting him, and
u often prevailing against the strict rules of his duty, he “ need but look abroad into any age of the world to be " convinced. To a man under the difficulties of his
nature, beset with temptations, and hedged in with « prevailing custom, it is no small encouragement to set « himself seriously on the courses of virtue and practice 6 of true religion, that he is from a sure hand and an " almighty arm promised assistance to support and "carry him through."
Let us hear also Mr. Addison, a lay divine of the first order.
“ We who have this veil of flesh standing between
us and the world of spirits, must be content to know " that the Spirit of God is posent with us, by the effects s which he produceth in us.
Our outward senses are “ too gross to apprehend him; we may however taste
and see how gracious he is, by his influence upon our "yninds, by those virtuous thoughts which he awakens * in us, by those secret comforts and refreshments which " he conveys into our souls and by those ravishing joys u and in ward satisfactions which are perpetually spring“ing up and diffusing themselves among all the thoughts « of good men. He is lodged in our very essence, and is as a soul within the soul, to irradiate its understanding,
rectify its will, purify its passions and enliven all the " powers of man. How happy therefore is an intellec
tual being, who, by prayer and meditation, by virtue " and good works, opens this communication between God " and his own soul! Though the whole creation frowns
upon him, and all nature looks black about him, he " has his light and support within him, that are able to “ cheer his mind, and bear him up in the midst of all those horrors which encompass him. He knows that “ his helper is at hand, and is always nearer to him than
any thing else can be, which is capable of annoying or * terrifying him. In the midst of calumny or contempt,
" he attends to that being who whispers better things 6 within his soul, and whom he looks upon as his de. “ fender, his glory, and the lifter-up of his head. In « his deepest solitude and retirement he knows that he “ is in company with the greatest of Beings; and per, “ ceives within himself such REAL SENSATIONS of his « presence, as are more delightful than any thing that
can be met with in the conversation of his creatures. “ Even in the hour of death he considers the pains of « his dissolution to be nothing else but the breaking « down of that partition which stands betwixt his soul " and the sight of that Being, who is always present “ with him, and is about to manifest itself to him in “fulness of joy. “ If we would be thus happy, and thus sensible of
Maker's presence, from the secret effects of his mercy and goodness, we must keep such a watch over « all our thoughts, that, in the language of the scrip
ture, his soul may have pleasure in us. We must take
care not to grieve his Holy Spirit, and endeavour to “ make the meditations of our hearts always acceptable 66 in his sight, that he may delight thus to reside and u dwell in us. The light of nature could direct Seneca 66 to this doctrine in a very remarkable passage among “ his epistles: Sacer inest in nobis spiritus bonorum “ malorumque custos et observator, et quemadmodum nos « illum tractamus, ita et ille nos.' There is a Holy Spi6 rit residing in us, who watches and observes both good « and evil men, and will treat us after the same manner « that we treat him. But I shall conclude this discourse “ with those more emphatical words in divine revelar « tion: “ If a man love me, he will keep my words; and
my Father will love him, and we will come and make our 66. abode with him."
I cannot help observing, that after the sour and bitter potions administered by the metaphysical sceptres
recent times, the pages of the Spectator seem to afford the heart a delicious aliment or a balsamic medicine. If men did not too much resemble the prodigal in the gospel, they would surely rejoice to feed on manna at their father's table, rather than on husks with swine.
The Opinion of Soame Jenyns on the fundamental Prin
ciples of Christianity.
If Christianity is to be learned out of the New
* Testament, and words have any meaning affixed to “ them, the fundamental principles of it are these:
6 That mankind came into this world in a depraved « and fallen condition; that they are placed here for a $6 while, to give them an opportunity to work out their
salvation; that is, by à virtuous and pious life to purge ✔ off that guilt and depravity, and recover their lost state * of happiness and innocence in a future life; that this they are unable to perform without the GRACE AND
ASSISTANCE OF God; and that, after their best endea
vours, they cannot hope for pardon from their own 6 merits, but only from the merits of Christ, and the “ atonement made for their transgressions by his suffer. “ings and death. This is clearly the sum and substance “ of the Christian dispensation; and so adverse is it to “ all the principles of human reason, that if brought be“ fore her tribunal, it must inevitably be condemned. If “ we give no credit to its divine authority, any attempt « to reconcile them is useless, and, if we believe it, pre“sumptuous in the highest degree. To prove the Reas
SONABLENESS of a revelation, is in fact to destroy it; “ because a revelation implies information of something
“ which reason cannot discover, and therefore must be 6. different from its deductions, or it would be no revela« tion.”
The opinion of a professed wit and man of fashion. may have weight with those who are prejudiced against professional divines. It has been doubted by many whether Mr. Jenyns was a sincere Christian. I am inclined to believe that he was sincere. As, in recommending Christianity, it is right to become all things to all men, that we may save some, his testimony is admitted in this place, though his lively manner of writing throws an air of levity on subjects, which, from their important nature, must always be considered as grave by all the partakers of mortality, who think justly and feel acutely.
The Opinion of Bishop Horsely on the prevalent Neglect
of teaching the peculiar DOCTRINES of Christianity, under the Idea that Moral Duties constitute the whole or the better part of it. Among the peculiar Doctrines is evidently included that of Grace,, which the Methodists inculcate, (as the Bishop intimates,) not erroneously.
BISHOP Horsley has proved himself a mathematician and philosopher of the first rank, as well as a divine. All his works display singular vigour of intellect. He cannot be suspected of weak superstition or wild fanaticism. To the honour of Christianity, the editor of Newton, as well as Newton himself, is a firm* supporter of its most mysterious doctrines.