Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

6 that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any 6 man corrupt the temple of God, God will corrupt 56 him; for the temple of God is holy, which temple “ ye are.” “ Know ye not that your body is the “ temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye 6 have from God ?" (6) Therefore, « offend (or “ grieve) not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye “ have been sealed to the day of redemption.” But, 5 Work out your own salvation with fear and trem

bling: for it is God that worketh in you, both to 6 will and to do (i. e. influences your desires and en« deavours), of his benevolence.” (C)

Such is the language of Scripture; from which it is manifest that it is not a mark of ignorant enthusiasm, but of pious reliance upon the Divine promise, to expeet the assistances of the Spirit of God, when they are humbly sought in the way of his appointment. The mode in which these influences are communicated may be indefinitely diversified, but the effect will uniformly be the improvement of the religious character, a more complete emancipation from the domination of passions, from the slavery of sin; or, to express the continued effect in Scripture phraseology, it will be ss growth in grace.” In accomplishing this, the whole circle of means and instruments, animate and inanimate, by which we are circumscribed, is within the reach of God, and at his command. Sometimes he has recourse to alarming dispensations of his Providence, which awaken a sense of the fluctuating nature of all terrestrial sources of enjoyment, teach us our depend

() 1 Cor. ii. 16. vi. 19. (c) Eph. iv. 30. Phil. ii. 12, 13.

ance upon Him, and lead us to repose our entire confidence on Him alone. At other times he employs the conversations, the arguments, perhaps the faithful remonstrances, of Christian friends, to stimulate us in the path of duty, and point us to 6 the fountain of “ living waters.” At others, and this most frequently, he makes use of “ the word of truth,” either read or preached : this he has assured us he will “ render 65 lively and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword,

“ piercing, even to the dividing asunder of soul and : 5 spirit, and to be a discerner of the thoughts and in“ tentions of the heart;” (d) and thus, by putting life into it, cause it by an irresistible energy to communicate spiritual life to our souls. Sometimes he operates upon us by the recollection of past occurrences, and “ while we are thus musing, the fire of divine love “ burns" within us. (e) On such occasions He can awaken a dormant idea which long lay neglected in the memory, can secretly attract the attention of the mind to it, can enable, nay compel, us to trace its various relations, can throw a lustre upon things which were obscure, place those which seemed remote immediately before our mental eye, suspend the operation of secular objects, dispel the clouds of prejudice, impart an unusual power to what was before considered as trifling or unworthy present regard, convince us fully and practically of the vanity of all enjoyments except those which are consecrated by religion, and thus effectually lead us to “ fix our affections on things above."

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

In these and numerous other ways, there may be a pou sitive operation of the Spirit of God upon men's minds, though they may be utterly unconscious of it. His energy is not the less real, because it is silent, secret, and unperceived; for here, as well as in the management of the natural world,

“ Alone He works in all, yet He alone

“ Seems not to work."--Thomson. To ridicule, disbelieve, and deny all this, has of late been reckoned an indication of a powerful and philosophic mind; yet it requires but a cursory examination to perceive that such is a spurious criterion of true eleva tion either of sentiment or character; and to affirm, on the contrary, that, with only our present knowledge of human intellect and of Divine power, the denial of spiritual influences is as unphilosophical as it is impious.

No person can look into the world with the eyes of a philosopher, and not soon ascertain that the grand theatre of phenomena which lies before him is naturally subdivided into two great classes of scenery, the one exhibiting constrained, the other voluntary, motion; the former characteristic of matter, the latter as clearly indicating something perfectly distinct from matter, and possessing totally different qualities. “ Pulverize “ matter (says Saurin), give it all the different forms “ of which it is susceptible, elevate it to its highest 66 degree of attainment, make it vast and immense, “ moderate or small, luminous or obscure, opaque or “ transparent, there will never result any thing but figures ; and never will you be able by all these

“ combinations or divisions to produce one single ser“ timent, one single thought.” The reason is obvious: a substance compounded of innumerable parts, which every one acknowledges matter to be, cannot be the subject of an individual consciousness, the seat of which must be a simple and undivided substance; as the great Dr. Clarke has long ago irrefragably shown. Intellect and volition are of a quite different nature from corporeal figure or motion, and must reside in, or emanate from, a different kind of being, a kind which, to distinguish it from matter, is called spirit or mind. Of these, the one is necessarily inert, the other essentially active. The one is characterised by want of animation, life, and even motion, except as it is urged by something ab extra ; the other is living, energetic, self-moving, and possessed of power to move other things. We often fancy, it is true, that matter moves matter; but this, strictly speaking, is not correct. When one wheel or lever in a system of machinery communicates motion to another, it can at most only communicate what it has received, and if you trace the connexion of the mechanism, you will at length arrive at a first mover, which first mover is, in fact, spiritual. If, for example, it be an animal, it is evidently the spiritual part of that animal from whence the motion originally springs. If, otherwise, it be the descent of a weight, or the fall of water, or the force of a current of air, or the expansive force of steam, the action must ultimately be referred to what are termed powers of nature, that is, to gravitation or elasticity; and these, it is now well known, cannot be explained by any allu

sion to material principles, but to the indesinent operation of the Great Spirit, in whom we live, and move, and have our being the Finger of God touching and urging the various subordinate springs, which in their turn move the several parts of the universe. Thus God acts in all places, in all times, and upon all persons. The whole material world, were it not for his Spirit, would be inanimate and inactive: (f) all motion is derived either from his energy, or from that of spirits which he animates; and it is next to certain that the only primary action is that of spirit, and the most direct and immediate that of spirit upon spirit.

All consistent Theists allow that God is every where present by his essence, and as Bishop Taylor has most exquisitely expressed it, “ God is every where present “ by his power. He rolls the orbs of heaven with “ his hand, he fixes the earth in its place with his “ foot, he guides all the creatures with his eye, and “ refreshes them with his influence: he makes the « powers of hell to shake with his terrors, and binds “ the devils with his word, and throws them out with « his command, and sends the angels on embassies “ with his decrees; he hardens the joints of infants, “6 and confirms the bones when they are secretly

(f) See Baxter on the Soul, $ 2, in which that acute metaphysician proves the necessity of an immaterial mover in all spontaneous motions; and Professor Vince's Essay on the Cause of Gravitation, in which he assigns many cogent reasons for believing that the Deity “ in his govern

ment does not act by material instruments, but that the whole is con. 66 ducted by his more immediate agency, without the intervention of 66 material causes."

« EdellinenJatka »