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judgment declining novel or newly revived speculations; yet with a manliness of understanding, that shrinks not from a fair examination of our own opinions ; fearful of no truth, and shunning every error; much in retirement from the world—often upon our knees—let us collect what is the doctrine of Scripture, before we pronounce what is the doctrine of truth: let us inquire into the essential principles of the everlasting Gospel, before we offer to others that which in its purity alone is calculated, or is intended, to control the heart, correct the life, and convert the world.
This is the care which will not, we may be assured, be laid out in vain. It will be paid to us again. It will enrich us with the best of wealth, and clothe us with that honour which cometh from God only. Through us it will enrich our country, our church, our flocks, our families : it will enrich the world. If it however but enrich our own souls, what will be to ourselves the wealth of that day, when we shall be able in the perfect humility of faith, though in the blessedness of assured hope, each one singly for himself to adopt the sentiment of the Apostle, when he pronounced the words, “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept
the faith : benceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing * ."
Pages 3, 4. “ The Jews require a sign—the Greeks seek
after wisdom.” (1 Cor. i. 22). That neither of these means was of force sufficient to impart faith to the soul, is clear, from this fact, that the Jews, at a period of the most signal interpositions in their history, were the most rebellious. Satiated usque ad crapulam with the proofs of a present Deity, “We have nothing," they exclaimed," but this manna before our eyes.” The Gentiles, with all their wisdom of intellect and eloquence, neither followed their own lessons, nor listened in proportion to those attainments to the appeals or wonders of Christianity.—Yet Christianity bad both its intellectual and its miraculous recommendations. On the true force of external miracles, see Dr. Samuel Clarke from the text quoted at the head of this note, upon " Different tempers judging differently of religion.” On the cessation of miracles, in his Sermon upon “The Inexcusableness of rejecting the Gospel,” from Heb. ii. 3, 4, he speaks thus: “The gift of tongues ceased indeed after some time, as other miracles did ; because all these sort of gifts were bestowed not for their own sake or intrinsic worth, but only in order to the propagation of the Gospel, and to convince men of the truth of that religion, whose principal end and design consisted in those gifts and graces of the Spirit which were to continue for ever. Which end being once obtained, and the Gospel established in the world, these miraculous gifts ceased........ But those gifts of the Spirit, in which consists the renewal of the mind of man, and which are the springs of all virtues which make us like
unto God; these are to continue through all ages; and are so much more excellent and more desirable than the former, as the end is better and more excellent than the means.” (Vol. i. p. 496. Ed. 1742.)—See also Archbishop Tillotson on “The Miracles wrought in Confirmation of Christianity.” (Three Sermons on Heb. ii. 4. Vol. iii. Ed. 1752).
Nor was it authority only, but ministerial efficiency also. The "
power” (ầuvapıs) of the Spirit, conferred by Christ on the church, may be properly represented as twofold—štvola, and évepyera, “authority” and “efficiency.” The former of these, as miraculously exercised by Christ himself, is connected with "power" by the Evangelist : “ For with authority and power (év ’EZOYEIA kal dvva ) commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they come out.” (Luke iv. 36). For the latter, we have the expression of the Apostle before us, cation to himself: “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me, by the effectual working of his power ” (xata TNU 'ENEPTEIAN ons ovvaļews evrov). Ephes. iii. 7.
Page 10. “ I have planted, Apollos watered, but God.
gave the increase.” (1 Cor. ij. 6). Mr. Locke's able and authoritative paraphrase on this and the preceding verses, confirms, on the testimony of one of the first of human intellects, the simple and humbling declarations of inspired truth. “Who, for example, is Paul, or who Apollos ?...... They are only servants, employed to bring unto you a religion, derived entirely from Divine revelation, wherein human abilities, or wisdom, had nothing to do. The preachers of it are only instruments, by
whom this doctrine is conveyed to you, which, whether you look on it in its original, it is not a thing of human invention or discovery; or whether you look upon the gifts of the teachers who instruct you in it, all is entirely from God alone, and affords you not the least ground to attribute any thing to your teachers. For example : I planted it amongst you, and Apollos watered it; but nothing can from thence be ascribed to either of us :..... For neither the planter, nor the waterer, have any power to make it take root, and
hearts : they are as nothing in that respect; the growth and success is owing to God alone.” In other words, its discovery, its delivery, its success in the heart, are alike of God.
Page 11. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give
you another Comforter, that he may abide with
you for EVER.” (John xiv. 16). A decisive definition of the spiritual gifts which are here promised, is shortly drawn up by Bishop Warburton in his “ Doctrine of Grace,” when describing the office and operation of the Holy Spirit. “ His office in general is to establish our faith, and to perfect our obedience ; both of which he doth, by enlightening the understanding and by rectifying the will. All this is necessarily collected from the words of Jesus, which contain this important promise: 'I will pray the Father,' says he, “and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever ;.......He shall teach you all things.' By teaching us all things, under the joint characters of the Spirit of Truth and of the Comforter, we are necessarily to understand all things which concern faith and obedience.” Again : “ Hence we conclude that He (the Spirit) abides with the church for ever, as well personally, in his office of Comforter, in