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their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” These are thewords of Christ in immediate connection with the parable of the sower, and very graphically describe the effects of a long abuse of privilege, and great degeneracy in sin.

“ How can ye, being evil, speak good things ?” “No man can come unto me, except the Father, which sent me, draw him.” This last is justly esteemed a strong passage, but if the scope of the paragraph containing it admits of its being applied to the specific subject of conversion, the difficulty in the case was not the want of competent powers for the discharge of duty,“ but erroneous opinions-pride, obstinacy, self-conceit, and a deep felt contempt for Jesus ;"'* as is obvious from the next verse, which says, “Every man that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”

No view of the hinderances to conversion should be entertained, which shall lessen a sense of responsibility in dispensing the truth or in receiving and obeying it. This event, as before remarked, is not to be regarded as a merely arbitrary and sovereign act of God, sustaining no perceived relation to the means employed in it, but strictly of the nature of a consequence of those means, and resulting from considerations of truth and obligation, made prevalent, and inducing repentance; as choice results in other things. The gracious economy of the Spirit does not change the relations of the subject. “He takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto us.” The truth is the instrument and channel of his power. This indispensable and sufficient agency is but our encouragement in the direction of the truth for all the issues for which we commend it to the understandings and consciences of men, for their conversion, sanctification, and eventual salvation.

V. A just consideration of the province of the Will.

The will is inherently capable of varying its volitions. It need not of necessity follow the track of previously prevailing habits and desires. It may at any time change its choice with respect to any subject, on sufficiently appreciated inducements thereto. It may choose right to-day, though it never has before. Desires, passions, habits, biases, propensities, by whichsoever name the state of the affections is referred to, when correlated with choice, are to be viewed in the light of motives


influencing choice; and choice implies a decision in view of conflicting motives, those supplied from reason, conscience, truth; the Spirit may prevail against those from passion and habit, propensity, or evil counsel. They always do in a change for the better, they fail to do it in a change for the worse. The lover of " strong drink” may supply considerations from reason and conscience, the love of family or reputation-or his friend may—that shall get him triumphantly past his accustomed haunt of dissipation, and take him home unharmed to-day to the bosom of an anxious family, though it has not been done before for months or years. Our first parents, though “ created in the image of God,” could sin, and did, right abreast of all previous habit and propensity. Their experience, and habits, and propensities could not have been taken away, as an indispensable prerequisite to the entrance of temptation. They were met by temptation, and by it overcome. They were not, by a sovereign act of God, previously withdrawn. They were put upon the field of strife, and through Satanic art and influence brought under, and temptation prevailed, and that, too, against truth, obligation, and sweet experience of the love of God. Angels, with biases and propensities the growth of ages, we know not how long, in the full sunlight of God's countenance, were not impervious to temptation, to a counter course of conduct, and temptation prevailed with them—inducements to sin overcame their long sustained and fortified propensities to holiness,-quenched the light of all their experience of the perfections and worthiness of God. They became apostates even without the example or influence of any other being in the universe, in the direction of revolt. Redeemed men or angels now, are not continued in boliness because of incapacity to be influenced by motives to do wrong, but through an economy securing the preponderance of motives in a right direction. Men are turned from their accustomed courses and habits from various considerations,- from prudential reasons sometimesfrom public and patriotic motives--from love of kindred,- of partner or child. Conflicting passions and appetites may alternately gain ascendency. These are matters of daily observation, and with the resources of influence, found in the truth and Spirit of God, brought to bear upon the intelligent nature and susceptibilities of man, is it wonderful, that he should turn from sin to holiness—from the service of idols to his rightful Lord and Redeemer ?

The views expressed in this article, help to define and concentrate the agency of the church as a worker together with God in the gospel. They set aside diverting influences, which are wont to obtrude themselves upon our path; and give directness to the efforts which we are commanded to make in behalf of the regeneration and sanctification of those in sin.

Among the helps here indicated is that in relation to prayer. The resort in prayer as connected with the inculcation and results of truth, is not in abatement of the perceived responsibilities of preaching or hearing the word, but in furtherance of them. It is seeking a co-ordinate, efficacious influence with and for the truth-to deepen its impression-to quicken the sensibilities of the mind in view of it, to secure the submission of the soul to the claims of God, propounded in the gospel, and to induce repentance, and cordial faith and love, and every Christian grace.

These views illustrate the importance of discriminating truth; of availing ourselves of the laws of mind in dispensing it; of falling in with the consciousness of the sinner, and making all that is said to him, intelligently to aid conviction and the work of the Spirit. We know not but that the work of the Spirit in conversion may be as truly embarrassed, and his agency thwarted, through unskilfulness in the application of the truth, as by inattention and diversion of mind in the hearer.

Finally. These views indicate the nature of the address which is appropriate to the inquiring sinner. It should lay intelligently on his conscience, his sin and guilt and grounds of condemnation; the claims of truth upon him as a rational, accountable creature, under every obligation to love God with all his heart. It should represent these claims as immediate and overwhelming--instant upon him with ever increasing weight until he submits, and turns to God. It should admit that no doctrine of the Bible, nor relation of the subject, advises the sinner to wait where he is, until by some extraneous afflatus, irrespective of truth and conviction, he is borne within the enclosures of the kingdom, he knows not bow or why. He must not be encouraged in the idea that he is merely the subject of influence in this matter; that he is but the passive recipient of the process in which he is changed from nature to grace, and that if he but hold himself subject to this action upon him, the further responsibility of the issue is not his. Such a position misconceives the doctrine of divine influence, the laws of mind, and the nature of conversion, and, while the sinner retains it, is_like SECOND SERIES, VOL. X. NO. II.


a mountain of ice in his way. His true position in securing every help from without, is that of an active and immediate responsibility to truth; that of mental effort at compliance with just what God requires ; that of concentrating the constituent elements of his being on that which the Saviour meant when he said, “ Repent, and believe the gospel.”

The agency of the Spirit is our help in repenting and believe ing, and in the very process thereof, on a responsibility wholly our own. It is in "working out our own salvation,” that “God works in us both to will and to do."

The address should inculcate this responsibility, and aim at convincing the sinner that, until he repents of sin and believes on Christ, he is disowning the truth, and resisting and grieving the Holy Ghost. That his only resort is in coming at once to the mercy-seat, in penitence and humiliation of spirit, and casting himself, as one self-ruined and perishing, on the provisions of grace there revealed. There and then it is that reconciliation takes place that his character, state, and destiny change, and that he consistently has hope, as a child and an heir of God.



By the Rev. Albert Smith, Prof. of Rhetoric and English Literature, Middlebury College, Vt.

In a recent number of this work,* we undertook to show that the early Romans were not less remarkable for probity, frugality, chastity, patriotism, good faith, and general morality, than for the valor, fortitude, and perseverance, by which they conquered the world. These known and admired features in the character of that celebrated people, we traced to the religion that prevailed among them in the earliest periods of their national existence—a religion which we maintain to have been, in some important respects, superior to that more imaginative

* No. 18, Article I.

and splendid, but at the same time more sensual and corrupting system, which was afterwards received from the Grecian world, and established on the ruins of the old simplicity. We attempted to prove that the first religion of the Romans embraced the elements of a right theology, and that it exerted a highly favorable influence over the national habits, manners, and institutions. The worship of a Deity under simple forms and without images; a deeply-seated reverence for the Divinity and for sacred things; a practical recognition of the superintending providence of God; a firm belief in the immortality of the soul, and a future state of rewards and punishments; are fundamental principles of true religion. To the existence in the public mind of these elements of theological belief the excellence of the Roman character is, we think, to be ascribed. On these as its foundation rests the colossal fabric of Roman greatness.

The present Article is designed to be the counterpart of the former. We propose to show that in later times there was, in the Roman character, a striking change for the worse ; that this change is not to be exclusively attributed to the increase of luxury, and the influx of foreign vices, but chiefly to a preceding change in the national religion consequent on the introduction of Grecian modes of thought, the spread of Grecian philosophy, and especially the establishment at Rome of the worship of the “human Olympus” of the Greeks. A few additional remarks will make it evident that the general corruption of morals in the later periods of Roman history, the overthrow of liberty, and the final downfall of the Empire, are not to be referred to the defectiveness of education, and the want of a system of public instruction.

I. The description which has been given* of the character and manners of the Romans is true only of the earlier centuries of their history. If the state of morals and the mode of life, in the later times of the republic and under the empire, be placed beside the preceding account, a striking difference will be observed. The simplicity, the integrity, the frugality, the industry, the good faith, the patriotism of former days are gone, and in place of these good qualities the most destructive

vices have become prevalent. This change was effected gradually. The Romans maintained their early character for upwards of five centạries, until the times of the

• Vol. IX. pp. 258—264.

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