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and mystery of Nature's works. It is thus, too, that the firm believer in revelation---the biblical philosopher demeans himself. He is perfectly convinced that the bible is the word of God, (and he that is not, has not yet half explored the proofs that crowd upon the subject), and being satisfied that God the Holy One and true has spoken, not all his perplexity can make him for a moment reject the fact. Theorise and speculate he may, and though wearied with his devices to pry into the mystery of the fact, he bows submissively to the majesty of truth-the word of an undeceived and undeceiving God-and lifts his heart in devout and adoring admiration, “0, the depth of the riches, . both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his way's past finding out.”* No more shall he be reproached for credulity and weakness than the loftiest son of science, who, like the comet,
"Takes his ample round Thro' depths of ether; coists unnumbered worlds,
of more than solar glory.” Both may soar on fancy's airy wings, and climb among the higher spheres of God's exalted sway; but both must cease from proud imaginings, and, as they value peace and knowledge too, learn to rest on simple, sober fact—the only difference discernible between them being, that hefore the one, God spreads the mighty efforts of his creative power, and bids him “LOOK AND LEARN,” while to the other He speaks in terms direct and plain, and bids him “HEAR AND KNOW.” But the eye's seeing is not half such satisfying and luxurious evidence, as the heart's believing.
Such are the principles by which it is proposed that our investigations shall be conducted. We may perhaps occasionally find it necessary to refer to them; but after this avowal, such references' need not be frequent or prolix.
* Rom. xi. 35.
Our readers may expect a liberal use of the lively oracles, and they are solieited to come with us to the consideration of a theme of infinite moment to us all; and to come with docile minds and humble hearts. We desire no higher honor than to be instrumental in leading them to the fountain of truth, and inciting them to inquire of the Great “Teacher sent from God,” what He is willing we should know of "the life hid with Christ in God."* And, should it please the great and sovereign Lord of all, to guide any humble and anxious mind, through our feeble efforts, into clearer and admiring perceptions of His own most wondrous work in quickening those who were "dead in trespasses and in sins," and thus creating them anew His workmanship unto good works,t to Him shall be ascribed all the glory. Our own hearts rejoice in every survey of the new creation. Its glory shines with dazzling radiance on our delighted minds, and we long that hundreds and thousands, now in the grave of their corruptions, should waken into life, and come forth to swell the anthems of praise that ascend to “Him that liveth and was dead and is alive for evermore, amen, and has the keys of hell and death.”! The utmost we purpose, is, by the light of divine truth, to trace that blessed agency, and that influence of the eternal life-giving Spirit of God, on the mind and heart of man, which are designed to qualify him, alike for usefulness in this world, and glory in the world to come. In attempting so to do, it will not, we hope, be thought strange or uncongenial with our subject, if we take a deliberate and comprehensive view of the character of the glorious agent by whom the life of which we speak is produced, and of the original and peculiar structure of the creature man, who is the subject of it. If any of our readers should think, that we escape into the regions of metaphysical philosophy, we hope it will be remembered that * Col. 11.3. † Eph, ii. 5, 10.
Rer. i. 18.
it is only because our subject necessarily leads us there, and, we think that, holding in our hand the torch of truth divine, we need not be afraid
“Of wandering in airy mazes lost.” The very topic of a change of heart, requires some knowledge of man's rational and sensitive soul, in order to its faithful exhibition. And it may be profitable for us to trace the influence which a mistaken view of the human mind-a“philosophy falsely so called,” has had in shaping and determining men's notions and practice, on a subject of such high concernment. We ask the patient and candid attention of our readers, and pray that the Spirit of God may guide both us and our readers, into the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.
The life-giving influence of the Spirit peculiarly characteristic of the evan
gelical dispensation—The Spirit a personal agent-A two-fold source of objection against this-Proofs of His personality—1. The power of spontaneous action, and the actual voluntary exercise of it-2. The Spirit per: forms actions peculiar to a personal agent-3. Operates, &c.—4. Is affected, &c.—5. Exercises the functions of various offices—6. Flas various personal attributes.
"The Lord is that Spirit," said the apostle, when speaking of the influence necessary to remove the prejudices of the Jews against Christ. He had been contrasting the Mosaic and Evangelical dispensations, and extolling the latter as possessing richer glory, because of its being accompanied with the life-giving influences of the Spirit of God. The communications of God, under the former economy, were made by means of Moses, and the law engraved on tables of stone. It was indeed a glorious revelation, but comparatively little more than the knowledge of the letter was had by its votaries.
There was no provision made for an especial, powerful, and enlightening influence of the Spirit of God on the minds and hearts of ancient worshippers. Whatever influence the Spirit vouchsafed, it was adapted to the sensible ordinances, and appalling rites celebrated in the temple of Jehovah. There was a veil of darkness and mystery thrown around the whole system, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished. "2 1 2 Cor, iii, 17.
2 2 Cor. i. 13.
But under the gospel, there are ministers of Christ commissioned to teach, and enforce, the great truths of religion, whose efforts are accompanied with a convincing and illuminating agency of the Spirit of God. This Spirit, the apostle declares is JEHOVAH-THE LORD. His influence is represented as giving life in opposition to the killing sentence of the law of God, which was engraven on the tables of stone, and which formed as it were the grand central glory of the whole system of types and shadows. “Who also,” says he, “hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth Life.”l templating an exposition of this, His peculiar work, therefore, it becomes necessary for us to clear away all the obscurity and perplexity which hang around our subject, in consequence of the objections and doubts expressed by some in relation to the existence and personality of the Spirit of God. Wherefore, we have quoted the assertion of the apostle, with a view to present distinctly for discussion the two following propositions, which his language evidently involves:
1. That the Spirit of God is A PERSONAL AGENT, and
II. That He is possessed of a divine nature or is in reality God.
It is objected, by the enemies of our faith, that the word PERSON is not to be found in the sacred scriptures as designating any distinct or separate subsistence in the divine essence. This is freely admitted. But it does not, therefore, fullow, that there are no distinct or separate subsistences in the divine nature, to which severally and respectively are attributed, an understanding and will and power to exert them. The translators of the New Testament have used the term person in the first chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, no doubt because it is the best
1 2 Cor. iji, 6.