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benevolence prompts him to pardon. His eternal and cocqual son, by suffering as though he had sinned, and obeying the divine commands, has satisfied the jusiice of God, and wrought out an everlasting Righteousness, through which He can be just, and yet justify the ungodly. His law being magnified and made honorable, so that He can consistently pardon-being proved, unanswerably, to be wise and righteous, and not tyrannical, He proclaims his mercy to a lost and guilty world. They, one and all, begin to make excuse, reject the offered mercy, and refuse forgiveness. His professions are not believed. No sorrow for rebellion is erinecd. To one and another He is pleased to make, by llis Spirit, His solemm appeal. Object after object, truth after truth, motive after motive, are presented. Reiterated appeals are made to conscience and the lieart, and, erentually-where He is pleased in sovereign mercy -- to subdue one and another believe, and are made willing to forsake their sins. They never would have done so, but for such a procedure of grace on the part of God. propriate, therefore, is it, to say of such, that to them it has been given to believe?-to them hath God granted repentance. We see, at once, how faith is the gift of God, without any act of physical efficiency on his part, and the Eame too of repentance, which both are voluntary exercises, on the part of man. Let us then beware, hoir, in the spirit of philosophy, we.push the import of terms beyond that, which common sense shows to be their appropriate meaning.
And that such is the correct interpretation of the passage quoted, and of others of similar character, will be obvious to every unprejudiced reader, who will allow himsell te consult the text, in its connection. "Unto you it is given, in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” No one will pretend, that God's giving the Phillippian christians to suffer for Christ's sake,
was His actually, by His own power, inflicting suffering on them; yet this suffering for Christ was as much the gift of God, as their believing on him. Every one sces, that it will not do to adopt the same rule of interpretation, in reference to the suffering, that Dr. Owen and others do in reference to believing. But what right has one to attach a meaning to the word give, differing in one case from the other? We know not; and, therefore, as we cannot, by any rule of interpretation whatever, say, that God, by any “physical work,” of his own, directly inflicts sufferings on believers, for Christ's sake; neither can we say, the apostle ltere teaches, that, in this way, he produces faith. The truth is, the passage does not contemplate so much the influence, or agency exerted to produce faith, as it does the great grace, or favor, which God displays, in allowing christians to believe on Christ, and suffer for his sake. Both are signal expressions of grace. That we should be permitted to confide in Him, and be reputed worthy to suffer for His sake, are favors truly wonderful! And when these things are secured, through the special influence of the Spirit, on? our minds, and the special ordering of His providence, the grace is exceedingly enhanced. “By grace are (we) saved, through faith, and that not of (ourselves); it is the gift of God."?1
1. Eph. ii, 8.
THE MORAL SUASION OF THE SPIRIT.
The term power appropriately employed to denote a moral influence Not
necessary to suppose it denotes physical efficiency when applied to the Spirit's converting influence-Not so to be understood when it is used in scripture in this connection--Psalm, cx. 8; Rom. xv. 13; 2 Thess. i. 11; 2 Cor. xii. 9; John, i, 12; Rom. i. 16; 1 Cor. i. 18; 1 Thess. i. 5; 1 Cor. ii. 5, 6; Mat. vii. 29; Acts, vi. 8, 10; Heb. iv. 12; Eph. ii. 7; Eph. vi. 10; Phil. iv. 13; Eph. vi. 11; Eph. i. 19, 20, explained—Inferences from the view of the Spirit's influence given in this and the preceding chapter-1. The impertinence and arrogance, &c. of the spirit of philosophy, 2. The character and danger of the sin of grieving the Spirit.
Having dwelt so long in the former chapter, on the first class of texts, and shewn the fallacy of their interpretation, by the advocates of physical efficiency, we hope the reader will not impatiently accompany us in noticing the second, which speak specifically of the power of God as the proper cause of faith and other gracious exercises, or at least as having some connection with them. We have already shewn, that the term power is, very naturally and intelligibly, employed to denote the vigor, energy and successful issues of moral influence, where there is no physical efficiency. We are, therefore, under no necessity to suppose, that the success of the Spirit's agency is and must be attributable to a “physical work,” or literal creation, and to be determined, in the ideas which we attach to it, by such an assumption. It is by no means difficult to shew, that in none of the passages where it is used in connection
with the Spirit's agency in our conversion, is it necessary for us to understand it, as intimating a physical work on the part of God or Ilis eficient creative energy.
We notice a few of those most commonly quoted in proof of such a creative power being put forth by God in the regeneration of the sinner.
“Thy people,” says the Psalmist, shall be willing in "the day of thy power. This is commonly quoted to prove, that it is the power of God which makes us willing, and that power not a moral influence which is through truth and motives ' presented; but a physical efficiency. We design not criticism, but even the unlearned reader
1. Ps. cx. 3. Populus tuus spontaneitatés tempore potentiæ tuæ in magnificis ornamentis sanctitatis: ex utero auroræ fluat ros juventutis tuæ. Quibus verbis. d. Morales civiúm Messiæ qualitates describuntur, et b. immensa corum icopia. . Hujus populi internas externasque qualitates delineant voces spontaneitatum, et ornamentorum sanctitutcs; quarum illæ ad animi, hæ ad totius hominis actiones pertinent. Internam animi qualitatem et dispositionem laudabilem ob oculos ponit epitheton spontaneitatum, nomini populi adelitum: sive vertatur, populus tuus spontaneitatum per ellipsin vocis popukus ut plene sit, populus tuus est populus spontaneitatum, sive reddatur, popu. kus tuus spontaneitates.sc, sunt, pro spontaneus est summo gradu; utrum que his admitti potest, et eodem redibit. Sensus enim est populum Messiz esse lubentem, ingenuum, generosæ ac liberalis indolis, qui sese Christo šponte sua, et toto anitno submisit, et ad quævis officia promptum paratum. que præstat. . Venema in Psalmos ad loc.
The Hebrew scholar needs not to be told that the translation of this verse in our English Bibles and the use that is commonly made of it, are alike incor. rect. The power spoken of, is something different from physical efficiency. Populum enim Messiæ talem futurum, seseque præstiturum, dicit poæta, die potertiæ, sive in genere, tempore potentiæ tuæ, sc. regis Messiæ quem adloquitur. Interpretis hic varie quisiem instituunt, et vel tempus copiarum cal ligardartm,vel victoria, velsimile quid intelligunt. Sed corum potiores sunt rationes, qui tempus potentiæ, vel strenuitalis regis interpretantur; qui satis usitatus est vocis sign'ficatus: modo illud hic intendi' statuatur, quo Messias omni vilitate'et imbecillitate, quam inter homines, carne vestitus circumtulit, deposità, ad dextrum potentia Dei exaltatus eam singulari modo exseruit in Spiritus; s. donis efundendis, cuangelio potente et exserta manu potentissima propaganda. Hoc est tempus putentiz Messiæ opposite ad tempus cornis et imbecillitatis inter homines. Idem.
may perceive by the letters in italics in his Bible, that the words, “shall be," are supplied by the translators. The proper rendering of the verse does not at all convey the idea of an exercise of power on the part of God to make his people willing. They are spoken of as already willing, and the power adverted to, is that of an army or a triumph, which furnishes the occasion for demonstrations of loyalty. Thy loyal people shall come to thee allired in holiness in the day of thy triumph. Let not the text be made to mean what it cannot, by any fair interpretation, be understood to-express.
When Paul prayed for christians at Rome, that "the God of hope (would) fill (them) with all joy and peaee in believing, that (they) might abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost,” he did not ask that God would by any physical efficiency produce these acts of faith and hope, and feelings of joy and peace; but that the Spirit might exert His influence, and so order it, that they should abound in these exercises and emotions. We have already geen that God can, and does exert an influence, which is successful, and is very properly denominated powerful, without any act of creative power. To say that the power of the Holy Ghost, in producing hope and faith, is his creative efficiency, lodging in the soul, “a principle or disposition" that causes such exercises, is saying no more of it than what may be said of his power in creating the in„stincts, &c. of animals, and thus making His work in regeneration altogether natural, i. e. like that in nature, not supernatural which it is in fact-an influence exerted in pursuance of special design, and not uniformly and infallia bly, according to fixed laws of nature. The apostle speaks of the continuous exercises of faith, hope, &c. induced by the special influence of the Spirit, and not of any cause of 'thom, philosophically speaking, in the soul itself.
1 Rom. Ir. 13.