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tremes of enthusiasm and profaneness should be equally avoided.
1. Persons of a sanguine temperament
which is good yet Adam fell. Why then may not those, to whom the free-will biassed by the transgression of Adam has been repaired on the offer of pardon by the Gospel, fall likewise? Persons, placed under such circumstances, and urged by the secret influence of the Holy Ghost to flee from the wrath to come, can scarcely be thought more highly favoured than Adam was previous to his transgression: it is not very easy, therefore, to say, why they may not abuse free-will when repaired, just as much as Adam did when possessed of it ab origine; and why they may not neglect to use imparted strength, just as much as Adam did the strength which he received at his creation. If Adam had been drawn to a due performance of his duty by an irresistible impulse of the Spirit, it is manifest that he never could have fallen: I am not aware that we are warranted by Scripture to suppose, that the Holy Ghost acts upon our wills in any different manner from what he did upon Adam's. It is one thing to believe, that no man can come unto Christ unless he be drawn by the Father through the agency of the Spirit; and quite another to maintain, that every person, who is thus drawn, must necessarily and inevitably obey that impulse. The denial of the first of these propositions constitutes the heresy of the Pelagians; the asserting of the second, the error of the Calvinists. Because Scripture appeals to us as free and reasonable beings; the
have not unfrequently been so far deluded by a mischievous fanaticism, as to mistake the workings of a heated imagination for the immediate dictates of heaven. Hence they have been sometimes led, to undervalue even the sacred word of God, and to fancy that they are actually taught by inspiration without making any use of the means which the Almighty has been pleased to appoint. consequence of such crude and unscriptural notions is sufficiently evident: the unhappy victims of this fatal delusion fall from one absurdity into another, the sport of every wind of doctrine, and the pity of all sober-minded Christians.
The error, to which I allude, consists in mistaking the extraordinary, for the ordinary,
former very rashly suppose, that we stand in no need of divine grace: because Scripture declares, that of ourselves we can neither will nor do that which is good; the latter too hastily conclude, that the influence of the Spirit is absolutely irresistible.
But I desist from pressing the matter any further: the object of the present treatise is not controversy.
operations of the Spirit. We are not, in the present day, to expect any new revelations : that point has been sufficiently decided by St. Paul. Though we or an angel from heaven, says he, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed'. The office of the Holy Ghost is not to reveal any additional doctrines to us; but to enable us to understand spiritually, those which have been already revealed.
Accordingly, the Berèans are commended as being more noble than the Thessalonians, not only because they readily received the word, but because they likewise searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so3. God's Holy Spirit, doubtless, both prevented and seconded their pious endeavours, illuminating their minds, and filling them with all heavenly wisdom; for we are informed, that many of them believed: but at the same time, it is signified to us, that the external
1 Galat. i. 8.
2 Acts xvii. 11.
cause was their diligent attention to the Scriptures1.
In a similar manner, although the Church directs her children to pray unto God for his inspiration2: it is only, that they may be enabled to think those things that be good, and that their hearts may be cleansed from all impurity; not that they may become prophets or apostles.
Long has the extraordinary influence of the Spirit ceased and we are authorised, by our blessed Lord himself, to consider all pretensions to it, in these latter days, as the marks whereby we may assuredly detect impostors 3. One of the main artifices of Satan is to propagate error by issuing, as it were, base counterfeits of those scriptural doctrines which have received the stamp of God's own autho
searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so; therefore many of them believed. Acts xvii. 11, 12.
2 Collects for the 5th Sun. after East. and Communion Service.
3 Matt. xxiv. 11, 23, 24, 25, 26.
rity. As he persuades some to sin in order that grace may abound, miscalling the impure speculations of Antinomianism justification by faith: so he bewilders others in the mazes of enthusiasm, puffing them up with vain conceits, and distracting the peace of the Church, under the pretence that the wild reveries of a mad fanatic are the immediate inspiration of heaven.
2. Persons of an opposite description to those, whose imagination outruns their judgment, terrified and disgusted with the perversion of the scriptural doctrine of divine influence, have too hastily plunged into the other extreme: and, though perhaps they may not absolutely have denied the existence of the Holy Ghost, yet they scarcely allow him any share in the great work of our conversion.
Now our Lord, indeed, compares the operations of the Spirit to the wind; and we can no more discern the one than the other: nevertheless, if we have received the Holy Ghost, our souls must be as sensible of his