« FöregåendeFortsätt »
"with man, but with God all things are possible;"1 and he has promised to do it, and is continually performing that promise. "Thy people shall be "willing in the day of thy power.' 992 • The grace of "God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that 'good will.'
P. xxxiii. 1. 9. To walk, &c." This is a brief and just statement of the subject: only it may be observed, that pride, ambition, envy, and malice, are as much selfishness, as avarice or dishonesty. The "good motions of the Spirit', excite men to repentance, and faith in Christ, as well as to other acts of holy obedience. An act' must be voluntary; else the man, who seems to act, is really passive; as those unhappy persons are, whose limbs are involuntarily, moved in some kinds of disease.
P. xxxiii. 1. 14. • All the, &c.' I suppose the eighth of Romans, and not the seventh is intended: but there is nothing, in either chapter, stating, that
Matt. xix. 26. 2 Ps. cx. 3. 3 Art. X.
4 To walk after the flesh, is to follow wherever the impulses of sensuality and selfishness lead us, which is a voluntary act. To walk after the Spirit, is steadily and resolutely to obey good motions within us, whatever they cost us; which is also a ' voluntary act.
5 All the language of this remarkable chapter (Rom. viii.) ⚫ proceeds in the same strain; namely, that after the Spirit of • God is given, it remains and rests with ourselves whether we ⚫ avail ourselves of it, or not. If ye through the Spirit do mortify
the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live. It is through the Spirit ⚫ that we are enabled to mortify the deeds of the flesh. But still, whether we mortify them or not, is our act, because it is made a subject of precept and exhortation so to do.
after the Spirit of God is given, it remains and 'rests with ourselves, whether we avail ourselves of "it, or no.' St. Paul is not speaking of the Spirit of God being first given to sinners; but distinguishing between those who walked after the Spirit," and those who walked after the flesh;" those who had
"Ye are not in
be the Spirit of
have not the If men lived
the Spirit, and those who had not. "the flesh but in the spirit, if so "God dwell in you: now if any man Spirit of Christ he is none of his." and walked after the flesh, it was because " "had not the Spirit of Christ, and were none of his." "But if through the Spirit," depending on him to teach, incline, and enable them, and praying for these blessings, "they mortified the deeds of the "body," they were Christ's, had his Spirit dwelling in them, and would live by him.-Certainly "mor"tifying the deeds of the body," must be our act, if done at all, and so is every act of obedience: but then it is done, by the special grace of God putting ' into our minds good desires, and by his continual help,' enabling us to bring them to good effect."" For when we work out our own salvation: with "6 "fear and trembling; it is God that worketh in us "both to will and to do of his good pleasure."3 "Now the God of peace-make you perfect in "every good work to do his will, working in your that which is well pleasing in his sight through
Rom. viii. 9. 11.
2 Col. for Easter Sun. 3 Phil. ii. 12, 13. Ενεργῶν εν ημιν και το θελειν και το ενέργει:, working effectually "in us, both to will and to work effectually." The same verb is used in both clauses.
'The grace of Christ
' away the stony heart, and giveth an heart of flesh: and although those, that have no will to good things, he maketh them to will; and those that 'would do evil things, he maketh them not to will 'the same: yet, nevertheless, he enforceth not the 'will; and therefore no man, when he sinneth, can 'excuse himself as not worthy to be blamed, or 'condemned, by alledging that he sinned unwillingly, or by compulsion."2" Seeing ye have purified your souls, in obeying the truth, through "the Spirit, unto unfeigned love of the brethren."3 "Whereunto I also labour, striving according to "his working, which worketh in me mightily."4
P. xxxiii. 1. 24. 'Health, &c.'5 Health and strength, with very many other things, are gifts of God, or talents committed to our stewardship, of which a good, or a bad, use may be made. Depraved nature disposes us to make a bad use of them, to waste, or to bury them: but special grace teaches, inclines, and enables, the possessor, to improve them to the glory of God, the benefit of mankind, and
'Heb. xiii. 20, 21. 2 Tenth Article, of the 42 Articles of Edw. VI. p. 331. vol. ii. The fathers of the English church;'
a very useful work, to which further references will be made.
3 1 Pet. i. 22. 4 Col. i. 29.
tage it shall be to us, depends upon ourselves. Even so, the
higher gift of the Spirit remains a gift, the value of which will be exceedingly great; will be little; will be none; will be <even an increase of guilt and condemnation, according as it is ' applied and obeyed, or neglected and withstood.
› ‹Health is God's gift; but what use we will make of it, is
our choice. Bodily strength is God's gift; but of what advan
eventually to his own abundant advantage. The strivings of the Spirit, producing convictions, and transient effects, are, in some respects, of the same nature. Even the gift of prophecy and miracles might be improved or perverted: but "the sanctifi"cation of the Spirit unto obedience," or special grace,' is wholly of another nature; and, as far as it is vouchsafed, it efficaciously leads men to improve every talent, and to employ aright every other gift of God. But what is there in fallen man, which can improve, as a talent, the special grace of God?" The flesh lusteth against the Spirit:"1 fallen nature against that which is born of the Spirit. Man is of his own nature inclined to evil; so that 'the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit."2
P. xxxiv. 1. 6. "Grieve not the Spirit of God:" therefore he may be grieved; being given he may be rejected; rejected he may be withdrawn.' The apostle does not say this. A father may be grieved by the misconduct of his son,` yet he may not disinherit him a husband may be grieved by the misconduct of his wife, and yet not divorce her. David grieved the Holy Spirit, as much perhaps as this possibly could be done: yet "the joy of God's salva❝tion was restored to him."-One question, in the controversy between the Calvinists and their opponents, is this: Whether the Spirit of life and sanctification be ever finally withdrawn from those, who are by him" sealed unto the day of redemption:" and this question ought not to be prejudged. In
the remarks on the fourth chapter, it will be con
P. xxxiv. 1. 15. 'Hence1 it appears, &c."? Peter addresses the churches in Asia as those "who had "obtained like precious faith;" and as those to whom "divine power had given all things that per"tain to life and godliness." But can it be supposed that he intended to warrant the sincerity of every professed christian, in all these churches? Or that none, but true christians would ever read his epistle? Many warnings shew the contrary.
Men, professing christianity, might be hypocrites; (what church has hitherto been free from them?) and some true christians might "fall from their "own stedfastness; yet "God might give them repentance," and so they might "recover them"selves out of the snare of the devil ;" and therefore not be among those, who "wrested the scriptures "to their own destruction."
P. xxxiv. last line. C Although they had already ' received the Holy Ghost.' It does not appear, in what sense this is meant. The expression, in scripture generally signifies miraculous powers, not sanctifying grace. Nothing concerning these is spoken
• From 2 Pet. iii. 16-18.
2. Hence it appears, that there was danger, lest those "who "had obtained like precious faith" with St. Peter himself, 'those to whom "Divine Power had given all things that pertain "unto life and godliness," there was danger lest persons of this description should be "led away with the error of the wicked;" 'lest they should "fall from their own stedfastness," and "wrest the scriptures to their own destruction.”
32 Pet. i, 1-3. 4 2 Tim. i. 25, 26.