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thing :" especially where there is enough of it to impress on the mind the fact, that knowledge is power, but not enough to teach us our own ignorance. The science circulated among the mass of the people, when no religious instruction goes with it to humble the heart, will of necessity be of this grade. Its universal effect, too, will be, as the apostle states: “knowledge puffeth up; charity edifeth.”
“ Seek' first the kingdom of God, and all other things shall be added unto you,” is the divine command and promise. Let eternal things have their just pre-eminence, and temporal affairs will pass into a fit and thriving condition. In what nations, in what communities, or families, or individuals, do temperance, cleanliness, sobriety, veneration, conscientiousness, benevolence, pure hearts and clear heads, prevail? We answer, where the doctrine of the cross prevails. Contrast such nations with the country of Voltaire, Rousseau, and La Place, those giant infidels ; look at the French people in the era of their encyclopedias and scientific illumination on the one hand, and of blank atheism on the other; and can we doubt, that a nation, distinguished for what men call science, may be the most wicked, ferocious, cruel and God-defying, of all people under the sun ?
In fine, we will only say, that our censures on the phrenologists appertain more to what they have left undone, than to what they have done, except so far as the latter have bred the former. These sins of omission are cases where not to do involves the greatest possible guilt. To offer to the puritanical people of NewEngland an improved scheme of moral culture, and to leave the religion of Christ substantially a blank in the work, is, in our sight, the most enormous sin which they could commit.
Jo justice, we suppose it ought to be stated, that Messrs. Gall and Spurzbeim were educated in a country where the vital energy of the gospel is smothered under the incubus of papal corruption, or evaporated into the tame formalities of dead orthodoxy, or strangled in the noose of neological speculations. They were utterly ignorant of the benign and potent efficacy of the doctrines of the cross. We are willing to consider their error as somewhat honest and venial, in really imagining, that they were the first to discover and advance any adequate motives to lead med to be temperate, sober, just and good. We should be sorry to attribute to them any worse spirit than mere ignorance of the nature of the
gospel implies. If we are right in our suspicion, it may not be amiss to inform their followers, that any epistle of Paul, or almost any chapter in Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living and Dying, presents more efficient excitements to the best practical springs of action in the great mass of men, than all the discoveries of phrenology. They do so, because they awaken the conscience, and point the sick soul to a competent physician, to an all-sufficient Sayior and sanctifier. Reason proves, and experience confirms the futility of all schemes of amelioration, which aim to enlighten the intellect without purifying the heart. It is like the insane project, said to have been once got up, of tempering tropical heats, by floating down ice-islands from the poles. As the heat, instead of being extinguished by the ice, would melt it into vapor, which should be its own servant; so the fiery energy of human passions, unless stifled by the power of christianity, will convert all subordinate attainments into fuel to feed its own flame!
Art. V.-THE NATURE AND APPLICATION OF Divine Influ
ENCE IN THE SALVATION OF MAN. The promised agency of the Holy Spirit, for the conversion of sinners and the sanctification of saints, is the rock of safety to the church, and of hope to the world. All preaching and prayer, which dispenses with the necessity of this divine influence. directly tends to drive revivals of religion, and religion itself, from the earth. It encourages false security, contradicts the bible, and offends God. But, while we most cordially believe and strenuously maintain this doctrine, it is no less important, that it be so presented, as neither to weaken human obligation, diminish personal responsibility, dispense with appropriate instrumentalities, nor excuse from the necessity of direct and immediate action. This would promote either a stupid indifference, or a hardened recklessness in sin, and must result in presumption or despair. If essential error is combined with this doctrine, its pernicious consequences are proportioned to the magnitude and importance of the doctrine itself.
The fact, that there is such an influence from God upon the mind or heart, is purely a matter of revelation. In the operation of this divine influence, there is no distinct or peculiar consciousness by which, either intuitively or from a process of reasoning, its origin can be certainly discovered. Had not God revealed this truth, human reason alone probably would not have conjectured, certainly could not have proved it. But, on the evidence of the fact from revelation, the following declarations are sufficient for our present purpose. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” As to the expediency of his leaving the world, he declared to his disciples, “If I go not away, the Comforter" (which is the Spirit of truth)" will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him upto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The apostle to the Romans affirms, “ If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die ; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." These passages prove not only the fact of a divine influence, but that this is an influence which alfects moral character and conduct. It is a thing altogether distinct from that divine agency which enabled the first preachers of the gospel to work miracles. One might be possessed without the other. “ Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” “ Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity," (one of the peculiar fruits of the Spirit,) “I am nothing."
That there is a divine supernatural operation of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of the children of men, is therefore abundantly recognized in the word of God. This is an agency which affects man's moral character and conduct, and is to be distinguished from the miraculous operations of the Spirit, in the primitive age of the church. The latter ceased with the reasons which occasioned them, while the promise in relation to the former is, that it shall be perpetuated to the end of time. It is this operation of the Spirit
, as distinguished from the miraculous power given to the apostles, that we have in view in the present article. Our design will be accomplished, by stating some particulars respecting the nature and application of this divine influence.
What then is the nature of this divine influence ?
1. In many respects it is involved in mystery. By mystery we mean, not that which is absurd or self-contradictory, but simply, that which is incomprehensible ; not opposed to reason, but beyond it,-out of the reach of its powers, because there are no data from which to derive satisfactory conclusions. We should be the last to insist upon the obligation to believe any thing, that involved absurdities or contradictions. On the contrary, we bold, that no man is obliged to believe mysteries, or that which is incomprehensible. Faith is, and must be, founded on evidence. That it may be a rational and acceptable right moral act, the evidence upon which it is founded must be of such a nature, that the mind can perceive and understand it, as competent to examine and decide respecting its validity. "How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ?” “ So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
To apply this principle to the doctrine of divine influence. Of the fact itself, and of many important particulars connected with it, there is abundant evidence, respecting the validity of which the mind is competent to examine and decide, and upon which faith may rest firm and unshaken. But in relation to the manner in which the Spirit operates, and the specific reasons for which this inAuence is exerted at one time, or on one subject, rather than another, God makes no revelation. All this is mystery; and beyond the simple fact, that though God does exert such an influence, yet it does not impair man's own free moral action, and that he is guided by wisdom and benevolence in his selection of its subjects, we are under no obligation to adopt any creed whatever. Where God has given light, and thus furnished evidence from his own declarations on this subject, there exists obligation to open the eyes to see, and the heart to receive the truth in the love of it; but where any portion of it still lies in impenetrable darkness, neither any obligation nor practicability to the exercise of rational faith, can be admitted.
Throughout the wide range of universal nature lie countless other facts, which, in this respect, are in precisely the same condition. Their existence is clear, and many particulars connected with the fact of their existence perfectly intelligible; but both the manner how and the reasons why they so exist, are utterly unknown: and on these points no human mind can gather materials for the exercise of any consistent belief. Thus, “none by searching can find out God, or know the Almighty to perfection." “ High as heaven, deeper than hell,” man must stop far short, astonished and confounded. The same is true of God in his unity, of the Godhead as existing in the trinity, and of each of the persons taken separately : the mode of the divine existence, the manner how, no man can comprehend, or make the basis of an intelligent faith ; but this does not interfere with our belief of the fact, that God does exist, or that his existence combines the union of three persons in one God, nor with our weighing the ample testimony by which both these truths are established.
The works of God are wrapped up in the same inscrutable mystery. That God has formed, sustains, and governs worlds, we kpow; that he has created matter and mind, and in the case of man, has combined them; that light and heat are necessary to vegetation; and that water congeals below a given temperature; all this we know, the proofs are conclusive, but how and why, are effectually beyond our comprehension. Both the manner and reasons of operation in these and numberless other instances in nature, are left in mystery: nor with regard to that which is strictly the mystery, do we, or can we, put forth the rational exercise of any faith.
Precisely similar, in these particulars, is the influence of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of men. 6. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth ; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” This influence is exerted, but the manner of its operation is unknown. We might as well attempt to tell how the creative energy of the Almighty brought the universe into existence from nothing, as to explain with certainty how the power of God is exerted in the conversion and sanctification of a moral being. But in neither case, while ignorant of the manner, are we obliged to leave the matter of the fact undetermined. Both the fact and many of its relations and consequences are within the reach of our understandings. The evidence given is sufficient for rational faith, and imposes the obligation of cordial and practical reception of the truth.
While, therefore, we consider the doctrine of divine influence, viewed as a matter of fact, abundantly revealed to our faith, and hold, also, that many things in connection with it are equally plain ; as that this influence never violates the great laws of moral action, or contravenes the freedom of the subject, or leaves man the mere creature of passive impressions, or a machine operated upon by compulsory force, or even in any manner subverts the grand principles of revealed truth, as they bear upon the equitable administration of all moral government; yet, at the same time, we maintain, that it is of such a nature, as to preclude any man, without a new revelation, from saying specifically and positively how it is, that “God worketh in men both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. In respect to the manner, it is a mystery; and until God himself scatters the darkness, we are under no obligation to believe any man's theory respecting it. We may know beforehand, that it will be mere speculation. An attempt to impose the dogmas of any man, or any age, upon the public mind, in relation to these unrevealed mysteries, as a matter of orthodox faith, is to be firmly resisted. It is neither arrogance to rebuke such an effort, nor heresy to reject the assumption on which it is founded.
We have been thus particular on this point at the commencement, that our readers may carry along with them the full conviction, that on this, as on many other important subjects in theology, there are some things plainly “revealed,” which therefore “belong to us and our children," and constitute an essential portion of that “ faith once delivered to the saints,” and for which, when necessary, we are to “contend earnestly;" while there are other parts “ bid among the deep things of God," and in their mystery are no matters of human belief, because they have never been brought within the sphere of human cognizance.
Between these extremes of clear light and total darkness, there is a region, of a somewhat indeterminate breadth, over which a blended twilight reigns. It is to be expected, that active, philoso phical minds will here urge their inquiries, and extend through this whole field their varied speculations. They have done so on all sub