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them by any exercise of choice or effort of will. Finally, it is not a direct influence upon any of the intellectual faculties to change them. It may lead to the cultivation of the mental powers, but there is no direct agency to change the faculties themselves. Neither the memory, imagination, nor reasoning powers, are substantially affected. Minds adapted to one particular art or science, cannot change places at will. By no voluntary exercise can poets, and philosophers, and mathematicians, and legislators, interchange their mental adaptations and states of intellectual habit; nor does the agency of the Holy Spirit enable or require them to do so. All this lies beyond the sphere of the appropriate influence of the Spirit of God.
But, it is applied to and terminates upon that in man, which may be reached without destroying the power of choice, or the reality and consciousness of moral obligation. He who knew how to create a mind, may surely be supposed to know how to influence mind, in a manner perfectly consistent with the nature of mental action. This must be conceded by all who admit the fact of inspiration. By this influence, thoughts, acts of memory, acts of reasoning, were produced in the minds of the sacred writers, which otherwise would have had no existence, and which were as truly mental acts, and their own mental acts, as any other. They thought, they remembered, they reasoned, under this influence. So in the production of moral exercises or acts of the mind. These, though produced by a divine influence, are as truly moral acts, and the acis or exercises of the sinner's own powers, and his own acts, as were they produced without a divine influence. It would not be difficult to conceive of many different modes in which all this is possible with God. But whether we should conceive of that which is the real mode, or whether the mode in all instances is the same, none can determine. It is enough, that divine influence secures right moral exercise or action, in a mode consistent with the nature of such action.
Thus no new faculties are created, or new combinations of old materials effected. The subject is effectually inclined to choose, and thus to practice,—“10 will,” and thus “to do.” Under the effectual agency of the Holy Spirit, the sinner chooses the path of duty, and purposes to pursue it. This becomes a permanent state of mind. The choice is a controlling choice, and the purpose a governing purpose ; increasing in strength and confirmation under the continued influence of the same divine agency which at first produced it. It is thus, like every thing progressive in man, that religious affections increase through their own exercise ; and the christian "goes from strength to strength," and bis “light shines brighter and brighter to the perfect day.”
In the scriptures, a variety of general expressions are used, descriptive of this change. Such are," the renewing of the mind," “enlightening the eyes of the understanding,” “ creating a clean heart," etc. The latter word,-the heart,-is perhaps more frequently used to describe that to which divine influence is applied, and wherein the change takes place in regeneration. But nothiog here, bearing this or any other name, is out of the control of the man himself. There is no main-spring setting the subject in motion, and giving its unfrustrable direction to the motion, while itself lies beyond the reach and control of the subject it moves. There is nothing that, when the agent, on pain of eternal death, is commanded to reform, makes him look back and bewail the necessity which, in the manner of a physical cause, forces him onward, and obliges him to feel it to be impossible to exert his own energy, and correct this cause of his rebellion, or counteract its perpetual domination. There is nothing here, for which the man is not directly accountable to his own conscience and his God,-answerable at the price of his immortal soul, if he does not control it according to the divine commandment. It is, however, a fact established by scripture and daily observation, that, left to himself, he will not thus control it, but will direct it to unholy and selfish purposes. This is a fact, however, declaratory of the sinner's own free moral agency or power of choice. It neither compels nor excuses him. He is bound to be willing to do what God commands him to do, because he can do it. But because he will not choose to do it, an external influence is necessary to produce the change, and it is for this purpose ; and it is here, that divine agency is applied. But while the agency of the Spirit is directly upon the heart, in the sense just specified, yet is there also a preparatory or collateral influence upon all the faculties of the mind. It is in connection with, or through divine truth. The understanding is aroused; fixed attention and deep thought are awakened; the affections and emotions are excited; the conscience is alarmed; the whole man is shaken. The Spirit of God is reaching the heart, through the excitement of all the susceptibilities of the soul, as an intellectual and moral being, and pressing it up to a holy choice, and a solemn purpose of obedience. It is an agency of mighty power, but acting on a moral being only, and applied to the man only in entire consistency with the continued possession of such a character. It never can be used for the production of physical, organic, or constitutional changes. It never can give place to the agency of physical power to come in and accomplish its own appropriate work. It acts in its own sphere, and for its own object, and applies itself only to its appropriate subject,-man, as a moral being, active in the change,-a change consisting in right moral action.
This leads us to the further question,- Is the man active during this application of divine influence? Here are two distinct
agents,-the Holy Spirit, and the sinner on whom this influence is exerted. The latter is as really an agent as the former; for the actions of each have their origin exclusively within their respective agents : so that, apart from the motives to action, it may as truly be said of one as the other, that its acts are entirely its own. The influence of the Holy Spirit, though effectual, is not a physical one, or such as allows no resistance or possibility to the contrary choice. It is that which perfectly harmonizes with the nature of free moral agency, which, as we have before remarked, may be reached without destroying the power of choice, or the reality and consciousness of moral obligation. From the nature of the case, the right or wrong action of the sinner is unavoidable. The two things cannot co-exist without an effect; and the only thing which, from their natures, they are adapted to produce, is the existence of moral exercises, right moral action. When divine influence is applied, the subject must act on one side or the other. There can be no neutrality. The mind must either yield and obey, or resist and rebel. Like the requisitions of divine truth which the Spirit applies, the sinner must say what he will do with it. If an invitation is pressed, he must accept or reject it; if a warning is given, he must regard or disregard it; if a command is enforced, he must obey it or rebel. He must act one way or the other, and he is shut up to the necessity of deciding which it shall be. The Spirit of God never acts upon the heart either so slightly or equivocally, that it can maintain a passive neutrality. The sinner must act, and the action is his own, and be alone is responsible for it. There may be a measure of divine influence, which the sinner is active in resisting. The bible calls it “quenching," " grieving the Spirit.” There is an influence, special because effectual, which is not resisted. The heart yields to it, submits and obeys. The sinner chooses, with as much freedom as he ever put forth in any choice,_"to give himself away to Christ in an everlasting covenant.” He is both active and free when he does it. In the order of nature, though co-etaneous, the agency of the Spirit is before the action of the subject; and thus divine influence in the order of nature precedes the change which takes place in regeneration, and is itself the cause of it; but the sinner is not changed, so that in any proper sense he can be called “ a new man," "a new creature in Christ Jesus,” until both the divine inAuence and the voluntary act of choice of the subject have taken place. In every change from death unto life, there must be a combination of both of these agencies.
But though combined in the grand result, they never become blended or confounded as to identity. They may at all times be made subjects of distinct and independent consideration. It is important for some purposes, that this distinction be accurately pre
served; while in other cases, language may be used including their combined operation. Inspiration employs language applicable sometimes to one agency, sometimes to the other, and again including both. Referring to the agency of the Spirit alone, it speaks of being “ born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
The agency of man alone is implied in the commands, “ Make you a new heart and a new spirit.” “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?” And both are taken into view in the following declarations : “Whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended to the things which were spoken.” “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.”
The use of passive and active verbs conveys the same distinction. When a divine influence upon man is the subject, we have the passive form, -_" were born,” “is renewed,” “ being sanctified,"
When human agency is in view, to express obligation we have the active forin, —"put off the old man, ‘put on the new man," “purify your hearts,” “repent," “ believe," etc. These different forms of expression describe the same change. They are thus used, not because the change wrought is sometimes the effect of one agency, and sometimes that of the other; but because, while both are combined in the result, it is necessary sometimes to reser to one exclusive of, or without specifying the other. The different expressions applied to Christ, as both human and divine, may with as much propriety be made the basis of an argument on either side, as the different phraseology used in reference to the great change in regeneration. They are both true, for they both unite to form the result.*
As man is thus seen to be necessarily active in this great change, we may also easily determine the moral character of his agency: while it is in opposition to divine influence, and in resistance to the end in view, it is sinful, and the guilt is in proportion to the gracious influence resisted. But when this divine agency is effectual in the work, and the sinner becomes "willing in the day of his power," the action is holy, for it is in accordance with it, obedient to it, and thus pleasing to God. But this action, in accordance
* On this subject the propriety of languago and figurative expressions should be preserved. There is a violation of both, in saying, that man regenerates himself. Regenerates” is more particularly applied to designate the part of God in the radical change which is effected by the Holy Spirit, through the truth, on the heart of a free moral agent, producing right moral action. While the man is active in this great change, it is improper to use passive forms of speech and figures to represent it. For this purpose, active forms should be employed, as, -" I turned my feet to thy testimonies." * Mary hath chosen that good part, etc.
with the divine operation, and in which consists the great change from death unto life, is the effect of this divine operation,--would never have taken place but for its sovereign and gracious exertion, —and therefore all the grace and all the glory is to be ascribed, solely and forever, to the infinitely benevolent Author.
We will conclude this article with a few considerations more specially applicable to our brethren in the ministry of reconciliation.
1. Their encouragement to the highest effort in their great work. God is pleased with bestowing favors, whenever consistent with the greatest good. The effectual agency of the Holy Spirit is one of the greatest favors wbich he can bestow. There are, however, certain states of feeling in the church, the ministry, and among sinners themselves, which precludes the propriety of exerting this agency on the part of God. In mercy he has revealed to us both what it is which binders, and what it is which invites the Spirit. He has told us how the Spirit is “grieved,” and “quenched," that we may avoid this sin; and the conditions on which its outpouring is suspended, that we may comply therewith, and receive the blessing. As “much the more” as the infinite benevolence of our heavenly Father exceeds parental affection of hearts which are “evil" on earth, does his readiness to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him, exceed theirs to "give good gists to their children.” He made this declaration in full view of both man's dependence and his own sovereignty; and the actual grant of the Holy Spirit will be no more a violation of either, ihan was the revelation of the terms and the promise. Here, and in every other instance, that course which tends, from its own nature and direction, to secure the result, is the very one which God has revealed to be pursued, as the condition which renders it consistent for him to bestow his special grace. The rational use of appropriate instrumentalities by his children, as the constituted order of God's method of operation, is legible over the whole face of nature and the bible.
Every minister of the gospel, then, should go out to his great work of saving souls, and labor with a direct purpose and definite aim at this high object. Let him bring up all his energies, and lay them out here in their full action. Let him study, and pray, and preach, with single reference to this glorious result, and with holy resolution, make every thing bear directly upon it. Let bii appeal plainly, pointedly and pungently, to the heart and conscience. God has beforehand revealed this, as the very instrumentality which he can bless, not as a matter of debt, but of grace, and in harmony with his justice. In following out this process to the end, no one need fear running counter to any of God's prerogatives, putting works in the place of grace, or making human in