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The following observation was intended to be added to the Latin quotation from Turretine in pages 255 and 256.
If man's inability to do what is spiritually good were only moral in the sense now explained, then we might admit the Pelagian opinion, that no other cause is necessary to saving conversion than moral suasion. The Arminian scheme is, at bottom, much the same with the Pelagian: for whatever internal work of the Spirit they acknowledge, they still insist that it has no other effect, with regard to the will, than that of persuasion; the will, according to them, having sufficient ability to choose what is spiritually good. Nay, some professed Cal vinists, such as John Cameron, who taught divinity at Saumur in France in the first part of the 17th century, and his followers, seem to have gone into the same opinion. For, though they allow the work of the Spirit to be always victorious in the case of the elect, yet they ascribe the whole success of it to a high degree of moral suasion. But the Reformers in the 16th century, and such as adhere to their doctrine, acquiescing in the simplicity of the scripture on this head, maintained, that, in order to conversion a real creation is necessary, though not of the substance of the soul, yet of those gracious habits and dispositions, without which it is as incapable of acts spiritually good, as a dead body is of performing the actions of a living man. This new creation extends to all the faculties of the soul, on account of the total corruption of our nature. Such is the doctrine of the tenth of the thirty-nine articles of the church of England. “The condition of man after the fall of Adam is, "that he cannot turn or prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God. "Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and "acceptable to God,-without the grace of God by Christ pre"venting us, that we may have a good will,-and working with us, when we have that good will." To the same purpose in the ninth chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith, it is declared, that "Manby his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly "lost LAL ABILITYOF WILL to any spiritual good accompa "nying salvation: so as a natural man, being altogether averse "from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength, "to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto."
Among many instances, which might be given, of the truth of the remark at the foot of page 12, the following testimony of Mr. William Cowper, the author of The Task and other celebrated poetical compositions, is here added, as recent and striking. It is taken from some Letters published in the account of his life by Mr. Hayley, vol. 1st, p. 52, 60, 62 "I think Mr. Hervey one of the most scriptural writers in: the world."
Marshal is an old acquaintance of mine; I have both read him and heard him read with pleasure ad edification. The doctrines he maintains are, under the influence of the Spirit of Christ, the very life of my soul, and the soul of all my happiness; that Jesus is a present Saviour from the guilt of sin by his most precious blood, and from the power of it by his Spirit; that corrupt and wretched in ourselves, in Him, and in Him only, we are complete; that being united to Jesus by a lively fath, we have a solid and eternal interest in his obedience and sufferings, to justify us before the face of our heavenly Father, and that all this inestimable treasure, the earnest of which is in grace, and its consummation in glory, is given, freely given to us of God; in short, that he hath opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. These are the truths, which, by the grace of God, shall ever be dearer to me than life itself; shall ever be placed next my heart as the throne whereon the Saviour himself shall sit, to sway all its motions, and reduce that world of iniquity and rebellion to a state of filial and affectionate obedience to the will of the most Holy.
"These, my dear cousin, are the truths to which by nature we are enemies they debase the sinner, and exalt the Saviour to`a degree which the pride of our hearts (till almighty grace sube dues them) is determined never to allow. May the Almighty reveal his Son in our hearts continually more and more, and teach us to increase in love towards him continually, for having given us the unspeakable riches of Christ."
"I think Marshal one of the best writers, and the most spiritual expositor of Scripture, I ever read. I admire the strength of his argument, and the clearness of his reasonings upon those parts of our most holy religion, which are generally least understood (even by real Christians) as master-pieces of the kind. His section upon the union of the soul with Christ, is an instance of what I mean, in which he has spoken of a most mysterious truth with admirable perspicuity, and with great good-sense, making it all the while subservient to his main purport of proving holiaess to be the fruit and effect of faith.
I subjoin thus much upon that author, because though you desired my opinion of him, I remember that in my last, I rather left you to find it out by inference, than expressed it as I ought to have done. I never met with a man who understood the plan of salvation better, or was more happy in explaining it."
To this testimony the following extract from p. 179 of the 2d vol. of Mr. Hayley's work, adds weight.-" Few ministers of the gospel have searched the scripture more diligently than Cowper; and in his days of health, with a happier effect; for a spirit of evangelical kindness and purity pervaded the whole tenor of his language and all the conduct of his life."
END OF THE LETTERS.
STONE ROLLED AWAY;
THE HAPPY ISSUE
-ABOUT HIS DIFFICULTIES;
PREACHED BEFORE THE CELEBRATION
OF THE LORD'S SUPPER.
BY THE REV. JOHN ANDERSON.
Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the glory of God.
John xii. 40.
FROM THE ECCLESIASTICAL AND LITERARY
PRESS OF ZADOK CRAMER.
THIS discourse was delivered several years ago on Saturday before the celebration of the Lord's supper, in Chartiers. Some Christian friends expressed a desire of its publication. It is added here as, in some measure, a practical improvement of the doctrine vindicated in the preceding letters.
STONE ROLLED AWAY, &c.
MARK XVI. 3, 4.
And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre ? and when they looked, they saw, that the stone was rolled away, for it was very great.
THE diligence of these women in seeking Jesus, was undoubtedly a pattern for our imitation. No doubt, the circumstance of the women's inquiry about the stone, which had been rolled to the door of the sepul chre, served to corroborate their testimony concerning our Lord's resurrection; as it shews that in this matter, they had no collusion with others; since they would have had no occasion for their anxiety; if they had known it as a matter agreed on, that the stone would be rolled away by the disciples or some others. But what we have in view at present, is their anxious concern, and exercise, about the difficulty of getting the stone rolled away, and the happy issue of their coming to the sepulchre in finding it removed. These particulars bear a manifest analogy or resemblance to the experience of those who are sincerely seeking the Lord Jesus in his ordinances. Therefore, we take occasion from the words now read, to offer the two following observations.
1st. True Christians are distinguished by their exereise about the bars in the way of their attaining commu nion with Christ.
2dly. While Christians are sincerely essaying to go forward in the path of duty, they find their difficulties gradually removed; " And when they looked they saw that the stone was rolled away.”