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inflammation of the stomach. The organ through which the whole system is affected, is so diseased, that constantly rejects the medicine which is necessary to the cure.
So long as this is the case, deliverance is impossible. The organ itself must be regenerated, before the patient can experience the benefit of the suitable remedy. Such is the office of the Spirit, and its operation in the economy of redemptiou. It influences the mind, disposing it to receive the proffered benefit, which cannot be brought to operate upon it, without producing health, and pardon, and immortal life.
Note [S]. p. 78.
The observations on the distinct provinces of the word and Spirit of God, in the regeneration and conversion of men, are in unison with the following extract from the work of Dr. Williams, which I shall first quote, and then offer a few observations on them :
“ From what has been said, we may see in what sense the commonly received expressions, that the word of truth is the instrument of conveying grace to the soul, or, that the Spirit never works without the word in renewing the mind, &c. are to be consistently understood : and in what sense also those passages of Scripture are to be taken, where a saving change is expressed, sometimes without, and at others in connexion with the word. Spiritual perceptions of truth are by means of the word of truth, but the light of God in the soul, where. by it is capacitated to perceive it, must be in a direct and immediate manner from the Father of lights. The thing perceived, and the qualification for perceiving it, are not to be
confounded. The new man, consisting of new perceptions, judgments, passions, and exercises, is begotten by the sovereign will of God, in union with the word of truth. And even a divine nature, in sense, is produced by the promises in the same way. For what is the nature of God but love? Now to possess and improve a divine nature, in this sense, or the outflowings of love to God and man, we must contemplate and receive the promises in the light of God. By faith we receive them, and are transformed by them. The glory of the Lord shines in the Gospel objectively; and the believing soul is changed into the divine image, from glory to glory. But this is done, not merely by the object contemplated, but also by the Spirit of the Lord. And that Spirit exists, not in the word but in the mind. This proposition, 'God is Love,' contains a glorious truth; but it is no more seen in its own light, than any other truth, however common. God, indeed, is seen in his own light, as the sun is; but the light by which we see the proposition to be a glorious truth proceeds not from the declaration concerning God: nor yet does it enter with the proposition; for all illumination of the Spirit is from within, not from without. Light in the mind, as an operation of the Spirit, is not a stream which has flowed from an objective truth, but a light created in the soul, by which it is enabled to perceive, in a spiritual manner, that God is love, that Christ is an able and willing Saviour, that the Gospel is a bright and glorious dispensation of mercy, &c. This is beautifully expressed by the Apostle Paul, (2 Cor. iv. 6.) • For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.' Here is included, not only the light of knowledge of the divine glory, but also the light of God shining in the heart; from which, in connexion with its object, all spiritual knowledge takes its rise.
Some, while endeavouring to exalt the divine word, and to shew its importance in effecting a saving change in the soul, have greatly, though not intentionally, misrepresented the nature of the Spirits operation, and thereby dishonoured him. I fear this is a growing error in many of our pulpits and societies. When Christ says that his words are spirit and life, he cannot surely mean that his words are the Holy Spirit and the Life of God; but ratlier that they treat of spiritual and living realities, and are adapted to nourish and invigorate grace, which is a spiritual and living principle. Some have compared the entrance of truth into the mind, to a candle entering a room, when the candle and the light enter together; to the exclusion of all other illumination. But this is an erroneous representation; and the error consists in making the word, (though compared to a light, a lamp, &c. because of the glorious truths it states, and their use to us in the present state of things) to be the work of the Spirit, and in thus making the Spirit enter the mind in the manner of objective truth. It represents the Spirit's light as coming into the soul from without, either blended with or accompanying the word, rather than as created in the soul. The sacred oracles are indeed as ' a light shining in a dark place;' and this light "shines into the hearts' of some : but this could never take place without another influence proceeding from the Spirit of God, capacitating the heart to understand the glorious Gospel, which is only objective truth. Let us give to the Scriptures the things that are theirs, and to the blessed Spirit the things that are his. “The spirit of man is the candle (or lamp) of the Lord ;' (Prov. xx. 27.) but the Spirit of the Lord must light it, for spiritual purposes.
And in this respect, the words of the Psalmist, (Ps. xviii. 28.) are strictly applicable;
Thou wilt light my candle; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.'”– Williamson Equity and Sovereignty, pp. 413--415.
I fully agree with Dr. Williams, that “the capacity to perceive spiritual light must be in a direct or immediate manner from the Father of lights.” But when he speaks of that capacity as “ the light of God in the soul,” and objects to the Spirit's light as coming from without, I think he uses incorrect language. The Spirit's influence upon the faculties of the mind, does not impart light, but the capability of using it. If an object that may be seen is not perceived, it must be either from a deficiency of light, or from the weakness of the visual organ. In the one case you must increase the light, in the other improve the sight. In both cases the object itself remains unaffected, the change takes place on the medium or the organ. All light to man in the things of God must be from without him, and derived from the objective revelation of God. The Spirit's influence upon the soul resembles the operator's efforts upon the eye--it does not give light, but the power to behold it. “The light by which we are enabled to perceive that God is love,” is not, according to Dr. Wil.
a light created in the soul,” but a light presented to the soul; the faculty which perceives, being under a special influence from God. Properly speaking, the influence of the Spirit does not produce by itself light, or love, or faith, or hope; but a state of mind from which these effects arise, when it is brought into contact with the word or testimony of God.
While I agree with Dr. Williams, that the influence of the Spirit is exerted directly on the mind in regeneration, I hesitate to adopt his language about physical operation, though he says, s physical in this connexion denotes positive energy producing its effect without the intervention of the intellect and will of the agent.” He does not contend for a
“pbysical influence changing the physical powers of the soul, but superinducing a new nature, or a principle of spiritual life and action.” This language, however explained, is calculated to
mislead. Physical operations, or operations on our physical powers, invariably suggest ideas different from those which seem to belong to the work of God in the soul of man. I do not think, with Dr. Owen, that in the regeneration of a sinner, the same kind of power is exerted with that wbich raised Christ from the dead. Owen, using the same phraseology with Dr. Williams, says: “ There is not only a moral but a physical immediate operation of the Spirit by his power and grace, or his powerful grace upon the minds or souls of men in their regeneration. This is that which we must cleave to, or all the glory of God's grace is lost, and the grace administered by Christ neglected. The nature of this operation or efficiency is declared to be of the same kind with that which was exerted in the raising of Christ from the dead, And this was by a real physical efficiency of divine power. The Spirit of God works internally, immediately, efficiently, in and upon the minds of men in their regeneration.”-Owen on the Holy Spirit. Works, vol. ii. pp. 368, 369.
Dr. Hopkins, of America, proceeds on some of the same grounds; but represents this physical operation as exerted not upon the understanding, but upon the heart or will, which he thinks is properly the only seat of moral depravity. “The divine operation in regeneration,” he says, " of which the new heart is the effect, is immediate, or is not wrought by the energy of any means as the cause of it; but by the immediate power and energy of the Holy Spirit. It is called a creation; and the divine agency in it is as much without any medium, as in creating something from nothing. Men are not regenerated in the sense in which we are now considering regeneration, hy light or the word of God. There must be a discerning heart, which is the same with a new heart, in order to see the light; and therefore this cannot be produced by light. The evil eye, which shuts out all the light, cannot be cured, and made a single eye, by seeing the light: and