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and fully adapted to the ends which were contemplated by Him who gave it. With the greatest justice we may say of it with the Psalmist: “ The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever : the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous alto
The word of God contains a full discovery of all God's intentions, and therefore can neither require nor admit of addition. Its evidence is in itself, and in those external testimonies by which it is proved to be from God; and were we to admit that it is obscure on the great subject of man's salvation, we should be guilty of impeaching either the wisdom or the goodness of God. The wisdom of God, because he could not make that intelligible which he meant should be understood; or the goodness of God, in proposing to give a revelation, which, after all, his creatures cannot understand.
The incautious manner in which men have spoken of the testimony of God as a dead letter,+ and of the Spirit's influence being necessary to make that clear which is otherwise dark and unintelligible, has generated many errors and evils. It has occasioned a disrespectful and degrading
* Psalm xix. 7-9.
+ See Note [N].
view of the Scriptures—it has lessened the desire of studying them and it has detached the heavenly agent from the great instrument which he always employs in his work of illuminating and sanctifying the soul.
How differently do the apostles speak of the Gospel! They represent it as the power and the wisdom of God for the salvation of men. They speak of the weapons of their warfare being mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, and the destruction of all the proud reasonings of the natural mind.* They stated it in all its native simplicity, they addressed it in all its power to every man's conscience, and by a manifestation of its truth, they sought to commend themselves as the servants of God, and the faithful friends of men. They felt no hesitation in denouncing the sentence of condemnation upon every individual who listened to their doctrine, if he did not receive and obey it. This they could not have done, if something more had been necessary to enable men to understand their message, or to constitute their criminality in rejecting it.
We may fearlessly ask every unbeliever to say, whether he rejects the truth, from the deficiency of its statements, or its want of evidence, or its obscurity. We know that he does not neglect, or disregard it on any, or all of these accounts. And we are assured, that it is its perfection in all these respects, that constitutes the high aggravation of
* 2 Cor. x. 4.
his offence in not believing on the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The necessity of the Spirit's agency, in fact, has nothing to do with the imperfections of revelation, any more than it has to do with the insufficiency of the atonement. Its operation is not upon the word, but by, or along with it. The word is the Spirits sword, and that sword is “sharp and two-edged; piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."* It is the Spirit's hammer, and the Spirit's fire, by which it breaks and consumes all that is opposed to its own nature. It is the Spirit's life-giving law, by which it quickens the dead, enlightens the ignorant, comforts the sorrowful, and purifies the unclean. It is the Spirit's mould in which it fashions the sinner according to the divine image, and fits him for happiness, for glory, and for God.ş
3. In the third place, the influence of the Spirit does not imply a deficiency in man's natural faculties, nor is it intended to supply any defect or imperfection of this nature. We have no reason to think that the fall of our first parents occasioned to themselves, or to their descendants, the loss of any natural power which they at first received from God. The faculties of perception, memory, judgment, volition, &c. all in short that constituted
# Heb. iv. 12.
+ Jer. xxiii, 29. s Rom. vi. 17.
the natural soul of man, remain. I do not say they remain what they were; but they are in such a state as to constitute the accountability of the creature, who possesses them; and to which all external means are still adapted. No original power or faculty has been lost; though that they have all been damaged cannot be doubted. As our physical nature has been injured by the introduction of evil, our mental or intellectual powers must have suffered in the general wreck.
That injury, I conceive is chiefly to be found in the disorder, which has been introduced among them, and in the wrong bias or direction which they ha all received. The understanding was formerly the master principle of the soul-it was lighted up by God, and while under the power of the discoveries which he made of himself and of his will, it guided and influenced all the other powers and dispositions of the mind. The light which was then in man was clear and perfect; consequently all was in beautiful harmony and keeping; what the judgment dictated the will approved, and all the faculties obeyed.
A great revolution has occurred. The understanding of man is now under the power of his affections, and these being perverted and depraved, all is now subject to a wrong direction; and hence the little impression which is made by truth, when it opposes the inclinations and desires of the sinner. Having eyes, he sees not; the light is too painful to behold, and therefore he shuts them. Having ears, he hears not; the subject is one that excites conviction and fear,
and therefore he excludes it. Having a heart to understand he believes not, because the glorious Gospel of Christ wages war with all the evil propensities of his nature, and requires a conversion.*
In this way we can easily account for the failure of the great statements of Christianity, when presented to depraved creatures, without admitting any natural defect. On the minds of angels they produce, unaided by any influence, their full impression. They shine upon their hearts in all the perfection of their glory, and effect the most delightful results. The reason is obvious; in them there is no opposing principle. It is not necessary for their happiness, to consider them untrue; but on the contrary, in their truth, and their designed effects, they are furnished with new grounds of adoring satisfaction and joy. But man, for whom the whole scheme has been chiefly designed, sees nothing of glory or loveliness in it; but much which he persuades himself to think is unworthy of his regard, and deserving of his dislike.
This, it must be obvious, constitutes his criminality before God. His moral antipathies are unreasonable and wicked. His carnal mind is enmity against God; it is not therefore subject to the law of God ; nor indeed can be. But as he will not be allowed to plead his hatred against God, as a justification of his disobedience,-he cannot be allowed to excuse his rejection of the Gospel because he dislikes its truths. On the
* See Note [O].