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produced without the agency of the subject, I will show him how they can exist without the agency of the Spirit: or if he will show me what regeneration is without them, or antecedent to them, I will show him, where they may be found without regeneration ! Most plainly does this grand initiating process coincide with the active powers of the subject, the accountability of the dead," and the laws of ihe eternal kingdom.” p. 26.
When we look at the actual process in a sinner's conversion, we are met through the whole course, with the very opposite of passivity. We admit indeed that God always arrests the attention of the sinner, or awakens him by his own act. This is done by his word, his providence, or bis Spirit, or by all combined, when the sinner intends it not, but when the eventful time has come, at which God designs his conversion. The thoughts are arrested. A gleam of light, before unseen, flashes across the sinner's path, and his eye is fixed on eternity. His heavy ear, all at once, hears that God is just ; and his heart begins to feel. In the beginning of this, it cannot be denied that the sinner is passive in this sense, that he had no intention of then making an effort; and that it is because God chooses that he should then be awakened, and with that intent fixes the eye upon him, and proposes
proper means, that he fears and trembles and inquires.
But is this trembling sinner passive under his convictions? Does he then sit down, and sold his arms, and float upon the stream, as this propitious breeze wafts him onward? They who know any thing of the workings of a sinner's inind before conversion, knew that in all the records of moral doings, there is not a state of higher action, or more set and determined efforts of moral agency, than then. No other struggle can be like this between conscience and law; between selfishness and a sense of danger; between hatred and a conviction of duty. Nor at any moment is there a cessation. Till that auspicious period arrives when the soul submits itself to God, the contest goes on; nor is there at any stage peace or passivity. Who has ever heard of a man converted when he was unconscious ? Who is changed in sleep? Who, in delirium? Who, when all the faculties are gone, in old age ?
In that moment when the heart is changed, what is the fact in regard to activity? They who have watched this change in themselves or in others, know that no period of their lives, was ever farther from passivity. Exhausted in the fruitless effort to save himself, in his struggles in opposing God; convinced that if this contest continues he must die; overwhelmed by the increasing prospect of perdition, and sinking under the terrific conflict with law, and conscience, and God, the sinner resolves to submit-to renounce his idols, to cast himself upon the mere mercy of God, to be saved or lost at his will. No act of life is more deliberate than this. None is ever more the subject of purpose, and thought.
None calls forth more of the active powers. He submits ; he believes; he loves; and peace like the light of the morning comes into the soul, and pardon and joy descend, like the dews of Hermon. His eyes are opened on the splendors of a new world; and he resolves that the glories of that new discovered state, shall be his portion, and the crown of life, his aim, and his sufficient reward.
Now, is there ever any process of mind more active than this? The drunkard becomes a sober man, and does it actively, of choice. But is he more active in doing it, than the sinner in turning to God? The sinner leaves his profaneness by deliberate activity ; but is he more active than the penitent in returning to God? The licentious man resolves to become chaste, but does he do it with a greater struggle than the sinner in coming to Jesus? In all these there are similar operations—a similar purpose—and similar results. Why say that the one is active, and the other a mere passive reception of a conferred favor?
4. If man is not active in this change, then there is no active power in it, but that of God. Then God believes for us; God repents for us; God loves, hopes, fears, and obeys for us. Then God, in the most important work of religion, is the only active agent—the very error held by Spinoza. If so, what a mockery is it to talk of rewards, and moral government, and promises, and obligations. Then the sinner Inight sink down into guiltless slumbers, and "wait patiently his appointed time till” his moral change come,” and then receive the mis-named rewards when they shall be sent. But who is prepared to believe this? Then too it is absurd to talk of obligation. If God converts a man by mere physical action, as he rears a tree, then man should be treated as a tree, and not as a moral agent. If he gives light to the darkened mind as he does to the world through the agency of the sun, then the sinner should sit “ in dim eclipse, or in disastrous twilight," till God send down the rays of morning into his soul.
The conclusion which we draw from this view of the subject, is that the soul is active in all the stages of its great transition from death to life :—and that God in some way unknown to us, yet in consistency with our active powers, controls the faculties of men, so as to secure the result. He does not compel me to believe, nor does he believe for me. He secures my believing, in consistency with my own freedom. He makes it certain, when he intends the conversion of a sinner, that he will be converted. He presides over the soul, presents motives, acts upon the native susceptibilities, and infallibly secures the result by direct agency, while at the same time, the man acts. Every one who has passed through this change knows that it was he himself who felt, struggled, compared motives, and finally yielded. He believed. He repented,
and he shall receive the appropriate rewards of grace. He takes no credit to himself; but from the beginning acknowledges the agency of God in converting him; sees the good hand of Him that saved him from self-destruction; and feels that God is “first and last and midst,” in all his good resolutions, his peaceful feelings, his glad anticipations and his
eternal rewards. If it be objected to the view we have given, that it appears to infringe on the doctrine of election, we answer, that, the discussions relates not to the persons on whom God chooses to confer his favors, but to the mode in which those who are thus favored, are actually brought to be “partakers of the inheritance of the saints.” We, in common with our opponents, refer the change in question to the special influence of the Holy Spirit. In the counsels of divine wisdom, those are selected from eternity, to whom that influence will be imparted. Those who are passed by, having the requisite power as moral beings, for the discharge of their duty, have no reason to complain if God makes others" willing in the day of his power," while they are left to pursue their own course. This is the doctrine of election, as inculcated in the scriptures. But what is that doctrine, on the theory of our opponents? That a part of mankind are taken to eternal life, in consequence of a change of heart, in which they had no share. That the remainder sink to hell, for wanting that which did not depend upon themselves—for wanting “a holy principle” distinct from, and independent of, any act of their own—and for wanting that influence of God, by which such a principle is created in the breast of the redeemed! With exactly the same justice might any man be condemned to perdition for wanting talents, beauty or wealth. These are the representations of the doctrine of election, which have made it so odious in many parts of onr land. Every principle of man's nature rises up against such statements. They make the whole system of the doctrines of grace, a loathing and an abhorrence to thousands. They steel the hearts of multitudes against the influence of divine truth. Other multitudes they place in the attitude of passive recipients, waiting for some mysterious gift distinct from their own agency. With entire respect, and with personal affection for many who make these statements, we are compelled to say, that, in our view, they take upon themselves a tremendous responsibility in so doing. Woe to that minister of God, who, in His name, proclaims to men to wait in the solemn duties of their souls, for the expected aid of the Almighty, or to delay the effort for repentance,
till He shall send them new powers or principles of action, from on high. In all the oracles of truth, not one such direction is found. The universal command blazes forth from the book of God, with the claim, under the penalty of eternal destruction, for immediate obedience; “repent, and believe,” or die forever. Nor
may men speak another language. When they, as messengers of God, address immortal beings who are perishing in sin, they have but one message, and one solemn injunction, to reiterate in varied forms, till the soul submits to its offended Sovereign. Even while the message falls from the lips of the preacher, life ebbs away, and the day of doom draweth nigh. The hour rolls on, when all the living shall die; and when all the dead shall come to judgment. To proclaimn delay, in form or in fact, by any perversion of the message that shall induce that delay, is treason to the Almighty; and they who make such proclamation in the name of the King of Zion, should fear lest the heavens gather blackness over their heads, and ten thousand horrors cling to their feet, and beset their paths, as they see sinners sinking to perdition through their unfaithfulness.
Art. XII.-ON THE SYSTEM OF INSTRUCTION IN THE FELLEN
BERG ESTABLISHMENT AT HOFWYL.
My Dear Friend,-In my last letter, I gave you some account of Hofwyl, as it appears to a visitor. Among the first questions, he naturally asks, What method of instruction is pursued at this celebrated institution? To this it must be replied, There are principles peculiar to Hofwyl; but the methods of teaching are as various as the subjects taught, and the individuals under instruction. He will be told that Hoswyl is designed to be a place of education; and that instruction is regarded as one of the means for the attainment of this great object, rather than the end in view.
I know not that I can better exhibit the leading principles on which this education is conducted, than by contrasting it with the plans which have been adopted by different classes of educators, for you must allow me to employ a word which we want in our language. Some propose as the object of all their efforts, to communicate as much positive knowledge as possible; and if they find a favorable subject for their system, would produce in their pupil a kind of living encyclopedia. Others perceiving how little all this avails to prepare men for active life and usefulness, direct their attention almost exclusively to matters of a practical nature; but they are in danger of forming mere mechanical instruments, of which others may avail themselves in accomplishing their good or their evil designs. Others still perceive, that both these plans fail in giving a man influence in the world; and seek to supply this defect, in the most obvious and easy manner, by attending chiefly to exterior habits and accomplishments. They only produce a race
of ephemerides, who may attract admiration, but whose memory and whose influence are limited to the moments when they are present.
Each of these systems is obviously imperfect-and those who are suitably impressed with the importance of the moral faculties and the future destiny of man, lament most deeply the utter neglect of these essential points, in the systems I have described. But in seeking to avoid this error, they sometimes run into another. Sufficient care is not taken to adapt the nature and amount of moral nutriment, to the age and capacity of the child. His intellect is occupied, his memory is loaded with moral maxims and technical theology, instead of simple living truth; and his mind is often wearied, and his habits of sincerity endangered, by being called upon to perform or participate in protracted devotional exercises, to which neither his state of mind nor of body allow him to attend with profit. By some even the treasures of science and the beauties of nature -and art are neglected, and perhaps even treated as dangerous instruments of fostering pride, and cherishing an undue attachment to earthly things. All that thirst for general knowledge, all that love of beauty in the objects of taste, which the Creator himself has implanted, is extinguished or left to expire; and the intellect is suffered to languish for want of that variety of objects necessary to the exercise and developement of its noble, its wonderful faculties. such an education, one may indeed be prepared for heaven, but he will be utterly unfit for the duties, and struggles, and trials of his previous course on earth.
In each of these methods some portion of the compound nature of man, and of the various relations he sustains to this world and to another, is neglected. In all of them, it seems to be entirely forgotten, that the body also requires an education which shall render it capable of fulfilling its important destination, as an instrument of the soul, and the medium of its influence on others; instead of impeding its developement or restraining its activity by its weakness, or degrading it by the predominance of sensation and passion. The jewel is carefully polished, but the casket in which it is preserved, is treated with neglect or contempt. The moving power is accumulated to the highest point, but the wheels and levers by which it is to act, are left to arrage themselves almost by chance, and it is not the fault of the educator if explosion and ruin do not follow.
The founder of Hofwyl proposes a nobler and more extended view for the direction of his institution.
It is to develope all the faculties of our nature, physical, intellectual and moral, and to endeavor to train and unite them into one harmonious system, which shall form the most perfect character of