« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
holy desires, all gdod counsels, and all joss works do pwared.* That from him, 'all good things do come.' That 'without him^. nothing is strong, nothing is holy.' That * we cannot do anything that is good without Him.' That ' without him We are not able to please him.' Terms thus explicit fully acknowledge, nos, only that it is necessary to receive, but that we actually do receive divine assistance, arid consider it as the source of every thing good in conception and practice. Such acknowledgment we do not make in solemn addresses to Almighty God, without the. most perfect and entire assent of the heart to what the lips utter; Here then we are brought to the point. You now present yourselves with a wish and design to be authorised for officially serving God yourselves, and teaching others to worship and obey him as the gospel directs. You believe, and very frequently deelire the Spirit of God to be the author of all desires, and all counsels, which are holy and good. He must then be the author of your desire ahd counsel to officiate as Ministers in sacred duties, for the purpose of promoting his glory, and instructing his people in religious knowledge : for, no desire can be more holy, no counsel more deserve to be called good, than those which on this occasion po*; sess your minds. So that if you would speak consistently With the prayers of your Liturgy, if you would speak according to the sincerity with which you admit the substance, adopt the language, and openly repeat the words of those pravers, it will foHow as a natural and unavoidable consequence, not only that you winy, but in a moral and rational point of view, you must confess, that in the enlarged and general sense of the expression, you are moved to undertake the sacred ministry, by the Spirit of God: for, it is by him alone our hearts are in the. first instance inclined to begin, and then progressively led on to continue and accomplish every work, which may tendlo glorify the name of God."
This Charge will, we doubt not, be adopted by the Sotie'i ty for promoting Christian Knowledge, and be recommended by every bishop to the serious consideration of candidates for Holy Orders.
, . ■ "t "it b- ■ < ioSn ■
: -: - - -.-■•, ,ir l!,l—.Vm'ik
'••••; .' I"j! titn-.v mo*-' ■
The Testimony of the Spirit of God in the Faithful: A Sermon preached July if, id, and §d, 1807, dt the Visitation of the Rev. the Archdeacon of Berkshire, hy the Rev. Arthur Onslow, D. D. Dean of Worcester ana Archdeacon of Berkshire. 8vo, pp.«2. is. Rivingtons. ...,
AMONG the numerous passages in St. Paul's tvritihjrs^ none has been more perverted by enthusiasts than trie' «ne lelected as the text of this excellent discourse. ** The > , *t Spirit
*i 'Spirit itself beaxeth witness with our spirits that we are M the children of God.'* Rom. viii. 16.
After considering the extraordinary and ordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit, the learned archdeacon proceeds to clear the true scriptural doctrine of the Spirit's influence from the erroueous conceptions too commonly entertained concerning it
"Mankind," says he, " have fallen into two mistakes concerning the influence of God's Spirit, which though founded on the same false principle, are yet opposite to each other; and though oppo.
tite are equally dangerous, the one to religion, the other to morals.
hath pill away thy sin'; nor by the presumptuous assurance (has we are of the elect children of God. This might lead good men into despair through the want of such tokens, and others into a dangerous state of delusion from too bold a confidence. The Scriptures have no where given us a hope of receiving such a testimony. We are directed to ' go on to perfection'; experience shews us that the renovation of the heart and mind is effected by degrees; and discovers itself by a gradual progress and improvement in those graces and virtues which are declared in Scripture to be the fruits of the Spirit. This b a sure testimony of the Spirit of God in the faithful. It is the Spirit of God which beareth witness together with our Spirit; nuij.ee fii-^n 1» tmfuxn xyuci, ■that we are the children of God. The Spirit of God personally ■does not assure us of it, but the Spirit, in the fruits and effects of it, b the medium or argument, by which we may humbly hope, that we are in a state of grace. 'The tree b known by his fruits.'
"When therefore we endeavour to conform our minds to the rules of righteousness, and our actions to the principles of our minds; when, through faith in our Redeemer, we strive to perfect holiness in the fear of God, ' if our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God.' Eph. i. 13. Thb b St. John's rule, and comprehends both the evidences contained in the text. The heart judges both of our inward and outward obedience. If therefore our hearts condemn us not, we have the evidence o£ 'both spirits j which gives a well grounded hope of salvation.
On the sealing ofthe Spirit, and the comfort thence arising, we have the following judicious and truly evangelical exposition:
"The fruits of the Spirit are also called in Scripture God's seal. 1 Johniii.'21. The Ephesians are said to be * sealed with ^he Holy Spirit of promise.'
"The Apostle here alludes to thecustom of men who affix their seals to those things which they esteem and set apart for their own. And thus the fruits of the spirit are said to be God's seal, because they are a proof that the sanctifying Spirit of God hath produced a veal renovating change in our hearts and lives, and renders us meet and fit for the heavenly inheritance.
*'' The Christian's comfort can be drawn only from this source. St. faul argues to this effect. 'Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, we have had our conversation in this world.' (2 Cor. i. 12.) The apostle's mind became full of joy and comfort from the testimony of his own conscience. This is a powerful instance of the Spirit of God, by the fruits and effects of it, witnessing with St. Paul's spirit, that he was in a state of savour with she Almighty. This sure foundation of comfort the apostle exhorts others to rest on. The Galatians are directed to prove their own work. 'Let every man prove his own work, and then he 4 shall have rejoicing in himself.' (Gal. vii. 4.) Kut this rejoicing, though it be within oursalves, yet is not of and from ourselves, but it is the effect of the grace of God, to whom the glory of all redounds. We employ our reason and understanding in considering those grounds of comfort which the Spirit of God hath wrought within us, and from them humbly hope that we are the Sons of God. St. Paul tells us we • are heirs through hope;' and in another place we ' are saved by hope;' but hope is not certainty. A full assurance of salvation therefore is not to be claimed even by the best of Christians. As long as we live in this world, we live in> the midst of combat with the adversaries of our souls, the devil, the world, and the flesh. It behoves us therefore to watch and pray that we enter not into temptation. Let us not however lis* ten to those doctrines, which teach us that w« are not to seek consolation from within ourselves, or that we are not to draw con> fort from the spirit of grace within us, and from iht happy reflect tion, that we have endeavoured to keep the covenant of God, ami to walk in his ways. We do not hereby despise the free grace of God, or proudly extol our own' righteousness. God forbid, that we should do so. Our obedience to the commands of God; our observance of the duties enjoined, which in the best of men must be very imperfect, can never be the meritorious cause of our satvation. The only meritorious cause is the obedience, death, and sufferings of our Redeemer. It is through his merits alone, that our imperfect endeavours after righteousness will be accepted. Our faith is indeed perfected by good works; but good work* are not perfected without faith. It may therefore be asserted, that we are justified by faith alone, but still that good works are an essential condition of the Gospel covenant. Nor is it from our own power and strength only that we are enabled to act righteously; but it is the power and assistance of the Spirit of God, which worketh in us both to will and to do. To think otherwise would be vainly to glory in our own strength, and to deprive God of the honour and glory due to him.
"But to derive hopes of happiness, from a conipiousness, that trusting in the merits of our Redeemer, we have endeavoured to perfect holiness in the fear of God, is not only right in itself, but is also our bounden duty. s
"In this,case, the Spirit of God will bear witness with our spirits, that we are the sons of God, since it is the. office of the Holy Ghost to assure us of the adoption of sons, to create in us a sense of the paternal love of God towards us, and to give us an earnest of our everlasting inheritance. The surest indication which A Christian can give of his possessing divine assistance, is to have faith in Christ, accompanied with obedience to his commands.
f( The nearer we approach to perfection in these, the stronger will be the testimony of the Holy Spirit within us.
•* Thus the witness of the spirit appears to be a rational and sober testimony, and not enthusiasm. It is not any secret inspiration or assurance conveyed to the mind of the faithful, but it is the evidence of works, such as by the spirit we perform. Such a proper apprehension of the influence of the Holy Spirit will be of great use to settle the minds of many good and well-meaning Christians, and to prevent them from being deluded and perplexed by false and unwarrantable doctrines."
We have been thus large in our extracts, on account of the importance of the subject, and the excellence of the sermon itself, which we sincerely recommend to our readers, and wish that it may be universally read by all who are called by the Christian name, as a valuable preservative against the poison of sceptical inthrTerence and the dejusiops, oT fanaticism.
The Claims of the Establishment. A Strmon, preached Augujl 30,1807, at Croydon, in Surrey. By John Ireland, D. D. Prebendary of Wcjlminjler and Vicar of Croydon. 8vo. pp. 26. is. Hatchard.
THIS is an able disquisition on the nature of government, the principles of our constitution, and on the due rights and limits of religious toleration. The claims of the Romanists to a participation of political power are combated with vigorous arguments, and shewn to be not only injurious to the established church, but to the prerogative of the Sovereign, and the authority of our government.
." The rights of civil dominioh are plenary. Gn this truth our constitution and its laws are founded; nor do they allow any subtraction of obedience, much less the alienation of any*portion of domestic service (whether spiritual or temporal) to a foreign sovereign. But the case of the Catholic is confessedly of this'description. His submission therefore being partial, his privileges cannot remain entire.
"Our church also is connected with the state, and both are fast bound to the throne. But the Catholic denial of the supremacy affects our temporal together with our spiritual concerns.