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arrows of conviction were fastened deep in her soul, and with a heart bruised and broken, she betook herself to the mercy seat of Jehovah. The Saviour smiled upon her, and spake peace to her troubled spirit. She became a new creature.
“Her tongue broke out in unknownstrains, And sung surprising grace.”
At first, however, the kingdom of Heaven within her, was only a grain of mustard seed. The evidence of her acceptance with God was so indistinct that she trembled much while she sweetly hoped. She feared deception. She searched the Scriptures, examined her own heart, and communed with God. By these means, as her knowledge of Christian experience increased, her faith and hope became firmer and stronger. Indeed her path was as the shining light which shineth more aud more unto the perfect day. In the summer of 1816, at the age of seventeen years, she made a public profession of the religion of Jesus. From this time, especially, she began to put on the whole armour of God; and though she was sanctified but in part, and had frequent occasion to mourn over the imperfection that still cleaved to her, yet there appeared a happy consistency between her general character, and her christian profession and hopes. She was a diligent reader of the Scriptures, and of the best Theological writings, and previous to her marriage to the Rev. Mr. Sprague, in the autumn of 1820, she became a proficient in the modern sciences of Chemistry, Botany, and Mineralogy. Her literary taste was also highly cultivated and improved by various reading. Her introduction by marriage to a station of peculiar responsibility, seemed to awaken into action all her religious feelings. She entered upon her course of life with high hopes indeed, but her ambition was chastened and restrained by the power of religion. The importance of the station which she was now called to occupy,
seemed to lie with singular weight upon her mind. She commited her way unto the Lord and his grace was her support. Her husband found in her all that he could desire in a companion for life, while his people re. joiced with him, and respected and loved the friend of his choice. That delicate sense of propriety for which she was distinguished, her affectionate hospitality and kindness, the remarkable union of gentleness and firmness in her whole character, her singular. prudence, the constancy of all her feelings, and the increasing ardour of her religious affections, could not fail to secure the strongest attachment of the Society with which she was connected. She was an help meet for him who was to break to that people the bread of life. There was every thing which the most happy connection with an affectionate people could present, to encourage them with the hope of extended usefulness and happiness in the world. But alas, it was only a painted vision. That God who had fixed the measure of their days, by a mysterious stroke, put his hand upon this frail child of mortality, and the grass withered; the flower fell. She suddenly expired amid the tears and prayers of a beloved people, in the embraces of a weeping, widowed mother, and under the parting, prayerful sigh of a bereaved companion, whom she loved as her own soul, leaving an infant child to the protection of the orphan's God. Oh, my soul, what a heart-rending scene of separation was that In that moment, what a wide field of promise was overspread with the shadow of death ! Yet the Saviour was there with his everlasting arms of mercy. He suppressed every murmur. He granted her uncommon patience in her last painful sufferings, and sustained her by his grace in the dying hour. She trusted in the Lord as her portion forever. He, as a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, seemed to stand over her bed of death, saying, “Sleep, O beloved I am the Resurrection and the Life ; he that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he lire.” Mourner! Read this divine promise, full of immortality, as it is ; and then wipe away all tears from your eyes. It was better for her to depart. Be silent and open not your mouth because God hath done it. B. N.
For the Christian Spectator. Upon the term, Carnal Mind.
A correct exposition of the Bible is preeminently important. In that book are contained those laws by which we are required to regulate our hearts and actions, and that system of doctrine and evangelical experience, by which the penalties of the violated law may be averted, and a blessed immortality secured. It is an infelicity attendant upon preaching the doctrines of the Bible, that our hearers are apt to regard them as matters of our own opinion, and not as the declarations of the living God. To remedy an evil of this kind, if it has existed, we have felt it important, instead of setting forth a doctrine to be proved, to assume, sometimes, the office of commentator, and by a fair exposition of terms, to bring the Bible to speak for itself on the great points of primary concern. It will be the object of the present dissertation to explain the phrase, “ carnal mind.” It is obvious that by the carnal rnind more is intended than the amimal appetites, or the indulgence of them. These appetites, cannot properly be called mind, or be clothed with moral qualities, denominated enmity against God, or be denied the possibility of subjection to the law. Nor can this be true of the mere gratification of these appetites, for this may by self denial, be brought within the limits of the revealed rules of temperance. Nor are we to understand by the rarnal mind, merely those lusts of the
heart which terminate on animal gratification as their object. These
are styled the lust of concupiscence in which the Gentiles walked, which are to be subdued by the mortification of our members. These lusts of the heart are indeed lusts of the flesh from their relation to animal indulgence, but they are also denominated lusts of the flesh, as being the specific exercises of a general principle of depravity, which is called the flesh. That there is a more general principle of depravity called the carnal mind, is certain from the fact that those evil exercises of the heart which have no relation to animalism, are described as the effects of this general principle denominated the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest: idolatry, hatred, variance, emulations, seditions, heresies, envyings.” These are evils of the heart which may exist independently of the animal appetites, and yet are called the works of the flesh, from which it is perfectly manifest that flesh is a term which characterises an evil heart, independent of its alliance with body, as well as in connexion with it. The phrase carnal mind is a comprehensive term employed to express the whole moral nature of man, as he is antecedently to the renewing influence of the Spirit of God. The following considerations establish the correctness of this exposition. 1. The carnal mind, is a phrase of synonymous import with a heart at enmity with God. The carnal mind is enmity against God; of course a heart at enmity with God is the carmal mind. They are convertible terms. But we know that a heart at enmity against God is the comprehensive principle of moral evil in man, which it is the object of the atonement, of the preaching of the gospel, and of the work of the Spirit to remove by reconciliation, and which is subdued partially by regeneration, progressively by sanctification, and entirely by that act of the Holy Spirit which is denominated glorification. A heart at enmity with God then, being a generic term, used to express the entire principle of evil in the heart, and the carnal mind being this very enmity of heart against God, is unanswerably a generic term comprehending the entire evil of man’s nature. 2. The carnal mind is opposed to the Law of God. The moral law includes in its requirements all moral excellence of which the heart of man is capable. But the carnal mind, is a temper of heart in all respects opposed to this law, and is in its very nature so contradictory to the exercises required by the law, that it “cannot be subject to it,” can by no modification, and by no change of circumstances, be made obedience, even in the lowest degree. As the law then, comprehends in its requirements all moral excellence of which the heart is capable, that temper of heart denominated the carnal mind, which is not and cannot be subject to the law, must be the comprehensive principle of moral evil in man, or the heart of man as it exists antecedently to its subjugation to the law of God by the Spirit. 3. The flesh is a generic term used to denote that depravity of heart which renders regeneration indispensable. Our Saviour had said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The ruler understood him to mean a natural birth. Jesus reproves him for his ignorance, and reminds him that he speaks of a moral change, accomplished by the Spirit; and alle—ges as the ground of its necessity,+ “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” By flesh, in the first part of the sentence, I understand man as depraved by the fall, and by flesh in the last part, man as descended from a depraved ancestry. Man is denomimated flesh in reference to his depravity; Gen. vi. 3. “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh;” his being literally flesh
could afford no reason for fixing a limit to the strivings of the Spirit, while his depravity, called flesh, which resists and grieves the Spirit, furnishes an appropriate reason. The Jews also placed great reliance for salvation upou their descent from Abraham. Our Saviour, cuts off this vain confidence, by teaching that it is the depraved nature of man, and not that acquired by grace which descends. That Abraham, of course, in whom they trusted, transmitted depravity and not holiness to his descendants; “That which is born of the flesh is flesh. Marvel not that I said unto you, ye must be born again.” Flesh then means a depraved nature in the ancestor, and a depraved nature in the descendant, and is put for the whole moral nature of man before regeneration. 4. The flesh is spoken of as the comprehensive principle of all moral evil in man, either as existing in his heart, or manisested in his conduct.—The works ofthe flesh are, “adultery, formication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkeness, revellings and such like.” By the phrase such like, it appears that the preceding extended catalogue of the sins of heart and life are given as specimens, and are put for the whole of human depravity; all the above crimes, and all evil beside in man, proceed from the flesh. That flesh is a generic term expressing the depraved nature of man, is still further evident from the consideration, that in the verses immediately following those just quoted, the Spirit is described as the efficient cause of all goodness in man,or of his holy nature, and the fruits of his operation are contrasted with the works of the flesh. The fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, i. e. while all the evil of mau's nature is included in the term flesh, ali the moral, excellence is a fruit of regeneration by the Spirit.
In accordance with this account, the flesh, and the Spirit, are represented as the great principles of life and of death. To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. And they are also represented as the two commanding principles of all human conduct, good or bad; “They that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.—There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, which walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. If ye live after the flesh ye shall die, but if ye through the Spirit do mortisy the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” 5. Flesh and Spirit are terms of opposition; the one employed to denote all the remaining sin, the other all the existing holiness in the believer. In the experience of Paul, these two terms suffice to describe all which was felt of good or evil by him; they are the two leaders of the contending hosts in his heart. Thus speaking of himself, Rom. VII. 14. “The law,” he says, “is spiritual, but I am carmal, sold under sin.” He does not call indwelling sin which annoys him the carnal mind, because it was not in him the entire principle of action, but he calls it carnal, as retaining the same general nature of opposition to the law of God. He speaks of himself also, as “sold under sin,” as synonymous with his being carnal, intending by the bondage not the entire dominion of sin, but the constancy and irksomeness of its influence upon his heart. This constant influence upon his heart of what he terms the flesh, he assigns as the cause of his doing what he disallows and hates, and of his leaving undone the things which he would do; 11–15. That in him which he denominates carnal, in the 14th verse, be calls “sin that dwelleth in me” in the 17th verse; and this sin that dwelleth in him he calls in the 18th verse, me, my flesh. In the 21st verse, he calls this same
flesh a law that when he would do good, caused evil to be present with him, and which in the 23d verse he describes as “warring against the law of his mind, and bringing him into captivity;”—a law which in the 24th verse he denominates a body of death, and in the 25th, the flesh, which serves the law of sin, while he himself with the mind serves the law of God. In describing the experience of the Galatian converts he employs the same language as in describing his own. Gal. W. 17. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Having now by an exposition of the term carnal mind, or fleshly mind, shown that it denotes the whole moral nature of man, I proceed to inquire what account the Scriptures give of man's moral nature under this term; and we have seen already that they declare the whole moral nature of man to be enmity against God, and at variance with the law of God. It is declared that none of the moral exercises of man's heart by nature are conformed to the law of God, and that they are in their very nature, all of them, so opposed to its requirements, that they can by no means be obedi. ent in the least degree. It is also declared that in the flesh of man, his whole moral nature before regeneration, there dwells no good thing. I know, saith the Apostle, that in me, that is in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing. This is said indeed of his depraved nature, as weakened by the existence of holiness, but if in this relatively enfeebled state, there was no goodness in it, there surely could have been none when the flesh constituted his entire moral nature. The Scriptures decide that in the whole moral nature of man, termed the flesh, there is nothing by which he can by any means please God. “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” This it will be observed, is an inference from the text, so often quoted: The carnal mind is enmity against God; so then, because the carnal mind is enmity against God, they that are in the flesh, or under its influence, as the sole principle of moral action, cannot please God. The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God; so then because there is in it no principle of obedience to the great law of his empire; they that are in the flesh, or under the sole guidance of this rebellious disposition cannot please God. The carnal mind cannot be subject to the law of God; so then they that are in the flesh cannot, under its influence, as the sole principle of accountable action, do any thing to please God. The principle of loyalty being gone, and that of rebellion existing in full vigour, there is nothing which God can approve. The description of man's moral nature under the term flesh, decides that there is in man by nature no moral excellence, different from holiness, and of an inferior kind. The Scriptures are silent with respect to the existence in man of any such secondary moral excellence inferior to holiness. Did such excellence exist, there must be two moral laws, one requiring holiness, the other, this secondary inferior moral excellence ; for moral excellence is, in its nature, excellence in an accountable creature, and consists in conformity to some law. But the moral law is the great and sole rule of moral obligation, and standard of moral excellence. There can be no moral excellence therefore, which does not include that holiness which is conformity of heart to the law. There is no need of any secondary kind of moral excellence to answer all the ends of our social and accountable existence; the higher principle of moral excellence included in holiness, answering completely all the purposes of a supposed secondary kind of virtue. The great principle of love to God and love to man, operating in the heart according to the commandment, will control the actions of man,
and regulate and direct all the instincts, sympathies, and natural affec. tions of his nature, which are local in their objects, limited in their benign tendencies, and may become, without the guardianship of holiness, princi. ples of collision, cruelty, and desolation. Is it should be supposed that in the absence of holiness, this secondary virtue had been inculcated as a par. tial substitute, I answer, that the sec. ondary virtue if it exist at all, exists as a part of man's nature which has survived the fall. There must have been therefore, two moral laws and two kinds of moral excellence in Paradise, before the fall, which would be like making a master-spring of suffi. cient power to control every move. ment, great and small, of an extended machinery, and then to plant another feeble spring by its side, on which a portion of its minor movements should be made dependant. Let the holy love which the law commands beat in the heart of man, and by its mighty impulse, his intel. lect, his memory, his imagination, his conscience, his natural affections, his instincts and sympathies, and his willing hand and tongue will all perform, with unerring constancy, their respective parts, in constituting a state of perfect society. A secondary moral excellence is not needed therefore, and it is presumed does not cxist. In this conclusion we are confirmed by the consideration that all moral evil consists in the transgres. sion of the moral law, to which holiness is obedience. But if there were a secondary moral excellence, not including holiness in its nature, there must of necessity be a secondary kind of moral evil not consisting in the transgression of the moral law. But as we find no secondary moral evil, we conclude there is no secondary, inferior kind of moral excellence in man. As all his depravity consists in the carnal mind, so all his moral excellence con sists in that love which is the fruit of