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'Spirit, in the New Testament, is most frequently 'placed after faith. This observation is true, if
*it be understood concerning that most copious 'effusion of conspicuous gifts, which was peculiar
*to the primitive church; or even, concerning 'that fuller measure of the Spirit, which by, and 'after, faith formed by love, believers even now 'receive. In the mean time it is certain, that 'some special operation of the divine Spirit al'ways precedes efficacious faith. Nor do I be'lieve, that the intention of that great man was 'different; though in some places his words may 'seem too crudely conceived.'1
As his Lordship has repeatedly conceded, that the grace of God's Spirit is needful in order to a saving faith, it is not requisite to dwell longer on this subject, for the whole argument at last would resolve itself into this, Whether the Ephesians had 'a saving faith,' 'that true and lively faith which 'would secure salvation;'2 or had merely some kind of faith which is not lively and saving.
SECTION XII. On Internal Feelings.
'St. Paul, when any of his converts fell into 'errors either of doctrine or of practice, endea'voured to bring them back to the truth as it is in 'Jesus, by argument, and by referring them 'either to the written word of God, or to the in'structions which they had received from himself. 'He did not tell them to consult their own in'ternai feelings, whether they were in the way to * heaven, but to compare their actions and opi'nions with the gospel which he had preached. 'This was with him the only criterion of a saving 'faith:1
'Translated from Bp. Bull's Harmon. Apost. Diss. 2. c. xi. 9. 'Ref. 54.
I would plead in behalf in no preacher, who did not direct his people to compare both their doctrine and practice, and also the state of their hearts, with the holy scriptures, in order to learn whether they had a saving faith, or not; as well as to keep them from falling into error, or to recover them from it: that, " proving all things" by this unerring standard, they might reject what is evil, and " hold fast that which is good." But do not' internal feelings' constitute a most essential part of the difference between the true believer, the spiritual worshipper, and the mere formalist f When our Lord thrice demanded of Peter, " Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?"2 Did he not' tell him to consult his internal feel'ings?' Our 'actions and opinions' must be judged of by the word of God. And must not our affections also? Now are not all affections internal feelings? Do sorrow for sin, remorse, shame, contrition, fear, hope, joy, love, gratitude, confidence in God, submission to him, love of the brethren, good-will to men, love to enemies, constitute no part of true religion? Are they not 'internal feelings,' though, when genuine, they produce external effects? Do not the ' internal 'feelings' of the true Christian differ widely from those of the avowed enemy of Christ, the hypocrite, the impenitent, the malicious, the envious, and the selfish? from the internal feelings of such as are "hateful and hating one another?" Does not God " require truth in the inward parts ?"* and charge on some that " their inward parts were "very wickedness?" Is not his law Love: and is not love ' an internal feeling?' Is not" the fruit of "the Spirit love, joy, peace?" And, "if any man "have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of "his." 2 The Psalmist, even "the man after God's "own heart," speaks continually of " thirsting for "God, even for the living God;" longing, yea, "even fainting for the courts of the Lord; 3 re"joicing in God;" "delighting in him," and in his commandments: and he calls on others to do the same.4 Our Lord pronounces those blessed, who "hunger and thirst after righteousness, for "their's is the kingdom of heaven."5 St. Paul calls on the Philippians to "rejoice in the Lord "always ; " 6 and he says, "We are the circum"cision, who worship God in the Spirit, and re"joice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in "the flesh."7 St. Peter thus addresses the Christians to whom he writes: "Whom having not "seen ye love; in whom, though now ye see him "not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeak"able and full of glory." 8 Are not all these ' in1 Ps. li. 6. 3 Rom. viii. 9. Gal. v. 22, 23.
1 Ref. 56. ', John xxi. 15—17.
'Ps. xlii. 1,2. lxiii. 1. lxxxiv. 1,2. cxix. 14, 131. cxliii. 6. 4 Ps. xxx. 11. xxxii. 11. xxxiii. 1. xxxvii. 4. xciv. 19. cxii. 1. cxix. 40,111. s Matt. v. 6. * PhiL iv. 1,4.
7 Phil. Hi. 3. 'I Pet. i. 8.
'ternal feelings?' and do they not prove, that those who are conscious of them may warrantably conclude themselves to be in the way of salvation? Indeed divine life itself, purity of heart, and all vital godliness, are ' internal feelings:' and religion, however exact in 'actions and opinions,' without them is a lifeless statue or corpse; like one of those which Ezekiel in vision saw, when "the bones came together, bone to his bone, and "the sinews and flesh came upon them, and the "skin covered them, but there was no breath in "them." But when "the breath came into them "they lived."1
There are indeed many unholy affections, and delusive 'internal feelings' in religion. The grand concern then is, not indiscriminately to condemn them all, but to distinguish "the precious from "the vile." We should inquire whether our fears and hopes, our sorrows and joys, our love and hatred, our desires and aversions, be fixed on the same objects, regulated in the same manner, and productive of the same effects on our outward conduct, as these affections were in the persons marked with decided approbation in the word of God: or whether they be unscriptural, as to their objects, their nature, tendency, and effects. These, and many other particulars, must be examined and assayed by the holy scriptures; and it cannot be wrong to call on our hearers to judge of the state of their hearts, as well as of their ' actions 'and opinions,' by comparing them with the oracles of God. "Examine yourselves whether ye be in
'Ezck. xxxvii. 1—10.
* " the faith; prove your ownselves. Know ye not "your ownselves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, "except ye be reprobates?" (or disapproved personsT)1 "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and "the life which I now live in the flesh I live by "the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and "gave himself for me."2 'Cleanse the thoughts 'of our hearts, by the inspiration of thy Holy 'Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee.'3 Our 'internal feelings' indeed must be judged of, not by their vehemence, but by their nature and effects ; and by the proportion which they bear to their respective objects, compared with the exercise of similar affections when called forth by the interests and concerns of this life.
To employ another similitude: a religion of vehement affections, without scriptural knowledge and judgment, and the sober exercise of our mental powers, is like a ship with crowded sails, but without helm, chart, compass, or ballast; which is far more likely to be driven on the rocks, than to reach the desired port. A religion all intellect and external action, without affections or internal feelings, is like a ship with helm, chart, compass, and ballast, but without masts or sails; which must either lie as a log on the water, or be driven about by currents or tides, as they rise and fall, being perfectly unmanageable. "That your love "may abound more and more, in knowledge and "in all judgment." 3 " Did not he, who made that
'2 Cor. xiii. 5. 'Gal. ii. 20.
'Col. Communion Service. 4 Phil. i. 11.