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eluded in the former part of this quotation: and, if this be admitted, we by no means think differently. If any man profess that he can know by his feelings, what sentiment, what inclination, or what resolution, is owing to the influence of the Holy Spirit, except as he recognizes it as holy, and as according to the holy word of God, he is a dangerously deluded enthusiast. But,' as 'all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just 'works, are from God;' we may know that our desires and counsels, being holy and good, and inclining and exciting us to righteous works, are from the Holy Spirit. They accord to " the fruits "of the Spirit," and not to " the works of the flesh." We must judge our feelings by their nature and tendency; we must judge according to the word of truth.
In what follows his Lordship has stated the subject of divine consolations, in many respects, satisfactorily. But there is no scriptural ground to conclude, that these consolations are communicated only 'on extraordinary occasions.' The apostle indeed saith, " As the sufferings of Christ "abound in us, so our consolation also abound"eth by Christ."1 It was more abundant under extraordinary trials, but not restricted to them. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace." 2 The apostle prays for the Christians at Rome in general, that "the God of hope would fill them with "all peace and joy in believing, that they might "abound in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost."3 "The kingdom of God," says he, "is righteous12 Cor. i. 5. * Gal. v. 22. 'Rom. xv. 13.
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"ness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." l We are repeatedly called upon to "rejoice in the "Lord always:" and did we not, alas, so often "grieve" and "quench" the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, by our sins and negligences; our "joy "in the Holy Ghost," would be far more habitually and sensibly felt and experienced than it now is; and we should not so often have, with tears and groans, to pray, as fallen David did, "Restore "unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me "with thy free Spirit." 2
Neither is there any scriptural proof, that only a few persons are distinguished by this mark of the special favour of God; except that which also proves that only few of the multitudes called Christians are ' truly good and pious persons.' St. Peter says of his brethren in general, "Whom having "not seen ye love; in whom, though now ye see "him not, yet believing ye rejoice with joy un"speakable and full of glory."3 "Then," says the sacred historian," had the churches rest, and "were edified, and walking in the fear of the Lord, "and the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multi"plied." 4 Joy is every Christian's duty and privilege; 5 and nothing, except sin, keeps us from it. 'Internal feelings,' however, are here allowed to be sometimes holy and right; when holy, then right. This, and this alone, we would decidedly maintain.
'The church of England pronounces, that a 'regard to the external forms must be accompa'nied by an internal sense of religion.'1—In what manner is an ' internal sense of religion,' to be distinguished from ' internal feelings?'
1 Rom.xiv. 17. 'Ps. li. 12. '1 Pet. i. 8.
'Acts ix. 31. 'Phil. iii. 1. iv. 4. 1 Thess. v. 15.
'The real orthodox divine maintains, in the 'sense just now explained, that every true Chris'tian is inspired, enlightened, sanctified, and com'forted by the Spirit of God; but he rejects all 'claim to private revelation, all pretensions to in'stantaneous and forcible conversion, and to the 'sensible operation of the Spirit.' 2
We would decidedly disavow all ' private revela'tion,' when signifying any thing more than the inward and efficacious teaching of the Holy Spirit, in helping us to understand and apply the instructions of the sacred scriptures; the unveiling of the mind, by removing the prejudices and corrupt passions which obstruct the mental vision; that the soul may clearly see the objects which revelation has unveiled. 3 Nay, this teaching itself must be tried and proved by the word of God. No man has ground to expect that any revelation will be made to him, distinct from that which is already made in scripture; or leading to conclusions contrary to it, or even beyond it: and, if any man professes to have received such a new revelation, he is to be disregarded and pitied, as self-deceived ; but, if he attempt to induce others to believe it, he must be opposed with scriptural weapons. No man can know a sentiment to be true, by any other revelation than that of the sacred oracles. Impulses and suggestions can never shew that conduct to be a man's duty, which may not be clearly shewn to be his duty from the word of God; much less that to be his duty, which is contrary to God's commandments. No one can know himself to be in a state of acceptance with God, or an heir of heaven, by new revelations; nor in any other way than that which proves him to be a true Christian according to the word of God. The testimony or "witness of the Spirit" in the heart is in perfect unison with the testimony of the Spirit in scripture; and never witnesses with any man that he is one of the sons and heirs of God, who has not those filial affections, and is not influenced by them in that holy tenor of worship and obedience, by which the children of God are characterised in the sacred oracles. It must be acknowledged that some excellent men have dropped expressions, and even maintained tenets, in this respect, which are really exceptionable; nay lead, when adopted by bad men, to most dangerous and pernicious consequences. Too much caution cannot be used on this subject, provided we do not veil or cloud the doctrine of the gospel: but, I apprehend, Calvinists in general, and the evangelical clergy in particular, are vastly more on their guard in these topics, than the body was some years ago; and that he who would candidly and diligently investigate particulars would not, even on principles conceded in many parts of the Refutation, find much to censure on this head at present, except in comparatively a few instances.
1 Ref. 282. 'Ref. 73. '2 Cor. iii. 13—18.
'Forcible conversions' are what we should never think of, if not reminded of them by our opponents: unless' the grace of God by Christ pre'venting us that we may have a good will,' (ut velimus,) 'and working in us when we have a good 'will,' constitute a 'forcible conversion.'— ' In'stantaneous conversions' will require, hereafter, a little further consideration. Something has been spoken of 'the sensible operations of the 'Spirit:' but it may be added, that those influences, which either cause us to tremble at the word of God, or to mourn for sin, or to rejoice in God, must be sensible or perceivable: else how could we know it to be godly fear, or godly sorrow, or holy joy? or how could we be said to feel them?
'In short he disclaims what, in the language of 'modern Calvinists, are called experiences; that 'is, suggestions, or perceptions, known and felt to 'be communicated by the immediate inspiration of
• God; i
This quotation may properly introduce another subject, very intimately connected with that which we have been investigating, namely, that of experiences.
The frequent use of this term is not peculiar to modern Calvinists, as distinguished from their predecessors; nor to Calvinists, as distinguished from numbers who at least consider themselves as Arminians. Neither is the annexed definition,
1 Ref. 73, 74.