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ments. Col. 1: 10. 1 Cor. 8: 3, "if any man love God, the same is known of him (the same has received from God a liying knowledge of the truth).” Nevertheless, to the attainment of such a living and practical knowledge of the truth as is above mentioned, the divine aid is of course requisite. And our views of divine truth are, moreover, improved and promoted by the conscientious desire to conform our life to the holy word; whereas, a love of sin and the indulgence of forbidden propensities tend, not only to destroy our love of truth, but also to obscure our views of the divine word. IV. But the divine aid may be expected in the use of
Kant himself concedes that such a divine influence may be admitted, provided no violence be offered to the moral agency of man. “ It is a principle (he says) of practical religion, that every individual is under obligation to exert himself to the utmost of his power in order to accomplish his reformation, and that only after this has been done, can he reasonably expect that the deficiency will be supplied by a higher power. All that we can determine on the point is, that gracious influences are possible, and perhaps that they are absolutely necessary, to ensure success to our exertions after holiness. It is evident that it must be possible for man to become what it is designed that he should be, that is, conformed to the divine will. And if this cannot be accomplished by the use of his natural powers, we are authorized to expect that God will aid us by his gracious influence."2
V. Gracious influences may be cherished or suppressed, by the individual who is favoured with them. On the subject of the efficacy of the word of God, of the cooperative influence of God with the word, and of the influence of man over the
1 See the Dissert. sup. cit. Note 61 and ( 107. Ill. 3 supra.
2 See Rapp on the springs of human action, especially those of the christian religion.
feelings thus awakened in him, we refer the reader to the Dissert. de Spiritus Sancti efficientia, § XVI, XVIII, XIX; and the Dissertation on the influences of grace. The following are the prominent ideas contained in these works:-1. In the influences of grace, it is presupposed that the mind of the subject has comprehended the doctrines or truths of God's word. 2. The effect which God produces in an immediate manner, consists in a susceptibility of the heart to receive to itself the doctrines of the Holy Volume. — 3. If with sincere selfapplication we meditate upon the truths of God's word (that is, if we suffer our hearts to be opened), every individual truth will produce that effect which, by virtue of its own nature, it is calculated to produce; that is, by virtue of the laws of our mental operations (psychological principles], it will produce those feelings and those volitions which accord with its nature. This is the logico-moral influence of the doctrine, or moral suasion. The peculiar nature of this influence, therefore, depends on the nature of the truth itself, but the fact that it exerts any influence, results from the immediate agency of God. - 4. The operations of
grace do not consist in or involve any violation of the laws of our moral agency. There is no moral coercion. It is true, indeed, that we cannot prevent the religious convictions and feelings excited in the soul by the immediate agency of God; but we are able to suppress them after they have been excited, or to cherish them by yielding obedience to them. In short, the effects of these feelings are under our controul. And this is the case, not merely in the first religious impressions, but in
every subsequent gracious influence.-5. The doctrine of gracious influences harmonizes perfectly with the important truth, that sanctification is a gradual and progressive work; as is clear even from the fact, that these influences are suspended on the use of the word of God, which cannot possibly be the work of a moment. And even if this were not the case, it would still be in the power of God, to carry on this work in the human soul gradually ; although, if it were his will, he might also advance the soul to absolute perfection in an instant.
The practical importance of this doctrine concerning the influences of grace, is briefly discussed in the Dissertation on gracious influences, and is treated more at large in the “ Dissertatio qua doctrina de Spiritus Sancti in mentibus nostris efficientia, momento suo ponderatur.”l The prominent positions relative to the importance of this doctrine, which are assumed in these works, are the following : -- 1. This doctrine places the depravity of our nature in a light which inspires us with a deep sense of our own unworthiness, and, at the same time, does not discourage the hope of salvation.—2. It promotes, in a high degree, a grateful love to God, from whom all gracious influence proceeds, for this inestimable gift.-3. It inspires us with courage in the accomplishment of every good resolution, by assuring us of the divine aid.-4. It tends to subdue levity and indolence, by teaching us that the guilt of those who continue in their sins, is aggravated by the fact, that God himself exerts an immediate influence on them for the purpose of promoting their salvation. -5. It confirms our hope of happiness in the life to come, by the representation, that even in the present life, God is engaged in cooperating in an immediate manner to effect our salvation. --6. It enhances our regard for our fellowmen, and increases our ardour to labour for their salvation with modest humility.
That the doctrine of gracious influences, when properly understood has no tendency either to diminish our regard for the instructions of reason or Scripture, or to cherish enthusiasm or inactivity, is proved in the Dissert. above cited, S II, III.
1 See Flatt on Moral Agency and Absolute Election, Magazine Vol. 1.
VI. Diversity of degree, in gracious influences. The degree of this salutary influence is different, even among those who cherish the good feelings excited in them by the immediate agency of God, and act in conformity to the directions of the Holy word. Matth. 13: 8, 23, some brought forth a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty fold. This diversity may arise from the different degrees of carefulness with which these gracious influences are cherished, or from the different degrees of faithfulness evinced in obeying the instructions of the holy word, or from a diversity of disposition, talent, means, or incentives to understand and apply the doctrines of the sacred oracles.
VII. Grace is not irresistible.-Matth. 13: 20—22, some received the seed of the word into stony places--some among the thorns. Rom. 8: 12, 13, for if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die ; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live. Eph. 4: 30, grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. Acts 7: 51–53, ye stiffnecked ! ye do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do ye. Acts 24: 25. When the conscience of Felix had been awakened by the discourse of Paul, Felix directed him to “go his way for this time.”
OF A CHANGE OF HEART AND REFORMATION
OF LIFE, AND THEIR RELATION TO OUR ATTAINMENT OF SALVATION.
Nature of justification (pardon) by faith. Although the obedience of Christ (Rom. 5: 18, 19. § 87), and particularly that obedience which he manifested in submitting to an ignominious death (1), procured pardon for all men (66), that is, procured for them “justification of life” (dixacaolv Goons Rom. 5: 18), or an exemption from future punishment (from xaraxgrua v. 18. or ogen v. 9) and access to salvation (2); still this blessing, which is general in its nature, cannot be bestowed on those who, from a habitual disobedience to the dictates of conscience (§ 72), wickedly refuse to accept it. That is, it will not be bestowed on those who, although they had an opportunity of becoming ac