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necessities, to bring the sinner, who by nature stands afar off, near unto God-and as he feels this wondrous virtue of the peace-speaking blood, he believes that an application so suitable to man, could only proceed from him who knew what was
And, finally, if he be already converted, this evidence strengthens upon him every day; and pours a growing light upon his path; and when he looks at his Bible, he sees that it contains within its pages an exact transcript of his own feelings and his own exercises; and as he looks at his own heart, he sees the intimations of the Bible realized upon all its movements; and the points of accordancy between the outward die and the inward mould, he perceives to be far too minute and manifold and inscrutable to have been divined by the sagacity of man-and the conviction meets upon him with every new step in the progress of his history and just as the Chris
tians of old believed that God was in the apostles of a truth, so does a Christian of this day believe that God is in the Bible, which the Apostles have left behind them—and to the truth of this belief, all the thoughts, and all the transactions of his inner man, lend their testimony-as he feels within himself the conflict of two opposing principles, and the habitual prevalence of one of them; or as he feels within himself the faith which worketh by love, and the love which yieldeth obedience; or as he feels within himself the process of sanctification; or as he feels within himself the peace and the joy, and the spirit of adoption, which sounds to the world an unintelligible mystery; or, as he finds on his own person the fulfilment of prayer, and the fruits of the Spirit, and a growing conformity to the example of Christ, and a growing meetness for the inheritance of a blissful eternity
But we will not oppress ourselves with the magnitude of this argument, by attempting to dispose of it, in all its parts, and in all its illustrations, within the compass of an Essay; and we shall close this part of our argument by the three following remarks:
1. This argument, so far from precluding the testimony of the Spirit, is the very argument which the Spirit brings before us in the exercise of his legitimate functions. He tells us of nothing that is out of the field of revelation, or out of the field of human experience. The telescope does not add a single character to the distant landscape, but brings home to our discernment all the actual and antecedent characters which existed in it.
In like manner, the Spirit of God adds nothing to the word of God. He makes use of the word as his instrument. He gives us a clear view of those characters which stand engraven upon the Bible, and of those lineaments which Nature hath drawn upon our own hearts; and therefore gives us a clear view of that accordancy of divination out of which the whole of this argument emerges.
2. The evidence which is thus furnished, is, no doubt, an internal evidence; but it is altogether dissimilar from that internal evidence, which some would most presumptuously and most unphilosophically rear, as an accordancy between what they see in the Bible, and what they imagine to be the plans and the processes of the Divinity. This evidence is nearer home, more within the compass of human experience, and in every way more consonant to the cautious and solid temper of the modern philosophy, and rests exclusively on the wondrous harmony that subsists between what is seen in the Bible, and what is felt within the familiar recesses of one's own heart, and the authoritative informations of one's own consciousness.
3. It is an evidence that might be felt, in all its strength, by an unlettered workman--and he may have well warranted convictions upon the subject — and yet, from the very nature of the evidence, he may be unable to pass an adequate communication of it into another's bosom--and he may be loaded with contempt for a set of impressions which to others are utterly inexplicable: and thus it is a very possible thing, that what is called madness, may be soberness and truth-and what is branded as Methodism, may be indeed the soundest and the most enlightened philosophy.
There is another very palpable argument for the reality of some such evidence as we have tried to illustrate, which it is impossible to overlook; and the question we have to put is, What is that evidence on which a man becomes a believer within the limits of Christendom, where the Bible is circulated ? And we would appeal to the ministers of Christ, for they can speak experimentally upon this question, - tell us, amongst all the transitions you have witnessed from darkness to the marvellous light of the Gospel, what the effective consideration was which accomplished such a change! Tell us, ye men whose office it is to preside over this department of
human nature, who have long been conversant with the phenomena which it offers, and have doubtless treasured
in your remembrance, some cases of conversion, where the after life of the individual stood so nobly contrasted with his by-gone history, as to attest, in characters the most decisive and undeniable, the reality of his faith! Tell us, if you have ever detected the instrumental cause of that faith-or what that was which the convert was looking to, when this principle dawned into existence-or from what quarter of contemplation the light of truth beamed upon his understanding or where, in the whole compass of that field upon which the thoughts of man can possibly expatiate, did he meet with the charm which cleared all his doubts and all his darknesses away from him ; which established his feet
a way of rectitude that he had never before walked, and animated his bosom by that Spirit of power and of a sound mind, the workings of which he had never before experienced ! O where lieth the mystery of these persuasive influences which must have gathered around him, at that point of his earthly career, when the doctrine of Christ first took an ascendency over his judgment, and the morality of Christ shed its rich and beauteous accomplishments over his practice and conversation ! Did it lie, we ask, in any thing external to the subjectmatter of the testimony? or did it lie within the subject matter of the testimony itself ? Did the light lie in that history which the documents of antiquity enable you to give of the Book ? or did it lie in that doctrine and information which stand engraven upon its pages ? Did it lie in the exhibition
you made of the proof for the communication ? or did it lie in the exhibition you made of the substance of the communication ? Tell us the argument of that awakening sermon under which you remember some secure hold of infidelity to have been stormed. Was it in the act of combating the hostility of literature, when, in all the pride of erudition, you did demonstrate the faithful conveyance of the Scriptures of truth from the first age of Christianity ? Or was it in the act of combating the hostility of nature's blindness and nature's opposition, when you opened these Scriptures, and made the truth itself manifest to the consciences of men ?
This last we imagine to be the only way of converting the souls of men. It is not done by descending into the depths of the earth, and there fighting the battles of the faith against the dark and the visioned spectres of geology. It is not done by ascending up into the heavens, and fetching down from these wondrous regions some sublime and specious illustration. It is done, by bringing the word nigh unto them by entering with it into the warm and the well-known chambers of their own consciousness -by making them feel the full force of its adjustments to all their wants and to all their experience -by telling them of that sin, under the conviction of which nature tries to forget God, or would fly affrighted from his presence—and of that Saviour who alone can hush the alarms of nature. These are the lessons which can do to this very hour what they did in the days of the apostles. They can make the unbeliever and the unlearned feel himself to be judged of all, and convinced of all--and thus