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« him; he believes no Providence, adores no : “ Creator, and fears no Judge.”* Well therefore may it be said, that “ Every imagination “s of the thoughts of his heart is only evil and “ that continually”-an awful description of the human heart, with which the declaration of our Lord agrees, when he asserts that “Out of “ the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, “adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, “ blasphemies." These are the impure and bitter waters which flow naturally from the fountain of the human heart.
Even after conversion the fountain of our thoughts is but partially cleansed.
cleansed. For Oh, . what worldly, filthy, and profane thoughts harrass and grieve the believing soul! If the thoughts of a single day were delineated on paper, with what disgust would the Christian eye be turned from them! how would they nauseate his very soul! In our acts of prayer and praise, in our public ordinances, our social and private worship, ( how many are the sinful. thoughts which intrude on the mind! What a mixture of pride, carnal affection, and earthly mindedness, may be traced in our holiest duties, defiling our best attempts to serve God! ·
The true members of our church are conscious of their remaining corruption, and “groan “ being burdened.” But they mourn not as those who have no hope. For they are encouraged by the promises of God to expect progressive sanctification of heart, and that “ He who “ hath begun the good work in them will finish “ it to the day of Jesus Christ.” · With this enlivening hope they look up to Him who made
* Bishop Horne on Ps. X, 4.
the human heart, and who alone “can bring a “ clean thing out of an unclean;" beseeching Him to cleanse their hearts from sin, and to replenish them with the Spirit of holiness, that
by His holy inspiration they may think those “ things that be good.” They are not content with external decency and a form of Godliness. They have to do with Him “to whom all hearts “ be open, all desires known, and from whom “ no secrets are hid.” By His grace they have been taught that inward conformity to His will is essential both to present and future happiness; and therefore they beseech Him to “cleanse the thoughts of their hearts by the “ inspiration of His Holy Spirit, that they may “perfectly love Him, and worthily magnify “ His holy name through Jesus Christ their “ Lord.” Reader, Doth thy heart say Amen to this petition?
The doctrine of Divine influence is greatly ridiculed and blasphemed in this day of pretended rationality, when reason is worshipped as a goddess by others besides French Atheists. The rites of her worship are very numerous and complicated, though its acts are more covert and ambiguous than those performed in the church of Notre Dame, where a strumpet was properly placed on a throne as the representative of the supposed Deity. To her power
every good attributed which is received on earth, and to her guidance is man directed for the purpose of attaining everlasting life, by the modern system of Theology. Those however who thus deify the fallen reason of man, and join in a sneer at the doctrine of Divine inspiration, ridicule both the Bible and our prayer-book. To this doctrine, in its fullest latitude of interpretation, no churchman can consistently object. His opposition to it must involve him in the crime of hypocrisy. For all spiritual light in the human understanding, and all true holiness in the human heart, are represented in the liturgy, articles, and homilies of the church of England, to be derived from inspiration of God. “ Reason, till she has been taught by the lively “ oracles of God, knows nothing of the spiritual “ life, and the food brought down from heaven “ for its support,” as Bishop Horsley has well observed. And the lively oracles of God cannot afford saving instruction without, what the same able Divine calls, “ the mysterious com“ merce of the believer's soul with the Divine “ Spirit.”
To quote passages in proof of this obnoxious doctrine from the established formularies of our church seems to be unnecessary, because no one can be acquainted with those formularies without finding it in almost every page. It does not require to be sought for, but it presses on the eye. To the liturgy a general appeal may be made as in the hands of every churchman. In the ordination office, which is not inserted in every common prayer-book as it is now printed, the following passage is remark, able, in which the candidates for Priest's orders are thus addressed :
addressed: “ Ye cannot have a mind “ or will thereto of yourselves, for the will and “ ability is given of God alone. Therefore ye “ought and have need to pray earnestly for the
Holy Spirit. You will continually pray to “ God the Father, by the mediation of our only “ Saviour Jesus Christ, for the heavenly assist“ ance of the Holy Ghost." Nor is it to be supposed, that the clergy alone need this Divine
inspiration, for the laity are also addressed in the following words. ." Man's human and
worldly wisdom and science is not needful to “ the understanding of Scripture, but the reve"lation of the Holy Ghost, who inspireth the “true meaning into them that with humility " and diligence do seek therefore.” *
Without entering further into the doctrine of our church on this important subject at present, as other opportunities will hereafter offer of recurring to it, we proceed to observe that, in addition to the prayer for the regulation of our thoughts by Divine grace, we implore power from above, whereby we may be enabled to carry into effect the holy motions which Divine inspiration has produced within us. « Grant to “ us thy humble servants that by thy holy in“spiration we may think those things that be “good, and by thy merciful guiding may per“ form the same. For when “to will is present “ with us, how to perform that which is good
we find not.”
The necessity :of being guided by Divine influence in the performance of every good work, is evident to the conscious mind. Not only must we know, through the teaching of God's word and Spirit, what is good, but we must be enabled to practise it by the same blessed agency. To “ the spirit of a sound “ mind” must be added “ the spirit of love and
For the purpose of shewing the wisdom and importance of this branch of our collect, it may be useful to specify some instances of duty.God inspires your mind with the thought of
“ of power.”
* Homily on the reading of the Holy Scriptures,
offering prayer and praise. You address
yourself to the duty, the propriety of which you are thus made to discern. You bend your knees before God. But is nothing further necessary to render the duty acceptable to God and profitable to your soul?. Can you, unassisted by Divine grace, carry the good thought thus suggested into effect? Assuredly not; for "true “ worshippers worship God in the Spirit." Prayer without humble desire, and thanksgiving without gratitude, are acts unacceptable to God, and worse than-unprofitable to those who engage in them.-God inspires you with a resolution of attending His public worship. You go to His house; but when you arrive there, can you, under all the advantages which our church-service affords, perform the duties therein required without His merciful guiding? Most undoubtedly you cannot.
If abstraction from the world, a spiritual frame of mind, contrition, faith, desire, gratitude, are essential to a due performance of Divine worship, the necessity of God's “ merciful guiding” must be evident. His Spirit must pray
He must warm your heart with a sense of redeeming love; He must apply the doctrines of His own word to your conscience. You rise in the morning with a wish of spending the day that is before you to the praise and glory of God. The wish is good, and proceeds from the Author of all good. But unless He also maintain it and carry it into vigorous exercise throughout the day, your“ goodness will be like a morning - cloud or the early dew.” It will be dissipated by the first breeze of temptation; it will evaporate in the first worldly engagement that woges your attention.