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dom. Our moral agency lies solely in voluntary action under the excitement of the perceptions which are thus transfused into our minds, or take place there by our own agency; in choosing between the species of happiness which they afford, and putting forth acts to prolong or reproduce those which we prefer, or gain the means of their reproduction. No injury whatever is offered to our nature or freedom in giving birth within us to these perceptions. No violence was offered to the mental constitutions or moral freedom of Judas and Ananias, when the tempting spirit of darkness put it into the thoughts of one to betray the Savior, and of the other to lie unto the Holy Ghost : nor to those of the Apostles, when without their forethought, it was given to them what they should speak at the bar of judges, and the thrones of kings. Those suggestions or communications were undoubtedly, in each instance, accomplished in accordance with the laws of their nature, and such is doubtless the fact in respect to the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, in the great work of renewing and sanctifying the soul.

of any other agency, however, than this, it is not possible to conceive, that can be exerted on it in consistency with the laws ofits constitution. To uproot within it the most essential susceptibility on which its perceptions had antecedently acted, and implant an opposite one in its place, were obviously to change the laws themselves of its action, instead of influencing it in accordance with those with which it was originally constituted.

VII. This is the only species of agency, which, as far as can be conceived, it is possible for us to resist.

The scriptures clearly teach us that we are capable of resisting the strivings of the Holy Spirit, and causing him to

withdraw his gracious influences; and it is obviously conceivable, if his agency is exerted on us in the manner which I have represented. He may be resisted by turning from the consideration of the truths which he suggests, struggling to escape their impression, and making guilty choices while under their influence: and how frequently are examples of this kind bebeld, especially in seasons of religious excitement. How often are persons, at such periods, seen endeavoring by violent efforts, as it were, to escape from the presence of alarming truth, rushing away from the individuals and scenes with which it is associated, or hurrying into others that promise effectually to drive it from the notice; and how often, while yielding attention to it, are they seen, by a strange perverseness, fixing their eye only on those relations which are adapted to alarm their selfishness, or exasperate their hate, and push them on to thoughts impeaching the rectitude of God, and guiltily justifying themselves.

But what resistance can be imagined to be offered to an influence like that which the usual views of regeneration represent as exerted on the soul,—an agency of which the mind is not only utterly unconscious, but the very effects of which also lie wholly concealed from it within the depths of its physical nature, and as utterly beyond the reach of is control, as are any of its other constitutional susceptibilities ?

VIII. It is a further recommendation of this doctrine, that it does not involve, like other theories, any definition of the mode of the divine agency, but in accordance with the representations of the scriptures, exhibits it as entirely unknown.

No subject lies more totally beyond the grasp hension, than the grounds or causes within us of our mental operations, and the mode in which they are excited to action. We know nothing even, nor are capable of con

of our appre

jecturing in what mode it is that the body acts on the soul, so as to excite in it the perceptions of which it is the occasion; and are equally ignorant and incapable of conceiving the manner in which the mind acts on itself, as it were, and produces those numerous events of remembrance and reflection, conception and inference, which spring up in us independently of any perceived or known external agency. But it lies, if possible, still more distantly beyond the grasp of our power, to discern or conjecture in what manner it is that the infinite Spirit influences those causes of action in us, and communicates to us knowledge, and gives birth within us to wisdom. We are conscious only of the effects which he produces—not of his agency, or the mode of their production. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth. So is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

IX. No other obedience than such as, in accordance with this doctrine, is prompted by moral reasons, can either be honorable to man, or worthy of divine acceptance.

No homage indeed of the soul can be offered, except it spring from that origin. The ground or reason of love, must necessarily lie in the mind's apprehensions of the object toward which it is exerted. To love God for any thing else than what he is, and is seen to be, were either not to love him at all, but a mere fiction substituted in his place, or to love him without any reason whatever ; neither of which could merit the name of homage or obedience. And the reason in like manner in every instance of the mind's voluntarily exercising its affections as it does, lies in the views with which it is filled, of the objects toward which its volitions are put forth. Such is the testimony of universal

consciousness and observation. The new born convert alleges it as the reason of his beginning to love God, that while struggling amid the storms of conviction, apprehensions of him and his government, at length burst upon his eye, immeasurably differing from any he had ever before experienced: he beheld in one overpowering manifestation, the mingled glories of his wisdom, justice, truth, and grace ; and love, submission, joy, and trust, instantaneously filled and transported his heart with all the energy of which he was capable. And he feels that those views are the fit and necessary grounds of such effects, and must have exerted on him a similar influence, had he enjoyed them at any earlier period. A love, however, that were it possible, should not arise from the mind's views of the object toward which it was exerted, but owe its origin to a constitutional taste that necessarily gave birth to that affection toward it, no matter what apprehensions of it were entertained, could neither accord with any thing known to our experience, nor merit the approval of God.

X. This doctrine is finally recommended by its consistency with the ascription of virtue to beings solely in proportion to their obedient actions.

A being's praiseworthiness, according to the judgment of common sense, corresponds solely to the intenseness and number of his virtuous exercises, and has no relation whatever to the mere length of the period that may have elapsed from his renovation. His virtue consists,—not in his having a constitution, that by the necessity of its nature gives birth to obedient affections whenever their proper objects pass within his notice—but simply in his exerting such affections towards them; and that class of his volitions is thus the measure of his praiseworthiness. Such also is the representa

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tion of the Scriptures. It is solely according to the deeds done in the body, whether good or evil, the Savior assures us, that men are to be judged. Were regeneration however what the current doctrine represents it to be, the constitution must be, it would seem, in some degree at least, the measure of one's excellence, and not the nature solely, and number of obedient acts.

In strong objection however to this doctrine, it is asked, how in consistency with it, is it to be explained, that men are not led earlier than they are to the exercise of right affections-inasmuch as the same motives are often previously urged in the same manner on their sensibilities?

The whole force of this objection rests on the propriety of the assumption, that the same motives had previously, in the same combination, been urged on their attention. It is indubitably certain however, that identically the same, or similarly peculiar apprehensions, and in the same connexions, had never before reached their minds. Such will be the testimony of every renovated person to whom inquiry respecting it may be addressed. They had indeed had views of some species or other of the same great objects, but of a widely differing nature. Their apprehensions of God, acquired under the aids of the ordinary means of grace only, were limited by ignorance and inattention, dimmed by unbelief, and discolored by passion; and their views of themselves inflated by pride, and distorted by selfishness. The commandment had never been brought home to their sensibilities, by the higher influences of the Spirit. They had never had any of those realizing apprehensions of God and his government, nor of their own relations and character, which are communicated by him at regeneration.

Of the possibility and reality of greatly varying views of the same objects in different minds, at the same period, and

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