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man reason and imagination, and which do not arise directly or indirectly out of the essential and unalterable principles of the law of God. I may with humility acknowledge my own persuasion, that the religious peculiarities of the Society of Friends do indeed arise out of those principles; and to the proof of this point my future observations respecting them will be chiefly, if not exclusively, directed. In the first place, however, I must call the reader's attention to a few arguments and reflections respecting an important doctrine of religion, which, although by no means peculiar to Friends, is certainly promulgated amongst them with a peculiar degree of earnestness, and which lies at the root of all their particular views and practices the doctrine of the perceptible influence and guidance of the Spirit of Truth.
ON THE PERCEPTIBLE INFLUENCE AND GUIDANCE OF THE
SPIRIT OF TRUTH.
IT is generally allowed amongst the professors of Christianity, that in us, that is in our “flesh” or natural man, dwelleth no good thing; that we are unable of ourselves to fulfil the law of righteousness, or to serve the Lord with acceptance; and that the fountain of all true moral excellence, in mankind, is the Spirit of God. The serious and enlightened Christian, of every denomination, will readily confess that it is only through the influence of this Holy Spirit that he is enabled rightly to apprehend God, to know himself, and to accept Jesus Christ as his all-sufficient Saviour -that it is only through such an influence that he is converted in the first place, and afterwards sanctified and prepared for his heavenly inheritance.
The differences of sentiment which exist in the church, on this great subject, have respect, not to the question whether the Holy Spirit does or does not operate on the heart of man, (for on this question all true Christians are agreed), but principally, if not entirely, to the mode in which that Spirit operates.
On this point there appears to exist, among the professors of Christianity, and even among serious
Christians, a considerable diversity of opinion. Some persons conceive that the Spirit of God does not influence the heart of man directly, but only through the means of certain appointed instruments; such as the Holy Scriptures, and the Word preached. Many others, who allow the direct and independent influences of the Spirit, and deem them absolutely essential to the formation of the Christian character, refuse to admit that they are perceptible to the mind, but consider them to be hidden in their action, and revealed only in their fruits. Now, with Friends (and I believe with very many persons not so denominated) it is a leading principle in religion—a principle on which they deem it to be, in a particular manner, their duty to insist—that the operations of the Holy Spirit in the soul are not only immediate and direct, but perceptible, and that we are all furnished with an inward Guide or Monitor, who makes his voice known to us, and who, if faithfully obeyed and closely followed, will infallibly conduct us into true virtue and happiness, because he leads us into a real conformity with the will of God.
That our sentiments, on this important subject, are well founded—that the principle in question forms a constituent part of the unchangeable truth of God, is satisfactorily evinced, according to our apprehen-, sion, by various declarations contained in the Holy Scriptures.
In a former chapter I have called the attention of the reader to the doctrine, that a measure of the Spirit of the Son of God is bestowed upon all mankind; and I have endeavoured to show it to be in reference to his spiritual appearance in the hearts of his creatures, that Christ is styled “the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Now, it is certain that nothing can justly be denominated light,
which does not make manifest. “All things that are reproved,” says the apostle Paul," are made manifest by the light; for whatsoever doth make manifest, is light;" Eph. v, 13. Since, then, Christ, or the Spirit of Christ, in those operations which are altogether internal and independent of an outward revelation, is light, it is plain that this Spirit in such inward operations makes manifest-communicates an actual moral sense-teaches what is right and what is wrong, in a perceptible or intelligible manner. Thus the Psalmist prayed as follows: “O send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill and to thy tabernacles;" Ps. xliii, 3. The light and the truth, for which he thus offered up his petitions, could not be the written law, of which he was already in possession: the expressions are rather to be understood of the light of God's countenance, and the truth revealed by his Spirit: and these, according to the views of the Psalmist, were at once perceptible and powerful; for they were to lead him in the way of righteousness, and to bring him to the holy hill and tabernacles of God.
Under the Christian dispensation, the Holy Spirit is poured forth in preeminent abundance, as has been already observed, and as the Scriptures testify, on the souls of true believers in Jesus Christ. Of the operations of divine grace, under this new covenant, none of the inspired writers appear to have enjoyed a clearer view than the apostle Paul. Often was he led to expatiate on the Spirit who “dwells” in the children of God, and who enables them, on the one hand, to mortify their carnal affections, and, on the other, to bear the peaceable fruits of righteousness. It is in or after this Spirit that the apostle commands us to walk: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit;" Gal. v, 25: and again, to the Romans, he says, "there
is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit;" Rom. vii, 1. Now, to walk in or after the Spirit, who dwells in us, can be nothing less than to conform our life and conversation to his dictates; and this we could not do, unless those dictates were perceptible to the mind. On the same principles the apostle has, on two occasions, described Christians as persons who are led by the Spirit. “If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law;" Gal. v, 18. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God;”. Rom. viii, 14. Any one, who impartially examines the two chapters from which these quotations are derived, will easily perceive that the leading, of which Paul is here speaking, is not the instruction derived from inspired preaching, or from divinely authorized Scripture, but an internal work earried on by the Spirit in the soul of man. If, then, there be given to us an internal communication of the Spirit of Truth, by which we are to be led, it is surely very plain that such communication must be made manifest to our mental perception, or otherwise we could not follow it.
The Spirit, whose practical influence the apostle thus describes, is the Spirit of Christ. With this inspired writer the declarations, that the Spirit is in us, and that Christ is in us, appears to be equivalent. “But ye,” says he, “are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you." Now, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of (or as it relates to) sin; but the Spirit is life, because of (or as it relates to) righteousness;" Rom. viii, 9, 10. Since, then, the apostle teaches us that we are to be led by the Spirit, and that the Spirit, by whom we are to be led, is the Spirit of Christ, we