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· By s Godly motions” we are to understand those holy thoughts which are suggested to the mind, and that heavenly attraction which is communicated to it, by the Word and Spirit of Christ. Obedience to these is that “ holiness, s without which no man shall see the Lord.” And as the Spirit of God, moving on the face of the deep, was the primary cause of arrangement and beauty in the chaotic mass out of which all things have been formed, so also it is the motion of the Divine Spirit on the human soul which is the producing agency of “ all holy “ desires, good counsels, and just works.”. “ It " is He that worketh in us both to will and to “ do of His good pleasure.” · Now without abstinence the flesh cannot be subdued to the Spirit; for the health and vigour of the one is the sickness and infirmity of the other. The reciprocal antipathy of these contending principles is such that they cannot flourish together; so that, without a subjugation of the flesh to the Spirit, the Godly motions of Christ within us cannot be obeyed. How important then is our prayer for the grace of abstinence, in order that, by obtaining it, selfmortification may produce and cherish within us the new life of holiness! The transformation of the caterpillar affords an apt emblem of the process of the life of grace. At first it crawls on the ground a mean and despicable worm, leading an earthly and sensual life. That life is then extinguished, after which it becomes a new creature. Its life is ethereal. Its habits, food, and enjoyments, are all new.
In our abstinence from carnal gratification and its consequent effects, “ the honour and “ glory' of God our Saviour is nearly.concerned ; yea, “the honour and glory” of each person in the adorable Godhead. For herein the Father sees the fruit of His everlasting love ; the Son, the fruit of His redeeming grace; and the Holy Ghost, the fruit of His renewing power. It is to the honour " and glory of i Him who liveth and reigneth with the Fa“ ther and the Holy Ghost, one God, world « without end,” that we be enabled to use “ such abstinence that, our flesh being sub“ dued to the Spirit, we may ever obey His « Godly motions in righteousness and true holi“ ness.” For it proves that He “liveth” to make intercession for us; and that He reigneth to conquer in us those enemies which no arm but His own could subdue. Those who are “sanc“ tified in Christ Jesus” will be an everlasting monument to His praise.
It may be asked whether the doctrine taught in this essay be not popish and legal ? If the drift of it be misapprehended, it will appear to be such. It may be proper therefore to observe that the necessity of self-mortification has no connection with the justification of the fallen soul in the sight of God, as a cause has with its effect; for the worshippers who use this collect are considered, on a supposition of sincerity in their profession, as persons who have believed in Christ to the salvation of their souls; and, consequently, self-mortification in them is the effect, not the cause, of a transition from death unto life. The object then which is proposed by the use of abstinence is not justification but sanctification, as our collect fully declares. And even in this relation it is not the efficient cause of purification, but a mean employed for its promotion. The amputation of a mortified
limb in the human body is not the cause of animal life, but a prudent measure adapted to its preservation and improvement; and the agency by which the operation is performed must, of all necessity, be extrinsical. To trust in acts of self-mortification, as the meritorious causé of acceptance with God, or as sufficient, without Divine influence, to sanctify the heart, is the essence of Pelagianism and Popery; whilst to deny the necessity of self-mortification, and to neglect the practice of it, is the essence of Antinomianism and the height of spiritual delusion.
Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts · which may assault and hurt the soul, through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
N exact uniformity prevails in the religious
experience of the genuine members of the catholic church, however distant from each other may be the ages in which they have lived, and however different the outward circumstances in which they have been placed. This uniformity is especially manifest in the addresses which they present to the throne of grace. At its footstool they have all been found, stating the same wants, making the same requests, and urging the same arguments. There David a thousand years before the coming of Christ cried, “ Make haste “ to help me, O Lord, my salvation.” And there all the genuine members of the church of England at the present day, and near two thousand years after His coming, cry in the same strain of self-abasement and fervent desire, “ Almighty God, who seest, &c.”
If the awakened sinner would consult his own feelings, wants, and desires, and compare them with the provisions of the gospel, he would de. rive from the result of his inquiry a complete system of orthodox Divinity. He would be in
no danger of Socinianism, Arianism, or Pelagianism ; for he would find his guilt, helplessness and misery to be so great, that an “ Almighty Redeemer, Comforter, Sanctifier, and Preserver, is essentially necessary to his soul. “He that “ believeth hath the witness in himself,”—a witness or testimony which all the sophistical arguments of fallen reason, his own or of others, cannot invalidate. To the criterion of this testimony we may safely refer the character of our established forms of worship, and submit that they should stand or fall by the verdict of an awakened conscience. Let them be brought to this test, and they will appear to have been the production of workmen who need not to be ashamed. Surely the conscious mind must cordially join issue with the collect for the second Sunday in Lent now under consideration.
Our collect contains—An introduction, stating the ground on which the subsequent request is built,—And that request for Divine conservation, both in our bodies and our souls.. .
The exceedingly great and precious promises of God afford a mirror in which we may distinctly see our own deplorable condition. For He has not promised any thing which we do not want, and which we can derive from our own resources. In the natural world He has made nothing in vain, but every production of His plastic hand discovers His wisdom, power, and goodness. And in the covenant of redemption, the master-piece of wisdom, no needless blessing is provided. And Oh! if this criterion of our state be resorted to, how humiliating will it prove!. It will disclose guilt, helplessness, and misery in the utmost degree. For if God has promised help and salvation, it is because we