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testants differ not in fundamentals ; when the former maintain that the saints are to be prayed to, and the latter profess that God only is to be prayed to ?

“Again, who can say otherwise, when it is so evident that these men deny the offices of Christ?

“ And, 1. his kingly office is supplanted by them, by making the Pope the sovereign and infallible head of all the churches in Christendom, and allowing him to usurp that power which Christ alone hath.

“ 2. The priestly office is apparently nulled and frustrated by the pretended offering up of Christ in the mass, as a propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead, by making satisfaction for sins by our own works and merits; and by setting up other mediators and intercessors beside Christ, which I mentioned before.

“3. The prophetic office is opposed and subverted by the church of Rome, by their misinterpreting and corrupting the holy scriptures ; yea, and by not suffering the people to consult these sacred oracles, which are the only rule of our faith and our good living.

“ Thus we see how groundlessly it is asserted, that the church of Rome professes all the doctrines of the Christian faith which are necessary to salvation, and are essential to Christianity. And from what has been said it is manifest, that, though the papists profess the belief of all the articles of the creed, yet this is a seeming belief only; for they hold others that are a destruction of that belief. Though they pretend to hold the

fundamental doctrines of faith, yet they make such additions to them, as necessarily, and by plain consequence, overthrow these fundamental articles.

“ This is the true case : and accordingly we shall not injure them, if we say, that they endeavour to lay another foundation than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. By maintaining those things, which clash with his regal, sacerdotal, and prophetic offices, they rase the very fundamentals of the Christian religion.”

1

7.

DECEMBER, 1811.

REASONS WHY THE EFFUSIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

ARE NOT MORE EXPERIENCED BY EVANGELICAL
MINISTERS IN THEIR LABOURS; AND ON THE

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Being lately in a rather large company, consisting chiefly of clergymen belonging to the established church ; an inquiry was made, “Whether, in proportion to the numbers at present employed in preaching the doctrines of the gospel there were in their several congregations an abundant pouring out of the Holy Spirit, to render their labours successful ; and, if there were not, what reasons could be assigned for it; or what means used to obtain a more copious blessing on our labours.'

'Is not the amount of this reasoning the same which Hooker has stated, namely, that the church of Rome subverts the foundation of faith indeed, but not directly,' as Infidels and Socinians do, but by a circle of consequence.'--See his Discourse of Justification.—This, however, he thinks not sufficient to deprive her of the very name, and of all the privileges of a Christian church: and in this, it seems, a learned and pious dissenter of more recent times agrees with him. Degenerate 'as their form of Christianity is,' says Dr. Doddridge, on 2 Thess. ii. 1-12, "we must yet call the members of the church of Rome our fellow Christians.'

Whatever might be determined respecting the success of the gospel, as now preached by the ministers of our church, compared with that in general witnessed in modern times; (concerning which there were different opinions ;) it was unanimously allowed, that the effusion of the Holy Spirit, to render the word of truth successful, was far from abundant, compared, not only with the apostolical times, but with the era of the reformation, and with more recent instances recorded in the history of the church ; and we were all led to say, 'We have heard with our ears, and our fathers have told unto us, the noble works that thou didst in their days, and in the old time • before them.'

All true ministers are “ fishers of men ;" but the ancient preachers, and some even in more modern times, seemed to fish prosperously with a cast net; we only with an angle, and even thus with no very animating success.

This appears, both by the small number of converts made in our several charges; the disproportion in most places between the number of the communicants, and that of the congregation at large; and by the indecisive characters of a considerable proportion of those who are called professors of the gospel. How different from those glorious times, when “great grace was “ upon” the whole body of Christians, and when the Lord “added to the church daily such as “ should be saved,” even “ multitudes of men “and women.” It is not meant by this, that the aggregate of good done is in itself small; but that it is far from bearing the proportion to the number of labourers, which in former and more favoured times it has done.

It is not satisfactory to ascribe the main difference, between the pouring out of the Spirit in the apostolic times and the state of things in our times, to the miraculous powers vouchsafed then and not at present. These gifts attracted attention; enabled the preachers to make themselves understood by persons of any nation ; and produced a rational conviction, that persons endued with them were the servants of the living God, and that the word in their mouth was truth : but another kind of operation was requisite to humble, soften, and new create the heart; without which even “Paul might plant and Apollos water” in vain. And this regenerating and renovating work of the Spirit is not now entirely withheld, though more sparingly imparted. We have the same gospel in the writings of the apostles; and, as far as we preach it in the same manner, and in the same spirit, it does not appear why we should not expect a larger measure of the same blessing. Elijah has left us his mantle; but " where is the “ Lord God of Elijah:”

Many resolve the difficulty concerning this undeniable difference into the divine sovereignty ; and, no doubt, “the Lord doeth what he pleaseth “ in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabi“ tants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, “ or say to him, What doest thou ?" But his sovereignty is that of infinite wisdom, justice, truth, and love; and, though we must not presume to inquire into the secret reasons of his conduct, yet we may inquire, whether there be any thing in ourselves, which induces him to “ command the clouds to rain" so little “ rain

upon us.”

or

External circumstances, and various things of a mere public nature, may be recurred to, in order to account for the great disparity in the success of our labours, and that of many who have gone before us ; but these seem rather suited to quiet our minds and consciences into a sort of apathy about success, than to come directly to the point, by accounting for the fact in a manner calculated to produce a favourable alteration : “ Is my hand « shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? “have I no power to deliver?" “Behold, the “Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot

save, nor his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: “ but your iniquities have separated between you “ and your God; and your sins have hid his face “ from you, that he will not hear.” I am very far from thinking that this text bears directly on the subject, in the manner, in which it was spoken against the Jews : but it gives us a clear intimation that there may be some things faulty

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