« AnteriorContinuar »
are common; other than the motives which are common. The only question is about that cause : not whether Peter is capable of exercising love without the Spirit; for Judas is equally capable and does not do it: not whether Peter really puts forth the exercise himself, with all the spontaneity and freedom that mind can possibly have; for no one doubts of that : but what causes Peter's hatred to change to love when that of Judas remains the same? If you say, it is the self-determining power, I meet no answer there. Why does the self-determining power act so differently in different men under exactly the same circumstances? If you say again, Peter chose to love and Judas did not, the question still returns, why did Peter choose so differently from Judas under precisely the same circumstances? To say, he chose to choose differently, is only running back through an endless chain, and leaying at last an effect without a cause. If to escape from this difficulty you change the ground and say, the pressure of truth was not the same in both cases ; then you give up your favourite tenet, that God does the best he can for all and each. Or if you say, he foresaw that no further pressure of motives would avail with Judas, then this contemplated failure of equal motives is the same to my argument as an actual failure of equal motives. What ground was there for God to foresee that the same motives would fail with one and prevail with the other? What was the cause of that foreseen certainty? But I deny that the mind, in the clearest view of truth, will love without the action of divine efficiency. No where below the heavens is truth more clearly seen than in hell, but no love is there. To
say, it is because the Spirit does not place it before them, is to say, it is because they do not see it with sufficient clearness. But that they see it less clearly than do the saints on earth, (bating their blindness to its glory,) is more than you can prove or I believe. And certainly they see it clearly enough to hate it with eternal rancour. To say, it is because there is no hope, is to say that no man can love God without a bribe. Dr Taylor reckons all love to God to be prompted by self-interest; but the very reason why the mere view of truth will not prevail, is that the love which the truth requires, and which alone can relish the truth, is altogether different from the promptings of self-love and of nature. And while the heart remains supremely selfish, the service of God to which the truth invites, will not appear the greatest good. There must be a direct action of the Spirit upon the heart, conforming it to the holy and benevolent nature of truth, before it will be persuaded by truth to love God.
with delig hope, or f cisions. I operations :
out it there which the
no holy ha
bling furni serres any
Importance and Instrumentality of Truth. The intellect, the memory, the heart, the will, cannot act without a subject or object or reason of action. Without truth there is no object, (except errour,) for the understanding to consider, the memory to recall, the heart to love, hate, desire, dread, rejoice in or regret, or by which the will can be moved. Except so far as errour thrusts itself into the place of truth, truth is the only thing seen or felt, loved, hated, desired, dreaded, rejoiced in, or sorrowed for, and offers the only considerations in view of which the mind acts. It presents all those considerations and objects from which the intellect forms its reasonings, its judgments, its expectations ; which the heart regards with delight or aversion, with joy or sorrow, with gratitude, hope, or fear; and from which the will forms all its decisions. In short, truth is the necessary means of all the operations of mind which are not guided by errour. Without it there can be no right exercises at all. It is that which the heart enjoys, and without which there can be no holy happiness. It is that which forms all the ennobling furniture which we call knowledge. If knowledge serves any purpose in the exaltation and happiness of mind, the same purpose is served by truth, for nothing but truth can be known. Without truth there would be no knowledge, no holy happiness, no holy exercises, no truly rational action. Even God glorified is nothing but truth displayed. If it is important that all worlds should be filled with the glory of God, it is important that truth should flood the universe. All the infinitely grand and expensive measures which God has taken to make himself known, are only measures to pour truth upon the eyes of the creation. The only good resulting from the mission, death, and reign of Christ, is involved in truth displayed. What is the law of God, with all its penalties and rewards, but truth presented in the form of knowledge, imposing obligations, and offering motives to obedience? The eternal empire of Jehovah over a universe of moral agents, is sustained by nothing but truth,-is nothing but truth illustrated and applied as motives to obedience, adoration, and praise. Infinite is the value of truth as an instrument of divine government, as a medium of revealing the divine glory; two things which act and react upon each other. The government of God and all the sanctions of his law, and all the discoveries of him in creation, providence, and grace, are no other than glorious truths to feed the understandings and sway the hearts and lives of creatures. If truth is not important in this office, the moral empire of God and all the discoveries of his glory have been in vain.