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all those that, putting all their hope and trust in him, do assuredly look for the bliss of everlasting life. But as many, as are in this faith stedfast, were fore-chosen, predestinated, and appointed out to everlasting life, before the world was made. Witness hereof, they have within in their hearts the Spirit of Christ, the author, earnest, and infallible pledge of their faith. Which faith only is able to perceive the mysteries of God: only bringeth peace unto the heart only taketh hold on the righteousness that is in Christ Jesus.
"Master.-Doth then the Spirit alone, and faith (sleep we never so soundly, or stand we never so reckless and slothful,) so work all things for us, as without any help of our own to carry us idle up to heaven?
"Scholar.-I use, Master, as you have taught me, to make a difference between the cause and the effects. The first, principal, and most perfect cause of our justifying and salvation, is the goodness and love of God: whereby he chose us for his, before he made the world. After that, God granteth us to be called by the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; when the Spirit of the Lord is poured into us by whose guiding and governance we be led to settle our trust in God, and hope for the performance of all his promises. With this choice is joined, as companion, the mortifying of the old man; that is, of our affection and lust.
"From the same Spirit also cometh our sancti fication, the love of God and of our neighbour, justice, and uprightness of life: finally, to say all in sum, whatsoever is in us, or may be done of us, pure, honest, true, and good: that altogether springeth out of this most pleasant root, from this most plentiful fountain, the goodness, love, choice, and unchangeable purpose of God. He is the cause, the rest are the fruits and effects," &c.1
Here the Scholar is plainly taught, as the child is in our Catechism, that holiness is by grace and not by nature: "it springs from this most pleasant fountain, the goodness, love, choice, and unchangeable purpose of God." A holy life is the consequence, "the rest are the fruits and effects." How much more encouraging then is it to a poor creature, the victim of all the corruptions and infirmities of a fallen nature, to lead him to "this most pleasant root, and most plentiful fountain" of grace, than to throw him on the delusive resources of his own perverted will, and the incapacity of his own depraved heart.
And may we not add to this persuasive precept and practice of our Church, the yet more conclusive argument of fact. Are there not many instances on record, and are they wanting in the living experience of the present day, of
1 Fathers of the English Church, vol. ii. pp. 362–364.
children into whose hearts the Spirit of God has wrought a lively feeling of the blessedness of these doctrines? whose religion, as Hooker calls it, is a "feelingly-known " religion: and who though they can give no correct analysis of the same, are exhibiting a lively evidence of the truth of these doctrines of grace in their daily walk and conversation? The grace of God is really operating in them a change of heart. If a child on retiring to rest at night, sheds a tear over the sins committed during the day, and prays for pardon of that God who "seeth" that tear "in secret;" if, when driven to distress under the frown of his Parent, he says "Let me kneel down and pray to God for pardon and strength to sin no more," acknowledging God as his refuge; if the Bible and the things of the Bible are dear to him; if he denies himself for the good of others; and if amidst his childish folly and trifling there is a prevailing disposition to regard the concerns of his immortal soul,-could we justly withhold from such a child, the character which the Scripture ascribes to the young Abijah, that there was "found in him some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel?"1 Shall we not, in a judgment of charity, hope that the Holy Ghost "sanctifieth," or is sanctifying that child, and that he is therefore one of "the elect children of God?" I do hope that such
1 1 Kings xiv. 13.
instances are not only on record, but that some domestic circles contain these cheering evidences of effectual grace in the youthful mind in this our day; and that Parents are yet to be found, who hail these rising graces as germs of future blessings, both to themselves, their children and the Church of Christ.
And here, suffer me, before I conclude this part of the subject, to draw the very necessary distinction between experience of the blessedness of a doctrine, and the power to analyse that experience. The one is the work of the heart, the other of the head; the one is the exercise of the affections, the other of the understanding: the child can feel the love of God and the fear of God, when he may not be able to analyse those feelings, or correctly to desscribe them. The Scriptures address themselves not to an understanding head but to an "understanding heart: "1 their blessed truths are not given so much to be reasoned on, as to be felt; not so much to be canvassed by the understanding, as to be applied by the heart. A hungry beggar does not reason about the ingredients of the food presented to him: it is wholesome, it is suitable, it is presented by a friend, it is just the supply which his wants demand. And while learned disputants are controverting the truth of a doctrine, and subjecting it to the
1 Prov. viii. 5.
severest analysis of critical acumen, the child may without controversy be feeling the blessedness of that very doctrine in his holy experience, which they are questioning, and possess that best evidence of its truth "the witness in himself," which all the mass of external and internal evidence accumulated in unnumbered folios, may be unequal to convey. The one is the ratiocination of man, the other is the impress of the Spirit; the one may be the accurate deduction of intellect, the other is the exquisite essence brought home in power to the heart, and wrought out in all the lively efficacy of experimental blessedness. Children taught as above, have been known experimentally to apply the doctrine of the Trinity in their prayers. They have addressed God the Father as
1 John v. 10.
2 A child may be taught the God with whom he has to do, if the practical purposes for which that God is revealed, are explained to him in the three Unities.
The first Unity is that of the three Persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, existing in the Godhead.
The Father is the fountain of Deity-abstract and essential perfection-being, wisdom, justice, holiness, truth, power, mercy, love, infinity, &c. The child has seen a holy man, and a powerful man, but he never saw power or holiness; he has seen them as qualities, but he never saw them in essence ; now God the Father is all this in essence. And this " no man hath seen, nor can see,” 1 Timothy vi. 18.
The Son is the EXPRESSION of Deity, for "no man hath seen God the Father at any time," John i. 18. neither can he see or comprehend what is essential, "the only begotten Son