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SPROC) STREET LECTURES. Lecture 1. true that no man ever did come to Christ
Delivered on the Evening of the 2d No without the agency of the Holy Spirit; pember, 1831, by the Rev. Ezra Fisk, no believer of the gospel can suppose that D.D.of Goshen, N. Y. The Inability of any man ever will come without it; and Sinners Considered.
« No тaп сап the Saviour asserted that none can coine come unto me, except the Father, which except by this agency. What more is nehath sent me, draw him.”-John vi. 44.
cessary then, to admit that the inability is This discourse is the first of a series of entire, a complete preventive ? lectures on the fundamental and most im. “Apart from the meddlesoine philosophy portant doctrines of the Christian system, which has intruded its blindness to obscure which are now in a course of delivery, in the light, I perceive only one reason for purthe Sixth Presbyterian Church of Philadel. suing the inquiry another step. That is, phia. At a time when rash and danger to show the consistency of this announceous innovations are attempted, on the ment with God's commands, which bind principles and truths which have been us to love himn and believe on Christ. On considered as sound and sacred by the best this subject, the facts, as stated in the and wisest men, since the period of the Scriptures, are entirely satisfactory to my Protestant reformation, a number of mi mind. There can be no doubt that God's nisterial brethren in this city have thought commands are peremptory and binding on it might be useful, to invite from abroad all individuals of the human family, to preachers of talent and standing, to dis whom the word of his revelation is sent. cuss publickly some of the leading points Nor can there be any doubt that men are in Christian theology; and to publish the unable to come without the
of the discourses delivered, as soon as practica. Holy Ghost. Here are two facts, revealble. It was at first intended that these lec ed with equal plainness, and each positivetures should be preached and printed in a ly asserted. Are they consistent with regular systematick order. But to accom each other? This is the question. If modate the preachers, it was found neces they are not, there is inconsistency and insary to relinquish this plan; nor is it be equality with God, because he has assertlieved that an adherence to it would have ed both, and applied them to the same perbeen of much advantage. If the subjects
We come, therefore, to this exatreated are well handled, it is of little im- mination, with the assurance of their enportance, especially for popular hearing tire consistency in fact; and if we cannot and reading, in what order they are dis perceive it, we may be certain the defect cussed.
is in us, and not in the divine administraWe can truly say, that we have never tion. It is a case in which we are not at seen the subject of the discouse here an liberty to hold to one and reject the other. nounced, so satisfactorily treated, as it is in Both are facts, and must be consistent. this lecture. The preacher proposes I. 6 Whether such commands would have To answer the question-What is coming been given to us if there had been no misto Christ? II. To discuss the answer sion of the Holy Spirit, perhaps we are given by our Lord in the text-". No man not competent to say; but we know that can come to me, except the Father, which they are not given without it. I speak hath sont me, draw him.” The first of these not now of the providential agency which divisions is treated summarily and briefly. God exercises over and in his creatures, What is said, results in this–The coming but of that mission of the Spirit, whose to Christ contemplated in the text is, object is, by an unseen influence, to 're“coming to him for salvation-into cove prove the world of sin, and of righteousnant union with him, perpetual in its glo. ness, and of judgment,' to take of the rious results.” The second division of things of Christ, and show them unto his the subject The assertion of the text people. This influence constitutes an esthat without the agency of the Holy Spirit sential part of God's administration, and no man can corne to Christ”-is discussed
he is ever ready to give the Holy Spirit at considerable length. In advancing to to them that ask him.' the main point in the controversy on this The character and effect of this inasubject, Dr. Fisk remarks:
" There is
bility to come to Christ, is a proper submuch speculation on the inability intend ject of inquiry, and should in these days ed in this declaration of Jesus Christ; be well understood. The subject embraces and there is certainly great importance much, and can only receive a brief examiattached to the inquiry into its meaning. nation at this time. Here let me say, that The importance, however, arises not so the circumstances under which I address much from any inherent difficulty in the you, and the occasion, together with the investigation, or any liability of an honest false philosophy so often mingled in the mind to err, in the interpretation of the discussion of this subject, must be my text, or in its practical application, but apology for detaining you with a philoso-, from the multiplied speculations and bad phical investigation. Some apology seems philosophy of the ago. It is undeniably necessary, for I have not forgotten the
apostle Paul's caution, lo "avoid opposi- tions of their danger. No sinner will be tions of science, falsely so called.'' But likely to feel much anxiety for the salvasince this subject has been so involved, I tion of his soul, while he considers it as may be permitted to recollect another depending on his own choice or ability. caution by the same apostle ; 'beware lest There is no truth, which the Holy Ghost any man spoil you through philosophy and more frequently and efficiently uses, to vain deceit.' I hope to regard these cau. convince men of their sin and danger, tions, and show how philosophy has ob- than their lost, helpless condition by nascured this subject."
ture. The publican felt this when he After this apologetical introduction, Dr. cried,' God merciful to me a sinner.' Fisk goes into the philosophical argument; So fully does the Spirit convince men of where he shows that he is “at home' their helplessness, when he draws them to handling points with which he is familiar. Christ, that their cry is, 'Lord, save, or We know not what answer the adopters of we perish ;' and ever after, they live and the theory which he opposes can or will walk by faith, looking to Christ, in whom give to his statement and arguments; but is their strength, and depending on the we are well persuaded they can give none Holy Spirit for guidance. that will satisfy a discerning, candid, and “ The Spirit often teaches sinners their unprejudiced mind. We have been tempt- danger before he teaches them their helped to extract the whole of this part of the lessness; they look more at the sin of their discourse; but it is too long for our pages, conduct than the sin of their hearts. In and if it were not, we ought not to detach such cases they commence an effort to it from the rest of the discourse. We hope make themselves better. They try expemany, very many, of our readers will pur dient after expedient, confident that they chase each a copy of this lecture, and also can turn themselves to God. But under one of each of those which shall succeed the teaching of the Spirit thoy learn that it, as they severally proceed from the they make themselves worse instead of press. Indeed, it must be recollected, that better. Let a sinner perceive that he deon the prospect of indemnity for continu. serves endless misery, and is in imminent ing to print the lectures, the publication of danger of his soul-if he has, or think he the entire series must depend. We are has power, he will make exertion for his pressed for space, but we know not how safety. But let him perceive that he is we can better employ as much as we can ready to sink into everlasting perdition, spare, than in laying before our readers and feel that his sin renders him helpless, the conclusion of this excellent discourse. an agony of distress will fill his soul; and It is as follows
if Christ had not sent the Holy Spirit, de" What now are the uses to be made of spair would drink up his own spirit. Then this doctrine ?
he trusts in Christ, and is thus drawn by “ One very important use is to humble the blessed agency of the Holy Ghost. man before God. If men are so sinful that “ But here
it may be possibly asked, if they cannot deliver themselves, either this doctrine be not calculated to discou. from its curse, or from its dominion, they rage sinners from seeking the Lord? I suphave reason to be humble. They have rea pose it is possible for cavillers to pervert son to be humbled under a sense of their the truth, and even wrest it to their own sinfulness and their impotence. There destruction; but that it is calculated to are few things of which men are more in- discourage men from trusting in Christ, clined to be proud than of power. Children and accepting salvation, as it is freely ofearly discover a disposition to glory in their fered to them, I cannot admit. I know strength, or their capacity to accomplish that some have said the doctrine is calcu. what they consider important. Men are lated to lead men to sit down quietly and naturally fond of power in all its relations wait God's time to save them, alleging, and influence, and are prone to become that if he do not save them, the fault will vain in their imaginations, forgetting their . be in the Saviour and not in theniselves. sin and weakness before God. But when This cavil never came from a sinner, deeponce they are taught this doctrino by the ly anxious for his soul's salvation. But if Holy Spirit, they are prostrated in the the objection were founded in fact, the indust, and feel themselves at the disposal fluence would not be to quiet the feelings. of sovereign mercy. The pride of man Suppose a case, which, I think, may illusneeds to be humbled for his own benefit; trate the influence of the sentiments and God will have sinners humbled, that intended in the objection. Were it anhis own power may be manifested in them. nounced to us that the flames are en· Whoso exalteth himself shall be abased.' croaching upon this house, and that if we
" Another use of the doctrine is to con remain in it a few moments longer we must vince men of sin. So long as sinners per- fnevitably be consumed, and that we are ceive no danger, and feel confideni in unable to get out of the house; would we their ability to turn themselves to God at lie down and sleep? No, every bosom any time, they will not listen to the invita would be filled with wakeful agony. But tions of mercy, or care for the representa to make the case somewhat parallel to the
real situation of the sinner, we must sup- ply and propagate objections and cavils pose two things more—that our sinfulness against this doctrine. Here let a very alone disables us from escaping, and that strong fact be distinctly markedmone God is entreating us to accept his effi- fixed and intelligent look within, upon the cient and certain relief. Then if we character of the beart as disclosed by the should perish in the flame to-night, would light and teaching of the Holy Ghost, disthere not be crime as well as holplessness arms every objection, and prostrates the in our case ? Would there not be a sinner in deep self abasement, and covers striking analogy in the feeling, likely to be him with shame, crying, 'wo is me, for I excited in such a case, to the conviction am undone.' No cavil or objection can of sinners taught of God? To my mind stand before a conscience enlightened by the analogy is easily traced.*
the Spirit of God. “ It is again objected that this doctrine “A very important use of this doctrine is sets aside the use of means with impeni- to lead Christians and ministers of the tent sinners. To this I reply, in unquali- gospel to cultivate a sense of dependence fied terms, that exactly the reverse is true. on the special influence of the Holy SpiIf the excellency of the power were of rit, and pray for his agency. No matter men, every thing would be confused, un how great man's physical power may be certain, and discouraging. But since it is considered by others, Christians must feel of God, and not of men, we may hope for their entire dependence on the Spirit's success, relying on his ability, which is blessed agency, which alone can bring constant and efficient, to connect the men to Christ, enlighten their minds and means with the end. This is too plain to sanctify them for his service and glory. need further illustration.
The more sensible men are of their help. "It is further objected, that it is incon- lessness and real necessity, the more they sistent and useless to exhort sinners to re will pray for the grace of God. The docpent or perform any Christian duty, if trine tends to induce in Christians a more this doctrine be true. I know it sounds constant sense of responsibility under the very singular to some ears to hear such gospel administration, where the Holy addresses to sinners as look ye blind Ghost is sent to humble, enlighten, sanc: hear ye deaf-awake thou that sleepest tify, and guide them in the knowledge of and arise from the dead, and Christ shall his will, and discharge of Christian duty. give thee light.' I doubt not_many think Dependence on the Spirit and responsisuch exhortations useless. But so it is, bility go together. The whole gospel urges
thus described, and thus exhorted upon us this sense of dependenc in the gospel of Christ; and who will un- Holy Ghost. He takes of the things of dertake to say they are inconsistent? God Christ, and shows them unto us; and we has ordered us in the gospel commission cannot be too thoroughly impressed with lo announce most distinctly the guilt, the importance of relying on this influhelplessness, and misery of sinners; and Christians do not pray enough for at the same time to exhort, entreat, and this blessed agency; and too often they command them to repent. Our warrant is attempt the performance of duty with litplain, and our prospect of success, in these tle or no sense of their dependence. This announcements, rests on the mission of the explains their frequent failure and the Holy Spirit. When the voice of the Spirit meagerness of their graces. While Paul accompanies the exhortation, sinners hear recognised, fully, the truth of Christ's and coine to Christ. I have already shown declaration," without me ye can do nothe consistency of the doctrine with God's thiug," his humble and confident reliance commands, and this rests on the same on the influence of the Holy Ghost, en. principle. But I must not longer dwell on abled him to say, “I can do all things this topick; let me say once for all, the through Christ, who strengthens me." It human heart and human ingenuity have is not a sense of inability, which prevents employed their utmost efforts to 'multi- Christians from growing in grace and ful.
filling their obligations, but leaning upon * It is questionable whether, in the their own understanding, and relying on whole extent of the Presbyterian church, their own strength, there is, at this time, a congregation in 6 Under the influence of this sentiment of which there is a more general awakening, dependence, and a view of the helpless a more hopeful revival of religion, than in condition of sinners, ministers of the gosthat of which Dr. Fisk is the pastor. pel will be more likely to rely on the SpiHere is a practical demonstration of the rit's influence, and pray for his agency to utter and absolute fallacy of the represen- accompany their ministrations. They will tation, that impenitent sinners are render- keep the doctrine of the Holy Spirit's ed careless and indifferent to their state, agency distinctly in their own and the by being told of their entire inability to view of others. It was a judicious remark convert themselves--that regeneration is of a sensible elder in the church, “ if misolely the work of the Holy Spirit.-Ed. nisters of the gospel would honour the
Holy Ghost more in their preaching, the you. That some such inclinations are Holy Ghost would honour them.
awakened here, I doubt not. Be cautious "One direct object of preaching the gos that you resist not the Holy Ghost. Repel is, to convince men of sin-of their collect that you live under an administralost, disabled, perilous condition under its tion in which this is the last agency eneinfluence-of the direct and certain con. ployed for your salvation; resist this, and sequence of sin, everlasting destruction you must perish forever. Recollect that from the presence of the Lord and from you live in a time greatly distinguished the glory of his power. Another impor. for the outpouring of this blessed influtant object is, to convince or teach them
You take upon yourselves a fearful of the righteousness, not only of the law responsibility, if you resist the gracious which condemns them, but of Christ, by influence. You may, for aught I know, which alone they can be justified-to ex have come very near to that point, when plain the scheme of salvation by Christ, it shall be said of you as of Ephraim, " let and the principles of the administration him alone.” How tremendous the pros. under which they are planned. This is pect! How urgently should this caution to be done, « not in the words which be pressed upon your excited attention ! man's wisdom teaches, but which the And ye careless ones, remember that your Holy Ghost teaches.” O how necessary carelessness costs you no small efforts to that ministers of Christ should be deeply resist the Holy Spirit; and wo be to you, impressed with the sense of their depen when you shall have succeeded effectually dence on this heavenly instruction and in in quenching the Spirit. fluence! They should go from their closet "Christian brethren!
heed that you to the pulpit, to the family, and every pa- grieve not the Holy Spirit of promise. rochial service. They should carry the Cherish his influence; live under his case of sinners before the mercy seat, guidance; pray for his agency to convince unite the conviction and conversion of and convert perishing sinners. May the their souls to the intercession of Jesus Lord hear, answer, forgive, bless, and Christ, which alone can prevail, to send save us all in Christ Jesus. Amen." down the answer of peace.
“One important practical question must The continuance of our review close this protracted discussion. I propose of the Review in the Christian it to every individual in this assembly. Is the agency of the Holy Spirit drawing Spectator, we must, though relucyou? If you feel inclined to seek the tantly, postpone to the coming Lord, be sure the Spirit is striving with month.
Literary and Philosophical Intelligence, etc.
Not long since we read, in a short life of Isaac Newton became deranged in mind Sir Isaac Newton, published in a weekly in consequence of the destruction of his periodical in this city, a statement that at manuscripts by his dog Diamond; and that a certain period in the life of that great he never recovered his mental powers man, he was visited with a temporary sufficiently to produce any great work afinsanity-after which, it was said, he never ler this epoch, though he was only fortyattempted any thing that required close, five years old at the tinie. M. de la Place long, and laborious thought. This was exultingly adds, that this accounts for the perfectly new, and equally surprising to author of the Principia turning his thoughts us; althongh we had before heard, that to theology, and writing on prophecy and Newton did not retain his mental vigour biblical criticism, which Voltaire sneering, in advanced age, as fully as is witnessed ly urged as a proof that the inost exalted in many old men. It was, therefore, with mind is not always free from superstitious much pleasure that, in the Christian Ob- credulity. Till the publication of M. server for September last, we met with the Biot's memoir, these alleged facts were following article. The whole story, it ap- wholly unknown in England or elsewhere, pears, is an infidel exaggeration, or rather either from writing or tradition; but they fabrication; which Christians, as in too have been lately extensively circulated many other cases, have incautiously help- under high auspicies in this country, in ed to circulate. The article to which we the Life of Newton by “the Society for have referred is as follows:
the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge;" who, “ M. Biot in his life of Sir Isaac Newton, to their disgrace be it spoken, have not has endeavoured to prove, on the testimo- only adopted M. Biot's statement, but also ny of a manuscript note of Huygens, but the infidel sneers grounded upon it. Most tressed by various collateral facts, that Sir happy, therefore, are we in being able to
inform our readers, that Dr. Brewster, in to atoms all the tiles on the roofs, and shathis Life of Newton, just published in Mur tered like musket balls planks half an inch ray's Family Library, has collected a num thick. Since that day the rain has not ber of interesting facts, bearing upon the ceased to pour down in torrents, and from point, from which, though it certainly.ap- the slight way in which the houses are pears that Newton laboured under a tem- built, almost wholly consisting of winporary nervous irritability, caused by fever dows, and with very flat roofs that have and want of rest, yet that it was only tem. nothing to keep off the wet beside tiles, porary; that his exertions, mathematical, innumerable families are not much more Theological, and critical, bear powerful comfortable than in a bivouac. If, in adtestimony to his vigorous powers of mind dition to this, we consider that in conseat the very period of his alleged incom- quence of the burning of Pera, and the petency; and that all his theological pub- great fires in Constantinople itself, many lications were composed in the vigour of have no shelter whatever, and recollect life, before the illness which is said to have besides the plague, which continues to affected his reason. We may take an op- spread, and the cases of cholera which still portunity of detailing the facts more fully occur, both together indeed make the as well as some other interesting particu- whole a most gloomy picture. lars in Dr. Brewster's valuable narrative; “ The delay which has taken place in rebut in the mean time our readers may pro- building the houses burnt down is not yet cure the book for themselves. It does remedied, because the directions have not great honour both to Dr. Brewster and Mr. yet been published, which are to obviate Murray's popular series; and particularly the defects of the mode of building hitherto for the praiseworthy anxiety with which practised, and to afford greater security the deeply scientific writer rebuts the in- against fire; and, however injurious this sinuations of scepticks against Christia- delay may be to many an unsheltered fanity.”
mily, it may be easily accounted for, withThe two following articles of the most out imputing blame on the government, recent intelligence from Constantinople, which has to contend with innumerable belong to this department of our work, and
obstacles in the introduction of
even are of too much interest to be omitted.
the most useful innovation. The houses “ Constantinople, Oct. 10.—On the 5th
taken from the Catholick Armenians at instant, a natural phenomenon, such as
the time of the persecution, most of which few persons remember, and the effects of are in ruins, have been restored to them. which have been most destructive, filled
" A journal in the Turkish and French with terror the inhabitants of this country, languages will shortly be published here, who are at the same time suffering under by order of the Sultan, and under the speall kinds of evils. After an uncommonly cial direction of a commission appointed sultry night, threatening clouds rose about for that purpose. The prospectus of this 6 in the morning in the horizon, to the journal, which is to be published once a south and west, and a noise between thun
week, has been printed in the Turkish der and tempest, and yet not to be com
language, and distributed among the pubpared to either, increased every moment,
lick." and the inhabitants of the capital, roused
The Comet.- The European papers from their strife, awaited with anxious ex speak of a Comet that will appear within pectation the issue of this threatening phe- 60,000 miles of the earth's orbit, some time nomenon. Their uncertainty was not of in the year 1832. If the earth should haplong duration; lumps of ice, as large as a pen to be in that portion of its orbit, néarman's foot, falling first singly, and then est the path of the comet, in its approach like a thick shower of stones, which de to the sun, they say its motion will be stroyed every thing that they came in con much disturbed, and serious consequences tact with. The oldest persons do not re may reasonably be apprehended. M. Lamember ever to have seen such hail stones. lande has computed that comets may pass Some were picked up half an hour after within 30,000 leagues without sensibly dewards, which weighed above a pound. ranging the motion of the earth. The
“ This dreadful storm passed over Con comet of 1470, approached so near the stantinople and along Bosphorus, over earth as to increase its periodical time Therapia Bejukdere, and Belgrade, and upwards of two days; and had its mass the fairest, nay, the only hope of this been equal to that of the earth, it is com beautiful and fertile tract, the vintage just puted by La Place, the earth's motion in commenced, was destroyed in a day. Ani- her orbit would have been equally retardmals of all kinds, and even some persons, ed, and consequently have increased the are said to have been killed, an innumera- length of the year nearly 49 hours. As no ble quantity are wounded, and the damage such effect was produced, the disturbing done to the houses incalculable. Be. force of the comet was considered insensides that scarcely a window has escaped sible. The mass of the comet was 15000th in all the country, the force of the falling part less than that of the earth. In 1454, masses of ice was so great, that they broke ihe moon was eclipsed by a comet, which