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The Secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and his
Covenant to make them to know it. Psa, xxv. 14. Margin.
Zech, iv, 6.
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The following Reflections originated, at some distance from town, in a conversation, with which the author was lately indulged in the company of two pious clergymen. The principal question, which occurred, was;
66 Whether a man of the world, one unrenewed and unchanged in heart and life, could really and sincerely desire the gift of divine grace, ex mero motu, or from his own excitement, or (what is quite the same) without the gracious agency of the Spirit of God.” The text in Luke xi. 13, was quoted; but a doubt arose, how far it could apply to the point before us.
The author was, therefore, led to make this text the ground of inquiry; but, in proceeding upon it, he proposed nothing more than a short essay, chiefly for his own satisfaction, without the least design of extending the subject beyond the limits of a sheet or two of paper. This may account for the seeming abruptness at the beginning. One reflection, however, led on to another, which, appearing in some degree to affect the question, he
JUN 26 1394
knew not how to suppress; and thus the matter grew up to its present size, for which he can offer no apology but the importance, which it seems to bear, to every serious mind. If there be any thing right and proper in these thoughts, which he ventures to submit to the public eye, as he would hope there is; and if they may, in the least respect, be blessed to promote the interests of truth, or detect the incursions of error, in “ the household of faith;” he prays to ascribe all such effects to HIM, who is “ the Author of every good and perfect gift,” and “ without whom, nothing is strong, nothing is holy."
i $ 1. THE Holy Scriptures every where represent Man as a fallen Creature -- in consequence of this fall, a weak, unwise, and helpless Creaturenot only so, but in a state of enmity with God; contrary in disposition to his will, dark in understanding to his wisdom, dead in spirit to his life.
§ 2. In this state of Man, Redemption is proclaimed as accomplished by a Saviour - a free one, without his previous desire; a full one, above his thoughts; a powerful one, beyond his strength.
§ 3. It is all of mercy, by a Covenant established in the heavens It is all of grace, by a free bestowment,