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النشر الإلكتروني

A

REVIEW

OF

ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY,

SO FAR AS IT CONCERNS THE

PROGRESS, DECLENSIONS, AND REVIVALS

OF

EVANGELICAL DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE:

WITH

A BRIEF ACCOUNT

OF THE

SPIRIT AND METHODS BY WHICH VITAL AND EXPERIMENTAL

RELIGION HAVE BEEN OPPOSED

IN ALL AGES OF THE CHURCH.

Aliusque et Idem
Nasceris

But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

Gal. iv. 29.

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INTRODUCTION.

THOUGH the actions of mankind appear greatly diversified, from the influence of particular circumstances, human nature has been always the same. The history of all ages and countries uniformly confirms the Scriptural doctrine, that man is a depraved and fallen creature, and that some selfish temper, ambition, avarice, pride, revenge, and the like, are, in effect, · the main springs and motives of his conduct, unless so far, and in such instances, as they are corrected and subdued by Divine Grace.

Therefore, when St. Paul speaks of the most dreadful degree of impiety that can be imagined, enmity against God, he does not consider it as the fault of the particular tine in which he lived, or impute it singly either to the idolatrous Heathens or the obstinate Jews, but he affirnis universally, that the carnal-mind (to ppornpice TMs capuos), the wisdom, the cost spiritual and discerning faculty of man, is enmity against God. Men differ considerably in capacity, rank, education, and attainments; they jar in sentiments and interests ; they mutually revile, hate, and destroy one another; but in this point they all agree. Whether Greeks or Bar. barians, wise or ignorant, bond or free, the bent and disposition of their minds, while unrenewed by grace, is black and implacable enmity against the blessed God.

To those who acknowledge the authority of Scripture, St. Paul's express assertion should be sufficient proof of this point, if we could produce no other; but, besides the many other passages in the book of God to the same effect, it may be demonstrated by the most obvious proofs, experience, and matter of fact. The history of the Old Testament from the death of Abel, the nature and grounds of the opposition which Jesus and his Apostles met with, and the treatment of the most exemplary Christians that have lived in succeedingsages, are indisputable evidences of this offensive truth : for, what can be stronger marks of enmity against God, than to despise his word, to scorn his favour, to oppose his will, to caress his enemies, and to insult and abuse his servants, for no other offence than their attachment to his service?

But when, from these premises, the apostle infers, “ So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God," though the consequence is evident, it may seem at first view unnecessary; for.can it be supposed that the carnal mind, which breathes a spirit of defiance and enmity against God, will have any desire or thought of pleasing him? Yet thus it is.—The carnal mind is not only desperately wicked, but deeply deceitful; it deceives others, and often it deceives itself. As the magicians of Egypt, though enemies to Moses, attempted to counterfeit his miracles, and as Balaam

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