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in our lawful occupations. This is the prayer which our Lord enjoined to his disciples, that they may not enter into temptation.* Many awakened souls have suffered great loss, and made for themselves a long wilderness, by consulting with those who were as much at a loss as themselves, and going from one learned man to another to seek that without, which can only be found within. The kingdom of God, said Christ,t is within you, his constant reference was to this : his constant aim, to turn men from a dependence upon the ceremonies of religion to the essence of it. When we are so far convinced of these great truths as to give up ourselves wholly to God, and can say with sincerity, Thy will, and not mine, be done;' then we shall enjoy that heavenly communion which constitutes the happiness of the blessed above. Narrow prejudices will no longer exist, our souls will expand with love to our fellow-creatures, and we shall consider all mankind as branches of the same family, having one common Father. We shall feel a real interest in the happiness of all within our influence, and endeavour to promote it to the utmost of our power. These are the effects which would be produced by submitting to the operation of Divine Grace in the heart. We shall then experimentally know that God is good.' We shall be qualified to taste and see how gracious he is, by his influence upon our minds, by those virtuous thoughts which he awakens in us, by those secret comforts and refreshments which he conveys into our souls, and by those ravishing joys and inward satisfactions which are among all the thoughts of good men. He is lodged in our very essence, and is as a soul within the soul, to irradiate its understanding, rectify its will, purify its passions, and enliven all the powers of man. How happy is an intellectual being, who by prayer and meditation, by virtue and good works, opens this communication between God and his own soul! Though the whole creation frowns upon him, and all nature looks black about him, he has his light and support within him, that are able to cheer his mind and bear him up in the midst of all those horrors which encompass him. He knows that his helper is at hand, and is always nearer to him than any thing else can be which is capable of annoying or terrifying him. In the midst of calumny or contempt, he attends to that Being who whispers better things within his soul, and whom he looks upon as his defender, his glory, and the lifter up of his head. In his deepest solitude and retirement, he knows that he is in company with the greatest of Beings; and perceives within himself such real sensations of his presence, as are more delightful than any thing that can be met with in the conversation of his creatures. Even in the hour of death, he considers the pains of his dissolution to be nothing else but the breaking down of that partition, which stands betwixt his soul and the sight of that Being who is always present with him, and is about to manifest himself to him in fulness of joy.* If we duly ponder these things, fellow-traveller, and give up our hearts to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the end of our journey will be the beginning of a new existence, inconceivably glorious, and eternally happy! EXTRACT
JOURNAL OF JOB SCOTT.
I AM renewedly confirmed in a sentiment I have long been settled in; which is, that there never was, and never will be, but one true religion in the world ; to wit, • The work of the Spirit of God in the souls of mankind;' that some of all denominations have something of this True Religion, even though some of them, through the prejudice of education, may disallow it in profession : and that no man has any real religion but what he comes to the knowledge and experience of, through the influence of this Holy Spirit. This it is that begins and carries on the work; this it is that, by its own divine influence, operating in the minds of mankind, reveals Christ in them, the hope of glory;'* or so operates from time to time, on reading the Scriptures, or other good books, on hearing the gospel preached, on meditating on the works of Creation and Providence, on God's judgments in the earth, or his dealings with themselves, as indi viduals; or whatever other occasion, circumstance or thing, is ever made a means of conviction or con version; the Holy Spirit so operates, I say, in all these cases, as to produce the happy effect : and without the inward operation thereof, all these other opportunities and things would be utterly in vain, as to salvation, and never able to produce the least degree of true religion or sanctification in the soul. So that, though there are many opinions, many creeds, professions and denominations, and some truly religious persons in them all; yet there is and can be but one true religion: all true religion is of one kind; all springs from one source. And, blessed and adored for ever be the Lord, in order that all men may, if they will, be benefitted experimentally by this one true religion, the manifestion of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.** He that rightly profits thereby, and continues so to do, will live in the exercise of the one true faith, will witness the one true Christian baptism, will know and obey the one living Lord, will by the Holy Ghost, in word and deed, acknowlege and call him Lord, and so will be saved by an everlasting salvation. And on the other hand, seeing a measure of the Holy Spirit is given to every man; seeing the grace of God, that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men,'t seeing the light and life of the Holy Word which in the beginning was with God and was God, hath enlightened every man that cometh into the world ; and seeing moreover, Christ Jesus has tasted death for every man's how shall we escape if we neglect and reject so great salvation? How great must be the condemnation of every soul, thus highly favoured, which yet stands out and rejects the strivings of the Spirit, the teachings of Grace, the shinings and convictions of the Divine
Light! Now, this Light, Grace, and Spirit of God, is all one under different appellations. It is called Spirit, because it is quick, lively, and operative; and quickens the soul to a sensibility of its state and condition ; it is called Grace, because it is the free, unmerited gift of God; and it is called Light, because it makes manifest ; as, whatsoever doth make manifest, is Light,'* say the Scriptures. And as this grace or light is attended to, it will bring the soul into a state of grace and favour with God. Well, therefore, might the Apostle, with holy reverence, break forth in these expressions, . Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift !+ And all who obey the light, will be brought out of darkness into his marvellous Light; for though the hearts of fallen men are grossly darkened, yet the light shineth in their dark hearts; and though the darkness comprehendeth it not, if it is taken heed unto, it will shine more and more unto the perfect day; even until the whole body be full of light. But those who rebel against the Light, will grow darker and darker, until they know not the way thereof, nor understand the paths thereof; and become vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts will become darkened ; having loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
* Eph. v. 13. t 2 Cor. ix, 15