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it is he who begins the work of grace in the soul. Men may light their lamps and kindle a thousand fires, and yet do nothing towards producing the light of day. And all supposed spiritual lights which do not proceed from the renovating influences of the Holy Spirit, are but glimmering sparks of human kindling, and are different in their nature from the rays of the Sun of righteousness,
Again, there is a period, whether it be observed or not, when the first rays of light enter the horizon. A longer or a shorter time may elapse before they are discovered, and it may sometimes be difficult to discern whether the day be broke or not. But there is an instant when the night ceases and the day begins. Such is the representation given of the commencement of the Christian's course.
Fallen men are always darkness before they are light in the Lord. There is, therefore a momeut, when God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, begins to shine into their hearis, to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Reason sanctions this Scripture view of instantaneous regeneration. If men by nature are going from God, and Christians are approaching towards him; then there must be a time when they cease to go l'rom him, and begin to go towards hini. Di. vine light may be commenced in the soul a longer or shorter, period before it be observed as such. Much perplexity may attend the determination of the question, whether there be 'really spiritual light or not. But its existence is not affected by this perplexity, and the consequences of its existence in removing darkness and giv. ing more correct views of objects are the same. The morning is often attended with clouds. At such times it may be much longer before the light of day is distin. guished than others. Still the day commenced as certainly, and advanced as uninterruptedly, as at other times.
So clouds of unbelief and fears, may obscure a work of
grace, and prevent the soul from having that comfortable hope which another has when God is really working in him both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. There are different degrees of darkness in nights, when neither has day light dawning upon it.The number and magnitude of other lights besides the light of day, may render the night less uncomfortable and gloomy than it would otherwise be. The borrowed light of the moon and other planets, the light of fixed stars, and tapers of human production may dispel natural darkness, in greater or less degrees where no light of day exists. These lights may prevent many evils, and disclose many facts, which could not have been prevented or known without them. So far they are desirable and useful; but they must not be confound. ed with the light of day. Unsteady lights are sometimes visible at night, which may occasion either terror or amusemeut and even be useful. The lightning's blaze may suddenly and frequently illumine the horizon. Tbe bursting meteor may shine for a moment. The northern lights may diffuse their pale or crimson hues around. Still it is night. Let these things illustrate spiritual things. God diffuses steady lights in the moral world like the fixed stars, from creation, providence, and the written word. These lights may be more or less visible and have influence on human minds where no work of sanctification by the Spirit is commenced in the heart. Christians reflect a light, wbich like that of the moon and planets, is but borrowed, yet its influence may he very considerable on the views, feelings and conduct of those who are not Christians. Many things in human science may be considered as tapers which to a cer. tain extent dispel darkness, but cannot produce day.-Convictions or flashes of the law from Sinai, and oiber temporary, but not clear and abiding views of spiritual things, resemble the lightning, the meteor, or the aurora borealis. Now say that some persons, through gross viees and immoralities, prove their moral night to be darker than others; that some may reason of many peculiar privileges, and restraints are very different in their general feelings and conduct from the vicious, and that some of them have many convictions, and even a kind of religious joy, still if the heart be not renewed by a light which produces some measure of real holiness. it is but moral night at the best. Where many other lights ex. isted before that of day, the contrast will not be so great, still it is an entirely new era at the dawn of day.-Where the darkness had been greatest:- Where sin had most abounded outwardly, there will be the most visible alteration when the man breaks off his sins by righteous. ness and his iniquities by turning unto the Lord. As other lights in nature may be mistaken for the light of day, so other lights in the moral world may be mistaken for the light of life. Careful attention must be given in both cases. To ascertain the commencement of the morning twilight, we must observe if it be in the right direction, if it appear steady and increasing, if it possess the properties and produce the effects of day light. Similar inqniries will assist in determining the real existence of holiness. Does the new light which is discovered proceed from the direction we are authorized from S«ripture to expect it? Is it steady and increasing? No other direction will answer, nor may any sudden flashes be taken for genuine piety. Has it Seriptural properties and does it produce the legitimate effeets of holiness in the heart and in the life? The first effect of day light, to the attentive observer, is to disclose the contrast between light and darkness. Such is the first effect of spiritual light upon the soul. The person then has a mure impressive sense of his inoral darkness and guilt than was before possessed. He is inclined to take the leper's plaee and utter the plaintive ery, unclean, UNOLEAN, if there may be hope. These petitions spontaneously arise 6 God be mereiful to me a sinner;" 66.Create in me a clean heart, o God, and renew a right spirit within me.” As other lights fade at the dawn of day, so with him
other lights become comparatively dim in view of the effulgence of divine teaching
Here it may be observed, that though the morning twilight gives elear views in proportion as it exists, at its commencement it still leaves men with indistinct views of every object beheld. It would be considered-insanity or presumption in any man to assert that he saw more clearly with the first rays of day light than others could, near the sun's rising. So the mind which is spiritually enlightened, is at first like the blind man whom the Sav. iour restored to sight. Though a cure was commenced, at the first he only saw meu as trees walking. The question is not therefore, either with ourselves or respect. ing others, is every religious subject seen CLEARLY, and are all the affections right ; but is there any measure of right views, right affections, and right motives : In
proportion as there is evidence of these things, there is evidence that a work of sanctification is begun. This view of the subject makes it evident that those who from soine sudden impulse think themselves Christians, and immediately consider themselves as more knowing and become more positive than those who have long walked in the path of the just, are either deceived or puffed up with spiritual pride.
Leaving the other propositions for another Essay, we shall close with three cautions.
First; Let those who have hitherto been practically indifferent about their spiritual state, be cautioned against expecting ever to behold the Sun of righteousness as the author of eternal day to them in another world, while they continue in this voluntarily to choose darkness rather than light. There must be in time a spiritual twilight with them, or whatever minor lights they may possess in this world, in the world to come nothing would remain for them but the blackness of darkness for.
It is written with the finger of Heaven “ without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” Beware then, reader, how you trust in any other ground of hope of future happiness, but in present and progressive holiDess. Every other refuge will at last be found a RE
Secondly ; Let those cherishing hopes they are Chris. tians because they have had some new views, or some strong feelings, or have attended to some outward relig. ious duties, be cautioned against substituting any other views, feelings or motives in the place of those which are Seriptural. A person may become another man and not in the Gospel sense of the term, a new Man. King Saul had another heart, but never a holy one. be changed in many respects and not sanctified. The change must be from the love and practice of sin, to the love and practice of holiness, in order to its being a change from nature to grace.
Thirdly; Let those whose attention is excited to the subject of religion, who are conscious that they are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, that their views and feelings are in a measure such as the word of God recommends, be cautioned against expecting that evidence of piety at the commencement of spiritual twilight
JUGE OF LIES
which is only obtained from its increase. Let them not compare themselves with Christians who have long been walking in the path of the just and because they have not their attaininents, be ready to conclude they have not entered the narrow path. Let them not conclude that the commencement of sanctification, is its completion. If persons discover the least 'SCRIPTURAL evidence that the day-spring from on high has visited their souls, let them thank God and take courage. Let them steadily pursue the path-way of the just as the only place where they have reason to expect ipereasing light. Let them remember that Christians are always at the first, but bades in Christ, and they must grow in grace before they arrive at the measure of the stature of perfect men in him.
SELECT BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
AND THE MARTYRS OF LYONS.
IRENEUS was a Greek by birth, and probably a native of Smyrna. At an early period of his life he was a disciple of the renowned Polycarp. The instructions he received from him appear to have made the deepest impressions on his mind, and the most minute circumstances of his conversation with him were retained in his memory to his dying day. lo one of his epistles he remarks, " the instructious of our childhood grow with our growth, and adhere to us most closely. I can describe the very spot in which Polycarp sat and expounded ; the very manner of his life, and the figure of his body ;the sermons which he preached ;-the accounts, ho gave us of his conversations with John and others, who had seen the Lord, and how he mentioned their particular expressions, and what things he had heard from them respecting our Lord's miracles and doetrine. These things, through the mercy of God visiting me, I heard with seriousness; I wrote them not on paper, but on my heart; and ever since, through the grace of God, I have had a distinct remembrance of them."