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axiom in this holy book,
a sacred axiom on which all knowledge and experience must turn, that every true believer is and must be born of the Spirit of God, and by this spiritual birth becomes child of God; but, on the other hand, if any man, be his appearance, or professions, or natural advantages, whatever they may, have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
§ 44. It may, therefore, well become those, who deny the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the right knowledge of God, or the things of God, to inquire; how far they are prepared by such denial to object to his very Being in the God-head, and to his whole Office in the business of man's salvation. Conduct of this sort will give no small cause to suspect, that their principle is not very strong in points, for which they find so little use to themselves, and so much occasion for reproach and misrepresentation concerning others. It
is but doubtful or sandy ground, however, which people of this description have chosen, when they undertake to raise a superstructure for the skies upon the mutability or shallowness of reason, and by a feeble succession of their own endeavours and abilities.
$ 45. “But (says another) all this is rank Euthusiasm !” A hard name is sometimes a very convenient thing. It can serve as a masked battery to fire off the bolts of inalice, or as a skreen to cover the enmity of the heart and its secret rage against truth and piety. But, if by enthusiasm be meant error ; let it be first proved by the word of God, and then be renounced and exploded accordingly. All wrong principles, all false practices, every error that leads to sin, and (I may add, what is too little thought of) the sin of every error, cannot be too much or too frequently explained and condemned. Show the matter to be er
roneous ; and then dispose of it, as it deserves.-But if, by the hard name of Enthusiasm, or by any other hard and opprobrious name, be understood a hearty ardent pursuit of the things of God, and a renunciation of all other things, which tend to paralyze the affections and faith of a Christian towards his Redeemcr, or to render him more accommodating to the spirit of the world and the corruptions of the flesh; then I, for one, must confess and deplore, that I have already but too too little of this fervor and animation within me, and that I have abundantly most cause to complain of my coldness, and deadness, and barrenness, in the things, which, of all others, do essentially concern me. It is, and it ought to be, therefore, my earnest prayer to that Divine Spirit, whose office in the case appears to be flagrantly insulted and vilified, that, if this disposition of mind be indeed
what an irreligious world, or what inconsistent professors of religion, from attachment to the world, or from the fear and love of man, may call enthusiasm ; I may be more and more an enthusiast, with a clear and irreproachable conduct, every day of my
life. I may and ought to grieve, that I have not followed the Captain of my salvation, so closely, so warmly, so entirely, as I should ; but it seems impossible, that it can be my shame or my sorrow in eternity, for having loved or served him too much in this world, or for having been counted worthy to suffer reproach and contempt from my fellow-worms for his name's sake.
Rail at me (the Christian may say) as much as you please ; but, if I discover any thing amiss by your censure, however peevish or illintentioned in itself, I shall hope to be thankful for an opportunity of correcting my error; yet, for your own sake,
take care how you blasphemé the doc. trines of my God.
How base and degenerate is the spirit of fallen man ! Almost any creature, without much examination of principle or practice, may be an enthusiast in music, in painting, in all the sciences and arts, or in things far less innocent than these ; and shall not only be tolerated, but applauded, for being a most ardent enthusiast. Whereas, in religion, in an affair of the largest and deepest importance, in the zealous concern for the everlasting salvation of his soul, a man shall be dubbed an enthusiast, a fool, a knave, a hypocrite, and all that is inonstrous and absurd, though his life and conduct may
be useful or unblaineable before those who know him best, and though his faith and hope shall be confirmed most unanswerably by the truth of God himself.