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BY SIMON CLOUGH By the term divine influence, I mean the agency of God opera- ting upon the souls of men, by which they are illuminated, disci- plined, and improved ; all that support which God affords in temp- tation, trial, and sorrow ; all that spiritual aid which he imparts to man, for the moral and religious improvement of his character here in this world, and by which he is prepared for a higher state of being in the world which is to come.
  On the Doctrine of Divine Influence. BY SIMO CLOUGHBy the term divine influence, I mean the agency of God opera- ting upon the souls of men, by which they are illuminated, disci- plined, and improved ; all that support which God affords in temp- tation, trial, and sorrow ; all that spiritual aid which he imparts to man, for the moral and religious improvement of his character here in this world, and by which he is prepared for a higher state of being in the world which is to come. In the discussion of this subject, I propose to show, that God not only grants to men the outward dispensations of his word to be the ordinary means of their conversion and sanctification, but, also, the inward operations of his Holy Spirit. I. And, in the first place, we observe, that it is highly reasonable that such an influence should he imparted. God has created man, and placed him here in this lower world in a state of trial ; and what is more reasonable than to suppose, that he should hold an intimate intercourse with the souls he has called into being? There is nothing absurd, irrational, or difficult in the supposition. God has given to man all his powers and capacities, and is intimately acquainted ^ith all the laws by which his mind is governed, with all the springs which excite him to action, and with all the avenues which lead to the heart. By elevating or depressing his spirits, he can present new views to the mind ; by an impression upon the brain, he can excite a new train of thought and reflection ; and by touching the springs of action in the heart of a man, he can add intensity to the slightest emotions that affect him. Thus God, in a thousand ways, can give to men clearer ideas, quicker apprehen- sions, and more extended views of divine truth. He, indeed, when no miracle is wrought, can lead man to any result — can interpose, and influence, and guide him to will and to do, of his good pleasure, by the agency of those laws which govern the human mind. Thus we see, in the very constitution of man, that God has made pro- vision for the exercise of his moral providence, by which he is to be disciplined and improved, and, finally, prepared for a higher state of happiness and felicity. We, therefore, consider the doc-  202 O THE DOCTRIE OF DIVIE IFLUECE. trine of divine influence in accordance with every principle of rea- son, and a denial of it as most irrational and absurd. Again, it is obvious that the presence and agency of God with the human mind may be inferred from all his perfections ; since it is irrational to suppose that these perfections would exhaust themselves on inferior objects, and leave untouched that Spirit of man, for the use and development of which, all things else were made. For instance, we ascribe to God spirituality. But can we conceive of an inactive Spirit? And if it be admitted that this In- finite Spirit is active, that it pervades, as the life-giving principle, all creation ; that it is the first cause, the continuing power, and the last and of all material things ; can we believe that it avoids or neglects the soul of man, which is the brightest image of it? Again, we ascribe to God, Omnipresence and Omnipotence. We main- tain, that God is present in every part of space by an all-pervad- ing, all-controlling energy ; that he is above us, around us, and be- neath us ; and shall we make an exception of the human soul, and affirm that this energy, which is everywhere else, never touches the human heart, never impresses the mind of man ? Once more, the doctrine of a divine injiuence rests upon the same foundation as the docir'me of a. particular providence ; indeed, it is a branch of the same doctrine. They must stand or fall to- gether. They rest upon the same evidence, and are proved by the same arguments. By a particular providence, we mean, that' care which God extends to every part of creation, to the smallest as well as to the greatest events, to all the parts as well as to the whole of creation, and is as complete in a grain of sand as ina world, and is as regular in the actions of an individual as in the conduct of a nation. Indeed, neither the natural, nor the moral government of God, can be carried on in any other way. The re- sults to which nations are guided, depends upon the conduct of the individuals which compose them. We are not to suppose, that the energy of God is exhausted upon nations and communities, and  that individuals are left untouched by it ; for the energy of God is infinite. That Infinite Being who guides the sun in his course, who marshals the host of heaven, who gives motion to the planetary system, and life and being to the ten thousand forms which in- habit the earth, also watches over the good man in his cottage ; kindles devout aspirations in his heart, and accepts the homage, the praise, the* adoration, he offers to his Maker. How delightful to look upon a world of human beings, all under the care and government of God — a God whose infinite energy turns the hearts of men, as the rivers of icater are tamed, reslrammg the wrath of one, and kind ing the devotion of another ; guiding this man to one conclusion, and that man to another; bringing order out of confu- sion and good out of evil ; and thus performing all his will and all his pleasure ; and yet no miracle is wrought, no man's free agency is invaded. That this doctrine is true, is evident from the fulfil- O THE DOCTRIE OF DIVIE IMFLUECE. 203 merit of prophecy. Some of the prophecies were foretold several thousand years before they were accomplished ; and their fulfilment depended upon the actions of millions and millions of human beings, and thousands and thousands of contingencies beyond the control of man. These prophecies were fulfilled in the course of human events, as all other events occur. We are, therefore, led to the conclusion, that the providence of God is carried forward by the exercise of an all-pervading energy, and that nothing occurs under the whole heaven, only by the direction or permission of the Su- preme Ruler of the universe. But this doctrine is fully established by the Holy Scriptures. It was affirmed by Christ himself, that the Comforter, by which we understand the Spirit of God, should reprove the world of sin. It is by the law that we have the knowledge of sin. By the law we un- derstand the written word, that was-engraven upon the tables of stone, and given to man as a rule of life, every deviation from which is a moral offence. This law extends not only to outward actions, but to every inordinate desire. The Spirit, in reproving the world of sin, reveals to the mind the spirituality of the law, by which sin is  made to abound ; or, in other words, by this act of the Spirit, the understanding is enabled to see our sins in a clearer and stronger light. By this act of the Spirit, also, we discover the strength and vehemence of our sinful passions and appetites. This is what St. Paul meant, when he said. Sin, taking occa- sion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupis- cence. Thus, by the operation of the Spirit, we see, in a strong and clear light, the corruption of the human heart, the number and aggravation of our offences; and are led to regaid sin as exceed- ingly sinful. The Spirit, then, in reproving world of sin, gives to the mind a more deep and vivid impression of these great truths, than it could possibly have, if no such energy had been imparted by God. It is under the influence of this conviction, the soul cries out : Wo is me ! I am undone : behold, I am vile ; I repent and ab- hor myself in dust and ashes. Under these impressions, the Spirit becomes broken and contrite, and such a spirit God will not despise. Our Lord, in conversation with icodemus, affirmed, Unless a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the king- dom of God. The phrase, born of the Spirit, can mean nothing less than a special, though not a miraculous effect ; produced by an influence proceeding from God, as its cause, and operating through the religion of his Son, as the means. That saving change which wrought in the mind, when a man is brought from sin to holiness, and passes from death to life, here denoted by the phrase, born of God, is always ascribed to the Spirit as the efficient cause. The apostle, speaking of this, says: And such were some of you; hut ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. The wash- ing, sanctification, and justification here spoken of, is ascribed to 204 O THE DOCTRIE OF DIVIE IFLUECE. the agency of the Spirit. Again, the apostle says : We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. And again, He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God ; who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. By this saving change, which is wrought by the Holy Spirit, the man is made a partaker of a di-
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