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world, for they are foolishness to him, contradicting all his former sentiments and principles, to which he still adheres ; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned, i. e. by the sole instructions of the spirit, to which he neither attends nor submits. But the spiritual man discerneth or judgeth all things, i. e. all the forementioned things of God revealed
by his spirit; all gospel-truths; but he himself is dif• cerned or judged of no man, i. e. he is not subjected
in these respects to the judicature of the powers of this world, to the principles of human science, or the rules of human oratory.
Hence I would observe first, that the deep things of God, or the things of the spirit of God, which the apostle speaks of in this chapter, are the do&trines of the gospel-revelation. Now it is readily allowed, that as men were not endowed with any natural powers whereby they could discover these, they could not know them before they were revealed. But then, they were not under obligation to knuw or comply with them, 'till they were revealed. Secondly, that they who did not receive and comply with them, when revealed, are not represented as incapable through want of natural abilities and powers, but only as difqualified, or under a moral impotence, through sensual dispositions which they indulged, and habits which they had contracted.
By the spiritual man seems to be primarily meant here, the apostles, to whom the spirit of God revealed .H 2
the the truths of the gospel; but they also may be comprehended under the denomination, who receive the gospel-truths, believing in the veracity, and; submiting to the authority of the spirit which revealed them. change wrought in the dispositions and practice of that people in this respect. This was effected by the deep impressions made upon them by the righteous judgments of God for the idolatries of their forefathers and of themselves. But the new heart and new spirit must not be understood of an universal, or general change from evil to good, because the whole subsequent history of the jews, and particularly in the gospel-times, contradicts it. It may, however, refer to some greater change to be produced in the moral character of the jewish nation, on their return from their present dispersion, produced by the consideration of the hand of God in it, as the just punishment of their former vices. But it seems a strange perversion, to make this particular prediction to the returning captives, a general promise to mankind, at least to christians, of producing in them a thorough change of heart and life by the immediate operation of the spirit of God. This may be called accommodating scripture-paffages, but it seems taking very bold liberties of making what we please out of them, very inconsistent with a sincere belief in them, as containing the word of God.
John xv. 5. Without me ye can do nothing. This single clause of a long sentence, being separated from
its connexion with what goes before it, is produced · as a proof that man is not able to do the will of God
acceptably, without the immediate allistance, or operation, of special grace upon him through Christ. But, if we look into our Lord's discourse, we find him exhorting his disciples to adhere steadfastly to him and his doctrine, that they might bring forth much fruit. He reminds them, that they had already gained much spiritual improvement by his instructions, v. 3. Now ye are clean through the wordwhich I have /poken unto you. He intimates that, if they abandoned him and his doctrine, they would deprive themselves of the means of fruitfulness. He is not speaking then of the natural powers of man, but of the importance of the doctrines which he taught to render men fruitful in good works; but this seems necessarily to suppose a capacity in man to understand and improve his doctrines to these purposes.
It seems to be treating Christ and his words with great irreverence, tự apply them to other purposes than those for which he used them. We all readily agree that in our Lord's sense of the expression) without him we can do nothing. i.e. If we abandon
him and the gospel, we cannot be fruitful in holiness...... or good works; and are very thankful for the provision he hath made, and the assistances he hath afforded us by his word, that we may bring forth much fruit.
Philip. ii. 13. For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
In this passage ine apostle exhorts the Philippians to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, from a grateful sense of the goodness of God in granting them, for that purpose, the instructions and motives of the gospel, by which such convictions had already been awakened in them, as had excited them both to choose and perform what God required. The energy, or operation of God here spoken of, seems to be the energy of instruction and persuafoon. No doubt it is a very reasonable and powerful motive to us all to work out our salvation, that God, in unfpeakable love and good-will, is continually working in us, by the truths and motives of the gospel, to choose and perform what he hath required of us.
i Cor. xv. 10. But by the grace of God I am what I am.
Let any one carefully attend to the whole case of Paul's conversion, from being a persecutor to become a preacher and an apostle of Jesus Christ, and then say whether it is reasonable to draw general conclufions respecting all men from such a case. However we will all readily adopt his words, and say, through H 3
the grace of God, and his favours freely bestowed upon
and that not of yourselves : it is the gift of God.
The word that doth not refer to faith, as is evident from the original, but to the preceding clause of the fentence. That ye are saved by grace through faith, this is not of yourselves : it is the gift of God. He is the sole author of this method of salvation. Ezekiel xxxvi. 25, 26, 27. Then will I sprinkle clean
water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your
filthiness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I
put within you: and I will take away the stony heart
out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesho And I will put any Spirit within you, and cause you to
walk in my fiatutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.
Look into the prophet himself, and I think it will appear, that this is a prediction of the restoration of the people of the jews to their own country at the end of the babylonish captivity, and that afterwards they hould no more return to the practice of idolatry, to which their fathers had been so prone. Now, the history of that people informs us that this prediction was verified in fat. When God proinises to give them a new heart, and to put a new spirit within them, it relates to the particular subject spoken of, viz. idolatry: and, in reality, there was a wonderful
Psalm li. 15. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
We ought not to interpret the figurative exprefsions of Hebrew poetry too literally, or to expect in it the rigid accuracy of expresion of our western profe. The psalmist seems to mean no more by create, than produce, or cause; which does not ex