Imatges de pÓgina
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geniality, into familiar intercourse. He had just been presented by a friend with a copy of my Essays, which he was reading with attention, and was kind enough to approve. This circumstance led to much interesting conversation on the Evidences of Christianity, on which we had both written-their cumulative and harmonious character, and the enlargements which had been made in this branch of theological knowledge of late years. It was a noble encouragement to a good cause to find that these evidences were better understood, and more fully appreciated, eighteen hundred years after the introduction of our religion, than at any period of Church history, since the days when men were brought into actual contact with miracles.

We talked over the subject of a moral law universally, written by the Moral Governor of the universe on the hearts of mankind. He allowed the existence of this principle, and its universality, although we were both aware that the light though pure, is often faint. The darkness of fallen human nature comprehendeth it not. I remarked the distinction which exists between this law and the natural faculty of conscience,—the law being the light, the conscience the eye; the law the guide, the conscience the presiding judge. He admitted this distinction; but when, after the example of Butler, I misnamed this law the moral sense, he corrected me, and said, “No, the moral sense is identical with the conscience: the law you speak of is that which the moral sense perceives.”

I argued, that the law thus written on the hearts of all men, although faint, and although perpetually misread by an obscured and perverted conscience, is in itself perfectly pure and holy, an efflux of the divine character. When therefore I reflected on the utter corruption of human nature, and the apostolic doctrine, "In me, that is, in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing," I could not but conclude that this universal law is a work of the Spirit.

CHALMERS. "I have no objection to admit that it is a work of the Spirit." This was, as I thought, a noble conclusion, worthy of the breadth and liberality of Dr. C.'s mind, and of the simplicity which he displays in admitting Truth, from whatever quarter it may come. It reminded me of the broad assertion twice made to me, in private conversation, by William Wilberforce, that according to his full belief, an effective offer of salvation was made to every man born into the world. I am inclined to think that some of the greatest luminaries in the evangelical world, in the present day, are essentially anti-predestinarian. Or if they hold the doctrine of predestination, they hold it in great moderation, as forming part of the balanced adjustment of Scripture, and not as subversive of the freedom of all mankind, to stand or to fall. I will just add, that since Christ is expressly declared to have died for all men, and since the law of God-a principle, when obeyed, in its nature saving—is, we believe, universally communicated to men, it is only

REMINISCENCES

OF

CHALMERS, SIMEON, WILBERFORCE, &c.

BY

JOSEPH JOHN GURNEY.

HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY GIFT OF

HAVERFORD COLLEGE LIBRARY FEB 12 1935

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