12. The difference, then, between the extraordinary Christian "spirit," and human faith and virtue, viewed apart from Christianity, is simply this:—that, while the two are the same in nature, the former is immeasurably higher than the other, more deeply rooted in the mind it inhabits, more consistent, more vigorous, of more intense purity, of more sovereign authority, with greater promise of victory—the choicest elements of our moral nature being collected, fostered, matured into a determinate character by the gracious influences of the Holy Ghost, differing from the virtue of heathens somewhat in the way that the principle of life in a diseased and wasted frame differs from that health, beauty, and strength of body, which is nevertheless subject to disorder and decay.

13. That the spiritual and the virtuous mind are essentially the same, is plain from the text as from other Scriptures: "The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth." Let us rather confine our attention to the point of difference between them; viz. that the Christian graces are far superior in rank and dignity to the moral virtues. The following may serve as illustrations of this difference:—

14. (1.) Take at once our Lord's words, when enjoining the duty of love, "If ye love them who love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?" Or St. Peter's, on the duty of patience! "What glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God." [Matt. v. 46. 1 Pet. ii. 20.]

15. This contrast between ordinary and transcendant virtue, the virtues of nature and the virtues of Christianity, may be formally drawn out in various branches of our duty. For instance; duties are often divided into religious, relative, personal; the characteristic excellence in each of those departments of virtue being respectively faith, benevolence and justice, and temperance. Now in Christianity these three are respectively perfected in hope, charity, and self-denial, which are the peculiar fruits of the "spirit" as distinguished from ordinary virtue. This need not be proved in detail; it is sufficient to refer to St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and his first to the Corinthians. These three cardinal graces of the Christian character are enforced by our Saviour, when He bids us take no thought for the morrow; do as we would be done by; and deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him [Matt. vi. 34; vii. 12; x. 38.].

12. The difference, then, between the extraordinary Christian "spirit," and human faith and virtue, viewed apart from Christianity, is simply this:—that, while the two are the same in nature, the former is immeasurably higher than the other, more deeply rooted in the mind it inhabits, more consistent, more vigorous, of more intense purity, of more sovereign authority, with greater promise of victory—the choicest elements of our moral nature being collected, fostered, matured into a determinate character by the gracious influences of the Holy Ghost, differing from the virtue of heathens somewhat in the way that the principle of life in a diseased and wasted frame differs from that health, beauty, and strength of body, which is nevertheless subject to disorder and decay.

13. That the spiritual and the virtuous mind are essentially the same, is plain from the text as from other Scriptures: "The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth." Let us rather confine our attention to the point of difference between them; viz. that the Christian graces are far superior in rank and dignity to the moral virtues. The following may serve as illustrations of this difference:—

14. (1.) Take at once our Lord's words, when enjoining the duty of love, "If ye love them who love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?" Or St. Peter's, on the duty of patience! "What glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God." [Matt. v. 46. 1 Pet. ii. 20.]

15. This contrast between ordinary and transcendant virtue, the virtues of nature and the virtues of Christianity, may be formally drawn out in various branches of our duty. For instance; duties are often divided into religious, relative, personal; the characteristic excellence in each of those departments of virtue being respectively faith, benevolence and justice, and temperance. Now in Christianity these three are respectively perfected in hope, charity, and self-denial, which are the peculiar fruits of the "spirit" as distinguished from ordinary virtue. This need not be proved in detail; it is sufficient to refer to St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and his first to the Corinthians. These three cardinal graces of the Christian character are enforced by our Saviour, when He bids us take no thought for the morrow; do as we would be done by; and deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him [Matt. vi. 34; vii. 12; x. 38.].

16. Other virtues admit of a similar growth and contrast. Christian patience is contrasted with what is ordinary patience in the passage from St. Peter just cited. St. John speaks of the "love of God casting out fear;" and whatever difficulty may lie in the interpretation of these words, they are at least clear in marking the transcendant {45} quality of the Christian grace, compared with the ordinary virtue, as seen under former dispensations of religion. And in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the inspired writer contrasts the elementary objects of faith with those which are the enjoyment of a perfect and true Christian; the doctrines which spring from the Atonement being the latter, and the former such as the Being of a God, His Providence, the Resurrection and eternal judgment.

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