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.

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.

Oxford University Sermons 3

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