« PoprzedniaDalej »
God's word and the dictates of my conscience, I hope I shall be enabled to choose rather co die with Lazarus on a dunghill, for want of bread. My father to his death' kept his resolution, and I, through the special grace of God, have been able to keep mine, and I hope ever shall.
After this, about three days, I had a great and sharp dispute with my Lord, which continued three hours and a half by my Lord's chamber clock. The subject of our discourse was about 'set forms of prayer; whether the word of God would warrant ordinary and fallible men to compofe fer forms of prayer, and by human authority to impose the same on the conscience of the people.
My Lord peremptorily affirmed that God's word did warrant this, and T as ftiffily denied that it doth.
For proof of the affirmative, my Lord quotes Luke xi. 2. When he pray, say, Our Father, &c. Sir, said my Lord, here is a positive command to prove what I have affirmed.
To this I thall humbly offer two things to your Lordship's serious confideration,
First, The apparent difference between the two Evangelists in setting down the words of this prayer Luke saying, When ye pray, say, Our Father, &ć. Matthew, as appears Matt. vi.
faith, After this manner therefore pray ye, &c.
I cannot understand, said I, how your Lordship Can reconcile these two Evangelists so as peremptorily to conclude from the place now quoted, that
it is the mind of Christ that these words are to be imposed on believers as a prayer, or as their prayer.
Secondly, By way of humble and fubmiffive in quiry, doth your Lordship firmly believe that the form, now quoted to prove the affirmative, is in it: self a complete and perfect prayer, containing all the parts of necessary prayer ?
1 risto I grant it, fir, replied my Lord; I believe it is a complete and a perfect prayer, containing in it all the parts of necessary prayer.
I likewise humbly presume that your Lordship takes it for granted, that it is the mind of Christ that this form of prayer is to be imposed on believers as their prayer? . I grant it, sir, faid my Lord; I take it for granted, that it is the mind of Christ, that that form should be imposed on believers as their prayer.
Then, my Lord, replied I, if the form now mentioned be a complete perfect prayer, to which nothing need to be added; and that the same is to be imposed on believers as their prayer, and that by Christ's own authority; to me it is very plain that, for any men to make or impose any other prayer on themselves or others, it is a manifeft breach and violation of that commandment of Christ *.
* This is the way, reader, that God takes the wise in their own craftiness, by choofing the foolith things of this world to confound them, and cast them by their own verdiet. My cousin is a nervous logician, and a master of arts; and no won. der, for Christ dwells with prudence, and finds out knowledge of witty inventions. W. H. S. S.
I will instance in a plain case, for illustration fake, the Ten Commandments in the moral law ; I doubt not but your Lordship owns them to be a most perfect coinplete rule of righteousness, containing all the parts of our duty to God and man? ! I grant them to be so, faid my Lord. .
In the next place, said I, I question not but your Lordship as readily grants that this perfect rule of righteousness is commanded and enjoined by God's own authority ?
I grant that also, faid my Lord; they are commanded and enjoined by God's own authority.
Then, faid I, the case is plain, and cannot be denied, that, for any to command or appoint any rule of righteousness besides those which in themselves are complete and perfect, and which are enjoined and commanded by God's own authority, is a manifest breach' and violation of the supreme law, to which nothing may be added, and from which nothing may be detracted, without incurring the displeature and curse of God; as it is written, Ye hall not add unto the word which I command you, neither all you diminish it. Deut. iv. 2. And again, What things foever I command you, observe to do it: thou malt not add therelo, nor diminish from it. Deut. xii. 32. And again, Add thou not unto bis words, lejt be reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Prov. xxx. 6. And again, For I testify 10 every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man Mall add unto these things, God frall add unto him all the plagues that are written in
this book : and if any man skall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God fall take away bis part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He that teftifieth these things is Jesus, who faith, surely I come quickly. Rev. xxii. 18,
* Thou seest, reader, that the moral law is the eternal rule of righteousness to every soul that is under it, and cleaves to it. He that looks for justification unto life by his own righteousness, or he that will live by his own works, or enter into life by keeping the commandments, must give a perfect, spiritual, and perpetual obedience to that rule, for the law is perfect, spiris tual, and eternal; but all have finned in Adain, and all were condemned to death and to dust in Adam ; or, as the scripture faith, through the disobedience of one (namely, Adam] judgment came upon all men "unto condemnation; therefore the condemned Ginner can give the law no obedience unto life, or by which he can live, and the condemning law can give him nothing but death, or the execution of that sentence that he is under. The law cannot give life, for man can give the law no righteousness; had there been a law given that could have given life, verily righteousness fhould have come by the law : the blind pharisee sees not this; therefore the way of works seems right uäto bim, but the end thereof is death. But as for the faint of God, God's lovereign good will, in the mystery of faith, as revealed in and by Christ Jesus, is his only rule of life; he must be obedient to the faith, walk by faith, land by faith, seck righteousness by faith, live by taith, work by faitli, fight by faith, worship by faith, and die in faith, if ever be enters heaven. He that belietnes not is condemneil already, and the wrath of God. abides upon him. He that believes 7101 Mall be damned. Therefore this is thy rule of life, for thou inuft live by faith ; and this is thy rule of righteousness; for whatfocver is not of faith is fin. W.H, S.S.
· From prayer my Lord fell off to discourse of the liturgy, and ceremonies in general, the which he handied almost in all the particulars of them, and with such advantageous success on my side, thaç my Lord ar length grew weary and left off; for he found that God could ordain strength to perfect praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings- fuf, ficient to fill the enemy and the avenger. Psalm viii. 2. And certainly his promise was made good to me that day: I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay, nor refift. Luke xxi. 15. But whether my Lord became sensible of it or no, I knew not; but sure I am, that the last promise quoted was made good to me, of which such notice was taken that hardly any
my relations durft attack me any more, except in a way of reproach and railing against the fanatics, and the new religion I had espoused since I left the church. The good Lord be for ever exalted and praised for his mercy and faithfulness to his poor and despised children in a time of need,
This was the last encounter I had with my Lord about religion ; for that very night I took my leave of my Lord, rendering humble and hearty thanks to his Lordship for all his expressions of love and kindness wherewith I met under his roof, since I became a member of his family,
It were endless to relate the many and sharp trials to which the providence of God called me, that I might be brought up in the school of the cross, and fitted for the service to which I was