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other every day. I shall endeavour to beguile the tedious moments by resuming the subject of my last letter.
9. As soon as the love of God is kindled in his breast, the sinner views temporal objects with new eyes. He better understands the value of riches, honour, and every other transitory good, and esteems the divine favour the one thing needful. All unregenerate men have this in common; they place their chief happiness, in some way or other, in that which is not God. In a word, those who do not love the divine Being, and who do not prefer his favour to every other object, will be found at last never to have loved him at all.
10. In examining whether we truly love God, there are few better rules than, when we are reading the writings of the apostles and prophets, to consider whether our minds are in unison with them. The csixth psalm shows this to have been eminently the case of the sweet singer of Israel. We cannot love God in any greater degree, than we think in conformity with those living oracles. Every error has a tendency to weaken our love to God, because in some way or other it gives us erroneous conceptions of him. Or if our love should not be thereby weakened, it will be, in that respect, not love to God, but to an idol of our imagination. Whether this idol be numerically one, or three, or a thousand, the difference is of small account. He therefore who thinks as the apostles and prophets thought, and who loves the truth which they delivered, loves that God whose truth it is.
A counterfeit love of God is not uncommon. Catholics hug and kiss a crucifix, and bedew it with tears. They are likewise greatly moved by the representation of the sufferings of Christ in pictures. But the affections may be mechanically excited, where there is no knowledge of the divine character, nor the least love to it.
Protestants may work themselves up into raptures by an ideal view of Christ upon the cross, or in the garden of Gethsemane. This of itself is nothing but the effect of imagination. It is a malady which frequently attends per
sons who are truly religious, but it is no part of religion. It may be, and frequently has been, where there is no know ledge of God, or love to him as he is exhibited in his works and in his word. In this last case such persons are often flamingly zealous, and consider themselves as Christians of the first magnitude; but they presently fall away, and bring an odium on that religion to which they were utter strangers,
The Pharisee in the parable thanked God for favours he had never received, and imagined the divine Being Kaci as high an opinion of him as he had of himself. As his excellence was an imaginary excellence, so the object of his love and thankfulness was an imaginary god. The Phari. sees thought highly of themselves on account of their obeļience to the letter of the law, aħid to the numerous additions made to it by their elders ; , and had a proud confidence that they were thought highly of by God. These men are dead; but men of the same character are still to be found. Provided a person have no knowledge of the di: vine Being, nor love to him, yet if he can persuade him self, or be persuaded by others, upon unsubstantial grounds, that he is an object of the divine favour, his affections may be greatly moved, and he may think that he loves God. And so indeed he does: bút it is not the true God; it is å god who he thinks makes great account of him. Men of this description are under the influence of worldly motivés, and seldom associate with the people of God any longer than their pride, or covetousness, or some sensual passion is gratified. In a word, thé merė pretenders to Christianity are either ignorant of the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, or, so far as they understand it, are enemies to it. They are frequently either zealous for the gospel in opposition to the law, or for the law in opposition to the gospel. Not so the man whom God has begotten by his word of truth ; he loves the whole mind of God revealed in his word ; yea, he meekly submits to that part of divine revelation which seems to be entirely against him. Thus David humbled himself before God when Nathan brought the cutting mes.
sage. When the Lord slew the sons of Aaron, and he was commanded not to mourn for them, he submitted; and Eli did the same when Samuel told him what God had denounced against his house.
I constantly pray, Miss Neville, that you may be preserved in the hour of temptation which seeins to be coming upon you. Remember that they only who endure to the end will be saved. Lot's wife looked back upon Sodom, and perished. We must be willing to give up our lives, rather than offend him who is able to cast both body and soul into hell. His favour is so excellent, and his displeasure so dreadful, that every thing besides is comparatively little and unimportant.
I have now remaining what the world would call a very small pittance. But, with frugality, it is sufficient to place you and
your brother and sister, as well as my niece and me, above want, till God provide better for you. And it has this to recommend it; you will receive it with a hearty welcome. If you should be removed to a place where I shall have no opportunity of writing to you, remember these necessary things; that there is no salvation but by Jesus Christ; that his obedience to the law of God is our only justifying righteousness; that it is the duty of every sinner to come to God through him for pardon; that that faith, with which eternal life is connected, is a belief, mix. ed with approbation, of the testimony of God concerning his Son ; that effectual calling is the sovereign act of God; and that the whole plan of salvation hides pride from the Christian, and inculcates love to that great Being, from whom all our blessings flow.
I am, my dear Miss Neville,
Yours very affectionately,
From Mrs. Worthington to Miss Barnwell.
MY DEAR NIECE,
My anxiety about our dear Eusebia increases, as I doubt not does yours, and that of Miss Neville.
My design in writing this letter is to divert my attention for a while to another subject, as well as to produce the same effect, my dear friends, upon you.
For every thought, and word, and action, we shall give an account at the day of judgment. We shall be tried by the statute-book of heaven. The word of God is that book. It is a matter of the greatest importance then that we un. derstand it, and that it be the rule of our faith, and the directory of our practice. The truths which it contains are too solemn to exercise the talents of the speculative disputant: they ought rather to excite the fears of the unbeliever, and to cherish the hopes of the Christian. But still we ought to study them with attention ; to inquire what is their precise meaning; and to pray that we may be guided in our researches by the Spirit of God.
To these observations I have been led by a conversation which I had this afternoon with my grocer, Mr. Rose, who, I have not the least doubt is a sincere Christian. It is very possible for Christians to misunderstand the laws of Christ, especially if they do not keep clear of party prejudice. Were I to find any fault with Mr. Rose, it would be for being too positive, and rather too much prejudiced in favour of his own judgment. A claim to infallibility, or any very near approaches to it, come with a bad grace from Protestants, none of whom has a right to call himself the true interpreter of the laws of Christ, imperfection being written upon every person and every thing here below.
In the course of the conversation, I happened to mention Mr. *****, the Baptist minister. Mr. Rose immediately interrupted me by observing, that the rejection of infant-baptism proceeded from a disbelief of that perfect atonement, which saves us in the same manner as it saves our infants. These people, continued he, suppose that salvation is owing to something beside the thing signified in baptism, and that some condition is to be performed by us, which infants are unable to perform,' notwithstanding our Lord has expressly declared, that we must enter his kingdom just as infants enler it.
Ought we not rather, Sir, replied I, to take it for granted, if we will not give ourselves the trouble to inquire in. to their opinion on that subject, that our brethren the Baptists are inconsistent with themselves? It would be kinder to do so, than to charge them with denying the atonement of Christ, merely because they do not baptize their infants. Perhaps, Mr. Rose, if a Baptist were here, he would retort the charge, and tell you that the baptizing of infants was virtually denying the doctrine of the atonement, since it might be inferred, that you esteemed something else to be necessary to their salvation ; and something, too, for which
you had neither precept nor example in the word of God. Thus might you reproach and accuse each other, without charity, without truth, without edification, and without end.
Charity, Madam? said he; I confess I am no great admirer of that Antinomian charity, which takes it for granted that all are Christians who can talk about illuminations, imputed righteousness, and the other great truths of the gospel, at the same time that they manifest their disbelief of them, by paying no regard to many of the injunctions of our Lord and his apostles. Every society united by this false charity, is a branch of that grand antichristian apostasy, or opposition to Christ in the name of Christ, which was to take place in the world. 'Those who are tru. ly of God hear God's word. But
you do not esteem, Sir, replied I, the little society to which you belong, 'to be the only church of Christ, con. sidering all others as antichristian ?