« PoprzedniaDalej »
pate in misconception of the mean. and who has no love to God, ing attached to words. Many of and consequently never obeys the differences of opinion, which the law of God in its spirit ; subsist, would be entirely remov. whether this man thus radically ed, if a little definition took the upholy and never obedient, does place of debate. To guard against what is pleasing to God, and what mistake therefore, it becomes will draw down his blessing ? necessary first to settle the im. But a question of this kind has port of the phrase, the means of arisen, and it is necessary to dis. grace.
This is not a phrase cuss it. found in the Scriptures, but is an If men are not naturally de. expression, introduced by man, praved, corrupt, destitute of to designate some religious priv. holiness, opposed to what is ileges, or some necessary circum. good, condemned by the divine stances antecedent to the recep. law, and liable to the wrath of tion of the influences of the Holy God; then there is no necessity Spirit. The word grace is used for the renovation of the heart, to express the agency of God up- and the grace of conversion, of on the heart in renewing it, and which we are speaking, is not the phrase, the means of grace, indispensable to salvation. But is used to express the steps to if without this renovation, and this agency, or the previous cir. this grace to effect it none can be cumstances, in which it is neces
if as it is said, the means sary,
that we should be placed, of grace are absolutely necessary in order to our becoming the to be used ; then the depravity subjects of it. The reading of of man must be admitted ; for, the Scriptures, attendance on otherwise this necessity would public worship, and prayer to not exist. The corruption of God are placed by some among the human heart being then acthe principal means of grace; not knowledged, let us suppose the that these will certainly lead to unconverted sinner using one of the renovation of the heart, for the means of grace; for instance, they may all be abused, but that addressing his prayer to God usually they precede conversion for salvation. If he has no love and seem necessary to it.
to God, no holy desires, no re. The question now presents it. ga to what is excellent, but self, Does the unconverted sinner, merely directs his attention to in reading the Scriptures, in deliverance from a state of fu. hearing the preaching of the ture suffering ; can such a praytruth, and in addressing his pray- er be heard? can such a prayer er unto God, perform that, which be a reason for the bestowment will gain him, still remaining of grace ? Admitting that he unconverted, the favor of God, prays for deliverance from sin, or procure the renewing influ- as he remains entirely destitute ences of the Holy Spirit ? It of love to the divine character may seem incredible, that a ques- and law, being unconverted, can tion of this kind could be agitat. such a prayer be regarded as any ed : for it is no more nor less thing better than mockery? The than this, whether a man still word of God indeed requires us subject to his native depravity, to ask for spiritual blessings,
but it requires us to ask " in them be taught, that if they re. faith," and expressly says to us, main impenitent, their religious “if we regard iniquity in our privileges will only swell their hearts, the Lord will not hear guilt. This is the instruction,
“God heareth not sin. which is given us in the sacred pers, but if a man be a worship- volume, and instruction of a dif. per of God, and doth his will, ferent kind tends to produce a him he heareth.” Now by what false and a fatal composure of process of reasoning can it be the mind. If men can persuade demonstrated, that a man, desti. themselves, that they are doing tute of a believing, penitent frame what is acceptable to God, of mind, destitute of Ahe temper while they remain impenitent and of the gospel, will obtain that unrenewed, then they will dis. object, which the Scriptures miss their fears. They will al. teach us can be obtained by him low, indeed, that they have not only who hates iniquity, who reached a great height of excel. possesses faith, and who does the leuce, but they have no doubt will of God?
every allowance will be made for The prayer of an unconverted the imperfection of human nature. sinner for holiness, that is the The absolute necessity of faith supplication of a man for what in Christ, or of a complete change he hates, is not very dissimilar to of heart, in order to any degree the kisses of an enemy. The ex. of acceptance with God, will be ternal expression of esteem is overlooked ; and while the sin. very proper, but the heart be. ner does not consider it as his lies it. The impenitent sinner, immediate duty to repent, he while attending upon the means will flatter himself with safety of grace with a heart opposed to in the midst of his preparatory what is good, is represented by labors and perhaps die in his
as performing a duty, sins. Neither John the Baptist, , which is acceptable to God. nor the Lord of Glory, directed Against a sentiment of this kind men to attend diligently upon the one cannot too strongly protest. means of grace in order to con. Let the sinner be informed, if his version ; but knowing the obli. teacher please, that those, who gation laid upon sinners instantattend the means of grace, are ly to forsake all inquity, and the more likely, judging from facts, danger of a moment's delay, the to be renewed in the spirit of very first words, which they ut. their minds, than the heathens, tered at the commencement of who know not the gospel ; more their public preaching, were, likely also, than those in chris. “REPENT YE." tian countries who search not the There can be no intermediate sacred volume and hear not the spot between impenitence and preachers of divine truth. But penitence, between being the Jet them be taught at the same friend and the opposer of God ; time, that they can do nothing, and if the impenitent, who are which shall render them accept. completely disobedient to the di. able to God, before they repent vine command, can at the same of iheir sias, before they love the time have a sincere desire to obey character of the Most Holy. Let it, and while in this state can do
It is by this promise, by the and uncertain in duration. What hope of the divine blessing upon is more fleeting than the wealth their labors, and not because of earth ? How often do we see sinners will of themselves make those who were in the height of
good use of instruction, prosperity, suddenly reduced to that the preachers of the gos. the vale of adversity, friendless pel are encouraged to proclaim and forsaken. Honor is of. to transgressors their guilt, and ten but an empty name; and the to make known to them the pleasures of the worldling are invitations of mercy.
Christ attended with toil and followed give eternal life to as ma. with a sting. Be persuaded ny as the Father hath given him.” then to seek those riches which Was there no assurance of this will last for ever-which the kind, if the divine power was not wreck of nature and the crush expected to renew the hearts of of worlds cannot destroy. Asall, who are chosen to be ho. pire after the honor which cometh ly,” every discerning minister of from God, and not after the vain the gospel, who knows the wick. applause of sinful worms. Let edness of the human heart, would the refined, noble, intellectual de. be no more disposed to preach lights, which result from the as. the truth to sinners, with any sured forgiveness of all your sins, hope of success, than he would
peace of conscience, an interest be inclined to wrestle with the in Christ engage your ardent de whirlwind.
şires and earnest prayers.
There is more real enjoyment in one hour's communion with
God, than in a long life of sensu. My young friend,
al joys. Ask the aged Christian With what words shall I ad. (whose outward condition is dress you on the all important poor and wretched, who early en. and highly interesting subject of listed under the banner of the di. religion. Were it not for your vine Redeemer,and who has since connexion with eternity, I might lived near to God amidst all the perhaps leave you to seek for changes of life) whether he would happiness in the perishable en. exchange those blissful moments joyments of time and sense. of converse with his father in Deeply sensible of my own frailty heaven, for all the riches, and hon. and continual exposure to the ar. ors, and pleasures of him, who lives rest of death, suffer me to express without God? No. He will rather the solicitude I feel, not for your lament that he deferred an attentemporal, but spiritual interest; tion to the one thing needful so the former, when compared with long. He will grieve at the re. the latter, is less than nothing collection that he neglected the and vanity. Young persons en- offers of a compassionate Savior, ter upon the busy stage of life that he resisted the strivings of with raised expectations of perma. the Holy Spirit, and wasted so nent satisfaction. They seek it much time in the gratification of in the riches, honors, and plea. sinful desires, and in the pursuit sures of the world, which are ut. of unworthy objects. terly unsatisfying in their natore Yon may perhaps be loth to
relinquish amusements; but, at peace, and thereby good shall my friend, religion offers you come unto you."
MYRA. the purest joys. 66 O taste and see that the Lord is gracious;
ON UNIVERSAL SALVATION. blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Instead of making you
In the arguments used to prove
the doctrine of universal salva. gloomy and unsocial; religion tion; much stress has been laid will inspire you with true cheer. fulness. Yes, those who have ex.
on the signification of the orig
inal Greek word translated ev. perienced the power
of godliness on their hearts can testify, that the erlasting or for ever. Dr. Chaunways of wisdom are pleasantness,
cey contends, that no argument
in favor of the doctrine of eterand all her paths peace.” They will assure you that they were stran.
nal punishment, can be drawn
from the sense of the original gers to real joy, until they were made partakers of the precious awy, which signifies an age or promises of the gospel of Christ. period of time, and not strictly, His doctrines are now their rich. eternity; and is often used to ex. est treasure, his precepts impose
press a limited duration. a salutary restraint
But it is believed the primitive
on their passions and appetites, while
and true sense of the word has their affections centre os divine
been overlooked. By examin. things.
ing the original languages, it is They look forward with joyful found, that the ancients commu. anticipation to that blessed day,
nicated their ideas of time, by the which will emancipate them from names of circles, applied to the sin and sorrow, and introduce revolution of the heavenly bod. them to the blest society of heav. ies, by which portions of time en, where they will ever be
Thus Cronus, with the Lord” and be continual. the god of time, signifies, in the ly "satisfied with his likeness,”
Celtic, a circle, or rotundity. progressing in knowledge and The Greek alwe is evidently for.
med from the Celtic ain, a circle, If
affection for or great circle, which is also the your Christian friends, if any root of annus, and the Roman love to your parents, if any re- Janus, originally written Ea. gard to your minister, “who is nus. The word then originally watching for your soul, as
denoted the annual revolution of that must give account:" if the earth in its orbit, the great any gratitude to Him " whose circle, or year.
The oriental love was stronger than death,” name of the sun Or, was prob. if any sense of your own mor. ably the same word applied to tality and the solemnity of eter- that luminary for its circular nity, be intreated by the mer.
form. cies of God to present your
bod. Our word age has a like ori. ies living sacrifices, holy, and ac- gin; Chaldee, Hebrew, and Araceptable unto God, which is your bic hug, or choug, a circle, an reasonable service. Acquaint orbit, a ring ; Sanscrit yug, an
yourself with Him and be age or period; Irish celtic agh,