« PoprzedniaDalej »
and obligation of living in the We will examine the Epistle denial of ungodliness, and in the to the Romans. In the eleven practice of righteousness and ho. first chapters of this Epistle are liness. Though some may en. taught the doctrines, and in the tertain wrong and perverse views five last, the duties of religion. of this doctrine ; yet the friend In those eleven chapters, the of Christ sees and believes that apostle asserted the sinfulness the greater the favor received, the and guilt of mankind; the im. greater are his obligations to ho- possibility of being justified by ly obedience.
the deeds of the law; the suffi. The doctrine of perseverance ciency of the righteousness of constrains the christian to love Christ for pardon and salvation. and obey the law of God, and The excellence of the promises to run in the path of his statutes as securing the happiness of the with great delight. The ene. believer under various dispensa. mies of this doctrine say, that it tions; the foreknowledge and countenances a careless and li. predestination of God; his sov. centious life. But they do not reignty in having mercy rightly understand it. The whom he will have mercy ; his apostle, who had fully proved unchangeable love to his people; this doctrine, asks, Shall we con- and his grace as manifested in tinue in sin that grace may the whole scheme of salvation. abound? And solemnly answers, From these doctrines he deduc. God forbid. Rom. vi. 1. Grace es in the twelfth chapter, this is so far from giving the least practical conclusion, viz. that indulgence, that it expressly the people of Christ should live forbids all sin.
in holy obedience to Him, “I The doctrine of the future beseech you, therefore, breth. judgment should persuade us to ren, by the mercies of God, that live in a thoughtful, watchful, ye present your bodies a living and obedient manner. Since we sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto must appear before the judgment God, which is your reasonable seat of Christ, what manner of service." Chap. xii. 1. He in. persons ought we to be in all ho. troduces the plan of christian ly conversation and godliness? morality as the fruit and result
The consideration of the hap- of the doctrines of grace. He piness of heaven should animate uses the illative particle, therebelievers to a faithful discharge fore, to shew that this verse is of their several duties. The fu. the consequence of what he had ture misery of the wicked should previously inculcated, and that persuade sinners to forsake their the obedience here enjoined reevil ways, and to embrace and sults from the doctrines which practise religion.
he had stated in the preceding Thus obviously do the duties chapters. “I beseech you, there. of christianity result from its fore, by the mercies of God, i.e. doctrines. This was perfectly by his mercies exhibited in the understood by the apostles, as plan of redeeming love. In a will appear from a moment's at. glorious light, indeed, are the tention to the method adopted mercy and grace of God displayby them in their writings. ed in the origin, the execution,
and the blessings of the work of the great principles of religion, redemption. Hence the apos.
Hence the apos. which he had taught in the for. tle urges his brethren to perform mer part of the Epistle. The the duties which grow out of three last chapters are almost the sublime principles of the wholly employed in teaching christian system.
and enforcing that course of In his Epistle to the Ephesians, practice which is correspondent the apostle pursues the same with the principles of christiani. method. In the first chapter of ty. He entreats those to whom this epistle, he states the funda. he writes to speak the truth in mental doctrines of the eternal love; forbids them to steal ; purpose
of free and exhorts them to let po corrupt sovereign mercy in the forgive. communication proceed out of ness and salvation of believers, their mouth; commands them not of Christ as the foundation of to grieve the Holy Spirit; calls his church, of his absolute con. upon them to put away all bit. trol over all his works, of the terness, and wrath, and anger, sealing of the Holy Ghost, of and clamor, and evil.speaking, the special enlightening of his with al} malice, and to be kind children, of his agency in pro. one to another, tender-hearted, ducing faith in the heart, of the forgiving one another, even as resurrection and glorious exal. God for Christ's sake had for. tation of the Divine Redeemer. given them. He likewise exhorts In the second chapter, he asserts them to abstain from fornication the doctrines of the moral death and all uncleanness, and cove. of sinners, of the guilty and de. tousness, and filthiness, and plorable state of the unrenewed, foolish talking, and jesting, and of the riches of divine grace, of to have no fellowship with the faith as the gift of God, of the unfruitful works of darkness, new birth, of Christ as the peace but rather to reprove them. He of his people, of their access to also enjoins the reciprocal du. the Father through him, and of ties of husbands and wives, to. the church as the habitation of gether with the obedient conduct God through the Spirit. Many which children owe to their par. similar doctrines are exhibited ents. He concludes his address in the third chapter. From these by urging his brethren to be doctrines, he proceeds to incul. prepared for the christian war. cate, in the remaining part of fare, and to live in faith, hope, the Epistle, the duties of which they are the foundation, Thas Similar also to this is the he begins the fourth chapter; method which the apostle Peter “I therefore beseech you, that pursues in his writings. Take ye walk worthy of the vocation the first chapter of his first wherewith ye are called, with all Epistle. After having stated the lowliness, and meekness, with foreknowledge of God, and the long-suffering, forbearing one election of believers according to another in love; endeavoring it, the certainty and perpetuity to keep the unity of the Spirit of the promises of God, and the in the bond of peace.” These astonishivg work of redemption practical directions result from through the blood of Christ; he
proceeds to exhort the disciples salvation of their souls were of Jesus to gird up the loins of bought by the blood of the Son their minds, to he sober, and to of God; so they were under hope to the end. He likewise indispensable obligations to hon. urges them as obedient children or his holy name by pure exer. not to fashion themselves accord. cises of heart and obedient acing to their former lusts, but to tions of life. The last part of be holy in all manner of conver. the 15th chapter of the 1 Ep. to sation. In the second chapter the Corinthians goes directly to he teaches that Christ is the chief support our proposition. Here corner-stone of his spiritual the apostle proves the future, building, and that, through his glorious resurrection of the grace, his people were called out friends of Christ. Through of darkness into his marvellous him they would receive a comlight. Then he thus addresses plete and joyful triumph over the followers of Christ ; Dearly death and the grave. As a con beloved, I beseech you, as strang- sequence, of all this, he says, ers and pilgrims, abstain from “Therefore, my beloved breth. fleshly lusts, which war against ren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, the soul, and have your conver, always abounding in the work sation honest among the gentiles, of the Lord, forasmuch as ye that whereas they speak against know that your labor is not in you as evil-doers, they may by vain in the Lord.” Their labor your good works, which they would not be in vain in Christ; shall behold, glorify God in the because they would, by his grace, day of visitation.
be supported through it, and at We
may also remark, that in last be blessed with a crown of a variety of particular instances, immortal glory. Thus the du. the apostles have made a very ties of religion grow out of its easy and natural transition from doctrines. doctrines to duties. Among The reasoning adopted in those others we will notice i Pet. i. parts of the apostolic writings 17, 18, 19, in which the writer which we have considered, is unites the doctrines of the future luminous, correct, and conclu. judgment and of the atoning sive. The system of christian blood of Christ, as arguments to morals is deduced from its genupersuade his brethren to pass ine source, by the most fair and the time of their sojourning in logical process. The reasoning fear and holy living. He infers is not carried on through dark the propriety and obligation of and winding labyrinths ; but is their walking in godly fear and so plain and forcible that it may cheerful obedience, from the high be easily traced and strongly felt sources of those two important by every honest man of common principles of christianity.
By carefully reading, in 1 Cor. vi. 20, Paul says to be- course, the Epistles which have lievers; "Ye are bought with a been under consideration, we price: therefore glorify God in shall discern the indissoluble your body, and your spirit, connexion between the doctrinal which are God's.” As the for. and practical instructions con. giveness of their sins and the tained in them; and because they are formed, in so regular à meth- grounded on the doctrines of od, into a complete system, we christianity, driven from his du. shall the more strongly feel their ty by storms of adversity and united force. These Epistles waves of temptation. His soul bear the obvious marks that they is established on the Rock of were written by workmen who Ages. Paul directs Titus to were able rightly to divide the speak those things which become word of truth, to arrange it in sound doctrine. Then he speci. proper order, to trace its close fies those duties of the aged and and beautiful connexion, and to of the young which are agreeable give to every one a portion in and consonant to the pure prin. season. Being thus skilfully and ciples of our holy religion. ably written, they come with the Sound doctrine is at once the greater power to the minds and foundation, and the rule of the consciences of those who read duties which are enjoined in the them. Every sincere and prayer- word of God. They who are ful reader will feel the weight of the strictest in their doctrinal the arguments, and perceive the sentiments, with faith in the correctness and conclusiveness heart, are the strictest in their of the reasoning there urged and obedience. They who are lax pursued.
The infidel is refuted in their sentiments may be sapand overthrown, while the chris. posed to be lax in their conduct. tian is edified and strengthened. They have not the seed of grace, Of Paul it was justly said ; His por the root of obedience in their letters are weighty and power- souls. They have nothing to ful. 2 Cor. x, 10.
secure a good life. But those From the view we have taken
who cordially receive the doc. of this subject, we learn the im- trines of grace, will bring forth portance of rightly understand. fruits meet for repentance, and ing the principles of religion. walk worthy of the Lord unto Without a correct knowledge of all pleasing. D. F. D. these, we shall not clearly discern nor spiritually perform the duties of the christian life. They who deny any of the main doc.
SALVATION trines of the Bible, so far weaken the force of its precepts. Were it possible for men to set Is it possible that eighteen aside the principles of christian. centuries have elapsed since the ity, they would, in the same pro- death of Christ, and yet whole portion, lessen the necessity of nations are still involved in pa. its duties and diminish our obli. gan darkness? Is it possible that, gations to obedience. - If you at the present moment, five hun. undermine and destroy the foun. dred millions of men have never dation of a building, the super. heard of the name of Jesus ? structure will, of course, fall. Whither has fled the spirit of But while its basis is firm and apostolic days? Where is that ar. strong, it cannot be beaten dent love, which, in the strength down by storms and tempests. of the Lord, delivered thous. Nor is he who by grace, is ands from the darkness of Sa.
CONCERN FOR THE
OF THE HEATHEN.
tan's kingdom, prostrated before dark realms of wo. Immortal the cross the idols of the heathen souls launch into an eternity, of world, and sounded the glorious which they were not informed, tidings of salvation through eve- and for which they were entirely ry clime? Weep, O my soul, unprepared. The never-dying over the faded glory of the chris- worm gnaws the anguished spirit, tian pame. Weep over the for
and the unquenchable fire burns lorn state of the poor heathen. in their eternal home. Christian, when you see your
The Son of God died to de. acquaintanee believing in Jesus ; liver mankind from this dreadful when you hear of revivals of re- fate, and at his ascension to heav. ligion in neighboring towns, and en, left a solemn charge to all in distant parts of the land, you his followers to proclaim his would fain think that the whole love to the whole world. world is blessed with the gospel. into all the world, and preach But fact must dispel the fond the gospel to every creature.” delusion. Within what narrow Blessed Savior, how much love limits, is the religion of Jesus was manifested in every part of confined ! What are the inhabi. thy divine mission.
What an tants of this country in compar
earnest desire in this final comison of one nation of a hundred mand, that the benefits of thy millions, and another of three atonement might be universally hundred millions ? What are the enjoyed. American and British territories, How do christians discharge in comparison of the extensive the trust committed to them? and populous territories of Afri. How do they obey their Master's ca and Asia ?
gracious injunction ? They let Christian, the inhabitants of three fourths of the world sleep the greater part of the world, the sleep of death, ignorant of know not a Bible, a sabbath, or the simple truth, that a Savior a church. Ignorant of the only has died for them. Content if way
of life, and neglected by they can be useful in the little their brethren of the same blood, circle of their acquaintance, they who only can impart the neces. quietly sit and see whole nations sary knowledge, wretched, friend. perishing for lack of knowledge. less, they pass their days in gross Many are seeking worldly wealth idolatry, and descend into the and worldly applause, under the tomb without a ray of hope to specious pretext of serving gild the dreary passage.
The Cbrist at home; and many are parent immolates the child to ap- content to drag out an inactive, pease the wrath of an imaginary useless life in carnal ease and god. The child abandons the gratification, while darkness and aged, decrepit parent to suffer the shadow of death overspreads with hunger, or fall a prey to the greater part of their fellow the ravenous beast. The widow
Is the subject of missions ascends the funeral pile, and of. proposed ? many are ready to fers herself a burning victim with cry out, enthusiastic, visionary the body of her departed hus. scheme! And was it visionary band. One generation passes for the Son of God to come into away after another to people the this world, the FIRST MIS. Vol. II. New Series.