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Moralily, or Obedience to the Commandments of God
in social Intercourse and Personal Conduct, remarka ably infifted upon in the Gospel.
HAT most injurious calumny, which afferts
that the doctrine of grace is unfavourable to the purest virtue * and the most beneficent behaviour in civil society, must be refuted in the mind of every reasonable and impartial man, who attends to the following paffages of Scripture :
“ He that hath my commandments, and keepeth o them, HE IT IS THAT LOVETH ME. If ye love
me, keep my commandments. If a man love me, he will keep my words. He that loveth
me not, keepeth not my sayings. Every branch o in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away ; « and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth or it. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I “ command you. If ye continue in my word, “ then are ye my disciples indeed. Hereby do
we know that we know him, if we keep his « commandments. Whoso keepeth his word, in 6 him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby
* “ They (the rationalists and moral philosophers) charge their « opposers for not pressing moral duties : if they mean thereby prakti66 cal Christianity, there are none in the world press it more. « are not for a Pagan, but a Christian morality : and think it not ad66 viseable to press external acts alone, without minding the principle « and root from whence all that is truly Christian muit spring. We “ count it absurd and preposterous to look for fruits where there is
no root : for gracious a£ts wbere grace is not planted in the heart, “ They may deck a maypole with as many garlands as they please, “ and set off a mafi with Aags and streamers; but they will never 66 thereby make them FRUIT TREES."
CLARKSON on Saving Grace.
" know we that we are in him. Every man that " has his hope in him, purifieth himself. Little “ children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth “ righteousness is righteous; he that committeth « fin is of the devil. Whosoever is born of God, “ finneth not; whosoever doth not righteousness, " is not of God. Pure religion and undefiled be“ fore God and the Father, is this-to visit the • fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to “ keep himself unspotted from the world. Be not " deceived ; neither fornicators, nor idolaters,
nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor “ revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the king(6 dom of God *."
It were easy to cite a great many more passages of the same moral importance; but the written Gospel is in the hands of all, and there no one can search, with a fair and candid mind, without finding the purest virtue enforced on the strongest motives that can possibly actuate a human creature. The truth is, that the
same care and caution, the fame virtuous exertions, are necessary to Christians, as if there were no fupernatural and auxiliary interposition. Our endeavours must not be relaxed in the smallest degree. The difference and advantage lies in the result and effeEt of our endeavours. Under the divine influence, they will certainly be attended with success. They will promote our happinefs infallibly. The choice of our conduct must be voluntary, and our perseverance and labour must be directed by the purest motives, and the most steady, regular, and careful diligence, just as if we depended upon ourselves ; while, at the same time, they are animated
* John, xiv. 15. 1 John, ii. 3. 5, &c. Jam, i. 27. vi. 9, 10, Eph. v. 5, 6.
and supported by humble confidence in heavenly favour. No remissness is allowed on our part, in consequence of God's favour. We are to work out our salvation with the utmost folicitude, knowing that he who gives us his grace, may, upon failure of our best endeavours, withdraw it, and leave us in a state of woeful desertion. Libertinism can avail itself of no such doctrines as these, which, in the very first instance, molt emphatically recommend purity of heart, the fountain of all external action.
It is remarkable of the gospel, that it teaches obedience to human law, and every moral virtue, not only for wrath, but also for conscience fake *.
* Archbishop Tillotson fays, in his zeal, I suppose, to oppose the Antinomians : " MORALITY is the NEW CREATURE spoken of “ in the New Testament. Morality is all in all in the Chriftian or religion. The Christian religion is the law of nature revived and « pe, fected. The fruits of the Spirit are the same with the moral 66 virtuts Grace and virtue are but two names that fignity the « same thing." See various pajūges in Tillotson's Sermons.
The archbishop here very injudiciously depreciates Christianity in bis endeavour to identify it with heathen philosophy and natural re. ligion. But I cite his opinions in this place on the moral excellence of the Chriftian religion, merely as a testimony againīt those, who infinuate that the true evangelical doctrines are unfavourable to morality. The great Tillotson, we see, affirms that morality is all in all in the Christian religion.
Unbelievers not to be addressed merely with subtle Rea.
foning, which they always oppose in its own way, not to be ridiculed, not to be treated with severity, but to be tenderly and affectionately exhorted to prepare their Hearts for the reception of the INWARD WITNess, and to relume the LIGHT OF LIFE, which they have extinguished, or rendered faint, through Pride, Vice, or total Negleft.
"ACTS have evinced, that theological disputation
has little effect in converting the infidel. Infidels have often been remarkable for native fagacity, and richly furnished with human learning, though little acquainted with divine knowledge. I never knew any of them retract their errors, after the publication of the most ingenious and laborious books which claimed the honour of completely refuting them. It is time to try another method, since none can be more unsuccessful than that which has hitherto been used. It is time to trust less in human means, and rely on the power * of God, which will manifest itself in the hearts of all men who persevere with earnestness in seeking divine illumination.
I deem it extremely imprudent and indecent to ridicule the unbeliever. It is setting him an example, which he may follow to the great injury of all that is serious and truly valuable both in morals and religion. It argues a levity and disre
*“. Power among the Jews fignified more than a quality: it « fignified a PERSON.'
G. RIDLEY. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of God and the Power of the Most Highest.
gard for his happiness, very unbecoming any man who knows the value of a human soul, or who profeffes a solicitude to save it alive. Though it cause no conversion, it will produce retaliation.
Still more unchristian is it to treat him with severity *. I have read books professing to recommend the benign religion of Christ, and to refute all objections to it, yet written in the
very GALL OF BITTERNESS, and displaying a pride and malignity of heart which may justly prompt the unbeliever to say, “ If your religion, of which you “ profess to be a believer, and which you describe “ as teaching charity or benevolence in its fullest “ extent, can produce no better a specimen than “ your own temper and difpofition, let me pre« serve my GOOD-NATURE, and you may keep “ your Christianity, with all its boasted advan“ tages, in your own exclusive poffeflion.”
The late Bishop Warburton treated infidels with a haughty asperity scarcely proper to be Mewn to thieves and murderers, or any the most abandoned members of society. Many have doubted, from the tenour of his writings, whether he was a believer; or whether he only thought it fufficient, for the sake of rising in the church, to support religion by argument as a state engine. Certain it is, that the fpirit which he shews towards his opponents t is not the Spirit of Grace; that Spirit
* " Any thing that is proud, any thing that is peevith and 66 scornful, any thing that is uncharitable, is against the vztasyouta “ dodatnadsd, that sound doctrine of which the apostles speak. Pro. “ feflio Cbriffiana nil nis juftum suadet et lene.-The Christian profession 66 teaches nothing but justice and meekness, kindness and charity.”
Bp. TAYLOR. † The following is a specimen of the TEMPER with which Bishop Warburton wrote his book on the doctrine of Grace. In the fifth chapter, where he is speaking of the office and operations of the Holy