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ed, but is ever accompanied faith interiorly suitable to its with all other saving graces, nature and quality. and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.
[Confession of Faith,
chap. xi. sect. 1 & 2.]
Of Faith. 1. The principal acts of sav- 1. The principal acts of sav. ing Faith are, accepting, receiv- ing Faith are, an acknowledg. ing, and resting upon Christ ment that the Lord Jesus Christ alone for justification, sanctifi- is God, a life of active virtue cation and eternal life, by vir- and usefulness, and keeping the tue of the covenant of grace. commandments. [Confession of Faith,
chap. xiv. sect. 2.]. 2. Faith justifies a sinner in 2. This Faith justifies and the sight of God, not because of saves sinners, because such those other graces which do al- good works and active virtues ways accompany it, or of good (the essence of all true Faith) works that are the fruits of it; prepare the. sinner for the renor as if the grace of Faith, or ception of that Divine grace any act thereof, were imputed which floweth unto all men ;to him, for his justification; but therefore these good and virtuonly as it is an instrument, by ous acts of the creature, are which he receiveth and applieth imputed to him, and are instruChrist and his righteousness. ments by which he receiveth
[Larger Catechism, and applieth the Lord Jesus
question 73.] Christ, and salvation.
Of Repentance. 1. Although Repentance be 1. Repentance, (which is an not to be rested in as any satis- acknowledgment of, and refaction for sin, or any cause of fraining from all evils because the pardon thereof, which is the they are sins against God, and act of God's free grace in leading a new life according to
Christ; yet, it is of such ne- his commandments) is the only cessity to all sinners, that none means of making satisfaction may expect pardon without it for sin, and the only cause of . [Confession of Faith, the pardon thereof ;-and it is chap. xv. sect. 3.] of such necessity to all sinners,
that none may expect pardon without it.
AN ESSAY ON THE NATURE OF LAWS, BOTH PHY.
SICAL AND MORAL, BY A LAYMAN.
By Law, is here meant, rule of action. When applied to moral
conduct, it will carry the idea of truth, order, sincerity. When joined with material substances, with which our senses are conversant, it will intimate regularity, uniformity, orderly action.
CHAPTER I. The earth we tread upon, the air we breathe, the clothes which cover our bodies, the sun which shines over our heads, and which warms and enlightens the world, the food we eat, the heart which beats in our bosoms, the speech we use to communicate our thoughts to each other, could neither exist or subsist, without rule or law.
There is no kind of existence whatever, which could possibly come into that existence, except by means of law.
No nation can possibly cohere together without law; without law it must be a mischievous rabble.
No family can cohere without laws of order: a house filled with irregularity of conduct; with jarring differences, and with contentious passions ; must, sooner or later, crumble into decay and final ruin.
That individual, whether male or female, who lives without any proper rule of conduct, will most assuredly live also without respect or esteem.
Every person amongst us, arrived to years of discretion, must, both from feeling and reflection, know, that within the human breast, there exist such turbulent passions, as if suffered to burst forth into open act, without restraint, would induce destruction upon the possessor. .
On the other hand, when nations are guided by wise laws, they must be both great and happy.
When families are conducted by harmony, reciprocal affections, and tender offices, they must thrive and flourish.
When individuals regulate their conduct by sound principles of moral law, and physical propriety, they must needs be esteemed and respected,
And what is much more, they will enjoy an inward felicity and satisfaction in well doing, far superior to fortune or to honours; or to any thing else this world can bestow.
From this cursory view even of the subject, it may appear of how vast a consequence is law.
The best things amongst men, however, have been, and may again be perverted. Law has been perverted. Law, just, pure, and holy law, may again fall into unhallowed hands, which may pervert it. But woe to the perverter.
When the ALMIGHTY Fiat was expressed, and visible nature came obediently into manifest existence, law, as an inseparable concomitant, attended the creation from beginning to end.
If matter had been a chaos, previous to the impression and regulation of law, then it must needs have existed without or independent of the Deity; for where God is, there is order, there is law; and to suppose a chaos existing without God, is to rob him of one of his attributes, his omnipresence; and if omnipresence be taken away, God himself is removed from the ideas of the soul.
But matter, or visible nature, is a servant, and not an independent existence, and so long as it obeys the laws of order, has the care and superintendence of the God OF ORDER, its Master, over it.
The general laws of the visible world are not only in space and time; but they are space and time themselves.
All progressions of space are measured by time, and all periods of time are marked by the spaces or things which they passed over.
Heat and light are, both, of space and time : the states of light, from the dawn of morning to the darkness of night, are marked by the space passed over, together with the time they continue; - their increments, decreasings, &c.
The various instruments used in the sciences show this.
The shadow on a sun-dial; the hands on a clock or watch; the rising or falling of quicksilver in a weather glass, or in a thermometer; all show the different changes of the things to which they are applied, by the spaces passed over in a certain period of time.
This visible creation is, therefore, bounded and limited by space and time; nor can possibly, by any means, exceed those limits.
The human body, as well as every other part of matter, has its commencement and increase ; its bounds; its limits; and is distinctly a subject of both space and time.
Now space and time, in their very natures, exclude the idea of infinity and eternity.
If space were infinite, it could no longer be space, because infinity is unmeasurable ; but space can be measured.
In like manner, time and eternity are dissimilar : for time has an end, but eternity not.
Infinity and eternity ; space and time ;-are not mere names,. without implicating things. It would make human language fool. ishness, were this the case. But as there is time and space visible to the eye, so is there both an infinity and eternity existing beyond it.
Space and time cannot possibly create and change themselves. Their very limited and bounded existence prove demonstrably that this is the case. A self-creating power would not, could not bound itself. Limitations, when they exist, must be imposed by another. But a self-creating power is an absurdity.
This proves that some other besides space and time does exist; and it also proves that other to be more powerful, greatly superior to both. Limitation by law proves a law-giver.
Above time is eternity. Above space is infinity. Infinity and eternity are, therefore, the Lords and Masters of time in the hands of HIM who is both ETERNAL and INFINITE.
And forasmuch as whatever undergoes change must necessarily be a created existence; it follows that the CREATOR is without change himself; consequently that he is uncreated, and self existent; the First CAUSE. .
There is no denying such a first cause, so long as changing matter exists. A change is an effect; and an effect cannot be both cause and effect at the same time.
CHAPTER III. Whatever in this world has relation to infinity and eternity, is called morality.
Morality will not apply to inanimate matter. It is impossible to make a stone, a piece of wood, gold, silver, water, fire, or any other physical or material substance, moral; but they may be made subservient to moral operation.
Moral life is, therefore, the superior of material substances. The attributes of each are different. What applies to the one will not apply to the other.
The proper subject of morality is the mind, or soul of man.
The brute animals are not moral, nor can morality be predicated of them. Of consequence, virtue or vice cannot be said of them.
Virtue implies a good intention, a true mode of action, and sound action itself, all in regular sequence; arising from a freedom of will, and choice or election, by judgment.
A virtuous mind has the power to pervert, or invert his good dispositions, and his upright thoughts. He can act for God, or against him. He can benefit his neighbour or he can injure him. He can bless, or he can curse. No being but man can do so.
In this we find a definite distinction between mere animal life and human beings;-and also between matter and spirit.
A being of whom vice and virtue can be predicated, is a moral agent.
Moral life, and moral law (both are inseparable) cannot be measured by any physical rule or material body. Such rule cannot reach it.