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blance of the moral image of his Sa the mere probability of arriving at viour. In both, the world is left out the possession of a saving interest of sight. On earth, the worshipper in Christ, animates to seek more abandons every other plea, but that purity of heart, and a nearer apof Christ's righteousness; in hea- proach to God, there may be room ven, he gives him all the glory of to conclude, that the work is a savhis salvation, and casts his crown ing one, which is begun in the soul, at his feet. On earth, the saint en and that the individual will at length ters into rest, and has peace; a few arrive at the haven of eternal rest. weep all along the road to the hea When the love of public ordivenly Canaan. But in heaven, all
nances, and practice of other reliis peace and joy, without tempta- gious duties, with patience, persetion or interruption.
verance, and resignation unto the The confidence of their own safe divine will, are progressively adty, which some persons of defective vancing, and the mind becomes character possess, who are evident more weaned from the world, and ly self deceived, possessing no more fixed on heayenly objects; the proofs than a natural love of God, gives of justification, and acceptance, are inuch encouragement to the impe such, that the timid believer may nitent. Even the desirable expe venture down into the shadowy val. rience of others, whose change is ley, and not fear to find, beyond the the more discernible, because they Jordan, the promised inheritance of have been reclaimed from extremes ceaseless joys.
J. P. WILSON. of sin, and sometimes also the false raptures of enthusiasm, produce an imputation of superstition; and thus On the Importance and Practical prevent the investigation of the Influence of Revealed Truth. truth. There are many
whose faith Truth is a sacred thing. By mais weak, love languid, joy not great, ny,
however, it is treated in a way comforts few; who experience dul by no means suited to its nature ness in duties, and barrenness in and importance. Some regard it prayer; who come to the commu with indifference, deeming the acnion, merely because afraid to ab quisition not worthy of any pains : stain, and who daily doubt, whether others deny or doubt its practical they have been renewed and justi- influence : while others feel disfied. Yet there may be something posed to call in question the pracof the savour of spiritual things in ticability of obtaining the knowthem, and a determination, if they
ledge of it. must perish, that it shall be in seek We do not intend to take any ing Christ.
notice of those ancient philosoThis undesirable state of weak phers, who abandoned themselves ness, which is neither remarkable to universal skepticism, and confor keen distress, nor exulting joys,
founded all distinction between may nevertheless, be upon the
whole truth and error. Few perhaps can be conducive to vigilance, and progres found in the present day who feel sive in holiness. Those who are thus inclined to become disciples of sensible of their imbecility, are often Pyrrho, so far as to reject the truths alert to exclude the usual encour of mathematical and natural sciagements and consolations of the But they are not few who gospel, and to decide against them wantonly indulge a skeptical turn selves. Nevertheless, where there in regard to moral truth. Yet mois such a sense of unworthiness; ral truth rests upon as firm a basis, where even the feebleness of hope as mathematical or natural truth. produces an accession of humility, The evidence by which it is proved, and leads to a closer walk; or where when fairly presented and duly exVol. I.
amined, carries conviction to the wrong impressions that may have human mind, as well as the demon been made on the minds of indistrations of Euclid, or the facts viduals who yield to us the fact collected to support some general that we do possess a divine revelaprinciple in natural philosophy. tion. Such there are, who, although
The truths belonging to these se they subscribe to the claims of the veral classes, differing from each Bible to a heavenly origin, yet other in their nature, require of seem to imagine the revelation of course for their establishment dif God to have been made in such a ferent processes of reasoning: but manner, that the knowledge of its it were irrational to imagine, that contents is an attainment, if not the great Author of our being had wholly impracticable, yet attended left unsupported by suitable evi with almost insurmountable diffidence moral truth, which so inti culties. In the belief of this nomately concerns us as intelligent tion they are confirmed by a view and accountable creatures, both of the Christian world. They see here and hereafter; while he has so one church opposing another church; constructed the human mind, and one class of divines contending with so framed the material world, that another class; now one system of the other kinds of truth are sup doctrines prevailing in a particular ported by the clearest and most sa denomination of Christians, and tisfactory evidence.
The proofs then after the lapse of some time connected with the former class are a very different system gaining the sufficiently plain and strong to ascendant in that same denominaanswer the purposes of his moral tion: and yet all professing to de
government, and to render
inexcu- rive their faith from the same in
sable those who neither receive nor seek after the truth. Criminal to conclude, that the attainment of neglect of the means of informa truth must be very uncertain; and tion and aversion of heart to the that the laborious search demanded truth, will be found at the bottom of in making it, not being likely to be that ignorance by which so many rewarded by success, should not be immortal souls are ruined. He who attempted. knew all the secrets of fallen man, These are delusive and danand all the hidden springs of his gerous impressions. If we ascribe action, has traced this matter to its them to the want of information, proper source, in that solemn affir
it ought not to be forgotten that mation so reproachful to human na this deficiency may be traced to a ture: “ This is the condemnation, secret aversion from the truth that that light has come into the world, has prevented due inquiry. Let and men loved darkness rather than such individuals look more closely light, because their deeds were to the state of Christendom, and evil.” John iii. 19.
they will find that all who deserve It would demand too wide a com the name of sincere followers of the pass of discussion to meet the infi Lord Jesus Christ, in all churches del skeptic on the proper ground, meriting the name of a Christian and prove
the attainment of moral church, are more united in their truth to be practicable, by demon faith than they imagine; that all strating the fact, that God our Cre such disciples agree in the belief of ator has blessed the world with a the fundamental doctrines of our revelation comprising a discovery holy religion, however divided on of all that is necessary to be be points of minor importance, and in lieved and done in order to salva
respect to the principles of church tion. We design by the subsequent government. Some indeed who asremarks to endeavour to remove sume to themselves the name of
Christians, reject what all other professing Christians regard as eg. sential to the system of divine revelation : but by this criminal rejection of essential doctrines of the gospel, they cut themselves off from the visible church, and become nothing more than deists, with a Christian name. Of such we do not speak, but of sincere Christians of all other denominations: and we assert that they do agree in maintaining the unity and
trinity of the Godhead, the deity and mediatorial character of Jesus Christ. They do believe that man was at first created in a pure, holy and happy state; that he fell from it by his own wilful transgression; that mankind have, in consequence of the apostacy of Adam, been involved in a state of sin and misery; that we can be justified only through the righteousness of Jesus Christ; that it is necessary to be regenerated and sanctified by the operations of the spirit of God, in order to be qualified for the holy employments and enjoyments of heaven; that good works, though not meritorious, yet are indispensable in the life of every true Christian; that there is a future state of rewards and pun. ishments.
Now in the belief of these doctrines, and others that might be mentioned, all sincere disciples of Christ throughout the world are agreed: and whoever believes these doctrines with the heart, shall be saved. Christians, it must be confessed, are lamentably divided in sentiments; but they are not so greatly sundered apart in this respect as many suppose, and others would wish the world to believe. In all fundamental and essential doctrines they are united. They have one faith, as they have one Lord to rule over them, one Spirit to teach them, and one hope to cheer and animate them in their Christian course.
Such unity of faith among true Christians, we might anticipate
from the very design of a divine revelation. Unquestionably it was given for the instruction of mankind; and surely it would be unreasonable to suppose that its fundamental doctrines were delivered in a manner so obscure, that those who, with humble, teachable and prayerful minds, sought to become acquainted with them, could not discover them with sufficient clearness to produce a general harmony of faith. This would be a reflection both on the wisdom and goodness of that merciful Being, who has vouchsafed his light and instruction to our benighted and ignorant world. We open the Bible, and rejoice to find there is no ground for such a reflection. Its pages are luminous. Its great doctrines are delivered with much perspicuity. Any man of candour, not blinded by preconceived notions, and willing to learn the truth, may, with proper diligence, and in the use of those helps which God has provided, acquire a knowledge of the great and leading doctrines of the gos. pel, and, by a divine blessing sought with earnest prayer, may become wise unto salvation.
The attainment of revealed truth is then practicable: and as it may be gained, so the acquisition is important on account of its PRACTICAL INFLUENCE. With many
it is a favourite maxim, “No matter what a man's creed is, provided his life be good.” It is possible to put on this maxim a construction that will render its meaning less mischievous. It might be interpreted to signify that it is not important what may be the sentiments of a man on certain controverted points of subordinate consequence, provided his conduct be such as becomes the gospel of Christ. But if any be disposed to use it in this qualified sense, it is plain enough that many adopt it on the broad principle, that the belief of the doctrines of divine revelation is not essential to a good life. In
deed there are some who maintain cannot look
them with approone religion to be as good as ano bation. A life of holiness, which ther for all necessary purposes; and alone is worthy of being denomithat if men be only sincere in the nated a good life, springs from a practice of the religion they pro belief of the truth, and is never fess; they will be accepted by the seen in persons who reject the esJudge of all. From this opinion it sential doctrines of the gospel. will follow, that the Hindoo pros Truth lies at the foundation of trating himself before the idol Jug duty. There is a Being of infinite gernaut, and defiling himself with excellence, who made and governs its impure and filthy rites, pleases all things : on this truth is founded his Maker, as well as the humble the duty of loving, worshipping and believer, who lies, with penitential obeying our Creator. Our glorious shame, at the foot of the cross of sovereign has given us a law for Christ, and fervently supplicates the regulation of our conduct; and the purifying influence of that pre hence it becomes our duty to obcious blood which cleanseth from serve all the precepts of this law. all sin! It will follow, that those Man is a fallen and depraved creainfatuated savages, who worship the ture: from this truth springs the Devil, will meet with approbation
duty of humiliation and repentance. in the final day, as well as those God has appointed Jesus Christ as holy Christians who worship Jeho mediator between himself and sinvah alone, and abhor the ascription
ful men: on this truth rests the of divine honours to any but the duty of seeking intercourse with Supreme Being, who made, up our offended Maker through the holds and governs the world! Such mediation of his Son. A sinner wretched absurdities have actually cannot possibly be justified by his been published in one of the news own righteousness, but he may be papers of this city.
justified by faith in the righteousIn opposition to all loose opi ness of the Redeemer: on these two nions in regard to the practical in important truths is founded the fluence of the truth, we maintain, duty of renouncing dependance on that if a man's creed be essentially our own righteousness for justificadefective, his life can not be good. tion, and relying, simply on the We speak not of that exterior mo righteousness of Christ for obtainrality, which many wish to substi- ing this great and necessary blesstute in place of inward piety: By ing. The Holy Spirit is the effia good life we mean a life of holi cient cause of the work of regeneness; a course of action flowing ration and sanctification in every from a regenerated heart. All Christian's heart: from this truth works proceeding from any inferior springs the duty of paying peculiar principle, how lovely and praise- regards to this divine person, and of worthy soever in the estimation of seeking his renewing and sanctifymen, are in the sight of God dead ing grace. Jesus Christ is the true works, which he will not accept.
God: on this truth is founded that An inspired writer has plainly indispensable duty of honouring the taught this truth: “They that are Son even as we honour the Father. in the flesh cannot please God:” Thus it
truth Rom. viii. 8.; that is, all who act has its corresponding duty. Let merely from the principles of their any man believe with the heart depraved nature, being destitute of these leading truths of divine revea living faith in Christ, and a holy lation, and he will in some measure love to God, can not yield the obe perform the duties which grow out dience which is demanded; and of of them. course the eye of infinite Purity But suppose a man rejects any of
these truths, is it reasonable to ex malice of kings and emperors who pect he will regard the duties which sought its destruction? Why were are founded on them? Will he who
such astonishing miracles wrought denies the deity of the Lord Jesus in confirmation of its truth, and to Christ, and believes him to be no propagate the belief of its doctrines thing more than a mere man, pay, to in the world ? It will not be prehim the same divine worship which tended that all this was done merehe presents to God? Will he who
ly to amuse the human mind, or to denies both the personality and gratify its curiosity by supplying it godhead of the Holy Ghost, show with subjects for barren speculahim the regards that are due to this
tion. A nobler purpose was contemdivine person, and implore his re plated by the infinite Mind. The newing and sanctifying influence? revelation of God was given for the Will he who rejects the atonement high and holy purpose of calling of Christ, make it the foundation sinners out of darkness into marof his hope for eternity? Will vellous light, and of delivering them he who believes he can by works " from the power of darkness," and merit the favour of God, renounce translating them “into the kingdependance on his own, and rely dom” of God's “ dear son.” on the righteousness of another for Accordingly we find, that salvaacceptance at the bar of his final tion is ascribed to the truth. “I judge? Error leads to sin, as truth am not ashamed,” declares the great to holiness. The depravity of our apostle, “ of the gospel of Christ : nature does indeed oppose the in for it is the power
of God unto salfluence of truth, so that it has not vation to every one that believeth.” its complete effect on our hearts; Rom. i. 16. Not only is salvation and God is pleased, by various in this general manner attributed counteracting circumstances, to di to the truth, but every essential minish the deleterious power of er constituent part of salvation in ror, so as to prevent the mischief particular is ascribed to its inthat would otherwise result from it. fluence. Is faith necessary to salStill, however, the natural tenden vation! This is represented as a cy of the one is to produce a sinful, product of the truth : “ So then and of the other to produce a holy faith cometh by hearing, and hearlife.
ing by the word of God.” Rom. The sacred scriptures furnish the X. 14-17. Is repentance a part most conclusive evidence of the of salvation? It results from the great importance of revealed truth preaching of the truth. Paul deon account of its practical influence. clared to king. Agrippa, that he Indeed the
fact that we have “shewed first unto them of Damasa divine revelation does itself con cus, and at Jerusalem, and throughstitute indisputable proof, that truth out all the coasts of Judea, and is essential to our restoration from then to the Gentiles, that they a state of sin to a state of holi should repent and turn to God, and ness. Why did the Lord Almighty do works meet for repentance :" bless the world with a revelation of Acts xxvi. 20: and it is well known his mind and will? Why were such that the word of God dispensed by pains taken in forming the Bible? this great apostle, did not return Why were prophets and apostles void, but prospered in the accomraised up in long succession, and plishment of the purpose for which inspired each to write his allotted it was sent, and that thousands beportion of that holy book? Why came sincere penitents and condid Providence watch over it with verts to Christ. What brought the such peculiar care, preserving it three thousand to repentance on the from the ravages of time, and the memorable day of Pentecost? Was