Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

it not the plain, faithful and pun- || planted and Apollos watered, but gent exhibition of gospel truth by God gave the increase. So then, nei. Peter and his fellow apostles ? Acts ther is he that planteth any thing, ii. 37–41. Is regeneration, or being neither he that watereth; but God born again, a part of salvation? It that giveth the increase.” 1 Cor. is attributed to the truth: “ Being iii. 6,7. It is only when the gospel born again, not of corruptible seed, comes, “ not in word only, but also of , of in

for 1 Thess. i. 5, that it produces its ever.” 1 Pet. i. 23. “Of his own intended effects. Still, however, it will begat he us with the word of is to be remembered that God is truth, that we should be a kind of pleased ordinarily to use the truth first fruits of his creatures.” Jam. in effecting the salvation of sinners, i. 18. "For though ye have ten from the beginning to the consum-thousand instructors in Christ, yet mation of the mighty work. It is not many

fathers : for in Christ Je the milk by which babes in Christ sus I have begotten you through are nourished; and the strong meat the gospel.1 Cor. iv. 15. Is pro by which Christians of full age are gressive sanctification necessary to fed. Heb. v. 13, 14. our salvation? It is carried on by

It is manifest that truth, possessthe influence of truth: "

Sanctify ing such a powerful practical influthem through thy truth: thy word ence as to effect, through the acis truth.” " And for their sake I companying grace of God, an ensanctify myself, that they also might tire revolution in the character and be sanctified through the truth.nature of man, so that the sinner John, xvii. 17, 19. What is it but is converted into a saint, and the the truth that supplies believers heir of hell is made an heir of heawith consolation? “Wherein God, ven, is not to be treated with indifwilling more abundantly to shewference. The knowledge of it is a unto the heirs of promise the immu matter that most deeply concerns tability of his counsel, confirmed it every individual; for on feeling its by an oath; that by two immutable renovating power on the heart dethings in which it was impossible pends the salvation of our immortal for God to lie, we might have strong souls. We cannot remain ignorant consolation, who have fled for refuge of it without extreme hazard. With to lay hold upon the hope set before natural science a man may have no

acquaintance; of the first princiWhile we thus exhibit these in

ples of mathematics he may dubitable proofs of the great prac- knowledge, without endangering at tical influence and purifying power

all his salvation. He

may

be almost of the truth, it is proper to remark, an idiot, and yet be so taught that it owes all its efficiency to the the fundamental doctrines of the accompanying grace of God. Un-gospel as to believe them, and attended by the power of the Holy obtain salvation. But of divine Spirit, it would never produce those truth no one can remain ignorant mighty effects which it has pro without putting in jeopardy his duced, and still does produce, in eternal interest; and dying in this the conversion of sinners. This condition, he must inevitably share fact should be ever borne in re in the perdition of them who know membrance, that the glory of our not God, and obey not the gospel of salvation

may be ascribed, not to our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess.i. 8. means, or to instruments, but to My people,” is the complaint of Him who appointed and employs Jehovah, * are destroyed for lack of them for the accomplishment of his knowledge.” Hosea, iv. 6. holy and merciful designs. “I have The truth then ought to be prized

us.'

have no

66

according to its vast importance fect, thoroughly furnished unto all and inestimable value. Our feel. good works." No Christian should ings toward it should be like those be satisfied barely with a knowwhich we may suppose the royal ledge of the fundamental doctrines psalmist experienced, when he pen of divine revelation; he should enned that admirable eulogy : The deavour to form an acquaintance law of the LORD is perfect, con with every part of that admirable verting the soul: the testimony of system of religious truth with which the Lord is sure, making wise the God has blest and adorned his simple: the statutes of the LORD church. By taking a view of the are right, rejoicing the heart : the whole he will be able to discern the commandment of the Lord is pure, place of each part; the relation enlightening the eyes : the fear of which one truth sustains to another; the LORD is clear, enduring forever: and how they all harmoniously the judgments of the LORD are unite in one glorious system of light true and righteous altogether. More and wisdom, holiness and consolato be desired are they than gold, tion. It were well for the church yea, than much fine gold, sweeter and for its individual members, if also than honey, and the honey none deserved the reproof which comb. Moreover, by them is thy the apostle administered to the Heservant warned ; and in keeping of brews : “ For when for the time ye them there is great reward.” Ps. ought to be teachers, ye have need xix. 7–11.

that one teach you again, which be A conviction of the unutterable the first principles of the oracles of value of the truth should prompt God; and are become such as have us to endeavour to make as exten need of milk, and not of strong sive acquisitions of it as our cir meat." Heb. v. 12. cumstances and station in life will Let every one then feel it an inadmit. All truths are not, it is cumbent duty to increase in the readily conceded, equally impor knowledge of the truth. The means tant. Some constitute the founda are ample. God has appointed a tion on which our holy religion is ministry for the edification of his built, while others belong to a less church. All who have entered into essential part of the glorious edi this high and holy office are bound fice. That we are bound to par to endeavour by diligent study, to take of the two Christian rites, form an extensive and accurate acbaptism and the Lord's supper, is a quaintance with the contents of the truth; but this truth is not to be inspired volume; so that they may compared with that fundamental feed his people with knowledge, and truth, “ He that believeth shall be out of the good treasure of their saved ; but he that believeth not hearts bring forth, like faithful stew.shall be damned.” Mark, xvi, 16. ards of the mysteries of the kingWhile this distinction is made, let dom, things new and old. A steady it not be forgotten, that all revealed and constant attendance on the truths are important, and that an preaching of the word, then, is one acquaintance with every part of the appointed means for increasing in inspired volume will subserve the the knowledge of the truth. great design of the whole, the in In addition to the ministry, God creasing perfection of the Christian has blest the church with the Bible; believer. “Al scripture," affirms in which has been recorded by inthe apostle, “is given by inspira- spired penmen whatever his infinite tion of God, and is profitable for wisdom deemed proper to be comdoctrine, for reproof, for correction, municated for the faith and pracfor instruction in righteousness ; tice of his people. This volume, that the man of God

may

be
per-

then, must be diligently and perse

veringly studied by all who wish to Exalt her, and she shall promote obtain a clear and comprehensive thee; she shall bring thee to hoknowledge of revealed truth. Those nour when thou dost embrace her. who neglect it will derive but little She shall give to thine head an orna. profit from the ministry of the ment of grace; a crown of glory word; they come with minds un shall she deliver to thee."

My prepared to hear to advantage dis son, if thou wilt receive

my

words, courses founded on passages of holy and hide my commandments with scripture. The very gift of such a thee; so that thou incline thine ear book imposes on all who possess it unto wisdom, and apply thine heart an obligation to read and study its to understanding; yea, if thou criest marvellous contents. The Bereans after knowledge, and liftest up thy were commended for their dili voice for understanding; if thou gence in comparing the addresses seekest her as silver and searchest of Paul with the records of inspira for her as for hid treasures : then tions, to discover whether he taught shalt thou understand the fear' of true and sound doctrine. Acts, xvii. the Lord, and find the knowledge 11. Our Lord commanded the Jews, of God. For the Lord giveth wisand consequently all to whom his dom; out of his mouth cometh command comes, to “search the knowledge and understanding. He scriptures." John, v. 35.

layeth up sound wisdom for the The scriptures, although written righteous : he is a buckler to them in perspicuous language, yet in ma that walk uprightly. He keepeth ny places need elucidation; and the paths of judgment, and preserv

. for the assistance of his people the eth his saints. Then shalt thou unLord has furnished the writings of derstand righteousness, and judg. able divines, as well as the preach ment, and equity; yea, every good ing of his ministers in general. path.” Prov. xxiii. 23. iv.5-9. ii. These writings, in different forms, 1-9.

J.J.J. from the pamphlet to the folio, are a treasure to his church. All Christians should, as far as their means

Remarks on the Duration of Future and opportunities for reading will

Punishment. allow, derive aid from these writ Few have denied, that man is an ings in their study of the Bible. accountable being. The awful lapse Some have not leisure to peruse of our race, and the consequent molarge volumes, but who cannot spare ral deterioration of our nature, are from his necessary avocations time also admitted by a large proportion enough to read a magazine, a month of professing Christians. Any plan ly pamphlet comprising but a few calculated efficaciously to heal the pages?

breach, make reconciliation for Reading and hearing must be transgression, and thus reinstate combined in the search for truth. in the favour of heaven, must be an The two great avenues of know object of universal interest. Such ledge are the ear and the eye. The a plan Jehovah has revealed. What Lord is pleased to instruct his peo it is, is a question of vast moment. ple through the medium of both; The discrepancy among Christians he addresses the ear by the preach about its nature, character and exing of his word, and the eye by his tent, has been proportioned to the written word and the writings of magnitude of its importance. These learned divines.

have been subjects of tedious and Buy the truth and sell it not.” accrimonious litigation. To exaWisdom is the principal thing; mine closely, and reason dispastherefore get wisdom ; and with sionately is more easily proposed, all thy getting get understanding. than executed. To discuss topics

[ocr errors]

of such mighty interest, suaviter in to an introduction to the beatific vimodo, and at the same time fortiter sion, in the mansions of immortaliin re, is rather a rare attainment. ty, on any other footing, would be A contrary course, however, does utterly incompatible with the very not fail to meet condign punish first maxim of both natural and rement, as its own legitimate off vealed religion: “Shall not the spring; inasmuch as the imbecility Judge of all the earth do right?” of argument, is usually proportion Otherwise, what guaranty could we ed to the acrimony of feeling. I have for the continuance of the posdare not anticipate exemption from session ? If smuggled into the cethe error I now most cordially re lestial mansions,

at the expense of probate, while I present some few justice, the first impulse of rectithoughts on the topic of universal tude would direct to an immediate salvation.

expulsion. Righteousness, there. That all human beings, however fore, either personal or vicarious, wicked in the present ļife, nay,

that must establish the claim, and proall created intelligences, however cure the admission. Sin and misery, diabolical in their nature and prace righteousness and felicity, are netice, shall be ultimately introduced cessarily connected by an immutato eternal felicity, or at least, by an ble law: consequently, those destinihilation, be freed from pain, is a titute of a legal righteousness, either doctrine so fascinating to sinful personal or vicarious, have no altercreatures, that it is not at all sur native remaining between eternal prising, it should have numerous punishment and gloomy annihilavotaries. Reason and revelation tion. have been laid under contribution I shall now proceed to the exami. in support of it. On this question, nation of the merits of each of these “I also will show my opinion." three ways of escaping eternal pun.

It may be proper, here to give ishment. And in the first place, I notice, that in the progress of this shall endeavour to show the utter discussion, I shall assume as a fact, impossibility of enjoying eternal fethat justice is a natural and neces licity by virtue of our own personal sary attribute of Jehovah ; that this righteousness. If I succeed in this, attribute is inexorable; that it must it will evidently follow, that there pursue its enemy, and punish its will remain no other

way.

of escavictim; that any compromise with ping eternal vengeance, than by a mercy, would leave it no longer im vicarious righteousness, or utter anmaculate; in a word, that Jehovah nihilation. can as soon cease to be, as he can That eternal happiness cannot be cease to be just. Having mention obtained by personal merit, I shall ed these postulates, I shall pro attempt to establish in the following ceed to show, that if the punish manner: ment of sin be not eternal, its li 1. Mankind are sinners. Alas! mitation to a definite period, must all have sinned, and come short of arise either from personal expiation, the glory of God. This is a truth or vicarious atonement, or blanc an of awful import, and doleful notonihilation. I can form no concep-riety! There is none righteous: no, tion of any other mode of its termi not one! The imaginations of the nation. If, therefore, it can be de thoughts of the heart, are only evil monstrated, that the termination of continually. The matter of fact, punishment pleaded for by Univer and the universality of our apostasy salists, cannot arise from any of from God, are amply attested by these three causes, I shall have no the Holy Ghost. With this testihesitation to pronounce it eternal. mony, our own experience perfectSalvation must be just. To aspire || ly coincides; so that, “If we say; Vol. I.

с

we have no sin, we deceive our good will towards men, there may selves, and the truth is not in us." be also glory to God in the highest.” The history of man, is a history of 3. The objective infinitude of sin, depravity, and its necessary con precludes the possibility of the sincomitants, lamentation, mourning ner's entering heaven, on the footing and wo! The existence of these of his own merit, whether active or phenomena in the moral empire of passive. By sin, we have contracted Jehovah, are utterly inexplicable on

an infinite debt, and justice imperiany other principle, than that of re ously demands payment. “Pay me bellion against our rightful sove that thou owest." I shall not, in asreign. The matter of fact is indis serting infinitude to be an attribute putable, "Sin entered into the world, of sin,

avail myself of the interrogaand death by sin;" however diffi tion of Eliphoz, Job. xxii. 5: “Is not cult it may be to account for its thy wickedness great, and thyiniquiintroduction into a system previous- | ty infinite?” Yet I do maintain that ly immaculate.

this phrase, equivalent to a strong 2. God is just. That justice is assertion, is nowhere discountean essential inherent attribute of nanced in the scriptures. Yet as the Deity, is as capable of demon this point is cardinal, in the discusstration, as is his existence. The sion of this topic, I shall not avail volume of Providence, the most ca myself of any expression, from the tegorical declarations of scripture, force of which an opponent may and particularly the agonizing cru make his escape in the haze of cifixion of our blessed Lord, as metaphorical phraseology. Let us the substitute for sinners, when the discuss the subject dispassionately, sword of vengeance was unsheathed and examine whether sober investiagainst the man who was Jehovah's gation will not lead to the same fellow, and pierced the inmost soul conclusion. of the Son of God; these I say, all, I am perfectly aware of the oball demonstrate that God is inexo-jections which ingenuity has raised rably just. “Justice and judgment against the infinity of human transconstitute the habitation of his

gression. This is no more than throne.” If, therefore, the divine what might have been anticipated. ląw be violated, the offender must Here is the citadel. Surrender it, be punished, either personally, or and all is gone! I would then adby his representative. Justice will

mit, that eternal punishment would retain the devoted victim in its be unjust, and consequently could grasp, until it has received the last

not be inflicted by a righteous God, farthing. The righteous and the for finite transgression; for this wicked are alike the objects of its plain reason, that the punishment operation. It is the very cement of would be infinitely disproportioned the universe, without which it must to the offence. For, although the instantly be essemeet edeninises im penal intensiefni fety s man, shemtend whatrudd dering to every one his due. Let us

here hear the captain of the armies of

be eternal, the quantity becomes in

finitely great, and of course infiIsrael, in his farewell address to

nitely disproportioned to the finite the people, Jos. xxiv. 19: “ The offence. It is inconsistent both with Lord is a holy God. He is a jea physical and mathematical science, lous God; he will not forgive your to maintain, that the doctrine of transgressions nor your sins." If, the infinity of sin, goes to establish therefore, there be salvation at all the old stoical dogma, that all sins for sinners, it must be in the most are equal. The reasoning of the obperfect unison with justice; so that jector is here very plausible: “If while there is “peace on earth and the least sin be infinite, the greatest

« PoprzedniaDalej »