Imagens das páginas
[ocr errors][merged small]


TO the five Sermons occasioned by the Debate were added three other Sermons, which were thought to be in important subjects. "I he first of these was " en the i'uty of all men to be holy like God." This sermon was founded upon Levit. xix. 2 —S/ienk unio all the congregation of the children cf Israel, and tay unto them, Ye shall be holy : for I the lord your God am holy. The kecond of these sermons was, "on the difference cf character between the unconverted and converted, as consisting in supreme regard to self, and svfireme regard lo God." The text of this sermon was 2 Cor. v. 15.— Jind he died for all, that they -which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. The last of these three sermons was u on the subject of Satan's transformation into an

angel of light." The text was 2 Cor. xi. 14. 4nd no

marvel ; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel (flight.

On the first of these sermons, I do not discover that Air. Bangs has made any remarks. In his last Letter he makes some remarks on the two last sermons. He takes the first notice of the last sermon, namely, the *ne which treats of Satan's transformation into an angel


of light. To this therefore we shall now pay the first attention.

1 have long been convinced that we do not pay proper attention to the cautions, which God has mercifully given us, to be on our guard against the wiles of the devil. What a caution is this; '. Be sober,be vigilant; because ycur adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, ttalkelh about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist steadfast in the faith." 1 Pet. v. 8, 9. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to a certain duty, adding this as a motive, "Lest Satan get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices." In the I2ih chapter of Revelation, Satan is described as one which deceiveth the ivholc world. And the effect of his being bound, is, that he should deceive the nations no more till the thoutanrf years should be fulfilled. Those who are entangled with error are spoken of as in the snare of the devil.— "In meekness instructing them that oppose themselves ; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth ; and that they may recover themselves out of Me snare of the devil." How forcible is■the exhortation of the apostle, Eph. vi. 11, "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." As to the sarcastic remarks, whichare contained in this, ,^-.nd indeed in all the Letters, I have nothing to do with them. I have no personal quarrel with my antagonist. If he views me as one of the ministers of Satan, it is his duty to warn his fellow men against being deceived by me. If he wiews all Calvinisiic ministers, as the ministers of Satan, he will no doubt act consistently with his belief, in exposing them, with a view to prevent their destroying the souls of men. Whether the sermon on Satan's being transformed into an angel of light, was an attempt " to slander the ministers of Christ," by " secret stabs under the garb of friendship," will be seen when the secrets of all hearts are disclosed. If it should appear, that in cem passion for their souls a faithful warning had been given them, and they have turned a deaf ear to it, their blood will be upon their own heads. No one will pretend but that Satan has his ministers, who are transformed into the ministers of Christ. And I think it will not be judged as foreign from my subject, dial my hearers, in being warned against satanic wiles, were warned against his ministers. Some rules were laid down, by which to know his ministers. But previously to these rules being given, it was observed: "No rule? can be laid down, by which the hearers can, with certainty, distinguish between a sanctified, and an un~ sanctified minister." Sermons, p. 195. Mr. B. thinks there is a great contradiction between this observation, and my proceeding to lay down rules, by which to distinguish Satan's ministers. On this I would remark, 1. That an unsanctified minister and a minister of Satan, may not be precisely the same. Judas had a devil; and yet he was not properly the devil's minister. He was called and commissioned by Christ; he cast out devils in Christ's name, and preached his doctrine. Perhaps no one, who preaches the doctrines of truth, and who is regularly introduced into the ministry, is, in the most proper sense, a minister of Satan. If he be an unconverted man, he is in the sight of God a servant of the devil; but his open and visible character, may be that of a minister of Christ. And even if we could know, that his heart was not with Christ; yet if he preached the very preaching which Chiist bids his ministers preaeh, it might not be proper to say, that he was one of the devil's preachers or ministers. To say so, would seem to carry the idea, that he preached on the same side which the devil would have him. Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians, speaks of some who preached Christ from bad motives, and yet tells us that he rejoiced, that even by their means Christ was preached. It appears from this, that he did not really consider them as the ministers of Satan, so as to warn the churches against them ; as he did against those heretical teachers, whose word did eat like a canker: and yet lie most pointedly condemned their character, because their motive was not good. It would seem that corruption in doctrine, and such corruption as is quite fundamental, is an essential ingredient in the character of a minister of the prince of darkness. To this however we add, that a wicked life is a practical heresy, and such as to stamp a public teacher with the peculiar mark of the kingdom to which he belongs.

What we have been observing, is not designed to represent a change of heart, as an unessential qualification in the gospel minister. For particular reasons, Christ saw fit to put one unconverted character among the twelve apostles; but it is undoubtedly the duty of e-very church, to seek a pastor after God's own heart. And it is the duty of those who are in the ministry, to commit this office and work to those only, who appear to be faithful men. I proceed to remark, 2. That if an unsanctified minister is the same, as a minister of Satan; rules may be given which are of use to guard us against being imposed on; and yet it is true, that "no rules can be laid down, by which the hearers can vrith certainty distinguish bciween a sanctified, and an unsanctified minister." There is a difference between laying down rules to judge of our own hearts, and to judge of the hearts of our fellow men. There are rules by which we may know, with certainty, about our own hearts- A christian may have an assured hope about himself He *nay make his own calling and election sure; but he cannot, by any rules laid down, have the same assurance of his christian brother, for he cannot see and know his heart. The rules of judging of the goodness of another's heart, amount only to probability. There may be such striking evidences of grace exhibited, as to take away all uncomfortable doubts and suspicions of the genuineness of his religion; and yet it would be invading; the prerogative of the searcher of hearts, to say, IVe kntix that man's heart is right We can say, He is a fiithful brother as I sufifiose. See 1 Pet. v. 12.

But when it was said, " No rules can be laid down by which the hearer can with certainty distinguish between a sanctified, and an unsanctified minister," it was not meant there were no unsanctified ministers which could be distinguished and pointed out as such. Home men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment. A good heart will never take corrupt doctrines, and a wicked life, for a mask ; but a wicked heart sometimes plays the hypocrite. Men may conduct so, that we nay perceive that they are in the gall of bitteiness. Thus, if a man habitually use profane language, we decide with certainty ; that if he be a professor, his religion is vain: But if he use r.o such language, and even regularly attend religious duties, we dare not decide with the same certainty, that his religion is not vain. It was my object in the Sermon, to law down rules how to know those minisiers, who were on the wrong side, and were in reality destroying, instead ef building up, the christian faith; rather that to enable us to pronounce positively concerning any one, that he was a sanctified minister. To know those, who under the name of Christ's ministers, are opposing Christ, and whose word is eating like a canker, is a matter which deeply concerns all, who have souls capable of being saved or lost. But to be able to determine concerning the best minister of our acquaintance, that he is already a child of God, is not a matter of consequence.

As to the Methodist ministers, I am not disposed te impeach their moral character. All the charge which 1 shall bring against them, is what they will not deny: —1 charge them with espousing, and propagating the Arminian doctrines; or the doctrines which are held forth in Mr. B's. Letters. In their view, 1 know that this is no fault; but in our view, it is one of no small magnitude. The things, which Mr. B has said in favor of their ministers, will not prove with certainty, that they are not the ministers of Satan transformed into the apostles of Christ. Their zeal to make converts, will not prove it. We know who it was that said, "Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him two-fold more the child of hell than yourselves." Mat. xxiii. 15. This passage is introduced merely to show it is possible, that a fire which is not kindled from the altar of God, should burn with vehement flame. We see from the case stated by our Saviour, (who knew what was in man,) that men who have never drunk into the spirit of his gospel, but are perfect strang■ers to it, may nevertheless be zealous in religion, and in spreading it abroad, and in making converts to it.

Ministers' having but a small temporal support, and their preaching against other ministers' receiving wages for their labor,-does not prove that they are not in the service of the prince of darkness. To enter the gospel ministry, for the sake of the temporal support connect

« AnteriorContinuar »