Imagens das páginas

is an idea, which you juftly ac- , whether they have ever conceded, knowledge must be preached; but if that any one has a right to affert, I fould not shew the evil tenden- and undertake to vindicate, that cy of particular false opinions, but any truths of the gospel, which they imply inculcate the truth by direct oppose, are effential to salvation ; evidence, and among others, this | or is authorised to name any doc. truth which you have now men- | trine, or system of doctrines whattioned, do you think my opposers ever, which are absolutely necessawould be less troublesome, or be ry, even under our opportunities less disposed to represent me as un for instruction. I believe they gencatholic and illiberal ?

erally plead, that all may deliver P. I do not know indeed. and advocate their sentiments withHowever, I am clear that this out opposition or offence, that they must be held up as a truth, and a may prepare the way, to claim the truth that applies especially to peo. | privilege, of introducing their unple, who enjoy our privileges and scriptural and pernicious opinions, instructions. It would be absurd without contradiction, or being to say, that faith is necessary to thought the worse for propagating salvation, and yet leave it as tho' them, that in the end, they may any faith, scriptural or unfcriptural | subvert the precious and impor

-faith in truth, or faith in false. tant truths, which, tho' painful to hood, would answer the great pur- | them, are the distinguishing and pose. You may however treat the comforting doctrines of the gospel. matter in such a general way, as P. This is indeed possible. I would not so directly expose and know they have a bitter enmity aoffend your opposers.

gainst the doctrines, which I fully C. Would the method, you have believe, were delivered to us by suggested, answer the purpose, un Christ and his disciples. And I lefs I should deal in such words as | know also, that they have been far would not be generally understood, more severe, in ridicule and fare which I know would not meet your casm, against your sentiments, than approbation ? Besides, should they ever you have been, in your serifind, that their clamour or influous observations, on their errors ; ence had prevailed on me, to give and that they have been quite per. up one important point, would they | fonal in their remarks against you, not be encouraged to increase their which I have never noticed in you exertions, in the expectation, that against them, or any body of men: I should soon be driven to give you only point out the evil of over urging the necessity of believ. falsehood and error, wherecver it ing the fundamental doctrines of may be found. Indeed from their the gospel, or explaining them, | pleas in favor of extensive cathoand pointing them out particularly licism I have expected more can. to the people, if not to abandon dour in them than I have generally them altogether?

found. P. I cannot say what they C. Are you confident, that all might do. But this would cer- of them believe, that there is any tainly be contrary to that liberty thing criminal in holding errone. and catholicism, which they plead ous opinions ? Do they all expect, for, and we might attack them with that men will be called to an ac. their own concessions.

count, or punished for them in the C. Perhaps not.--I question / world to come ?

P. They generally say, that the import he says, how can they betruth is important, and hence urge, | lieve on him of whom they have that all men should be left to seek not heard ?-Faith comes by hearit out for themselves, without any ing. And he has borne teftimony one to teach them, and inculcate against false sentiments, as much upon them one sentiment, in pre- as against evil practices, by comference to another, left they should manding, that heretics should be be biassed, and 'led into error. cast out of the church.-Indeed (Though for myself, I cannot see a compliance with, and belief in why people, and especially parents the religion of the surrounding nashould not attend as much to the tions, was death to a Jew, by the religion, as to the reputation of law of God, given to Moses. I their children.) But I know, it am therefore persuaded, that false is a maxim with some of them, sentiments respecting religion are that no one will be condemned for highly criminal in the sight of God. his opinions at the last day, provi C. From what source do errors ded he be sincere in them. concerning the leading doctrines

C. Is not fincerity in this matter, of the gospel arise among us? a very vague and unmeaning word? | P. I cannot account for them, Are not Christians, Deists, Pagans in any way, but from depravity of . and Mahometans, fincere in their heart. I see not, why rejecting opinions, do they not sincerely be. the testimony of God must not lieve what they do believe ? And | arise from the same spirit, as rejeccan it be supposed, that it will nev- ting the law of God. The scriper be brought up against men, that tures teach us, that they that do they have disbelieved God, rejec evil, hate the light, and will not ted truth, and embraced error, | come to the light.-I think God against the clear evidence of the provided sufficiently for the instrucholy scriptures, provided only that | tion of this world, at an early age, they really disbelieved God, really so that religious truth never would rejected truth, and really embraced have been loft, or falsehood taken error, notwithstanding a clear evi- , place, if men had not loved darkdence of divine testimony? ness rather than light, and even

P. The scriptures are plain and now, I conceive, that if men were express on this subject. God did well disposed, and ready to embrace condemn the worshippers of Mo- | truth, a very little time would sufloch, though they gave the great- / fice, to have all the earth filled est possible proof of their real be- | with the knowledge of the glory lief, in their abominable religion, of the Lord. I have thought, that by facrificing their own babes.- it is an awful defamation of God, He has threatened, that he that to accuse him with being the aubelieveth not on the Lord Jesus thor of instructions fo ambiguous, Christ, shall be damned.-He has that men of honest minds are liadeclared, that there are damnable ble to make gross mistakes, concern. heresies, and doctrines of devils ing the doctrines he would commuand that he sometimes gives up nicate ; or to say, that he has left men, to strong delusions, to be the scriptures so ill supported with lieve a lie, that they may be dam- evidence, that honelt men are lianed, which he does by way of ble, after candid enquiries, to be wrath, because they have pleasure | in doubt of their authenticity. ---An in unrighteousness.-And to this evil heart must be the fource of all

[ocr errors]

gross errors in religion, and they , ity, depravity of manners, perseare as criminal and dangerous, as cutions, assassinations, and despowicked conduct : these reciprocal- tism in France, are more owing ly increase and strengthen each to the prevalency of this specious other.

liberality of opinion, than to any C. But you would not have me other cause, and perhaps than to all cease preaching against evil practi- o:hers put together. ces, because some of my hearers P. You are certainly right.--I live in them. You would have me am fully convinced. --And shall expose the evil and danger of them, henceforth justify you, in bearing and warn people against them, testimony against heretical opinthough some are very unwilling to ions, and especially against this endure such preaching; and are unbounded catholicism, which is ready to say, I am pointed and the rage of the day.--I am persuapersonal against them. Why then ded, that both our civil governshould I not preach in the same ment, and religion, are in much manner again heresies, since they | greater danger from this false charare equally finful, and contrary to acter, than from any other quarter. the word of God : The one, as I beseech you, if poslible, effeccontrary to the testimony; as the tually to convince your hearers of other, to the law he has given us. this, and make it a leading object

P. Doubtless it would be prop in your public instructions. per, if people would endure it. C. I thank you for your visit,

C. People are equally attached and hope you will consider, that to both, and from nearly the same you, and I, and all good people, cause-to one, for the gratification have but one interest ; and that it of their avariceand carnalaffections; is the duty of all, to unite our exand to the other, that they may ridl ertions, in our several stations, in themsilves from restraints on these favor of religious truth, and the lufts and gratify their pride and af- importance of it ; to rally round sumed independerce on God. In the word of God, oppose wickreality they are no less opposed to edness in every shape it may asthe one, than to the other. The sume, whether in doctrine or maritruth is, they wish to set all opin- ners, and especially, that by ferions on a level, which in its conse-vent prayer, and holy lives and quence must effectually destroy the conversation we exemplify the recredibility and influence of all,and ality, necellity, and excellency of free men from all the restraints of true and experimental religion. religion, and so open the Aood. P. I feel the importance of it, gates to every species of irreligion and hope I may not weaken, but and iniquity.

| assist, and promote the precious P. It must be a most impious common cause. and blasphemous Catholicism, which aims, under tse mask of lib

Paul's Experiences. erality to banish every thing desir. T HE scripturesteach the necesable from the world.

T s ity of experimental religion, C. Its effects are now awfully | The present revival of religion, in visible in the wretched situation, of many places, is a work of God, one which till lately, was among by which he confirms this doctrine. the most refined nations of Europe. It is illustrated by many examples There is no doubt, that the infidel- on holy record ; they are all use. ful and instructive. Among oth-| bled most of the Pharifees; and ers, the experience of the apostle many self-righteous finners of the Paul is worthy of attention. He present age. They depend on gives a summary account of it, in their inoffensive morality, and regthe seventh chapter of his epistle to ular attendance on the forms of the Romans. He tells us in duty; and cherish the fallacious the ninth verse, that he was alive | hope, that God will notice them without the law. once; but when with his favor, at the last day. the law came, sin revived, and he 3. While Paul was thus alive died. By this it appears

without the law, the command. 1. That Paul was once without ment came. This was, when he the law; which was before his was on his memorable journey to conversion. But this declaration Damascus, in full opposition to must be taken in a qualified sense. Christ and his cause. Christ arHe was well versed in the law, refted him. Truth was now bro't as taught by the Jewish Rabbies. into his view. The command. He had made it his principal study, ment came with power. He saw under the instruction of Gamaliel, it in its spirituality. It no longer a famous doctor ; and he was ex- appeared a carnal ritual, but a law ceedingly zealous of it, and profi- to the whole soul, requiring holi. ted above many. But he was ness of heart and life, and con: without it, in that he had no sense demning every transgression of the of its purity, and spirituality. He rules of perfect purity. O how regarded it as a mere ritual, claim- different, at this time, were his ing only external conformity. He ideas of God and duty, from what had never known its demands on till now they had always been ! the heart, and its universal extent How new and folemn are these over the whole man. His views of things to sinners, when for the first the law were very much like those time, the commandment comes ! of most impenitent finners, in the 4. When the commandment days of their tho’tless security. came, sin revived. His former They usually have no sense of the ideas of his own goodness and holiness and extent of the services righteousness now forsook him.

His conscience, which was for2. While Paul was without the merly void of offence, was filled law, he was alive. He viewed with anguish, by sudden, and himself alive. He knew not that dreadful discoveries of his heart he was in a state of fin, which is and life. He found that all was {piritual death. His conscience wrong--that he was totally deprawas void of offence. He was ved, in his affections and conduct. ready to say, All these commands --Such are the usual discoveries have I kept from my youth up ; | made to sinners, when God takes what lack I yet ?-And he had them in hand, in the day of their no sense of his condemnation, convictions, and sets their fins in which also is justly called death. I order before their eyes. He verily tho't, that he lived like 5. When the commandment a fon of Abrahamn ; and that he came, he died. All his hopes of did God service, even when he justification, on the plan which he persecuted his church. And that had so long and so zealously purhe should unquestionably be justifi- sued, were at an end. He saw ed before God. In this he resem- himself certainly and righteousy


condemned. He knew little or high calling, which is in Christ nothing of the way of justification Jesus ; rejoicing in the hope that thro' Christ. And had he known at the end, God would deliverbim it, his proud heart would have rif- from this body of sin and death.en against it, until he was humbled | Thus it often pleases God to reby a superior power. He trem- new Inners, when he has fuffibled. He was astonished. He ciently discovered to them their fell down. He cried out through fin and misery. They immedihis distress, Lord what wilt thou ately enter on the Christian life, have me to do.' His anguish was and fix their hopes of pardon and fach, that he could neither eat nor fanclification, on the redemption drink, for three days and three of Christ, and the work of his ho. nights. Hell was open before ly Spirit. They contend against him, and destruction had no cov- their remaining corruptions, are ering. He found trouble and for gradually fan&ified, and become row. –Thus when finners learn fruitful in holiness, and in the erd the import of the divine law, and become meet for the inheritance see the state of the controversy be- in glory. iween God and themselves, their By such wise measures, God delusions vanish, they find them- prepares his people to receive and felves condemned, no less by their rejoice in Chrift; and thus he own consciences, than by the law. trains them up, for everlasting bles

of God; and they see themselves sedness in his presence. G. -dependent on the sovereign good - pleasure of God, to whom it belongs, either to subdue and sancti- |

| An Account of a work of Divine |fy their hearts, or execute upon

frace in a Revival of Religion, them his wrath, as shall seem good

in a number of Congregations in

New-England, in the years 1798 in his fight. 6. After this, we find that

and 1799, in a series of Letter's Paul was made alive by Jesus

to the Editors. Christ. This took place when he [Continued from p. 30.] cast himself upon free grace. Christ, by his spirit, imparted to


° | From the Rev. Giles H. COWLES, him spiritual life, and by the ap-1 plication of his redemption, secu.

of New-Cambridge in the town red his eternal life. The change | To

be of Bristol. was instantaneous : he at opce de GENTLEMEN, lighted in the law of God, after “ THE works of the Lord are the inner man. He entered im- I great, fought out of all mediately on duty in the service of that have pleasure therein.” This Christ, and brought forth the fruits is true of God's works in general ; of holiness, to his dying day. Yet but more especially of those divine he was not perfect in holiness ; operations, which immediately rebut found occasion to bewail the spect the advancement of the Relaw in his members, which war. | deemer's kingdom, and the falvared against the law of his mind. tion of souls. These operations are To this however he did not yield; peculiarly interesting and delight, but forgetting the things which ful, as they tend most direcily to were behind, he pressed toward display the divine perfections, and the mark, for the prize of the promote general happiness. As

« AnteriorContinuar »