Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

corr

Jer. xxxi. 33. I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, &c. Mr. B. thinks the term law here “includes the law of faith, or the gospel-and also what the apostle, in Rom. vii. 23. calls the law of the mind; and especially as the apostle, when he quotes the passage in Heb. viii. 10, uses the plural word laws.(80, 81.) The plural word laws in scripture, and in common speech, signifies no

pra than the different parts or branches of the same saw; and is of the same import with the word commandments. I think with Mr. B. each of the above ideas are included; not, however, as so many distinct laws put into the heart. For God to write his law in the heart, is only another mode of speaking for giving us a heart to love that law; and if the law “ quires a cordial reception, and hearty approbation of the gospel," as Mr. B. owns it does, (49) then in a fallen creature, to whom the gospel is preached, a heart to love that law must include a heart to embrace the gospel; and a heart to love the law and embrace the gospel, is the principle of holiness, called the law of the mind. *

re

law, which requires a compliance with whatever God shall at any time think proper to enjoin; and will hardly be supposed to require a distinct principle for the performance of it.

After Mr. B. has acknowledged, that “ the law of God re. quires a cordial reception of the gospel,” it is somewhat surprizing that he should reason as follows:--" If the law com. manded faith, in relation to Christ crucified, it must then ac. quaint us with Christ crucified. It would be an unreasonable law-to enjoin an act about such an object, and never discover

An argument was drawn from the term renewed, as applied to our regeneration. On this Mr. B. remarks as follows: “ I think at the resurrection, the same body that dies will be raised; but I think the state in which it will rise will be more than cir. cumstantially, it will be essentially different from that in which it was laid in the grave-except corruption and incorruption, dishonour and glory, weakness and power, natural and spiritual, are essentially the sapin(83.) So far from this making for Mr. B. one need not desire a better argument against him. He thinks, he says, that the same body that dies will be raised: I think so too, or it would not have been called a resurrection; let him only acknowledge that the same principle that was lost is restored, or it would not

one syllable of that object to us." (92.) It certainly would be unreasonable to require faith without a revelation of the object; and where that is not revealed, we do not suppose it incumbent. But if the gospel reveal the object of faith, the moral law may require it to be embraced, Mr. B. himself being a judge.--If the law cannot reasonably require faith towards an object which itself doth not reveal, then, what will become of his natural and common faith in a crucified Christ, which he allows is required by the law? Doth the law reveal Christ as the object of this kind of faith any more than the other? Mr. B. cannot say it does. The above quotation, I suppose is taken from Mr. Charnock. I have not the first edition of his works, and so cannot follow Mr. B. in his references; but if Mr. Charnock's meaning were what the connexion of his words, as introduced by Mr. B. seem to represent, it is certainly contrary to the whole tenour of his writ. ings; and I believe no such a thought ever entered his heart, as to question whether faith in Christ were the duty of sinners,

he can say

have been represented as a renovation, and we are satisfied. Let him but allow this, and he is welcome to dwell upon as many differences, as to causes and objects, as he can find. If this be but granted, all that

besides cannot prove an essential difference. It is very extraordinary for Mr. B. to suppose that it can. That which is essential to any thing, is that without which it would not be that thing. If corruption, dishonour, or weakness, belonged to the essence of the body, then it could not be the same body without them. These cause a difference as to the circumstances and condition of the body; they do not, however, so alter its essence, but that it is the same body through all its changes.

What is here advanced does not suppose that “corruption and incorruption-natural and spiritual, are essentially the same.” Doubtless they are different and opposite qualities; but the question is, do these qualities cause an essential difference in the boarks to which they pertain? If any one were disposed to prove an essential difference between the principles of saints on earth, and saints in heaven, he might easily accomplish his purpose, according to Mr. B.'s mode of reasoning. He might say, “ they are more than circumstantially, they are essentially different: the one are weak, the other strong; these are exercised in believing, those in seeing; these are attended with opposing carnality, those are free from all opposition. Now here is an essential difference, except weakness and strength, faith an 1 sight, remaining impurity, and perfect holiness, were essentially the same?"

[ocr errors]

If Mr. B. should reply, that he did not plead for an essential difference between the body when it dies, and when it is raised, but between the state of the body at those different periods; I answer, then what he has said is mere trifling, nothing at all to the purpose. His design was to illustrate an essential difference between the principles of man ini innocence, and those in believers, and not barely in the state and circumstanoes of thcse principles, otherwise there had been no dispute between us.

The only question, it was before observed, to which the whole ought to be reduced; was this, WHETHER SUPREME LOVE TO GOD WOULD NOT NECESSARILY LEAD A FALLEN CREATURE, WHO HAS THE GOSPEL? PREACHED TO HIM, TO EMBRACE THE LORD Jesus CHRIST, AND HIS WAY OF SALVATION? The arguments which were thought sufficient to establish this: question in the affirmative, were urged in pages 53 56, and 120_123, of the former treatise. To this Mr. B. has made no other reply than the following:

Supreme love to God will lead a man to embrace any revelation God makes of himself; but it will not, it cannot lead a man to embrace what God does not reveal. Supreme love to God would lead no fallen creature to embrace Christ in a way of special faith, without Christ being revealed, and revealed in an internal manner by the Holy Ghost. There is no true believing without revelation, without evidence." (85, 86.) Special faith then, it seems, consists in believing something which is not revealed in the scriptures, and of which there is there no evidence. Well, if this be special faith, we need have no farther dis

pute about it; for I shall agree with him, it is what no man is in the least obliged to.

Mr. B. in the outset, the reader will remember, allowed that a believing of our interest in the blessings of the gospel was not essential to true faith; (10.) and yet what is here advanced cannot, one should think, proceed upon any other supposition. His view of the subject, so far as I understand it, supposes that common faith, such as a man may have and perish, consists in believing no more than what is already revealed in the bible; and that special faith consists in believing our personal interest in it. But this being no where revealed in the scriptures, any otherwise than by giving descriptive characters, an immediate revelation from heaven becomes necessary to acquaint the party of his peculiar privilege before he can believe himself entitled to it.

That there is an internal as well as an external revelation, is readily allowed; but I apprehend this revelation to consist in the eyes of the understanding being enlightened, and that not to discover any new truth, which was never before revealed; but that which was already sufficiently made known in the hoiy scriptures, and which nothing but our criminal blindness could conceal from our minds. See Eph. i. 17, 18. I think with Mr. Brine, that “to imagine that God now affords such light as will enable us to make discoveries of truths not already revealed to us in his word, is REAL ENTHUSIASM, and has nothing to support it in the holy scriptures." Christian Reli.. gion not destitute of Arguments, p. 44..

H

« VorigeDoorgaan »