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indignation should be directed right eyes, and cut off right hands, against our own sins ; its most if these be the occasions or invigorous efforts, to
struments of transgression. It teformation and improvement. will inspire and fortify us for the Can that man be much concerned painful, but necessary work of for the salvation of others, who crucifying the flesh, with its affecis careless of his own? Can he tions and lusts ; of mortifying our be deeply grieved and pained for earthly members ; of keeping unothers' sins, who is little affected der our bodies, and bringing them with his own corruptions, follies into subjection; yea, it will arm and vices ?
us with courage and resolution Christian zeal has a place and to pull down strong holds, and influence in every other Chris- cast every proud imagination into tian grace and virtue. It im- the dust. It will not permit us parts a tenderness and ardour to to indulge our ease, as long as holy love ; a strength and activi- we have one base passion unty to faith. It renders revereirce subdued ; one criminal propensiand godly fear more awful ; and ty unmortified. Here is one gives wings to the Christian's pi- capital trial of the genuineness ous desires. While it infuses of our zeal. Are we engaged a sting into penitential sorrow, it and anxious to reform, not only adds vigour and confidence to a sinful world without us, but a hope; and sublimates joy in God world of iniquity within us? into transport and triumph. Does the habitual exemplariness
It has likewise an important of our temper and conduct deplace and use in every act of de- clare that our love to holiness, votion. It will lead us, in pray- and hatred to sin, are genuine er, to pour out, not words only, and impartial ? Are our lives asbut devout breathings, intense siduously filled up with duty to desires, and, as it were, our very God, and active beneficence to souls, to our Father in heaven. man? Do we not only walk humIn praise, it will fill us with a sol- bly with our Maker, but do justa emn and delightful sense of his ly, and love mercy, to our fellow adorable excellencies, and infi- creatures ? Are we rich in good nitely varied benefits. In confes. works? Do we abound in them? sion, it will melt our hearts into Do we so live,as that an important ingenuous and unutterable grief. chasm would be realized, and It will cause us to enter the the best interests of society sussanctuary longing for God, as the tain a shock, should our exerhart punteth for the water brooks. tions cease ? Alas! that is but a It will engage us, while we hear spurious zeal which spends itself and ineditate his word, to hunger in complaints of the badness of for the bread of life, and thirst the times, and the degeneracy of for its precious waters.
the age, while no substantial exFurther, genuine zeal, if we ertions are made to increase the possess it, will operate in the sum of virtue and beneficence, mortification of our sins and cor- and while of course the comruptions, and engage us in a plainer himself is but a cumberer course of holy obedience. It will of the ground, a nuisance in solead us resolutely to pluck out ciety. No 12. Vol. II.
In a word, if we have true zeal, we shall be solicitous to find ourselves making daily progress in holiness, and approximating to a thorough meetness for heavenly glory. We shall not be satisfied with any past attainnrents, supposed or real. We shall anxiously lay aside every weight, and every easily besetting six, and run with patience, alacrity and perseverance, the race set before us.. The nearer we approach to our heavenly crown, with the greater ardour shall we spring forward to embrace it. What a pattern of this sublime ambition, this sacred zeal, was the venerable Paul, who, in the midst of as great attainments in reiigion, as perhaps ever fell to the lot of a mortal, expresses himself in this humble language; Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do : forgetting the things which are, behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God, in Christ Jesus.
Respecting the zeal thus imperfectly described, it may be remarked that its distinguishing characteristic is sincerity. Its proper seat is in the soul; and thence it diffuses itself through the conversation. It is opposed to nothing so immediately, as to that coldness, or lukewarmness of heart, in the things of God and religion, which alas! is nataral to depraved man. Its subject is, in the view of the omniscient and heart-searching Jehovah, what he appears to be, to his fellow creatures. As an evidence of this sincerity, the Christian's zeal will often act it
self out principally in retirement. He is far from that Jehu-like spirit, which delights in nothing so much as the display of its own goodness, and calls to a surrounding world: Come, see my zeal for the Lord. His inward feelings are often much stronger, than he is disposed the world should know. He has many a tender, and almost overwhelming sensation, which he can deposit only in the bosom of his God.
As the result of this sincerity, the Christian's zeal will be uniform. There is scarce any thing which so strongly marks and distinguishes the real child of God, as a certain symmetry of character. The most refined and subtle hypocrite cannot imitate it, and seldom so much as attempts to do so. Such are often full of apparent fervour in those performances in which there is little self-denial, or for which they have a present reward in the applause of their fellow-men. But in the mean time, secret duties, mortifying duties, those which are hard to flesh and blood, are either totally neglected, or very inconstantly and superficially discharged. Far different is the sincere and zealous Christian. What he is in the closet, he is in the world. What he appears in the world, he is in the closet. Wherever he goes, he carries with him a sense of God; and this sense of an ever-present and heart-searching DEITY is more than a thousand witnesses to engage him to all duty, and deter him from all sin. He is conscientious and in earnest in every thing which his Master in heaven has enjoined. He does not suffer the duties of
devotion to set aside those of morality; nor the duties of morality to form a pretence for neglecting those of devotion. He has a sacred and practical respect to all the divine commandments. He abstains from all sin. He cleanses himself from all filthiness, both of flesh and spirit.
It may be added, that the Christian's zeal is not a transient, but a durable thing. Thus too it is strikingly distinguished from those flaraing appearances of goodness which often dazzle for a time. The religion of hypocrites may be resembled to the same object to which Solomon compares the mirth of fools. It is like the crackling of thorns under a pot. It makes much noise and shew; not unfrequently far more than the religion of the real, humble Christian. But it is soon over. And its poor, deluded possessor relapses into carelessness and security; perhaps into flagrant, soul-destroying vices. Ah, how wretched that religion which is thus survived! But the Christian's zeal is an undying flame. It is kindled up by the Spirit of the living God, whose veracity is pledged to perfect the good work which his mercy begins. Nor shall all the blasts of temptation, which assail it in this unkindly clime, be suffered to extinguish it. It shall live even here, till it burst out with renovated splendour in heaven; till the happy Christian feel transported with the pure ardour of "the rapt seraph that adores and burns."
The subject shall be resumed and pursued in a future number.
(Concluded from page 518.)
WHEN the universe was a vast, unformed mass, involved in disorder and darkness, God said, "Let there be light; let the waters be divided from the waters; let dry land appear; let grass grow for cattle, and herb for the use of man." The command was effectual. A beautiful system arose, fitted for the convenience and happiness of the endless variety of creatures which were produced. The word, so effectual in this instance, is not less effectual in others. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me; thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image; thou shalt not take the name of the . Lord thy God in vain; remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy; honour thy father and thy mother; thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet." The command has not returned void. We cannot calculate the efficacy which it has had. It has opposed the general progress of irreligion and immorality. It has retained thousands of thousands in the pure worship of the true God. It has mollified and humanized thousands of hearts.
This subject admits not the same proof as other subjects. But let it be a little varied, and the conclusion reverts in all its strength. Suppose that God bad not meddled with the affairs of mankind, and that they had been left to do, without restraint, as they thought fit. The consequence no doubt would have been an utter contempt of reli
gion, and such abandoned and violent practices, that our earth would have looked like the habitation not of men, but of devils. Happy for us, that God has interposed. The present state of the world is bad indeed; but without the divine interposition it had been infinitely worse. His command has hitherto opposed, and does still oppose the superfluity of naughtiness. And the time shall come, when it shall bring into existence the new heavens and the new earth, wherein righteousness will dwell.
The moral law requires a sober, righteous, and godly life; but this law is part of the Old Testament ;-that part, in which the morality of the Old Testament is summed up. Here the friends and the enemies of that part of revelation ought to meet in investigating its characteris tics in a moral view. A candid investigation must end in its favour. Why then do enemies say, the Old Testament teaches every thing that is bad? Did they ever read the decalogue? Is it thence they derive their sentiments? Surely they read with jaundiced eyes; they judge with perverted minds. The fact is, they keep clear of the decalogue. To bring this into view will not answer their ends. They find an order in the Old Testament utterly to destroy the inhabitants of Canaan. This they magnify into an order encouraging rapine and blood. But it is to be considered that there is something peculiar in that order. The Canaanites were very abandoned sinners, and particularly infamous for idolatry, by which a standard was erected against God's throne.
It was determined, that the folly and wickedness of such wretches should be fully exposed. The Israelites were used as the instruments of Providence for this purpose. Their destruction might have been effected by famine or pestilence. In either case pone could have objected. The crime incurred the punishment; and must God, to satisfy the capricious humour of thoughtless creatures, confine himself to this or that instrument? May he not use one nation to punish another? By doing so in this instance was not an important end answered? With what face could the Israelites be idolaters, after they inflicted death upon the Canaanites for that same crime? Besides, the Israelites were immediately under the divine conduct, and had been so for forty years, The command given them was expressly directed against a nation that was incorrigible. This instance may guard the nations against idolatry, but can never encourage violence and murder.
The failings of some good men, and the crimes which they committed, are also brought forward in strong colours, and the most perverse advantage taken of them. David's behaviour is particularly marked, as countenancing barbarity and lust. But are David's crimes recorded with approbation? Did they not torture reflection? Were they not repented of, and publicly confessed? And were they not visited with divine severity? The infidel mistakes the scripture, and on' his own mistakes grounds the vilest aspersions. Such attempts excite our pity
and our indignation. It is in vain to think of making an impression upon such perverted minds. Can the deaf adder be charmed with the melody of music? Can the lunatic be convinced by sober reasoning? The case of infidels and scoffers is in many instances desperate. It is not for them that we unfold the excellence of God's word, and insist upon its powerful energy. If we can satisfy the doubtful, and confirm the wavering, a great end is gained.
But what shall we say of those, who vilify the source of true wisdom; who contaminate the waters flowing in a pure stream from the throne of God; or deter from drinking those who are perishing for thirst? What shall we say of those, whose opposition to Christianity is disguised under the name of philanthropy; whose zeal rises to madness; who confirm by oath a discovery made known for the general good, that the Scripture is an imposition, containing every thing vile and unworthy? Have such men eyes to see or ears to hear, or hearts to perceivel? Are not their hearts waxed gross, and their ears dull of hearing? Have they not closed their eyes, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and be converted, and God should heal them? Trampling the pearl under their feet, they turn with savage fury upon those by whom it is held in estimation. Such men de: serve contempt. Turn with abhorrence from their doctrine, and leave them with their conscience, and with God.
The infatuation of unbelievers gives us warning. It is a bea
con announcing shoals and rocks. Practise God's commandments. Let his law be a light to your feet and a lamp to your way. Meditate thereon day and night. Avoid the counsel of the ungodly, the way of the sinner, and the seat of the scornful. Become as little children, yielding yourselves in an unreserved and cheerful manner to the mercy, protection,' and guidance of your heavenly friend. Then you will be established in the faith. The rain, the flood, and the wind shall do you no injury. Your house, founded upon a rock, shall withstand the severest storm. PHILOLOGOS.
ORIGINAL LETTERS FROM AN AGED MINISTER TO A YOUNG STUDENT IN DIVINITY.
My dear Sir,
I SEE with pleasure that writing is easy to you: I hope it will be as much so on divine subjects as any other: And you, probably, will have less need of hints upon method of sermonizing, than most others. Still it may be safe to look over what has been written on the subject by several authors. And I know you will indulge me in a few thoughts which are present with me, whether they have or have not met you elsewhere.
Young gentlemen who come with diffidence to composing şermons, are apt to be afraid of not finding enough to say: And that fear often occasions their continuing too long on the first branch or branches of their text,