Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

The moral law is a transcript of this original; this law was written on Adam's heart. The mediatorial righteousness of Christ is the law perfectly fulfilled. So Christ is the express image of his Father; and saints are the express image of Christ. And so there is but one kind of true holiness in the universe; and this is that which will lay the foundation for the perfect and eternal union, which will take place among all holy beings, in the kingdom of heaven - God on the throne, and every creature there in his proper place, by universal consent, all of the same spirit.

Rem. 4. The false kinds of holiness, exhibited in all false schemes of religion, differ in kind from the holiness of heaven, which implies love to that character of God which is exhibited in the moral law, to which all unholy beings are in a state of total opposition. For graceless men, who are pacified merely in a belief that they are safe, are, in any other view, of the same temper towards the Deity with the damned. For supreme selflove governs every apostate creature, who is totally destitute of true love, of disinterested benevolence to the most high God, the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth.

SECTION IX.

Matt. xxviii. 19. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son,

and of the Holy Ghost.

THE CHRISTIAN CREED; THE ARMINIAN CREED; MR. M.'S CREED;

REMARKS ON EACH.

That which is commonly called the apostles' creed, although not compiled by the apostles, yet is confessedly of very ancient date. And the three principal articles of it are these : 1. I believe in God the Father, almighty Maker of heaven and earth. 2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son. 3. I believe in the Holy Ghost. Which doubtless had reference to the form of baptism appointed by our blessed Savior. He, therefore, who believes aright, and in a right manner, concerning Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, has the true Christian faith, and is himself a true Chris tian ; and so is qualified to be active in offering up himself and his seed to God in Christian baptism. But some of the chief things, which in the inspired writings we are taught to believe concerning the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are these, which may be expressed in the following articles, in contrast with the Arminian creed, and with Mr. M.'s. VOL. II.

54

THE CHRISTIAN CREED.

THE ARMINIAN CREED.

MR. MATHER'S CREED.

1. Concerning God the Fa- 1. Concerning God the Fa- 1. Concerning God the Father. ther.

ther. I believe that the moral I believe that it would I believe that the moral character of God, exhibited have been unjust in God character of God, exhibited in the moral law, is per- to have held mankind, af- in the moral law, is not to fect in beauty, without a ter the fall, bound by the us an object of love; and blemish ; and that our dis- moral law, without any that it is not a duty, but a affection to the Deity is abatement ; and that, sin, for us to love it ; even absolutely inexcusable and therefore, some relief was contrary to the law of God. infinitely criminal, and in justice due to a fallen Because to love it is the justly deserves the penal- world. And therefore the same thing as to love our ty threatened, infinitely relief granted is not wholly own misery. However, dreadful as it is. In which of grace ; nor ought it be God has given his Son to view, the divine law is ho- acknowledged as such by fulfil this law, and to vinly, just, and good; worthy us.

dicate and maintain the of the highest honor; and

honor and dignity of his the salvation of the gospel,

character exhibited in it; from step to step, from be

that sinners might be parginning to end, is of mere

doned while at enmity grace.

against it. (p. 28, 41, 42,

43.)

2. Concerning God the Son. 2. Concerning God the Son. 2. Concerning God the Son.

I believe that Jesus I believe that Christ I believe that the charChrist, in character of Me- died to purchase an abate- acter of God, exhibited in diator between God and ment of this unjust law; the gospel, is so accommoman, loved the moral char- and to procure salvation dated to the state and temacter of his Father, ex- for us on terms which we per of our hearts, that we hibited in the moral law, are able to comply with, by shall love it as soon as and lived and died to do it his assistance.

known, without any new honor; that through him

principle of grace; and penitent believers might

even while we are at enmibe saved, consistently with

ty against that character the divine justice, and to

of God exhibited in the the glory of divine grace.

law. (p. 22, 41–48.) And in this view Christ crucified is the wisdom of God and the power of God.

3. Concerning God the Holy 3. Concerning God the Holy 3. Concerning God the Holy Ghost. Ghost.

Ghost. I believe that fallen man I believe that all men I believe that all need. is so disaffected to the char- have sufficient assistance ful assistance of the Holy acter of the Father and to comply with the terms Spirit is promised to all the Son, that no means of salvation, as it would be baptized persons, to render whatsoever are sufficient unjust to require more external means effectual to reconcile us to God, than we can do, without to salvation. But light is without the regenerating granting needful assistance all that is needful. For influences of the Holy to enable us to do it. And no kind of regeneration Ghost. So that, except we thus the injury done to us will bring the human heart are born again, we cannot by the law is made up by to love that character of see the kingdom of God. the gospel. And in this God which is exhibited in But in consequence of the view the divine character the law, and the character regenerating influences of appears amiable in our of God exhibited in the the Holy Ghost, by which eyes. And all mankind gospel will naturally be the veil is taken off from might love it, did they but loved, as soon as known, our hearts, we behold the know it, without any new by every one, without any glory of the Lord, and ) principle of grace.' See new principle of grace ;

THE CHRISTIAN CREBD.

THE ARMINIAN CREED.

MR. MATHER'S CREED.

every answerable affection Dr. Stebbins on the oper- but not loved very much ; is excited in us; and Godations of the Spirit ; Dr. for I believe that not more and Christ are loved more Whitby on the five points. than one convert in a hunthan wives and children,

dred can say, with a good than houses and lands;

conscience, that he loves yea, than our own lives.

God at all. And so saints Whereby we are disposed

as well as sinners stand in and prepared to deny our

need of the external coveselves, take up our cross,

nant. (First book, p. 39, and follow Christ; and

60. Second book, p. 45 publicly join with his peo

1-48, 78, 79, 80, 81.) ple, and espouse his cause.

Remark 1. According to the Arminian creed, mankind are the injured party ; Christ died to get justice done us; and simply to have justice done us is all we need to bring us to be at peace with God. Let the terms of salvation be as low as in justice they ought to he; let us have all that assistance which in justice we ought to have ; and we need no more: the rest we will do ourselves. But for God to do us justice, is not an act of grace.

2. According to Mr. Mather's creed, the divine law, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ, requires us, on pain of eternal death, to do that which is not our duty to do; yea, that which to do, in us, would be a sinful thing; namely, to love God with all our heart. And so Christ fulfilled a law, in our stead, which it was not our duty to fulfil ; yea, a law to obey which, in us, had been a sinful thing. But to pay a debt for us, which we ourselves did not owe, was needless : and to honor a law which requires sin, is a sinful thing.

3. The divinity of God the Father is the first article of the Christian creed, and so much the foundation of the whole Christian system, that if this is denied, the whole will sink of course; or, in other words, that God, the Creator and moral Governor of the universe, is an absolutely perfect and infinitely glorious and amiable being, infinitely worthy of supreme love and universal obedience from his creature man, is the foundation on which the law stands, and on which the whole gospel scheme is built. To deny this point, is in effect to deny the whole of divine revelation. Atheism is at the bottom of infidelity. The contrariety of the carnal mind to God's true and real character, is at bottom of atheism. The fool saith in his heart, There is no God.

4. It was wise in God, even at the expense of the blood of his own Son, to assert and maintain the honor of a law, which is a transcript of his moral character, and which all his apostate creatures join to hate; because in this he does justice to himself,

and to his government, while he shows mercy to sinners. But enmity against the divine law renders us blind to the wisdom, glory, and grace of the gospel, and is the cause of unbelief. (1 Cor. i. 18; ii. 14, compared with Rom. viii. 7; iii. 25; vii. 12. John viii. 42, 43.)

5. He who understands and believes the Christian creed, and who is affected and acts accordingly, is a Christian qualified for baptism, and entitled to eternal life. (Matt, xiii. 23. Mark xvi. 16. John xvii. 3.)

6. He who believes the first article of the Christian creed, with a living faith, has what Paul means by "repentance toward God." And he who believes the second article of the Christian creed, with a living faith, has what Paul means by 6 faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." A belief of both which is implied in that faith by which a sinner is justified. (Luke v. 31, 32; xviii. 14; xxiv. 47. Acts xx. 21. Rom. iii. 1926.) And this faith is the first grace, and the sum, seed, and root of all Christian graces, (Matt. xiii. 23;) and is peculiar to the regenerate, (Rom. viii. 7. 1 John v. 1. 1 Cor. i. 18; ii. 14. John i. 13. Luke viii. 11 –15;) and is eternal life begun in the soul. (John xvii. 3.)

7. The love of the truth is the life of faith ; or, in other words, love to the truth believed is of the essence of a liv. ing faith, and that wherein it specifically differs from the faith of devils, or a dead faith. (John xvi. 27. 2 Thess. ii. 10, 11, 12. Jam. ii. 26.) And therefore,

8. There is a universal, inseparable connection between a living faith and a holy life, which renders assurance attainable by believers in common, (Matt. xiii. 23. Jam. ii. 17, 18. 1 John ii. 3 ;) so that those words are strictly true, “ He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

9. But the faith of devils, attended with a lying profession, is not that qualification for baptism which our Savior had in view, in Mark xvi. 16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."

10. The gospel may be, and ought to be, preached to all in common, even to every creature, let their character be ever so vicious, as a means of their conversion ; but baptism is not to be administered to adults until they believe and profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him. (Mark xvi. 15, 16. Acts viii. 37. Rom. x. 9, 10.) For,

11. The adult person, in the act of offering himself to God in baptism, practically declares, that he devotes himself to God through Jesus Christ, and so puts on Christ. (Gal. ii. 26, 27.)

[ocr errors]

But a false and lying profession is condemned by God in the Old Testament, (Ps. lxxviii. 36, 37. Eccl. v. 5,) and by Jesus Christ in the New, (Luke vi. 46. Matt. xxii. 12. Luke xiv. 25–35. 1 John ii. 4. Rev. ii. 2, 9;) and is a means, not of salvation, but of destruction. (Acts v. 1-11.)

12. The adult person, who is unqualified to offer himself in baptism, is equally unqualified to offer his infant child in baptism; for he who is without a heart to devote himself to God, is equally without a heart to devote his child to God.

13. Pride, in ambitious minds, may excite very strong inclinations to make a false profession; but a well-enlightened conscience never will dictate this, as matter of duty.

14. It is the indispensable duty of every one, to whom the gospel comes, to become a real Christian without delay; and then without delay to make a public profession of Christianity; and then to attend the seals. But to seal the covenant of grace with our hands, while we reject it in our hearts, is to act deceitfully with our Maker. And to invent a new covenant which God never exhibited, and a new scheme of religion to support it, which God never revealed, suited to the hearts of those who reject the covenant of grace, and who are under the curse of the covenant of works, is to find a resting-place for the wicked.

SECTION X.

MR. MATHER'S SCHEME OF RELIGION INCONSISTENT WITH ITSELF.

OUR author professes in his preface, not "to be fond of his own judgment; " but to stand “ready to give it up,” when any one will do “the friendly office of setting light before him." And he desires that if there be any material mistakes” in his scheme, they may be “pointed out.” It is therefore to be hoped, that he will not be displeased, if, in addition to the light already set before him, some of the various inconsistent sentiments of his scheme are contrasted, whereby he may be further assisted to discern, that his scheme must be wrong somewhere; for the truth is ever consistent with itself.

1. In his first book, he says, “ A child dedicated to God in baptism is thereby brought into covenant with God, and has a promise left to it of the means of grace, and the strivings of God's Holy Spirit, in order to render them effectual for salvation.” But in his second book, he says, that they must "submit to a

« VorigeDoorgaan »