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nunciation this, sufficient to make every minister's ears to tingle, and his heart to tremble !Be it so, then, that a faithful exhibition of the whole counsel of God, so far as he has been pleased to reveal it, may expose his messengers to the risk of being deemed unfashionable preachers. I trust, we are neither to be “ ravished with the whistling," nor frightened by the phantom of a name. own part, was it possible for me to preach before the whole universe at once, I would make no scruple to acknowledge it as my heart's desire and prayer, that I may never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ (a), and that the doctrines of grace may never be out of fashion with me, so long as they remain in the Bible. I wish to assert the truth, the whole
as almost reduced them for a time, to a despair of salvation. The former of them said, he “ only wished to live, that he might have an opportunity of preaching the gospel in a fuller manner than he had ever yet done.” The latter cried out, in an agony of distress, “ God hides the light of his face from my soul, and is putting me to bed in the dark, because, out of a dastardly complaisance to some of my hearers, I have not dwelt enough upon the doctrines of grace, in the course of my public ministrations :" instancing, particularly, in the doctrine of election ; “ In which doctrine," added he, “ I now see such a glory, as I never saw before.” Yet, both were good men, and went off comfortably at last : though not until they had been led through a tedious, dismal wilderness of keen remorse and distressing conflicts. A death-bed makes even the children of God themselves feel the importance of divine things, with a force which they rarely, if ever, feel until then. Such as suppress and keep back any part of Christian doctrine, either through fear of men, or to curry the favour of men; and consult their own ease, advancement, or reputation, at the cost of truth and of souls; have a tremendous valley of pain and horror to pass through, ere they reach the kingdom of heaven. If saved at all, it will be as by fire, i. e. in a way of anguish and difficulty. The blood of souls stains deep.:--Well, therefore, might the apostle Paul declare, Woe is me, if I preach not the gospel, 1 Cor. ix. 16. Thrice happy are they, who can add, with him, Neither count I my life dear unto myself,
my course with joy, and the ministry which 1 have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.--I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men: for I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Acts xx. 24. 26, 27. (a) Rom. i. 16.
so that I
truth, and nothing but the truth; and leave God to take care of consequences.
After what has been premised, it may be superfluous to add, that the brief hints which ensue, though delivered with firmness, and under the strongest conviction of their truth and importance, will yet be offered with all possible humility; and I doubt not of their being received with candour: especially, since I will venture to be quite confident, that face does not answer face in a glass with greater exactness, than the positive determinations of our own church correspond to the voice of scripture, respecting the points that follow.
The object, then, of our present attention, is, To weigh the principles of the church of England in the balance of the sanctuary, by examining, What were those doctrines, which the Lord of life and glory made it his business to inculcate, during his continuance on earth ?
In elucidating this question, I shall endeavour to be as brief as possible : if, however, I should find myself unavoidably obliged to trespass on your time, beyond the limits which custom ordinarily assigns on these occasions; I hope, the extent and importance of the subject will conciliate your patience, and plead my excuse. I begin,
I. With the divine inspiration of the writings of the Old Testament. The authenticity of those inestimable books has received the repeated sanction of Christ's unerring attestation. Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself (a). Those writings he frequently quoted, and to them he frequently appealed, as sacred and infallible : All things, said he, must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me (6). Thither he directed the
(a) Luke xxiv. 27.
(6) Ib. v. 44.
study of his disciples : Search the scriptures, for in them ye think, and are right in thinking, that ye have eternal life; these are they that testify of me (a). When he declares, that the scripture cannot be broken (6); what is it, but to say, “ The Old Testament is divine: the facts it relates, and the doctrines it contains, are true: its prophecies are infallible: and it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than for one tittle of the law to fail (c)?” When tempted in the wilderness of Judea, he foiled the adversary with weapons taken from that sacred repository : It is written (d), was his constant reply, and the constant shield whereby he extinguished and repelled the fiery darts of the wicked one.- In the same night wherein he was betrayed, he acknowledged his power to command the attendance of angels for his deliverance : But how then, said he, shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be (e) ?-Seeing, therefore, that all these passages relate to the Old Testament only (for they were spoken many years before a line of the New was written), well may the church declare (f), “ In the name of holy scripture, we do understand those Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the church.”
Our Lord having thus vouchsafed to make the scriptures the source from whence he drew, and the test to which he referred, every article of faith which he proposed to mankind; no wonder that he should,
II. In perfect conformity with that unerring standard, assert and teach that grand, fundamental axiom of all true religion, viz. the unity of the godhead. We find him quoting and setting his seal to those words of Moses, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord (g). And again, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou
(a) John v. 39. (6) Ib. x. 35. (c) Luke xvi. 17. (d) Matth. iv. 4. 7. 10. (e) Ib. xxvi. 54. (f) Art. i. (9) Mark xii. 29.
serve (a).-Here, likewise, the church of England speaks in exact unison with her blessed Master: " There is but one living and true God; everlasting; without body, parts, and passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things both visible and invisible." (Art. I.)—But, though Christ was careful to maintain inviolably, the unity of the divine essence ; he was no less careful in the
IIId place, to assert a plurality of persons in that essence. As to himself, in particular, he expressly averred, All things that the Father hath are mine (6): the same moral attributes; the same natural perfections; the same infinity of existence, glory, and power. He associates himself with the Father, as governor of all things in a way of providence: My Father worketh hitherto, and I work (c). Immediately after relating which words, the evangelist adds, Therefore the Jews, in whose hearing this declaration was made, sought the more to kill him, because he had said that God was his father, making himself equal with God. Consequently, either Christ, considered in his superior character, must be, truly and properly, a person in the divine nature; or we must file an accusation against him, as guilty of the blackest impiety in claiming an equality with the Most High. We must either blasphemously degrade the Saviour of men infinitely below the level even of that proud and presumptuous cardinal (d), who was deservedly impeached for putting himself into co-partnership with his earthly sovereign, by writing, in his public letters, king and I(e);"—we must either do this, or acknow
(a) Matth. iv. 10. (6) John xvi. 15. (c) John v. 17. (d) Wolsey. See the parliamentary hist. of England, vol. iii. p. 44.
(e) Speaks not Arminianism the same audacious language? Does not the doctrine of free-will, as commonly understood and received, represent man as God's coadjutor, and even as a co-efficient with his
ledge the Messiah to be, what most certainly he is, in concert with the Father and the sacred Spirit, God over all, blessed for ever. When the Jews said to him, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because thou, being a man, makest thyself God (a); would he not have corrected them in a point of such unspeakable moment, if they had really mistaken his meaning? Would he not, like Paul and Barnabas at Lystra, have disavowed, with horror and indignation, all pretensions to divinity, if he had not, in deed and in truth, been divine ? Would he, like impious Herod, have acquiesced in the supposed arrogation of Deity, if he had not been God and man in one person ? But so far was he from telling his accusers, that they misapprehended his doctine, and that he laid no sort of claim to the honours of the Godhead; he, on the contrary, confirmed the inference they had drawn, by appealing to the miracles he performed : Though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may
Maker? Let the two following citations, from a brace of modern free-willers, stand as a sample. - Thou art courted by Father, Son, and Spirit, thy fellow labourers, for thy good. To glad all heaven, assert, rescue, ennoble, and with bliss eternal crown thyself; for, without thee, in the constituted order of things, heaven is unable to do it.” Centaur not Fabul. Let. vi.- The well-known author of the preceding quotation, was a person of learning, sense, and genius. But the indelicate scribbler of that which follows, unable to set his free-will idol on stilts, is forced to let it crawl, in a style as gothic as his doctrine. One would almost imagine, that he inherited the serpent's, malediction, Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat, all the days of thy life. He roundly tells us, that, in the conversion of St. Paul and others, 66 The Lord did wait for man's compliance and improvements;" and that the work of God, upon the human heart, is “ as much dependent,” for its efficacy, on the compliance and improvements aforesaid, as the birth of Isaac was dependent “ on Abraham's copulation with Sarah." See Mr. Walter Sellon's libel on the late Mr. Elisha Coles, p. 224. and p. 227.
To say nothing of the grossness, and even indecency, with which the above libeller conveys his ideas; I appeal to every reader, whether Wolsey's mode of expression was not innocent and humble, when compared with the Arminian phraseology of God and I?
(a) John x. 33.