« AnteriorContinuar »
serves only to prevent our falling back, or grow. ing worse; then, it may be said to be instru. mentally a negative good to us; but, surely, it was intended to serve a higher purpose, viz. to make us Godlike, by leading us to imitate the Deity in all his moral perfections; and this we should endeavour to make all our piety and devotion fubfervient to.
This, I think, is a full answer to what has been urged against me, on this subject.
By what I have observed above, my readers may also see, that I am not under a necesity of declaring my self a Deist, as fome persons have weakly and vainly imagined me to be. Befides, if the not being able to get clear of some texts of scripture, when taken in their literal, and in their plain and most obvious sense, be sufficient to convi&t a person of Deism, then, I am afraid, we shall have Deists out of number; or, at least, we shall have a multitude of such in each other's estimation. And as others are allowed the liberty of quoting texts for this purpose ; so, I hope, I may, without offence, take the same liberty of quoting texts in my turn. John xv. 7. If ye abide in me, and
my words abide in you, ye Mall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Chap. xvi. 23. In that day ye shall ask me nothing ; verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye Mall ask the Father, in my name, he will give it you. In these texts, when taken in their literal, and in their plain and most obvious fense, there is an absolute and unlimited promise made K
to every true and faithful disciple of Christ, that whatsoever he fhall ask of God, in Christ's name, he shall receive it; if he is fick, and asketh for bealth, he shall receive it; if he is a cripple, and asketh for the restoration of his limbs, he shall receive it; if he is in prison, and asketh for liberty, he shall receive it; if he is poor, and asketh for riches, he shall receive them; and so on. Now, supposing a person cannot get clear of those texts, that is, cannot reconcile them to his principles, when taken in their literal, and in their plain and most obvious sense; yet, surely, it will be very hard, and, I think, greatly unjust, to suppose, that he is hereby clearly convicted of Deism; because, in the sense before-mentioned, those texts are scarcely reconcileable to any principles, seeing what is promised in them, does not appear to take place in fact. If it should be said, that there is a sense of those texts, (tho' we may not be able to discover what that sense is,) in which the promise of Christ is made good, and, that to believe this to be the case, is sufficient to clear a person from the charge of Deism : I answer, allow me the like liberty, and, I doubt not, but I shall be able to keep clear of the charge of Deism also; though, by the way, this groundless charge I am not much solicitous about.
I will only add, that as in these papers, I address myself to persons who call themselves Christians, that is, to persons who profess themfelves to be the disciples and followers of Chrift;
fo, I intreat them to do justice to that pro-
lent precepts Christ hath given us, which, if we would adorn our profession, and would answer our character as Christians, we must make them rules of action to ourselves, and govern our minds and lives by them. It has been but too common among Christians, for the most zealous to cry, the Church, the Church; like those heretofore, who cried, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord. But alas ! It is not our calling Christ Lord, Lord; 'nor, our bowing our bodies or knees at the mention of his name, which will constitute us his true disciples; but it is our following his example, and governing our minds and lives by his laws. If the Rechabites drank no wine, nor built houses, nor fowed seed, nor planted vineyards, but dwelt in tents all their days, in obedience to the commandment of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, their father, Jeremiab xxxv. 6---10. then how much more Thould Cbristians pay a strict regard to the will and commandments of Christ, whom they publickly acknowledge, and profess to believe that he was anointed of God to be their Prince and Saviour? But, if those who take upon them to be called after Christ's name, pay little or no regard to the commandments of their acknowledged Master, but live in a constant violation of the most weighty of his laws; then, notwithstanding all their loud professions, their outward reverence, and their bitter zeal Thewed for his name; I fay, notwithstanding all these, they may justly expect to have a more dread
ful sentence pronounced upon them, by Christ himself, at the last day, than the Prophet Jeremiah pronounced upon the disobedient If raelites. Ver. 16, 17. Because the fons of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, have performed the commandments of their father, which he commanded them, but this people have not bearkened unto me; therefore, Thus faith the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold I will bring upon yudah, and upon all the inhabitanis of Jerusalem, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken unto them, but they have not ħeard, and I have called unto them, but they have not answered. Matt. vii. 22, 23. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, mall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but be that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophefied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils
, and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
F I N I S.