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no whoremonger, no robber, and no blaf- CHAP. phemer; who, with the utmost compla- II. cency, can thank God, that he is not as other men are ; may still be a prey to the diabolical passions of envy, hatred, and malice. His outward regularity may spring, not from a desire of pleasing God, but of obtaining praise from men. He may still be supremely bent upon the pomps, the pleasures, and the vanities of life. He may still never have God in his thoughts, except when the stated returns of periodical worship extort an involuntary recollection of his Creator and Benefactor. His good actions, which he views with such a proud exultation, will be found, if analysed, to be rather negative, than positive. A simple abstinence from grosser crimes constitutes only one half of Christianity. It is not enough to forsake evil; we must learn likewise to do good. It is not enough to do good; we must do it also from proper motives. The oftentatious relief of the diftreffed, or the vain parade of patronizing humble piety, seeks its recompence in human approbation; and “ verily it has its “ reward,” but not at the hand of the Almighty. Unless the love of God, through the medium of the Redeemer, be the spring
sect. of all our actions, he who“ requireth truth 11. “in the inward parts,” will view them
- with disgust, and turn from them with
contempt. In the great day of retribution, not the excellence of an action abstractedly considered, but the goodness of the motive will be regardedP; and a worldly, self-sufficient, interested morality, unfounded upon the sacred principle of faith and love, will then be found lighter than dust in the balance 9. '
P Matt, x. 42.
9 The following words of Bp. Hopkins are well worth the attention of those, who build upon mere baptismal regeneration ; nor are they less deserving the notice of the modern broachers of the strange fancy, that regeneration is simply the conversion of the heathens to the outward profesfion of Chriftianity, against which last error the Bp. specially guards. “Regeneration is not a conversion from an ido“ latrous way of worship to the profession of the true faith." Sermons, p. 520.
“Very difficult it is to persuade men against the preju“ dices of their corrupt hearts. This great change, say “they, is more than needs. Regeneration begins now to “ be decried hy as great masters in Israel as ever Nicode“ mus was. Many understand not to what end the fabric of “corrupt nature should be demolished, and men as it were “ turned out of themselves. They think, if they are but “ baptized, whereby, as they suppose, the guilt of original “ fin is washed away, that a sober religious life, keeping “ from grofs actual fins, is sufficient for the obtaining of “ heaven, without those hard and inexplicable notions of “ regeneration. I shall therefore endeavour to convince you
Nothing can shew the folly of the fore- CHAP. going error in a more striking light, than a III. consideration of the character of Satan. — Our great enemy is neither an adulterer, nor a drunkard, nor a murderer, in the literal sense of the word ; his sin is entirely of a spiritual nature. Pride, malice, and revenge ; falsehood, envy, and ambition ; not intemperance, lust, or rapine, occafioned his expulsion from heaven'. An abstinence from external vice is doubtless indifpensibly necessary; but if a person rest satisfied with this excellence alone, he exhibits but a very faint sketch of genuine Christianity. We are informed upon inspired authority, that “ the wicked shall "s be turned into hell, and all th
" of the indispensible' necessity that there is of being born « again ; that so, when you are persuaded of it, you may “ give no rest to yourselves, nor unto God, till he cause his " Spirit, which is that wind that bloweth where it lifteth, “ to breathe spiritual life into you, without which it is im
“ poffible that you should inherit eternal life.” • After this exordium, the pious Prelate proceeds to demonstrate, in the nioft incontrovertible manner, the natural impossibility of salvation being extended to the unregenerate. Sermons, p. 535. et infra. . . *This idea is excellently pursued in a small tract, entitled A Preservative against Socinianism, addressed by a country Clergyman to bis Parisioners. The Author, I believe, the late Rev. W. Jones.
sect. “ that forget God.” A manifest distinction II. is here made between the avowed profli- gate, and the plausible hypocrite. The one
openly violates the commands of heaven ; the other passes decently through life, while his soul is utterly estranged from his Creator. The grossness of corporeal, and the more refined nature of spiritual wickedness will equally, though by different roads, conduct a man to the pit of destruction.
That such a Satanical disposition of mind can never be pleasing to God, requires no proof. A radical and internal change is no less necessary, than an apparent and external one. The contrary supposition is the very height of profane mockery. Our Lord did not censure the Pharisees on account of their irregularities, for in this point they were blameless; but because their decent exterior so wretchedly belied their inward affections. “ Ye hypo“ crites, well did Efaias prophesy of you, “ saying, This people draweth nigh unto " me with their mouth, and honoureth “ me with their lips, but their heart is far “ from me."
s Matt. xv. 7.
In Scripture, it is usual to represent fpi- CHAP. ritual by natural objects; and the whole 111. material world is used as a medium,through which we may receive ideas of the world of spirits. Such appears to be the plain import of the term regeneration. In other words, it is a metaphor or allegoryt At the time of his birth, man is
* This peculiar mode of expression is not unknown in the East. The author of the Institutes of Menu, who Alqurished 1280 years before Christ, uses the following remarkable language. « Of him, who gives natural birth, and him, “ who gives knowledge of the whole Veda, the giver of fa“ cred knowledge is the more venerable father ; since the “ second or divine birth ensures life to the twice born, both in ~ this world, and hereafter eternally. Let a man consider “ that, as a mere human birth, which his parents gave “ him for their mutual gratification, and which he receives “after lying in the womb; but that birth, which his prin“cipal acharya, who knows the whole Veda, procures for “ him by bis divine mother, the gayatri, is a true birth : that " birth is exempt from age and from death.” Chap. ii. 146. The difference between the goodness of the actions performed by the ordinary man, and by him who has been “ twice born,” is, in another part of this work, ascribed very justly to the motive. "A religious act, proceeding from “ selfith views in this world, as a sacrifice for rain, or in “ the next, as a pious oblation in hòpe of a futnre reward, “ is declared to be concrete and interested; but an act per“ formed with a knowledge of God, and without self-love, “ is called abstract and disinterested. He, who frequently “ performs interested rites, attains an equal station with the “ regents of the lower beaven : but he, who frequently pero “ forms disinterested acts of religion, becomes for ever ex