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than the best of our professors and doctors have arrived
but his pride and malice are chains of darkness, and make a devil of him in spite of all his knowledge; yet Stellino affects too near a resemblance to Lucifer, that fallen son of the morning.
Vices that are odious to humannature, and wild licentiousness of a bitter tongue, which destroy all civil society, are very little faults in his opinion, when put into the balance with orthodoxy and zeal. If my conversation among men be blameless and honourable ; if my practice consist of virtue and piety ; if I profess a solemn faith in Christ the eternal word, the only begotten Son of God, who came into the flesh, who died to make a true atonement for the sins of men, and testify my unfeigned subjection to him, and declare the grounds of
my hope; yet I must not be admitted to the special parts of worship where Stellino presides, because I am not arrived at his degree of light, and differ from his expressions a little, when I explain the words justification and the covenant of grace. His lips are ever full of declamation and controversy, and he harangues copiously upon the most affecting points of our religion ; he talks much of the amazing condescensions of divine mercy, and of the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man; but it has not yet taught him love to his fellow creatures, nor kindness towards his brethren.
· Such another Christian is Misander; he reverses the duties of Christianity, which St Paul describes, he speaks evil of all men but his own party, he is a brawler, and
ungenteel, shewing meekness unto none; and while he pretends, “that the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared” unto him, he lives still in malice and enry, and wears the visible characters of the men of heathenism,“ hateful and hating one another,” Tit. ii. 11, 12. Tit. ii. 2, 3, 4. He flourishes and enlarges upon the gracious qualities of our Redeemer, our great High Priest, who is, “touched with the feeling of our infirmities;" yet himself has not learnt from so glorious an example to “ have compassion of them, that are ignorant and out of the way;" but rather being exalted in his own knowledge, he condemns “ his weak brother to perish, for whom Christ died." Take thy Bible, O vain man, and read a few lines in the 8th chapter of St Paul's first Epistle to Corinth. “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth ; and if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know; but if any man love God, the same is known of him.” And St John will assure thee, “ that he that loveth not his brother knoweth not God, and if any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar," 1 John iv. 8, 20.
Yet let not any think that I advance charity so high, as to place it in the room of knowledge and faith, or to make it a selfsufficient ground for our admittance into heaven at last; nor can I suppose it alone to be a sufficient plea for a reception into any visible church of Christ on earth. A confession of the name of Jesus, with the most important and most necessary articles of his blessed religion, a declaration of my personal faith or trust in him, together with a solemn dedication of myself unto the Lord, may be justly required of me by that christian society into which I desire admittance. In default of these the biggest instances of charity will never constitute me a Christian. "Except ye believe that I am he,” saith our Saviour, "ye shall die in your sins,” John viii. 24. “If a man strive for a prize, yet is he not crowned unless he strive lawfully;" that is, according to the methods prescribed in the Gospel, the knowledge and the faith of the Son of God, 2 Tim. ii. 5, and the sentence of our Lord is dreadful and peremptory. “ He that beliveth not shall be damned,” Mark xvi. 16. “ With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation," Rom. x. 10. But without charity my faith can never be true, for it must be such “a faith as worketh by love," and discovers itself by the “fruits of the spirit, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance," Gal. v. 6. 22.
Thus far have we traced the vice of uncharitableness in many of the properties that belong to it, and the cause of it, and many instances in which it discovers itself in the world, and in the church; and it appears a very shameful vice, and opposite to the religion of the blessed Jesus.