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est of their followers; and of the vast a heart, deeply humbled before God concerns of eternity, they had no dis- and well affected towards his holy law tinct ideas. On such subjects, they and government; a heart reconcileil were cautious of hazarding an opin- to the evils which God inflicts on ian.
sinners; and to all the tremendous On the whole, taking into view the threatenings in the holy Scriptures; şinful, benighted, and evidently con- a heart, so far divested of pride and demned state of mankind; we must selfishness, as to delight in the plan of be hopeless and comfortless, unless salvation by grace, through the infiwe are favoured with a revelation nite sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Surely, from God, pointing out a consistent the origin of this faith is holy and plan of grace and salvation. Pride good; the source is pure. Nothing may be cherished with the idea, that but moral rectitude could originate it; to walk by faith is degrading; and that nothing but truth and righteousness human wisdom, however biassed by can be connected with it. Is not this selfishness, is sufficient to lead to final a reasonable faith? And is it not as felicity and glory. But be not deceived. I important as reasonable ? The flatterer is as much in the dark as sound sentiments and correct 23 the flattered. The wisest of infidels morals are important, so long will dies in the agonies of despair. Would the christian faith be important. you live in the light, and die in peace; By some it is said, that nature and live by faith in the LORD JESUS Carist.experience teach morality. But do Say, with the hamble, pious Martha, they teach mankind a principle superieven in view of the mysterious doc- or to selfishness ? Do they teach mantrines of the Saviour; “ Yea, Lord, kind to forsake that, in which their sin I believe that thou art the Christ the Son essentially consists ? Or to act, on all of God, that should come into the occasions, with a supreme regard to world."
the glory of God, and the general There is still another idea, contained good ? No, they teach not the duty of in the common definition of the chris- self denial nor of love to enemies. tian faith, which beyond every thing They teach not the doctrine of beelse, suggests its reasonableness and nevolence and good will to men. importance; and that is, that it is a But even admitting as a fact, what failh which works by love.
I by no means believe, that nature and It is generally acknowleded, even experience teach morality; yet with by those who most strenuously oppose how much force do they teach it? Has the christian faith, that its firmest ad- the world, or any part of it, ever been vocates are the best moralists.- reformed by the force of this instrucHow this should happen, on supposition ? Entirely remove the influence of tion that faith in Jesus Christ is the be- the christian faith from among us, and lief of a lie, iş ytterly inconceivable.- how long should we distinguish ourGenerally speaking, the more absurd a selves by our morality? How long man's creed is, the more corrupt are would the swelling pride, the raging his morals Find out a principle, the lusts, and the fierce passions of the genuine fruit of which is a holy life, heart lie under any restraint? It is well and you
have found out the truth. known to us all, that for the share of Vice versa: Find out a principle, or a correct morals, as yet maintained in belief, which is the genuine fruit or the world we are indebted to the goseffect of a holy heart, and you have pel of CHRIST, and to the christian found a true faith. That faith is cer- faith. From a conviction of this truth, tainly 'correct, which flows from holi- arises a general cheerfulness. to supness, or moral purity of heart. But port the gospel, even at a considerable this is most evidently the character expense. is not the christian faith, of the christian faith. It springs from then, of infinite importance ? The im
sin for the word tempt, and the words , ture. If God's causing us to act as w enticed into sin for the word tempted, do, would free us from blame, it mus and see how it will read. “Let no be because the blame-worthiness lie man say, when he is enticed into sin, in the cause of the action, and not i I am enticed into sin of God, for God the nature of the action itself. Butt cannot be enticed into sin, neither en-| say this, leads into the very difficult ticeth he any man into sin. But every it is intented to prevent. For if th man is enticed into sin, when he is blame-worthiness does not lie in th drawn away of his own lust and enti- nature of the action, but in its cause ced.” Though it should be true, that then it does not lie in any thing that i God causes man to comply with the an effect. It must always be trans temptation, when it is presented, it ferred from the effect to the cause would not follow that he perform- and so we shall go back from step t ed the act of presenting it, or that step, through the chain of second cau he performed the act of complying ses, till we arrive at the first cause with it. The act of presenting the all things, which is God. The blame temptation and the act of complying worthiness, therefore, is not to b with it, are all that are brought into transferred from the action to its cause view, and denied of God. God does but it lies in the nature of the action it not entice men into sin, by presenting itself. And consequently the blame of a before them in false colours, and rep- Jour wicked actions belongs to us, let th resenting it as a desirable thing. This act of causing them be performed b is the part of Satan. When God ope- whom it will. When, therefore, th rates upon men's hearts, and turns scriptures ascribe the blame of ou them whithersoever he will, he does it wicked conduct entirely to us, and a in a different manner. And when God the same time teach that God decree causes the man to comply with the and causes whatsoever comes to pas temptation, it is not God that complies there is no contradiction betwee with the temptation, but the man. them, but they are perfectly consis
It may be objected, further, that the tent and harmonious. design of the passage evidently is, to It may be objected further, that teach that the blame of our wicked we ought not to ascribe to God th conduct belongs to us, and not to God; act of tempting men to sin, because and that the sense of it is this : " Let is a sinful act, then we ought not t no man justify himself in his wicked- ascribe to God the act of causing the Dess, by casting the blame upon God, to comply with the temptation, whic for the blame does not belong to God,||must be much more sinful. For if but to himself.” But that if God de- lis sinful to entice a man to sin, by pre 'crees and causes all the actions of men, senting motives to persuade him t then the blame does not belong to act wrong, as Satan does, when h them, but to God; and consequently, (tempts men to sin, although this is no that the passage must be understood to sufficient to cause him to sin, hov deny that God decrees or causes the much more must it be sinful to pe wicked actions of men. To this it form such an operation upon his mind may be answered :
as to cause him to comply with th The blame of a wicked action be- temptation, and make him act wich longs to the person whose action it is. Iedly, when Satan could not do it. I Our actions are our own. The turpi- | not this saying, that when Satan ha tude of a wicked action consists in the done all he can to make man sin, an nalure of the action itself, and not at his power fails, God interposes, an all in its cause. By action is here assists him to accomplish his purpose meant the action of the mind, the dis- To this it may be answered. position, which expresses itself by the When Satan tempts man to sin,
b external action. A malicious spirit is does it by presenting things in a fal:
bad spirit, and odious in its own na-"light, presenting sin as a desirabl thing. He is guilty of falsehood. God caused those men to comply with God cannot lie. Therefore, God can-| these temptations, and put his Son to not tempt man, in this sense. But be-death, Satan perhaps thought he had sides being guilty of falsehood, Satan accomplished his purpose. But how does wrong, when he uses his influ- much was he mistaken! These were ence to make men sin; for two other the very means which infinite wisdom
REASONABLENESS AND IMPORTANCE OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH.
He does what he has no had contrived to accomplish that work right to do, and he does it with a wick- of redemption, and thus effectually to ed intention. The government of the bruise the serpent's head, and destroy universe is not committed to his hands. his power and influence, He has no right to do any thing himself, or to influence others to do any thing but what God has commanded. THE But when he tempts man to'sin, violates the divine commands himself, FAITII, has of late ages, been a suband does what he can to make others ject of much derision, by men of scido the same. And besides, he acts ence, falsely so called, and vain Phi. with a wicked intention in all this. It losophers. But is it an unreasonable is impossible for any creature to do thing for God to demand, and for us to these things with any other than a give him our faith? Who among us wicked intention. But God does right|| can pretend to understand all things when he governs all his creatures and necessary to rational comfort and satall their actions, and causes whatsoev-isfaction, unless it be by faith? Some er comes to pass, because it is his pre-things, indeed, we know by intuition; rogative to govern the universe, and some by experience, and some by reahe always designs and accomplishessoning and deduction. We know good by what he does. He always that we exist, and are ratiopal, volun. acts according to the dictates of infi-tary agents. We know that we are pite wisdom and goodness. He knows sinful, vile and miserable ; prone to what events will best promote the the worst of deeds, and exposed to the highest interests of the universe, and it greatest of human miseries; that we behoves him as the supreme governor are every moment, liable to death.-to cause those events to take place. We may go far in the science of numAnd he uniformly brings to pass those bers, and measures, and proportions. events, and prevents all such as would By the medium of the senses, and by have a contrary tendency. He does reasoning on sensible objects, and on not assist Satan to accomplish his matters of experience we acquire a wicked purposes, but he makes use of certain degree of knowledge. We obSatan, as an instrument in accomplish-tain some information of the vast fabing his own glorious and benevolentric, called the universe: But we know purposes. He so overrules all the ef- not, by the light of nature, whether forts of Satan and wicked men, as indeed it be a fabric, strictly speaking, to make them instruments in promo- or an eternal, uncreated systein. It ting that very cause they intend to op- is “ through faith we understand that pose. Satan intends to dishonor God, the worlds were framed by the word of but God intends to glorify himself. God, so that things which are seen, Satan will be disappointed, and even were not made of things which do aphis present seeming success, will only pear." It is also through faith that we serve to increase his ultimate confu- understand any thing, concerning the sion and disgrace. When Satan sought end of the world, and an eternal state. to accomplish the death of Christ, and on these important points, mankind tempted Judas and Pilate, and the greatly need instruction; and yet inJews to effect it, he meant to defeat struction can be embraced, only by the work of redemption. And when I faith. Is it not reasonable, to look to
portance of it, in this world, is beyond || voking to God, as to despise his instrucall calculation; and it is the only tions, and hold it to be indifferent what source of a comfortable hope of im- we believe. mortal blessedness.
3. The christian faith, being highly The christian faith, therefore, is a reasonable, and infinitely important, most precious, as well as reasonable we are led to realize our infinite oblithing. It is a fruit of the spirit of God:gation, immediately and constantly to and it implies a principle of true be-exercise it. What command is more nevolence. It embraces an infinite just than this," Have faith in God? REDEEMER, who has redeemed sinners Or this " believe in the Lord Jesus to God, by bis own blood; and ac-Christ? What but an evil heart, can cords with that holy law, which re- || prevent our faith in Christ? quires, that we love God with all the Suppose a man, remarkably wise heart, and our neighbor as ourselves. and benevolent, were at the head of The christian faith is a powerful prin- civil government; should we not be ciple in the beart. It overcomes the under obligation to love him, and to world; and is a shield, which quenches confide in his wisdom and goodness? all the fiery darts of the wicked.--|And are we not under equal obligaTherefore,
tion to love the Lord Jesus Christ, and 1. From this view of the reasona-confide in his wisdom and goodness? bleness and importance of the chris-What saith the scripture ?“ If any man tian faith, we remark, what a criminal love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let hire thing it is to deride the christian reli-be Anathema, Maranatha.” gion. The christian religion, in all its 4. Keeping in mind, that the imporbranches, flows from the christian tance of the christian faith arises from faith. This faith being established, all its connection with morality, we rethe institutions of christianity are e-mark the importance of proving the qually established; and woe be to the genuineness of our faith, by the rectiman, who speaks lightly of the chris-itude of our morals. " This is a faithtian religion!
ful saying," said an Apostle " and these 2. From the subject, we also remark, things I will that thou affirm constantly, the importance of attending diligently that they who have believed in God, be to divine instruction. How is it possi- careful to maintain good works. Shem ble to believe and embrace the truth, me thy faith without thy works, and I without instruction ? " How shall they will shew thee my faith by my works.” believe in him, of whom they have not Let all, who profess to love and heard? And how shall they hear with embrace the Saviour, breathe his spirout a Preacher ?”
it and temper; "and walk as he also If, in this subject, any imagine, that || walked. Herein,” said Christ," is my the wrong faith is set up; yet it must Father glorified, that ye bear much be acknowledged, that some faith or fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. He other is important. Belief and morals, that keepeth my commandments, abiwe find, are inseparably connected.- deth in my love ; even as I have kept my Salvation is certainly suspended on a Father's commandments, and abide in cordial belief in the true God. “With- his love.
SELECTED. out faith it is evidently impossible to please him." You make it a matter
For the Utica Christian Magazine. of high importance, to believe and confide in a WASHINGTON. Will you con
Mr. EDITOR, sider the living and only wise God, as I have noticed a sermon, in a vol. unworthy of your attention and regard? ume lately published by one of the Can there be geater sottishness! No most distinguished divines in our counthing, it is conceived, in the whole try, the sole object of which is to show, system of human wickedness, is so pro- that christians receive no other bles. sings, through the atonement of Christ,|| unto good works, which God hath bethan the forgiveness of sins. As this fore ordained, that we should walk in sentiment was contrary to that which I them.”
Titus iii. 5,
6. " According to had always entertained, and also, to His mercy ; He saved us, by the washthe generally received opinion of ing of regeneration and renewing of christians, so far as my information ex- the Holy Ghost, which was shed on us tends. As it came from an author of so abundantly, through Jesus Christ our respectable a standing, and such exten-Savior.” In what sense are believers sive influence in this part of the chris- | created in Christ Jesus, unto good tian world ; and, as I conceived it to be works; and renewed by the Holy Ghost undervaluing the Saviour, and of dan-| through Jesus Christ their Savior, if gerous tendency, if it were not true : | regeneration be not a blessing, which I resolved to "search the scriptures” | they receive through the merit, or effiupon this point, with all that careful-cacy of his atoning blood ! In 2 ness and candor, which the importance Tim. i. 9. we are taught that both the of the subject requires; and the resulteternal purpose of God to save sinof this examination is a full conviction, ners, & their effectual calling or regeni hat christians receive, not only the eration are effected in or thro' Christ. forgiveness of sins, but all the other "Who hath saved us and called us with blessings, which they enjoy, both tem- an holy calling, not according to our poral and spiritual, and that they ever works; but according to his own will enjoy hereafter, through the atone-purpose and grace, which was given us, ment of Christ. The following are the in Christ Jesus, before the world began.” principal evidences, upon which this By the same manner of expression, sentiment is established :
we are taught that the forgiveness of It appears that the various parts of sins, justification before God, and rethe christian's salvation are effected conciliation with him are received by Christ, through the merits of his through the atonement of Christ. (Col. atonement. If we consider the eternali, 14) “ In whom, we have redempparpose of God, which is the first motion, through his blood, even the fora ving cause of their salvation, we shall giveness of sins.” Acts xiii. 38, 39. find that it was in or through Christ. " Through this man is preached unto Ephes i. 4, 5. “According as he hath you the forgiveness of sins; and by chosen us in him," (i. e. in Christ,) || him, all that believe are justified from “ before the foundation of the world, all things, from which they could that we should be holy, and without not be justified, by the law of Moses.” blame before Him in love: having|| 2 Cor. v. 18. “Who hath reconciled. predestinated us unto the adoption of us unto himself, by Jesus Christ.” children by Jesus Christ, unto himself, 19. “God was in Christ reconciling the according to the good pleasure of his world unto himself, not imputing their will.” In what sense are believers cho-trespasses unto them.” The expressen to a life of holiness in Christ, and sions in Christ, by him, and through predestinated to the adoption of chil- him, in these passages, when respectdren by Christ, if they were not choing the forgiveness of sins, justification sen or predestinated to partake of these before God, and reconciliation with blessings, through the atonement of him, are supposed to teach us, that, Christ, for the sake of what he hath these blessings are received thro’ the done and suffered for sinners ?' merit or efficacy of his atonement. And
If we consider the work of the spirit, do they not equally teach us when used renewing the hearts of believers, and in other passages, that all other blesdisposing them to embrace the gospel, sings are received in the same way? we shall find that it is performed thro' The next step, succeeding the justiChrist.—Eph, ii. 10, “We are his fication of the believer, is that of his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus adoption into the holy family of God;