Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

'incapacity in the present race of men; and that, 'on the contrary, there are others, who assert 'that the sin of Adam produced so complete a 'change in his own nature, and in that of all his 'posterity, that God's rational creatures, who were 'made but a little lower than the angels, are now 'a mere mass of corruption and wickedness, sus'ceptible of no amendment or correction from 'their own voluntary efforts. But the church of 'England, keeping clear of both extremes, de'clares, that the nature of Adam was greatly 'impaired and corrupted by his transgression of 'the divine command, and that he transmitted 'this weak and depraved nature to every indi'vidual of his descendents; but it does not say 'that the moral powers of men are entirely de'stroyed, or that their corrupt dispositions arc 'totally incorrigible; it allows the perverseness 'of the will, and the violence of the passions, but

* it does not discourage every laudable and vir

* tuous exertion, by representing men as utterly 'incapable of checking their inclination to evil, 'or of putting any degree of restraint upon their 'sinful lusts.''

'There are Christians, &c.' Men ' who profess 'and call themselves Christians,' and who have been baptized, assert the tenet here stated; but I must use Dr. Young's words, and call them ' bap'tized infidels:' for to disbelieve every peculiar doctrine of revelation, and yet to profess to believe the Bible, is real infidelity in the assumed garb of transparent hypocrisy. 'Genuine Christianity can 'never be grafted on any other stock than the 'apostacy of man. The design to reinstate beings 'who have not fallen; to propose a restoration 'without a previous loss; a cure where there was 'no radical disease; is altogether an incongruity, 'which would seem too palpable to require con'futation, did we not so frequently see the doc'trine of redemption maintained by those, who 'deny that man was in a state to require redemp'tion. But would Christ have been sent, "to 'preach deliverance to the captive," if there had 'been no captivity? and the "opening of the 'prison to them that were bound," had there been 'no prison? had men been in no bondage?'1 The rest of the subject, referred to in this quotation, has been fully considered in the remarks on the first chapter of the Refutation.2 It would be difficult to find stronger language in any writer, concerning human depravity, than in our Homilies. 'Of ourselves we be crab-trees, that can 'bring forth no apples. We be of ourselves of 'such earth, as can but bring forth weeds, net'ties, brambles, briers, cockle, and darnel. Our 'fruits be declared in the fifth chapter of Gala'tians.3 We have neither faith, charity, hope, 'patience, nor any thing that is good in us; and 'therefore these virtues be called there,4 "the 'fruits of the Holy Ghost;" not the fruits of man.' 'Hitherto we have heard, what we are of our'selves; very sinful, wretched and damnable. 'Again we have heard, how that of ourselves, 'and by ourselves, we are not able either to think 'a good thought, or work a good deed: so that 'we can find in ourselves no hope of salvation, 'but rather whatsoever maketh for our destruc'tion.'1 Now, how can they be ' susceptible of 'amendment or correction from their own volun'tary efforts,' who are not ' able of themselves, 'either to think a good thought, or work a good 'deed ?'—' As who should say, man of his own 'nature is fleshly and carnal, corrupt and naught, 'sinful and disobedient to God; without any 'spark of goodness in him, without any virtuous 'or godly motion, only given to evil thoughts 'and wicked deeds.'2—Whence then are those voluntary efforts to arise, by which man may correct or amend himself? Let the opposers of our doctrine, on this subject, as overcharged, produce from any of our writings, stronger passages on the subject, than these are, if they be able to do it. Thus 'man is very far gone (quam lon'gissime distet) from original righteousness, and 'is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the 'flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit.'3 'There is no health in us.' 'We have no power 'to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to 'God, without the grace of God by Christ pre'venting us, that we may have a good will; and 'working with us, when we have that good will.'4 Are not then our corrupt dispositions incorrigible, except by the grace of God? But this by no means tends to discourage laudable and vigorous

'Ref. 280,281.

'Mrs. H. More's Practical Piety.

* Book 1. chap. i. sect. 1. On original sin: sect. 2. Incorrigible depravity: sect. 5. Whether some degree of righteousness remains in fallen man.

'Gal. ▼. 19—21. 'Gal. v. 22, 23.

1 Second part of the Homily on the misery of man. 'Homily on Whitsunday. 'Art. ix. 'Art. x. 1 Phil. ii. 12, 13. 'Ref. 281. '2 Chr. xxxii. 31.

exertions, in those who are willing to make them. "Work out your own salvation with "fear and trembling; for it is God which work"eth in us both to will and to do, of his good "pleasure."1

'One set of Christians denies all influence 'whatever of the Holy Spirit upon the human 'mind, and another considers it as constant, sen'sible, and irresistible; but the church of Eng'land, while it acknowledges the influence of the 'Holy Spirit, contends, that the grace of God 'may be given in vain; that it does indeed co'operate with the good desires of men, and 'strengthen their pious resolutions but not in a 'manner which may be perceived, or in a degree 'which cannot be withstood.'2

The influence of the Holy Spirit on the minds and hearts of true Christians must be constant, if they are to be constant," — steadfast, immoveable, "always abounding in the work of the Lord." For, if he leave any one, or even suspend his influences, either as grieved by a man's perverseness, or to " try him, that he may know all that is "in his heart; " 3 some deplorable fall or misconduct will be the consequence. 'Because the 'frailty of man, without thee, cannot but fall.'4— The influences of the Spirit are sensible in their effects; for ' all holy desires, all good counsels, 'and all just works' must be ascribed to him. And when " the love of God is shed abroad in the "heart by the Holy Spirit;" "when we abound "in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost;" when "the fruits of the Spirit in love, joy, peace, &c," are abundantly brought forth by us; when, as a "Spirit of adoption," inspiring love to God, and joyful confidence in him, while we cry, " Abba, "Father," he witnesses with our spirits that we "are the children of God," and is " the earnest of "our inheritance;" is there nothing sensible, nothing which may be perceived? Or how can we 'evermore rejoice in the holy consolations' of the Spirit, if we cannot feel them ?J—The word irresistible we disclaim.—It does not appear that the church of England teaches, that special grace, renewing the soul unto holiness, is ever given in vain. And do not those good desires, and pious resolutions, with which the Spirit of God co-operates, spring from ' the grace of God in Christ 'preventing us, that we may have a good will?' "Do not err, my beloved brethren; every good "gift and every perfect gift, is from above, and "cometh down from the Father of lights."2— 'Grant that we, to whom thou hast given a hearty 'desire to pray, &c.'3 'Stir up we beseech thee 'the wills of thy faithful people.'4 'Cleanse the 'thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy 'Holy Spirit.' 'Lord have mercy upon us, and 'incline our hearts to keep this law.'5

'Col. 15th Sunday after Trinity.

'Whoever at the great day of final account shall 'be found to have lived conformably, &c.'6

'Ref.75,76. 'Jam. i. 17.

• Col. 3d Sunday after Trinity.

'Col. 25th Sunday after Trinity. 6 Communion Service.

6 Ref. 282.

« AnteriorContinuar »