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faith be at once fervent and sober; that our love be both ardent and lasting ; that our patience be not only heroic but gentle : she demands dauntless zeal and genuine humility; active services and complete self-renunciation ; high attainments in goodness, with deep consciousness of defect; courage in reproving, and meekness in bearing reproof; a quick perception of what is sinful, with a willingness to forgive the offender; active virtue ready to do all, and passive virtue ready to bear all. We must stretch every faculty in the service of our Lord, and yet bring every thought into obedience to him. While we aim to live in the exercise of every Christian grace, we must account ourselves unprofitable servants: we must strive for the crown, yet receive it as a gift, and then lay it at our Master's feet. While we are busily trading in the world with our Lord's talents, we must
commune with our heart, and be still:" while we strive to practise the purest disinterestedness, we must be contented, though we meet with selfishness in return; and, while laying out our lives for the good of mankind, we must submit to reproach without murmuring, and to ingratitude without resentment. And to render us equal to all these services, Christianity bestows not only the precept but the power; she does what the great poet of ethics lamented that Reason could not do, 6 she lends us arms as well as rules.”
For here, if not only the worldly and the timid, but the humble and the well-disposed, should demand with fear and trembling, “ Who is sufficient for these things ?" Revelation makes its own reviving answer, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
It will be well here to distinguish that there are two sorts of Christian professors; one of which affect to speak of Christianity as if it were a mere system of doctrines, with little reference to their influence on life and manners; while the other consider it as exhibiting a scheme of human duties independent on its doctrines; for though the latter sort may admit the doctrines, yet they contemplate them as a separate and disconnected set of opinions, rather than as an influential principle of action. In violation of that beautiful harmony which subsists in every part of Scripture between practice and belief, the religious world furnishes two sorts of people, who seem to enlist themselves, as if in opposition, under the banners of St. Paul and St. James; as if those two great champions of the Christian cause had fought for two masters. Those who affect respectively to be the disciples of each treat faith and works as if they were opposite interests, instead of inseparable points; nay, they go farther, and set St. Paul at variance with himself.
Now, instead of reasoning on the point, let us refer to the apostle in question, who himself definitively settles the dispute. The apostolical order and method in this respect deserve notice and imitation ; for it is observable that the earlier parts of most of the epistles abound in the doctrines of Christianity, while those latter chapters, which wind up the subject, exhibit all the duties which VOL. V.
grow out of them, as the natural and necessary productions of such a living root. * But this alternate mention of doctrine and practice, which seemed likely to unite, has, on the contrary, formed a sort of line of separation between these two orders of believers, and introduced a broken and mutilated system. Those who would make Christianity consist of doctrines only, dwell, for instance, on the first eleven chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, as containing exclusively the sum and substance of the Gospel; while the mere moralists, who wish to strip Christianity of her lofty and appropriate attributes, delight to dwell on the twelfth chapter, which is a table of duties, as exclusively as if the preceding chapters made no part of the sacred canon. But St. Paul himself, who was at least as sound a theologian as any of his commentators, settles the matter another way, by making the duties of the twelfth grow out of the doctrines of the antecedent eleven, just as any other consequence grows out of its cause; and, as if he suspected that the indivisible union between them might possibly be overlooked, he links the two distinct divisions together by a logical “therefore," with which the twelfth begins:“ I beseech you, therefore,” (that is, as the effect of all I have been inculcating,) “ that you present
* This is the language of our church, as may be seen in her 12th article ; viz. :“ Good works do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith; insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known, as a tree discerned by its fruit."
your bodies a living sacrifice, acceptable to God,” &c.; and then goes on to enforce on them, as a consequence of what he had been preaching, the the practice of every Christian virtue. This combined view of the subject seems, on the one hand, to be the only means of preventing the substitution of pagan morality for Christian holiness; and, on the other, of securing the leading doctrine of justification by faith, from the dreadful danger of Antinomian licentiousness; every human obligation being thus grafted on the living stock of a Divine principle.
ON THE DUTY AND EFFICACY OF PRAYER.
It is not proposed to enter largely on a topic which has been exhausted by the ablest pens. But as a work of this nature seems to require that so important a subject should not be overlooked, it is intended to notice in a slight manner a few of those many difficulties and popular objections which are brought forward against the use and efficacy of prayer, even by those who would be unwilling to be suspected of impiety and unbelief.
There is a class of objectors who strangely profess to withhold homage from the Most High, not out of contempt, but reverence. They affect to consider the use of prayer as derogatory from the omniscience of God, asserting that it looks as if we thought he stood in need of being informed of our wants; and as derogatory from his goodness, as implying that he needs to be put in mind of them.
But is it not enough for such poor frail beings as we are to know, that God himself does not consider prayer as derogatory either to his wisdom or goodness? And shall we erect ourselves into judges of what is consistent with the attributes of HIM before whom angels fall prostrate with self-abasement? Will he thank such defenders of his attri. butes, who, while they profess to reverence, scruple