Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

neighbour, and to say to him be of good courage. Do you wish one another the fellowship of the Holy Ghost? it impels you to say to them, " Come hear ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul." “ Come, O ye house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

With this benediction friends may solemnize their farewell; parents may thus conclude their parting counsels to their children, who are about to leave their dwelling; and the dying may thus express their last wishes for the prosperity of those who shall survive them. In such circumstances, almost every heart feels the deepest anxiety for the welfare of those from whom it is about to be separated, and a consciousness that this only can be secured by the counsels and the protection of the Almighty. In uttering this benediction with the spirit and the voice of piety, a sense of religion may be awakened, and the most favourable inpressions of divine things will be associated with all their recollections of the melting scene. Enjoying the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the fellowship of the Spirit, they will not deplore the want of the counsels of a friend, the kindness of a husband, or the care of a father. Let the worldling desire that pleasure may give enchantment to every scene, that wealth and riches may be in their house, and that they may be crowned with glory and honour; in this benediction you will find wishes to be expressed by you, more suited to your character, and much more adapted to make those whom you love happy: Study this benediction with more attention than

It will lead you to the most interesting views of the divine character, and of the privileges of Christians. In it I see the essence of the gospel, and the

[ocr errors]

ever.

whole course of redeeming mercy. It should be inscribed on the tables of

every

heart. Be careful to show your regard for it in your conduct. Leave not the house of God unless imperious necessity requires your departure till it is pronounced, and join in this part of the service of the church with all solemnity. There have been instances in which the minister's voice has been lost while pronouncing it, in the noise made by those who were rushing out of the sanctuary ; and others have been occupied at that solemn moment in preparing for their departure, or for the expression of civility and respect to their fellow-worshippers. Such behaviour is a proof of a vain and worldly mind, of thoughtlessness, and of irreverence. Be it your care to stand in stillness and awe till it is finished, and to accompany it with the earnest wish, “ Bless me, even me, also, O my Father!”

Finally, Look forward to the larger measure of these blessings which you shall receive in the heavenly state. There you shall dwell in love; there the grace

of Christ shall reign in your eternal life; and there the Spirit of glory and of God shall rest on you. With this prospect before you, it becomes you to be patient, stedfast, and active in the service of God; since such shall be the issue of your labours, and such your portion for ever.

SERMON VI.

Unitarianism a Perversion of the Gospel.

GAL. I. 7.

« There be some that would pervert the Gospel of Christ."

The Galatians had embraced the gospel with the warmest affection. They regarded the preachers of it with high veneration, and delighted in its doctrines the greatest and most interesting truths which they had ever contemplated. But these transports were not of long duration. When the charm of novelty was gone, they became indifferent to that which had interested them so strongly, and were disposed to adopt very opposite schemes, which were recommende ed to them by plausible language and insinuating arts. Such versatility of temper, and such instability in principle, were unworthy of them as men, and disa graceful to them as Christians. The apostle was fille ed with shame and grief on account of their folly, and with a holy displeasure at their fickleness and infatuation, and resolved to write to them to convince and to reclaim them. He knew that, though this was one of the most necessary and useful offices of friendship, it is often attributed to prejudice and hostility by those who are too proud to be blamed, and who imagine that they only are their friends who are disposed to supe port them in every thing. In order to shew that he had the tenderest solicitude for their welfare, he begins his epistle with the usual expressions of benevolent regard. When these were finished, he expresses how much he was astonished and shocked at their being so soon removed into another gospel ; and, in the most solemn manner, invokes the vengeance of heaven on all who should preach any other tenets than the doctrines of the grace of God. He considered the Galatians as deluded by ungodly and artful men, and labours to exhibit their seducers in their true colours, and to give faithful warning against their schemes.

In every age the church has been troubled with such perverters of the gospel, and against them ber ministers must maintain “ the faith of Jesus.” The Socinian heresy, under the title of Unitarianism, has been disseminated of late with great keenness; and though we are far from supposing that it will be received by many, and though we know that you are established in the present truth, yet it may tend to exa cite and to strenghten your gratitude and your zeal, to shew, that this scheme is false and pernicious, and that it is opposite to all that is most valuable in the gospel, and pious in Christian feeling.

Let us consider, in the first place, how the promo. ters of this scheme pervert the gospel of Christ.

1st, They wrest the plainest and most direct state, ments of the gospel. The Deity, and the atonement of Christ, are so clearly stated in Scripture, that the opponents of these doctrines, in order to evade the arguments drawn from such passages, have had recourse to every subtilty and artifice of criticism, by which such texts might be made to bear a different sense. In opposition to the testimony of the best manuscripts, they have asserted that some texts are interpolations, and have insisted on expunging passages from the sacred record which they found it impossible to bend to their views. In other cases, they suggest such changes in the reading, or in the construction, as may render thein less hostile to their creed, or may neutralize their testimony altogether. At other times, they explain texts in a sense most remote from their obvious meaning, regardless how low and frivolous their explication may be, if the obnoxious doctrine is kept away; and by having recourse to the convenient supposition of eastern metaphor, many of the brightest testimonies of Scripture are represented as flights of imagination, which are utterly inadmissible in sober argument. In proof of these assertions, I may state their expunging the first and second chapters of the gospel by Matthew, and their representing the persenal qualities and acts ascribed to the Holy Ghost as the language of figure.

Out of many passages which might be adduced to shew how they torture the plainest texts into a meaning quite opposite to the scope of the passage, I shall select the following :- In the beginning of the second chapter of the epistle to the Philippians, in order to recommend humility, Paul states the amazing condescension of our Lord, “who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon

him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” The meaning of this passage, Socinians have asserted to be, that Christ did not grasp at divine honours, or seize them as his prey, which is a sense not only un. authorized by the phrase, but directly opposite to the argument of the Apostle. For what humility would there have been in a mere creature, not aime

« AnteriorContinuar »