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“ holiness, without which no man shall fee the Lord.” -And again"" God will render to every man ac“ cording to his deeds ; to them, who by patient “ continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and
honour, and immortality, eternal life ; but unto " them that are contentious, and do not obey the
truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and « wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of “ man that doeth evil; of the Jew first, and also “ of the Gentile ; but glory, honour, and peace, to
every man that worketh good; to the Jew firit, « and also to the Gentile ; for there is no respect of
persons with God.”
Thus, however dire&ly the gospel condemns that proud self-confidence in our own righteousness, which claims as a reward due to ourown merits, that divine acceptance, which human imperfection could not obtain, but from the gracious condescension, and pardoning love of God-however strongly it warns us against that presumption, which relies on our feeble strength, unsupported by divine aid, yet, never does it separate true faith from pure morality, or permit men to suppose they will be exalted to sanctity and to heaven, independent of any effort of their own. Chris. tian faith is a most extensive principle, including in its nature and effects, the whole of moral virtue ; for the gospel precepts evidently require, that we
m Rom. ii. 6.
hould love God with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves; that we should labour to be pera fect, as he is perfect--finally,
6 whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever
things are just, whatsoever things are pure, what. “ foever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of
good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, we are commanded to think on and to
practice these things.”—Thus is the morality of the gospel entirely free from that enthusiastic pride, which, elated with its fupernatural fanctity, stoops not to the controul of reason; and utterly remote from that enthusiastic extravagance, which, hurried away by spiritual raptures and extacies, spurns the feelings of nature, and the restraints of decorum. No; the gospel guards the dignity of religion, by engaging in its support, truth and justice, order and propriety.
A still further proof that the gospel system is totally undebased by any mixture of fanaticism, seems to be found in this, that it commands men to try all pretences to inspiration, by precisely those criterions to which enthusiasm would not appeal; not only by the connection of the proposed system, with previously admitted revelation, and the proofs of supernatural power, which its first teachers produced; criterions, the truth and soberness of which we have before discufled, but also by the practical tendency of the doctrines, which are proposed on this alledged divine authority, and by the good conduct and virtue of the teachers themselves. By these criterions, did our Lord and his apostles demand, that they should themselves be judged ; and by the same did they instruct their followers to judge of others."° Be
Phil. iv. 8. Vid. also Gal. v. 19-24.
ware, fays our Lord, of false prophets, which “ come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they “ are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by “ their fruits ; a good tree cannot bring forth evil “ fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good « fruit. Wherefore, by their fruits shall ye “ them.”-And again, appealing to the spotless purity of his own exalted character, “P Which of
says he, convinceth me of fin? and if I speak the có truth, why do ye not believe ?” With similar confidence does the apostle of the Gentiles appeal to the Thessalonians, for the purity of his conduct ; "' Ye
are witnesses, and God also, how holily, and
justly, and unblameably, we behaved ourselves “ among you that believe.” And when he is defcribing that grand apostacy, which in latter times should corrupt the Christian church, he describes it, not only as coming, "' with the working of Satan, « with signs and lying wonders," but also, “ with « all deceiveableness of unrighteousness in them that
P.John viii. 46.
? 1 Thef. ii. ia.
o Mat. vii. 15. Thes. ii.
perish, because they received not the love of the
truth, that they might be saved ; and for this cause, « God shall send them a strong delusion, that they “ should believe a lie, that they all might be con« demned who believed not the truth, but had plea“ sure in unrighteousness."--Thus perpetually does the wisdom which is from above display purity and rectitude, as the essential principles which directed the lives and the precepts of the first teachers of our holy faith,
Another distinguishing character of enthusiasts is, their proneness to believe they have already attained the summit of moral perfection, and a full security of divine approbation, so that further improvement is impossible, and even further vigilance unnecessary; for to such excess has fanaticism carried its extravagance, that weak and depraved mortals have dared to presume they were exalted so high above their fellow men, by the immediate hand of heaven, as to be incapable of deviating into error, or finking into guilt.-Very opposite to this is the humble, but soulexalting morality of the gospel of Christ, which, on the one hand, forbids the most wicked sinners to despair, and animates them to reform, by the heartreviving assurance," that if they will repent and turn “ to their God, he will abundantly pardon," through the mediation of that Christ, “ who came into the 66 world to save sinners;" while on the other, it incul. cates humility and self-abasement on all the fonsof men,
declaring, that “ there is none righteous, no, not " one”-holding out a spotless model, which we should perpetually labour to imitate ; still however convinced, that in this state of trial and discipline we must never cease to advance, with humble caution and vigilant self-government, conscious we are still frail unprofitable servants. How admirably does St. Paul exemplify this calm and humble frame of mind, even at the period when he was gifted with every apostolic power, employing his every faculty for the glory of God, and the salvation of man, and was prepared to seal his testimony to the gospel of Christ, even with his blood. If such a man were an enthufiast, would he not; in such circumstances feel, and loudly proclaim himself the chief favourite of his God, purified from all moral imperfection, and secure from fall!--Not so the apostle—“'what things “ were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ;
yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for “ the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus
my Lord, if by any means I might attain to the “ resurrection of the dead ; not as though I had “ already attained, or were already perfect; but this “ one thing I do, forgetting those things which are “ behind, and reaching forth unto those things " which are before, I press toward the mark for the “ prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus ;”
. Phil. iii. 7, 11, &c.