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and in another passage he uses these striking words 'I keep under my body, and bring it into sub

jection, left, that by any means, when I have “ preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

Thus does the gospel temper the fervor of devotion, by the meekness of humility, and guard alike against that despair, which would prevent the reformation of vice, and that presumptuous fecurity which would endanger the fall of virtue ;. bearing in both views, the genuine characters of that wisdom which descends from above, which is fully acquainted with every weakness of human nature, and for every weakness graciously provides a support.

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Another character which enthusiasm always dif. plays, and from which Christianity is totally exempt, is the contempt of all external helps to religion. Fanatics proposing to themselves a supernatural state of {piritual exaltation, as the necessary effect and true test of genuine devotion, disregard all rites and ceremonies as wholly worthless, and seldom encourage men to continue in the regular use of those means of improvement, which the ordinary course of providence supplies; the attentive perusal of the divine word, serious reflection, and rational enquiry into the divine attributes and conduct; public worship, regular private prayer, and perpetual self-examina

1 Cor. ix. 27. R2

tion.

tion. Seldom do fanatics exhort men to continue with humble, steady patience in the use of those means, without experiencing or expecting any sudden and violent change of temper or conduct, any direct or resistless conviction of divine favour. Thus, while groveling superstition never aspires to sincere piety and rectitude, but rests in rites and ceremonies, in tedious prayers and gloomy penances ; fanaticism, on the contrary, with proud and presumptuous rashness, conceives it can fuddenly reach the summit of religious perfection, without ascending, by those natural gradations, which reafon and humility point out. Christianity alone observes the true medium, teaching us to employ abstinence and prayer, as means to excite and strengthen piety and self-government, though never to be substituted for these ennobling and sacred qualities. The established rites of Chriftianity, baptism, and the supper of the Lord, are fewer, more simple, and more significant, than any other religion ever has enjoined.' The model on which our bieffed Lord directs we should form our prayers, is the most perfect and comprehensive, the most pious and humble, which human imagination can conceive. Frequent devotion is enjoined, while a multitude of words is forbid. We are commanded “ "not to forfake the assembling ourselves together, “ but in every thing to make known our requests “ unto God, by prayer and supplication, with thankf

!! Heb. X. 25.

“ giving ;

giving ;" but we are also commanded, “ to take

care, that all things be done decently and in order." The observance of the fabbath is required ; but still in subordination to the great purposes for which it was ordained.

“ The fabbath is represented as made “ for man, not man for the fabbath ;” and “ I will “ have mercy and not sacrifice,” is the general principle which is to regulate our religious duties.

On this subject Archdeacon Paley * has well observed, that “ St. Paul's judgment, concerning a

hesitating conscience, his opinion of the moral in

differency of many actions, yet of the prudence, “ and even the duty of compliance, when non-com

pliance would produce evil effects upon the minds “ of the persons who observed it, are as correct and

just, as the most liberal and enlightened moralist " could form at this day.”-A few instances will illustrate the justice of this observation, so important to our present argument,

The Gentile Christians, who had never known any distinctions between different kinds of food, as being fome clean and others unclean, were fully and justly. persuaded that Christianity allowed them to use any wholesome food without distinction, while the Jewish converts, who had been accustomed to the distinction of the law, conceived themselves obliged to abstain

X

Paley's Horæ Paulinæ, the conclusion, p. 411.

from y Rom. xiv. which should be read over to explain the facts on which this argument is founded.

from flesh meat in Heathen countries for fear of being polluted, and to eat nothing but fruit and herbs, which their law left without restraint. Thus also the Gentile Christians regarded all days alike, while the Jewish retained their ideas of the superior fanctity of some, according to the appointments of the Mosaic law. This difference of opinion and conduct afforded occasion for jealousies and disputes; while the Gentile despised what seemed to him the superstitious scrupulofity of the Jew, and the Jew viewed with abhorrence the profane liberty of the Gentile. On this point how admirably does St. Paul combine good sense and liberality of opinion with caution, and prudence in conduct. He admits the error of the Jewish opinion, but maintains that so long as it was retained, and influenced the persuasion of any man's conscience, it ought to be followed in his practice. 6. 'I know, (said he) and am persuaded by the Lord “ Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself : “ but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, " to him it is unclean.”—But while he approves the rational freedom of the Gentiles in their opinions, he condemns the want of prudent and benevolent attention to the prejudices of their weak, but wellmeaning brethren, whose feelings they shocked, and whose affections they alienated, by openly despising, and acting in defiance of their scruples, and even disturbing their conscience, by tempting them to compliances which they could not fincerely approve. « ?But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now 6 walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with

disturbing

thy meat, for whom Christ died.” And he finally determines that each should bear with the different opinions, and pass nó uncharitable constructions, no sentence of reprobation, on the conduct of the other. “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth “ not; and let not him that eateth not judge him 66 which eateth : for God hath received him. “ One man esteemeth one day above another : ano“ ther esteemeth every day alike. Let every man “ be fully persuaded in his own mind.”-How wholly inconsistent is this with the spirit of fanaticism.

Another instance of similar prudence in the aportle's pręcepts, combined with similar charity, occurs in his answer to the enquiries which the Corinthians had made concerning the liberty of eating food offered to idols. Some conceived that they might even partake of the facrifices offered to idols, so long as they retain. ed the firm conviction, that these idols were nothing but vain fictions, and joined not in any internal act of worship or sentiment of reverence. Others on the contrary were so scrupulous, that they were afraid of

z Ibid.

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