« ForrigeFortsæt »
That strangers would be accepted, even as the Jews, if they loved God.
That the true Jews ascribed their safety to God, and not to Abraham. Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not : thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer. Isa. Ixiij. 16.
Moses also had said, God accepteth not persons, nor taketh rewards.
I affirm that the Jewish religion enjoins also the circumcision of the heart. Circumcise, therefore, the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked. For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, a terrible, &c. Deut. x. 16, 17.
That God promised to do this for them at some future day. And the Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. Deut xxx. 6.
That the uncircumcised in heart shall be judged and punished. God will punish them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.
2. I affirm that circumcision was a sign, instituted to distinguish the Jewish people from all other nations. And therefore it was that, while they wandered in the wilderness, they were not circumcised, because they could then not intermingle with strangers; and that since the coming of Jesus Christ, it is no longer necessary.
The love of God is every where enjoined. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing ; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live ; that thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him; for he is thy life. Deut. xxx. 19, 20.
It is said also, that the Jews, from the want of this love, shall be rejected for their crimes, and the Gentiles chosen in their stead. I will hide my face from them, for they are a very froward nation, and unbelieving. They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God,--and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people. I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. Deut. xxxii. 20, 21.
That temporal blessings are fallacious, but that the true good is to be united to God. That their feasts were displeasing to God. That the sacrifices of the Jews displeased God; and not only those of the wicked Jews, but that he had no pleasure in the sacrifices of the righteous, for, in Psalm 50th, previously to his special address to the wicked, beginning, But to the wicked God saith, &c. verse 16th, it is stated that God will not accept the sacrifices of beasts, nor their blood. 1 Sam. xv. 22.
That the offerings of the Gentiles shall be accepted of God. Mal. i. 11. And that the offerings of the Jews were not acceptable to him. Jer. vi. 20.
That God would make a new covenant by Messiah, and that the old one should be abolished, Jer. xxxi. 31.
That the former things shall be forgotten. Isa. xliii. 18.
That the ark shall be no more remembered. Jer. üi. 16.
That the temple shall be rejected. Jer. vii. 12–14.
That the sacrifices should be done away, and a purer 'sacrifice established. Mal. i. 10, 11.
That the order of the Aaronic priesthood should be rejected, and that of Melchisedec introduced by the Messiah, and that this should be an everlasting priesthood.
That Jerusalem shall be rejected. Isaiah v. new name shall be givèn. That it shall be a better and an eternal name. Isaiah lvi. 5.
That the Jews shall continue without prophet, priest, king, prince, sacrifice or altar; and that they should subsist, notwithstanding, as a distinct people.
WE CANNOT KNOW GOD SAVING LY, BUT BY
IT is usual for the greater part of those who try to convince the ungodly of the eing of a God; to begin with the works of nature; and they seldom succeed. Not that I question the substantiality of that class of proofs, for they are consecrated by the Scripture; and they consist with sound reason : but frequently they are not well adapted to the disposition of mind, of those to whom they are so applied.
For it should be observed, that this line of argument is not applied to those who have a living faith in the heart, and who see clearly that every thing which exists is the work of the God whom they adore. To such, all nature speaks for its author. To them the heavens declare the glory of God. But for those in whom this light is extinct, and in whom we wish it to revive; those men who are without faith and charity, and who find nothing but clouds and darkness throughont nature; for such it seems scarcely the right way to reclaim them, that we should ply them on a subject so great and important, with proofs drawn from the course of the moon and the planets, or
any of those common-place arguments, against which they have invariably revolted. The hardness of their hearts has rendered them deaf to this voice of nature, ringing constantly upon their ear; and experience proves, that far from carrying them by these means, nothing is more likely to disgust them, and to destroy the hope of their discovering the truth, than professing to convince them simply by such reasonings, and telling them that they will find truth altogether unveiled.
Certainly this is not the way in which the Scriptures speak of God, which are far better prepared to speak of him than we are. They tell us, we allow, that the beauty of creation declares its author; but, they do not say, that it does so to the whole world. On the contrary, they affirm, that the creature does not make God known by its own light, but by that light which God, at the same time, pours into the minds of those whom he thus instructs. That which may be known of God, is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it to them. Rom. i. 19. The Scripture teaches us in general, that God is a God that hideth himself; and, that since the corruption of human nature, he has left men in a state of blindness, from which they cannot escape, but through Jesus Christ, without whom, all communion with God is impracticable. No man knoweth the Father, but the Son, and he to whome soever the Son will reveal him. Matt. ii. 27.
The Scripture teaches the same truth also, where, in so many different passages, it affirms, that they who seek God shall find him. But we do not speak thus of a clear and self-evident light. It needs no seeking. It compels observation by its own brilliancy.
2. Metaphysical arguments, in proof of Deity, are so
remote from the common habits of reasoning, and so intricate and involved, that they produce little impression ; and even though they may influence a few, it is only at the time when they are actually considering the demonstration, and an hour afterward, they fear they have deceived themselves. Quod curiositate cognoverant superbia amiserunt.
Besides, this sort of proof can only lead to a speculative knowledge of God; and to know him only in this way, is not to know him at all.
The God whom Christians worship, is not merely the divine author of geometric truths, and of the order of the elements. This is the belief of the heathen. He is not merely a God who watches providentially over the lives and fortunes of men, to bestow a succession of happy years on his worshippers. This is the belief of the Jew. But the God of Abraham and of Jacob, the God of the Christian, is a God of love and of consolation. He is a God who fills the soul and the heart which he possesses. He is a God who makes them feel within, their own mie sery; whose infinite grace unites itself with their inmost soul; fills it with humility, and joy, and confidence, and love; and makes it impossible for them to seek any other end than himself.
The God of the Christians is a God who causes the soul to feel that he is its only good, that he is its only rest ; and that it can have no joy but in his love ; and who teaches it, at the same time, to abhor every obstacle to the full ardour of that affection. That self-love and sensual affection which impede it, are insufferable to it. God discloses to the soul this abyss of selfishness, and that he himself is the only remedy.
That is to know God as a Christian. But to know