Billeder på siden
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

that all believers shall “ sing louder'' in heaven for all their crimes upon earth : But the Vicar of Evertou represents sincere obedience (which is a collection of all the good works of upright Heathens, Jews, and Christians,) as* a jack-o-lantern , and thousands," says he, “ have been lost by following him.Here is a blow at the root! What!--thousands lost by fol. lowing after sincere obedience to God's commands! Impossible !-Our pious author, I hope, means insig. cere obedience; but if he stands to what he has written, he must not be surprised, if, with the good folks cast in a gospel-foundry, I ring a fire-bell," and Warn the Protestant world against so capital a mistake. That thousands have been lost by resting iu faithless, superficial, hypocritical, insiucere obedience, I grant: But thousands !-lost ! by following after sincere obedience, i. e., after the obedience we uprightly per. form according to the light we have !--This is as impossible, as that the Holy Spirit should lie when he testifies, ' In every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him ;' according to one or another of the divine dispensations : He is accepted as a converted Heathen, Jew, or Christian."

Had I the voice of a trumpet, I would shout upon the walls of our Jerusalem : 'Let no man deceive you :' Nobody was ever lost, but for not followibg after, or for starting from sincere obedience; Christian

faith itself being nothing but sincere obedience to this grand gospel precept, 6 Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' "We have received apostleship,' says St, Paul,' for obedience to the faith among all nations.' (Rom. i. 5.) No adult children of Adam were ever eternally saved, but such as followed after sincere obedience, at least from the time of their last conversion, if they once drew back towards perdition. For Christ,' says the apostle,' is the author of eternal salvation to them that obey him ;' aud he undoubtedly means, that obey him sincerely: 'He will render eternal life to them who by patient coney tinuauce in well-doing,' or by persevering in sincero

[ocr errors]

obedience, 'seek for glory.'-—Has the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings,' says Samuel, as in obey ing (and I dare say he meant sincerely obeying] the voice of the Lord ?-Behold! [whatever Solifidians may say] to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams : For rebellion [or disobedience] is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubhorn. ness as idolatry.' (Heb. v. 9; Rom. ji. 7; 1 Sam. xv. 22.)

God, to shew the high value he puts upon sincere obedience, sent Jeremiah to the Rechabites with this message: 'Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts; therefore Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before ine for ever.'. His capital charge against Israel is that of disobedience. St. Peter, who observes that the believing Jews had purihed their souls by obeying the truth, asks, 'What shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel ?' And St. Paul answers, that. Christ will come in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them,' and that God will render tribulation and wrath to them that do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness :' And even that famous passage,

• He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life,' (John iii. 36,) is in the original a rampart against Solidianism ; for in the last sentence of it, the word rendered "believeth not,” is not ou Wisevwv, in opposition to the first clause; but areuw, an expression which, by signifying equally, “ he who disobeyeth," and he who believeth not,” guards the doctrine of obedience as strongly as that of faith.


[ocr errors]

ist tulebau

1092 llim secolo d'ol 906609


OTScie 235 91rani"'


An Answer to Mr. Berridge's capital Arguments

against Sincere Obedience.

[ocr errors]

The serious reader probably wonders at the pious Vicar of Everton, and asks, If he supports his assertions against sincere obedience by arguments ? Yes, he does, and some of thein are so plausible, that the simple can hardly avoid being deceived by them ; nay, and some of the judicious too: For asking, last summer, a sensible clergyman, what part of Mr. Bere ridge's book lae admired most, he convinced me of the seasonableness of this publication, by replying, “ I think him most excellent upon Sincere Obedience." A glaring proof this, that the impossibility of deceiving the very elect is not absolute, and that our Lord did not give them an impertinent cantion, when he said, • Take heed that no man deceive you.' But let us hcar Mr. Berridge.

P. 24, “ Perhaps you think that Christ came to shorten man's duty, and make it more feasible by shoving a commandment out of Moses's tables, as the Papists have done ; or by clipping and paring all the commandments, as the moralists do. Thus sincere obedience, instead of perfect, is now considered as the law of works. But if Jesus Christ came to shorten -man's duty, he came to give us a licence to sig. For duty cannot be shortened without breaking commandments. And thus Christ becomes a minister of sin with a witness, and must be rauked at the head of Antinomnian preachers."To this specious argument I reply :

(1.) After the fall, Christ was given in the promise to mankind as a Mediator ; and help was laid upon him’ to make man's duty (as a redeemed sinner) feasible. To deny it, is to deny 'man's redemption. At that first promulgation of the gospel, what St. Paul

calls the law of faith,' and St. James,' the law of liberty,' took place. This gracious law has been in force under all the dispensations of the everlasting gospel ever since. Aud according to its tenour, in the day of judgment, we shall be justified or condemned.' (Matt. xii, 37.)-(2.) To assert that the law of liberty,' or 'the law of faith,' requires of 113 paradisaical innocence, and such a perfection of bodily and rational powers as Adam had before the fall, is to set Christ's mediation aside : And to suppose, that it leaves us just where it found us, that is, under the old Adarnic Covenant.—(3.) • The law of liberty' “ neither shoves out, pares, nor clips” any moral commandment; for it condemns a man for the adultery of the eye, as well as for gross fornication ; and for the murder of the tongue or heart, as well as for manual assassination ; and it requires us to love God with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves,' according to the light of our dispensation, and the talent of power we have received from above. He that keeps this whole law, and breaks it in oue point,' (as Saul did in the matter of Agag, David in the matter of Uriah, Judas in the matter of Mammon, some Corinthians and Galatiaus in biting one another, and some of the Christians to whom St. James wrote, in despising the poor, and shewing a mean partiality to the rich,)-he, I say, that knowingly and wilfully • breaks this law in one point, is guilty of all;' and he remains under the curse of it, till he has repented, and resumed the obedience of faith. Therefore, when our Lord substituted the law of liberty for the law of innocence, he neither “ gave us a liceuce to sin," nor " became a minister of sin with a witness," as Mr. Berridge rashly affirms.-(4.) The fourth Mosaic cominandment allows no manner of work,' but the fast edition of the law of liberty allows all manner of works of necessity and mercy to be done on the Sabbath. Our Lord, therefore, dispenses with the uncommon rigour, with which the Jews observed the sacred day: And if Mr. Berridge wül call that indulgence "clipping

[ocr errors]

paring," or altering the Fourth Commandment, he is at liberty ; but if we break a commandment in availing ourselves of our Lord's gracious dispensation, why does Mr. Berridge allow his man servant, his maid servant, or his horse to work on the Saturday ? Why does he not keep the seventh day holy, “ like the circumcised race ?"

(5.) Innocent man, with unimpaired powers, could yield perfect obedience to the law of innocence; therefore that law made no allowance, no provision, for any deficiency in duty. Not so the law of liberty ;" for although it allows no wilful sin, yet it does not reject 'sprinkled, though as yet imperfect, obedience. Nor does it, as some divines would persuade the world, curse the bud, because it is not yet the blossom, vor the blossom because it is not yet the fruit, nor the fruit because it is not yet ripe ; provided it tends to maturity, and harbours not insincerity, the worm that destroys evangelical obedience. It declares, that our works of faith are accepted according to what we have, and not according to what we have not. It graciously receives from an Heathen, the obedience of an Heathen; and from a babe in Christ, the obedience of a babe. And instead of sentencing to hell the man, whose pound has only gained five pounds, and in whom the seed of the word has only produced thirty-fold; it kindly allows him half the reward of him whose pound has gained ten pounds, or in whom the seed has brought forth sixty-fold. But it shows no mercy to the unprofitable servant, who buries his talent; and it threatens with sorer punishment the wicked servant who ' turns the grace of God into lasciviousness.'

(6.) “ Thus sincere obedience is now considered as the law of works.” Not so: But it is corsidered, even by judicious Calvinists, as that obedience which the law of liberty accepts of, by which it is fulfilled, and through which believers shall be justified in the great day. I might fill a volume with quotations from their writings ; but three or four will sufficiently prore my assertion.-Joseph Alleine, that zealous and suc.

« ForrigeFortsæt »