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excite some of our countrymen to send you plenty of books, to keep you from advancing much farther into the essence of Christianity. If I refer you to any thing besides the scriptures themselves, I would request you, (as I apprehend you well understand our language,) to borrow of some of our Missionaries, one book, not very large, Mr. Scott's Essays. Do give this the reading, and compare it with the Bible. On one point only, I am obliged to differ from that excellent man, but it is of very small consequence to me, whether you adopt his opinion or mine, provided you are brought to agree with us, on other subjects, of superior importance.
I know of no motive, that could influence me to trouble you with these few remarks, on your piece in the Brahmunical Magazine, but that sincere desire of the salvation of a fellow-creature, which must influence every one who has felt the love of Christ, and which I trust will be found in the last day to have influenced
Your cordial well-wisher,
P. S. Though the doctrine of the Trinity is not so fully stated in the Old Testament as in the New, yet there are several intimations in the former, of a plurality in the Deity. The common name for God is a plural noun, and though generally united with singular verbs, adjectives, and pronouns, is yet sometimes connected with these parts of speech in the plural number, as in Gen. i. 26. and in many other places,* which I need not now enumerate. And the Messiah is often predicted in the Old Testament as a divine person. And ill would his coming have been represented as so great a blessing, and he himself have been described as a light to enlighten the Gentiles,” if God foresaw, that the vast majority of his followers, especially the most serious and devout, and
Gen, iïi. 22. xi. 7. XX. 13. xxxv. 7. Ps. lviii, 11. &c.
Isa, vii. 14. ix. 6. liv, 5. Jer. xxiii. 6. &c.
those that have sealed their doctrine with their blood, would, through this misunderstanding of what he said of himself, and what the prophets and apostles said of him, be led into idolatry for many centuries, and make far too much of him; and this previously to the time in which it was foretold, that he should be most highly exalted.
I might just mention, the general ideas prevalent amongst most heathen nations, respecting a triad, a divine incarnation, and concerning sacrifices, as being, probably, the confused and detorted remains of an original revelation, handed down by tradition from Noah; but which, in the course of so many ages, and through so uncertain a mode of transmission, became strangely altered and obscured.
N. B. I had seen very little of the controversy between you and Dr. Marshman, till after I had finished this letter, or I should not have written it. I now think of sending it to him, and he may show it to you or not, as he thinks best.
GODLY ZEAL DESCRIBED AND RECOMMENDED:
In a Circular Letter, from the Baptist Ministers and Messengers of the Northamp
shire Association, 1792.
THE subject allotted for consideration in our annual letter at this time, is that of GODLY ZEAL;* and we hope you will cordially receive the few observations and exhortations, we may have room to offer you, upon that interesting subject.
Zeal is a fervid, vehement motion of the mind, inflamed with love to some peculiar object, whereby it is excited to exert itself with earnestness and vigour in its behalf, and warmly to oppose every thing that threatens its injury.
The opposite to zeal in general, is lukewarmness or indifference. But as the objects of ardent affection may differ widely, it may be either virtuous or vicious to an extreme. Accordingly the same word is used in scripture in a good sense in some places, † and in a bad one in others. I--Nothing can be more opposite than true zeal and false. The one is a heavenly flame, the other is infernal fire.—Fervent, disinterested affection is holy zeal. Selfish, interested affection is
* The word zeal comes from the Greek Znlos, which is derived from Zew to glow, to be hot, to boil.-
† John ii. 17. Zeal of thine house. Col. iv. 13. Great zeal for you. 2 Cor. ix. 2. Your real provoked many. 2 Cor. xi. 2. Godly jealousy. 2 Cor. vii. 11. Wbat indignation. Heb. x. 25. Fiery indignation.
Acts v. 17. Filled with indignation. xiii. 45. Filled with envy. Rom. xiii. 13. Not in envying. 1 Cor. iü. 3. Envying. James iü. 14. Bitter envying. 16. Envying. The substanstive is only used in one more place in the New Testament. Rom. ü. 10. A seal of God, not according to knowledge.
its opposite, the immediate source of envy, spite, and malice. Godly zeal expands the heart, and unites with the whole empire of God, pursuing a good of which all its members may partake without envious competition. Selfishness contracts the heart, and would sacrifice the good of any, or of all mankind, yea, and the divine glory itself, to the interest of the individual.
GODLY ZEAL, therefore, is the fervor of true benevolence, or of HOLY LOVE, exciting the subject of that sacred affection to vigorous exertion for the good of its beloved object, and to strenuous opposition of whatever tends to its injury.
The law of God, which is the original standard of all true virtue, or real holiness, is summed up in one word, Love. The object of true benevolence, or of that love which the divine law requires, is UNIVERSAL BEING, including God, and all intelligent creatures. For the first and greatest command of the law, enjoins supreme love to the uncreated Being, who is infinitely greater and more excellent than all created beings united : and the second branch of the law requires an universal and disinterested regard to our neighbour's welfare, even loving him as ourselves. Zeal is fervent, active benevolence, or the celestial fire of love kindled into flame; and breaking forth in ardent desires and earnest efforts to promote the best interests of every individual, so far as the happiness of the individual is found consistent with the greatest good of the whole. The chief good is comprised in the glory of God, and the perfection and happiness of his kingdom.
Instead of glowing with heavenly zeal, the hearts of apostate men are wholly destitute of disinterested benevolence. They are fallen, as one expressed it, into a gulph of sinful selfishness. For that self-love which is absolutely predominant in every carnal heart, is the root, or rather the essence of all sin. It is the greatest practical lie in the universe ; by which an animated atom would import, “I am, and there is none besides me.” It would, if it had power equal to its tendency, turn the universe upside down, and try to make an immense pyramid rest on its inverted point. Or, operating equally in a number of created beings, it would detach them from their only proper centre ; disunite them
from each other, crumble the moral world into discordant particles, and fill the universe with everlasting war and confusion. This interested selfish affection, by which a person regards a private interest of his own, disconnected from the divine glory and the good of others, is direct enmity against God and his law, and the immediate spring of envy and enmity among mankind. Yet self reigns in one form or other, in every unrenewed soul; and if grace prevent not, it must reign unto death: for it entirely deadens the soul to God, and to the good of others; every thing being disregarded but what may subserve some selfish end; and therefore God's glory and the general good require that such dead souls should be buried in hell.
But in regeneration a right spirit is created in a sinner. Holy affection begins to warm and animate his breast. He is quickened from above, and lives no longer for himself, but for God. The ever-glorious God is loved supremely, and becomes his exceeding joy. Nor can the first part of God's law be inscribed on the heart without the second. The true convert feels a new kind of affection for his fellow-creatures. Placing his own happiness in an object which can be enjoyed by unnumbered millions at once, he delights to unite with others in the pursuit of the same infinite good.
The Christian beholding the glory of God, discerns the equity of his requirements, and cordially acknowledges all his commandments to be right : and, conscious that he has already violated them, he is aware that punishment is due to his transgressions. Nor can he pretend to plead, that death itself is too severe a sentence. An honest heart must lead a sinner to justify God, and condemn himself; though he still feels that aversion to his own misery which is common to all intelligent beings, and the idea of eternal separation from God, is far more paiuful to him than ever; yet were he to expect this awful doom, he could not but acknowledge that God and his throne were guiltless ; for he had really deserved to be for ever banished from the society of God and all holy beings : and however desirable his own felicity may appear, the real convert could not be happy in the thought, that God had brought everlasting reproach on his own govern