صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Fell as the free, voluntary exer-guage of the apostle, to believe with cise of man. Penitent sinners are the hcart. made willing, in the day of God's And as all direct opposition to power. But God is ever able to divine truth originates in impengive effect to the appointed means itent, unholy, selfish feelints: it is oi repentance. He has the hearts evident that all to whom God shall of a!l the opposers of truth, in his give true repentance, will immeAlmighty hand, and turns thcm, diately acknowledge the truth. as he does the rivers of vater. He With repentance, they will receive has humbled some of the most the love of the truth. Instead of stout-hearted and determined ens. opposing, they will bear their testimies of the truth ; Saul of Tarsus, mony to the beauty and excellency for instance : and he intends to of the peculiar doctrines of the hunble and give repentance to gospel. They will prize evangelmultitudes more. And no minis. ical truth above gold. When they ter of che gospel knows, but that hear such truth exhibited, in a

those very opposers, whom it is his cieer, perspicuous and discriminat: lot bear with and instruct, hown ing manner, their souls will be fed.

erer unreasonable, obstinate and They will love those who appear injurious they may be, are includ- to love the truth, and highly es

ed in the number of those, on teem those, who plainly and honi whom it is God's purpose yet to estly preach it, for their work's

have mercy, and to 'turn from sake. They will feel, as if they darkness to light and from the could not be sufficiently thankful power of satan unto God.' I. may to those, who in meekness instructbe added,

ed them, while they wickedly .op4. That if God ever shall be posed themselves, and who were pleased, in the riches of his sover made the happy instruments of eign grace, to give repentance to turning them from the error of those who now oppose themselves, their ways to the wisd of the they will, at once, acknowledge the just. What peace and comfort and truth. “ If God, peradventure, will joy and hope, they will experience! give them repentance, to the ac How greatly is such an event to be knowledging of the truth.” To desired : How weighty the motive, acknowledge the truth means some- 'in meekness to instruct those thing more, in this connection, that oppose themselves ; if God, than barely to assent to it. Such peradventure, will give them rean assent, or speculative belief may pentance, to the acknowledging of be produced by mere light in the the truth; and so they understanding, while the heart re themselves out of the snare of the mains as much opposed as ever. devil, who are taken captive by Such an assent amounts, at most, him, at his will.' to no more than conviction, which is not necessarily acompanied or

REFLECTIONS. followed by conversion. To ac 1. Opposition to doctrines knowledge the truth, in the sense preached, is no evidence that they of the text, is to approve of it, as are not true. It is supposed, in the right, good, consistent, amiable and text, that there might be oppositworthy of God. It is cordially to ion to the truth itself

, when preachembrace the truth, or in the lan- ed, as Paul would have Timothy

over

er

preach it. There was great oppo- biguous and unintelligible manner, sition to the doctrines of the gos- or relinquish it, as soon as they find pel, as they were preached by it excites open opposition and diPaul himself. And what is more, minishes their popularity.

But when Christ preached his own gos- should they continue to preach unpel, some thought they heard hard palatable truth, how will they sayings, and others were filled with preach it with a proper spirit, in wrath. Let the simple truth be meekness instructing those that opplainly preached, in ever so

ac- pose

themselves? Learning is neceptable words, and it will meet cessary in a minister of the gospel ; with opposition from men of cor- but genuine piety is indispensable. rupt minds, unless they are too 3. All the friends of truth have stupid to attend to it, or so thor- need of meckness. It is the duty, oughly convinced, as to be afraid not of ministers only, but of all to oppose it. Opposition to doc- Christians, to be teachers of the trines preached is, therefore, rath- truth, so far as they have ability &

sign that they are true, than opportunity. No one is exempted proof that they are false.

from the duty of contending earIt is true, that the preaching of nestly for the faith once delivered false doctrines, may excite oppo- to the saints. Private Christians, sition, on the part of those, who in their various stations and relalove the truth : and the true doc- tions, have it in their power to do trines of the gospel, may be preach- much, to enlighten the ignorant, ed in such a manner, as to give of- correct the erroneous, and silence fence to good men. Opposition, gainsayers. And if they faithfultherefore, to doctrines preached, is ly perform their duty, they will meet not infallible evidence that they are with opposition, and greatly need a true, or that those who make the op- spirit of meekness, in order to speak position, are the enemies of truth. the truth in love, and to adorn the But, on the other hand, that doc- doctrine of God our Savior in all trines preached are popular and things. excite no opposition, is commonly 4. It is as reasonable to deal suficient evidence, that they are with professors of religion for opnot the true doctrines of the gos- position to truth as for immoral pel, so clearly exhibited as to be conduct. Why ought they to be understood. Rarely, if ever, does dealt with for immorality ?a plain and discriminating preach- Doubtless, because immorality er address none but saints, who gives evidence of an impenitent love the truth, or sinners, who are heart. For the very same reason, too fast asleep or too wide awake to professors should be dealt with, feel and manifest opposition to the for opposition to truth. The humbling doctrines and holy duties chureh may, and must determine of the gospel of Christ.

what is truth; and they ought to 2. Ministers of the gospel need determine it, by the plain and into be pious, as well as learned. If fallible standard of the word of God. they are not pious, their own hearts It is as easy to ascertain what is are as much opposed to the truth, true in principle, as what is right? as the hearts of their hearers. It in practice. It is as easy to deo ay may, therefore, be expected, either fine heresy, as immorality.-that they will not preach the truth There are shades and degrees of at all, or preach it in a partial, am- both; and in dealing with their

[ocr errors]

9

[ocr errors]

1

more

ject.”

brethren for either, the church easiness. They must soon know ahould judge charitably.

But no

of it, and contemplate it reason can be assigned, why real without intermission, forever. In opposition to truth should not be eternity, they will understand and as severely censured, as open im- believe and feel the whole truth morality. Hence the apostle's in- respecting the character, decrees junction is, "An heretic, after the and agency of God, the desperate first and second admonition, re- wickedness of their own hearts,

their criminality in rejecting the 5. The condition of opposers, is gospel, and the justice of God in dangerous and alarming. They their condemnation and punishare impenitent sinners, void of ho- ment. How will they endure liness and unfit for heaven. Their such a blaze of divine truth, if enmity to Divine truth is enmity they continue to reject the counsel against God, and exposes them to of God against themselves? his wrath. Whether they will “ The keen vibrations of bright truth, ever have repentance to the ac is hell." knowledging of the truth, is altogether uncertain. If they are ever so meekly and faithfully instructed, there is only a peradven

From the Utica Repository. ture that they will ever receive DUTIES THE RESULT OF DOCTRINES. the love of the truth and be saved ; (Concluded from Vol. 1, page 565.] but if their deceived hearts turn In the former part of this essay, away their ears from hearing the it was shone that the duties enjointruth their case is hopeless. ed in the gospel are only the practi

Let such as think themselves cal result of the doctrines taught the friends of God, judge of their in the gospel ; and that every duty feelings by the truth, and not of is so connected with some docthe truth by their feelings. We trine, and so dependant upon it, shall all be judged, at the last day, by that if the doctrine should be provthe everlasting gospel. It is safe ed untrue, the corresponding duty io examine ourselves by the same would cease to be a duty and berule, now, by which we shall, come a sin. I conclude with some then, be acquitted or condemn- remarks. od.

1. It is evident from what has Let saints desire the sincere been said, that every difference milk of the word, that they may respecting doctrines must involve grow in grace, and in the knowl- a corresponding difference reedge of God our Savior. And specting duties, and every diffelet them constantly

constantly pray for rence respecting duties must inthe special influences of the Holy volve a corresponding difference Spirit to remove blindness from respecting doctrines. If I believe the hearts of sinners, and give a certain doctrine to be true, and them repentance, to the acknowl- am consistent with myself, I must edging of the truth.

also believe that I am bound to And let sinners be exhorted to re- perform as duties all those things eeire with meekness the engrafted which are the practical results of word, which is able to save their that doctrine. If another denies souls. They now know a little of that doctrine and believes the condivine truth, and it gives them an- trary doctrine to be true, and is

consistent with himself, he will be or to the Holy Ghost. The same lieve he is bound to perform as du- holds true of every doctrine and duties those things which are the op- ty of religion. Every difference reposites of what I regard as such. specting doctrines necessarily inSo also if we set out with a differ- volves in it a corresponding difference in our views of duty, consis- ence respecting duties. tency will require that we differ as 2. It is a great mistake to supwidely in our views of the corres- pose that those who difer in their ponding doctrines of which those views of the doctrines of the gosduties are the practical resu'ts. If pel can yet be agreed in their views we attempt to give reasons why we and feelings respecting its duties. think some things to be duties, It is impossible to be consistent rather than their opposites, we shall with ourselves, and yet agree in be compelled, the one to affirm, & our practical religion any further the other to deny, such doctrines or than we do in our views of the first principles as are the foundation christian doctrines.

Our practiof those duties. If we differ in our cal religion grows out of our docviews of the divine character, we trinal views, and is dependant upon must have corresponding differen- them. If we differ in the one, we ces in our views of the affections must differ also in the other.

But which we are bound to exercise yet, many seem to suppose that towards God. If I believe the doc- those who difler greatly in their trine of election and reprobation, I doctrinal views, may, notwithstandmust believe it my duty to esteem ing, be very well agreed in their and rejoice in an electing and rep- practical religion. And since it is robating sovereign, and cordially admitted that practical religion is submit myself to his entire dispo- the great and essential thing, it is sal. If another disbelieves that thought by many that the various doctrine, he must believe it is his du- denominations of professed Christy to hate and abhor such a Sover- tians might very well be all united eign, and refuse to submit himself together into one great community. to his disposal. If I believe the And, in consequence of this opindoctrine of disinterested benevo- ion, many seem to think it their lence, I must believe it my duty to duty to do all they can to promote exercise unlimited self-Jeniai. If such a union, and felicitate themanother disbelieves that doctrine, selves upon every occurrence and believes the doctrine of selfislı- which seems to indicate the apness, he must beliere it his duty 10 proach of such a consummation. be careful that he does not carry They blame those who do any his self-denial too far, and to be thing to keep up the distinctions willing to give up any good of his which have prevailed among proown without anequivalent to him- fessed Christians, and think they self. If I beljeve the doctrine of are doing God service while they the Trinity, I must believe it is my put out of the way and leave out of duty to ofter divine worsliip to the sight every thing in their doctrinal Son and to the lloly Ghost as well views in which other denominaas to the Father. If another denies tions do not agree with them.the doctrine of the Trinity, he They seem to take it for granted, must believe it would not be du- that all denominations are about ty, but an act of idolatry to join in right in their views of practical offering divine worship to the Son religion, and only differ in some

speculative matters of no practical tinomian, an Arminian, a Socinian, importance. And they are right and a Universalist, what they mean in concluding, that those things when they speak of that bring born which are matters of mere specu- again without which it is impossilation, and have no practical influ- ble to see the kingdom of God ; ence, ought not to keep Christians and let him pursue his inquiries apart. Their mistake consists in till he fully understands what ideas supposing that there are any doc- each of them com, rehends in the trines taught in the gospel, which term, and he will find that they ali are matters of mere speculation, & differ from each other in their have no practical importance, and views of the new birth, and every in concluding, without examina- one of them differs more widely tion, that all denominations are from him than any of them do from about right in their views of practi- each other. And he will also find cal religion. I say in concluding that their views of christian expethis without examination ; because rience are in exact accordance with I have no doubt, that, if those who their views of christian doctrine. understand & believe the doctrines And let him make the same inquiof the gospel, and acknowledge the ries respecting every part of pracduties which are their practical re- tical religion, and if he make sults, would carefully examine into them faithfully, and is answered the views which are entertained of honestly and intelligibly by those practical religion by those who de- of whom he makes them, he will ny those doctrines, they would find undoubtedly find that there is, in their practical views to differ as reality, no greater agreement, awidely from the truth as do their mong those who assume the christdoctrinal views. There is not, in- ian name, in their views of practideed, much disposition to inquire cal religion, than there is is their carefully into these things. Where views of christian doctrine. similar language is used, it is con 3. As it is a great mistake to supcluded that sinilar views are enter- pose that those who differ in the tained. And there are many re- views of the doctrines of the gosligious words and phrases in use a- pel can yet be agreed in their views mong all denominations, which the and feelings respecting its duties, inattentive observer, when he hears so it is a mistake which leads to used, is ready to understand ac- dangerous and fatal consequences. cording to his own use of them, It leads us to entertain and express and hence to conclude that those a favorable opinion of the piety of who use them think as he does up- those whom the bible coudemns. on those points. And perhaps It leads us to express a confidence such terms are sometimes used in the piety of those who knowingwith a design that they should be ly and cordially reject the docunderstood by each one according trines of the gospel, when the bible to his own views. But let any one speaks of such a rejection of the ask those who use such terms what Christian doctrines as a decisive evthey mean by them, and if they are idence of enmity to God and to the willing to tell, he will discover dif- gospel of his Son. By this we conferences of essential and vital im- demn the inspired writers for exportance, even where he imagines pressing such abhorrence as they there are none. Let a consistent do of error ; we encourage those and thorough Calvinist ask an An- who embrace it to trust in a lie, to

« السابقةمتابعة »