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communion with Christ and insight into his mysteries, the more tranquillity under occasional spiritual desertions, the more hope and joy and peace, in our daily course. Hence it is that we are exhorted to “grow in “ grace,” to “press forward” to more exalted attainments, to be more and more “ transformed into the 56 image of God;" that we may here live fully under the privileges and immunities of men truly free; and in due time obtain a larger portion of that “ blessing 66 of the dead who die in the Lord, who rest from their 56 labours, and their works do follow them.” (0)
I cannot close this letter without adverting to the supposed collision of sentiments between the apostles Paul and James, as to the matter of justification. Yet it is simply necessary to remark that these two writers were treating of different topics, and for the benefit of persons of different characters and views. « The 66 errors of the unbelieving Jews consisting much in 66 denying justification to be by Christ and faith in 66 him, and in placing it in their own works of circum6 cising, sacrificing, and other Mosaical observations. “ And St. Paul, designing, in some of his epistles, to “ antidote the Christians against the infection of them, 66 and to establish them in the saving doctrine of the 56 Gospel, was led of course to bend his discourse in “ great part against justification by works of the law; “ and, on the contrary, to assert it to be by faith in 56 Christ, in his death, and in his doctrine, without 6 those works. Whereas St. James, having to do in “ his epistle, with such as professed the Christian faith,
(0) Rev. xiv. 13.
“ and justification by it; but erring dangerously about “ the nature of faith, as justifying, thinking that opini“ ative faith would save them, though destitute of a 66 real change in the moral frame and constitution of “ their souls, and of a holy life: Hereupon it became “ in a manner as necessary for him to plead the reno“ vation of man's nature and evangelical obedience, as “ it was for St. Paul to contend for justification by “ faith without the deeds of the law. And therefore, “ though their doctrines did in this respect differ, yet “ they did not differ as truth differs from error, nor as “ opposites, but as one truth differs from another.” (p)
On the whole you will now, I trust, perceive in what way it is that “ faith establishes the law," and that those who reject the mode of justification by faith do in reality 6 make void the law.” You will see, too, that there is no erecting a system of justification through the conjoined efficacy of faith and works. Your submission to the way of God's appointment must be complete without reservation, or self-dependance. “ By “grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of “ yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest “ any man should boast:" yet, on the other hand, it is not without holiness; for “ without holiness no “ man shall see the Lord.” (9) Be careful, then, my friend, that your faith be genuine and efficacious, that it “ work by love,” that it “purify the heart,” that it “ preserve from temptation,” that it overcome the “ world,” that it cherish humility, watchfulness, and
(p) Discourse on the two Covenants, 1673, p. 140. See also Hooker ou Justification, 6, 20, 21.
(9) Heb. xii, 14.
self-examination. “ For if a man think himself to “ be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth him“ self. But let every man try his own work; and “ then he will have glorying in himself alone, and not 6 in another.” “ Be not deceived, God is not de“ luded; for whatsoever a man soweth, that he will “ reap also. For he who soweth to his flesh, from the “flesh will reap destruction : but he who soweth to “ the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap everlasting life. 6. And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due 6 time we shall reap, if we faint not.” (r)
(r) Gal. vi. 39.
· ALTHOUGH great confusion and uncertainty were evinced in the notions both of the vulgar and the philosophic' ancient Pagans, with regard to the unceasing superintending providence of one or more superior beings; yet there were but few among them that positively and constantly denied that doctrine in every sense. Several of them doubted it in some of their speculations ; others fancied that the Deity by intermeddling with human concerns would degrade and pollute himself; but scarcely any of them ridiculed the notion, while some reasoned forcibly in favour of it, and derived from it consolation and delight. Thus Thales of Miletus taught that the world was the work of God, and that God sees and directs the most secret thoughts in the heart of man. Simplicius, the celebrated commentator on Aristotle, argued that if God do not look to the affairs of the world, it is either because he cannot, or will not: the first (said he is absurd, since to govern cannot be difficult, where to create was easy; and the latter is most absurd and blasphemous. Theon, of Alexandria, taught that a full persuasion of God's seeing every thing we do is the strongest incentive to virtue ; and represented this belief concerning the Deity as productive of the greatest pleasure imaginable, especially to the virtuous, who might depend with
the greater confidence on the favour and protection of Providence: he recommended nothing so much as meditation on the presence of God; and he advised the civil magistrate, by way of restraint on such as were profane and wicked, to place in large characters at the corner of every street, this inscription—GOD SEES THEE, O SINNER! That great heathen emperor and philosopher, Marcus Antoninus, fully persuaded of the existence and government of God, maintained that the best thing for a man is that which God sends him, and the best time that when he sends it; and so far was he from adopting the comfortless system now propagated by many professing Christians, as well as infidels, that notwithstanding he governed the greatest of all empires in the deepest calm, and commanded all the enjoyments that splendour, wealth, and regal dignity, could furnish, even to a well-ordered mind, he still exclaimed, • What would it concern ME to live in a world void of 6 God and without PROVIDENCE !”
How lamentable is the contrast between the sentiments of these heathens, immersed as they were in the grossest ignorance as to the fundamentals of religious truth, and those of the many who, though enjoying the full blaze of scientific and religious knowledge in a Christian country, ridicule this consoling doctrine. How strange, that while, conformably with the wise observation of Lord Bacon, “it is heaven upon earth “ to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in provi" dence, and turn upon the poles of truth,” (s) there should be found men of ingenuity and literature, who .. (0) Lord Bacon's Essay on Truth.