Sivut kuvina

‘and holy.' That it may please thee to give us 'true repentance,' &c.2 But more particularly in the collect for Ash-Wednesday, which is appointed to be used every day in Lent: 'Almighty God' who dost forgive the sins of all them that are ' penitent, create and make in us new and con

trite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins · and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Who can heartily use these words without recollecting the prophecy or promise in Ezekiel, “I “will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, “and will give you a heart of flesh?” Again, in another part of the service for the same day, we are called on to pray, “Turn thou us, and we “ shall be turned.” Here the conversion, which is indispensibly necessary, is prayed for as the work of God. We have already considered the passages of scripture to which such requests refer; and it cannot reasonably be questioned, that they ascribe the beginning of good in us to the preventing grace of God. When any desire after good is excited, we are also taught to give the glory of it unreservedly to God; even as in prayer we are taught to begin as far back, so to speak, as possible; and to ask every thing of God, even those things which are most evidently our duty, and in which the willing mind in great degree consists. For how can we begin further back, than when we pray, ‘From all blindness of heart, '- from hardness of heart, and contempt of thy

[blocks in formation]

'word and commandment, good Lord deliver us !!! I need not say, that this whole scheme of praise and prayer is altogether scriptural.

But the subject of intercession leads us still more directly to our conclusion. In praying for themselves against “ all blindness and hardness of

heart,' men may be supposed to have a sincere desire of deliverance from it; while they experience, as well as are informed, how prone they are to it: but, in offering similar prayers for others, who at present are considered as blind and hard in heart, and despisers of the word of God, the case is far different. “O merciful God,-have

mercy upon all Jews, Turks, infidels, and here'tics, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they

may be saved.'? If the beginning must be from themselves, either wholly or in part; and if it would interfere with free will, or free agency,

for God to operate on the minds of those men, who were entirely unwilling to co-operate with him ; how could we consistently ask him to do it? Indeed, we could not properly supplicate for the conversion of our own children or near relations, while we considered them as wholly destitute of true godliness, and in the broad road to destruction. We must only pray that, when God should see them begin of themselves to be willing and desirous to return to him, and ready to co-operate with his grace; he would afford them all needful assistance: but not that he would quicken them


- Third Collect for Good Friday.

from the death of sin, open their blind eyes, change their corrupt hearts, incline their stubborn and rebellious wills, “ take away the heart of

stone, and give them a heart of flesh;" and so' “ work in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

It will hardly be said, that we are not bound to pray for these blessings, in this manner, for our nearest relations and friends; when we are so expressly commanded in scripture“ to pray for them " that despitefully use us and persecute us :” and when we are instructed to obey this command in our Litany, saying, “That it may please thee to

forgive our enemies, persecutors and slanderers, and to turn their hearts.'

It is not requisite to enlarge on this point. A liturgy, or manual of prayer, every expression in which shall be strictly Calvinistic, (as far as this publication is Calvinistic,) may be compiled ; and a great part of it, if not every clause, in the very words of scripture, and in those of our liturgy ; oniitting no one subject of prayer, intercession, or thanksgiving, of which the scripture gives us any example. Our liturgy certainly was not compiled with

any such design, nor would that have been proper, even on the supposition that the formers of it were decided Calvinists. There are, however, very few things in it, which a well informed and sober Calvinist would judge inconsistent with his principles, though the consistency may not always be obvious at the first glance. But it would be no difficult thing to render the whole evidently and strictly Calvinistic, without any material alteration or omission. Now let our opponents try, whether

they can form a liturgy or manual, including all the particulars for which we are taught in scripture to pray for ourselves and others, which shall be, in all respects, strictly, and consistently, and in every clause, Anticalvinistic.-And, as “

prayers, supplications, intercessions, and giving of thanks “ for all men,” are so essential to Christianity; it certainly is no inconsiderable circumstance in our favour, as to this argument, that the language of devotion so naturally, and almost unavoidably, at least as far as spiritual blessings are concerned, coincides with our views; while that of the Stoic, who would thank the gods, or ask the gods, for other things, but not for virtue, must inevitably straiten and damp the devotional spirit, as far as the sentiments of our opponents appear prominent in religious exercises.


On Salvation by Grace. After what has been so fully argued in the preceding sections it will not be requisite to enter largely on this subject; but merely to adduce some passages which in a measure militate against our sentiments, and to make a few remarks



It appears to me, that the word tõuto 1 refers neither to zágoti nor to widlews exclusively, but to the whole sentence, Τη γαρ χάριτί εστε σεσωσμένοι δια της πίστεως, ' and that the apostle intended to declare that sal

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

'vation by grace through faith is not derived from

man, but is the free gift of God through faith in • Christ; as he says in another place, “ The gift of 'God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our · Lord.” By the expression, " ye are saved,” St. * Paul did not mean to tell the Ephesian converts, that their salvation had actually taken place, or that it was certain ; but that they were enabled to obtain salvation.'!

If this criticism be admitted, as probably it ought to be, “ faith” must be included, as one thing spoken of, and therefore “ the gift of God.” -The general proposition, that salvation by Christ ‘is not derived from man, but is the free gift • of God through faith in Christ,' would have had no more to do with the Ephesian Christians, than with any other persons in the world. But can this accord to the context, in which the personal pronouns, we, us, ye, and you, are uniformly used

“ God who is rich in mercy, for his “ great love, wherewith he loved us even when we

were dead in sins, hath quickened us together “ with Christ, (by grace are ye saved,) and hath “raised us up together, and hath made us to sit “ together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus : that “ in the ages to come he might shew the riches of “his grace, in his kindness towards us through “ Jesus Christ. For by grace have ye been saved, “ (osowouévos,) and this not of yourselves, it is the

gift of God; not of works, lest any man should “ boast. For we are his workmanship, (wóiqua “ Rom. i. 20.) created in Christ Jesus unto good

[blocks in formation]
« EdellinenJatka »