Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

“ the gift of God:” either faith, or the whole and every part of their salvation. · They be called " by God's Spirit, working in due season ; they

through grace obey the calling; they be justified • freely; they be made the sons of God by adop

tion; they be made like the image of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk reli‘giously in good works, and at length, by God's 'mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.''

Our repentance, faith, love, diligence in working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, are a part of the divine plan: they are our bounden duty; and in ordinary cases we cannot be saved without them. Thus, when the apostle had expressly in the name of God promised the company which sailed with him, that they should be preserved; he afterwards also said of the mariners. “ Except these abide in the ship ye cannot be “ saved.” 2 It was the purpose of God to save them, but in this way; he took care that the mariners should not frustrate it; and he used the declaration of his apostle as the means of doing this. Thus being “ created in Christ unto good “ works” secures our repentance, faith, diligence, and every thing accompanying salvation.

A state of possible salvation,' a salvable condition.'3

How is it that Christian divines cannot express their meaning, even on subjects of most common occurrence, without devising unscriptural terms : or the ministers of our church, without devising

"Art. xvii.

? Acts xxvii. 24-26, 31, 32. * Mr. Daubeny, Ref. 179. .

terms not found in any of our authorized writings? Is there any human being, while alive on earth, (if we except such as have committed the unpardonable sin,) who is not in a state of possible (salvation?' Is there any one, who has access to the Bible or any part of it, that is not in a salv

able condition?' We have no objection to the apostolical exhortation, “Be ye stedfast unmove“ able always abounding in the work of the Lord.” Some of us scarcely ever preach without introducing it: but it is not lest men should fall from

a state of possible salvation ;' but “as knowing “ that our labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

"“In whom (namely in Christ) ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation : in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” The order to be here noticed is this; 'first, the hearing of the word ; secondly, belief

produced by that hearing; thirdly, the communication of the Spirit in consequence of that be- lief.'2

Was there no communication of the Spirit to these persons in order to believing? Did they all without · grace obey the calling?' Grotius zealously maintained this opinion, and here even his admirer Bishop Bull saw reason to differ from him. “These things (I may remark by the way,) throw light on the observation, which so wonderfully pleased the learned Grotius, that he seized the opportunity of collecting it from al'most every passage : namely, that the Holy

[ocr errors][merged small]

Spirit, in the New Testament, is most frequently

placed after faith. This observation is true, if "it be understood concerning that most copious

effusion of conspicuous gifts, which was peculiar 'to the primitive church ; or even, concerning

that fuller measure of the Spirit, which by, and ' after, faith formed by love, believers even now

receive. In the inean time it is certain, that * some special operation of the divine Spirit al

ways precedes efficacious faith. Nor do. I beslieve, that the intention of that great man was

different; though in some places his words may seem too crudely conceived."

As his Lordship has repeatedly. conceded, that the grace of God's Spirit is needful in order to a saving faith, it is not requisite to dwell longer on this subject, for the whole argument at last would resolve itself into this, Whether the Ephesians had 'a saving faith,' that true and lively faith which

would secure salvation ;'? or had merely some kind of faith which is not lively and saving.

SECTION XII.

On Internal Feelings. St. Paul, when any of his converts fell into errors either of doctrine or of practice, endea'voured to bring them back to the truth as it is in * Jesus, by argument, and by referring them

either to the written word of God, or to the in- .

* Translated from Bp. Bull's Harmon. Apost. Diss. 2. c. xi. 9. • Ref. 54.

structions which they had received from himself. * He did not tell them to consult their own internal feelings, whether they were in the way to

heaven, but to compare their actions and opi' nions with the gospel which he had preached.

This was with him the only criterion of a saving faith.'1

I would plead in behalf in no preacher, who did not direct his people to compare both their doctrine and practice, and also the state of their hearts, with the holy scriptures, in order to learn whether they had a saving faith, or not; as well as to keep them from falling into error, or to recover them from it: that, “ proving all things” by this unerring standard, they might reject what is evil, and “hold fast that which is good.” But do not internal feelings' constitute a most essential part of the difference between the true believer, the spiritual worshipper, and the mere formalist? When our Lord thrice demanded of Peter, “ Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? ”2 Did he not tell him to consult his internal feel

ings?' Our actions and opinions' must be judged of by the word of God. And must not our affections also ? Now are not all affections internal feelings? Do sorrow for sin, remorse, shame, contrition, fear, hope, joy, love, gratitude, confidence in God, submission to him, love of the brethren, good-will to men, love to enemies, constitute no part of true religion: Are they not

internal feelings,' though, when genuine, they produce external effects. Do not the internal

Ref. 56.

* John xxi. 15--17.

feelings of the true Christian differ widely from those of the avowed enemy of Christ, the hypocrite, the impenitent, the malicious, the envious, and the selfish from the internal feelings of such as are “ hateful and hating one another?” Does not God “require truth in the inward parts ?” I and charge on some that “their inward parts were “ very wickedness ? ” Is not his law LOVE: and is not love' an internal feeling?' Is not " the fruit of “ the Spirit love, joy, peace?” And,“if any man “ have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of “his.” 2 The Psalmist, even “the man after God's “ own heart,” speaks continually of “thirsting for “ God, even for the living God;" longing, yea, “ even fainting for the courts of the Lord; 3 re- ' “joicing in God;” “ delighting in him,” and in his commandments : and he calls on others to do the same. * Our Lord pronounces those blessed, who “ hunger and thirst after righteousness, for “ their's is the kingdom of heaven.” 5 St. Paul calls on the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord “ always ; "6 and he says, “We are the circum“cision, who worship God in the Spirit, and re“ joice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in “ the fleshi."7 St. Peter thus addresses the Christians to whom he writes : « Whom having not “ seen ye love; in whom, though now .ye see him “not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeak“ able and full of glory.” 8 Are not all these “in

Ps. li. 6. Rom. viii. 9. Gal. v. 22, 23. * Ps. xlii. 1, 2. lxiii. 1. Ixxxiv. 1, 2. cxix. 14, 13). cxliii. 6. . * Ps. xxx. 11. xxxii. 11. xxxii. 1. xxxvii. 4. xciv. 19. cxii 1. cxix. 40, 111. 5 Matt. v. 6.

Phil. iv. 1,4. * Phil. iii. 3. I Pet. i. 8.

[ocr errors]
« EdellinenJatka »