« AnteriorContinuar »
zealous and confident professions make sinners understand any of of experimental piety.” And they the primary truths or duties of the were able effectually to guard their gospel, or refute the objections of people against the deceit, sophis-skepticks and infidels. try and cunning craftiness of In view of the foregoing reevery description of errorists who marks we may see that the heathlie in wait to deceive. But since en nations may be justly turned so many young men have devoted into hell, and all those who fortheir attention almost exclusively get God. One of the most poputo the study of oriental literature, lar objections against sending ibe biblical criticism, sacred rhetor gospel to the heathen is, that they ick and history, to the compara- are in a safe condition without it tive neglect of the primary and And the reason which is commonleading principles of natural thely given, is because it would be ology, what rapid advances have unjust to send those to hell who error, and infidelity made in our have never seen the revealed will land. In what darkness and con- of God, nor rejected the Son of fusion are the minds of the great- his love. It is undoubtedly true est part of mankind enveloped on that the heathen nations will the subject of the primary truths never be punished for rejecting a of the gospel! Was it ever more Saviour and the offers of pardon necessary for those who are set which are presented through him. for the defence of the gospel to They may not be punished for reason from facts, and the self- not keeping the Sabbath day holy, evident maxims of natural theol- which is a positive divine institu. ogy, in the defence of the leading tion; or for not commemorating truths of revelation ? It is impos- the death of Christ. But the sible for any to preach the duties scriptures no where represent the of the gospel, so as to be under-condition of the heathen as a safe stood by sinners, without explain condition. David was inspired by ing and enforcing its first princi- the Holy Spirit to say, ples. A person may as well at- wicked shall be turned into hell, tempt to teach mathematics, with with all the nations that forget out understanding the first princi. God.”—Paul said, “as many as ples of arithmetic, as to preach | have sinned without law shall also the gospel intelligibly without un perish without law." And in derstanding and inculcating the another place he represents the eternal purposes, universal agency heathen nations as totally without and impartial benevolence of God, excuse for not acknowledging and from which it originated. Those worshipping the true God, and as who “assume human nature in exposed to his wrath “ who will its state of deep and awful de- render to every man according to pravity,” and suppose the scheme his deeds.” And in view of this of redemption was invented 'mere subject it is easy to see the recti. ly to remedy the evils which were tule of God in condemning and occasioned by the apostacy of punishing all those who have sinmankind, have no correct know. ned without law. ledge of the gospel, and can never It is just, because " that which represent a single truth or duty may be known of God is manifest in its proper light. Those who in them, for God hath showed it go no further back, but are thus unto them, For the invisible constantly swimming along the things of him from the creation of gurface of theology, can
the world are clearly scen, being
understood by the things that are and turn them into your service, made, even his eternal power
and but you cannot change the nature Godhead.” The book of nature of moral actions, and make selfish is open for all to read, and all affections right. The natural and men have a conscience too which moral perfections of God, which 6 bears witness,” and teaches appear from his works, bind all them that supreme love to God his dependent intelligent creaand equal love to man is the duty tures to love him supremely and of all mankind, and that selfish- submit unconditionally to his will. ness is wrong and ought to be If you put off the fear and service avoided. It is owing to the blind- of God, restrain prayer, and harness of their hearts, that mankind den your hearts in sin, you are are so ignorant of God and them only treasuring up wrath against selves, rather than to a want of the day of wrath and adding to the means of knowledge.
that load of guilt which will sink Finally, in view of this subject, you under the condemnation of let pot sinners in this land, so fa- the righteous law of God, and voured with the means of light and your own consciences, forever knowledge, deceive themselves, and ever. You are now placed nor harden their hearts. Nothing between two vast eternities of but pure disinterested benevo- happiness and woe.
You are, lence can essentially distinguish therefore, of all the creatures of one man from another, or fit a God, in the most critical, serious, person for the enjoyment of a holy and solemn situation.
. Your God who abhors all sin, and the everlasting destiny is suspended society of holy men who loathe upon the slender thread of life, and abhor themselves for all their the continuance of which for selfish affections. Nothing short another day is uncertain. But ! of this can ever gain the final ap- how incalculably interesting and probation of your own conscien- momentous is the condition of ces; without which your existence those persons who have long harwill prove a curse to you instead dened their hearts and shut their of a blessing.
eyes against the united and effulIt is as foolish as it is criminal gent blaze of divine truth, emitted for any person to shut his eyes through the medium of the book against the self-denying truths of nature and revelation ? If the and duties of the gospel which are heathen nations are without exmanifest from every object in na- cuse for living in sin, how aggrature, as well as through the me- vated must be your condemnation! dium of divine revelation. If you How insupportable must be your succeed in deceiving yourselves reflections through eternity? Be and others, death will very soon entreated, then, to change your put a final end to your deception, selfish, vile affections, for those and leave you in utter disappoint which are benevolent, and thus ment and eternal despair. If prepare yourselves for a happy you sincerely embrace any selfish immortality. This you must do scheme of religion and fortify or sink forever under the just yourselves in it ever so strongly, punishment of your aggravated it will avail you nothing.
S, C. You may wrest the scriptures.
FOR THE HOPKINSIAN MAGAZINE. and they that are upright in the
way, are his delight. But, when
any of his intelligent creatures In your No. for July, p. 450, your transgress his law and rebel against Correspondent, IGNOSCENDOS, proposes several questions, on the subject of For his government, while He still giveness of Injuries. Viewing the sub values their interest, and feels a ject, as he does, to be very important, benevolent regard to their welfare, I bave waited for some abler pen, than mine, to discuss it in such a manner, as He ceases to take delight in their
! your Correspondent desires. I now send characters and feels a disposition you the following thoughts, which you to punish them for their iniquities. may publish, if you have received noth. Hence forgiveness, as exercised ing better on the subject. Yours, by the Sovereign of the universe,
respects both the punishment ON FORGIVENESS OF INJURIES, which sinners deserve, and the
I shall endeavour to answer the feelings which He has towards questions of Ignoscendus, in the them. When God forgives, He order, in which he thus clearly and remits the penalty of his law, and properly states them:
renewedly feels complacency to"1. What is it to forgive? wards his offending creature. 2. W'hom are we bound to for
Men ought to be the children give?
of their Father who is in heaven.! 3. When are we bound to for- Holiness is essentially the same in ! give them
God and in rational creatures. 4, To what extent? And, Every holy exercise in men, is a
5. Why must we forgive them, branch or modification of disinterin order to be forgiven of God?" ested love, and of the same nature
I. The first question to be con with the benevolence of God. sidered, is, “ What is it to for- Forgiveness, as exercised by give?"
men towards each other, is similar Forgiveness, as it is expressed to that, which God exercises toby our Heavenly Father towards wards his sinful creatures. It his offending creatures, includes implies, two things, a remission of the pun- First. A remission of the penalishment, which they deserve, and ty, which one has incurred by his which He has threatened to inflict, offences. Though men have not and a renewal of the exercise of the same authority over each othcomplacency towards them, upon er, which God has over all; yet, their return to their duty. God in various instances, they have exercises benevolence, or disinter- more or less authority over one 1 ested love, towards all the intelli- another, and have a right to inflict gent creatures, whom He has made. punishment upon one another for He ever feels perfect good will to their ofences and crimes. A pawards them and values and desires rent has a right to panislı his chilthe happiness of each one, in itself dren; a master has a right to punconsidered, in exact proportion to ish his servant; and a ruler has a its worth. He is good unto all.' right to punish his subject. And While his intelligent creatures feel when a parent forgives his child, a and conduct as they ought, and as master his servant, or a ruler his his holy law requires, God takes subject; he remits, or forbears to delight in them, and loves them infict the punishment deserved. with the love of complacency: In those cases, in wbich mea This is the peculiar sense, in which have no authority over each other; the Lord loveth the righteous- l it is doubtless proper to treat those
who injure us in person, name, or, to forgive. '
to forgive. What evidence is estate, differently from those who there, that we are bound to forgive have always used us well. It is those, whom God does not proper and right to express a Whenever our fellow-men trespass marked disapprobation of those against us, they also sin against who abuse us, to seek redress by God. And unless God forgives lawful means, for the injuries they them; why should it be our duty
have done us, and, in some in- to forgive them? Have we any instances, to endeavour to procure right to forgive those, whom God
their condigt punishment by law does not forgive? Not unless it is ful authority. Forgiveness im- right for us to express our approplies a discontinuance of this se- bation of those with whom God is verity towards such as have offend- angry; and to take complacency ed and injured us. But, forgive in those, whom the Lord abhors. ness implies more than merely this But, in this, as well as in other change of external conduct to- respects, we ought to be “followwards offenders. It implies, ers of God as dear children.' It
Second. The renewed exercise is manifest, that God does not of complacency towards those who forgive all
, who by trespassing have trespassed against us. When against their fellow-creatures, sin others injare and abuse us, though against Himself. we ought not to feel ill will, or re
How, then, shall we discrimivenge towards them, yet we ought nate between those, whom we to feel disapprobation and dis- ought to forgive, and those, whom placence. But, when we forgive we ought not? Our Lord furnishes them, we cease to feel this displa- the answer, Matth. xviii. 35. “So cence; we receive them again to likewise shall my heavenly Father our esteem and affection; and re
do also unto you,
ye newedly exercise towards them hearts forgive not every man his the love of complacence. This is what our Lord calls (Matth. xvii.
BROTHER their trespasses.” This
our Lord said in answer to Peter's This is the principal part of that question, “ Lord, how oft shall
my BROTHER sin against me, and forgiveness, which he requires us
I forgive him?" It is those only, to exercise, and, without which whom we may and ought to esteem He assures us, we shall not be
brethren in Christ, that we are forgiven.
bound to forgive, when they have The next question is,
But are II. Whom are we bound to fór trespassed against us.
we bound, at all times, to forgive give?
our Christian brethren, as soon as Some seem to imagine, that we they commit a fault? This ques. are bound to forgive all, who in tion is near akin to the next any way trespass against us. But
asked by Ignoscendus; to which I is this correct? It is not found
now proceed : that our Lord any where commands us to forgive every person; forgive them P”
III. “When are we bound to
, who is guilty of an offence. It is forgive them p" true, He says in one place, Without controversy, it will be “ If ye forgive not men 'their admitted, that we ought always trespasses, beither will your Fath- to feel a forgiving spirit, i. e. a er forgive your trespasses.” But, benevolent spirit. Forgiveness, it appears from other passages, so far as respects the heart, is a that it is only men' of a certain branch of that disinterested love, description, wbom we are bound which fulfils the law, and which
we ought always to exercise to his offences are often repeated ; wards God and man.
we must, nevertheless forgive him; But, how can we be under ob if he confesses them and asks ligation to forgive our brethren, forgiveness.
* If he trespass while they continue insensible of against thee seven times in a day, their faults, or presume to justify and seven times in a day turn them, or persist in the 'repetition again to thee, saying, I repent; of them God does not forgive thou shalt forgive him.” Luke, them, while they pursue this xvii. 4. And again we read, course; and why should we? How Matthew xviii. 21, 22, •• Then can we forgive them, while re- came Peter to him, and said, Lord, maining in their trespasses, if how often shall my brother sin forgiveness, as we have seen, against me, and I forgive him ? implies complacency and cordial Until seven times ? Jesus saith esteein? Our Lord does not require unto him, I say not unto thee, unsuch inconsistency.
til seven times; but, until sevenIt is only when our brethren, ty times seven.' who have trespased against us, We come now to the last ques. manifest repentance for what they tion proposed, viz. have done, that we
V. "Why must we forgive our to forgive them. Accordingly, repenting brother, in order to obour Lord and Master says (Luke tain forgiveness of our heavenly xvii. 3) “ If thy brother trespass Father?" against thee, rebuke him; and if In reply to this question, It be repent, forgive him.”
may be observed, A brother, who has trespassed, 1. That in order to obtain forgives evidence of repentance, giveness of God, we must exercise when he appears sensible of his repentance for sin, Repentance sin, is willing to confess his is the indispensible condition of faults as publickly as they were pardon. “Except ye repent, said committed, and does all in his Christ, ye shall perish.” The power to repair the injury, he has exhortation of the Apostles, is done. Until he does this, he does Repent and be converted, that
“ pot act the part of a brother, and
may be blotted out." we are not bound to receive and
2. Repentance is a holy exertreat him as such. Until he does cise of heart. That is but a false this, after suitable admonition, and counterfeit repentance, which we are to treat him as a heathen consists in selfish sorrow for the man, and a publican. But, when a evil and bitter consequences of trespassing brother gives signs of sin, or for the Divine purpose and repentance; it becomes a question, agency which brought it into the
IV. To what extent we ought world. The sorrow, comprised to forgive himp
in true repentance, is godly sorThe answer to this question row, such as follows from su. may be short.
Our forgiveness preme love to God, approbation of ought to keep pace with his sigus his law and reconciliation to his of repentance. There are no justice. The true penitent hates limits to be set, either as to de- | sin itself, and loathes himself on gree or number.
Whether the account of it. Disinterested love offences of the offending brother, is the essence of repentance as it be small or great ; we must for- is of faith, and of every other give him; if he exhibits evidence Christian
grace. of genuine repentance. And if