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fies this manner of speaking? Does any of the inspired writers make use of it, even in the poetical Scriptures ? Perhaps some would answer, "Yes, the apostle Paul uses it. He says God's dear Son." I reply first, This does not reach the case: for the word which we render dear, is not here addressed to Christ at all, but only spoken of him. Therefore it is no precedent for, or justification of our addressing it to him. I reply, secondly, it is not the same word. Translated literally, the sentence runs, not his dear Son, but the Son of his love, or his Beloved Son. Therefore I still doubt, whether any of the inspired writers ever address the word either to the Father or the Son. Hence I cannot but advise all lovers of the Bible, if they use the expression at all, to use it very sparingly, seeing the Scripture affords neither command nor precedent for it. And surely "if any man speak," either in preaching or prayer, he should "speak as the Oracles of God."
10. Do we not frequently use this unscriptural expression concerning our blessed Lord, in private conversation also? And are we not then especially apt to speak of him as a mere man ? Particularly when we are describing his sufferings, how easily do we slide into this? We do well to be cautious in this matter. Here is not room for indulging a warm imagination. I have sometimes almost scrupled singing, (even in the midst of my Brother's excellent Hymn,)"That dear, disfigured face," or that glowing expression, "Drop thy warm blood upon my heart,” lest it should seem to imply the forgetting I am speaking of "the Man, that is my Fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts." Although he so "humbled himself as to take upon him the form of a servant, to be found in fashion as a man :" yea, though he "was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross:" yet let it ever be remembered, that "he thought it not robbery to be equal with God." And let our hearts still cry out," Thou art exceeding glorious: thou art clothed with majesty and honour."
11. Perhaps some may be afraid, lest the refraining from
these warm expressions, or even gently checking them, should check the fervour of our devotion. It is very possible it may check, or even prevent some kind of fervour, which has passed for devotion. Possibly it may prevent loud shouting, horrid, unnatural screaming, repeating the same words twenty or thirty times, jumping two or three feet high, and throwing about the arms or legs, both of men and women, in a manner shocking not only to religion, but to common decency.-But it will never check, much less prevent, true scriptural devotion. It will rather enliven the prayer that is properly addressed to Him, who, though he was very man, yet was very God. Who, though he was born of a woman to redeem man, yet was God from everlasting and world without end.
12. And let it not be thought, that the "knowing Christ after the flesh," the considering him as a mere man, and in consequence, using such language in public as well as private, as is suitable to those conceptions of him, is a thing of a purely indifferent nature, or however of no great moment. On the contrary, the using this improper familiarity with God our Creator, our Redeemer, our Governor, is naturally productive of very evil fruits. And that not only in those that speak, but also to those that hear them. It has a direct tendency to abate that tender reverence due to the Lord their Governor. It insensibly damps
"That speechless awe, which dares not move,
It is impossible we should accustom ourselves to this odious and indecent familiarity with our Maker, while we preserve in our minds a lively sense of what is painted so strongly in those solemn lines,
"Dark with excessive bright, his skirts appear,
Yet dazzle heaven, that brightest Seraphim Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes." 13. Now, would not every sober Christian sincerely desire, constantly to experience such a love to his Redeemer, (seeing he is God as well as man,) as is mixed with angelic
fear? Is it not this very temper which good Dr. Watts so well expresses in those lines,
"Thy mercy never shall remove
From men of heart sincere:
Thou sav'st the souls, whose humble love
Is join'd with holy fear."
14. Not that I would recommend a cold, dead, formal prayer, out of which both love and desire, hope and fear, are excluded. Such seems to have been "the calm and undisturbed method of prayer," so strongly recommended by the late Bishop Hoadly, which occasioned for some years so violent a contest in the religious world. Is it not probable, that the well-meaning Bishop had met with some of the Mystics or Quietists, (such as Madam Guion, or the Archbishop of Cambray,) and that having no experience of these things, he patched together a theory of his own, as nearly resembling theirs as he could? But it is certain, nothing is farther from apathy than real, scriptural devotion. It excites, exercises, and gives full scope to all our nobler passions; and excludes none but those that are wild, irrational, and beneath the dignity of man.
15. But how then can we account for this, that so many holy men, men of truly elevated affections, not excepting pious Kempis himself, have so frequently used this manner of speaking, these fondling kind of expressions? Since we cannot doubt but they are truly pious men? It is allowed they were; but we do not allow that their judgment was equal to their piety. And hence it was that their really good affections a little exceeded the bounds of reason, and led them into a manner of speaking, not authorized by the Oracles of God. And surely these are the true standard, both of our affections and our language. But did ever any of the holy men of old speak thus, either in the Old or in the New Testament? Did Daniel, the man greatly beloved, ever thus express himself to God? Or did " the disciple whom Jesus loved," and who doubtless loved his Master with the strongest affection, leave us an example of addressing him thus? Even when he was on the verge of glory? Even
then his concluding words were not fond, but solemn, Come, Lord Jesus!
16. The sum of all is, “We are to "honour the Son even as we honour the Father." We are to pay Him the same worship as we pay to the Father. We are to love him with all our heart and soul: and to consecrate all we have and are, all we think, speak, and do, to the THree-One GOD, Father, Son, and Spirit, world without end!
Plymouth-Dock, August 15, 1789,
ON, A SINGLE EYE, &c.
MATTHEW VI. 22, 23.
"If thine Eye be single, thy whole Body shall be full of Light: but if thine Eye be evil, thy whole Body shall be full of Darkness. Therefore, if the Light that is in thee be Darkness, how great is that Darkness!”
1. "SIMPLICITY and Purity," says a devout man, are the two wings that lift the soul up to heaven: simplicity, which is in the intention, and purity, which is in the affections." The former of these, that great and good man Bishop Taylor, recommends with much earnestness, in the beginning of his excellent book, Rules for Holy Living and Dying. He sets out with insisting upon this, as the very first point in true religion, and warns us, that without this, all our endeavours after it, will be vain and ineffectual. The same truth, that strong and elegant writer, Mr. Law, earnestly presses in his Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life: A treatise which will hardly be excelled, if it be equalled, in the English tongue, either for beauty of expression, or for justness and depth of thought. And who can censure any follower of Christ, for laying ever so great stress on this point, that considers the manner wherein our Master recommends it, in the words above recited?
2. Let us attentively consider this whole passage, as it may be literally translated. The eye is the lamp of the body. And what the eye is to the body, the intention is to the soul.