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In fact, our preparations should, be such that when we come into;
public, neither ourselves nor others should be taken up with our
manner, but with the great truths.
which are brought to view: As it has sometimes been remarked of style, that the most perfect of all is like the crystal of a watch, which shows the figures within, but does not show itself. Othen that clear sense, and strong sense, of divine truths and their interesting nature, that shall carry us to this, and whatever else in manner goes to convince, to move, and to persuade 1 " . " " - - Indulge me in a hint or tw more. While we hold up human depravity and guilt in their full extent, let us not do it as those who think themselves out of the question ; but as remembering with deep abasement, that “we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, hateful,” &c." That so in time past we walked, &c.; And still need mercy, for the sin which dwelleth in us ;t and should therefore never exalt ourselves in pride, over those who have not obtained mercy. When we reprove others, let it be in a decided, but still in a kind of broken-hearted manner, which shews that we do not forget our own numerous failings. And when we excite our brethren to their duty, let it appear that we wish to stir up ourselves likewise. Perhaps there is not a more unamiable part in the whole character of the Scribes and Pharisees, as drawn by our Master, than this ; “They bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on * Tit. iii. 3.
men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” I have hinted heretofore the importance of preaching the grace of heaven with a gracious air and manner. On the other hand, when the terrors of the Lord are brought to view, this likewise is to “persuade men;” and must therefore be done with mingled solemnity and compassion. I have heard of thundering preachers : But he who would make sinners tremble, let him tremble himself: Not indeed, with a slavish dread ; but with sacred awe. As those among men display the most of true dignity, who show the profoundest reverence of a God above ; so in this case, they speak with the most authority and power, who speak with the clearest reverence and godly fear. On the whole, it deserves the inquiry of Christian philosophers, by what means the most interesting preachers, whom the world has known, became so impressive. They preached Christ crucified, and all those interesting truths, which the doctrine of the cross combines. And they did it in great simplicity ; not attempting to dazzle by the splendour of philosophy, or of fine address. They had that kind of eloquence, which a strong sense of divine things, and a deep concern for their fellow immortals naturally produced. These gave an expression to their countenances, their tones of voice, air, actions, and whole Inanner; and that expression impressed others. Their concern for the
From a Manuscript by the late Rev. Dr. joseph Bellamy.
1. WRoNG sentiments, in moral matters, are criminal, as well as wrong actions. To think iH of God's real moral character is criminal, as well as to make another God of a different moral character to suit our own hearts. I!'hen the Gentiles knew God, they glorified him not as God—they did not like to retain God in their nowledge. Hence they made to themselves gods, such as they liked ; and these they glorified, builded temples to their honour, and offered sacrifices to them with pleasure. And had the Israelites liked the moral character of their God, instead of adopting, they would have despised the worthless gods of their neighbours: Rom. i. 21–28 ; Jer, ii. 5–13. And as the Jews hated the light of the real moral character of their God, so they hated Jesus, who exhibited it to their view ; Joh. iii. 19. & vii. 7. & viii. 40–45. & xv. 20–24. And as the Christian nations did not receive the truth in the love of it, but had fileasure in unrighteousness, this prepared them to
believe a lie, i. e. all the errors of the apostate church of Rome; 2 Thes. ii. Hatred of true morality, is the real source of all persecution ; Matt. v. 10, 11, 12. 2. All the objections of the human heart against revealed religion originate from dislike to natural religion ; Rom. viii. 7, 8, 9. He that loves true morality, will love true Christianity, as soon as he knows it. He that loves the moral law, will love the gospel of Christ. Every honest man will be a Christian, as soon as he hears the word, and understands it ; Luke viii. 15. ; Joh. vii. 17. ; 1 Joh. v. 1. He, who loves the Father, will love his own Son, his express image; Joh. viii. 42. 3. The enemies of Jesus, who hated him with a mortal hatred, alleged a variety of things against him, to keep themselves in countenance ; but our Saviour, who was intimately acquainted with the whole affair, and even knew their very hearts, intimated privately to his brethren according to the flesh, who at that time took sides with his enemies, what was the real cause, and the original foundation of all this illwill towards him. John vii. 7. The world cannot hate you, (as you think and feel as they do); #xt me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.—Even so hath it happened ever since, that though those in Christendom, who have hated and persecuted the true followers of Christ, rejected the true scheme of religion, and invented other schemes to suit their various tastes ; have at all times alleged a great variety of reasons to justify themselves: Yet as Jesus was hated, so real Christianity hath always been hated, because it testifies of the world, that the works thereof are evil. This was the true secret then, and it hath been the true secret ever since ; although, then, Christ Jesus himself was pub. Hicly so odious, that those who Inurdered him, and killed his followers, thought they did God service, and were promoting the cause of morality ; and although it hath frequently been so in ages since. If they fiersecute me, they will also fiersecute you : he that hateth me, hateth my Father also. Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake; Matt. v. 10. Or, which is the same, for my sake : v. 11. And this hath been the real ground of all persecution : for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you ; verse 12. 4. Right sentiments concerning the moral character of God, and concerning the moral law, morality, moral obligation, Indral agency ; all which belong to natural religion, would prepare us to receive and entertain right Vol. III. No. 2.
sentiments concerning the whole system of revealed religion; and if all our prejudices against natural religion were removed, we should have no prejudices left against revealed religion. To be more particular :
5. The real moral character of God, the knowledge of which was lost among the nations of the earth, but is now brought to light in the sacred writings, were it understood and cordially viewed as an absolutely perfect character, would soon convince us that God is fit to sit at the head of the universe, and decree and conduct according to the good pleasure of his will; and all our objections against his eternal decrees and universal firovidence, would in effect vanish at once, and we should begin to sing, as in Psalm xcvii. 1. The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice. And
6. Right sentiments of the moral law ; of true morality ; of the nature, extent, and excellence of all that duty which God requireth of man, and of our obligations to yield all that love and obedience which is required of us, together with a feeling that we in fact are moral agents with respect to the whole of that love and duty which is required ; would at once prepare us to make a right estimate of the nature and degree of our moral depravity, and of our guilt and ill desert, and of our need of that Redeemer and Sanctifier, and of that pardoning mercy and sancti" fying grace, revealed in the gospel; and dispose us with candour to understand scripture words and phrases relative to those subjects, and answer a thousand objections which otherwise will fill our minds.
Christ; of justification by free grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, &c. &c. &c. But, 8. So long as we differ in our sentiments concerning morality, moral obligation, what qualifications are necessary to constitute a moral agent; i.e. in effect, concerning the moral character of God, and of man ; we shall not very readily agree in our understanding of any written revelation relative to these matters, let the revelation be ever so full, or ever so plain. Since the increase of learning in Europe, religious disputes have increased, and the number of heretics and infidels greatly multiplied; as if, in proportion to light externally exhibited, the internal vices of the human mind were the more alarmed. The true reason we find in Rom. viii. 7, 8.; John iii. 19.9. If we are not bound by the divine law, any farther than our inclination corresponds ; then Pharaoh was not bound to let Israel go, notwithstanding the express cominand of the Al
mighty; and not the divine law, but every man’s inclination, becomes the rule of his duty in all cases whatsoever." worthiness of the Deity doth not infinitely oblige us to love and obey him, then sin is not an infinite evil ; and an atonement of infinite value, in order to our
pardon, is not needed, if any at'
all ; nor is a Saviour of infinite dignity requisite ; nor will the doctrines of the divinity and satisfaction of Christ, and the eternity of hell torments, be readily believed, how plainly soever revealed. The fiassions justify themselves ; and if the feelings of each man's heart ought to be the rule of duty to each man, then it will come to pass, that every way of each man will be right in his own eyes ; and the whole need not a fibysician. And in these views, and with these feelings, men will not readily understand the Bible, or believe it to contain a revelation from heaven ; and it must be entirely new modeled or totally rejected. 10. When once the Bible is rejected by men, because they do not like to retain God in their knowledge, a new god will be formed, who will approve, a new system of morality invented, which will justify the moral character of man, without any need at all of any redeemer, or any sanctifier : and it may now even be said, that any atonement for sin, besides what the sinner himself can make, is inconsistent with the moral character of God; and that any sanctifier whatsoever, is inconsistent with the character of man, as a moral agent. ll. Miracles, they will say, are of no use to prove what by
If the infinite
their reason they know to be false. Natural religion is the only religion God ever gave to man; and it is sufficient to secure the welfare of every man, both here and hereafter.
12. Thus, having rejected the true God, and the true morality, from disaffection to both, and framed a system of religion to suit their hearts, they cry peace, peace to themselves, until sudden destruction cometh upon them.
PRINCE EUGENE’s PRAYER.
O God, I believe in thee: do thou strengthen my belief. I hope in thee: do thou confirm my hope. I love thee : vouchsafe to redouble my love. I am sorry for my sins: O increase my repentance. I adore thee as my first principle ; I desire thee as my last end : I thank thee as my perpetual benefactor; I call upon thee as my supreme defender. My God! be pleased to guide me by thy wisdom, rule me by thy justice, comfort me by thy mercy, and keep me by thy power. To thee I dedicate all my thoughts, words and actions, that henceforth I may think of thee, speak of thee, act according to thy will, and suffer for thy sake. Lord, my will is subject to thine, whatever thou willest, because it is thy will. I beseech thee to enlighten my understanding, to give bounds to my will, to purify my body, to sanctify my soul. Enable me, O my God, to reform my past offences, to conquer my future temptations, to reduce the passions that are too strong for me, and to practise the virtues that become me. O
fill my heart with a tender remembrance of thy favours, an aversion for my infirmities, a love for my neighbour, and a contempt for the world. Let me also remember to be submissive to my superiors, charitable to my enemies, faithful to my friends, and indulgent to my inferiors. O God! help me to overcome Pleasure by mortification; covetousness by alms; anger by meekness; and lukewarmness by devotion. O my God make me prudent in undertakings, courageous in danger, patient under disappointment, and humble in success. Let me never forget, O Lord, to be fervent in prayer, temperate in food, exact in my employ, and constant in my resolutions. Inspire me, O Lord, with a desire to have a quiet conscience, an outward as well as inward modesty, an edifying conversation, and a regular conduct. Let me always apply myself to resist nature, to cherish grace, to keep thy commands, and to become meet for heaven. My God I do thou convince me of the meanness of the earth, the greatness of heaven, the shortness of time, and the length of eternity. Grant that I may be prepared for death, that I may fear thy judgment, avoid heli, and obtain paradise, for the sake and merits of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Aluen.
A LE TTER FROM JOHN CALVIN TO I, AEL i u s soci NUs.
You need not wait for my answer to those monstrous questions which you propose to me. If you are inclined to indulge in