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4. Bid a final adieu to vain and carnal companions, to all sinful and carnal pleasures and pastimes, and to every known. sin ; all which tend to stupify the heart. And by reading, meditation, and prayer, endeavour with all your might to obtain a realizing sense of your true character and state. Cast yourself at the foot of sovereign grace, and cry with the blind man, Lord, that I might receive my sight! “ That I may see fore the fall, and so a good law for an innocent, holy creature, yet is too rigordus for a fallen world. And therefore imagine, that Christ died to purchase an abatement, and to bring it down to a level with our present weakness. But if the law was too severe, the justice of the divine nature would have moved the governor of the world to have made all proper abatements ; nor was the death of Christ needful in the case. Surely Christ need not die, merely to get justice done us.
Some seem to look upon God the Father, as all made up of wrath, the sinner's enemy: and on God the Son, as all made up of love, the sinner's friend ; and imagine he died to assuage his father's anger, and move his compassions towards poor sinners : and so they love Christ, while they hate God and his law. But this is all a mere chimera. The Father is as full of love and goodness as the Son. The Son is as holy and just, as great a friend to the law, and as great an enemy to sin, as the Father. They are both of one heart. Yea, they are both one God. John x. 30.
Some seem to resolve the whole of God's law and government, and the death of Christ, into the mere arbitrary will of God : as though the whole were not the result of wisdom, of infinite wisdom, but rather of mere arbitrary will. But it does not appear by Scripture, or otherwise, that the infinitely wise God ever determines any thing without reason, or does any thing but what is wise for him to do. But rather the whole of divine revelation joins to confirm the truth of St. Paul's observation, that God worketh all things after the COUNSEL of his own will. Eph. i. 11. All his perfections, if I may so speak, sit in council: and all his decrees and works are the result of infinite holiness, justice, and goodness, directed by infinite wisdom.
There is but one way to solve the difficulty ; there is but one thing can ever satisfy our hearts. A sight of the glory of the God of glory, will open to view the grounds and reasons of the law, and convince us that it is holy, just, and good, glorious, and amiable, and worthy to be kept in credit, to be magnified and made honourable, by the obedience and death of the Son of God. But, then, if the law is good, we who have broke it, are not fit to live. Death is our due. The Judge of all the earth cannot but do right. His nature, law, and honour, call aloud for our destruction. He cannot be just, if he does not destroy us. It will bring everlasting reproach upon his government, to spare us, considered merely as in ourselves. When this is felt in our hearts, then, and not till then, shall we feel our need of Christ, and be prepared to look to the free grace of God through the redemption that is in Christ, and to exercise faith in his blood, who was set forth to be a propitiation, to declare God's righteousness, that he might be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.
reado cundemned ferikr ever
glorious and d
***.22 shar I deserve, what I need ; and the
** tuschet, by free grace through Jesus Christ." good, unles
**** nV Gur not trust in your own doings to re
a dirine favour, nor be encouraged from
new to hope for mercy, constantly remember,
..Bielaw, which you are under, requires that your eyes,
AV var himself; whereas, all you do is merely
Yea, it requires you to love God with all
there is no love to God in your heart.
le's requires this sinless perfection on pain of eternal dam-
you are therefore absolute.
undone. You stand guilty before God. But
the rule of right, and standard of justice. If jus-
ur schuld take place, you then see your doom. There is no
depend this quarter. Wherefore you lie at the mercy of
relief for any thing you can do. He might justly
6. If ever you are renewed by the Holy Ghost, it will be,
7. How dreadful soever this representation makes your case appear; yet, if this is your true state, you must see it, that you may know your need of Christ and free grace, and be in a capacity, understandingly, to give a proper reception to the
glad tidings of the Gospel, viz. That through Christ, God is ready to be reconciled to the returning penitent, who justifies God, approves his law, quits all claims, and looks only to free grace, through Jesus Christ, for salvation. Luk. xviii. 13. Rom. iii. 24, 25, 26.
8. Saving faith consists in looking to free grace, through Jesus Christ, for salvation ; thus viewing God's law, and your own case, as they really be. And he that thus believeth, shall be saved. Therefore, repent and be converted, and your sins shall be blotted out. Behold, now is the accepted time, and now is the day of salvation! And by me, one of Christ's ministers, God does beseech you to be reconciled, and I pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to God. For God hath made his only begotten Son to be a sacrifice for sin, that all who are united to him by a true and living faith, might return to God with acceptance, and be justified, and have eternal life through him. Ther. Every word you have spoken sinks down into my
The Lord grant, the truth may pierce my heart through and through, The rest of my days I will devote to the business of my soul.- I thank you for your kind instructions; I beg your prayers; the anguish of my heart calls me to retire ; Adieu ! dear sir, Adieu !
Paul. May the only wise God be your effectual instructor, my Theron! Adieu ! To my dear Aspasio,
These Dialogues are presented by
TIERON TO ASPASIO.
New-England, March 12, 1759. DEAR ASPASIO, My melancholy letter of Deceniber last, with a copy of the substance of the conversation I had with Paulinus, at three several times, you have doubtless received long ago, as it is now three months since I wrote. If you have been impatient at hearing nothing from your friend for so long a time, I more: tossed to and fro, for months together, like a feeble ship at sea, in a tempestuous night, ready every moment to sink.
At first, (I mean after I had left Paulinus, and retired, as I had determined to spend much time in meditation and prayer,) I called in question a maxim, he seemed to take for granted; that “ we are all, by nature, under a law, requiring perfect obedience, on pain of eternal damnation :" Which he so insisted was a glorious law, holy, just, and good. Thus I thought with myself; “ Perfect obedience ! That is more than we can yield. And am I for ever lost for the first offence? How can that be just! Can the kind Father of the universe require more of his creature, MAN, than he can do? And then punish bim with eternal damnation, for not doing ! Can this be right?” Indeed I now felt I had an Arminian heart.
But on a certain evening, as I was reading Saint Paul's Epistle to the Romans and Galatians, in which he affirms, that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men ; that the very Heathen themselves are without excuse ; that the whole world stund guilty before God, and every mouth stopped: that the law curseth every man who continueth not in all things written in the book of the law, to do them; and that Christ was made a curse for us, to redeem us from the curse of that very law; I was
greatly shocked and confounded. One while I said, this law cannot be right.” But again, I said, “ why then was it pot repealed? Why did the Son of God bear its curse, and die to answer its demands ?" I looked through the Old Testament, I looked through the New ; and this notion of the law I saw was so inwrought into both, that it must be granted; or the whole of divine Revelation given up. I felt the heart of an infidel; I was full of doubts and scruples as to the truth of the bible. And when I reflected on the external evidence of divine Revelation, as represented by our late writers, particularly by Doctor Leland, whose view of Deistical writers I had lately read, I was drove even to Atheism. For if there is a God, the bible must be true. But if the bible is true, the law in all its rigour is holy, just, and good.
Thus I was unsettled in all my principles, and set afloat as on a boisterous ocean, like a ship without a compass or an helm; in great anxiety and deep perplexity, ready many times to conclude to go back, at all adventures, to my old hope, as the only way for rest : thinking, 1 had as good live and die on a false hope, as live and die in despair,
Till on a certain time, I began thus to reason in my heart“ whence all these doubts, O my soul! Whence all these Arminian, Socinian, deistical, atheistical thoughts! Whence have they all arisen! From viewing the law of God, as requiring perfect obedience, on pain of eternal damnation. But why? Had I rather turn an Infidel, than approve the law as holy, just, and good ? Is this my heart ! Once I thought I loved God, and loved his law, and loved the Gospel. Where am I now !” Those words of the Apostle seemed to picture my very case-The carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to his law, neither indeed can be. Rom. viii. 7. This text engaged my attention, and fixed my thoughts. And looking into my heart, more and more, I found the spirit of an enemy to God and to his law, in full possession of my
sou). Till now I had entertained, at least sometimes, a secret hope, that my state was good; although it seemed as if I had quite given it up. But now I began in a new manner to see, or rather to feel, I was dead in sin. A realizing sense of God, as the infinitely great being, the