Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

do not

say

this. “God gave him another heart ;"! and he prophesied, and at first acted wisely as ruler of the people. In these respects the Spirit of God was with him, but at last he departed from him ; and he acted in the most wicked and infatuated manner imaginable to the end of his days.

P. Ixiv. l. 10. 'The Puritans, &c. The Puritans being, as it seems, over zealous for the doctrine in question, wished that the words, yet neither finally nor totally,' might be added, in the sixteenth article. The alteration however was not made; and none of the evangelical clergy complain that it was not. 'God gives, &c."

If the efficacy, of the power given, depends on the human will, on what does the proper exertion of the human will depend ? • It is acknowledged, that inan has not the disposition, and therefore not the ability, to do . what in the sight of God is good, till he is influ*enced by the Holy Spirit.?* As by thy special

1. 19.

3

[ocr errors]

2 1 Sam. x. 9.

· The Puritans were so convinced that the doctrine of the i defectibility of grace, contrary to their own tenets, was taught ' in this article, that in the Hampton Court conference they « desired that the words,“ yet neither totally nor finally,” might r be added to the words, “ we may depart from grace given;" but this addition was not allowed, and the article and the ' doctrine of the church of England remained unaltered.

3 ? God gives to every man, through the means of his grace, a power to perform the conditions of the gospel--a power, the

efficacy of which depends upon the exertion of the human r will.' 4 Page 61, Refutation.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

grace preventing us, thou dost put into our hearts good desires.' P. Ixiv. last line. This power, though proceeding from an omnipotent Being, is, as exercised by man, always finite.' The power, by which “ God, “ who is rich in mercy, quickens those, who were “ dead in'sin,” is the same “ by which he raised up “ Christ fróin the dead." The power, by which he assists those, whom, by preventing grace, he has rendered, truly and earnestly, willing to do that which is spiritually good, may perhaps be finite : but to overcome the strongest natural propensities, and inveterate bad habits; to obtain the victory over the world, with all its smiles and allurements, and with all its frowns and terrors; over the love of life and the fear of death; over all the “principalities and “ powers” of darkness; requires that strength, (along with a willing mind,) to which no man can assign limits. Whether finite or infinite, it must be inconceivably great. “ Can the Ethiopian change his “ skin, and the leopard his spots? Then may ye s also do good, that are accustomed to do evil ;"3 st with men this is impossible; but with God all “ things are possible."4: “ Now to him that is able " to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or “ think, according to the power, that worketh in

Strengthened with all might, according "to his glorious power, unto all patience, and long “ suffering with joyfulness.”6 “ Ye have overcome “ them : because greater is he, that is in you,

66 90 19 5

· Collect Easter Sunday.

Eph. i. 19, 20. ii. 4-6, 3 Jer, xiii. 23. * Matt. xix. 26, $ Eph. iii. 20. 6 Col. i, 11.

than “ he that is in the world." 1

P. Ixv. 1. 3. The limited, &c.'? Because our limited strength of body, and powers of mind, are • left to the will of man,' they are in all those, who are destitute of the Spirit of Christ, uniformly exerted in an unholy manner. And if any mere physical power of doing good be imparted, and · left 'to the will of man,' without a new creation unto holiness; it will uniformly be, either perverted, or lie dormant till it be finally lost. But the scriptures, above quoted, lead us to conceive, not of a power, once imparted;' but of one, daily renewed, and increased, as exigencies require; and in proportion to the simplicity and strength of the faith, with which we depend on the Lord to strengthen us. To produce at first the willing mind, to what is good in the sight of God, is the effect of special preventing grace: yet the will to what is good, as well as the strength of faith, hope, love, and holy fear, needs to be daily invigorated, and rendered more decided and predominant; especially, when we are assailed by powerful temptations, or called forth to self denying services; or, exposed to severe sufferings in the cause of God, which might be

1

5

1 John iv. 4. See also 2 Cor. xii. 9, 10. Phil. iv, 13. 2 * The limited strength of the human body is derived from a God of infinite might, and the exertion of that strength is left

to the will of man: in like manner the pure and holy gifts of • the Spirit, which are imparted to the human mind " by meaa

sure," are derived from a God of infinite purity and holiness, and the use of these limited gifts is also left to the will of man.'

“ He

evaded or escaped, by sinful compliances or omissions.

P. Ixv. I. 20. «The attainment, &c.' “ He that “ hath begun a good work in you, will perform it “ until the day of Christ.” “ It is God, which as worketh in us both to will and to do."2 s that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.”For “ the heart is deceitful above all things and despe

rately wicked; who can know it?"4 “ Hold thou “ me up and I shall be safe."5_Indolent nominal christians are, alas! very numerous: but an indolent true christian, one absolutely indolent, is an ens rationis, which no where exists, except in the ima. ginations of speculating men.

P. lxvi. 1. 24. . The morning, &c.' That is, the name, or sin, of Adam is not mentioned in them. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.'? But why is it evil to follow the devices and desires of our own hearts,' if our hearts he not evil? and did God create them evil ? or did this evil originate from the corruption of our nature by the fall of Adam ?-And there is no health 'in us.' Surely then our nature must be most desperately diseased! Did God create man in this totally

[ocr errors]

1. The attainment of eternal happiness is made to depend upon our own choice and exertions. The slothful seryant gains

no credit with his earthly master-the indolent christian will ? receive no reward from his heavenly Lord.'

2 Phil. i. 6. ii. 12. 3 Proy, xxviii. 26. 4 Jer, xyä. 9. 5 Ps. cxix. 117. 6 . The morning and evening services of our church scarcely allude to the corruption of man by the fall of Adam.' ? Confession.

[ocr errors]

distempered state? Or has our race become thus diseased by the fall of our progenitor ?-I have seen some copies of the prayer book, printed by Reeves, in which the word help is substituted for health. I hope it is an error of the press, and not intentional : for certainly no authority, except that of the King, Lords, and Commons, in Parliament assembled, is competent to make this alteration.

P. lxvii, l. 15. * In a second collect, &c.' 'By natural good works,” is here doubtless meant, those ' works, which are outwardly and speciously good,

and which are estimable in human judgment. That ' he can perform these, (civilem justitiam et diligen

das res rationi subjectas,) as the Augsburgh Con' fession expresses it, nobody denies. The question ' is not, what his powers are in respect of natural

things, but in respect of spiritual things; not what • he can do which may please men; but what, that is pleasing and acceptable to God; not how far he

can conform himself to the laws of human society, 6 but how far he can convert himself to true chris

tianity; how far, by his own natural and unassisted

''In a second collect we pray, “ O God, -because through • the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping

thy commandments we may please thee, both in will and deed;" ' which is nothing more than altering the words of one of our articles, already explained, into the form of a prayer; and I have only to observe, that the “good thing" here mentioned, must mcan good in the sight of God: such an action our weak and • unassisted nature will, unquestionably, not allow us to per¢ form.'

2 Art. s.

« AnteriorContinuar »