Sidor som bilder

that pain. Submission, therefore, always respects an expected future evil. The evil expected may be conceived either as at a distance, or as immediately approaching. Submission, in respect to any temporal evil, implies a willingness to live, in order to suffer that evil: and a willingness to live, implies a willingness to be continued in a state of moral imperfection, or in a state of sin. All things considered, Moses chooses to submit to an endless evil. All things considered, another saint chooses to submit to a temporal evil. Neither of them will suffer the evil he is willing to suffer, without continuing in a state of moral imperfection, or in a state of sin. If a willingness to sin, is implied in Moses' submission, it is equally implied in every act of true submission. If, therefore, a love of sin is implied in Moses' submission, because it implies a willingness to sin, then all true submission implies a love of sin, for the same reason. No one, who is on the whole, unwilling to sin, can pray to live, or even submit to live. But, do Christians, in their submission to temporal evils, and in their prayers and exertions for the preservation of life, always express a love of sin?

4th. If Moses' prayer was consistent with the hatred of both natural and moral evil, it was equally consistent with that love, which is the fulfilling of the law.


will dare to say, that Moses ought not to have loved his nation far more than he ought to have loved one individual? And who would dare to say, in opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ, Thou shalt not love thy neighbour as thyself? If, then, Moses was bound to love his neighbour as himself, and to love his nation far more than to love his neighbour; then he was bound to love his nation far more than him

self. This love he expressed in his prayer. Can he not be justified in expressing the love he was bound to exercise? That love, which is the fulfilling of the law, regards every object, according to its relative worth. If we ought not to regard objects according to their worth, then we ought to regard them either more or less than they deserve to be regarded; or, in other words, than we ought to regard them, which is absurd.

Now, was not the good of Moses' nation, greater than his personal good? Ought not he to have regarded these two different objects, according to their relative importance? To say that Moses ought not to have expressed a willingness to sacrifice his own good for that of his people, is the same as to say, that he ought not to have expressed a greater regard for his people, than for himself: that is, he ought not to have expressed any other than the feelings of the selfish heart.

5th. In his prayer, Moses expressed that self-denial, which the gospel declares to be essential to salvation. In Matt. xvi. 24, 26, the Lord Jesus Christ says, "Whomsoever will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life, for my sake, shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?" In the 25th verse, "For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it." The pronoun it refers to life, and means the same thing. If the word life, means temporal life, then the pronoun it, which refers to it, means temporal life. On the other hand, if the word life, means eternal life; then

the word it means eternal life. It is evident, therefore, that the construction commonly put upon this passage, is unwarrantable. The construction alluded to, is the following: Whosoever will save his temporal life, shall lose his eternal life; and whosoever will lose his temporal life, for my sake, shall find his eternal life. But, it is not said, Whosoever will save one life shall lose another life;' but Whosoever will save his life, shall lose IT:' that is, the same life. The meaning of the passage. then depends on the meaning of the word life. This word must mean either temporal life, or eternal. Does it mean temporal life? I cannot suppose it to mean this, for three reasons. In the first place, such a meaning would make the passage assert a falsehood.Thousands have been willing to save their temporal lives, and have saved their temporal lives: and mány have been willing to lose their temporal lives for Christ's sake, and have lost them for his sake.

In the next place, such a rendering, would destroy the connexion between this verse and the next: the relation between which is expressed by the particle" for.” "For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" In the last place, the word, which is translated life, in the former verse, is, in this translated soul. The literal rendering is this: "Whosoever will save his soul, shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his soul, for my sake, shall find it." Unless the cause of Christ be more dear to us, than our soul's eternal welfare; unless we would lose our souls, if the cause of Christ required it; we must perish forever.

Now, in Moses' willingness to suffer for the good of his people, which he supposed to involve the interests of religion and of the cause of Christ, he felt and expressed the same self-denial, which the Lord Jesus Christ declares to be essential to salvation.



ESSAYS UPON HOPKINSIANISM. No. VI. Sketch of Hopkinsian Sentiments concluded.

The terms of the gospel. Though the atonement of Christ was sufficient for all mankind, and was made as much for one as for another; yet, as the atonement neither takes away, nor diminishes any one's guilt, so it does not oblige God, in point of justice, to pardon and save any of the human race. The mediation of Christ only opened the way for God, consistently and honourably, to offer salvation to men, upon such terms as he should see fit. It is very

obvious, that, throughout the gospel, offers of salvation are made to men, indiscriminately, upon the terms of reconciliation to God, repentance for sin, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; or, more strictly and properly speaking, upon condition of such faith, as includes reconciliation and repentance.Faith in Christ is the grand condition of salvation, proposed in the gospel. "He that believeth, (and is baptized) shall be savedBelieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved-He that believeth, is justified from all things-If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." But, whilst faith is required, as the sole condition of salvation; it is

The gospel requires faith in Christ, as the condition of pardon, not because faith is meritorious; for it is not. It is the reasonable service of all, on whom the light of the gospel shines, to receive

hot such a faith, as is dead, or 1 alone. The faith that will save a man, is more than a bare speculative belief of the truths of the gospel, or a persuasion, which one may have imbibed, that Christ is his friend and will save him; ei-Christ, cordially, as their Prophet, ther of which may be possessed by Priest, and King: and, those, who those, whose hearts are full of sin do not thus receive him, are conand at enmity with God. The demned for their unbelief. Believfaith required as the condition of ers are as deserving of punishment salvation, is not a passive recepfor their sins, as unbelievers. But, tion of the doctrines, which exhi- faith is required in the gospel, for bit the character and work of two reasons: first, because it would Christ, as true; but a voluntary be dishonourable to the character and cordial reception of them, as of God, to pardon persevering good, and altogether worthy of transgressors of his law, and desGod. "With the heart man be- pisers and rejectors of his Son. lieveth unto righteousness-Faith And secondly, because unbelievers worketh by love." Hence, be- are unqualified for heaven; as they lieving on Christ, is called, receiv- could neither join in the employing him and coming to him. Be- ments, nor partake of the enjoyfore men can exercise such faith, ments of that holy and happy place. they must become reconciled to God has made the terms of salvathe character, law and government tion in the gospel, as low, as it of God, and love him, as his law was morally possible He should. requires. Hence, faith in Christ, It would have sullied the purity of includes repentance for sin. Those his holiness, made Christ the minwho love God and his law, must ister of sin, and filled heaven with condemn and loathe themselves discord and misery, had God parfor their transgressions. From doned and saved unsanctified, imlove to God, naturally flows that penitent, and unbelieving sinners. godly sorrow for sin, which worketh repentance, and which consists not in being sorry, all things considered, that sin, as an event, has taken place, in the Providence of God, but in being sorry for one's own hateful and criminal exercises of selfishness and enmity against God, in themselves considered. The true penitent abhors and humbles himself, and accepts the punishment of his iniquities. And he, who does this, will cordially receive the truth as it is in Jesus, as soon as it is made known to him. The order of gracious exercises, though not always perceptible, is yet always the same; according to which, love precedes repentance, and repentance precedes faith.

With the terms of the gospel, all, who enjoy its light, are able to comply. When Christ is known, nothing prevents faith in Him, but an evil heart of unbelief. As soon as men understand the peculiar truths of the gospel, which exhibit the true character of the Saviour, they are as well able to love Christ, as to hate Him; and can as easily receive the truth, as reject it. They need no new faculty or power, to enable them to believe unto salvation. It depends upon their will, whether to come to Christ and have life, or to reject the counsel of God against themselves.Hence, it is said, "Whosoever WILL, let him take of the water of life freely."

There is no necessity, therefore,

of directing sinners to do any thing, before they repent and believe the gospel; nor is there any warrant in scripture to do it. All that men do, with a selfish, impenitent, unbelieving heart, is sinful, and, instead of recommending them to the favour of God, only renders them the more deserving of his wrath.

But, though the terms of thegos pel are so reasonable and low, and men are well able to comply with them; yet, none do comply, until they are born of the spirit.'"Faith is the gift of God-As many as received Him (Christ) to them gave he power to become the sons of God; even to them that believe on his name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Which leads me to state the views, which Hopkinsians entertain, of

The work of the Holy Spirit, in regeneration and sanctification. It is the peculiar office of the Holy Spirit, in the economy of redemption, to enlighten the minds and purify the hearts of men, and to incline them to do, what they are always able, but naturally unwilling to do, i. e. their duty towards God, their fellow creatures, and themselves.

The Holy Spirit is the author of regeneration, which consists, not in the implantation of any new power or faculty of the mind, nor in the restoration of any such power or faculty, lost by the fall; but, simply in turning the heart or will from sin to holiness, from opposition to submission, from selfishness to disinterested benevolence.

In performing this Divine and gracious work, the Holy Spirit makes use of the truths of the gospel, as the means of communicating to the understanding, that knowledge of God and of Christ, which are necessary to the exercise of love, repentance, and faith. As

men are rational creatures, they must, necessarily, know God, before they can love Him, and have some just views of the character of Christ, before they can believe in Him. Christ prayed, that his people might be sanctified through the truth, or the word of God; and James, speaking of believers, writes, "Of his own will begat He us, with the word of truth.". When the truths of the gospel are read or heard, it is the Holy Spirit, that awakens attention to them, and causes holy affectious and exercises, in view of them. It is of great importance, therefore, that the peculiar and essential truths of the gospel, be plainly exhibited, and that men constantly come to hear them preached; since they are the means, in the hands of the Holy Spirit, of renewing the heart, and saving the soul from sin and death. "It pleases God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe." This is the mean, which He has appointed, for the conviction and conversion of men; and we have no evidence, that He will use any other? The case, therefore, of those who do not hear the gospel, is hopeless.

The nature of regeneration being such as has been represented, it is evident, that, when men experience this change, though dependant, they are yet active: the Holy Spirit does not love, and repent and believe for them, but causes them to love, repent and believe: and hence, they are not conscious of his agency, but of their own exercises only. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearrst the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth; so is every one, that is born of the Spirit." Men are as active, at the moment of regeneration. as at any other time, when God works in them to will and to do of his good pleasure.



If there be a distinction made, between regeneration and conversion, it consists in this; that reGegeneration expresses the agency of the Holy Spirit, and conversion the agency of the creature, in the moral change which takes place, when one begins to exercise that holy love, which is the essence of every Christian grace.


[ocr errors]

I may now close my brief sketch of the sentiments of Hopkinsians, with a few words respecting The present justification and fut

ure reward of true balievers. The word justification does not imply, that believers are delivered from guilt, or that they have done, either by themselves, or by a substitute, all that the Divine law requires. Neither of these is admissible: for, guilt is indelible, and righteousness is personal. To be justified, is to be pronounced free from the penalty of the law. Justification, therefore, is synonimous with forgiveness, or pardon. As soon as men believe in Christ, their past sins are forgiven, for bis sake, or through the redemption that is in Him. When justified freely by Divine Grace, men are prepared to be treated as if they had never sinned. And. when their justification is com


The term sanctification expresses that train of holy exercises, which follows regeneration, and which is produced by the Divine Spirit, in the minds of believers, unto the end of their lives. Wherever He begins this good work, He carries it on, until the day of Jesus Christ.' As preservation is creation continued; so sanctification is regeneration continued. Sanctification is imperfect in this life, not on account of any imperfection there is in holy exercises, which are all comprised in that love, which the apostle calls per-pleted as that of believers is, at fect; but on account of the inconstancy of holy exercises, which are more or less interrupted by sinful ones, in all believers, so long as they remain in this world. "There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not."Hence the ground of a warfare, in the breasts of saints, between their holy and sinful affections; and hence their constant need of repentance, watchfulness, and pray-reward.


death, then the way is open for them to be rewarded for all the good deeds they have done in this life, in the same manner, and on the same ground, as the Angels are rewarded for all their acts of obedience and love. Accordingly, our Lord assures them, that even for giving a cup of water to his disciples, from sincere respect to Him, they shall not lose their



No. VII.

One topic of discussion proposed in my first number was, what things ought to be done to promote a revival of religion. But before I enter upon the discussion of this, I ought, perhaps, to make a few remarks on the propriety of using means to promote a revival. Many speak and act on this subject, as

if they doubted whether any means ought to be used for this purpose. They say, it is the work of God. and therefore it must be wrong for us to attempt to take it out of his hands. They think, that where he intends to carry on a work of this kind, he is fully able to do it, without any assistance of ours. And they say they have no confi dence in those revivals which are

« FöregåendeFortsätt »