Sidor som bilder

It must be acknowledged, we do in- in the very universal estimation of
deed suppose, that a good heart con- mankind, any further than they are
sists in, or implies, a good taste, relish, supposed to proceed froin a principle
principle or disposition; which is so of disinterested goodness.
entirely independent of the will, as to But our author asserts, and labors
be prerequisite to any good volition, to prove, that there is no such princi
affection, action or exercise. But, in |ple: or at least that we have no evi-
an idea as erroneous this, it appears ||dence, and can form no conception of
to us we are countenanced by express any such thing in nature, as holiness: I
scripture, by evident reason, and the mean in the nature of a moral agent.
full suffrage of common sense.


6. It is the dictate of common We appeal, in the first place, to sense, that a good heart consists in scripture, particularly to the testimony love. For only separate love from a of Jesús, “ the Author and finisher of good heart, and there will be no good our faith ; the faithful and true wit-heart left. If a good heart were disness." See his words, Matt. vii. 18.tinct from love, then we could form a * A good tree cannot bring forth evil clear idea of it distinct from love. But fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring whenever we think of a good heart, forth good fruit." And in Luke vi.either in ourselves or in others, we 44, 45. “ For of thorns men do not think of kind, tender, benevolent feel gather figs, nor of a bramble bush ga-lings; or of the exercises of pure dither they grapes. A good man, out vine love. And it is out of our power of the good treasure of his heart, to conceive of a good heart, which is bringeth forth that which is good, and not wholly composed of good affec an evil man, out of the evil treasure tions, or the genuine feelings of true of his heart, bringeth forth that which benevolence.”, is evil." See likewise the words of To this we answer, just as well Paul 1 Tim. i. 5. “ Now the end of might it be thus concluded, that all inthe commandment is charity, oat of a visible beings and things are unrealipure heart.

ties; or that there is no evidence of We appeal to reason. Is it rational their having any existence. It is no to think those exercises can be good, more out of our power to conceive of which proceed from bad principles, or the heart of man distinct from its exfrom no principle at all, any more than ercises, than to conceive of any of our the favorable blowing of the wind, or natural powers and capacities, distinct fruitful showers of rain ?

from their exertion : And no more We appeal lastly, to the decision of than it is out of our power to conceive common sense. Are unprincipled men of the perfections or the being of God, or actions, known to be such, ever distinct from his works. Just as well highly esteemed? Is a man ever ad-might it be said, when we think of a mired by his impartial neighbors, or rational man, or a man of sound judg. thought to have any sincere pietý or ment, or of one who has a strong me virtue, let him speak ever so many mory; that we think of nothing but good words, or do ever so many ex- of one's reasoning well; or judging ternal good deeds, or be ever só zea-rightly in some case, or clearly relously affected in good things, when itmembering something; as that when is thought that all his fair speeches, and we think of a man's having a good specious actions, and warmth of affec-heart, we think only of his benevolent tion, are merely from selfish motives, affections. Or that, when we think of or from no disposition to seek, or de- the Creator and preserver of all things, sire, ultimately, any thing but his own we have no idea of his nature or peremolument, wealth or fame? Internal fections, but merely of his works. exercises, as well as external actions, 1 The way in which we get ideas and am persuaded, are of no moral value, evidences of such invisible causes, is


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


in from their visible or perceivable ope- that a bad heart consists in a bad prinorations and effects. Such was the rea-ciple, disposition or inclination, which disoning of holy men of old, who spake is entirely distinct from sinful volue

as they were inoved by the Holytary exercises. They represent a cor

Ghost. The psalmist David, adoring rupt nature, or depraved heart, as the d the Holy One of Israel, said to him, source of all sinful affections and pascam “ Thou art good, and doest good." || sions. And they maintain, that this

He concluded the former, from the corrupt nature is conveyed fromAdam W latter; from what he had read, and to all his posterity, who, they suppose ve heard, and experienced, of the benefi-| are morally depraved, before they sia cent works and ways of the Supreme have one sinful exercise, volition or 《随

Being, he inferred the benevolence of affection. But it appears from what his nature. And the apostle Paul, has been said in this discourse, that all writing to his new Roman converts sinfulness consists in the various exerfrom Polytheism, to a belief of one cises and modifications of self-love.

only living and true God, tells them, The divine law condemns these exer a la

$ The invisible things of Him, from cises, and nothing else. And our con

the creation of the world, are clearly sciences concur with the sentence of alle seen, being understood by the things the law, and condemu us for ful

that are made, even his eternal power exercises only. Hence we intuitively and Godhead." If we give up this know, that we never did derive a moway of arguing, and conclude that rally corrupt nature, or a morally corseeing and bearing are no evidence of rupt principle, or a morally corrupt any thing seen or heard, or of any heart from Adam," thing which sees and hears, into what universal scepticism shall we inevita- That all the posterity of Adam hate bly be led ? Įf the argument, from our derived, and do derive, a sinfully de ignorance, or want of a direct percep: praved nature, by ordinary generation of things unseen, were conclusive tion, from their immediate progenitors, in proof of there being no other heart and originally from our first parents, i in man than exercises, I think it would apprehend we have sufficient scripture equally prove that man has no soul, proof. This seems plainly implied in and that there is no God. Or if it be the question and answer of pious Job; rational to suspect, that the heart of "Who can bring a clean thing out of man, which loves and hates, hopes an unclean ? Not one. In the humand fears, is nothing but loving and ble confession of holy David; “I was hating, hoping and fearing, because we shapen in joiquity, and in sin did my perceive nothing else; for the same mother conceive me." In the solemn reason, might we not as well disbe- declarations of our Saviour; “Except lieve that a man has any soul, which a man be born again, he cannot see thinks and understands, recollects the the kingdom of God. That which is past, and plans for the future ; or that|born of the flesh is flesh.”! And in the there is any God, who made, preserves warning words of the apostle to the and

governs the world; or that there Romans, against the vain hopes of the are any intelligent beings in the uni- unregenerate self-righteous; “The carverse, or any thing in existence be-nal inind is enmity against God; for it sides the perceptions of no percipients, is not subject to the law of God, neiand the actions of no agents ?

ther indeed can be. So then, they

that are in the flesh cannot please Article II. Concerning the reverse of a God." See also the same doctrine as

good heart, or the essence and sum serted in his epistle to the Ephesians; total of all sin.

“You hath he quickened, who were In another inference from the same dead in trespasses and sins: wherein sermon, it is said, “Some suppose in time past ye walked, according to


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

7:30 s

[ocr errors]

the course of this world, according to for these sins. See John v. 42. ““] the prince of the power of the air, the know you that ye have not the love ol spirit that now worketh in the children God in you.” And Luke vi. 46. “Why, of disobedience. Among whom also call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the we all had our conversation in times things which I say ?See also the past in the lụsts of our flesh, fulfilling words of the apostle Paul, quoted from the desires of the flesh and of the mind; the Old Testament: Gal. ii. 19. -For and were by nature children of wrath, it is written, Cursed is every one that even as others.”

continueth not in all things written in Moreover, that all sinfulness does the book of the law to do them.” not consist in the exercises of self- All the various exercises of selflove, nor in any other exercises, how love are not forbidden ;' as we may ever sinful, we have seen, is abun- learn from Christ's exposition of the dantly evident, both from scripture whole second table of the moral law: and reason. That mere want of con" Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy formity of heart to the holy law of self.Nor does any man's conscience God, in a rational creature, which condemn him, for seeking his own must be prior to all evil exercises, is good. But where do we find the law sinful, I think has been fully shown. which condemns these exercises, and And besides the texts to this purpose nothing else? Or whose consciences already produced, see the words of condemn them for the exercises of our Saviour in Mark vii. 21. “ For self love only? Not the consciences from within, out of the heart, proceed of sinners under genuine convictions ; evil thoughts," &c. Are not thoughts our author himself being judge. For exercises ?...some of the first exercises having quoted the words of Paul, “I of the mind? We may likewise ob- was alive without the law once, but serve that what we read of sinsul hard when the commandment came, sin reness of heart, both in the Old and vived, and I died;" he says, “ All a. New Testament, is a further proof,|| wakened and convinced sinners have that all sinfulness does not consist in the same view of themselves. Their exercises of any kind. By the stony consciences compel them, in spite of heart spoken of in Ezekiel, as what their hearts, to acknowledge that the must be taken out of God's apostate law which requires them immediately people, before they could exercise to love God supremely, upon pain of godly sorrow, or be brought to true eternal destruction, is perfectly holy, repentance, are we to understand only and just, and good.” But if so, must their hard exercises ? Or was the hard not their consciences condemn them ness of heart in the hearers of our Sa-for never having loved God at all, as viour, which occasioned his looking being somewhat sinful ? round about upon them with anger, no But since the discovery, that all sin other than hard feelings? Was it not consists in exercises, is one of the first rather, a heart unapt to feel ? And is lessons in our new school, in which not an unbenevolent, unmerciful dis- every freshman is firmly established, position, evidently odious, in the opi- we will attend more particularly to the nion of all mankind ? Nor can it surely arguments advanced in support of this be denied with any appearance of truth, strange sentiment, by one of its ablest that men are condemned of God, and advocates. He tells us, " If all obeby their neighbors, and sometimes by dience to the divine law consists in themselves, for the want of virtuous or the positive exercise of true love, then religious affections, and merely for all disobedience to the divine law sins of omission. Our Saviour con- must consist in the positive exercise demned the self-righteous Pharisees, of false love, or of real selfishness. and implicitly threatened the con- The mere want of love cannot be a demnation of his professed followers, transgression of the law of love. Tho'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

all the animal tribes are totally desti- || art weighed in the balances, and art ttute of that love which the law re-| found wanting.” Was not that somequires, yet they do not disobey the thing?

will of their Maker. A mere want, is A mere nothing is said to have no na mere nothing; and a mere nothing quality," and is supposed of no conseit has no patural nor moral qualities."

quence. REMARKS.

But a man's doing mere nothing, This argumentation is short, and has sometimes the quality of laziness; plain, which are two uncommon ex- and the cousequence is, his having la cellencies; and I perceive in it only mere nothing to eat, if not something is one fault; a very common one, and much worse, so that a mere negative, which is nothing, How so strange a sentiment as this, ir namely, its nol being conclusive. But that there can be nothing sinful in a nay thus in the lump, perhaps it may be moral agent except positive exercises, here too heavy for our scales. Let us di- could ever enter into the head of any cu vide it then, and see what part of it man of common sense, it seems hard will weigh, separately taken.

to conceive. Yet this great nothing, " If all obedience to the divine law is the chief bottom stone of all the late consists in the positive exercise of true advances in divinity which we are now love, then all disobedience to the di- canvassing. vine law must consist in the positive

(To be continued.) exercise of false love.

Perhaps not. Possibly, obedience QUESTIONS TO CANDIDATES FOR FULL may require a more positive root than

COMMUNION. merely not obeying. But if all holi- 1. Are you firmly persuaded in the ness, as we have seen, does not con- truth of the being and perfections of sist in any kind of exercises, it is cer-God? tainly very possible that all unholiness

2. When you

doubts con

cerning this truth, how do you feel ? “ The mere want of love cannot be Do you not secretly wish (at times) a transgression of the law of love." that there were no God, Heaven, nor

True: but may it not be a criminal Hell, that you might live as you list? want of conformity to that law?

3. Do you take pleasure in contemThough all the animal tribes are plating upon the being and perfections totally destitute of that love which the of God? And has it become natural law requires ; yet they do not disobey for you so to do? Or do you even the will of their Maker."

force yourself to it ? “ But to him that knoweth to do 4. But, What sort of a being do you good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” consider God to be? Perhaps you And, " Be

ye not as the horse, and the only love an imaginary God, like the mule, which have no understanding.” hypocrite ? Ps. 1. Do you believe This argument, it may also be obser- that God is every where present; that ved, would prove too much for our he takes notice of all your thoughts,

most strenuous opponents, if it proved words, and actions ; that he is infinite many thing to their purpose.

ly opposed to all sin ; and that he will It would equally exculpate sins of punish all who die in sin, with endless commission; for many of the animal and intolerable destruction ? And can tribes kill men, and one another; yet you, notwithstanding, love such a they do not transgress the sixth com- God? mandment.

5. Does the attribute of divine jus“ A mere want is a mere nothing." ||tice appear to you as amiable as the

But it was once written, by the fin- attribute of divine mercy ? ger of one invisible, on the plastered 8. When God visits you with aliewall of a certain great man,“ Thou |tions, are you patient and submissive


have any

may not.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

under the rod ? or, do you murmur 17. Do you keep your heart with and turn your spirit against God! all diligence ? and do you continually

7. Do you feel that you deserve hell, watch and pray that you enter not in and that you should have just occa- to temptation, and shun all appearansion to join with the glorified spirits ces of evil? around the throne of God, in crying, 13. Which are you most concerned Alleluin, should the smoke of your about, that you should be rich in this torment ascend forever and ever? world's goods, or that you should be

8. Do you believe that God both rich in faith, and be heirs of the king. made and governs the world; and dom of God ? that he brings to pass every event,

19. What is the governing princi (even the salvation of the righteous, ple of all your desires and pursuits ! and damnation of the wicked) accor-|| Is it the glory of God and the prosper ding to his eternal purpose? That ity of the Redeemer's kingdom; or is just so many will be saved as, (and no it your own private good ? more than) God eternally determined 20. Might you have your choice, should be saved ; and that just so ma- which would you prefer, the greatest ny will finally perish as (and no more afflictions you could possibly sufier than) God eternally determined should through the whole course of your lives perish

in this world, and the enjoyment of 9. And further, are you willing that God eternally hereafter: or an eternyour eternal salvation should depend al and uninterrupted enjoyment of ev: wholly upon the sovereign pleasure ofery thing which it is possible for this this absolutely sove

vereign God ? or,|| world to atřord ? would you fain flee out of his hands? 21. What is your motive in joining

10. Does the law of God appear to to the church, and in coming to the be holy, just, and good? And are ordinances ?. Is it a sense of duty, you willing to be under obligations to and the benefit of special ordinances; keep it perfectly?

or the applause of men, and a desire, 11. On what account principally merely of escaping hell? does sin appear odious ? Does it ap 22. Do you think


and pear so, because it is so in itself, (of- tell an offending brother his fault in fensive to God, and destructive of the meekness, and with a christian spirit, general good;) or does it appear so, although you were sure to lose his because it is followed with evil conse-friendship, and incur his displeasure ? quences to yourself?

23. And what is still harder, do you 12. If you could be persuaded that think you could bear to be admonishthere were no hell, should you not be l of your faults, without being offenless afraid of displeasing God ? And, ded, and esteering your kind and since you thought you were conver- faithful brother an enemy? ted, are you not less afraid of sin ? 24. Do you esteeem it a pleasure

13. Do you appear to yourself to and privilege, to be under the strong, be a greater or less sinner than you) est obligations to keep all God's comwere before you thought you were mandments and ordinances to the end converted ?

of life? Do wisdom's ways seem plea14. Are yoor affections essentially sant? Is Christ's yoke easy, and his changed? are old things passed away, burden light? Finally, and are all things become new to you? 25. What is the subject upon which

15. On what account principally your mind naturally leads you to condoes Christ appear lovely ? Do you | template, first, in the morning, when love him because he is a holy Saviour; you awake from your slumbers, and or, because you expect that he will last, in the evening, when you retire deliver you from hell ?

to rest ? Is it God and duty, or is it 16. Do you love Christ as much for the making of provision for the flesh, raving others, as for saving yourself? "to fulfil the lusts thereof? Th. Mag.

you could

« FöregåendeFortsätt »