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the state of religion was, in our nation, a few years since. În whom did you find the holy tempers that were in Christ! Bowels of mercies, lowliness, meekness, gentleness, contempt of the world, patience, temperance, long-suffering ? A burning love to God, rejoicing evermore, and in every thing giving thanks; and a tender love to all mankind, covering, believing, hoping, enduring all things ? Perhaps you did not know one such man in the world. But how many, that had all unholy tempers! What vanity and pride, what stubbornness and self-will, what anger, fretfulness, discontent, what suspicion and resentment, what inordinate affections, what irregular passions, what foolish and hurtful desires might you find, in those who were called the best of men! In those who made the strictest profession of religion! And how few did you know who went so far as the profession of religion, who had even the form of godliness ! Did you not frequently bewail, wherever your lot was cast, the general want of even outward religion ! How few were seen at the public worship of God! How much fewer at the Lord's table? And was even this little flock zealous of good works, careful, as they had time, to do good to all men? On the other hand, did you not with grief observe, outward irreligion in every place? Where could you be for one week, without being an eye or an ear witness, of cursing, swearing, or profaneness, of sabbath-breaking or drunkenness, of quarrelling or braw)ing, of revenge or obscenity ? Were these things done in a corner ? Did not gross iniquity of all kinds overspread our land as a flood ? Yea, and daily increase, in spite of all the opposition which the children of God did or could make against it?
98. If you had been then told, that the jealous God would soon arise and maintain his own cause ; that he would pour down his Spirit from on high, and renew the face of the earth; that he would shed abroad his love in the hearts of the outcasts of men, producing all holy and heavenly tempers, expelling anger, and pride, and evil desire, and all unholy and earthly tempers; causing outward religion, the work of faith, the patience of hope, the labour of love, to flourish and abound; and wherever it spread, abolishing outward irreligion, destroying all the works of the Devil : if you had been told, that this living knowledge of the Lord would, in a short space, overspread our lapd; yea, and daily increase, in spite of all the opposition which the Devil and his children did or could make against it: Would you not vehemently have desired to see that day, that you might bless God and rejoice therein ?
99. Behold the day of the Lord is come. He is again visiting and redeeming his people. Having eyes, see ye not? Having ears, do ve not hear? Neither understand with your hearts? At this hour the Lord is rolling away our reproach. Already his standard is set up. His Spirit is poured forth on the outcasts of men, and his love shed abroad in their hearts. Love of all mankind, meekness, gentleness, humbleness of mind, holy and heavenly affections, do take place of hate, anger, pride, revenge, and vile" or vain affections. llence, wherever the power of the Lord spreads, springs outward
Teligion in all its forms. The houses of God are filled ; the table of the Lord is thronged on every side. And those who thus show their love of God, show they love their neighbour also, by being careful to maintain good works, by doing all manner of good as they have time) to all men. They are likewise careful to abstain from all evil. Cursing, Sabbath-breaking, drunkenness, with all other (however fashionable) works of the Devil, are not once named among them. All this is plain, demonstrable fact. For this also is not done in a .corner. Now do you acknowledge the day of our visitation? Do you bless God and rejoice therein ?
100, What hinders? Is it this, that men say all manner of evil of those whom God is pleased to use as instruments in his work ? Oye fools, did ye suppose the Devil was dead? Or that he would not fight for his kingdom? And what weapons shall he fight with it not with lies? Is he not a liar, and the father of lies? then thus far. Let the Devil and his children say all manner of evil
And let them go on deceiving each other, and being deceived. But ye need not be deceived also. Or if you are, if you will believe all they say; be it so, that we are weak, silly, wicked men; without sense, without learning, without even a desire or design of doing good : yet I insist upon the fact. Christ is preached, and sinners are converted to God. This none but a madman can deny. We are ready to prove it by a cloud of witnesses. Neither, therefore, can the inference be denied, that God is now visiting his people. O that all men may know in this their day, the things that make for their peace !
101. Upon the whole, to men of the world I would still recommend the known advice of Gamaliel : “ Refrain from these men, and let them alone : for if this work be of men, it will come to naught : but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” But unto you whom God hath chosen out of the world, I say ye are our brethren, and of our Father's house, it behooveth you, in whatsoever manner ye are able, to strengthen our hands in God. And this ye are all able to do; to wish us good luck in the name of the Lord, and to pray continually, that none of these things may move us, and that " we may not count our lives dear unto ourselves, so that we may finish our course with joy, and the ministry which we have received of the Lord Jesus !"
Å FARTHER APPEAL
TO MEN OF REASON AND RELIGION.
Let the Righteous smite me friendly and reprove me.-Ps. cxli. 5.
ÎN a former Treatise I declared, in the plainest manner I could, both my principles and practice; and answered some of the most important, as well as the most common objections to each. But I have not yet delivered my own soul. I believe it is still incumbent upon me to answer other objections, particularly such as have been urged by those who are esteemed religious or reasonable men.
These partly relate to the doctrines I teach, partly to my manner of teaching them, and partly to the effects which are supposed to follow from teaching these doctrines in this manner.
I. 1. I will briefly mention what those doctrines are, before I consider the objections against them. Now all I teach respects either the nature and condition of justification, the nature and condition of salvation, the nature of justifying and saving faith, or the Author of faith and salvation.
2. First, The nature of Justification. It sometimes means *our acquittal at the last day. But this is altogether out of the present question: that justification whereof our Articles and Homilies speak, meaning present forgiveness, pardon of sins, and consequently acceptance with God; who thereint declares his righteousness or mercy, by or for the remission of the sins that are past, saying, I will be merciful to thy unrighteousness, and thine iniquities I will remember no more.
I believe, the condition of this, is faith : I mean not only, that without faith we cannot be justified; but also, that as soon as any one has true faith, in that moment he is justified.
Good works follow this faith, but cannot go before it: much less can sanctification, which implies, a continued course of good works, springing from holiness of heart. But it is allowed, that entire sanctification goes before our justification at the last day.
It is allowed also, that repentance, and **fruits meet for repentance, go before faith. Repentance absolutely must go before faith: fruits meet for it, if there be opportunity. By repentance, I mean conviction of sin, producing real desires and sincere resolutions of amendment: and by fruits meet for repentance, *forgiving our brother, fceasing from evil, doing good, fusing the ordinances of God, and in general gobeying him according to the measure of grace which we have received. But these, I cannot as yet, term gooư works; because they do not spring from faith and the love of God.
* Matt. xii. 37.
Rom. iij. 25.
Luke vi. 43.
| Rom. iv. 5, &c.
3. By salvation I mean, not barely, according to the vulgar notion, deliverance from hell, or going to heaven: but a present deliverance from sin, a restoration of the soul to its primitive health, its original purity; a recovery of the divine nature; the renewal of our souls after the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness, in justice, mercy, and truth. This implies all holy and heavenly tempers, and by consequence all holiness of conversation.
Now, if by salvation we mean a present salvation from sin, we cannot say, holiness is the condition of it. For it is the thing itself. Salvation, in this sense, and holiness, are synonymous terms. We must therefore say, “We are saved by faith.” Faith is the sole condition of this salvation. For without faith we cannot be thus saved. But whosoever believeth, is saved already.
Without faith we cannot be thus saved. For we cannot rightly serve God, unless we love him. And we cannot love him, unless we know him : neither can we know God, unless by faith. Therefore, salvation by faith, is only in other words, the love of God by the knowledge of God: or, the recovery of the image of God, by a true, spiritual acquaintance with him.
4. Faith, in general, is a divine, supernatural snel zos|| of things not seen, not discoverable by our bodily senses, as being either past, future, or spiritual. Justifying faith implies, not only a divine easi zos that God was in Christ “reconciling the world unto himself,” but à sure trust and confidence that Christ died for my sins, that he loved me and gave himself for me. And the moment a penitent sinner believes this, God pardons and absolves him.
And as soon as his pardon or justification is witnessed to him by the Holy Ghost, he is saved. He loves God and all mankind. He has the mind that was in Christ, and power to walk as he also walked. From that time, unless he make shipwreck of the faith, salvation gradually increases in his soul. For “ so is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground-And it springeth up, first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear."
5. The first sowing of this seed, I cannot conceive to be other than instantaneous : whether I consider experience, or the word of God, or the very nature of the thing.-However, I contend not for a circumstance, but the substance; if you can attain it another way, do. Only see that you do attain it; for if you fall short, you perish everlastingly.
This beginning of that vast, inward change, is usually termed,
I Mall, vii. 7.
Matt. vi. 14, 15. t Luke iii. 4. 3, &c. 11 Evidence, or Conviction.
$ Mall. xxv. 29.
The New-Birth. Baptism is the outward sign of this inward grace, which is supposed by our Church to be given with and through that sign to all infants, and to those of riper years, if they repent and believe the gospel. But how extremely idle are the common disputes on this head! I tell a sinner, “You must be born again.” “No," say you, "he was born again in baptism: therefore he cannot be born again now.” Alas! what trifling is this! What if he was then a child of God? He is now manifestly a child of the Devil: for the works of his father he doth. Therefore, do not play upon words. He must go through an entire change of heart. In one not yet baptized, you yourself would call that change, The New-Birth. In him, call it what you will; but remember meantime, that if either he or you die without it, your baptism will be so far from profiting you, that it will greatly increase your damnation.
6. The Author of faith and salvation is God alone. It is he that works in us both to will and to do. He is the sole Giver of every good gift, and the sole Author of every good work. There is no inore of power than of merit in man; but as all merit is in the Son of God, in what he has done and suffered for us, so all power is in the Spirit of God. And therefore every man, in order to believe unto salvation, must receive the Holy Ghost. This is essentially necessary to every Christian, not in order to his working miracles, but in order to faith, peace, joy, and love, the ordinary fruits of the Spirit.
Although no man on earth can explain the particular manner, wherein the Spirit of God works on the soul, yet whosoever has these fruits, cannot but know and feel that God has wrought them in his heart.
Sometimes, he acts more particularly on the understanding, opening or enlightening it, (as the Scripture speaks) and revealing, unveiling, discovering to us the deep things of God.
Sometimes he acts on the wills and affections of men : withdrawing them from evil, inclining them to good, inspiring (breathing, as it were) good thoughts into them: so it has frequently been expressed, hy an easy, natural metaphor, strictly analogous to 1717, Treppe, Spiritus, and the words used in most modern tongues also, to denote the Third Person in the ever-blessed Trinity. But, however it be expressed, it is certain, all true faith, and the whole work of salvation, every good thought, word, and work, is altogether by the operation of the Spirit of God.
II. 1. I now come to consider the principal objections, which have, lately been made against these doctrines.
I know nothing material which has been objected, as to the nature of justification : but many persons seem to be very confused in their thoughts concerning it, and speak as if they had never heard of any justification antecedent to that of the last day. To clear up this, there needs only a closer inspection of our Articles and Homilies ; wherein justification is always taken, for the present remission of our sins.