« PreviousContinue »
craft is in danger; and no doubt I may meet with opposition from some well minded christians, who as I have once been, may be caught in a way that seems right, and in a way
that tradition may have rendered unsuspicious. Are these but filled with the Spirit of a gospel minister-have these the inward life, and do they testify that which they do know of the Spirit and power of God; these I esteem, though they may not believe in all points as I do ; but yet of these, I may have much to hope and little to fear; that is, I may hope that they may know the heights and depths of the nature of Christ's kingdom, and keep themselves in the love of God. I have less to fear from these, than I have from others. These are not so persecuting as others,and they love to proclaim the truth of the gospel. There are some, I wish I could say it of thein, that when they have spoken ten times for,and of themselves, that they have spoken once. for God. These have spoken, and God has not spoken by them. It may be said of them as of the false prophets of old, “ They shall not profit the people—they prophesy a vision of their own heart.”—These dupe the people to this, that and the other notion in will-worship, and like Jotham's bramble, they say, come thou and put your trust in my shadow," and cause many to leave the
fatness of the olive, and the sweetness of the fig-these are “dumb dogs who cannot bark;" that is, they cannot warn the people of impending mischief. These
teach for doctrine, the commandments of men, and they are not brought so much into the Spirit of truth, which is love, joy, peace, gentleness and goodness, as they are into hatred, variance, wrath, stripes, and envying. Reader: blame me not for my plain speaking, lest I find a proof of what I say in thy own neighborhood or in thy own breast. dear reader, I do not make these remarks applicable to all who pretend to preach—there are some called of Christ-others, after they are called, after a while, preach themselves, and not Christ. Others are called of mammon,and like covetous cooks they covet much for their little, and while they deal out more compliments than food, their congregation starve for the “ bread of life.” The soul humbling and humiliating doctrine of Christ is too close for the displays which many such teachers wish to make. The gate is too narrow and the way too straight for the displays of such as wish to make a fair show in the flesh. The poor once had the gospel preached to them, but these have no call where there is no money. [P" By their fruits ye shall know them."
That religion and righteousness which I have plead for, is that, without which (every christian will agree with me,) no man can be saved, and with which no man can be lost. I have contended for that baptism which is Spiritual and sanctifying, and that which is INTO Christ, who is the first resurrection, and
such as have their part hereof“ on them the second death shall have no power." I have contended for that communion which is an inward life, and that which is with the Father and the Son. I have not labored to establish my reader in some outward forms, nor to convert him to some of these notions, about which the world has been contending for, for many hundred years to no effect, and in which contentions, dark and complexed opinions have multiplied rather than decreased, plaivly showing us that men of themselves are more calculated by their wisdom to wrap the truth in obscurity, mists and fogs and darkness, rather than light. Dear reader, if thou wilt inquire for my sentiments, thou shalt have them in a few lines.
As was the first and great command,
So is the last command to love.
None else this offering he'll approve.
“This is the sense that Moses spoke,
This did the prophets preach and prove,
And the whole law's fulfilled by love."
Though prelates, creeds ar.d forms propound,
Stop here my soul, nor rove abroad.
Myself I'd know, and know my God.
net, but all who are lovers of God and lovers of one another, in whatever place they may be, they compose the church, whether collective or not,Christ by his Spirit presides as head over them. When together, they are as lively stones-a Spiritual house and a holy priesthood to offer up Spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.-Holiness is their motto, and love to God and love to man is their tenet, and to this all the doctrine of the prophets, Christ and his apostles point as the sunbeams point to the sun. When the scribe acknowledged to Christ, that to love God with all his soul, and his neighbor as himself, was more than whole burnt offerings and sacrifices, Christ said to him in return, “ Thou art not far from the kingdom of God," see Matth. xxii. 37, 38, 39.
Our Saviour never taught that his gospel stood in meats nor drinks. When Christ
represented the principles upon which the world was to be justified, Matth. xxv. 31 ; he did not begin to cominend them on the right hand, for some ceremonial observance, as in sacraments, but, said he, "I was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink : I was a stranger and ye took me in: naked and
ye clothed me: I was in prison and ye came unto me; for these they on the right hand were accepted, but for not attending to these they on the left hand were sent away, and it was said to them “inasmuch as ye have not done it unto one of the least of these [my disciples) ye did it not unto me.
Saith Christ, “ a new commandment I give unto you, THAT YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER, John xv. 12. Saith the apostle, Rom. xiii. 8, 9, 10, ***"he that loveth another hath fulfilled the lawfor this thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely: 'THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF-love worketh no ill to his neighbour, therefore LOVE IS THE FULFILLING OF THE WHOLE LAW."
Come reader, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter, Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man,” (Eccl. xii. 13,) and“ this is the message that ye heard from the beginning,-THAT WE SHOULD LOVE ONE ANOTHER," 1 John iii. 11.
Errata - Page 1-In motto, for encompasseth, read encampeth. page 150-In the 2d line of poetry, for effect read affect. Page 208~In the 2d line from the top,after dispensation read by the term gospel. l'age 269— In the 5th line from the top, after water read by virtue of that commission. Page 307–For Justin Martin, read Justin Martyr. Page 352— In the 2d line from the bottom, for poiential mood, read subjunctive mood.