Imatges de pÓgina
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their brother's eye, when they have a beam in their own eye. But such persons do well to bear in mind the reply, Physician, heal thyself. Charity should begin at home, as it respects secular concerns, in ordering the common affairs of life. Let individuals thoroughly understand and regulate their varied temporal pursuits, and the concerns of community will be well. Let them discharge the various duties which they owe to themselves and others, rather than to be over anxious to know the particulars or peculiarities of their fellow men. Let each one feel interested to attend to his own calling as it respects the pursuits of common life, and this will serve to check a fondness and inquisitiveness to become acquainted minutely with the concerns of others, to which we can neither be called from duty nor from interest.

2d. Some persons discover a vain curiosity in discoursing on the entrance of sin into the world. Such an inquiry may be properly made; as it is a subject of vast importance, and in which we are interested. But divine revelation must be taken for our light, and circumscribe our inquiries. Now the sacred oracles inform us, that through the temptation of the serpent, our first parents violated the positive command of God, fell from their holy state, into a state of sin and condemnation; and that in consequence of their transgression, all their posterity become sinners. And without the Bible for our guide, when and how sin entered the world, we could not certainly know. But the curious minded, press the inquiry farther. Did the Lord bring about the fall of man himself? Or did he only give permission? Or why, that is, what are the reasons that sin was permitted to enter, if he could have prevented it by his power? What is that to thee, vain man? If neither reason nor revelation can answer our inquiries, shall we seek to be wise above what is written? The things which are revealed on this subject belong to us, and should

bound our inquiries; for secret things belong to God. Because the Lord has not revealed all the reasons, or given all the information which he might have done concerning the entrance of sin into the world, must his infinite wisdom be arraigned before the tribunal of human wisdom? As it is a solemn and alarming fact, that we are sinners against a holy and just God, rather let us seek to be delivered from the dominion and wages of sin. The inquisitive and vain search, for the manner of the entrance of sin, little concerns us; but how we shall be delivered from its pollution as a deadly leprosy of the soul, is an inquiry of the utmost importance.

Take an example for illustration. Suppose a man to be roused from his midnight slumbers by the noise of a thief, plundering his house. He hears him pillaging his coffers of his only treasure, which, if carried off, must render him bankrupt, and reduce his family to poverty. But he searches his house with the utmost diligence from top to bottom, to find the place of the thief's entrance, instead of securing him; and meanwhile he makes his escape. Alas! poor man! for his folly he is ruined. Had he acted with

wisdom, he would first have secured his treasure. Then may we not indulge a vain curiosity respecting the entrance of sin into the world; or be anxious to know those reasons, which are hid in the divine mind; for we are apt to inquire into those things, in which we are not immediately concerned, rather than into those, in which we are most deeply interested.

3d. Some persons entertain singular ideas, and make curious inquiries concerning Melchisedek. They have a right to be informed concerning him; but they should be content, when they have all the instruction which can be given. The sacred historians give no account of his parentage or pedigree, as in the case of the priests appointed by the law, and who were all required to prove their descent

from Aaron. Hence he is represented to be Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually. Melchisedek is introduced into the sacred history, as a priest of the most high God, without father, mother, or genealogy, that he might the more exactly typify that high priest, who, as the Son of man, had no earthly father; and as the Son of God, was without mother, and who was appointed to the priesthood, without deducing his pedigree from Aaron. Nothing is said of Melchisedek respecting the beginning of his life, or the end of his days and priesthood, that he might be a type of the Son of God, whose existence is from eternity to eternity, and who had no predecessor or successor in his meritorious and perpetual priesthood. In all these respects, the silence of the scriptures doubtless is intentional; and refers from the type to the great Antitype, who once offered himself a sacrifice for sin, and ever liveth to make intercession for the saints. Now if any person has not all the information their curiosity would demand concerning Melchisedek, they may reflect for their comfort, that they are not very deeply interested in the subject. Their serious and devout inquiry should be to form clear and exalted views of the person and offices of Christ, and to follow him. His character and priesthood are abundantly and clearly made known. He is the foundation of the gospel, and of all our hopes of future bliss. He is the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. To believe in him, is life; but, to deny him, is death. In his divinity and humanity, his life and death, we are immediately concerned. His holy life should be kept in our minds as the perfect pattern of imitation. How conspicuous are his zeal and perseverance in doing his Father's will; and with what lustre do his patience and meekness shine. Let it be our inquiry then to form exalted and adoring views

of his divine character, and to follow him in his imitable examples of perfect obedience. They that exalt him, will be exalted; but they who refuse to have him reign over them, will be confounded. Whilst all the angels of God worship him, may it ever be our chief study, to know, to love, and serve him.

4th. Some persons are fond of proposing queries concerning the state and condition of the Heathen world, who appear to have but little concern or anxiety for themselves as sinners, and exposed to destruction. But this is certain, that they, who do not feel deeply interested for their own salvation, cannot have much concern or regard for the salvation of others. Hence cavils arise, Why the Lord did not, even by miracles, have the gospel preached to all nations? or why are so many of the human race left in Heathenish darkness? But they, who thus cavil, do not daily address the throne of divine grace in their behalf; and perhaps they have never contributed one cent to assist, in sending the gospel to them. Now what profit can there be in such queries? If any feel interested for the welfare of Heathenish nations, let their prayers and alms ascend up as a memorial before God, that the Sun of righteousness may arise and shine into those dark and benighted corners of the earth. Whatever conjectures any may form concerning their condition and prospects, they can be of no avail, unless they influence to exertion to send them the gospel means of salvation. The first and immediate concern of those in gospel lands should be to embrace and profess the gospel; for then they may feel deeply interested that others also enjoy its inestimable blessings. And this thought should deeply affect the minds of those who cavil, that if those who enjoy the meridian of gospel light, are not saved through its influence, it will be nore tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, and the nations of the Heathen, in the day of judgement, than for them. How inconsistent is the conduct of those

who do not wisely improve, but abuse their own exalted religious privileges, that they be often proposing queries about the state of those who are not thus highly axalted. They who are destitute of the light of the gospel, do need the pity of those who live in gospel lands; yea, they are in perishing need But let us be merciful of gospel light and means. to our own selves; let our own hearts be imbued and influenced by the benevolent spirit of the gospel; and then our cavils will be turned into the most solemn inquiries, how we shall reach forth to them the word of God, and be the happy agents of sending the bread of life. Whilst we weep for ourselves and those around us, let our queries be turned into fervent prayers; and our idle wishes, into acts of charity, for the destitute and wretched Pagans. Then may we hope, that they will participate in like glorious Yea, we may see privileges and blessings with us. some, who, in the last great day, will rise up as saved through our exertions, and call us blessed.

5th. Some persons are apt to inquire concerning the future condition of infants, whether they are all to be saved or not. But this is a subject, in which they are not immediately and deeply interested; for all they can do, is to commend them to the grace of God, and implore his blessing. They may propose many queries, and indulge in trifling speculations; but to what profit? If the lives of infants be spared, they, who have the care of them, may bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, at a very early age. For this duty and privilege they should We may converse feel a deep and lively interest. and receive instruction concerning the state and condition of infants, if we take the scriptures for our guide. But skeptical disputes and angry contentions concerning them, are injurious and to be avoided. The inquiry may be, Are infants born in a state of perfect holiness? I answer, no. For David says, concerning himself, Behold, I was shapen in

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