« AnteriorContinua »
tred against him, which he ever out being made to pass through afterwards retained. About this the fire. He therefore, in genperiod also, he incurred the re- eral, contented himself with sentment of the Dominicans, for preaching the doctrines of rehis contempt of the unintelligi- pentayce, faith, and remission of ble dogmas, and dangerous er- sins, without inveighing against rors of St. Thomas, their favour- men or manners; knowing that ite tutelary saint.
the belief of the truth would lead His learning and piety, united to purity of conduct. In this, he with his talents and zeal, procur- differed from almost all the reed him extensive and powerful formers, who preceded him. authority. His own order did They had opposed chiefly the not oppose him, for it derived practice of corrupt churchmen; lustre from his reputation, and he attacked their doctrinal prinpower from his influence. His ciples. They endeavoured to life recommended his doctrine, lop off some withered and nox. and proved it to be practical in ious branches ; he laid the axe its tendency and effects, “The
“ The to the root of the tree. proverb,” says Melancthon, was From this statement of facts, remarkably verified, The picus which includes all that we think conduct of a man makes his necessary, to furnish a view of speech persuasive." This de Luther's character and life, premonstration of his sincerity in vious to his public appearance as duced many excellent men, in a reformer of the church, it is different ranks of life, afterwards obvious, that his motives were to promote his plan of reform- pure and disinterested ; that ing the corruptions of the they became more so as he adchurch. Still, however, he did vanced in the life of godliness ; not think of altering any of and that instead of being ambi. the established ceremonies ; fortious of fame, he was actuated though he perceived that Rome only by the fear of God, by atwas far departed from her primi. tachment to the pure doctrines tive purity, he still believed her of Christianity, by zeal for the to be the true church of Christ. divine glory, and the salvation of He imagined that she might still perishing men. be revived without a change of constitution, and purified with
(To be continued.)
ON THE CONNEXION BETWEEN FAITH IN THE GREAT DOCTRINES
OF THE GOSPEL, AND CHRISTIAN OBEDIENCE TO ITS PRE: CEPTS.
In the No. for August (Seelowing the faith of primitive p. 99.) some observations were Christians, if we would live to made on the importance of fol- the same effect.
There is a different sentiment if he has not faith in the Saoften advanced, and often com- viour's doctrine in this point, he mended as liberal. In substance can have no confidence in the it is this. If gospel commands example placed before him, or and examples are kept well. in in the precept, which bids him view, a good life will certainly love his enemies. And by what follow : and this being the great other arguments can he be made concern of man, what can render sensible of this duty, while he is the belief of so many doctrines not convinced, that there is any indispensable ; doctrines, which such extended benevolence in are above comprehension ? heaven? This has a fair appearance ;
Again. The apostle John in but a near inspection may nev- his 1st epistle iii. 16, says, ertheless, find it unsound. What " Hereby perceive we the love if it should turn out, that the of God, because he laid down his doctrines and precepts, doctrines life for us : and we ought to and exainples, are so interwov- lay down our lives for the brethen, that without faith in the one, ren." Here likewise, we have there must be a want of confi- doctrine, example, precept, all dence in the other, and there- combined to inculcate upon fore a want of obedience ? For Christians a “ wonderful" love, all will acknowledge, there must which can inake them willing be faith in the precept, or it will even to die for one another, if frot be respected ; and in the the case require. And if in example, or it will not be fol- heaven there is dying love to lowed.
men, this surely is an argument As this is an interesting in- of irresistible force. But sup. quiry, and a question of fact, in pose there were some Chrisgreat measure, let us look to tians, who did not perceive the particulars.
love of God, as here stated ; In Matt. v. 44, we have this nor believe the fact, that he did command of Christ; “ Love lay down his life for them. your enemies, bless them that What then becomes of the ex. curse you, do good to them that ample, and what of the precept? hate you,” &c. “That ye may be With respect to those persons, the children of your Father, who both lose their force ; and there is in heaven ; for he maketh his cannot, upon these terms, be a sun to rise on the evil and on the respect to either. Suppose, in good, and sendeth rain on the the mean time, a heathen poet, just and on the unjust. Be ye or philosopher, should say to therefore perfect, as your Father them, “ You ought to be ready in heaven is perfect.” Else- to lay down your lives for each where it is, “ Be ye merciful, as other;" or, “ you ought to your Father also is merciful," think it glorious, and delightful Luke 36. Now, suppose to die for your country ;" what there were a person who did not right have they to rely upon believe that there was such a real this, when they do not so much mercy of the Great Parent, to as believe any divine authority people of all characters, as is for any such thing? here stated. It is obvious, that In Phil. ii. 3, and onward, St.
Paul recommends lowliness of have told us, and we believe mind, and a self-denying regard them, that Jesus was first poor, to the interests of others. And and afterward became rich; not these he enforces by the conde. that he was first rich, and after scension of Christ,“ who being that became poor.” With opinin the form of God, thought it ions so different from the aposnot robbery to be equal with tle's doctrine, how could they God. But made himself of no possibly find in Christ şuch an reputation, and took upon him example of liberality, as that now the form of a servant, and was stated to them, or such powerful made in the likeness of men: argument for diminishing their And being found in fashion as a riches to relieve the poor? man, he humbled himself, and Let me bring one instance became obedient unto death, more. St. Paul says to Titus, even the death of the cross." “ These things I will that thou Now, admit for a moment, a affirm constantly, to the end that modern exposition of ver. 6, and they, who have believed in God, suppose any one to be in doubt might be careful to maintain whether Christ's original state good works.” The good works was such, that it was condescen- particularly intended, the first sion in him to take the form of part of the chapter explains. a servant, and pot claim or in. It is a part of scripture expresssist to be equal with God; ly intended to point out the premust not the force both of the eminence in all social duties, and example and precept here stat.. the amiable conduct in every ed, be proportionably lost? view, which Christians must
In 2 Cor. viii, the same apostle maintain toward those who are recommends liberality, in partic- not Christians. The consideraular to poor saints. “ See that tions by which such a behaviour ye abound in this grace also.” is to be enforced upon believers, And he enforces it by this argu- are such as these ; they themment : : “ For ye know the grace selves were once of the same de-, of our Lord Jesus Christ, that praved character with the unconthough he was rich, yet for your verted now around them ; it is sakes, he, became poor, that ye mere mercy that has changed through his poverty might be their character and standing ; rich." How obvious is it, that not only free mercy, but exceedhere likewise, the soul of obedi- ing great kindness and love of ence is faith in the doctrine con- God, have been displayed on cerning the grace of Christ, in them, depraved as they were ; descending from riches to por and very great blessings bestowerty for our sakes; and that, if ed. Under this last head are this faith be wanting, both the specified, regeneration by the precept and example will be Holy Ghost, justification by without etiect! What if some grace, and heirship according of the Corinthians had said to. to the hope of eternal life. the apostle, Sir, this recom- These are great arguments ; mendation of yours is founded and where they are wel believed in a mistake. Learned men and kept in view, are of great Vol. I. No.9.
power to produce that eminently the greatest of all arguments to kind, meek, and gentle behav- kindness and liberality to fellow. iour toward all men, which they sinners, are as water spilt on the enforce. But it is well known ground. What then, if these that this doctrine is not always arguments are not even creditfully believed in all its branches. ed? And to how little purpose is And where it is not, there will this great example of heavenly be a proportionable failure in love brought to the view of such practice. He, who never re- a person? cognized in himself those char- We see then how little obeacters of depravity, which the dience to the gospel is to be exapostle describes, will naturally pected without full confidence in look down upon those to whom its doctrines. Because, generalhe believes they are applicable.ly, these are the great basis of Instead of humility, vain thoughts its duties; because here lie the will prevail with him. And not great examples ; I might have feeling his own need of mercy, because here are found the he will not be merciful as he grand motives. And all this apought to his fellow-sinners. If plies as much to what are called he believes himself a man of re- the mysteries of Revelation, as ligion ; whether he ascribes it to to any parts of it whatever. a rare felicity of his nature, or to This, the foregoing instances, his converting himself, without and a great many more, will those divine energies the apostle show. It is a striking fact, that mentions, or to a certain good the sublimest sentiments, which conduct, which procured for him the gospel any where inculcates, the gift of saving grace, or gave are built upon these mysteries. him a claim to it; a vain glory, There are, it is true, other like that of the heathen moral. scriptural considerations, which ists, will pervade all his morality should excite us to obedience. and all his religion. He will But if some doctrines are rejectlook with a haughty air, on those ed because the wisdom of man whom he thinks not so virtuous would not have conceived them ; as himself; and perhaps be un- or because, when revealed, they kind to them, and throw them are still in some respects, deep away, for not being as kind and and unfathomable; or because merciful as he is.
some learned men call them in And certainly if one, who question : or, if they are nege thinks himself an heir of mercy, lected for such reasons; with tras not a strong sense of the what sentiments do we go to free abounding love, and tran- those other parts of holy scripscendently rich blessings dis- ture ? Even the whole must lose played on man, so forlorn in their credit with us, more or character, and so ill-deserving; less, through our want of conand of those blessings, as en- fidence in a part; or if, here banced, beyond degree, by the and there, we seem to believe, it precious redemption through is with a faith, which stands in which they flow; if there is not the wisdom of men, and not in a strong sense of these things, the authority of inspiration. But this is not the faith, which are urged by the apostles, and produces obedience in the most enjoined to be affirmed constantproper sense.
ly, for the same reason. At the same time, we natural- But who must not regret that Jy remark, that by looking to the truths so interesting should ever practical parts of the gospel, we be held with only a speculative may often learn with greater sat- belief! Is this all that is due to isfaction what its real doctrine is, the sad story of our ruined, in many great articles. One cri- wretched state by sin ? Is this all terion all must admit. That con- that is due to the free, abounding struction of the doctrine, which philanthropy of God, and the makes the precept and example bleeding love of the Saviour ? appear all natural, is probably the To the doctrine of the Holy true construction. That which Ghost our regenerator, and of would destroy all their force, immortal life and glory in hea. and even render them absurd, ven? Let us ask then that divine must be wrong. With this crimercy, which induces a believing terion in view, I have the confi- with the heart; and thus redence to ask, who, upon the moves those inconsistencies beArian construction, can make tween opinion and practice, so sense of the apostle's argument often seen, so much to be lafor condescension in Phil. ii. 3, mented. forecited ?
ZUINGLIUS. scheme of modern Socinianș, can perceive any force, or even consistency, in the argument for
THE DECALOGUE. liberality to the poor, in ? Cor.
No. 3. B? And who, taking into view the important argument in Ti- Third Commandment. tus 3, for amiable behaviour to
“ Tạou shalt not take," or lift all men, must not admit the ex.
up* “the name of the Lord thy position of Calvin and other God in vain ; for the Lord will great reformers, or be content
not hold him guiltless that takto see doctrine, precept, exame eth his name in vain.” ple, all placed in an unnatural This command immediately view, and all their force de forbids false swearing. Let none stroyed ?
call God to witness a lie. PromIn the same light we see the ise not in his presence what you error of neglecting these doc- mean not to perform ; neither trines, if we mean to be practi. affirm nor deny what you are cal, and wish to see Christian conscious is wrong. A false oath virtue in its best form, in our. has ever been ranked among the selves or others. For myste- most heinous of crimes. Some rious as they are, and often de nations have punished it with nounced as mere speculative opinions, they are in fact, the most practical considerations of refers to an ancient practice of lifting
So the word may be rendered. It all, and of greatest influence in the hand toward heaven when an oath the Christian life. As such they was taken.