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ner to love and serve God arises from, or rather consists in his groundless aversion to God and his holy law; and the stronger that aversion is, the more guilty and inexcusable must he be ; for if bating God and duty would exempt from an obligation to love him, the Devil would be thoroughly excusable, as well as all bis children. If no man is bound by the law, whose heart cannot brook subjection to the law, the law is absolutely made void, and its authority is nugatory. At best, it is no more law, but merely good advice to good men to do what they like to do; while bad men are left to do the contrary, if they like it better : and if the first great commandment be binding only so far as it suits the actual disposition of a rational creature, one would suppose the second, which is like unto it, must be relaxed in an equal degree. At least, if the sinner's aversion to the duties of the second table be strong enough, it must release him from obligation to perform them, as truly as his aversion to those of the first can exempt him from all spiritual worship of God. Thus, he that is quite opposed to the fifth commandınent, may plead, “ I cannot abide iny parents ;-I despise them for their religion; - I hate their puritanical ways.” He that is disposed to violate the sixth, may say of his neighbour,“ abhor him, and cannot speak peaceably to hiva ; and though I shall take care not to expose myself to be hanged for murder, yet I cannot help wishing him dead.” He that dislikes the seventh, may plead, "I have eyes full of adultery, and cannot cease from sin ;' while another may say of the eighth,"] ought not to be bound to observe this law, for I never could keep my hands from picking and stealing." He that is blamed for violating the ninth, may exculpate himself by saying, “ I am a liar, and the truth is not in me; and have discovered this propensity ever since I could speak.” While another, to obtain exemption from the tenth (which to be sure is the strictest of all, or rather was intended to shew the spirituality of all the rest) may appropriate the character which Jeremiah gave of Jehoiakim, and say, " Mine eyes and mine heart are only for my covetousness: how unreasonable then must it be to require me either to commiscrate the poor, or to refrain from envying the rich!" Any of these are quite as good excuses as it would be for sinners to say, “ We are alive unto sin, but alienated from the life of God; and, therefore, nothing should be required of us which implies a right spirit towards God. We cannot love God, for our carnal minds are enmity against
we cannot serve him, for we cannot abide subjection to his law; - we cannot believe his testimony concerning his son, for we, see reither form nor comeliness in him, wherefore we should desire him. The gospel is too humiliating in its import for us to stoop to it; and too boly in its tendency for as to comply with it,”
3. Is not a minister culpable, who, while he tells the people
that formality in worship is detestable to God, tells thein also, that this is the whole of their duty, while destitute of the Spirit? I would be very unwilling to excite disaffection towards a minister who appeared to have his heart right with God, and sincerely to love Christ and the souls of men, and 'who was concerned to promote holiness, though I might think him mistaken in some of his views; but I own I should fear that a defect on this subject would have a very prejudicial influence on any man's ministry. I would, therefore, earnestly beseech such a minister to re-examine his sentiments, and coinpare his mode of address will that of Christ and his apostles. I should request hiin particularly to consider the following remark, which I remember to have heard introduced in the charge at an ordination, many years ago; viz. “ That if the natural tendency of his opinions led a preacher to be shy of scriptural exhortations, so that there were many addresses used by the prophets and apostles, and by Christ himself, which, instead of adopting and enforcing, he was always apt to shun, or mentioned the only for the purpose of explaining hein away, this must surely be a sign that he had not got quite the right clue to orthodoxy."
[ would also beseech him to examine, Whether those views, xvhich tend 10 lessen the duty of simers so exceedingly, inust pot equally tend toplessen the obligations of the saved to free grace and the blood of Christ " I have, ele now, proposed a like statement with the following, to persons who had such an unscriptural notion of the duty of the unregerieratc. Let us review our own past lives, according to our different opinions on this sulject, that we may try which of us must feel most indebted to Christ, upon the estimate which our respective sentiments will lead us to forin of our quantity of guilt. When you reflect upon the days of your unregeneracy, you suppose that you neglected a number of external duties which you ought to have performed, and miglit have done without any special grace ; c.9. The same feet which carried you to an alehouse, could have taken you to a place of worship; - the same hands which played ai carels, could have given alms; the same eves that often behele vanity, could have looked into the Bible; the same tongue which sung wanton songs, could have suny hymnus ; the same ears which listened to evil conversation, couid have hearkened to sermons : for the omission of these duties, therefore, you blame yourself'; and also on account of various sins, of falsehood, prophaneness, &c. which you could have forborne to comunit, without any love to God of Christ. On the whole, you can think of number of sius, both of omission aud commission, for whicle
you needed to repent, and for which you have sought pardon; and as you hope that you have found mercy, you ascribe the forgiveness of all these sins to the riches of grace, displayed through the mediation and atoneinent of Jesus Christ. Christ then, according to your estimate, has done somewhat considerable for you, in redeeming you froin the curse of the law, which was due to all these sins. You owe him much on this account. But now, when I review the days of my unregeneracy, according to my ideas of duty and sin, how much more do I owe to Christ, it I am forgiven my sins for his sake! There was nothing which you suppose to have been your duty, but what I equally consider as having been my duty. There is no sin which you charge upon yourself, but what I think as criminal as ever you can do; but over and above what you allow of yourself, I am convinced that I was bound, by the strongest obligations, to revere and esteein the ever blessed God ; - to love him with all my heart, and serve him with all my might, aimning constantly at his glory. I charge myself, therefore, with unspeakably greater criminality than you, for as much as I lived so many years without any supreme regard to God; in all which time i did nothing for the sake of glorifying him :
: yea (as though it had been a sinall thing to disregard that law which is holy, just, and good, and which is spiritual, extending to the heart, and taking cognizance of the springs of action) I also slighted the Lord Jesus Christ, and rejected the counsel of God against myself, making light of the great salvation, and treating God as a liar, by disbelieving his testimony concerning his Son: all this I view as sin, horrid sin, aggravated sin ! If, therefore, my sentiments are just, I must view myse!ť as infinitely more criminal than your opinions would lead you to esteem yourself; and if I am pardoned, my obligations to Christ and free grace must appear unspeakably greater
To the Editor. By inserting in your useful Miscellany the six following Questions, which
the late Rev, Mr. Matthew Hendry solemnly examined himself upon, in the view of his Ordination to the Ministry, will much oblige your constant reader,
TIMOTHY. FIRST, “What am I?" Have I ever been inwardly convinced of my lost and undone condition by nature? ilave I been deeply humbled before the Lord for my original sin, and actual transgressions? Have I sincerely closed with the Lord Jesus alone, as my Saviour, by a true and lively faith? Have [ a real hatred of every sin in myself, as well as in others, - having no beloved lusts which I would have spared ? Have I a real love to holiness, and do I earnestly use holy ordinances, that I may thereby be made more and more holy? – Secondly, “What have I done:" What precious time have I misspent in folly and vanity? How niany precious opportunities of grace have I lost, and left unimproved, through my carelessness? How often have I broken my solemn engagements to God, and resolutions against sin? How unprofitable bave I been in my converse with others? How forgetful have I been of God and his word, and of the great concerns of my soul and eternity? - Thirdly, “ From what principles do l act in entering on the ministerial office:" It is from faith in Christ's appointment of the office of the ministry, and calling me, however weak in myself, to it:it is from zeal for the giory of God: - it is froin real love to precious souls; for the good of which, I would gladly spend and be spent. I would think it a greater happiness to gain one soul to the Lord Jesus Christ, than to gain mountains of silver and gold to myself. - Fourthly,“ What ends do I aim at in this great undertaking ?" I do not design to take up the ministry as a trade to live or enrich myself by, or to get myself a name among men, - or to maintain a party. If my blood could be suficient balsaun, I would gladly part with the last drop of it, for bealing the differences that are awong true Christians. But I aim at the glory ol Jesus Christ, and of God in him, as my chief end; and at the good of precions souls in subordination to it. “I had rather beg my bread from door to door, than be an unprofitable minister with hundreds a year.” — Fitihly,“ What do I desire from the God of all grace?” I is, that he would fix and establish any heart, in my dedication of myself to the work of the ministry ---- that in the ordinance of dedication, he would fill my heart with such an experimental sense of the excellency of Christ, and the comforts of the Holy Ghost, as may be a token of his presence, and earnest of my success in the work; – that he would quality me with ministerial gifts and graces, particularly faith, love, zeal, patience, sincerity, and bumility; and that he would open a door of opportunity, and bless and succeed iny endeavours in the ministerial work. - Sixthly, • What do I, by the grace of God, and in the strength of Christ, resolve on for the future?" It is, to have no more to do with the unfruitful works of darkness; to abound more than ever in all manner of gospel-obedience; to strive to be more humble, serious, watchful, self-denying, heavenly - minded, lively in prayer, jeading, or spiritual discourses; to consider well, and endeavour to perform my ordination vows; and never to let go any trutin, whatever it may cost me, ever owning the Scripture as the only rule of faith and practice; and wholly to give up myself' 10 tle work of the ministry, and employ all my talents in the service of God and souls, with seriousness and diligence; preaching and defending the truths of God, promoting peace and unity in the Church, and thank!ully accepting of
FROM A LIINISTER TO HIS FRIEND ONDER AFFLICTION,
THROUGH TÅE LOSS OF A PROMISING CHILD. Dear Friend,
I cannot forbear expressing my sympathy under your present trial, and feel it incumbent on ine to adıninister a portion of that consolation which the Gospel contains; or rather to put you in mind of the things you already know. It is a grand excellency of the Christian religion, that it is adapted to yield solid support under the most painiul dispensations. There is nothing in the leavenly system to make us unfeeling or insen-' sible; but when properly understood and experienced, it tends to moderate onr griet, and to lead us, by submission and faithi, to look to our Father who is in Heaven, and say, “ Thy will be done." It is true, I can only guess at the feelings of a parent ; they must be peculiar, and especially under the circumstances it has pleased the Lord, at this time to call you to endure. The flower that so lately flourished at your side, has fallen an early victim to the chilling blast of death. It is cut down: but shall it never more arise? O yes, it shall flourish in immortal bloom; it is for ever safe in the arms of Jesus, who hath said, (Let mourners cease to grieve!) “ of such is the kingdom of Heaven." In reading the sacred volume, we find several eminent instances of resignation to God under bereaving providences ; but none more reinarkable than that of the Shunamitish woinan*. After receiving a son as a peculiar favour, and after witnessing the opening charins of the dear, pleasing object, she has to behold it suddenly stricken and die. What a stroke! It was not possible for her to have been wounded in a part more tender! The stream from which she fondly expected . to drink many a draught of future joy, is at once dried up. But bow did she conduct herself in this case: What was the frame of her mind? She said, “ It is well!” What shong faitha!. What calin submission! What peaceful acquiescence to the will of God!Hearken also to the language of Job: “ The Lord gave, and the Lord bath taken away," (not one onl;', but many, yea all his children!) and yet he says, “ Blessed be the name of the Lord!" Such was his faith and patience, that he justifies God in all.
In our journey through life, we shall have sometimes to glorify our Lord, as well by quiet resignation as by activity and zeal in his service; and nothing should we be more concerned to cultivate than a mind in unison with the will of God. What be appoints must be right and best, however great the trial, or
• 2 Kings iv. 26.