Page images

the ground of their own faith, declared the things that should be fulfilled in their season, which they hoped and expected, yet we know that divine predictions do not depend upon the faith and hope of the messenger, but on God, who sends the messageThe high-priest of the Jews prophesied that Christ should die for that nation, and it came to pass; though faith and hope were both wanting in the high-priest. Balaam's prophecies came to pass, though he perished, as all other hypocrites do, without either faith or hope: " If we believe not," says Paul, " God abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself." Nor are angels the authors of divine revelation; that is all given by inspiration of God, and depends solely upon the faithfulness of God to make it good; and this the angel owns, "I am Gabriel that stand in the presence of God, and am sent to shew thee these glad tidings i" and, in his speech to Mary, he refers the whole of his message to be accomplished by the omnipotence of God, saying, "For with God nothing shall be impossible, Luke i. 37. We read of the light of angels, the glory of angels, the holiness of angels, and of their excelling in strength; but as for their internal endowments, or with what they are furnished, or how adorned, we know not. We have no account either of their faith, hope, or patience. "Secret things belong to God, but what is revealed belongs to us:" "Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar," Prov. xxx. 6. Divine revelation will not

submit to carnal reason; reason must give way to divine revelation: "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." But Onesimus proceeds and says,

'Your seeing a thing, becoming possessed of 'it, does not destroy the faculty of sight in you; 'no; that remains.'

Answer: The faith and hope of Onesimus are now both turned into sight; and he labours to prove that seeing and possessing do not destroy the faculty of sight; which we grant it does not. But the word of God declares that sight is opposed to walking by faith; "We walk by faith not by sight;" so that sight must destroy walking by faith. And sight cannot stand with things in possession; for that which is seen is not hope.

Onesimus is very warm against' the un-Christ'like, unapostolic practice of chopping the scrip'tures into scraps, called texts.'

Answer: this is so far from being unlike Christ, that he set the example. When he began his ministry he took one text, and no more; he then closed the book, and preached from it, Luke iv. 18. And he sent forth all the apostles with one text, and no more: "These twelve Jesus sent fortn. and commanded them, saying, Go not into cne way of the Gentiles, and into any of the cities of tne Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at nand" Matt. x. .5—7. Christ gave this one text

to all the apostles, after his own example; and
he gave them no more. Paul was sent forth after
the Lord's own example also, with one text and no
more; "Delivering thee from the Gentiles, unto
whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, to
turn them from darkness to light, and from the
power. of Satan unto God, that they may receive
forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them
which are sanctified by faith that is in me," Acts
xxvi. 18. God gave Isaiah his text, Isa. vi. 9,
10. Three times the Lord spoke to Jeremiah,
and gave him one text at a time, and no more,
Jeremiah i. 9, 10, 11, 13. Habakkuk waited
long till the vision spake to him, and the contents
were one text and no more: "Behold his soul
which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the
just shall live by his faith," Hab. ii. 4. Balaam
also who received the word at the Lord's mouth,
received one text at a time, and no more; "And
the Lord put a word into Balaam's mouth, and said,
Return unto Balak, and thus shalt thou speak,"
Num. xxiii. 5. Again, "And the Lord met Ba-
laam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, go
again unto Balak, and say thus," Num. xxiii. 16.
Yea more: all the apostles received but one text
from the Lord at his last departure from them,
Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; Mark xvi. 16. And the
apostles kept close to the matter of their texts.
In the first chapter of John the godhead of Christ
is the subject; in Paul's epistle to the Romans
God's better covenant with Abraham is insisted

on, and opposed to the law; in the epistle to the Hebrews, the first chapters are upon the priesthood of Christ, and in the eleventh chapter faith is set forth; and in the fifteenth of the first of the Corinthians the resurrection of the dead is handled. And God has, thousands and ten thousands of times, set his broad seal to different passages of scripture faithfully handled; and this will weigh more with a saint than all the whims of Onesimus. His method is walking in craftiness, and handling the word of God deceitfully; for by his plan you may make the Bible say any thing; for instance, one text says, And Judas went and hanged himself, Matt. xxvii. 5; and another scripture says, "Go and do thou likewise," Luke x. 37. In this way Onesimus supports his eternal hope, for he represents souls crying, praying, and groaning, in hope, even in purgatory; when another part of the same text tells us that they entered into rest, and that white robes were given to every one of them; which is expressive of their eternal victory, and of their endless nuptials with the Son of God.

Taking a text Onesimus calls 'chopping the 'scriptures.'

To which I answer: "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword; but the tongue of the wise is health," Prov. xii. 18; because life and death are in the power of the tongue, Prov. xviii. 21; that is, when God gives a mouth and wisdom, and even the very phrase. "Rightly dividing the word of truth," 2 Tim. ii. 1.5, signifies no less than to cut it, and to give to each a portion of meat in due season. Let Onesimus learn to distinguish between Solomon's sword, and that simple tool called a chopping knife. The former is called the tongue of the wise, used by the Lord to wound and heal; the latter is used by farmers' dames in making sausage meat. This vain jangling, and these vile perversions, are much worse than taking a text; and is a work peculiar to evil men and seducers, who shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

1. My conclusion upon this subject is, that no one inspired penman ever ascribed, attributed, assigned, applied, or described, or attempted to describe, the hope of the Lord, who now reigns in glory; no, nor have they ascribed hope to the elect angels, nor to glorified souls in heaven. Onesimus is the only intruder into these mysteries; no one prophet, apostle, or teacher, sent of God, has, or ever will, hold with him in these things.

2. Nor is .there one passage in the book of God that once mentions Christ as king of glory reigning in hope, or that once mentions the hope of holy angels, or the hope of glorified souls in heaven; so that it is not the spirit of truth that guides him, but the spirit of error, not the words of God, but the lies of Satan. Nor are his assertions spoken in faith, but in bold presumption. Nor is there one holy man, that has spoken as moved by the Holy Ghost, that ever has traced

« PreviousContinue »