Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

God's word and the dictates of my "confcience, I hope I fhall be enabled to choose rather to die with Lazarus on a dunghill, for want of bread. My father to his death kept his refolution, and I, through the fpecial grace of God, have been able to keep mine, and I hope ever fhall.

...

After this, about three days, I had a great and fharp difpute with my Lord, which continued three hours and a half by my Lord's chamber clock. The fubject of our difcourfe was about fet forms of prayer; whether the word of God would warrant ordinary and fallible men to compofe fet forms of prayer, and by human authority to impofe the fame on the confcience of the people.

I

My Lord peremptorily affirmed that God's word did warrant this, and I as ftiffly denied that it doth.

For proof of the affirmative, my Lord quotes Luke xi. 2. When ye pray, Jay, Our Father, &c. 'Sir, faid my Lord, here is a pofitive command to prove what I have affirmed.

To this I fhall humbly offer two things to your Lordship's ferious confideration. ii

Firft, The apparent difference between the two Evangelifts in fetting down the words of this prayer. Luke faying, When ye pray, Jay, Our Father, &c. Matthew, as appears Matt. vi. 9. faith, After this manner therefore pray ye, &c.

I cannot understand, faid I, how your Lordship can reconcile these two Evangelifts fo as peremptorily to conclude from the place now quoted, that it

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

it is the mind of Chrift that these words are to be imposed on believers as a prayer, or as their prayer.

Secondly, By way of humble and fubmiffive inquiry, doth your Lordship firmly believe that the form, now quoted to prove the affirmative, is in itfelf a complete and perfect prayer, containing all parts of neceffary prayer?I grant it, fir, replied my Lord; I believe it is a complete and a perfect prayer, containing in it all the parts of neceffary prayer.

the

nem ad q

14

I likewife humbly prefume that your Lordship takes it for granted, that it is the mind of Chrift that this form of prayer is to be imposed on believers as their prayer?

I grant it, fir, faid my Lord; I take it for granted, that it is the mind of Chrift, that that form fhould be imposed on believers as their prayer.

Then, my Lord, replied I, if the form now mentioned be a complete perfect prayer, to which nothing need to be added; and that the fame is to be imposed on believers as their prayer, and that by Chrift's own authority; to me it is very plain that, for any men to make or impofe any other prayer on themselves or others, it is a manifeft breach and violation of that commandment of Chrift *.

This is the way, reader, that God takes the wife in their own craftiness, by choofing the foolish things of this world to confound them, and caft them by their own verdict. My coufin is a nervous logician, and a mafter of arts; and no wonder, for Chrift dwells with prudence, and finds out knowledge of witty inventions. W. H. S. S.

H 2

I will

I will instance in a plain case, for illustration fake, the Ten Commandments in the moral law; I doubt not but your Lordship owns them to be a most perfect complete rule of righteousness, containing all the parts of our duty to God and man?

I grant them to be so, faid my Lord.

In the next place, said I, I question not but your Lordship as readily grants that this perfect rule of righteousness is commanded and enjoined by God's own authority ?

I grant that also, said my Lord; they are commanded and enjoined by God's own authority.

Then, faid I, the case is plain, and cannot be denied, that, for any to command or appoint any rule of righteousness besides those which in themselves are complete and perfect, and which are enjoined and commanded by God's own authority, is a manifest breach and violation of the supreme law, to which nothing may be added, and from which nothing may be detracted, without incurring the difpleature and curse of God; as it is written, Yeyhall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish it. Deut. iv. 2. And again, What things foever I command you, observe to do it: thoa molt not add therelo, nor diminish from it. Deut. xii. 32. And again, Add thou not unto his words, lejt be reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Prov. xxx. 6. And again, For I testify. 10 every man that beareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man Mall add unto these things, God fall add unto bira all the plagues that are written in

Ibis

this book : and if any man skall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away bis part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He that testifieth these things is Jesus, sobo faith, surely I come quickly. Rev. xxii, 18,

[ocr errors]

T9, 20*.

Thou seest, reader, that the moral law is the eternal rule of righteousness to every soul that is under it, and cleaves to it, He that looks for justification unto life by his own righteousness, or he that will live by his own works, or enter into life by keeping the commandments, must give a perfect, spiritual, and perpetual obedience to that rule, for the law is perfect, spiris tual, and eternal; but all have finned in Adain, and all were condemned to death and to dust in Adam ; or, as the scripture saith, through the disobedience of one (namely, Adam] judgment came upon all men "unto condemnation; therefore the condemned Ginner can give the law no obedience unto life, or by which he can live, and the condemning law can give him nothing but death, or the execution of that sentence that he is under. The law cannot give life, for man can give the law no righteousness; had there been a law given that could have given life, verily righteousness should liave come by the law : the blind pharisee sees not this; therefore the way of works feems right unto him, but the end thereof is death. But as for the faint of God, God's lovereign good will, in the myfiery of faith, as revealed in and by Christ Jesus, is his only rule of life; he must be obedient to the faith, walk by faith, stand by faith, seck righteousness by faith, live by taith, work by faith, fight by faith, worship by faith, and die in faith, if ever be enters heaven. He that believle's not is condemneil already, and the wrath of God abides upon him. He that believes not Mall be damned. Therefore this is thy rule of life, for thou inuft live by faith ; and this is thy rule of righteousness; for whutfoever is not of faith is fin. W.H, S.S.

From

H 3

. From prayer my Lord fell off to difcourfe of the liturgy, and ceremonies in general, the which he handled almost in all the particulars of them, and with fuch advantageous fuccefs on my fide, that my Lord at length grew weary and left off; for he found that God could ordain ftrength to perfect praife out of the mouths of babes and fucklings sufficient to fill the enemy and the avenger. Pfalm viii. 2. And certainly his promife was made good to me that day I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay, nor refift. Luke xxi. 15. But whether my Lord became fenfible of it or no, I knew not; but fure I am, that the laft promife quoted was made good to me, of which fuch notice was taken that hardly any of my relations durft attack me any more, except in a way of reproach and railing against the fanatics, and the new religion I had efpoufed fince I left the church. The good Lord be for ever exalted and praised for his mercy and faithfulness to his poor and despised children in a time of need. This was the last encounter I had with my Lord about religion; for that very night I took my leave of my Lord, rendering humble and hearty thanks to his Lordfhip for all his expreffions of love and kindness wherewith I met under his roof, fince I became a member of his family.

It were endlefs to relate the many and sharp trials to which the providence of God called me, that I might be brought up in the school of the crofs, and fitted for the fervice to which I was

afterwards

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »