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the sensible elements as to render | when we turn from her ambiguous the minutest portion of them proof oracles, and listen to God's beagainst destruction, much more loved Son, we shall find these will he protect that etherial ele- momentous conjectures reduced to ment which has flowed from his certainty. His religion verifies own inspiration.
what reason only dreamed of, and In the amplitude of the soul, brings forward in a form so simple there is a further anticipation of and intelligible that a child might the same thing In desire, it is grasp it, a proposition, under the even broader than the earth, and uncertainty of which, forty ages of dimensions larger than the sea. had groaned.
He has abolished When these are taken in, its im- | death and brought life and immense capacity is not filled. Still mortality to light, and hence subthere reigns a feverish discontent mits the question, "What shall it which constitutes at once its | profit a man to gain the world wretchedness and glory. It de- and lose his soul, or what shall nies the competency of earth to a man give in exchange for his satisfy its anxious cravings, and, soul? Fear not them who kill the therefore, reaches after immor- || body, and have no more that they tality.
can do, but fear him, who, after Without a deathless being, we he hath killed, hath power to cast should furnish no proof of wisdom into hell.” Immortality is assumin our formation. It is a contra-ed by the Saviour as essential to diction to the customary economy the being of man, and as insepaof divine power to suppose, that rally connected with the adminiswe are animated by a heavenly |tration of divine providence, for spark, only to have that spark ex-surely it cannot be this animal life, tinguished forever after a few the little breath which moves these years; that this goodly structure lungs in respiration, that he puts should be erected with so much in competition with the whole care and skill, only to be hurled world. It is the deathless nature into irrevocable dissolution after a of the soul which gives it such a short course of action. The great value. This cannot die. Though it architect has made nothing in should covet death with intense devain ; his single movements ex-sire, it cannot die. Live it must, tend their effects to an endless though excruciated with ten thoussuccession, and leave on all the j and nameless agonies, or plunged conditions of existence a tendency into the depths of unmitigated towards ultimity. The life that | despair. Live it must, because now is, furnishes no documents | God so ordains, though annihilaevincive of an ultimate beiny. tion be gain compared with such Here all is preparation, trial, and a being, subordination. Nothing is final, 2. Reason too, cherishes some nothing has attained the extreme expectation of the retributions gradation ; and, therefore, the which await an imperishable being. mind reasonably anticipates a She infers an operative governhereafter, and stretches its con- ment, from the penal consequenceptions towards eternity to find ces of a dissolute morality in this that grand consummation of moral life. For when the experience of entity, in which every thing shall all ages asserts that one course of assume a finished and changeless | life leads to a miserable result, character.
and that another leads to happiSuch are the thoughts which ness and honour, what is it, but reason gathers as they lie in the the voice of nature proclaiming dark mazes of speculation. But the genius of that moral legisla
tion to which an immutable God || twixt the evil and the good, and has subjected his intelligent crea- || shall operate after the resurrec
He has incorporated into tion. From the same authority the whole body of nature, a code we learn, that those who shall be of laws more certain in their found liable to the censures of effects, and more absolute in their divine justice, shall go away into sanctions, than any human ordi- everlasting punishment, but the nations, however perfect. The righteous into life eternal. executive power of his govern The same disproportion betwixt ment is not confided to any inter- the sin and punishment which mediate agents, but executes its we see in nature, may also be own provisions by an inherent ca seen in the institutes of the Sa. pacity. Hence, it needs not the viour. The felicity of the good, vigilance nor the arm of the may-||and the sufferings of the wicked, istrate to give it force and terror, shall equally sustain an eternal but acting with a sort of sponta- duration, because the awards of neous energy, it arrests and pun-| the eternal Judge shall be irreishes with certain vengeance every versible. For if in nature he has transgressor. This is not a doubt fixed a measure of punishment fui matter; the whole history of which exceeds the apparent ofhuman guilt proves it.
We read fence, without any impeachment it in the ruined health and wasted of his administration ; why may fortune of every votary of licen- not the same principle regulate tious indulgence. Nor do the pu- the penal inflictions of his moral nitive measures of nature always governinent? It gives no appear cominensurate with the pleasure, much less the christian,
Her displeasure, in many | to believe in the eternity of future instances, pursues the innocent torments. No christian adopts posterity of the offender, and over-||this as a part of his creed from takes them in distant generations. | mere pleasure. It is the evidence
Thus the revealed law which of the fact that forbids the contraannounces a visitation of the fath-ry sentiment. The fancy of a er's sin upon the children, is only | universal restitution would be the law of nature expressed in most grateful to the charity of words. The certainty and promp-every believer, if it were any titude with which she resents the thing else than a fancy. It would violation of her laws in this life, be an immense conception, superinduces the apprehension of a re- || seding all the efforts of moral and tributive resentment beyond the religious inculcation, were it not grave.
based upon a fallacy. This subject, so faintly held in things now stand, it is something the creed of reason, is placed too good to be true, that is, too beyond all question by the doc- congenial with our corrupt inclitrines of Jesus. In John v. 28, | nations. 29, his words are full and
3. The spirituality of his replicit in confirmation of this point.ligion is another subject “ For the hour is coming, in the which we should hear the Saviour. which all that are in the graves To urge the worship of God in shall hear his voice and shall come spirit and in truth, must have forth, they that have done good subjected him to the charge of bold unto the resurrection of life, and innovation. The homaye paid to they that have done evil to the the Deity had been associated resurrection of damnation.” The with corporeal display, and was judgment to which he here refers, therefore hardly distinguishable shall carefully discriminate be- from the material symbols with
which it was blended. The ab- || plicated in some general revolt
straction of a simple spiritual wor-against the Sovereign of the unie ship must have been regarded as verse: that a deadly corruption
impracticable and visionary. For had infected the nature of man,
though it is but fitting and seemly and had left him under a sort of i that God, who is a spirit, should moral torpor. But how degraded
be worshipped by the spirit of his nature was, to purge off the baser the creatures, and that he who search- fire victorious, and return to its
es the heart should find the heart pristine purity, and how the digis prepared for his holy scrutiny, yet nity of Heaven's administration id truths so obvious, have not always was to be consulted without the be
exerted a due influence upon the absolute perdition of every sinner, human
It is impossible was a difficulty inexplicable to to contemplate without indigna- human reason. The resolution ed
tion the disgusting forms which of such a doubt was an 'occasion i idolatry has assumed in the va- worthy the intervention of the rious ages of the world.
Son of God, who has satisfied all But spiritual idolatry is a the conditions of the question, in has sin, more subtil, and even more two leading propositions. The offensive to God, than the sen- first is, that
aggrasual forms at which we sovated, does not necessarily forbid justly shocked.
For whilst a salvation; and the second is, that spiritual worship is the great and moral goodness, however preemi
primary duty of all who hear the nent, is no procuring cause of it. or gospel, a spiritual apostacy is the The first of these positions is great and primary sin. We de explicitly affirmed in
all the servedly pity those who live in teachings of our divine Master.
such woful abdication of rational If there be any one point on which opis dignity, as to bend themselves to he has shed the light of indubi
the senseless forms which their table certainty, if there be any one own hands have made out of the doctrine on which the stamp of crude elements; but are they less inspired authority is laid, it is deserving our commiseration who seen on this sublime peculiarity deny their Maker the spirituality of his gospel.
Let him be heard of a hearty adoration, and surren on this head.
66 And it came to der themselves to the spirituality pass as Jesus sat at meat in the of a hearty rejection of him? house, behold, many publicans They may not, indeed, deify the and sinners came and sat down
sculptural marble or the carved with him and his disciples. And a wood, but they dishonour God by when the Pharisees saw it, they i canonizing their passions, and by said unto his disciples, why eat
an unrelenting desertion of his eth your Master with publicans service.
and sinners ? But when Jesus 4. Christ demands a hearing heard that, he said, they that be on the salvation of sinners. From whole need not a physician, but the defection of man, there had they that are sick. never been a question on which a and learn what that meaneth, í more tremendous darkness had will have mercy, and not sacrifice. rested. Even prior to the in For I am not come to call the carnation of God's only Son, righteous, but sinners to repentthere had existed in the world a ance." (Matt. ix. 10–13.) In the general consent in reference to case of Zaccheus the publican, the human guilt.
On all hands it Saviour holds the same doctrine. seems to have been conceded, that “ And Jesus said unto him, this our unhappy species had been im- || day is salvation come to this
But go ye,
house, forasmuch as he also is a grace ; subsequently too, it is son of Abraham ; for the Son of wholly of grace.
Human peniMan is come to seek and to save tence then, does not modify the that which was lost.” (Luke xix. terms of salvation. Nay, the 9, 10.) · One of the best exposi- sorrow which is unto godliness tors of his doctrines, has certified | is one of the component parts of the construction which such passa- | salvation, and cannot therefore be ges should receive. (Rom. x. a prerequisite to it, unless a part 8-10.) " But the righteousness may be at once principal and adwhich is of faith speaketh on this junct—which is absurd. wise, say not in thine heart, who Is it the reformation of the life? shall ascend into heaven ? that Any amendment of morals must be is, to bring Christ down from allowed a due importance in the above ; or, who shall descend into estimate of actions, but in the the deep, that is, to bring Christ | utmost latitude of concession, again from the dead; but what good conduct can only have relasaith it? The word is nigh thee, tion to that part of life during even in thy mouth and in thy which it prevails. Present rectiheart, that is, the word of faithtude of deportment is no more which we preach ; that if thou than necessary to meet present obshalt confess with thy mouth the ligations; and consequently, can Lord Jesus, and believe in thy supply no surplus virtue to make heart that God hath raised him amends for past delinquencies. If, from the dead, thou shalt be then, the idea of redundant meritin saved ; for with the heart man actions be impracticable, no rebelieveth unto righteousness, and formation, however perfect, can with the mouth, confession is have a retrospective operation ; made unto salvation." It is not and hence the sinner, without the needful to multiply quotations in grace of God, must be in circumproof of our position. It stands stances as hopeless after, as before
a fundamental principle of his reformation. christianity, runs through its whole In the same manner, we might structure, and is in truth that examine every supposed claim of feature in it, which makes it suit- moral fitness, and should find, able to our condition. Had any that if our unworthiness were to moral fitness on our part been constitute an impediment to the necessary to secure the mercy of of God, then salvation would Heaven, then that mercy had be hopeless and impracticable. never visited us, because there is Environed, as we are, with the nothing which we can do to place guilt of our misdeeds, deliverance ourselves in a meritorious attitude. I could never reach us, if that deBut should it be maintained by | liverance depended upon our good any, that some virtuous discipline deservings. But since the highmust change our character before est mercy in the sight of Heaven we are fit to be saved, we ask, came down to us whilst we were what is that discipline ?
yet without strength and without Is it repentance? This, how- goodness, without our diligence ever deep and hearty, does not or solicitation, there is reason to remove the guilt of sin from the conclude that subordinate and penitent. His sorrow, however collateral mercies will assume the pungent, produces no translation same gracious tendency. That, of his inherent corruption, but God, who spared not
his leaves him still to the irritations own Son, but delivered him up of keen remorse. Anterior to re- for us, will with him freely give pentance, salvation is wholly of || us all things."
The second position by which reply : that although our moral Jesus displays the genius of his baseness is no hinderance to the religion is, that human merit,grace of God, yet that grace is the however preeminent, is no procur- most efficient check to the licening cause of salvation. Hear him tious workings of sin. Had it also on this head. “For I say been possible for the law of Omunto you, that except your right-nipotence to assume an attitude eousness shall exceed the right-tenfold more vindictive than that ousness of the scribes and Phari-|| in which it appeals to us, still it sees, ye shall, in no case, enter could not have changed the heart. into the kingdom of heaven." It could have effected no (Mätt. v. 20.) "And he spake than it now effects.
It might this parable unto certain which have pursued its enemies to death trusted in themselves that they | with aMicting thunder, but they
righteous and despised would have remained enemies others. Two men went up into still, in the gall of bitterness and the temple to pray, the one a in the bonds of iniquity. It is Pharisee, and the other a pub- | not, therefore, by the reign of terlican. The Pharisee stood and ror, but by the reign of grace, not prayed thus with himself. God I by legal coercion, but by merciful thank thee, that I ain not as other discipline, that the Prince of life
are, extortioners, unjust, subdues and saves 'us. adulterers, or even as this publi
Should the charge of repug: can. I fast twice in the week, nance to good morality be still I give tithes of all that I possess. urged against our view of salvaAnd the publican, standing afar tion, we further reply, that this off, would not lift up so much as is a bold imputation upon the his eyes to heaven, but smote wisdom of God, and one which upon his breast, saying, God, be has been often made. It has not, merciful to me a sinner. I tell therefore, the credit of novelty. you, this man went down to his An Apostle informs us that they house justified rather than the will meet a deserved damnation, other.” (Luke xviii. 9–14.) He who thus slander the grace of inculcates the same principle in God. For, in truth, the salvation the house of Simon the Pharisee, of the gospel consults moral integin reference to the woman who rity by the strong guard of an inwas a sinner. (Luke vii. 36, 50.) | ward persuasion in favour of vir
The morality of human actions tue and holiness : it lays the when limited to a proper sphere stamp, of a new character upon must not be undervalued. To the whole interior man, and apdeny that generosity and justice, plies to the dormant conscience charity and benevolence, and in the sting of sanctified motivés. a word, the whole train of social It abolishes the inducements to virtues are good, would be an in-folly, and gives a healthful action solent deviation from truth and to all the springs of life.
But whilst these qualities are allowed to possess all due merit, they amount to nothing
ADAM CLARKE'S LETTER more than å sort of secular policy -earthborn virtues rising no higher than the cloudy atmosphere in 1. NEVER take a text which which they originate.
you do not fully understand ; and Should it be apprehended by make it a point of conscience to any that this doctrine brings any give the literal meaning of it to the disservice to correct morals, well people. This is a matter of great Oct. 1826.
THE CHOICE OF TEXTS.