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from Popery, the dispensations of Divine Providence would, upon the whole, have appeared much more mysterious than they do now. And yet those were times when God was doing glorious things for his Church. -And indeed, it has happened in our day, however strange it may seem to us, no otherwise than our Savior foretold it commonly would under the gospel dispensation, at least till Satan is bound, that he may deceive the nations no more. The sower goes forth to sow, and some seed falls by the way-side, and some on stony, and some on thorny, and some on good ground ; and while he is sowing good seed, an enemy in the night, the devil, unobserved, sows tares : Now when the sun is up, i.e. when new times' come on, and trials approach, the main of the seed is lost ; not only what fell by the way-side, but also what fell on the stony and thorny ground. And when the good ground is about to bring forth fruit, the tares begin to appear too....Mat. xiii. Thus it has always been.—This is a state of trial, and God has permitted so many sad and awful things to happen in times of reformation, with design to prove the children of men, and know what is in their hearts.

The young people almost all over New-England professed they would for ever renounce youthful vanities, and seek the Lord. “Well,” God, in the course of his Providence, as it were, says, “I will try you.” Seeming converts expressed great love to Christ, his truths, and ministers, and ways ;

Well,” says God, “ I will try you.” Multitudes, being enemies to all true religion, longed to see the whole reformation fall into disgrace, and things return to their own channel ; and they sought for objections and stumbling-blocks : “ Well,” says God, “ You may have “ them, and I will try and see how you will be affected, and what you “ will say, and whether you will be as glad when the cause of my Son " is betrayed by the miscarriages of those that profess to be his friends, “ as the Jews of old were, when my Son himself was betrayed into their hands by Judas.Thus God means to try every one.

A compassionate sense of the exercises, which godly persons, especial. ly among common people, might be under, in these evil days, while some are fallen away, and others are clapping their hands and rejoicing with all their hearts to see Zion laid waste ; while Årminians are glossing their scheme, and appealing to reason and common sense, as though their principles were near or quite self-evident to all men of thought and candor ; and while enthusiasts are going about as men inspired and immedi. ately sent by the Almighty, pretending to extraordinary sanctity, and bold in it that they are so holy in themselves, and so entirely on the Lord's side, that all godly people must, and cannot but see as they do, and fall in with them, unless they are become blind, dead and carnal, and gotten back into the world ; a compassionate sense, I say, of the exerci mind, which pious persons arnong common people might have, in such a


trying situation of things, was the first motive which excited me to enter tipon this work, which I now offer to the public : And to make divine truths plain to such, and to strip error naked before their eyes, that they might be established, and comforted, and quickened in their way heavenward, was the end I had in .view : and, accordingly, I have labored very much to adapt myself to the lowest capacities, not meaning to write a book for the learned and polite, but for common people, and especially for those who are godly among them.

To these, therefore, that they may read what I have written with the greater profit, I will offer these two directions :

1. Labor after determinate ideas of God, and a sense of his infinite glory. This will spread a light over all the duties and doctrines of religion, and help you to understand the law and the gospel, and to pry into the mysteries, and discern the beauties, of the divine government. By much the greatest part of what I have written, besides shewing what God is, consists in but so many propositions deduced from the divine perfections. Begin here, therefore, and learn what God is, and then what the moral ; and this will help you to understand what our ruin is, and what the way of our recovery by free grace through Jesus CHRIST. The Bible is designed for rational creatures, and has God for its author ; and you may therefore depend upon it, that it contains a' scheme perfectly rational, divine and glorious ; and the pleasure of divine knowledge will a thousand times more than'recompence all your reading, study and pains : only content not yourselves with a general superficial knowledge, but enter thoroughly into things.

2. Practice, as well as read. The end of reading and knowledge is practice : and holy practice will help you to understand what you read. Love God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself ; and you cannot but understand me, while, in the first Discourse, I shew what is implied in these two great commands : and practice repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ ; and the second Discourse, which treats of the nature of the gospel, and a genuine compliance there. with, will naturally become plain and easy : and while you daily study divine truths in your hcards, and digest them well in your hearts, and prac:ice them in your lives, your knowledge and holiness will increase, and God's word and providence be better understood, your perplexing dificulties will be more solved, and you be established, strengthened and comforted, in your way heaven-ward ; and your light shining before men, they will see your good works, and your Father which is in Heaven will be glorified.-All which are the hearty desire and prayer of

Your Servant in JESUS CHRIST,

JOSEPH BELLAMY. Betblem, April 25, 1750.

True Religion delineated.




MAT. XXII. 37, 38, 39, 40. Jesus said unto him, Tbou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and

with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.... This is the first and great consmandment.... And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as abyself.... On these two commandments bang all ihe luw cuind the propriis.

THE INTRODUCTION. TRUE religion consists in a conformity to the law of God, and in a compliance with the gospel of Christ. The reIlgion of innocent man consisted only in a conformity to the law—the law of nature, with the addition of one positive precept : he had no need of gospel-grace. But when man lost his innocency, and became guilty and depraved—when he fell under the wrath of God and power of sin, he needed a redeemer and a sanctifier; and in the gospel a redeemer and a sanctifier are provided, and a way for our obtaining pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace is opened a compliance with which does now, therefore, become part of the religion of a fallen creature. Now, if we can but rightly understand the law, and rightly understand the gospel, we may easily see wherein a conformity to the one, and a compliance with the other, does consist ; and so what true religion is.

For the present, let us take the law under consideration.-And it will be proper to enquire into these following particulars :-1. What duty does God require of us in his law ?-2. From what motives must that duty be done ?-3. What is that precise measure of duty which God requires in his law? And a short, but very clear and plain answer to all these questions we have before us in our text; which is the words of our blessed Savior, and in which he does upon design declare what the sum and substance of the law is. He had a question put to him in these words: “Master, which is the great commandment in the law ?" To which he answers- “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, &c.; this is the first: The second is like unto it, &c.” The ten commandments are summed up in these two; and every duty enjoined in the law, and inculcated in the prophets, is but a deduction from these two, in which all are radically contained. A thorough understanding of these two will therefore give us an insight into all. Let us now, therefore, begin with taking the first of these into particular consideration.—Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, &c.... Here is—1. The duty required, viz. love to God.-2. The grounds and reasons of the duty intimated.... Because he is the Lord our God.-3. The measure of daty required....With all thy heart, &c.

In discoursing upon these words, I will therefore endeavor to shew,

I. What is implied in love to God.
II. From what motives we are required to love him.
III. What is the measure of love which is required.


1. I am to shew what is implied in love to God.

And 1. A true knowledge of God is implied; for this lays the foundation of love. A spiritual sight of God, and a sense of his glory and beauty, begets love. When he that commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shines in our hearts, and gives us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God; and when we, with open face, behold, as in a glass, the glory of the

Lord, then we are changed into the same image: the temper and frame of our hearts become like God's: (to speak after the manner of men) we begin to feel towards God, in a measure, as he does towards himself ; i. e. to love him with all our hearts....II Cor. iii. 18. & iv. 6. For now we begin to perceive the grounds and reasons of that infinite esteem he has of himself, and infinite complacency in himself, and why he commands all the world to love and adore him: And the same grounds and reasons which move him thus to love himself, and command all the world to do so too, do enkindle the divine flame in our hearts. When we see God, in a measure, such as he sees himself to be, and have a sense of his glory and bcauty in being what he is, in a measure, as he himself has, then we begin to love him with the same kind of love, and from the same motives, as he himself does ; only in an infinitely inferior degree. This sight and sense of God discovers the grounds of love to him : We see why he requires us to love him, and why we ought to love him-how right and fit it is ; and so we cannot but love him.

This true knowledge of God supposes, that, in a measure, we see God to be just such a one as he is ; and, in a measure, have a sonse of his infinite glory and beauty in being such. For if our apprehensions of God are not right, it is not God we love, but only a false image of him framed in our own fancy. * And if we have not a sense of his glory and beauty

• How false and dangerous, therefore, is that principle, " That it is no matter what men’s principles are, if their lives be but good.”—Just as if that external conformity to the law might be called a good life, which does not proceed from a genuine love to God in the heart: or just as if a man might have a genuine love to God in his heart, without having right apprehensions of him!...or just as if a man might have right apprehensions of God, let his apprehensions be what they will ! Upon this principle, Heathens, Jews, and Makometans, may be saved as well as Christians. And, upon this principle, the heathen nations need not much trouble themselves to know which is the right God among all the gods that are worshipped in the world; for it is no matter which God they think is the true, if their lives are but good.-But why has God revealed him. self in his word, if right apprehensions of God be a matter of such indif. ference in religion ? and why did St. Paul take such pains to convert the heathen nations to Christianity, and so much fill up his epistles to them afterwards with doctrinal points, and be so strenuous as to say, “ If an angel from heaven should preach any other gospel, LET HIM PE ACCURSED,” if right apprehensions of God, and right principles of religion be a

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