« AnteriorContinuar »
I will behold thy face in have no assurance or certainty, righteousness, I shall be satisfi- that he shall continue thus to ed when I awake with thy like- do hereafter-he might lose it ness." Perfect likeness to God all tomorrow and forever after is the perfect happiness of the walk in total darkness, and never soul. Towards this, the chris-behold the face of God in rightian is aiming and advancing ; teousness.
But here comes in though his progress be unequal an absolute, unlimited promise
at some times rapid, and at and binds the blessing with all others feeble and slow, and al- the sincerity of infinite truth. most motionless ; yet, he never “ They shall walk, Oh Lord, in contents himself with any pre- the light of thy countenance.” sent attainments. He is com- This gives the finishing stroke manded to grow in grace, and to the present joy and comfort in the knowledge of his Lord of the Christian. This is the and Saviour. And Paul saith, life and strength of all his hopes. « Not that I have attained, or am This affords that strong consolaalready perfect, but this one tion of hope, which as an anchor thing, I do forgetting those things to the soul, both sure and steadwhich are behind, and reaching fast entereth into that within the forth unto those things which vail. are before, I press toward the Thus have we considered in a mark, for the prize of the high variety of particulars, what calling of God in Christ Jesus.” things are implied in walking in
Lastly. What completes the the light of God's countenance. present comfort of the saints And now to bring them all to a and gives assurance of future point, these are the essential glory, is this, that they shall properties of the character. persevere, and never fall from They embrace the gospel plan grace-that they shall hold on of salvation, and build their hopes their way thro' faith unto salva- upon the righteousness of Christ tion. This depends wholly up- alone. As a natural fruit of this on the eternal purpose, and free temper of mind, and a precious promise of God, and could never benefit of a justified state, they be certainly known to us in the enjoy sweet peace, calmness present state, had not God been and serenity of mind. They pleased to reveal it to us in the are weaned from the world and declarations, and promises of his all the enjoyments of time, and word; for there is nothing in place their supreme happiness the nature of grace, that pre- and delight in the enjoyment of vents it being lost. It is nothing God. They enjoy an holy nearness but God's power which keeps it to him, a sense of his gracious alive, and nothing but God's presence, and have sweet access promise which secures it in to the divine mercy seat. They future. Otherwise, the person are faithful and conscientious in who is conscious that he now all the outward duties of Chrishas grace and that he now tianity. They are absolutely walks in the light of God's coun- dependent upon the constant and tenance, and that he has already special influences of God's spirit, made advances in the divine for the preservation of their life and grown in grace, could spiritual life and the hol Vol. V. No. 2.
cises of grace. They grow in rant of true beauty while blind grace-make advances in the to the glory of the divine char. divine life and progress in sanc- acter. What advantage do you tification; and, to crown all, they expect to reap from the institu. have assurance of persevering in tions of the gospel, while you grace unto glory.
continue to reject Christ-todes. These compose the character pise all the offers of his grace, and blessedness of those who and in the clearest light that know the joyful sound, and ever shone, blind to the walk in the light of God's coun- truth. Know assuredly, that tenance. And is not this a very your spiritual blindness is your excellent character? Is it not most' aggravated guilt--your a most happy state? Every spiritual death is your condemthing excellent and desirable is nation, and that, which, if percontained in it. All we can ra- sisted in, will finally sink you to tionally wish for, and more than the lowest hell. “This is the con
most raised imaginations demnation that light hath come can conceive, or our most un- into the world, and bounded desires can grasp:
y thaen loved
light be And now let me ask the reader, cause their deeds are evil.”. in a serious review of the sub
believe ject, to apply each particular on the Lord Jesus Christ, and which has been suggested, to walk in the light of God's counhis own heart, with this ques- tenance. $ Then tion, Fave I ever found the know, if you follow on to know knowledge of this truth, and of the Lord, that his going forth is this enjoyment by my own experi- prepared as the morning, and ence ? Here are various traits
he shall come to you as the rain, of the Christian character, and as the latter and the former rain if you cannot find yourself de- unto the earth." scribed in any of them, you
ASAPH. have reason to draw the conclusion that you never possessed it; that you know what it is
The nature of holiness illustrated to walk in the light of God's
from reason and scripture. countenance, but are ignorant of mercy--at
light , or reato God; walk- son, by revelaing in darkness without light, tion, is totally insufficient to without hope and without God in teach mankind the nature of hothe world. Remember the liness : or to show in what true words of Christ, “ If thine eye virtue consists.
The gospel be.evil thy whole body shall be sums it up in love.
6 Love is full of darkness. If therefore the fulfilling of the law.” Not "the light that is in thee be dark- such love as constituted Roman ness, how great is that dark- virtue, but universal benevoness?” Can this be to you a lence. Such as influences us to state of rest and quietude? You regard every intelligent being have no true peace. You really according to his moral character enjoy nothing, while you enjoy and worth. To love God sunot God. And you are igno- premely. And to respect every
intelligent creature according to tion is most ardent and sincere ; the rank which he holds, and sin may be enthroned in the the character which he sustains, heart, and selfishness flow in evwhen compared with universal, ery channel of the life. A lovbeing. When the mind is prop- ing parent may, through a selferly illuminated with scripture ish spirit, so far misjudge, as, truths, the bible will be found to by threats, to compel a darling contain no doctrine repugnant child to sin. And a world of to reason. None to which a vir- sinners from a similar selfish tuous mind will not cordially as- love, can, bid defiance to their sent.
lawful sovereign. But to prevent the possibility of Holiness, or that love which misconception, all that is meant constitutes moral virtue, may be by reason, as here used, is, that comprised under the following the nature of holiness, after once heads ; subdividing it into the suggested by scripture, is agree- love of benevolence ; the love of able to reason. It is rational. complacence ; the love of gratTherefore, in this sense of the itude ; and the love of esteem. word reason ; a view of the na- 1. The love of benevolence ture of holiness will be taken to has for its object universal beshow, in the first place, by ra- ing ; or it is a wishing well to tional arguments, in what its na- all intelligent beings susceptible ture consists ; and to what it of happiness. Every being, so tends. Then secondly this view far as he exercises this love, is will be compared with the decla- so far holy. . rations of holy writ.
2. The love of complacence 1. A view of the nature of has for its object all being posholiness according to reason. sessed of a degree of positive
All love may be divided into holiness ; or it is that affection two kinds. That love which is which is exercised towards all sinful; and that love which is beings, who exercise the love of holy. The former may be sum- benevolence. And this love of ed up in selfishness.
complacence flows forth from a And the better to understand holy being, on account of the the nature of the latter, or of pleasure experienced in beholdthat which constitutes holiness ; ing another possessed of the propriety may suffer a remark same benevolent spirit. on that which centres in self 3. The love of gratitude has and constitutes sin, or is not in for its object, a benefactor ; or itself of a holy nature. The it is that affection, which is exaffection which exists between ercised towards a being on acparticular friends, husband and count of some favor received. wife, parent and child ; which 4. The love of esteem implies unites societies and empires ; some greater worthiness, or ex. and which encircles other worlds; cellence, in the being who is the so far as it proceeds from no high- subject of esteem. Though ever principle than natural affec- ery intelligent being is a proper tion, animal passion, or selfish- object of the love of benevolence; ness, has nothing of a holy na- and every being, who has any ture. Even in the dearest rela- | degree of positive holiness, is tion in life, and where the affec- | deserving of the love of compla
cence ; and every benefactor, of consistent with universal good. the love of gratitude ; yet the It is not required, that a being love of esteem, is founded on should have no regard to his the comparative worth, or excel own happiness, in order to renlence, which exists, between two der him benevolent. Every inor more beings, both, or all of telligent being is supposed to rewhom, may be supposed fit ob- gard himself, according to his jects of the love of complacence. worth, in the scale of universal
Though the love of complà. being ; and to act a rational part, cence ; the love of gratitude ; in seeking his own happiness, in and the love of esteem ; have a way consistent with the whole. each of them some characteris A familiar con parison for iltic, which distinguishes the one,
lucidation. from the other; and also all of A judge in his decisions, may them, from the love of benevo be free from every shadow of a lence; yet benevolence, as a selfish bias. Yet as the judge himgeneral term, includes all the self, forms one of the communirest. Or, all the rest, presup-ty, and is one of universal being ; pose it as their foundation. For he is not wholly uninterested in it is the nature of benevolence, the decision which he makes. or holiness to flow forth in love, As an individual, his own happroportioned in its degree to the piness is equally affected, with worthiness of the being, towards that of every other individual ; whom it is exercised ; when this though all thoughts about his particular being, is compared own person, may, at the time, be with universal being. Suppose banished from his mind. It is then a particular person to be utterly impossible, for him to act, deserving of the love of esteem. in
any sense, without being himOn the principles of benevo self, some way or other, either lence, such a person, because directly or indirectly, affected more worthy, is not only to be in a greater or less degree. No loved with a peculiar affection ; action, and not one thought, of but to be loved more than though any intelligent being, can, with he was regarded simply as an in strict propriety, be termed untelligent being ; more, than tho' interested. But though the he were worthy of complacence judge cannot be supposed to act to a certain degree, but not to wholly uninterestedly ; or, conthat degree sufficient to entitle sidering the relation in which him to the love of esteem. he stands to community, and to
Benevolence is, in its nature, universal being ; as it is imposopposed to selfishness. And to sible, that his own happiness, distinguish it from selfishness, should, in no point of view, be it is termed disinterested benev any ways affected ; yet he may olence, or disinterested affection. be supposed to act entirely disin, The affection is disinterested, but terestedly; that is, in such a not uninterested. Uninterested, manner, as not to advance prisupposes no interest at all. Dis
vate interest, by sacrificing, pubinterested, supposes no private lic happiness. interest. The former, in every
Suppose further particular, is opposed to self. Say the judge, when comparThe latter, so far, as self is in ed with the community, has
three degrees of existence ; and eth all things after the counsel the community seven. Suppose of his own will ;” and who hath every degree of existence in the created all things for his own pleajudge, from his excellence of The nature of disinterestcharacter, and dignity of person, ed benevolence, inclines all inis real worth. Measuring the telligent beings, who possess community by the same scale ; any share of it, to regard each, that is, judging of them, from according to his respective their excellence of character, worth, when viewed, in his conand dignity of person, and find nection, with universal being. ing one degree in seven, of a And as that first intelligent cause description directly the reverse, of all things, who is necessarily of the other six, which six exact- self-existent, and eternal, is posly correspond with the three sessed of a being, which is infifound in the judge ; the judge, nite ; the nature of holiness by an impartial administration of would incline him to love himjustice, in lawfully punishing self supremely. Further, if the one seventh of the community, Deity is now a holy Being, he which possessing a character must have been equally so, anand disposition, opposed to the terior to any of his works of other six, and to his own, have, creation, or independently on unreasonably, violated salutary his works. That is, he was inlaws, enacted for the public finitely holy, when he actually good; advances the happiness exercised love towards no being, of the community six degrees, who then really existed but himconsistently with advancing his self. Or, to make use of a difown three. Suppose the being, ferent phrase, when he sought excellence, and dignity of the his own glory. Anterior to crejudge are increased ; and the ation, and independently on it, being, excellence, and dignity from the nature of holiness, the of the community are diminish- Deity exercised a disinterested ed, until the former bears the benevolence, in loving himself relation to the latter, of nine to supremely. Otherwise the Dethree. The judge by an equit-ity will be made dependent on able, and impartial administra the creature for his infinite holition of justice, and from princi Which assertion, would ples stricly disinterested, lawful be impious, and absurd. If the ly promotes his own happiness, Deity was not a perfectly holy in a manner perfectly consistent being, before he actually exerwith the happiness of the com
cised love towards any creature, munity, in the proportion of nine he is, by being made dependent to three.
on his works for the attribute of Extend this principle, un
holiness, divested of the natural til all creature happiness appears
and essential attribute of indelike a drop to the ocean ; or, pendence. For antecedently to like a taper under the splendors the work of creation, if loving
himself supremely ; and in the A scene is now opened, which
work of creation, if having an faintly exhibits the nature of ho ultimate regard to his own glory, liness as it exists in the mind of
did not constitute the holiness of that infinite Being, “who work
God, the attribute of holiness,
of the meridian sun.