Imágenes de páginas


not from confessions of faith, are esty, humility, and love? May derived all the storms which we not feel and manifest all the have broken the peace of the excellencies of benevolence, forchurch, all the persecutions, bearance and candour, while we which have wasted the saints, refuse to choose a man for our and all the fires, which have de minister, or to admit him to voured the world. If the hearts church communion, until he of men were sanctified ; if, un- 'gives us some evidence, that he der the guidance of God's Holy is a disciple of Jesus, and has Spirit, they would practise the embraced the faith once delivernoble virtues of the Christian re- ed to the saints? Thus, howevHigion ; we should soon see an er great the evils, which have end of division and strife, and at any time been occasioned by rejoice in the prosperity and creeds, there is evidently nothpeace of Zion. But if the pas- ing in their nature and proper sions of men continue unsanctifi- tendency, which does not hared, it is in vain to expect that monize with the most enlarged any other methods will secure affection of Christians, as well as the welfare either of civil or re- with the most precious interests ligious society. Will setting of the church. aside confessions, and removing But there are many good efthe restraints, which religion fects of confessions, which, tho lays upon mankind, terminate overlooked by our opponents, the reign of sin, and procure afford a strong argument in quiet and happiness? Have we their favour. These effects have not seen those, who trample on been considered in a former creeds, and even those, vho number of this SURVEY. I shall spurn all the restraints of relig- only add the words of a late ion, as fond of their own notions, writer in the Religious Monitor. as imperious, and as uncharita. “ Not to speak of their effects in ble, as the most earnest pro- primitive times ; it was by conmoters of orthodoxy? Human fessions, that the principles of depravity is ever active ; and if the reformation were spread ; it should cease to be occupied that the scheme was brought to a with religious contentions, it consistency; and that, under the would show itself in some other divine blessing, the fervid heroway.

ism was produced, which inspir. The objection before us hased our fathers to brave opposino weight, unless it can be prov. tion, and defy danger." How ed that the principles, which we important it is to secure the have endeavoured to vindicate blessings which were gained by with respect to confessions, are the reformation! The hero, wlio inconsistent with the amiable has delivered his country, or the virtues of Christianity. But patriot, who has introduced saluwhat pretence is there for such tary laws or institutions, esteems an allegation ? Are not modera- the effects of his prowess or wis, tion and meekness compatible dom in proportion to their stabil. with unshaken firmness? Is not ity and permanence. It is so in the warmest zeal for the faith of religion. How evidently proper, the gospel consistept with mod- therefore, it is, that Christian chúrches should adopt certain the weapons of unhallowed past internal regulations for the pur. sion and science falsely so calls pose of maintaining, in purity, ed, but with the more successful the faith which they profess, and weapons, which Christian truth of transmitting it to future ages. and love supply. Perhaps there

We have now exhibited what is no measure more important we judged of chief consequence at the present day, than the on this subject. We have en- avowed and steady adherence of deavoured to point out the utili all orthodox ministers and ty and importance of confessions churches to that scheme of res of fuith; to explain the princi- ligion, which was so often acq ples on which they rest ; to re- knowledged by our godly faz' move the doubts of the honest, thers, and has, in substance, but misinformed ; and to answer been generally embraced by the objections. aid expose the Protestant churches. The misrepresentations of adversa- scheme intended is that contain, ries.

ed in the Assembly's catechism, It is hoped, that'a dud consid- or in the Westminster confess eration of what has been written sion of faith. A general union will, rouse the attention and zeal on that basis would inconceivaof those, wbo love the glory of bly strengthen the cause of Zion, and lead them to unite in Christ among us, while it would every measure, which the inter- throw confusion and terror inta est of Christianity renders need the camp of the enemy. And ful. Churches of New Eng. notwithstanding every difficulty, land, be entreated not to over- such a union will take place, ik took the alarming signs of the it be as earnestly desired and times. Neglect not the only sought by faithful ministers and means of your safety. Let not churches, as, it is deprecated by those, who exalt the God of others.

PASTOR. your fathers, and seek your good, ever have reason to mourn the departure of your glory. In

THE DECALOGUE. this most eventful period, when the spirit of innovation and reva EIGHTH COMMMANDMENT. olution is spreading such deso- “ Thou shalt not steal.” lations and miseries over the earth, and forebodes such dreads God has been pleased to fur ful evils to the Christian cause, nish this world with whatever is let your fears be seasonably necessary for the accommodaawakened, and let a prudent tion of mankind, The right to foresight provide means of secus the conveniences of life origirity. Hold fast what you bave nates in the gift of God. The received, and let no man take grant to Adam and to his posteriyour crown.

If confessions of ty at the creation was confined faith, wisely used, have such a to their existing necessities. beneficial intuence, consider howPreviously to the days of Noah, great the evil of holding them there was no permission to eat in contempt. Contend earnest- animal food. The right which ly for the gospel faith ; not with mankind had, either to vegeta

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

bles or animals was founded on species of imposition. Let not the grant of the Creator.

the workman be superficial in his The earth was presented to work, nor the trader overvalue mankind in general for their · his commodity, Let not the use. But as intelligent beings, buyer say, it is nought, nor the they were allowed to make the seller be deceitful in his weights. most of this valuable gift. They, “Let no man go beyond and des who were most successful in im- fraud his brother in any matter ; proving it, had reason to demand because the Lord is the avenger a principal advantage from their of all such. Let him who stole, ingenuity and labour. Hence steal no more ; but rather let the origin of private property. him labour, working with his The expectation of this advan- hands the thing which is goado tage encourages cultivation, of that he may have to give to him the ground, which none would tbat needeth." undertake, were they not to re- Improper deductions have ceive immediate benefit. A na- been drawn from the history of tion of Indians, consisting of two the primitive Christians. The or three hundred, will take up a gospel does not wrest private tract of land, which, with proper property from the hand of the management, would maintain as possessor, The apostle Peter many thousands. Private prop- disclaims the thought.

« Wbile erty also preserves the produce thy possession remained," said of the earth. Were all in com- he to. Ananias, " was it not thing mon, fruit would not be likely to own ? And after it was sold, arrive at perfection, grain would was it not in thine own power?”. not ripen, nor flocks and herds The disposal of their possessions come to their full growth. Be- was left entirely to the discretion side, what contests would arise, of individuals.

The offering what conveniences would be lost. must be free, that it might be Private property allows men to acceptable. The gospel teaches follow different occupations,

occupations, us the blessedness of giving to which afford the civilized so ma- others. In proportion as we imny advantages over the savage bibe its spirit, we shall be liberal. life. The poorest in countries, But the gospel intermeddles not wbere each has what he calls bis with civil governments. It leaves own, are better accommodated, them as they are. Taking posi than leading persons in those session of the beart, it fixes countries, where most things are

gs are there benevolent and energetic in common. Since such advan- principles. How men would act, tages arise from private appro- if they were all real Christiansa priation, no doubt it is pleasing is evident from the instances reto the great Proprietor, who, in corded in Scripture. Far froin the grant he made to mankind, infringing the property of others, had their advantage in view. they would esteem it their chief

In whatever I call my own, I joy to be able, in any degree, to am. fully secured by the eighth be aiding to their fellow crear commandment. It restrains the ture by their sympathy, their fraudulent. It curbs the plunder- personal services, and their paser. It takes cognizance of every sessions.

The eighth command forbids that his mind will incline this every act of fraud or imposition, way, rather than that. Almost as well as taking privately or by all prayer is offered on this sup. force what belongs to another. position, that our minds are ca. The punishment annexed by the pable of divine influence. Jewish law to this crime was pray that God would direct us to restitution with a fine. If the safe and prudent measures in offender could not advance the our common undertakings; that fine adjudged by law, he might he would keep us from error, be sold and his family, until their and lead us into the truth as to labour should amount to what religion ; that he would lead us the law demanded. The unjust to a right use of his providences; are ranked in Scripture with the that he would establish us in the most abandoned characters. truth, and sanctify our hearts. They shall not inherit the king. Now these requests, which are dom of heaven.

the most common among men, The weight of this command who pray at all, do certainly im, has not been generally felt. It ply a belief, that God can operate has been openly violated by na- on our minds ; for unless this be tions, as well as individuals. supposed, how can he direct us Nimrod, the founder of the Assy. to the choice of suitable meas, rian empire, led the way. Suc- ures? How can he preserve us cessful warriors have irode in from fatal wanderings, establish his footsteps. History dignifies us in the truth, or sanctify our their names as great, and blazons hearts? their deeds with admiration. But Were we to discard all belief their true character is that of in the reality of divine influence public plunderers, whose deeds on the mind, the reason and are infamous, and whose names ground of prayer would be weak, are accursed. Philologos. ened, and the subjects of it great

ly diminished.

It is certainly a very reasona. INFLUENCE

ble opinion, that Deity, who is


himself a Spirit, has influence on

the spirits which he has made. It seems to have been the opin- One man has great influence ion of all ages, that the Being, over another. A man of clear. who is styled, in Scripture, the discernment, great information, God of the spirits of all flesh, has and much acquaintance with the easy access to the human mind, ways of the world, will suddenly and great influence over its de produce great changes in the terminations. If a man be de. opinions, views, and pursuits of liberating, whether to engage in his neighbour. How differently any particular enterprise or not; will a subject appear to the latter, it is generally thought, that, after having conversed with the without diminishing the free other. And how totally changed agency of that person, God may. will be his determinations and ac, have great influence over his tions with regard to it. Now, if conclusion, that he inay lead him such effects arise from the influ; to such a view of the subject, ence of man with man; how




[ocr errors]

Shew me

much greater effects will result unto God, that which I see not, from the influence which God teach thou me. The Psalmist has upon man. If we can alarm

uses the language of a child unone another by exhibiting dan- der a humble sense of his need of gers ; cannot God alarm the sin- parental instruction. Der by convincing him of his dan- thy ways, O Lord, teach me thy ger? If we are sometimes able, paths. Lead me in thy truth and by various means and long im- teach me ; for thou art the God of portunity, to alter the determin- my salvation ; on thee will I wait ations and change the course of all the day. Good and upright is our neighbours, as to earthly the Lord ; therefore will he teach objects ; cannot God, by some

sinners in the way.

Solomon, of those innumerable means, when he came to the throne of which are always at his com- Israel, impressed with the immand, alter our determinations, portange of the station to which and change our course as to heave he was called, sought direction and enly things ? If we can comfort strength from above. Give,thereand confirm one another; can- fore, to thy servant an understandnot God give consolation and es- ing heart, to judge this people, that I tablishment to the Christian's may discern between good and bad. mind?

The way of man is not in him. But even if the doctrine of di- self, and it is not in man that vine influences were less intelli- walketh, to direct his steps. The gible than it is, we could not for prophet Isaiah speaks of gospel that reason reject it, as it is days, as a season, when the Spirclearly and strongly asserted, it of God shall be, in unusual both in the Old and New Testa- measures, poured out from on ment. We


in the Old Tes- high. In allusion to gospel tament, because, although the times, God speaks thus by the law, of itself, does not contain so mouth of Joel ; It shall come to much grace, as is implied in pass, that I will pour out my God's communicating aid and Spirit upon all flesh, and your help to sinners, in their endeav- and your daughters shall ours after holy obedience ; yet prophecy, your old men shall God has never, even in this re- dream dreams, and your young spect, left himself without a wit- men shall see visions, and also on ness ; but conferred on the Jews, the servants and handmaids in out of mere favour, that influence those days I will pour out my of the Holy Spirit, of which the Spirit. This prophecy was fullaw made no mention. Petitions filled, according to St. Peter, at for divine influence, acknowl- the feast of Pentecost, when so edgment of dependence on it, and . many were converted, and the promises of the outpouring of converts received miraculous the Spirit, are very profusely powers. Acts ii. Now, although scattered among the Psalms and it is evident, both from the proProphecies. T'each me to do thy phecy, and the fulfilment, that will, saith the Psalmist, for thou miraculous powers, such art my God. Thy Spirit is good; speaking in different languages, lead me into the land of upright- were to be

one consequence nees. Surely it is meet to be said of the outpouring of God's



« AnteriorContinuar »