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nant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord; for this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord : I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me from the least to the greatest, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, a new covenant, he hath made the first old, now that which decayeth and waxeth old, is ready to vanish away.
Heb. viii. 6_13. Consid. Sir, I am afraid, that all your mistakes arise from a denial of the total depravity of the human race. 1 just argued as you do, till I was convinced, "that in me, that is in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing." I was as unwilling as you can be to submit to the awful truth, that God, since the fall, had totally withdrawn himself from man; and that, consequently, “ every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil (and that also) continually;" so that as there is no good in man, no good can come from man, but as implanted there by divine grace ; bat when I thought myself to be only in this half-way fallen state, I was very contented with the same sort of half-way salvation, which the worthy Doctor has so zealously recommended to you.
Lov. Really Sir, your notions appear very gloomy: though we are greatly depraved, yet, does the law make no allowance for us in our lapsed state ?
Mrs. Lov. Now my dear, I suppose you are thinking of what the Doctor called his milder-law, which is lowered down to be made more suitable to us in our corrupted state ; and that God would now accept a sincere, instead of a perfect obedience ; and therefore, that he would put up with “ the innocent infirmities, incident to flesh and blood."*
* This filthy antinomian expression I well remember to have controverted many years ago, as I found it in one of the late
Lovey. Why Madam, was it possible the good Doctor could make use of such expressions? They had better suited the lips of a downright Antinomian? Could he suppose, that an infinitely holy God, could retract the law given, and also so strongly confirmed, even under the New Testament dispensation, to s love him with all our hearts;" or as it is expressed, “ with a perfect heart:" and thus flatly contradict his own word, in order to make it somewhat more "compatible to the corrupted propensities of our fallen race ? Did you not mistake the Doctor, Madam?
Mrs. Lov. I really so understood him Sir.
Loveg. Why then you must have understood him, that this milder law can be nothing better than a mere nose of wax; that every one is to obey as well as he can, provided he does it sincerely. And that though I do not love God with all my heart, yet I still love him, though partially, yet sincerely. Suppose the thief should say, though I am but partially honest, yet I am sincerely so, as far as I can, and as circumstances will admit: and another should add, though I am but partially chaste, yet I am sincerely so; while all of them might say, all circumstances being taken into consideration, I could not be otherwise, for I did as well as I could. And again, as God has made a new law to put up with such innocent infirmities, they are no longer transgressions,
Mr. Fletcher's checks to antinomianism; the great advocate, (to say the best) of the double-refined semi-pelagianism of the day: so inconsistent are these writers with themselves. This old heresy, whose proper nest is popery, has been revived in modern days, under the name of arminianism, and the reader is tequested to weigh the subject, whether their antinomianism, be not a thousand times worse than what they wantonly charge m others. I ask, whatever good may be found among indive ..duals, yet what have these modern prevailing notions in general produced throughout all christendom? A system of infidelity has polluted the understanding, and therefore it is no wonder, when they talk of the fruits of righteousness, that their fruits are found to be as the apples of Sodom.
because they are not only not forbidden, but are even become allowable, according to the terms of this new law. Now “where there is no law, there is no transgression :" therefore we are to believe, that it is now revealed from God himself, that the law is only partial, and not perfect; and a partial law allows a partial transgression, provided I transgress sincerely; and, consequently, I give perfect obedience by an imperfect obedience, because imperfect obedience alone is required; and therefore, if I love God, and pray to him, and believe in him very imperfectly, yet if I do it as sincerely as I can, God will overlook all the rest.
But let us undress these terms a little further, that we may more fully detect their loose antinomian ambiguity. What is imperfect, must have in it, in a moral point of view, the sin of omission, or of commission ; so that what some call an imperfect action, I will venture to call an unrighteous one. And then I can claim the highest reward that can be des manded, as we have before observed, even of Christ himself, for my unrighteous obedience : and as "all unrighteousness is sin," by my sinful obedience. Sinful obedience ! Sir, did you ever hear such contradiction in terms before? To dream of salvation by such a law, must be a dream indeed! and after all, Is it a law? What does it define? Can we conceive a looser guide? We must obey as well as we can, and the conclusion is dreadful. Farewell Christ and his .Gospel ; for if I obey this new imperfect law, while the old perfect law is abolished thereby, there is no doubt but that I may be justified by it, and then the apostle's conclusion is at an end ; "If there had been a law given which could have given "life, verily righteousness should have been by that law." :
Lov. Sir, I wish I was as sufficiently master of the subject, as Dr. Orderly seems to be ; bat I remember well what an admirable use he made of our Lord's sermon on the Mount, that it was all on moral duties, but
Loveg, [interrupts.] Not on moral duties dear Sir, but on those highly spiritual principles belonging to the real followers of Christ, as far different from the morality of the mere man of the world, as heaven is above the earth. The morality (if it must be so called) of that sermon amounts to this, that the real Christian is mortified to every vile passion, and most completely devoted to God.
Lov. Yes Sir, I remember the Doctor admitted what you say; but then he observed, how strongly our Savior urged those words, “ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven.” And that it is not only hearing our Lord's words, but DOING them that entitles us to the character of the Christian.— I know not how to give up conditions.
Loveg. Dear Sir, has not all this been answered before? While the fruits of righteousness describe and prove the Christian, is this to pass for proof that these are the conditions of his Christianity? But it is a pity, the Doctor had not taken the whole of our Lord's sermon on the Mount, out of which you quoted that passage, into more close consideration; he would not have found any thing of his mild, lax, new law in these chapters, allowing a little sin, though in the very nature of things unallowable ; only because in our corrupted state we have an inclination to practise it. Had he examined his new law by that sermon, he would have found the anger of the heart, the impurity of the heart, the covetousness of the heart, bring us as much under the sentence of condemnation by that law which commands us to be
pure in' heart, that we may see God," as if he had actually transgressed. So that after all, this remedial law is nothing more, than the old heresy of the Scribes and Pharisees, newly revived ; and it is awfully said, " Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven;" and
nothing can bring all these things more decidedly to the point, than what our Lord says in the same sermon, "Be ye perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect." It is a dangerous business, to preach up a doctrine that has such a direct tendency to teach us to violate God's most holy law, which must be as eternal and as unchangeable as God himself.
Wor. I am sorry Dr. Orderly should suppose that Christ came down from heaven, to abrogate the perfect law of his Father, and to set up an imperfect one in the room of it. Is not this making Christ the minister of sin, and did he not say just the contrary, in the very same sermon, when he declared, " he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it;" and that “not even one jot or tittle of it should pass away till all was fulfilled ?
Corsid. Sir, as a further illustration of your remarks, we are to suppose that there was once a long measure of obedience fully defined, that we should love God perfectly; but that now an indefinite short one is to be introduced in its place; and that a part, be it more or less, is to pay for the whole. So as it respects the payment of debts, full-weight money was once demanded; but according to this new law, it is lawful to pay in short-weight money, provided we pay as well as we can. So that whether it be a half, or a quarter, or even less still, if the law allows it, I perfectly fulfil the terms of such a law, by my imperfect payment. Thus, while the Id law condemns our corruptions, and demands perfect obedience, the new law makes a sort of an undefined composition between us and God; and I am sure, while this new law thus compounds for the sins of man, there can be no need of salvation by the Gospel. It is however, a strange way of talking, to suppose a man pays his rent perfectly, though he pays it but partially, provided he pays it sincerely, and as well as he can.
Lov. Ob Sir! the Doctor did not mean to go 80 far as this..