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to our Lord, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? Now eternal life, or the happiness which is comprehended in it, is the great reward of religion; and consequently, the answer to this inquiry must explain the nature of religion. What then was the answer of our Lord? Thou knowest the come mandments. Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother.'-Or, as he replied at another time to the same question, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. These things do, and thou shalt live;' thou shalt live forever with God, and the society of the just in heaven.'. These commands, therefore, contain all that is essential to the nature of true religion.

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A similar inquiry was proposed to Paul and Silas by the Jailer, who had the custody of these Apostles. Affrighted by the earthquake which shook the prison, opened its doors, and loosed the prisoners from their bonds, he came tremb ling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and said, sirs, what must I do to be saved ? And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved; and they spake unto him the word of the Lord. We know not, indeed, precisely, what was the word of the Lord which they spake to him. But the sim

ple requisition, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, refers, us to the conditions of salvation, or of eternal life, which our Lord required of those, who sought an inheritance in his kingdom in heaven, It was, in effect, to say, 'love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbour as thyself, and thou shalt be saved.' This is the end, the spirit, and all the commands, of all the doctrines of our Redeemer.

Similar in import is the sentiment of the Apostle, if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved; only herein requiring that we confess Christ with our mouth, he refers us to the means, the end of which is, the maintenance of that faith in the heart, which works by love, and o vercomes the world; and is therefore the end proposed by God in all He commands us to believe and to do, as moral, accountable, and immortal beings. With the heart,' we are told, 'man believeth unto righteousness; and righteousness comprehends as well all the love which God requires for himself, as the duties we owe to each other. Hence we read that Abraham was justified by the righteousness of faith; that is, by a faith which produced righteousness, or a ready and en obedience to the will of God. See then what is religion; what it is to be religious,

I said that, the seat of religion is the heart. From the abundance of the heart-or, according to its moral state, we think, and feel, and speak, and act. Love to God and to our neighbour form, therefore, the essence of religion, because, in proportion to their prevalence in the heart, they will produce a conformity of all our thoughts and words, our feelings and actions, to the will of God; they will sub. due every passion and appetite to the dominion of His law; they will make His approbation absolutely essential to the peace of our hearts; they will make it the very life of our happiness. But let us comprehend the "command ment, for it is exceeding broad. We cannot love God, till we know him. Religion comprehends therefore, a knowledge of God. In proportion to our love of God, will be our confidence in Him; our entire satisfaction with the courses and designs of His providence, whether we understand them, or not; and our resignation to His will. If we love Him, we shall earnestly desire and endeavour to be like Him; we shall do whatever know, or believe, will please Him; we shall avoid whatev. er we have reason to believe that he cannot approve. If we so love God, we shall feel also a christian love of one another; for the greatest obstacles to the exercise of this love, of the active and uni versal charity of the gospel, will then be overcome in our hearts. We shall feel a love,

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which not only worketh no ill to our neighbour, but all practicable good; a love that can bear and forbear; that hopeth all things, and endureth all things; that can return blessings for curses, and prayers for injuries. In fine, a love which will excite us in all circumstances to do to others, as we would that others should do to us. To be religious therefore, is to be wholly conformed to the will of God; it is to have in ourselves the mind that was in Christ; it is to possess the will, the temper and affections of christians; and whether we eat or drink, wherever we are and whatever we do, to do all to the glory of God, by doing all in obedience to His commands. However conformed to His word are the articles of our faith, whatever professions we make, whatever rites we observe, or whatever reputation of sanctity we may obtain, let us consider, these are not religion. God looketh on the heart; and as He cannot be deceived, so He will not be mocked.

What then is the connexion between religion, and its doctrines and rites? I answer.

I. The doctrines of religion comprehend all that we are taught of the character, gov ernment, and purposes of God; of the person and offices of our Lord; of our moral nature and capacities in this world; of the happiness of the good, and the misery of the wicked, in the life to come. These doctrines are addressed to our faith; and it is obvious that,

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simply to believe them, will not make us religious How then are they conducive to this end? Reflect on them but for a moment, and you will perceive, that in these doctrines are comprehended all the motives, by which the gospel excites us to a godly, a sober, and a righteous life. As motives, it is immediately apparent how very important they are, to the great and infinitely important purposes, for which God has revealed them. The doctrines of the New Testament concerning concerning the character and government of God, and the person and offices of our Lord; concern ing our condition in this world, and the circumstances which await us in the future, have a tendency the most direct and powerful, in proportion as they are understoood and felt, to exalt our conceptions of the infinitely great, and holy, and beneficent Father of the universe; to purify our affections from all low and sordid attachments; to make Jesus Christ as dear to us, as our hopes of eternal life; and eternal life with God and Christ in heaven, the high object of our daily thought, and care, and labour, Considered as motives, they are inestimable; and if we feel their importance, we shall most gratefully submit our whole hearts to their influence, But they will save us, only by conducing to the end for which they were given. Even as the body without the spirit is dead, so is faith in these, and all the doctrines of religion, unless productive of a christian tem

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per, of good works, of obedi ence to God, dead also.

II. Still more plain is the distinction between the rites of religion, and religion itself. No positive institutions could indeed be more expressive, more appropriate, than are baptism and the Lord's Supper. And yet, separated from the ends of their appointment, what tendency has their observance to make us more acceptable to God? Baptism indicates the purity of heart, which God requires of all who enter His church. It is made the initiatory ordinance of our religion, that adults, in receiv ing this "washing of regeneration," may be most impres sively taught, and may strongly feel, the purity of that religion into which they are baptised, and to which their future characters and lives are to be conformed; and that parents, in bringing their children into the church of Christ, and having them baptized into his name, received as his disciples, may feel their solemn ob ligations to rear them "in the nurture, and admonition of the Lord." And in the Lord's supper, we enter into the closest communion with Christ; we commemorate the great objects of his death; we are to cherish the strongest sense of obligation for the benefits he has obtained for those who love and serve him; and thus looking to God through him, with humble, penitent, grateful and devout hearts, while we receive the emblems of his body and blood, we are to seek, to pray, that Christ may be

formed in our hearts by faith. We can scarcely therefore exaggerate the importance of these ordinances, as means of religion. But unless they conduce to the ends for which they were intended, they will avail us nothing.

I will only add two inferences. I. The means of religion may be changed, in conformity to the circumstances of those for whose use they are appointed. But religion it self can never change. Like God, it is the same yesterday, to day, and forever.

The means of religion may change. The only command given to the father of men in paradise was, "of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." It was a command suited to the circumstances in which God had placed him. But the end of it was, his expression of obedience to the will of God; and this obedience then was, and is now, religion. The patriarchs worshiped God, sought to obtain his favour and to avoid His displeasure, by the sacrifice of animals, or of a portion of the produce of their fields; and we well know what a number of rites was instituted, as -means of promoting piety and virtue among the Jews. These have all given place to the simple, but expressive rites of the gospel. But amidst all this variety and succession of positive institutions, religion itself has remained unchanged. New doctrines are taught in our religion, and new precepts

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are given in it. But as the engrafted scion, though an addition to the tree, and intended to produce new and better, fruit, is yet of the same nature as the tree into which it is inserted, and is sustained in life by the same root and trunk from which the branch is cut off, into which it is itself engrafted; so are the additional doctrines and precepts of the gospel sustained by the same spirit, have the same principle of spiritual life, as supported, and will forever support that religion, which God at first planted; and the gen uine fruit of which, in all ages, has been the eternal life and happiness of the souls, in which it has been produced, and which have been sustained by it. It was the moral state of the heart with which Abel sacrificed his first fruits, which brought down the fire of heaven upon his offering. It was' the disposition of Abraham, his faith working by love, and producing entire confidence in God, and prompt obedience, which secured his acceptance, when he raised the knife to slay his son. Nor without this temper of mind, and these correspondent affections, would the Lord at any time have been pleased with thousands of rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil. Hath the Lord as great delight in sacrifices and burnt offering, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice; and to hearken, than the fa of rams. This great scntiment pervades all the dispensations of God. It answers

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the question, what is religion? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. Circumcision was then only acceptable, when it was of the heart; and sacrifice, when it was offered with a confiding, a grateful, or a contrite spirit. The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the holy spirit; and, the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Against such, there is no law. And they that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts.'

II. Is religion itself forever essentially the same? Does it consist in an unreserved devotion of the heart, the passions, will and affections to God; in a choice of God as our Supreme good, and a ready obedience to His will, from a principle of love? Then let us value and improve the means, with a faithful reference to their infinitely impor

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tant end. So let us value and use our sabbaths, our bibles, the privilege of prayer, and the ordinances of baptism, and the Lord's supper. The means of religion are too easily, and too often mistaken for its end; and hence arises much of the contradiction we see between the faith, and the practice of men. Hence it is that some think themselves to be pious, even while they are perhaps notoriously vicious; and look with confidence to the favour of God, and the happiness of heaven, while, it may be, they have nourished and strengthened the most evil dispositions and habits, by the very exercises which they have considered as offerings to the Most High God. So let it not be with us. Let us not be' so deceived. He that soweth to the flesh, of the flesh will reap CORRUPTION. He that eth to the spirit, of the spirit will reap LIFE EVERLASTING. To be carnally minded, is DEATH. To be spiritually minded, is life, and peace. Let us not then be weary in well doing; for IN DUE SEASON WE SHALL REAP, IF WE FAINT NOT.

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MR. EDITOR,

I have lately perused a volume of DR. MAYHEW, intitled "CHRISTIAN SOBRIETY: being EIGHT SERMONS on Titus ii. 6. preached with a special view to the Benefit of the YOUNG MEN usually attending the public worship at the WEST CHURCH in Boston." They

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For the Christian Disciple.

CHRISTIAN SOBRIETY.

discover a spirit truly evangelical, to employ that term in its legitimate import. The style is simple, the manner engaging, the reasoning forcible. The chief peculiarity seems to be an occasional keenness of remark, extremely good humoured, and suited to raise a smile even in the individual,

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