Imágenes de páginas

Q. 3. But if they have all of them pagan hearts, shall they come and hear with their pagan hearts, in a pagan manner, rather than not come and hear at all ?

A. If they come with pagan hearts, in a pagan manner, they sin greatly. If they refuse to come, their sin is greater. If they coine with pagan hearts, in a pagan manner, they are in greater danger of turning a deaf ear to the Gospel, to their own destruction. But if they refuse to come at all, their perdition is certain. So then it is for their interest to come with pagan hearts, in a pagan manner, rather than not to come at all. Rom. x. 14.

Q. 4. Is the missionary authorized by the commission of Christ to baptise these Pagans, as well as preach the Gospel to them?

A. The commission of Christ authorizes him to preach to them while Pagans; but not to baptise them until they become believers. Mark xvi. 15, 16.

Q. 5. Suppose two Indians, in other respects equal, one has beard the Gospel twenty years, the other never heard of it, both die Pagans in heart, which will be most miserable after death?

A. He that hath heard the Gospel. For he that knows his master's will, and does it not, shall be beaten with many stripes. Luke xii. 47, 48.

Q. 6. If so, why is not a birth and education in the hea. then world to be preferred ?

A. In a land of Gospel light there is some hope of salvation from eternal misery : In Pagan darkness there is no hope at all. Luke x. 10, 11, 12. Acts iv. 12. Eph. ii. 11, 12.

Q. 7. Is there then greater probability of the conversion of some sinners than of others ?

A. According to the rule by which mankind judge of likelihood, viz. that like things have been wont to take place in like circumstances, it is more likely that some sinners will be converted than others. Thus, more were converted ainong the posterity of Abraham, from his day to the day of Christ, than in any other nation in the world, through that period. So more

were converted among those who attended the ministry of John Baptist, of Jesus Christ, and of his apostles,

Chan among

those who never heard them. So there is more hope of the conversion of the children of godly parents, who are in a pious manner devoted to God in baptism, and who are brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; than there is of the conversion of the children of ungodly parents, who are brought to baptism merely to be in the fashion, and who are brought up according to the course of this world, in the service of diverse lusts and pleasures, to live in malice and envý, hateful and hating one another. And so it is more likely that they will be converted, who live under an orthodox, pious, faithful minister, and under the watch and care of a church, whose members walk with God, and the light of whose holy examples shines all around them; than they who live under an unsound, ungodly, unfaithful minister, and in the company of carnal and loose professors, who join to hate and to blacken the true doctrines of the Gospel, and to ridicule a life of strict piety. And so it is more likely that they who are under deep and genuine legal conviction, will be converted, than they who are quite secure in sin; and more likely that awakened sinners who forsake bad company, and every external vicious practice, and spend much time in reading God's word, in hearing good preaching, in meditation, in secret prayer, and withal confess their faults to those they have ill used, and make restitution to those they have injured; more likely, I say, that awakened sinners will be converted who take this course, although moved thereto merely by legal terrors, and self-righteous hope, being still dead in sin, contrary to God and to all good in the inmost temper of their hearts; more likely, I say, than if they with Cain filed from the presence of the Lord, and ran to taverns, and to frolics, and gave up themselves to drinking and debauchery, on purpose to stifle their convictions, and drown the clamours of their consciences. In a word, there is no doubt but that there is much more, even an hundred or a thousand times more likelihood, that some sinners will be converted than others. Yet still it remains true as it is written, Mat. xix. 30. But many that are first, shall be last; and the last shall be first. See also Luke xiii. 29, 30. Thus Cain was the eldest child of Adam, but he was left, while Abel was taken. And

thus the Jews were God's peculiar people, but they were cast off; while the Gentiles were called. And thus Judas, one of Christ's own family, is lost; while a persecuting Saul, brought up among the Pharisees, is saved. That no flesh might glory in the presence of God. 1 Cor. i. 26–31.

Q. 8. Is there really any hope at all, in the sinner's case, that he will be converted and saved, but what results merely from the sovereign grace of God?

A. The same sovereign grace, which passed by the fallen angels, and provided a Redeemer for fallen man, even the Son of God, to die in our stead, must as freely give us a Sanctifier, or we perish. The same sovereign grace that appoints our lot in a land of light, that presents us with the external means of graee, that begins the work of conviction, that drives the reluctant sinner to an external reformation, and to a close attention to eternal things by legal terrors, even the same 'sovereign grace must carry on conviction till it is deep and thorough, and give repentance unto life, or the work will never be done. For the sinner, left to himself, will catch hold of some false hope, or go back to security; and so finally, if left to himself, will infallibly perish. And he deserves to be left to himself. He is under the curse of the righteous law of God, and may be justly given up to ruin. There is nothing but the sovereign grace of God to prevent it. And so there is really no hope in his case, but what at bottom results merely froin the sovereign grace of God. Rom. xi. 5, 6,7. Eph. ii. 1-5. Tit. iii. 3, 4, 5.

Q. 9. Is it for the advantage of the sinner, in this state, to tell him, that God requires him to do as he does, so that in doing as he does, he does what God requires ?

A. No: This is not to tell him the truth, nor would this tend to promote his good, but his hurt: even to settle him down on his own righteousness, while dead in sin, as has been before shown. Rather, when an awakened sinner has been in his closet two or three hours, meditating, crying, and praying, in great anguish, driven on by the fears of hell and self-righteous hopes; yet still wholly impenitent, so that if there was no hell, he would never make another prayer, or shed another tear for his sins, but rather go back to them

[ocr errors]


with pleasure ; when he rises from his knees, I would have his conscience cry out against him in such language as this • Oh, thou ungodly, impenitent, guilty wretch ! thou hast done nothing all this while, as it ought to be done. Thy heart is still a heart of stone, wholly opposite to God and to all good. This is thy proper character; and therefore the wrath of God still abideth on thee' - For this is the very truth.

Q. 10. What directions then ought to be given to such a sinner? And what ought we to say to him ?

A. Say all the things that God has said. Hold the perfect law of God close to his conscience, to show him his duty and his sin: for the law is the school-master which God has appointed to bring us to Christ. Hold up the Gospelway of salvation, with all its evidence to his conscience, that he may understand and believe it ; for faith cometh by hearing. And let the whole tenour of all our discourse, to the sinner, be to explain and to enforce the exhortation of John the baptist, of Jesus Christ, and of his apostles, in those remarkable words, REPENT, AND BELIEVE The Gospel. This will tend to increase genuine conviction of all sin and guilt, and to prevent delusive and false hopes, and to shut him up to the faith.

We are to dwell largely on the being and perfections of God, and our original obligations to him, who is by nature God, and our Creator. We are particularly to explain the nature and reasonableness of the divine law, and to answer the sinner's objections against it. We are to exhibit to his view the sin which he stands charged with in the divine law, and the curse he is under for it, and the only way of obtaining pardon through the blood of Christ. In a word, we are to open to his view the whole plan of the Gospel, the infinite riches of God's grace, the nature and sufficiency of Christ's atonement, the readiness of God to forgive repenting singers who come to him in the name of Christ, the calls and invitations of the Gospel, the dreadfulness of eternal misery in the lake of fire and brimstone; the glory and blessedness of the heavenly state, the shortness and uncertainty of time, the worth of his soul, the dangers which attend him from the world, the flesh, and the devil, the inexcusable guilt of final impenitence, the aggravated punishment of Gospel sinners, &c. &c. &c. And so bring into the view of his conscience every argument and motive to repent and to return to God through Jesus Christ.

Just as any plain man of common sense would do, who was sent after a run-away son, who had risen against his father, and made an attempt on his life, and then run off; for which his father had disinherited him, and was determinod he should be disinherited for ever, unless he would return, and before the whole family, on his knees, confess his fault, and take the whole blame to himself, and justify his father's resentments, and freely own and acknowledge that it was good enough for him to be cast off by his father, and no blemish, but a beauty in his character, to disinherit such a son ; and in this view, ask forgiveness, as of mere free grace. Common sense would teach such a man, in all he said, to this rebellious, run-away son, to vindicate his father's character and conduct, and to prove to him that all the blame was in him, and that it was his duty and interest, without the least hesitation, or one objection, on the first invitation, to do as did the prodigal in the parable, when he came to himself, viz. Arise, and go to his father. And so long as the runaway son should refuse to do this, common sense, would teach any plain man to consider him as impenitent; and to look upon all his tears and cries as selfish and hypocritical. But should the run-away son not only refuse to return, but begin, in his own justification, to plead, and say, 'my father's character, and my father's government, are not objects of love. He has disinherited me. To love him would be the same thing as to love to be disinherited; which would be to love my own disgrace and poverty; which would be to love my own misery ; which is impossible. To say, that this conduct of his is not a blemish, but a beauty in his character, would be a sin : for I ought to love myself, and to stand for iny honour, and for my right. Such a submission he shall never have from me. However, if he will receive me to favour, and restore me to the inheritance, impenitent as I am, I will forgive what is past, and be reconciled for the future.' Common sense would declare such a son, not only impeni

« AnteriorContinuar »