Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ness, mutual forbearance, candid allowance for infirmity and mistake ; an honest endeavour to promote knowledge, impartial study, and search of the scriptures-free communication, and ready admittance of what is found in them! These are the virtues which make us truly Christians; thus we shall grow up into Christ in all things; thus our hearts, and in time our heads too, will be united, as far as the present state of things will admit; thus religion will flourish, and shine with a charming lustre in the eyes of the world!

And when, O when will the glorious day shine upon our world; when meekness, forbearance, charity, and brotherly kindness, shall flourish among Chriftians! when, setting aside all partyschemes and odious distinctions, all selfish views, all worldly emoluments, all pride and bigotry, all prejudice and prepossession, all envy, wrath, and bitterness, we shall receive one another upon the true scriptural terms of Christian communion; that with one heart and with one mouth, we may all glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? When shall we see the error and mischief of that deteftable principle, that difference of judgment in finding out the true sense of the scripture, strips a man of his Christian charafter, and giveth us a right to abuse him ? When will the happy state of things be created, wherein the witnesses of our Lord Jesus Christ, who honestly endeavour to vindicate the truth as it is ) in him, shall no longer prophesy, clothed in Jackcloth, under the heavy burden of unrighteous censure and insult? Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Defence of the Rights of Christians.

JAMES DUCHAL, D.D.

DUBLIN-DIED 1761.

WHAT if there have been debates about

many particulars, such as the decrees of God, the divine agency upon the minds of men (which, however, are not debates peculiar to Christianity) about the person and offices of our blessed Saviour, in some things less connected with vital religion, and many other matters, about which men have disputed with too much warmth; so that indeed the true Christian Spirit hath been in a great measure lost in the tumults they have raised ? Must we therefore imagine, that an honest enquirer cannot find out the true design of the religion of Christ, and the way of serving it effectually? Can he not discern what is the true end of life, and supreme good of the human mind? Hath he not a clear view of his duty to God, to his neighbour, and to himself, with the addition of the duty we owe to the Son of God, as appointed by the Father to be the only Mediator between him and mankind; to whom the utmost gratitude for what he hath done and suffered for

us,

and an unreserved obedience, is due ? Can he not see that God, as moral governor of the world, is attentive to the temper and conduct of every individual; and that he will bring him into judgment for it, rewarding the sincerely obedient, and punishing the rebellious and impenitent? Can he not see express declarations, that upon fincere repentance for sin, and a cordial submission to the gospel, he shall be taken into the divine favour and protection ; shall have all necessary encouragement and assistance in the performance of his duty, and that God will always take care of him, and order what concerneth him in the best manner? Can he not see most joyful assurance of a glorious immortality in reserve for the rightee ous, of which our Saviour's triumph over death is the blessed pledge ; and that he shall be happy in the heavenly state, happy to his with, and beyond all that he can at present imagine ? And if an honest attentive reader is fully instructed in all this by the New Testament, what more could a: wise man wish?

It is not necessary that men should enter into perplexing controversies, or disquiet their minds about matters in which they see they cannot be competent judges. The way to salvation is plain and easy. To attain to the knowledge of this, a well disposed mind, a sincere heart, are the main requisites; whereas great penetration and skill in controversies are not necessary. Christianity is

intended to be the religion of all, and is, therefore, within the reach of common capacity. And we are not to attend to what controversies the prejus dices and corrupt lusts, or the weakness or folly of mankind have occafioned; but what a man of plain understanding and an honest heart may attain to, by a careful perúsal of his bible.

Presumptive Arguments for the

Christian Religion.

GEORGE BENSON, D.D.

DIED 1763.

of

IT
T is now above two hundred years since the

commencement of the reformation. Is it not then a shame, and a reproach to Protestants of all denominations, that there thould

yet
be

among thein any pretences to infallibility, or any remains of bigotry and perfecution ; the very worst part popery? That the free, noble, and generous spirit of benevolence and liberty, has not yet had an univerfal spread among them, and rooted out the spirit of perfecution and unchari tableness in all the kinds and degrees thereof? { such a spirit and temper were diffused among us and prevailed, the more fober and confiderate enea mies of Revelation would be more ready to harken to what we have to fay. Aud as to the body of them, who have never read the bible through

or

with any tolerable care and attention, who wish Christianity may be false, because it is convenient for them it should be so, inasmuch as it condemns their vices, and threatens with a righteous judgment to come, and a terrible hereafter :when we had gained the more virtuous and judicious, such loose and abandoned persons would either be put out of countenance, as having nothing plausible to say in their own vindication ; or they would shew mankind that they are against revelation, purely because revelation is against them.

At a time when all religion is so boldly struck at, we ought not to load religion with the pretended power and authority of any man, number of men. We ought to content ourselves with being Christians, and not list ourselves into a party, and glory in the name of particular heads and leaders. One alone is our mafter, our head, and our Lord Jesus Chrift; and we should glory in his name only-we should take our religion from his word, and make that the sole standard. Then should we bring about the most glorious reformation indeed! not by burning heretics (that is, persons who differ from us no more than we differ from them) not by hunting down those whom we cannot convince, but by the force of evidence and in the spirit of love and meekness; by kind treatment, invinciblè arguments, and inoffenfive, holy, and exemplary lives.

Then would the glorious fpirit of

« AnteriorContinuar »