Imágenes de páginas

is in the nature of things, and in the doĉtrine of the Gospel, the believer’s path way to eternal life. He that faith I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1 John ii. 4. He that faith, he abideth in him, ought himself also/3 to walk, even as he walked, i John ii. 6. Who/oever committeth fin, tran/greffeth also the law, I John iii. 4. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, 1 John v. 3. Afye fulfil the royal law according to thefcripture, Thou Jbalt love thy neighbour as thyfelf, ye do well, Jam. ii. 8. And now, Sir, it belongs to you to confider, whether the Antinomians have any handle at all for their licentious principles, from the doćtrine of our union to Chrift, rightly confidered and underflood. If no man can have any good evidence of his union to Chrift, without a repentance and humiliation for his offences againít God, then no man can have reafon to be easy and fecure in finning, from a prefumption of his union to Christ. If the fins ofbelievers are by virtue of their union to Christ more aggravated, than the fins of other men, they have more caufe than others to lament their fins before God, and to be deeply humbled on the account of them. If believers, as well as others, muft repent of their fins, or perish, they have then the fame caufe, which others have, to mourn for their fins, and with the greatest detestation to renounce and forfake them. If believers, by means of their union to Christ, though perfećtly justified, are yet not perfectly fan&tified, but in many things do all affend ; if Christ has not taken away the pollution offin, and personal innate guilt, though he has born the curfe, and taken away the penalty of fin from believers; if the law ftill remains a rule of obedience to believers ; and if their deviation from, or violation of that rule, be of the nature of fin, and brings them under guilt and defilement, they have then caufe to be humbled for their fins, to groan under the burthen of them, and ardently to pant after deliverance from their remaining body of death. All thefe premifes are (I think) fully proved; and the confequences cannot therefore be fairly denied. Whence it follows, that whoever quiet their confcience with fuch vain pretences, expose thenfelves to the dreadful confequences of a licentious life, divine rejećtion, and wrath unto the uttermoft. Thus I have briefly anfwered your feveral pleas, in favour of the libertines of the prefent age, by reafonings which cannot fail of giving you fatisfaćtion, if duly con: fidered. You'll be pleased to bear with me, whilft | offer one anfwer more, which will equally obviate all your objećtions : and difcover them all to be groundłefs, unreafonable, and irreligious. You will readily allow, if it be impoffible from the nature of things, that one who is truly united to Jefus Chrift, should be habitually carelefs and at eafe, indifferent and indolent in a way of finning, that your objećtions are then all groundlefs, and without any rational foundation. And that this is fo, may be made abun-. dantly clear and evident. If a true and fincere love to God be a necessary confequence of our union to Jefus Chrift, and be also utterly inconfiftent with those licentious conclufions, which you have mentioned; it will then follow, that it is impossible from the nature of things, that any one who is truly united to Jefus Chrift, should be careless, eafy, and indifferent in a way of finning. That all who are united to Jefus Christ, do habitually love God, and dwell in the love of God, is exprefly afferted by the apofile, 1 John iv. 16. God is love ; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. And it is also necessary from the very nature of our union to Christ. Being united to Chrift, we fhall partake ofall the graces of the blefied Spirit, which are in Chrift, as in a fountain or repofitory to be communicated unto us; as I have shewn you before, that this need not be infifted on. Let us therefore proceed to confider, whether the love of God be, from the nature of it, compatible or confiltent with a carelefnefs and indifference about finning against him. Can we love God, and be careless and indifferent about affronting him, and loading him with indignity at the fame time ? Can we love God, and yet be content to difhonour his name, violate his laws, and trample his facred authority and attributes under the feet of our lufts ? This cannot be, till love and hatred, friendship and enmity become the fame thing, no ways to be diftinguished. Our profession of love would hårdly be voted finçere by one of our fellow creatures, who should

find useafy and indifferent about injuring his intereft and reputation, and loading him with contempt and indignity. Does not the love of God especially confift in a defire of, and delight in a conformity to the divine nature and will ? That they who love God, dwell in God and God in them : that as he is, fo are they in this world, * John iv. 16, 17. And can they delight in a confor: mity to God, and yet be eafy and content when they aćt molt contrary to his will, and in the higheft repugnancy to all bis glorious and infinite perfećtions ? Does not the love cf God confift in a hatred of fin, and of whatever is difpleafing in his fight ? Te that love the Lord, hate evil, Pfal. xcvii. I o. And can there be any thing more inconfiftent, than being careless and indifferent about falling into fuch circumstances as are peculiarly hateful and abhorrent to us ? Does not the love of God, imply a love to his law; and a delight in complying with his holy will in all things ? O how love I thy law ! it is my meditation all the day, Pfal. cxix. 97. - For I delight in the law of God after the inward znan, Rom. vii. 22. And is it confiftent, is it not the highest contradićtion, to love the law of God, to delight in an observation of it and conformity to it, and yet be indifferent and unconcerned about a violation of it, or a non conformity to it ? Does not the love of God, in the nature of it, imply a life of aćìual obedience ? If ye love me, keep ny commandments, John xiv. 15. If ye keep my commandments, ye fixall abide in my love, John xv. I o. And can any thing be more contradićtory, than keeping God's commandments, and a careleís indifferency about breaking them ? Is there no gratitude in our love to God, no fenfe of our obligations to his infinite goodnefs and compaflicn; and no fenfe of our ungrateful abuse of his amazing difpenfations of benignity and m:ercy, in our ranfom irom hell by the blood of bis Son, in our gofpel privileges and advantages, in our participation of his ipecial dislingüishing grace, and in our hopes of glory ? Is the love of the Father a light thing witla us, in choofing us before others from the foundation of the world, in giving his own Son to redeem and fave us ; and in fending his Holy Spirit to fulfil his good pleafure in our íguls; and fit us for heaven ? Is the blood cf a Saviour a light thing with us, whereby we are ranfomed from death and hell; and made heirs of the future glory ? Is the fanćtifying, comforting, and quickening influence of the blefied Spirit a light thing with us, whereby we are brought near to God, enabled to maintain communion with him, and are qualified for the eternal inheritance ? Can we diihonour the Father, trample upon the blood of the Son, and grieve the Holy Spirit, without care, concern or fear; and yet make pretences to an union to Christ, and to the love of God ? A vain dream ! A most inconßstent and contradićtory pretenge ! * * I hope, I have by this time given you fufficient evidence, of the weakness and impiety of those objećtions, you have alledged in favour of the Antinomians : and would therefore only just add this further remark, that though we should never difhonour our blefied Saviour by doubting of his fufficiency for us, be our cafe what it will ; though we should never indulge distraćting doubts and fears, which will drive us from God, unfit us for duty, and bring dishonour upon that infinite mercy, in which we hope ; and though we should not prefently dig up our foundation, and call all our hopes and experiences into question, becaufe of our difallowed infiranities : yet if we are united to Christ, we cannot fail of mourning for our fins, and bringing them to the blood of Christ for pardon; we cannot fail to groan being burthened, and to esteem our fins the heaviest burthen we have in the world : though we may and ought to rejoice always, in the riches of redeeming mercy and love; yet we cannot but lament and groan always after deliverance from the remaining body of death. You proceed to object, that * if my doĉtrine of the believers union to Christ be true, you cannot fee how wě“can prove our justification by our faućtification. For according to that fcheme, our justification depends wholly upon our union to Chrift : but nothing at all upon our famćtification. Is it not then the most rational proceeding, to prove our justification by that on which it does depend, rather than by that on which it does not depend; by that which does justify us, rather than by that which does not justify us ? How can we

[ocr errors]

* dom from guilt, no title to the favour of God, no * claim to eterńal falvation ?” In anfwer to which I muft entreat you to confider, whether there be any way fo certain to prove the exiftence of the caufe, as by the produćtion of the effećł: and whether there be any way whatsoever to evidence that there is a caufe, if there be no effećt; or if the effećt be utterly unknown. How do we know the exiftence of God: but by his word and works, which are vifible effećts of his being; and thereby visible evidences and discoveries of his glorious perfećtions ? To apply this to the prefent cafe. How can we evidence our unian to Christ, and our acceptance with God thereby, but by the aĉtings of grace, and the fruits of righteoufnefs, which are the effećts of it ? The subjećt matter to be made evident to our confciences, is this, that we have received the Lord Jefus Chrift by faith, are fo united to him; and thereby justified in the fight of God. Well, if this be fo, the life which we now live in the fle/h, we live by the faith of the Son of God, Gal. ii. 2ơ. IVe are purifying our/elves, even as he is pure, 1 John iii. 3. If we have received Chrift 7efus the Lord, we also walk in him, Col. ii. 6. And do we upon an impartial trial, find this fo ? Do we live in an humble conftant dependance upon the Lord Jefus Christ, as the fountain ofall grace; and the author of our eternal falvation ? Do we hate every falfe way; and crucify our flesh with its affećtions and lufts ? Do we live in the love of God, and carefully and feriously attend every way of known duty towards him ? Do we live in the love of our neighbour; and are we confcientious in the performing the duties of every relation and charaĉter we fustain ? And do we lament before God the imperfećtions we find in thefe attainments ; and earneftly pray and ftrive for a further progrefs in holinefs ? This, all this, is the neceffary fruit of our union to Chrift, and of our justification before God thereby: is not this therefore the proper and only evidence thereof? And is there anything without this, which can give us any fcripture evidence of our justification ? The Antinomians may pretend to evidence their justification by their joy and comfort : but how come they by their joy and comfort, ifthey have no pre:

« AnteriorContinuar »