« AnteriorContinuar »
we pray for assistance, and our daily bread, and ascribe that glory and praise to him, which cannot be communicated to any other being, without sin, but we honor at the same time, in obedience to the divine command, that divine person, the Lord Jesus, who acts in subordination to his God and Creator, and is the anointed of the one God, and Father of all. Heb. i. 9, Eph. iv. 6, Joh. x. 36. Who sheds the Holy Ghost upon us, that is, assistance, through Jesus Cbri/l our Savior, Tit. iii. 4, 6. The scheme is fair and heavenly. The common natural reason of mankind must declare for it.
osbaptism. As to baptism, it is far from being remote from moral duty. It is an excellent means of improvement in virtue. The rite tends to support a religion calculated for the public good, and to make society happyer than it could be without it. When the adult are baptized, they chuse Jesus for their master, and publicly declare their determination to be governed by his laws. They solemnly profess their resolution to adhere to that holy doctrine, which is the mind and will of God the Father, was published to the world by his Son, whom he sent from heaven for that purpose, and confirmed by the divine power, called the Holy Ghost. The rite does like* wife represent by immersion, that we are from that time to separat from a vicious
world, world, and devote ourselves to the' purity and spirituality of the christian religion (a).
As to the Lord's supper, which the church os t!,e eu
of Rome hath turned intoatransubstantiation.it Lord-* supis but a monument erected to commemorat theper' noblest instance of generosity and beneficence that can be met with in all the annals of time. It is a confession of our obligations to God and his Christ, for furnishing us with that noble and useful scheme of morals called the New Testament, and for giving it a sanction at so expensive a rate as the death of Jesus. It is a commemoration of all the blessed and glorious hopes set before us by Christianity through Jesus Christ, and an act of grateful praise for his calling us to virtue and glory, and qualifying us to dwell with God for ever. It naturally enforces upon the mind a lively fense of the obligations true christians lie under to the sedulous practice of true piety and virtue, and is a service the most joyous to the sincerely good. It likewise advances our social affections. It excites us to imitate the benevolent life of the divine Jesus $ and as a
(a) As Mrs. Benlow is a baptist, she took no notice of infant-baptism in her account: Nor, in truth, Jewks, is there much to be sayed in its favor. This however 'may be offered, that it is a proper mean of representing to parents their dutys towards their children, and of bringing them under a declared obligation to the diligent performance of them.
moral means of improvement to every good disposition of the soul, ought to be continued as a part of our religious service. It is reasonable. The fitness of things requires it, exclusive of the appointment.
And now, in the last place, as to the christian sabbath, or setting apart one day in seven for public worship and self-examination; to profess our common faith, and that all ranks of men may have their common dutys refreshed and enlivened upon their minds, by prayer, praise, and instruction, it is an injunction so rational, and contributes so much to humanize and sweeten the human temper, to subdue the unruly passions, and invigorat every good and generous affection, that reason I think must desire it, tho we had no revelation concerning it. An institution, that not only gives rest to the labouring part of the creation, to the lower fort of mankind, as well as to the brute animals, one day in seven, but is calculated to civilize men, and render them wiser and better, can never be enough commended. Common sense must declare for it.
Thus, noble Zulima, have I given you the best account I am able to give of the nature and design of the christian religion, and when we view it in its native and original beauty, it appears so fair and heavenly a piece, as well deserved to be introduced, propagated, pagated, and confirmed, by so many and mighty miracles, as were wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ, and his apostles, for its establishment. Therefore to reject, or oppose such a Christianity, must certainly be wrong, if it is natural to every virtuous spirit to wish for honor, glory, and immortality.
But then you will ask me, in the next place, how came this fair religion to be almost lost in the world, and by what means iid the other Christianity, called popery, be:ome so universal, as you have been informed t is over a great part of the earth? It is the eligion of Europe, they tell you, and its niffionarys have spread it in Africa, Asia, md America. One might imagine, the reigion you have drawn should prevail, if it ame from God, was fixed on miracles, and ad the Holy Ghost to support it. To this I /ill give you the best answer in my power, think I can in a few words be satisfactory n the article.
Illustrious Zulima, It is to be sure a very lrprizing incident, that the religion of Christ fesus should be corrupted in the manner po?ry hath polluted it: That after our Lord ad blessed the world with the perfection of tith and practice, and established institutions lat were plenary, pure, and firm; a gospel lat informs mankind, there is one sole source idstandard os virtue and perfection, one ever
S blessed blejsed Spirit, whose. goodness and benignity hath ever been universally extended over all his works, and but one proper substitute, patron, Reconciler, or mediator, the glorijyed man Christ Jesus: That the religion taught by this divine person had a foundation in nature, and the end of all his instructions was answered, by two comprehensive virtues, the love of God, and the love of our neighbour; that is, as the disciples of Jesus, and according to his instructions, that we must-worship the Father of the universe only, who is always fitting on his throne oj grace, ready to receive most favorably the truly pious and the penitent; and by justice, charity, and universal benevolence, by a steady pursuit of virtue in all the branches of it, we must be good members of Society, and act up to the dignity of the christian character; that after this, I fay, was fixed in the world by the divine power, and idolatry and superstition were subverted by the preaching of the reconciler and his apostles, then a thinking monster y called popery or the church oj Rome, mould arise from the bottomless pit, and almost wound to death the religion of Jesus Christ: That it should dare to speculate against the peerless majesty of the supreme Spirit, and directly contrary to all religion, natural and reveled, teach three one true Gods, and one three true Gods; three intelligent beings, agents or persons,