Imágenes de páginas

thrown upon the beauteous fabric of truth, was more than the wisest mortal could do, or. dare to undertake. Unassisted reason could not establish morality in all its parts, upon its true foundation, with a clear and convincing light, which made Socrates declare, that he thought it best to be quiet till somebody should come, and by divine teaching remove the mist from before mens eyes.

This divine teacher was Jesus Christ. By revelation he brought a law of morality to the mass of mankind, who were, and ever will be unable to make out a perfect morality, by long deductions of reason. We have from him a full and sufficient rule, conformable to right reason j and the truth and obligation of its precepts have their force, and are past doubt to us, by the evidence of his mission. He was sent by God. His miracles shew it The authority of God in his precepts cannot be questioned. Here morality has a sure . standard, that revelation vouches, and reason cannot gainsay nor question; but both together witness to come from God, the great law-maker. When the people are once persuaded that Jesus Christ was sent by God, to be a king, and a Savior of those who do believe in his doctrine, all his commands become principles to them, and there needs no more but to read the inspired books, to be instructed. Is not this the surest, the safest, B b and

and most effectual way of teaching; as it suits the lowest capacities of reasonable creature?, and reaches and satisfies, nay enlightens the highest? Surely one coming from heaven, in the power of God, and giving plain and direct rules of morality and obedience, is likelier to enlighten the bulk of mankind, and set them right in their duties, and bring them to do them, than by reasoning with them from general notions and principles of human reason.

These are Mr. Loch's thoughts upon the subject, and every man who . knows how to reason, must allow they are good sense. Whoever is acquainted with human nature must grant, that the gospel in its native simplicity, that is, a declaration of the mind of God by Jesus Christ, is suited to the condition of sinful men, and becomes the power of God to salvation. Sinners must be more effectually moved to conversion, and better established in the steady practice of duty, by setting it before them under the authority of the supreme governor and judge j by appealing to their own consciences that they are sinners, and stand in need of mercy j and by offering this mercy to them, upon their humble submission to receive it in the way in which it is offered; than by laying before them the beautys of virtue, and the deformitys of vice, in such excellent discourses as

we we find in the writings of the heathen philosophers. Admirable we own their lessons are. The line6 of duty are finely marked out by the human reason of those great men: Yet still you must allow me, that this beautiful philosophy did but little good in the world. The bulk of mankind remained after all in ignorance. Few of them were thereby rescued from the power of sin, and persuaded to the practice of true piety and virtue. But when men are led by revelation to consider civil righteousness and piety, as required of them by the sovereign ruler of the world; and to ponder on that which is evil, as what will incur his just displeasure; when his mercy is offered to the truly penitent, and eternal life promised to the persevering faithful, by so glorious a messenger as "Jesus, who could appeal to very mighty works, and produce the fulfilment of prophecies in his person, his resurrection from the dead, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost, as evidences of his divine mission; this rouses men from their spiritual lethargy. Such a message, and such a messenger are equal to the arduous talk. They are able to rescue mankind from the power of sin, and to prepare them for that happyness which the gospel promises.

Let us not renounce then this transcript of the mind of God, this merciful message which B b 2 the the Father of the universe has sent to us from heaven by the Son of his love. If there be corruptions given out under the venerable name of Christianity, away with them to be sure. Let us have no connection with the reverend innovators: But we will not reject the christian religion itself. It has all the evidence that reason can require of coming from above; it has the plainest indications of being the mind of the most high God; and of consequence, it is much safer for us to submit to his wisdom and righteousness therein displayed, and to be thankful for his goodness, than proudly to reject his counsel. Tis wisdom to be willing to be saved and made happy in that way which God has graciously appointed for it. . 'Tis wisdom to own that want, and that weakness, which upon serious consideration we must find to be in ourselves; and joyfully to comply with those directions, which God in his great goodness has afforded for our assistance.


I hope then, my dear Hanmer- you will again submit to christianity as it lies in the New Testament; that christianity, which most evidently aims at the restoring and establishing a regard to those internal good things, in which the essence of religion is on all hands acknowledged to consist; and which affords a much firmer satisfaction of acceptance tance with that God, who hates iniquity ivith a perfett hatred, than our own deductions from reason can. Suffer not an unreasonable prejudice to prevail upon you, and blind your eyes; for if the gospel doctrine, n all its parts, in its speculations, in its precepts, and in its motives, is not only really worthy of God, by being suited to our condition, as sinful men; and by tending to Tiake us pure and holy, in order to our being finally happy; which is the tru^h of the :ase; but has besides this internal evidence of Droceeding from God, such an external evidence as is in all reason sufficient to prove its iivine authority, then you cannot with safety "eject it; and a difficulty arising from some circumstances relating to it, should never make as doubt about embracing and adhering to itMr. Hanmer., in answer to this, fayed, :hat the cafe, as I had stated it, did deserve consideration. He owned the moral part of the gospel had an intrinsic goodness, that rendered t worthy of God ; and confessed that, as men n general have not attended to, nor do cgard as they ought, the voice of reason md judgment, but act contrary to it, with Winded understandings, and corrupted afrections, a rational and real revelation, that 3ut mankind in mind of duty, and set bebre them proper motives to attend to it, must be of service to the world: but he was Bb 3 not

« AnteriorContinuar »