« AnteriorContinuar »
consequently in their systems at siderable talents appear not to large.
have bestowed a due proportion Sometimes, indeed, we meet of their time upon them: The with an extreme in the other outlines perhaps have had some way ; and man's depraved condi- justice done to them, but the tion set out with a kind of roman interior has been too much post, tic extravagance. But this does poned. not promote conviction. It di Upon this last branch of inminishes the credit of the preach- quiry, I think you will find as er, and raises a prejudice against much in President Edwards, on the truth. Happy the student Religious Affections, as in any by whom the straight line marked author I have seen ; and as able by the simple doctrine of Revela, and thorough an examination of tion, is well distinguished, and the Scriptures. I am, &c. well kept. I am, &c;
(To be continued.) My dear Sir
No. 6. WHEN I think of you, an idea
THE DECALOGUE. No.10. occurs afresh, which, though very simple, I have often thought
TENTH COMMANDMENT. might be of great use for every
« Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's student in theology, viz. that of
house, thou shalt not covet thy
neighbour's wife, nor his man-ser. applying chiefly to the very heart
vant, nor his maid-servant, nor his of it. I mean to include all ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that which relates to that conviction is thy neighbour's.” of sin, which is preparatory to No nation can produce a sys. real religion ; the mistakes and tem of moral and religious prethe dangers, to which the awak- cepts so perfect as that which ened are exposed; the directions was given to Israel from Mount suitable for them; the source Sinai. It will bear the strictest from which theirencouragements examination, and when reduced should be derived; the views to practice it preserves us in the and the submissions, they must way of holiness. The apostate be brought to :-after these the Emperor knew this, but anxious nature of true conversion; the to find defects, where none exist, difference between common and he could only say, that the lat effectual operations of the Di contains things too simple and too vine Spirit on the minds of men ; trite for 80 high an origin. the specific nature of saving What he says in detraction, is a faith, repentance unto life, true high eulogium. It admits, without love to God, and love to man in designing it, that the law is acits distinct branches ; the dis, commodated to the meanest untinguishing nature of Christian derstanding, and thus answers hope, joy, humility, self-denial, the great purpose of instructing every grace; and evangelical and reforming mankind. Our obedience at large.
duty to God and to man is here In these the life and substance brought into one point of view. of theology seem emphatically The system is pure and comto consist. And yet it often plete. Formed on this model, happens, that preachers of con- a religious and useful race would
arise venerating Jehovah's name, ably imporеrishing other men ; and seeking the welfare of fel. and is therefore a direct violalow creatures.
tion of this law. Public gaming, The tenth commandment“ is by lotteries, so far from being placed as the fence of all the rest. less criminal than other species The apostle's reference to it, of that vice, is the worst of them (Rom. vii. 7, 8.) shows that it all : for it abets and sanctions, comprises the utmost spirituali- as far as example and conty of the law; and it is a perpet- currence can do it; a practice ual confutation of all those sys- which opens the door to every tems, by which the outward, species of fraud and villany ; gross crime is considered as the which is pregnant with the most only violation of each command. extensive evils to the communiWe are here expressly, and in ty and to individuals ; which selthe most forcible language, pro- dom fails annually to bring sevhibited so much as to desire what eral to an untimely end by suiis withheld from us by the com, cide or the sentence of the law ; mand or providence of God; which unsettles an immense and so far from levelling proper- multitude from the honest emty, or seizing violently on our ployments of their station, to run peighbour's possessions, we may in quest of imaginary wealth ; not so much as at all hanker af- and which exposes them to manter them. The most secret ifold temptations, unfits them for wish for another man's wife vio- returning to their usual mode of lates this precept : but to desire life, and often materially in, an union with an unmarried wo jures their circumstances, breaks man, only becomes sinful when their spirits, sours their tempers, it is excessive, and when it is not and excites the worst passions of submitted to the will of God, if which they are susceptible. In: he render it impracticable. We deed, the evils, political, moral, may desire that part of a man's and religious, of lotteries are too property, which he is inclined to glaring to be denied even by dispose of, if we mean to obtain those who plead necessity for it only on equitable terms : but continuing them; and too nuwhat he chooses to keep, we may merous to be recapitulated in not covet. The poor man may this place. Can it therefore condesire moderate relief from the sist with the law of God, “ Thou rich : but he must not covet his shalt not covet,” or with the affluence, nor repine even if he character of a Christian, to condo not relieve him. Men, ex- cur in such an iniquitous and inposed to equal hazards, may a- jurious system, from a vain degree to a proportionable contri. sire of irregular gain? Whateve bution to him who suffers loss; er argument proves it unlawful for it accords with the law of love for two or three men to cast lots to help the distressed. This for a sum of money, or to game exculpates insurance, when fair- in any other way, much niore ly conducted. But every species strongly concludes against a milof gaming originates from an un- lion of persons gaming publicly dué desire and hope of increase by a lottery for a month or six ing our property, by proportion- weeks together, to the stagna, tion in great measure of every affection, are the evils here pro, other business : whilst the gain hibited; and we know them to made by government and by in- be the sources of all other crimes, dividuals, from the stakes depos- and of man's misery. And ited with them, renders it as im- the command requires moderaprudent, as it is sinful in the ad- tion in respect of all worldly venturers ; for every individual things, submission to God, ac. stakes three 10 two on an even quiescence in his will, love to his chance, if a covetous appeal to commands, and a reliance on him Providence may be called chance for the daily supply of all our (Prov. xvi. 33.) Even. Tontincs wants, as he sees good. This is seem not wholly excusable, as right and reasonable, fit for God they constitute a kind of compli- to command, and profitable for cated wager about longevity, to man to obey, the very temper be decided by Providence in fa- and felicity of heaven itself: but vour of the survivors; and must it is so contrary to the dispositherefore partake of the nature tion of our beart by nature, and of other games of chance. Cov- so superior to the actual attaineting other men's property con- ment of the best Christians on trary to the law of love, and en- earth, that it is very difficult to riching the survivors, commonly persuade men in general, that at the expense of the relatives God requires such perfection ; of the deceased, are intimately still more difficult to satisfy them, connected with them : whilst that it is indispensable to the hapthey lead men into strong temp- piness of rational creatures; and tations secretly to wish the death most difficult of all to convince of others, for the sake of advan: them that every thing inconsisttages, which they inordinately ent with, or short of, this is sin; desire and irregularly pursue. In that it deserves the wrath of fine, discontent, distrust, love of God, and cannot be taken away, wealth, pleasure, and grandeur, except by the mercy of God, desire of change, the habit of thro' the atonement of Christ."* wishing, and every inordinate
THE EFFECTS OF TEMPORIZING swered, that they who imagined
IN MATTERS OF RELIGION, themselves to have as great abil. EXEMPLIFIED IN THE CON- ities for settling those Christian DUCT OF ERASMUS.
truths, which concern all men
and all times, as they had for a (Continued from page 424.)
theological compotation, or a lit“ THERE was at this time a tle scholastic dispute, were incertain preacher at Constance, finitely mistaken. Truth, says who consulted Erasmus by Bot- he, is efficacious and invincible, zem, how the reformation might but it must be dispensed with best be advanced. Erasmus an- evangelical prudence. For my
self, I so abhor divisions, and so tianity, if the pacific 'scheme of love concord, that I fear, if an Erasmus had been received and occasion presented itself I should pursued. Divisions, it must be sooner give up a part of truth, owned, do much harm; yet than disturb the public peace. they have at least produced this
“But the mischief is, that a good, that the truth of the gosman cannot thus give up truth, pel, and a Christian liberty, without running into falsehood, which acquiesceth only in the and assenting to things, which decisions of Jesus Christ, are he doth not believe. For a man not entirely banished from the cannot judge that to be right, face of the earth, as they would which his own reason pronounces have been without those strug to be false, only because over- gles of our ancestors. They bearing persons attack the truth have produced no small service with more vehemence, than he to the memory of Erasmus bim. chooseth to employ in defence self, who, having his works conof it, and are the majority and demned by theological cabals, the stronger party. Besides, and mangled by inquisitions, when such enemies to reason which struck out the most valuand to religion perceive that a able part of his writings, would man will not have the courage have been stigmatized and proto defend his opinions at all ex- scribed through all ages, if a partremities, which Erasmus con- ty had not risen up in Europe fessed to be his own disposition, and also amongst his own counthey never fail to take advantage trymen, which willingly forgives of him, to oppress him, and to him his weaknesses and irresorun him down, well knowing lution, for the sake of his useful that nothing is necessary to ac- labours, philological and theolocomplish their purposes besides gical ; and hath restored to him stubbornness, clamour, impu- a second life and recommended dence, and violence. And so him to the Christian world, by spiritual tyranny, being once an elegant and faithful edition of erected, would endure forever, all his works. and gain strength and stability. But let us hear some more Concord and peace are unques- of his advice. “This preacher, tionably valuable blessings ; but says he, who certainly is a woryet not to be purchased at the thy man, will do more service to expense of truth and liberty, the gospel, the honour of which which are infinitely more estiwe all have at heart, if he takes mable than a sordid tranquillity care to join the prudence of the beneath the yoke of falsehood evangelical serpent to the simand arbitrary dominion. Be- plicity of the evangelical dove. neath this yoke the Christian re- Let him essay it ; and then let public becomes a mere faction him condemn my counsel, if he of poltroons, solicitous about en finds it not to be salutary.' joying the present, and neglect. “ Alas ! experience hath ing every thing that is laudable taught the Christian world, that. under the pretext of preserving this same serpentine prudence the peace. Such would have served to make falsehood trium. been the present state of Chris. phant. It was even easy to fare
see it, since this wisdom consist- civil discord of the preceding sum
mer to the preaching of Protestants. ed only in submitting to that
The orthography of the age is refaction, which was the most
tained. powerful and the most obstinate. “But here is now an argument
“Erasmus entertained some to prove the matter against the hopes, that his old friend and preachers. Here was preaching school fellow Adrian VI. would
against covetousnes all the last do some good as he testifies in
yeare in Lent, and the next somthis letter : but, says he, if I mer followed rebellion : Ergo, should be mistaken in this, I
preaching against covetousnes will not be factious. As to the was the cause of the rebellion. preacher's last question, are we A goodly argument. Here now to abandon and give up the I remember an argument of maiswhole gospe!? I reply ; they ter Moore's, which he bringeth may be said to abandon the gos- in a booke, that he made against pel, who defend it in an improp- Bilney,* and here by the way I er manner. Besides ; with what will tell you a mery toy. Maisreserve and slow caution did our ter Moore was once sent in Lord himself discover his doc- commission into Kent, to help to trine ?
try out, if it might be, what was "All this in some sense may the cause of Goodwin sandes, and be right; but then our Saviour the shelfe, that stopped up Sandnever said any thing contrary to wich haven. Thether cometh the truth; and when the time maister Moore, and calleth the was come for it, he laid down countrye afore him, such as were bis life in confirmation of it ; thought to be men of experience, which is more than Erasmus is and men that could in likelihode inclined to do, as he himself best certify him of that matter, frankly confesseth. It cannot be concerning the stopping of Sandcalled defending the gospel to re- wich haven. Among others came fer it to the arbitration of a set of in before him an olde man with Ecclesiastics, whom all the world a white head, and one that was knew to be either ill instructed, thought to be little less than an or ill disposed, or both.”
hundereth years olde. When - We may add in a future No. maister Moore saw this aged man's a letter from Luther to Eras- he thought it expedient to heare mus in the year 1524, which bim say his minde in this matsets in a striking light, the dis- ter (for being so olde a man it ferent characters of those two was likely that he knew most of great men.
any man in that presence & company.) So maister Moore called this olde aged man unto him, and
sayd : father (sayd be) tell me if The following is taken from a dis. ve can what is the cause of this course entitled, A most faithful sermon preached before King Edward great arising of the sandes and VI. and his most honourable Counsell, shelves here about this haven, in his Court at Westminster, by the Reverend father M. Hugh Latimer. * Bilney was a Protestant writer, by An. 1550. It pointedly exposes the the perusal of whose writings, Lati. folly of those, who attributed the mer was converted from popery. ..