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• was glorious ;' but ours' exceeds in glory.' So that whosoever would bring down the Christian dispensation to the Jewish standard, doth 'greatly err, neither knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.'” From these excellent quotations, therefore, it appears that you do me an honour altogether undeserved, if you suppose that I first set forth the doctrine of the dispensations.

OBJECTION VIII. " I cannot help thinking, that the doctrine of a faith proper to all those dispensations is above the capacity of plain Christians, and should never be mentioned, lest it should puzzle, instead of edifying the Church."

If your fears be well grounded, even the apostles' creed is above the capacity of plain Christians; for that creed, the simplest of all those which the primitive Church has handed down to us, evidently distinguishes three degrees of faith: (1.) Faith “ in God the Father Almighty, who made heaven and earth,” which is the faith of the heathens. (2.) Faith in the Messiah, or “ in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord,” which is the faith of pious Jews, of John's disciples, and of imperfect Christians, who, like the apostles before the day of pentecost, are yet strangers to the* great outpouring of the Spirit: and (3.) Faith " in the Holy Ghost;" faith of the operation of God, by

* I beg the reader will not mistake me. When I say that pious Jews and our Lord's disciples, before the day of pentecost, were strangers to the great out. pouring of the Spirit, I do not mean that they were strangers to his directing, sanctifying, and enlivening influences, according to their dispensation. For David had prayed, "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me:" John the Baptist had been visited by his exhilarating power, even in his mother's womb: our Lord had " breathed upon his disciples, saying, Receive ye the Holy Ghost,” and had imparted him to them as a “Spirit of grace and supplication,” to help them to wait in faith and unceasing prayer, “ till they were endued with power from on high.” Beside, they had called him Lord in truth; and no man can do this, but by the Spirit of faith,” which "helps our unbelief” and infirmities under all the Divine dispensations. Nevertheless, they were not fully baptized. The Comforter that visited them did not properly dwell in them. Although they had already wrought miracles by his power, " the promise of the Father was not yet fulfilled to them." They had not yet been “made perfect in one,” by the assimilating power of the heavenly fire. They would have been puzzled by such questions as these :“ Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed ? Acts xix, 2. “Is he fallen upon you ?" Acts x, 44. “Is the love of God shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost given unto you?" Romans v, 5. Is the "fountain springing up into everlasting life” opened in your breast ? John vi, 14. “After that ye believed, were ye sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise ?” Eph. i, 18. That Spirit which forms those "rivers of living water that flow out of the belly,” the inmost soul of believers ? That Spirit which was not given [before) Christ was glorified ?" John vii, 39. That Comforter which it is more expedient for us to receive, than even to have Christ's bodily presence and constant instructions ? John xvi, 7. If these and the like questions would have perplexed the apostles, before Christ had opened his spiritual baptism, and set up his kingdom with power in their hearts, we ought not to be surprised that professors, who ** know only the baptism of John,” should ingenuously confess they never heard there was a Holy Ghost (to be received] since they believed,” Acts xix, 2. Nor should we wonder if devout Jews and easy Laodiceans should even mock and say, “You would have us to be filled with new wine;' but we are 'rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.' The water of our old cisterns is preferable to the new wine of your enthusiastic doctrine, and our baptismal ponds to your baptismal flames."

This, however, was not Mr. Whitefield's language when he admitted an adult porson to baptism; (and he knowingly admitted none but believers.) He knew then how to pray for the promise of the Father, and how to point the disciple of

which Christians complete in Christ believe “ according to the working of God's almighty power,” and are “ filled with righteousness, peace, and joy in [thus) believing."

And here honesty obliges me to lay before the public an objection which I have had for some time against the appendages of the Athanasian creed. I admire the Scriptural manner in which it sets forth the Divine unity in trinity, and the Divine trinity in unity : but I can no longer indiscriminately use its damnatory clauses. It abruptly takes us to the very top of the Christian dispensation, considered in a doctrinal light. This dispensation it calls the catholic faith: and, without mentioning the faith of the inferior dispensations, as our other creeds do, it makes us declare that, “except every one keep that saith (the faith of the highest dispensation] whole and undefiled-he cannot be saved; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” This dreadful denunciation is true with regard to proud, ungodly infidels, who, in the midst of all the means of Christian faith, obstinately, maliciously, and finally set their hearts against the doctrine of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; equally despising the Son's atonement and the Spirit's inspiration. But I will no more invade Christ's tribunal, and pronounce that the fearful punishment of damnation shall, “ without doubt,” be inflicted upon “every” Unitarian, Arian, Jew, Turk, and heathen, " that fears God and works righteousness,” though he does not hold the faith of the Athanasian crced whole. For if you except the last article, thousands, yea millions, are never called to hold it at all; and therefore shall never perish for not holding it whole. See the notes, pages 451 and 551. At all hazards then, I hope, I shall never use again those damnatory clauses, without taking the liberty of guarding them agreeably to the doctrine of the dispensations. And if Zelotes presses me with my subscriptions, I reply beforehand, that the same Church which required mo to subscribe to St. Athanasius' creed, enjoins me also to believe this clause of St. Peter's creed : “ In every nation he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him.” And if those two creeds are irreconcilable, I think it more reasonable that Athanasius should how to Peter, warmed by the Spirit of love; than that Peter should bow to Athanasius, heated by controversial opposition.

To return : that the distinction of the three degrees of saving faith, omitted in the Athanasian creed, but expressed in the apostles' creed, John to the perfection of Christ's dispensation. As a proof of it, take part of the truly Christian hymn which he sung on that occasion :

Anoint with holy fire,

Baptize with purging flames
This soul, and with thy grace inspire

In ceaseless, living streams.
Thy heavenly unction give,

Thy promise, Lord, fulfil;
Give power, that is, faith] thy Spirit to receive,

And strength to do thy will. This good old Gospel is far more clearly set forth in Mr. Wesley's sermon, called “Scriptural Christianity," and in his “ Flymns for Whitsunday," which I earnestly recommend, as pointing out the "one thing necdful” for all carnal professors.

and in the Nicene creed; that this distinction, I say, is neither chimerical nor enthusiastical, may be proved by a variety of arguments, two or three of which, I hope, will not intrude too long upon the reader's patience.

1. The first is taken from the doctrine expressly laid down in the New Testament. To what I have said on this head, p. 573, &c, I add here what Christ said to his disciples, “ Ye believe in God, believe also in me.” Here the most prejudiced may see that faith in the Father is clearly contradistinguished from faith in the Son. As for faith in the Holy Ghost, see in what manner our blessed Lord sowed the seed of it in the hearts of his disciples. “ When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, he shall testify of me. It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. Behold I send the promise of my Father unto you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Nor was this great promise made to the apostles alone ; for “ in the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man (not if an apostle} thirst, let him come to me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this he spake of the Spirit, which they that believed on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given ; [his dispensation, which is the highest of all, was not yet opened ;] because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” And the opening of this dispensation in our hearts requires, on our part, not only faith in Christ, but a peculiar faith in the promise of the Father; a promise this, which has the Holy Ghost for its great object.

2. My second argument is taken from the experiences of those who, by the Holy Ghost, were made partakers of Christ glorified, either on the day of pentecost, or after it; and could feelingly confess Christ dying for us, and Christ living in us, the hope of glory.” Acts ii, 5, we read of "devout men out of every nation under heaven," who were come to worship at Jerusalem. But how could they have been devout men if they had not believed in God? What could have brought them from the ends of the earth to keep a feast to the Lord, if they had been mere Atheists? And yet it is evident, that through prejudice many of them rejected our Lord; putting him to open shame and a bloody death. But when Peter preached Christ on the day of pentecost, they at first believed on him with a true, though not with a luminous faith. This appears from the anguish which they felt upon being charged with having “slain the Prince of life.” No man in his senses can be "pricked to the heart” merely for having had a hand in the just punishment of an impostor and a blasphemer, who “makes himself equal with God.” If therefore keen remorse pierced the hearts of those penitent Jews, it is evident that they looked no more upon Christ as any impostor, but already believed in hiin as the true Messiah.

No sooner had they thus passed from faith in the Father to an explicit faith in the Son, but they cried out, “ What shall we do ?" And Peter directed them to makc, by baptism, an open, solemn profession of their faith in Christ, and to believe the great promise concerning the

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Holy Ghost. “ The promise is unto you,” said he. « Be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins; and ye [every one of you] shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” And upon their “gladly receiving the word,” that is, upon their heartily believing the gladdening promise relating to pardon and to the Comforter ; and no doubt upon their fervently praying that it might be fulfilled in them, “ they were all filled with the Spirit,” all their hearts overflowed with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

St. Peter, speaking, Acts xi, of a similar outpouring of the Spirit, says: “ The Holy Ghost fell on them [Gentiles) as on us (Jews] at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water, [them that entered his dispensation,] but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost," when you shall enter the full dispensation of my Spirit: “God,” adds Peter, “ gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus

And when “the apostles heard these things, they glorified God;” not indeed by shouting, “ Then hath God given the Gentiles power to speak Arabic :" but by saying, “ Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life,” according to the fulness of the Christian dispensation.

That this dispensation of the Holy Ghost, this coming of Christ's spiritual kingdom with power, is attended with an uncommon degree of sanctifying grace, is acknowledged by all; and that the gift of tongues, &c, which at first, on some occasions and in son

some persons, accompanied the baptism of the Spirit, for a sign to bigoted Jews, or to stupid heathens ;—that such a gift, I say, was a temporary appendage, and by no means an essential part of Christ's spiritual baptism, is evident from the merely spiritual effect which the receiving of the Holy Ghost had upon the penitent Jews, who, being “ born of water and the Spirit,” pressed after the apostles into the kingdom on the day of pentecost.

“ Even in the infancy of the Church,” says an eminent divine, “ God divided those [miraculous gifts with a sparing hand. Were all [even then] prophets ? Were all workers of miracles? Had all the gifts of healing? Did all speak with tongues? No, in no wise. Perhaps not one in a thousand. Probably none but the teachers of the Church, and only some of them. It was therefore for a more excellent purpose than this that they, the brethren and apostles, “were all filled with the Holy Ghost. It was to give them [what none can deny to be essential to all Christians in all ages] . the mind which was in Christ,' those holy • fruits of the Spirit,' which whosoever hath not, is none of his ; to fill them with love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness.'

It is very remarkable, that although three thousand converts received the gift of the Holy Ghost" on the memorable day in which Christ opened the dispensation of his Spirit, no mention is made of so much as one of them working a single miracle, or speaking with one new tongue. But the greatest and most beneficial of miracles was wrought upon them all: for “ all that believed,” says St. Luke, “were together ; continuing daily with one accord in the temple, breaking bread from house to house, eating their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people,” by their humble, affecVOL. I.


tionate, angelical behaviour. Or, as the same historian expresses it, Acts iv, 32, “ The multitude of them that believed"-spoke Greek and Latin! No: but“ were of one heart and of one soul ; neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common;" having been made perfect in one, agreeably to our Lord's deep prayer, recorded by St. John : “ Neither pray I for these (my disciples) alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word, that they may be one ; I in them, (by my Spirit,) and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one."

3. To this argument, taken from the experiences of the primitive Christians, I may add, that the doctrine of the dispensations is indirectly taught by our Church even to children, in her Catechism, where she instructs them to say, “ By the articles of my belief I learn, first. to believe in God the Father, who made me, &c. Secondly, in God the Son, who redeemed me, &c. And, thirdly, in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me.” For these three distinctions are expressive of the three grand degrees of the faith, “ whereby we inherit all the promises of God," and " are made partakers of the Divine nature.” They are not descriptive of faith in three gods, but of the capital manifestations of the triune God, in whose name we are baptized; and of the three great dispensations of the everlasting Gospel,

namely, that of the heathens, that of the Jews, and that of spiritual Christians; the dispensation of Abraham being only a link between heathenism and Judaism; and the dispensation of John the Baptist or of Christianity begun, being only a transition between Judaism and Christianity perfected.

Our Church Catechism brings to my remembrance the office of confirmation. It was, it seems, originally intended to lead young

be. lievers to the fulness of the Christian dispensation, agreeably to what we read, Acts viij, 12, &c. Peter and John went from Jerusalem to Samaria to lay their hands on the believers who had not yet been baptized with the Holy Ghost, and to "pray that they might receive him : for as yet he was fallen upon none of them, only they were baptized by Philip in the name of the Lord Jesus. When the Son of man coineth, shall he find faith upon the earth ?" I fear but little of the faith peculiar to his full dispensation. Most professors seem satisfied with John's baptism or Philip's baptism. The Lord raise us apostolic pastors to pray in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. “ Strengthen thy servants, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost, the Comforter ; and daily increase in them thy manifold gifts of grace ;

the spirit of wisdom and understanding; the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength; the spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and fill them with the spirit of thy holy fear now and for ever.” (Order of confirmation.) Can it be said that those in whom that prayer is not now answered live under the dispensation of Christianity perfected? Are they either established Christians or spiritual Churchmen? How long shall the mystery of iniquity prevail ? How long shall a Pharisaic, Deistical world destroy the faith of the Son, under colour of contending for faith in the Father? And how long shall a world of Antinomian, Solifidian professors destroy faith in the Holy Ghost, under pretence of recommending faith in the Son ? O Lord, exert thy power. Pour out thy Spirit upon all flesh,” and give wisdom to all thy ministers to

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