Imágenes de páginas

** for a libel." Is every minister of the Gospei* •who vindicates his life and doctrine agrrnst scandals who preaches against errors, and who writes against false doctrines, or falle evidences, is to be sued at law for libels, We should soon cause ite Holy On? of Israel to cease from before us, I sit. ikx. it. Peter rhight have profecuted Paul for this, for he withstood him tb the face: arid, indeed, the Scriptures are full of such libels; and who can escape then, and be faithful? '4 Dare any of you, having i ** matter against another, go to law?" i Cor. vi. i. Indeed, Moses fays—" An eye for an eye, and tooth* ** for tooth:" but I have not injured you at all. Sure I 3m, that the fifth chapter of Matthew's Gcfpel gives no licence for such a practice. It tc Us me to give my cloak to him that sues lor my coat; but you shall most surely have both my cloak, and coati Wirhout suing at law, if you send for them.

But I trust, Reverend Sir, that your weapons art not carnal, (2 Cor; x. 4.) and that the sword of the Spirit is sufficient for you in all matters of controversy. Flying to the temporal sword, in such cases, is making the Law the only Rule of Life with a witness. But I am persuaded better things of you, Sir, though you may have thus spoken; for I cannot believe that a man of such holihess, who refuses tven to occupy a pulpit defiled by me, would ever act like the Jewish Pharisees, u who provoked the

"Saviour ,c Saviou'r to speak many things, that they might "catch something out of his mouth, in order to ** betray him into the hands of the governor/* That be far from my brother Rowland, and from every other sellow-labourer in the kingdom and patience of Christ.

We are to do as we would be done by. If I have deviated from this rule in my Conduct towards you, Reverend Sir, convince me of it; "and if you have "acted agreeably to this rule yourself," you will be no more offended at my addressing my Sermon to you for your perufal, than I was at your levelling your Sermon against me, to represent me as giving licence to fin. For my part, I am willing to come up to my brother Rozvland's standard in every good work: if we differ, it shall only be about words, of about which shall be the greatest; and, if we must strive for mastery, I hope that he, and only he, will be crowned, who strives lawfully. I have this comfort, however, that if all the courts of law in Great Britain were to be moved against me, they would never drive a worse trade with me than Mofes did: he took both body and goods; he stripped me, not only of my coat, but of every other covering that I had; he took my cloak—of hypocrisy—and my bed from under me; and, at last, took my life also. For» as Paul fays, When the commandment came, sin revived, and J died j and at length he left me poor, and

wretched. ,

wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked; and, though I gained my point in the end, yet this was all that I got by Law.

I shall now beg leave to make a sew Remarks on the Discourse that you levelled at my doctrine, and shew you wherein we differ, and submit them to your judgment. This, I trust, can give no offence: for the Spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets; and thofe that are instructed in the Word, are to communicate to him that teacheth in all good things. Your text is—Except your rigbteousne/s shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in vo cafe enter into the kingdom of heaven, Matt. v. so. What you have faid upon the text, may be put into a very small compass, and be answered with a very few words.

Quot. "Now I dare venture to fay, that some of you "expect, from this text, that I should give you the folJow*" ing interpretation of it: That since the Scribes and "Pharisees made a great bustle about righteousness, that "the righteousness here meant is the righteousness of "Christ. But that is not the meaning of this text. Are u you alarmed at it? No; the text don't relate to Justisi** cation, but to Sanctisication."

ANsw. I think my brother Rowland is intirely wrong here; and that he does contradict the Saviour himlelf, who, in this text, shews the need of what he had faid before. The Lord had, in a preceding


verse, blessed them that did hunger and thirst aster righteousness, and said they should be filled: and then goes on to tell them, that he came to fulfil the Law. Which fulfilling obedience of his was to fill them that hungred and thirsted after righteousness. And without this excellent obedience of his being imputed to them, (which exceeds all the obedience of the Scribes and Pharisees) they could in no sense be filled, nor in any cafe enter into the kingdom of heaven. It is righteousness, Sir, that gives us a right and title to the kingdom; and it is fanct"fication that gives ire a mectnefs for it. Righteousness, and not San£lificat-ont is what the text means.

Quot. "There is a meaning in these words, and it must:

"be a solemn one: Except your righteousness exceed the

"righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no

"cafe enter into the kingdom of heaven. And now / will be

"bold to fay, that the righteousness of Christ, here mentioned^

"is this: that when the Pharisees thought they should be

"justified by an external righteousness of their own per*

"formance, our Lord gives them to understand, that a

"man will never enter into the kingdom of heaven, that

"does not talk of being justified by it. But he will never

"go to heaven, he will never be in a kingdom cf grace in

"time, he will never be in glory to eternity; unless in his

** personal state, through the operation of the Holy Spirit,

"he is made more righteous than a Scribe or a Pharisee,

"inwardly, and experimentally, and internally. That is

** the meaning of my text."


Answ. I must consess, reverend and dear Sir, that I do not understand this. You here call it the righteousness of Christ mentioned. Before, you faid, that it was not Christ's righteousnt^ meant in the text, &c. It is Justification that brings a man into a state of grace, and it is the fame that gives a man a tide to heaven: *The righteous nation, that keepetb the truth, shall enter in.Whom God justifies, them he glorifies. This act of justifying includes fanctification, both by the blood of Christ and by the Spirit of God, for it is always accompanied with it. It is the Spirit that works faith in the heart to believe; it is the Spirit that applies the atonement-, it is the Spirit that takes the righteousness of Christ, and shews it to us, and reveals it in us, and bears his foul-fatisfying witness to the glorious work: "We "are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and "by the Spirit of our God." The righteousness of Faith, and the testimony of the Spirit, always go together; "He that believes hath the witness in *■ himself:'

QyoT, "I am speaking of Mr. Hart's Hymns: and, ** was he to rife our of the grave, and his dear elect soul ** again to be embodied, I am sure, at this present day, 44 thofe things that many people of lax and wanton difpo"sitions arc likely to fall into, he would draw forth such "a sword, and brandish it in such a manner, as would ** give you to understand there is no sword so well calctiK lated to cut down fin to the very ground, as the glorious

** sword

« AnteriorContinuar »