« AnteriorContinuar »
object. 1. But the wise man allows of this practice, when he says, Eccles. iii. 4. “There is a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Answer. This is nothing to the purpose ; for the utmost that any can pretend that it proves, is denying it to be lawful, and allowing it may be used under some circumstances ; but not at all, that dancing and other things used by our young people in their frolics are lawful in those circumstances, any more than what is said in the same chapter, verse 3, “there is a time to kill,” proves that it is lawful for a man to commit murder. To deny that dancing, under any circumstances whatever, was lawful, would be absurd : For there was a religious dancing in the Jewish church, that was a way of expressing their spiritual mirth. So David danced before the Lord. And he calls upon others to praise God in the dance. So there may be other circumstances wherein dancing may not be unlawful. But all this makes nothing to the present purpose ; to prove that this particular custom, that we have been speaking of among our young people, is not of a bad tendency. And besides, when the wise man says, there is a time to dance, that , does not prove, that the dead of the night is the time for it. The same wise man doth not justify carnal mirth, but condemns it, Eccles. ii. 2. “I said of laughter, it is mad ; and of mirth, what doth it * Object. 2. If we avoid all such things, it will be the way for our young people to be ignorant how to behave themselves in company. Answer. But consider what this objection comes to. It certainly comes to this, viz. That the pouring out of the Spirit of God upon a people, tends to banish all good conduct, good breeding, and decent behavior from among them ; and to sink them down into clownishness and barbarity. And if such a pouring out of the Spirit of God, as has been amongst us, should be continued, it would tend to have this effect; for that we have seen by experience. The Spirit of God did actually put an end to this practice among us.
But who is it amongst us that is not ashamed to make such an objection? Will any of our young converts talk thus? Will you that think you were converted by the late pouring out of the Spirit of God, and are made holy persons, heirs of eternal life, talk so blasphemously of it 2
If our young people are resolute still to go on, notwithstand
ing all that has been said, I hope that those of them that call themselves converted, will first find out some rational, satisfying answer to the arguments that have been used against it This at least may be reasonably expected of them, seeing they make such a profession. You have this day been partaking of the sacrament of the Lord's supper, and therein solemnly renewed your profession.
If after such light set before you, and such mercy given, you will go on, be it known to you, that your eating now, and at other times, will prove only an eating and drinking judgment to yourselves.
And I desire heads of families, if they have any government over their children ; or any command of their own houses, would not tolerate their children in such practices, nor suffer such conventions in their houses.
I do not desire that young people should be abridged of any lawful and proper liberties.....But this custom can be of no benefit or service in the world; it tends only to mischief.
Satan doubtless would be glad to have such an interest amongst us as he used to have ; and is therefore striving to steal in, while we are sleeping ; but let us rouse up ourselves, and vigorously oppose his encroachments.
I shall repeat those words of the apostle, Rom. xiii. 12.... 14.
and leave them to the serious consideration of all persons, old and young : “The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the busts thereof.”
Men naturally God's Enemies.
EOMANS V. 10.
*ort IF WHEN we were ENEMIES, we were REconcil Ery TO GOD BY THE DEATH OF HIS SON.
THE apostle, from the beginning of the epistle to the beginning of this chapter, hath insisted on the doctrine of justification by faith alone. And having particularly spoken to that, in this chapter he goes on to consider the benefits that are consequent on justification. And there are three that flow from justification, which are here spoken of, viz. peace with God, present happiness, and hope of glory. Peace with God is mentioned in the first verse. “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In the following verses he speaks of present blessedness, and hope of glory, as benefits accompanying justification. “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace, wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” And concerning this benefit of the hope of glory, the apostle does particularly take notice of two things, viz. the blessed nature of this hope, and the sure ground of it. 1. He insists on the blessed nature of this hope, in that it enables us to glory in tribulations. This excellent nature of true Christian hope is described in the following words : “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience ; and patience experience, and experience hope ; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us,” verse 3....5. q. d. Through hope of a blessed reward, that will abundantly more than make up for all tribulation, we are enabled to bear tribulation with patience ; patiently bearing, and patiently waiting for the reward. And patience works experience ; for when we thus bear tribulation with patient waiting for the reward, this brings experience of the earnest of the reward, viz. the earnest of the Spirit, in our feeling the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. So that our hope does not make us ashamed; though we do bear tribulation, our hope is not disappointed; for in the midst of our tribulation, we experience those blessed incomes of the Spirit in our souls, that make even a time of tribulation sweet to us; and is such an earnest as abushdantly confirms our hope; and so experience works hope. * 2. The apostle takes notice of the sure and abundant ground there is for this hope ; or the abundant evidence we have, that we shall obtain the glory hoped for, in that peace we have with God, in our justification through Christ's blood; because that while we were without strength, in due time Christ died for us ; while we were ungodly and sinners, enemies to God and Christ, verse 6.... 10. The apostle's argument is exceeding clear and strong : That if God has done already so great a thing for us, as to give us Christ, to die and shed his precious blood for us, which was vastly the greatest thing, we need not doubt but that he will bestow life upon us, after all this is already done. It is but a small thing for God actually to bestow eternal life, after it is purchased, to what it is for him to give his own Son to die, to purchase it. The giving Christ to purchase it, was virtually all ; it included the whole grace of God in salvation. When Christ had purchased salvation at such a dear rate, all the difficulty was got through, all was virtually over and done. It is a small thing, in comparison, for God to bestow salvation, after it has been thus purchased at a full price. Sinners that are justified by the death of Christ, are already virtually saved: The thing is, as it were, done ; what remains is no more than the necessary consequence of what is done. Christ when he died made an end of sin; and when he rose from the
idead, he did virtually rise with the elect; he brought them up from death with him, and ascended into heaven with them. And therefore, when this is already done, and we are thus reconciled to God through the death of his Son, we need not fear but that we shall be saved by his life. The love of God appears much more in his giving his Son to die for sinners, than in giving eternal life after Christ's death. The giving of Christ to die for us is here spoken of as a much greater thing, than the actual bestowment of life, on tWO accounts. 1. That this is all that has any difficulty in it. 2. When God did this for us, he did it for us as sinners and enemies. But in actually bestowing salvation on us after we are justified, we are not looked upon as sinners. After we are justified, God does not look on us any longer as sinners, but as perfectly righteous persons; he beholds no iniquity in us. We are no more enemies, for then we are reconciled. When God gave Christ to die for the elect, he looked on them as they are in themselves; but in actually bestowing eternal life, he does not look on them as they are in themselves, but as they are in Christ. There are three epithets used in the text and context, as appertaining to sinners as they are in themselves, 1. They are without strength, they cannot help themselves, verse 6....8. 2. They are ungodly, or sinners. 3. They are enemies, as in the text.
JWatural Men are God’s Enemies.
God, though the Creator of all things, yet has some enemies in the world.
Men in general will own, that they are, or have been sinners. There are few, if any at all, whose consciences are so blinded as not to be sensible they have been guilty of sin. And most sinners will own that they have bad hearts. They will own that they do not love God so much as they should do :
Vol. VII. W ".