« PreviousContinue »
of Baal. Even so, then, at this may say, “ if the casting away present time also there is a rem of them were the reconciling of nant, according to the election the world ; what shall the reof grace."
Again he saith, ceiving of them be, but life from “ Israel (meaning the nation of the dead?” We have an expliIsrael) hath not obtained that, cit warrant to indulge the ani. which he seeketh for; but the mating thought, that the Jews election hath obtained it, and the will be grafted again into their rest were blinded.” In another own olive tree; not into another, place he saith, “blindness in but into their own, into the same, par: is happened to Israel, until in which they once stood ; and the fulness of the Gentiles be will again partake of its root and come in." Under the preaching fatness. " Blindness in part is of the gospel the first harvest happened to Israel," and for a of souls was among the Jews. particular time, “ until the fulThe three thousand, who were ness of the “ Gentiles be come converted on the memorable day in.” The time is fast approachof Pentecost, were descendants ing, when the whole of the of Abraham. Probably there twelve tribes of Israel will be has been a small remnant of be- gathered from their present dislievers among the Jews from persed state. They all will be Christ's time to the present day. again fixed in a state of covenant Among the religious intelligence, favour with God. Unhappy as iš communicated to the public, in their present situation, they are the periodical works of our own represented as being beloved for time, we may notice, as highly the fathers' sakes.
The gloriinteresting to the friends of zi. ous event of their return is to on, accounts of some hopeful take place in consequence of conversions to the Christian faith God's gracious regard to the among the descendants of Abra- memory of their pious ancestors, ham. We are warranted to be- and in fulfilment of particular lieve, from respectable authority, promises, which he made to that considerable numbers of this Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In people, especially of the young- consequence of God's faithful er class, are inclined to hear the regard to these promises, he regospel of Jesus Christ. Intelli- membered them, when they gence of this kind presages groaned under their heavy bonsomething important; that God dage in Egypt; when they were is on his way, and that the scrip- captives in Babylon; and when tures are fulfilling:
the plot was laid to destroy them In consequence of God's re- by wicked Haman. His faithful gard for faithful Abraham, and and sacred regard to the same of promises, which he was pleas- promises will lead him to reed to make to him, the Jews, as a member them in their present nation, will be recovered, and con scattered state. In his own time verted to Christianity. This he will gather them from among great event will astonish the all nations, tongues, and lanworld; and in view of it infideli- guages; and he will be their ty will hide its head. In the God, and they shall be his peolanguage of the apostle Paul we ple.
Many prophecies clearly fa At the present day it is vour the idea, that the Jews will peculiarly important, as there is be conducted to their own land, no subject on which both the the land given to Abraham's learned and the uniearned enterseed by promise ; and the re tain greater and more pernicious markable preservation of them, errors. as a distinct people, for so many By experimental religion is centuries of years, renders such here meant the whole internal an event very probable.
exercise of Christian holiness, The return of the Jews, and in connexion with the efficientheir being grafted again into cy of divine grace. It implies their own olive tree, will unques. the gradual acquaintance with tionably establish the important divine things, which the penitent truth, that God's church has attain ; their knowledge of themever been one and the same ; selves as sinners, and of Jesus that “ there is one Lord, one Christ as a Saviour ; their refaith, one baptism, one God and pentance, faith, love, hope, and Father of all, who is above all, joy ; their constant struggle with and through all, and in all.” It indwelling sin, and their progresmay now be remarked, and to sive improvement in Christian virall pious minds the remark can tue. When pious persons and enot fail of appearing weighty, vangelical writers speak of exper. that the conversion of the Jews imental religion, they generally is an event, for which we ought have a special reference to the Hofervently to pray, when we draw ly Spirit, as the cause of all true near the Father of mercies. goodness, and to the usual methThey are the natural branches, od, in which that Spirit operates and their return will be connected in renewing and comforting the with great good to the Gen- people of God. tile world, yea, far greater than
There is a class of men at this was their rejection. If, therefore, day, not contemptible in point of we love the prosperity of Zion, number or talents, who doubt we shall think of the seed of the existence, or at least deny Abraham in our public prayers, the necessity of what Christians and in our more private addresses have denominated experimental to the throne of grace.
H. religion, and sometimes treat all
pretensions to it as weakness and enthusiasm. Persons, stamped with this extravagance of error and impiety, would deserve less
notice in this Survey, were they Continued from page 359.
not frequently found within the
pale of the church. This cirIt is the design of this num- cumstance gives them increased ber to suggest a few remarks on influence, and renders their opinexperimental religion. The sub- ions more dangerous. Without ject is at all times very impor- enlarging on this branch of the tant to Christians, both as it re. subject, I would ask, what the spects their own spiritual inter- scripture means by representing est, and their treatment of oth- believers, as the subjects of such
powerful divine operations, and be earnestly engaged in promot- · personal religion, as consisting ing it. In our land there are in such deep and tender impres- multitudes who answer this des sions, such clear, spiritual views, scription, who yet entertain very and such lively, cordial exer- inadequate and erroneous, and, cises? Set aside experimental in some instances, the most wild religion, and you set aside that and extravagant ideas of the nawhich is supported by the most ture and fruits of religion. Such perspicuous and forcible expres
doubly dangerous, sions, as well as by the general They are wolves in sheep's tenor of God's word, and by the clothing. While their high prouniform testimony of the most fessions and their appearance of enlightened Christians in all pious zeal impose upon undisages, and which agrees with eve- cerning minds, and steal the conry correct view of the nature of fidence of many real Christians ; the human mind, and of divine the errors of their faith, and the objects. When rational, account- irregularities of their conduct, able creatures, who have been render their influence baleful to blind to the glory of God, inat- the cause of religion.
The extentive to the everlasting inter- posure of the church from this est of their souls, estranged quarter is great, and calls upon from a life of piety, and immers- her watchmen and friends to ed in the concerns of the world, plant a safeguard around her, at length open their eyes upon in compliance with this call, Í their own debasement and guilt, shall briefly mention a few marks upon the divine glory, the work of true experimental religion, by a of the Saviour, and the judgment faithful consideration of which to come; we should naturally ex error and delusion may be dis-, pect such a train of impressions covered, and fatal danger avertand feelings, as constitute what ed. The task is arduous and we call experimental religion. momentous. He, who underYou will, therefore, consider, takes it, should remember his brethren, that those, who reject responsibility, and keep close to experimental religion, not only the infallible standard. reject the work of God's Spirit Let it, then, be observed in in dictating the scriptures and general, that experimental religsanctifying the heart, but mani- ion must agree with the Christian fest great ignorance of man's in- scriptures. The Bible teaches tellectual and moral nature. that religion, which is pleasing Carefully avoid all such, especi- to God, and profitable to men. ally if invested with the sacred While attending to this subject, office. A minister of this de- it is a maxim of serious consescription is sufficient to blast the quence, that the Holy Spirit, opgrowth of religion in a whole erating in the hearts of men, ale church.
ways produces a religion conformBut your greatest danger aris- ed to that sacred book which he es not from those, who openly inspired. The Spirit of God is deny or oppose experimental re not bound by rules of human inligion, but from men who profess vention ; but he cannot contrato be its zealous friends, and to dict himself. His work in re
newing sinners must accord with knowledge the description just,
gospel, when it began to dawn
It is fact, not only that experThe first remark, which oc- imental godliness corresponds curs, is, that in experimental re with gospel doctrines, but also ligion we must find a conformity that those doctrines have an im. to evangelical truth. In conse- portant instrumental concern in quence of renewing grace, sin- producing the first exercise and ners receive the truth in love. the subsequent growth of all true Their affections harmonize with religion. Christians are born of the doctrines of inspiration. the word of God. They are Does the Bible teach, that God sanctified through the truth. is a holy, just, and sovereign Their religious character is God, who has chosen the wisest formed under the influence of and most benevolent plan of ope- the peculiar principles of Chrisration, and does all things after tianity. The motives which acthe counsel of his own will and tuate them, the moral springs of to his own eternal lionour ? all their pious affections, are With such a God they are pleas- found in that scheme of doctrine, ed. In such a governinent they of which Christ crucified is the confide. They rejoice that the foundation, the sum, and the glodominion of God is without lim- ry. Here, Christians, is a criteits, his agency without control, rion, by which to judge of er. his justice inflexible, and all bis perimental religion in ourselves perfections the same yesterday, and others. Does it harmonize and today, and forever. Does rev. with the obvious sense of revelaelation teachthat all the posterity tion? Does it coalesce with the of Adam are by nature children doctrines of grace ? Does it erof disobedience, wholly degene- ist, and operate, and advance torate, voluntary slaves of sin, and ward perfection under their influheirs of perdition? They ac ence? If persons deny the doce
trines of man's native depravity would be easy to show, that this and total dependence on sove- conformity of religion to the direign grace, the Deity and atone- vine law is the same in reality ment of Christ, God's electing with that conformity to evangelilove, or the Spirit's agency in cal truth, mentioned above. The recovering sinners to holiness, spirit of faith, which receives diand hold the contrary doctrines; vine truth, is the spirit, which their religious experience, how- obeys the divine law. Divine ever showy and abundant, is to truth and the divine law both be greatly suspected. Churches bear the image of God; both that owe their existence or in express his moral character. crease to a religious system, in Conformity to the one, therefore, which the doctrines of grace are necessarily implies conformity to not solemnly recognized and the other. Hence we learn the uniformly supported, ought with radical mistake of those, who trembling to anticipate the day, imagine that they yield obediwhose light shall“ try every ence to the moral law, while man's work of what sort it is,” they reject evangelical truth. and publicly show of what mate Hence also we see the falsity rials the churches are composed. and absurdity, which mark the
The second mark, which ex- religion of those, who pretend to perimental religion must bear, is believe evangelical truth, and yet a correspondence with the law of live in disobedience to the moral God. In the renovation of our law. nature by the Holy Spirit, God's This second article presents law is written upon the heart ; or, an inquiry, which we should to lay aside the metaphor, a dis- make with seriousness, if we position is given, which exactly would ascertain the nature of our answers to the precepts of the religion. Does it bear the stamp moral law. . True religion con- of God's holy law ? An inquiry tains, as its living and enlivening of this kind might soon convince soul, that supreme love to God, us, that much of what is called which is required by the first experimental religion in our and great command, and that selves and others, instead of undissembled, equal love to man- being the product of the Holy kind, which is required by the Spirit, is the work of a disordersecond. Believers have an im- ed imagination, or a deceitful partial affection for their fellow heart. creatures, duly estimate their Another mark, which experiimmortal interests, and, with mental religion must bear, is fervent, steady zeal, seek their conformity to Jesus Christ. He welfare. Religion begins, when is the perfect pattern of all Chrisholy love begins, and arrives at tian goodness. He hath set us perfection, when love is made an example not only of outward perfect. As religion corres conduct, but of inward feeling. ponds with the all comprehen- If, then, we would come to a sive command, which requires right conclusion respecting perlove, it corresponds with all the sons, who profess to be experirest. It leads to sincere, cheer- mentally acquainted with religful, and universal obedience. It ion, we must inquire, whether