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when we feel our will perfectly to concur with his will, we shall then presently perceive 'à Spirit of adoption', within ourselves, teaching us to cry Abba, Father! (Rom. viii, 15.) , . But I wish it were not the distemper of our times, to scare and fright men only with opinions, and make them only solici. tous about the entertaining of this and that speculation, which will not render them any thing the better in their lives, or the liker unto God; whilst, in the mean time, there is no such care taken about keeping of Christ's commandments, and being renewed. - in our minds according to the image of God, in righteousness
and true holiness. We say, "Lo, here is Christ !' and 'Lo, there is Christ !;' in these and these opinions; whereas, in truth, Christ is neither here, nor there, nor any where but where the Spirit of Christ, where the life of Christ is. Do we not now-a-days open and lock up heaven, with the private key of this and that opinion t of our own, according to our several fancies as we please? And
if any one observe Christ's commandments never so sincerely, and serve God with faith and a pure conscience, that yet haply skills not of some contended-for opinions, some darling notions ; he hath not the right Shibboleth, he hath not the true watch-word, he must not pass the guards into heaven. Do we not make this and that opinion, this and that outward form, to be the weddinggarment, and boldly sentence those to outer darkness that are not invested therewith? Whereas, every true Christian finds the least dram of hearty affection towards God to be more cordial and sovereign to his soul, than all the speculative notions and opinions in the world: And though he study also to inform his understanding aright, and free his mind from all error and misi apprehensions, yet it is nothing but the life of Christ deeply - Tooted in his heart, which is the chemical elixir that he feeds
upon. He feeleth himself safely anchored in God: and will not be dissuaded from it, though perhaps he skill not many of those subtleties which others make the Alpha and Omega of their religion. Neither is he scared with those childish affrightments, with which some would force their private conceits upon him; He is above the superstitious dreading of mere speculative * opinions, as well as the superstitious reverence of outward cere. monies: He cares not so much for subtlety, as for soundness and
health of mind. - 5 I wish it may not prove some of our cases, at that last day, * to use such pleas as these unto Christ in our behalf: Lord, I have
prophesied in thy name; I have preached many a zealous sermon <for Thee; I have kept many a long fast; I have been very
active for Thy cause in Church, in State; nay, I never made * any question but that my name was written in thy Book of
Life: When yet, alas! we shall receive no other return from **Christ, but this, I know you not , depart from me, ye workers of
" ***What is it that thus cheats us, and gulls us of our religion ; that makes us thus constantly to tread the same ring and circle of duties, where we make no progress at all forwards, and, the further we go, are still never the nearer to our journey's end? What is it that thus starves our religion, and makes it look like those kine in Pharaoh's dream, ill-favoured and lean-fleshed ; that it hath no colour in its face, no blood in its veins, no life nor * heat at all in its members? What is it that doth thus be-dwarf us in our Christianity? What low, sordid, and unworthy principles do we act by, that thus hinder our growth, and make us stand at a stay, and keep us always in the very porch and entrance, where we first began? Is it a sleepy, sluggish conceit, * That it is enough for us if we be but once in a state of grace ; if we have but once stepped over the threshold, we need not take so
great pains to 'travel any further ?' Or is it another damping, choaking, stilling opinion, • That Christ hath done all for us
already without us, and nothing need more to be done within us? «No matter how wicked we be in ourselves, for we have holiness without us; no matter how sickly and diseased our souls be within, for they have health without them! Why may we not as well be satisfied and contented, to have happiness without us too to all eternity, and so ourselves for ever continue miserable?
Little children, let no man deceive you : He that doeth righteousness, is righteous, even as He is righteous ; but he that committeth sin, is of the devil.' I shall therefore exhort you in the wholesome words
of St. Peter: "Give all diligence to add to your faith, virtue ; and to · virtue, knowledge;' fic.” - I linger with much complacency over this single specimen of
Arminian preaching before the Long Parliament; because it exhibits, in such a conspicuous manner, the practical and hallowing tendency of the principles of General RedempTION. This Discourse presents the first-fruits of that glorious harvest which sprung up from the seed sown by the Dutch Remonstrants during the Inter-regnum, (p. 785,) and not from the school of Laud, whó “ did not permit this scriptural system freely to develope itself.” (Page 691.) I prize it the more highly, because it contains a distinct recognition of that spirituality and holiness which I have pointed out, (pp. xxvi, 803,) as distinguishing character. istics of the doctrines which genuine Arminianism derives from the Scriptures, and which it uniformly inculcates. Of the spiritual religion, here described, Dr. Cudworth was not ashamed after the Restoration, when all the wit of man was employed in exposing it to ridicule, on account of the abuse of it by the Puritans : (Page 296:) For he reprinted this Sermon in the first edition (1678) of his immortal work, “ THE TRUE INTELLECTUAL SYSTEM OF THE UNIVERSE," without any omission except that of the Dedication to the House of Commons. Every man of piety will be charmed by such manly and scriptural eloquence ras. breathes in the following passages: stii
4 “ The Gospel is a true Bethesda - pool of grace --where such; ; poor, lame, and infirm creatures as we are, upon the moving of God's Spirit in it, may descend down, not only to wash our skin. and outside, but also to be cured of our diseases within. 1 Ands whatever the world thinks, there is a powerful Spirit that moves upon these waters, the waters of the Gospel, for this new creation, the regeneration of souls: The very same Spirit, that once moved upon the waters of the universe at the first creation, and, spreading its mighty wings over them, did hatch the new-born. world into this perfection; 1 say, the same Almighty Spirit of Christ still worketh in the Gospel, spreading its gentle, healing, quickening wings over our souls. The Gospel is not like Abana and Pharphar, those common rivers of Damascus, that could only cleanse the outside; but it is a true Jordan, in which such leprous Naamans, as we all are, may wash and be clean. • Blessed, indeed, are they, whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered! Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin!' but yet, rather blessed are they, whose sins are removed like a morning-cloud, and quite taken away from them! Blessed, thrice blessed, are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied : Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. ' . in 2.
3;;* 1.6. Now, therefore, I beseech you, let us consider, whether or no we know Christ indeed; not by our acquaintance with systems and models of Divinity'; not by our skill in books and papers; but by our keeping of Christ's commandments. All the books and writings which we converse with, they can but represent spiritual objects to our understandings; which yet we can never see in their own true figure, colour, and proportion, until we have a Divine light within, to irradiate and shine upon them. Though there be never such excellent truths concerning Christ and his Gospel, set down in words and letters, yet they will be but unknown characters to us until we have a living Spirit within us, that can decipher them; until the same Spirit, by secret whispers in our hearts, do comment upon them, which did at first indite them. There be many that understand the Greek and Hebrew of the Scripture, the original languages in which the text was written, that never understood the language of the Spirit. There is a caro and a spiritus, a flesh and a spirit, a body and a soul, in all the writings of the Scriptures. It is but the flesh and body of Divine truths, that is printed upon paper; which many moths of books and libraries do only feed upon ; many walking skeletons, of knowledge, that bury and entomb truths in the living sepulchres of their souls, do only converse with: Such as never did any thing else but pick at the mere
bark and rind of truths, and crack the shells of them, But there is a soul and spirit of Divine truths, that could never yet be con. gealed into ink, that could never be blotted upon paper, which, by a secret traduction and conveyance, passeth from one soul unto another; being able to dwell and lodge no where but in a. spiritual being, in a living thing, because itself is nothing but life and spirit. Neither can it, where indeed it is, express itselfsufficiently in words and sounds, but it will best declare and speak itself in actions : As the old manner of writing among the Egyptians was, not by words, but things. The life of Divine truths is better expressed in actions than in words, because actions are more living things than words. Words are nothing but the dead resemblances and pictures of those truths, which live and breathe in actions; and the hingdom of God;' (as the Apostle speaketh,) consisteth not in WoRd, but in LIFE and power.'
Sheep do not come,' saith the Moral Philosopher, and bring. their fodder to their shepherd, and shew him how much they eat; but, inwardly concocting and digesting it, they make it appear, by the fleece which they wear upon their backs, and by the milk which they give.' And let not us Christians affect only to talk and dispute of Christ, and so measure our knowledge of him by our words; but let us shew our knowledge concocted into our lives and actions; and then let us really manifest that we are Christ's sheep indeed, that we are his disciples, by that fleece of holiness which we wear,* and by the fruits that we daily
The following beautiful description of Holiness is in the best style of “ the judicious Hooker," and will prove, both to the critic and the Christian, that Dr. Cudworth had read with the deepest attention the productions of that great Divine :
** GRACE is holiness militant,-holiness encumbered with many enemies and difficulties, which it still fights against, and manfully quits itself of: And GLORY is nothing else but holiness triumphant,-holiness with a palm of victory, in her hand, and a crown upon her head. God himself cannot make me happy,
if he be only without me; and unless he give in a participation of himself, and his own likeness into my soul.'-Happiness is nothing, but the releasing and unfettering of our souls from all these narrow, scant, and particular good things; and the espousing of them to the Highest and most Universal Good, which is not this or that particular good, but GOODNESS ITSELF : And this is the same thing that we call HOLINESS.
" Holiness is no solitary neglected thing; it hath stronger confederacies, greater alliances, than sin and wickedness. It is in league with God, and the whole üniverse; the whole creation smiles upon it : There is something of God in it, and therefore it must needs be a victorious and triumphant thing.-Wickedness is a weak, cowardly, and guilty thing, a fearful and trembling shadow. It is the child of ignorance and darkness ; it is afraid of light, and cannot possibly withstand the power of it, nor endure the sight of its glittering armour. It is allianced to none but wretched, forlorn, and apostate spirits, that do what they can to support their own weak and tottering kingdom of darkness, but are only strong in weakness and impotency. The whole polity and commonwealth of devils is not so powerful as one child of Light, one babe in Christ : They are not all able to quench the least smoking flax,' to extinguish one spark of grace.
yield in our lives and conversations. For herein,' saith Christ, . is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit : so shall ye be my disciples.? Let us not, I beseech you, judge of our knowing Christ, by our ungrounded persuasions that Christ from all eternity hath loved us, and given himself particularly for us, without the conformity of our lives to Christ's commandments, without the real partaking of the image of Christ in our hearts. The great mystery of the Gospel doth not lie only in Christ without us, (though we must know also what he hath done for us,) but the very pith and kernel of it consists in Christ inwardly formed in our hearts. Nothing is truly ours, but what lives in our spirits. Salvation itself cannot save us, as long as it is only without us ; no more than health can cure us and make us sound, when it is not within us, but somewhere at distance from us; no more than Arts and Sciences, whilst they lie only in books and papers without us, can make us learned."
7-The Re-establishment of Episcopacy, and a comprehensive Vien
of the Act of Uniformity. In a preceding page, (xciv,) and in other parts of this work, I have shewn the close affinity which subsists between Armina ianism and Civil and Religious Liberty. In the long note, page 687, I have also tendered much information concerning the relative political circumstances, in which the English Calvinists and Arminians were placed at the commencement of the Civil Wars. In the preceding extracts from Dr. Cudworth's sermon, he has expressed the same sentiments concerning liberty of conscience, and his being not greatly scrupulous about the externals of
Darkness is not able to make resistance against light, but ever, as it comes, flies before it. But if wickedness invite the society of devils to it, (as we learn by the sad experience of these present times, in many examples of those that were pos. sessed with malice, revengefulness, and lust,) so that those cursed fiends do most readily apply themselves to it, and offer their service to feed it and encourage it ; because it is their own life and nature, their own kingdom of darkness, which they strive to enlarge, and to spread the dominions of: Shall we then think, that holiness, which is so nearly allied unto God, hath no GOOD GENIUS at all in the world to attend upon it, to help it, and encourage it ? Shall not the kingdom of Light be as true to its own interest, and as vigilant for the enlarging of itself, as the kingdom of Darkness ?_Holiness is never alone in the world, but God is always with it ;, and his loving Spirit doth ever associate and join itself to it. He that sent it into the world is with it, as Christ speaketh of himself, The Father hath not left me alone, because I do always those things that please him.' Holiness is the life of God, which he cannot but feed and maintain wheresoever it is; and as the devils are always active to encourage evil, so we cannot imagine but that the heavenly host of blessed angels above are as busily employed, in the promoting of that which they love best, that which is dearest to God whom they serve, THE LIFE AND NATURE OF GOD! "There is joy in heaven at the conversion of one sinner ;' Heaven takes notice of it; there is a choir of angels that sweetly sings the epithalamium of a soul divorced from sin and Satan, and espoused unto Christ."