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the contending parties, Arians, Sabellians, Athanasians, and Socinians, is what I shall consider in another serinon. .
6. There is the pride of a wrangling humour, which I take to be very dangerous, because it is usually carried on, without any reverence or godly fear. By some books that are lately printed, we should be led to think the Nero Testament doctrine of the Trinity, to be the most impertinent and volatile speculation, that ever the mind of man could be diverted with. They will argue with a thousand times more 'gravity, about the motion of the earth or the sun, the cause of the tide, the world in the moon, and several other subjects, that make a man neither wiser nor better.
In order to set out the article of one God in three persons, to the ridicule of the world, they dress it up, in barbarous questions, about conscious minds, specifical and numerical identity; and then having turned a windmill into a giant, they begin the battle. Whereas after all the rumbling and moulding, they are able to give the doctrine, the practical view we must have of it is this: - Is Christ to be worshipped, as the most high God or no? If not, what is the length of our duty to him? How far must it go, and where shall it stop? Has the scripture encouraged me, to bow down before any more gods than one? And yet is it not plain that upon Christ, I am called to rest, and depend, that I may be saved ? · Is it an indifference, whether I adore the Holy Spirit as an attribute of the Father, or a distinct person from him? Is it the same thing whether I own him as a super-angelic Spirit, or as the most high God? if he is more than the former, I must be guilty of irreligion, if he is less than the latter, I must be guilty of
7. Above all, there is an indifference or chilness of conscience, to the great doctrines of godliness. What signifies it to a man who lives in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries, whether Christ is a God or a creature? He owns no God but his belly. What is the Deity or derivation of the Spirit, to one who despises all his influence, from the first conviction of sin, quite up to faith in dying, and perfection in heaven? When men cast off fear and restrain prayer before God, then any new scheme may serve as a bauble for the conscience, to keep it at play, because they dare not keep it at work. 18. We begin to waver, when we grow insensible of our necessity to be taught of God, and enlightened with the Spirit of truth. Our best way to keep out of danger, is still to believe that we may be in it. The prudent foresees the evil and hides himself, but the fool rages, and is confident. It is the office of the Spirit, to lead into all truth; and if we think there can be any advances this way, without him, he may leave us to the vanity of our own experiment.
With such principles as these, we do either waver in the faith, or shuffle in a profession.
People waver from unsteadiness and ignorance, ,
pride and vanity, an inclination io error, fear and cowardice. The pretensions answered, of our living in a polite age, that will alloro nothing mysterious. But it is an age in which, the Protestant religion and practical holiness are sinking. Our obligations to grow in the knowledge of Christ. This does not suppose new schemes, but a steadiness in the old ones, for our faith is bounded. Clearer ideas. The unity of the God head. The reconciling
of all parties. 'Antiquity pleaded in vain. I HAVE shown you, what those principles are, that lead men to waver in the great articles of Christianity which we profess in baptism. And by the account you have had, it is easy to see that there may be a wavering, .. .
1. From unsteadiness and ignorance. They who ought to be teachers of others, have need to be taught again the first principles of the oracles of God. Heb. v. 12. God complains, my, people are destroyed for lack of know
ledge. Because thou hast rejected knowledge, - the Lord has rejected thee, that thou shalt not be a priest to him. Hos, iv. 6. It is a good thing, that the heart is established with grace, and not with meats, Heb. xiii. 9. i. e. with doctrines of the gospel, which are called the grace of God bringing salvation, Tit. ii. 11. and not in those opinions about meats or
and not of the gooing salva about
drinks, which, whether they are right or wrong, have not profited thein who were occupied therein.
What is it to the good of my soul, to the pardon of my sins, the peace of my conscience, or the compass of my duty, whether it be lawful to eat blood ? Not but that every one ought to be fully persuaded in his own mind; and happy is he, who condemns not himself in the thing, that he allows. Rom. xiv. 22. There should be no strain upon conscience; as the apostle says, I know and am persuaded, that there is nothing unclean of itself, but to him who esteems any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Rom. xiv. 14. But whether my opinion be right or wrong in this matter, it neither promotes holiness, nor hinders it. As the error is of no great danger, so the truth is of no great value. It is not one of those things in which I am either accepted of God, or approved of men. . . ****But what is this, to the deity of the Son and Spirit, which are doctrines that my soul is to be nourished up in? The godhead of the Son makes him the object of my reverence, the strong hold of my faith, the hope that is set before me. From his divinity, and from nothing else, do I argue the satisfaction he has made, the intercession that he now pursues, and indeed his capacity of saving to the’uttermost. It is because he continues for ever, that he has an unchangeable priesthood. Heb. vii. 24. It is from this, that he brings in an ever. lasting righteousness, and becomes head over
all things unto the Church, because he has the fulness of him who fills all in all. Eph. i. ult.
I am therefore baptized in the name of the Holy Ghost, that I may depend upon him, as the God who restores my soul; the father of lights, the fountain of consolation; he of whom I am born, and by whom I am secured and prepared for eternal life. . . . . ,
What signifies all the orthodoxy in the world, to a man who wavers in the foundation? And therefore, they who are more zealous, in commanding to abstain from meats, than they are for the grand inherent of baptism, the truth that enters into the soul of it, only make a God of their belly; as if what is to be offered there, was a thing of more importance, than the real divinity and distinct personality of those three, to whom we are equally devoted. What signifies it to make a noise about the blood of beasts and fowls, whilst the blood of the covenant is a common thing? Heb. x. 29. But we have not so learned Christ, if so be we have heard him, and been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus. Eph. iv. 20, 21. Besides this, there is a wavering that arises.
2. From pride and vanity. Men love to have something of their own. But where is the wise, where is the scribe, where is the disputer of this world ? Has not God, made foolish the wisdom of this world ? i Cor. i. 20. There is no reputation got, by standing in the good old way. And therefore they fall a doting about questions, and striving about words, to no profit. 1 Tim. vi. 3. But shall we speak