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In answer to this charge, I am sensible, some will reply, not less evil, as history attests, are the consequences of insisting continually on grace, the precious promises, and covenant, the righteousness and merits of Christ, and other comfortable doctrines. Have they not created in wicked men a detestable persumption of being saved? Have they not been so taught, as to inspire even a contempt for good works, and make every social virtue appear a low attainment; and earnest seeking to keep the commandments, a thing derogatory to the glory of free grace, by which we are accepted in the Beloved? What can be more pernicious than these effects?
It is granted, one extreme is no less fatal than the other. It is granted, moral practice must be urged, and insisted on with all authority, in its proper place and connection, no less than the articles of faith. Nothing but antinomian phrenzy ever can lead men to be shy of allowing, of earnestly contending for this. But the important point of difference between the world and the church of Christ, lies in the means which are to be used to seeure the practice of good works, and their value when performed. Pagan philosophers, mere moralists, and those who think with them, will have the fruit without the tree;
good practice without Christian principles, from mere resolution of mind, from approbation of virtue, and determined purpose to at tain future happiness. The universal church hath always taught, that knowledge of Christ, love of his name, and the power of the Holy Ghost, are previously requisite, before we can lead a Christian life; that these things must be proved, explained, applied, as most efficacious to win over the alienated heart to delight in God, and regulate the whole man according to his will. On this foundation, the whole building of Christian graces is to rise, to the comfort of the believer, the benefit of all in connection with him, and the glory of God. The sacred oracles teach us, knowledge must go before faith; conviction of impending ruin for sin, and deliverance from it, before supreme love to Christ, without which there can be no humble universal obedience, or good works well-pleasing in the sight of God.
From these testimonies the conclusion cannot be invalidated, that the great essential doctrines which ministers are constantly to teach, must be the very same as were taught by the apostles themselves, under the immediate inspiration of the Spirit of Truth, when they first published the gospel
to the world, and laid the foundation of the Christain church; not such as moral philosophers, or those who think with them, insist on, to the great disparagement of the faith and hope of the gospel.
THEO LOGICAL AND CLASSICAL BOOK-STORE,
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