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will of his Lord, as far as he knows it. In propor tion as a man acts from this principle, and by this rule, he meets with a gracious recompence for the meanest services: The widow's two mites, expressing her fervent love, are as acceptable as the most costly oblations bestowed from an equal measure of the same love, and far beyond such as spring from another source. And as all we possess is the Lord's, we rob him when we employ it contrary to his will; and this injustice, in the use of a little, shows the same bad state of the heart, as when great affluence is thus abused. Nothing we have of this world is properly our own, or given us exclusively for our own sake; nothing of this kind can make us truly rich or happy; but grace is our own, and terminating in glory, constitutes the true riches, unalienable and sufficient for our everlasting felicity. Now on what grounds can we suppose that we partake of the grace of God, or shall at length be admitted into the mansions of the blessed; if we do not find our hearts disposed to improve our talents to the glory of God and the benefit of mankind, from faith in Christ and love to his name, cause, and people.— In short, we may either serve God or Mammon, but we cannot serve both. Every justified believer aims to serve God in the use of his worldly substance, be it more or less; every servant of Mammon aims at some worldly advantage, even by his profession of the gospel, and his religious
duties. Thus the characters of believers and unbelievers may be distinguished, and according to this distinction will be the recompence of every individual.
Remarks on Hopkins' Enquiry into the Nature of true Holiness.
In a Letter to a Friend.'
You desire my sentiments on Dr. Hopkins' ' En
quiry into the nature of true holiness.' I am very ready to give them: but to enter into particulars, and speak on them with exactness, capable of enduring critical investigation, would engross too much time and attention, to consist with my other engagements. I can, therefore, attempt no more than some general thoughts which occurred to me while reading.
I trust I am as decidedly averse to a mere selfish religion as Dr. Hopkins; and I see clearly the radical defect of Mr. Hervey's scheme, and of many statements by modern divines on this very account. Many of them, I hope, feel and act inconsistently with their own system or language, otherwise I could not think well of their state and character. But I am of opinion, that Dr. Hop
The letter was not in the least intended for publication.
kins pushes, or rather is pushed by our artful enemy, into the opposite extreme. Incidit in Scyllam qui vult vitare Charybdim. It seems to me that he does not sufficiently mark the distinction between man, as God made him, and man as he hath made or marred himself, so that he speaks sometimes as if God's work in creation needed mortifying and crucifying, as well as Satan's work and image in the soul. When, however, he comes to answer objections, and deduce inferences, he appears to me to give up most of what he had been contending for, and most of what he maintained different from others; and, I own, I think he often writes obscurely and ambiguously, and with much repetition.
I would, however, make a few short observations on his book, of a more particular nature.
1. Suppose his system to be speculatively or philosophically true, it is too refined and subtile for by far the greatest part of mankind, even if they had leisure and advantages for such studies. A man must be naturally of a metaphysical, abstract genius, exercised by use, before he can clearly take in his sentiments, and apply them to experience and practice. I own, that through disuse, I am grown so dull, that I am sometimes at a loss to understand his meaning and his plan. I am not disposed to quarrel with every thing exact or systematical, as metaphysicks; yet still
abstract, subtile schemes, not directly grounded on scripture, should not be deemed essential to christianity; and I cannot but think that numbers hold the substance of truth, and possess disinterested religion, who could not understand, or would be stumbled at his book.
2. Probably the divine perfection, as well as the divine essence, and the truths and commands of God, may be in their own nature simple, one, uncompounded, &c. but yet it is plain, that this is not the best way of proposing them to the minds of men, for it is not the Lord's way of doing it. He speaks to us as children, as weak worms, who must see things in compartments a little at once, and who are overwhelmed and confounded by the immensity of divine things, as they are in themselves; and it best for us to " speak as the oracles "of God." Infidels and Socinians have made their advantage of the philosophical notion of simplicity, and so have explained away the scriptural language of the justice, wrath, and vengeance of God. I acquit Dr. Hopkins of every meaning of this kind, and with my metaphysical spectacles, I can see dimly, or think I see, simple benevolence in God to be equivalent to wisdom, truth, holiness, and even avenging justice; and simple benevolence in man, to be repentance, faith, fear of God, love of God, love of the brethren, compassion to sinners, patience, temperance, sincerity,
fortitude, &c. Yet it will never be generally perceived by mankind: and I apprehend that none of us are so familiar with such subjects, as not to be helped in our meditations, by considering the divine perfections distinctly, as well as in harmony; and the different parts of the christian character in like manner.
3. I cannot but think, that, when our minds are exerted to the utmost upon this scheme, still love to the spiritual excellence of the divine character, his image in his people, and gratitude for personal benefits, are not sufficiently prominent. I do not think the love of the saints is sufficiently distinguished, by Dr. Hopkins, from benevolence to sinners; and though complacency and gratitude may perhaps be implied in benevolence, yet they are better spoken of distinctly.
4. Dr. Hopkins' distinction between loving self as self, and the love of ourselves, is too nice for my dull faculties. In short, I cannot but think, after all, that we ought to love ourselves as ourselves, and I can form no idea of any other way of loving ourselves. But here seems the chief fault of his system. The scripture throws the blame on our love of the world, and the things that are in the world; our carnal mind, which chooses, relishes, and prefers the things of the flesh; our idolatry, in loving money, pleasure, honour, &c. more than