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attention, let me reason with you from one of the most laborious occupations of life. You are called to be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ,” 2 Tim. ii, 3. And can you possibly imagine that less resolution and patience are required in a spiritual warrior, than in an earthly soldier ! Behold the mercenary, who, for little more than food and clothing, is preparing to go on his twentieth campaign! Whether he is called to freeze beneath the pole, or to melt under the line, he undertakes the appointed expedition with an air of intrepidity and zeal. Loaded with the weapons of his warfare, he is harassed out with painful marches : and after enduring the excessive fatigues of the day, he makes his bed upon the rugged earth, or, perhaps, passes the comfortless night under arms. In the day of battle he advances against the enemy amid a shower of bullets, and is anxious, in the most tremendous scenes, to give proofs of an unconquerable resolution. If through the dangers of the day he escape unhurt, it is but to run the hazard of another en. counter; perhaps to force an intrenchment, or to press through a breach. Nothing, however, discourages him ; but, covered with wounds, he goes on unrepining to meet the mortal blow. All this he suffers, and all this he performs in the service of his superiors, and with little hope of ad. vancement on his own part.
Behold this dying veteran, ye timorous soldiers of an omnipotent Prince! and blush at your want of spiritual intrepidity. Are you not engaged in the cause of humanity, and in the service of God? Are you not commissioned to rescue captive souls from all the powers of darkness? Do you not fight beneath his scrutinizing eye who is King of kings, and Lord of lords ? Are you not contending within sight of eternal rewards, and with the hope of an unfading inheritance ? And will you complain of difficulties, or tremble at danger? Will you not only avoid the heat of the engagement, but even dare to withdraw from the standard of your sovereign Lord? Let me lead you again into the field ; let me draw you back to the charge ; or, rather, let me shame your cowardice by pointing you to those resolute commanders who have formerly signalized themselves under the banners of your Prince. Emulate their example, and you shall share their rewards. But if
, hitherto, you have neither contemplated the beauty, nor expe. rienced the energy of those truths by which St. Paul was animated to such acts of heroism, it is in vain that we exhort you to shine among the foremost ranks of Christians as inextinguishable lights, holding up, against every enemy, as a “two-edged sword,” Heb. iv, 12, “ the word of everlasting life,” Phil. ii, 15, 16. Instead of this, it will be necessary to place before you the excellence and efficacy of this apostle's doctrines, together with the infinite advantages which they procure to those who cordially embrace them. And this we shall endeavour to do in the second part of this work. Meanwhile, we will conclude this first part with a short exhortation from St. Chrysostom's fifty-ninth sermon upon St. Matthew. “Since the present life is a continual warfare ; since we are at all times surrounded by a host of enemies, let us vigorously oppose them, as our royal Chieftain is pleased to command. Let us fear neither labour, nor wounds, nor death. Let us all conspire mutually to assist and defend one another. And let our magnanimity be such as may add firmness to the most resolute, and give courage to the most cowardly.”
THE PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL.
The doctrines of an evangelical pastor. The minister of the present age, being destitute of Christian piety, is neither able to preach, nor clearly to comprehend the truths of the Gospel. In general, he contents himself with superficially declaring certain attributes of the Supreme Being ; while he is fearful of speaking too largely of grace or its operations, lest he should be suspected of enthusiasm. He declaims against some enormous vice, or displays the beauty of some social virtue. He affects to establish the doctrines of heathen philosophers: and it were to be wished that he always carried his morality to so high a pitch as some of the most celebrated of those sages. If he ever proclaims the Lord Jesus Christ, it is in but a cursory way, and chiefly when he is obliged to it by the return of particular days. He himself continues the same through all seasons; and the cross of Christ would be entirely laid aside, unless the temporal prince, more orthodox than the minister, had appointed the passion of our Lord to be the preacher's theme during certain solemnities of the Church.
With the evangelical pastor it is wholly otherwise. “ Jesus Christ,” he is able to say with St. Paul, “sent me to preach the Gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the vain wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the false understanding of the prudent. Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world ? For after that the world by this wisdom, [this boasted philosophy,] knew not God, [but rested in materialism and idolatry,] it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe," 1 Cor. i, 17–21. The preaching of the true minister, which commonly passes for folly in a degenerate world, is that through which God employs his power for the conversion of sinners, and the edification of believers. It comprehends all that is revealed in the Old and New Testament: but the subjects on which it is chiefly employed are the precepts of the decalogue, and the truths of the apostles' creed. They may be reduced to four points : (1.) True repentance toward God. (2.) A lively faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (3.) The sweet hope which the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in the hearts of believers. (4.) That Christian charity which is the abundant source of every good work. In a word, the good pastor preaches repentance, faith, hope, and charity. These four virtues include all others. These are four pillars which support the glorious temple of which St. Paul and St. Peter make the following mention : “Ye are God's building. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house."
By searching into the solidity of these four supports, we may observe how vast a difference there is between the materials of which they are composed, and that untempered mortar with which the ministers of the present day are striving to erect a showy building upon a sandy foundation.
The evangelical pastor preaches true repentance toward God. The true minister, convinced, both by revelation and experience, that Jesus Christ alone is able to recover diseased souls, employs every effort to bring sinners into the presence of this heavenly Physician, that they may obtain of him spiritual health and salvation. He is fully persuaded that he who is not “weary and heavy laden,” will never apply for relief; that he who is not “poor in spirit,” will constantly despise the riches of the Gospel ; and that they who are unacquainted with their danger, will turn an inattentive ear to the loudest warnings of a compassionate Saviour. His first care, then, is to press upon his hearers the necessity of an unfeigned repentance; that, by breaking the reed of their confidence, he may constrain them with the “poor,” the “miserable,” the “ blind," and the “naked,” to fall before the throne of Divine justice. Whence, after seeing themselves condemned by the law of God, without any ability to deliver their own souls, he is conscious that they will have recourse to the throne of grace, entreating, like the penitent publican, to be “justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," Rom. iii, 25. It is in this state of humiliation and compunction of heart, that sinners are enabled to experience the happy effects of that evangelical repentance, which is well defined in the fourteenth chapter of the Helvetic Confession. “By repentance,” say our pious Reformers, “we mean that sorrow, or that displeasure of soul, which is excited in a sinner by the word and Spirit of God, &c. By this new sensibility, he is first made to discover his natural corruption, and his actual transgressions. His heart is pierced with sincere distress. He deplores them before God. He confesses them with confusion, but without reserve; he abhors them with a holy indignation; he seriously resolves, from the present moment, to reform his conduct, and religiously apply himself to the practice of every virtue during the remainder of his life. Such is true repentance: it consists, at once, in resolutely renouncing the devil, with every thing that is sinful; and in sincerely cleaving to God, with every thing that is truly good. But we expressly say, this repentance is the mere gift of God, and can never be effected by our own power,” 2 Tim. ii, 25.
It appears, by this definition, that our Reformers distinguished that by the name of repentance, which many theologists have called the awaken. ing of a soul from the sleep of carnal security ; and which others have frequently termed conversion. But, if sinners understand and obtain the disposition here described, no true minister will be over anxious that they should express it in any particular form of words.
How sin and the necessity of repentance entered into the world. OBSERVE the account which the evangelical minister gives, after Moses and St. Paul, of the manner in which that dreadful infection made its way into the world, that corrupt nature, that “old man,” that “ body of death,” which Christ, the seed of the woman, came to destroy. When the tempted woman saw that [the fruit of the tree, which God had for. bidden her to touch,] was pleasant to the eyes, good for food, and to be desired to make one wise, she took thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat,” Gen, iii, 6. Thus entered into the very fountain head of our nature that moral evil, that compli. cated malady, “ that lust of the flesh, that lust of the eyes, and that pride of life,” 1 John ii, 16, which the second Adam came to crucify in the flesh, and which is still daily crucified in the members of his mystical body.
If Jesus Christ never publicly discoursed concerning the entry of sin into the world, it was because his sermons were addressed to a people who had been long before instructed in a matter of so great importance. On this account, he simply proposed himself to Israel, as that promised Messiah, that Son of God and Son of man, who was about to repair the error of the first Adam, by becoming the resurrection and the life of all those who should believe in his name.
St. Paul was very differently circumstanced, when labouring among those nations which were unacquainted with the fall, except by uncer. tain and corrupt tradition. Behold the wisdom with which he unfolds to the heathen that fundamental doctrine, which was not contested among the Jews. «The first man Adam," the head of the human species, « was made a living soul;” but Jesus Christ, “ the last Adam, was made a quickening spirit;" and he also is the head of the human species; for "the head of every man is Christ,” 1 Cor. xi, 3. « The first man is of the earth, earthy : the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy (worldly :) and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly [regenerate.] And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we, (whose souls are already regenerate,] shall also bear the complete image of the heavenly. When this mortal shall have put on immortality : for the flesh and blood, (which we have from the first Adam,] cannot inherit the kingdom of God," 1 Cor. XV, 45–53.
As human pride is continually exalting itself against this humiliating doctrine, so the true minister as constantly repeats it, crying out in the language of this great apostle : “ All unregenerate men are under sin ; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God: they are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable. The way of peace have they not known : there is no fear of God before their eyes. We know that whatsoever things the law saith, [the natural or the Mosaic law,] it saith to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God," Rom. iii, 9–19. “There is no difference; for as all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, (so all equally need the merits and assistance of Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood,” Rom. iji, 22–25. All those, therefore, who, VOL. III.
neglecting Christ, rely upon the works of the law, are under the curse ;” and all their endeavours to deliver themselves by their imperfect obedience, are totally vain. “ For it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Thus, by denouncing maledictions, as dreadful as the thunders from Mount Sinai, against every act of disobedience, “ the law becomes our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith,” Gal. iii, 10-24.
This doctrine is maintained by all the Christian Churches. When an evangelical minister insists upon the fall, the corruption and the danger of unregenerate man, he acts in conformity to the acknowledged opinions of the purest Churches. As I chiefly write for the French Protestants, I shall here cite the Confession of Faith now in use among the French Churches, “We believe,” say they in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh articles of their creed, “ that man, having been created after the image of God, fell by his own fault from the grace he had received ; and thus became alienated from God, who is the fountain of holiness and felicity; so that having his mind blinded, his heart depraved, and his whole nature corrupted, he lost all his innocence. We believe that the whole race of Adam is infected with this contagion, that in his person we forfeited every blessing, and sunk into a state of universal want and malediction : we believe also that sin, &c, is a perverseness producing the fruits of malice and rebellion !"
The Reformed Churches of Switzerland make as humiliating a confession. “Man,” say they, “ by an abuse of his liberty, suffering himself to be seduced by the serpent, forsook his primitive integrity. Thus he rendered himself subject to sin, death, and every kind of misery; and such as the first man became by the fall, such are all his descend. ants, Rom. v, 12. When we say, man is subject to sin, we mean by sin, that corruption of nature, which from the fall of the first man, has been transmitted from father to son ; vicious passions, an aversion to that which is good, an inclination to that which is evil, a disposition to malice, a bold defiance and contempt of God. Behold the unhappy effects of that corruption, by which we are so wholly debilitated, that of ourselves we are not able to do, nor even to choose, that which is good.” (Helvetic Confession, chap. viii.) Every man may find in himself' sufficient proofs of those painful truths. “God is the Creator of man,” say the fathers who composed the Synod of Berne, “ and he intended that man should be entirely devoted to his God. But this is no longer his nature; since he looks to creatures, to his own pleasure, and makes an idol of himself.” (Acts of Synod, chap. viii.)
This doctrine is also set forth in the Augsburg Confession ; as well as in the ninth and tenth articles of the Church of England, where it is expressed in the following terms: “ Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, but it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man, whereby he is very far gone from original righteousness, and is, of his own nature, inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore, in every person born into the world, it