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rate, as any who are come to the years of discretion, Pad who can but read the holy scriptures, may plainly scover.
The apostle saith, “Whatsoever things are holy, hatsoever things are pure, just, and of good report, seek ter those things." And again, “ No unclean thing can pater the kingdom of heaven;" but certainly all sin is un
dan. Read over the holy scriptures, from the begin. wing to the end, their nature and tendency is against all tan; and as it is true, that we all have been sinners, surely derefore all true christians, and true believers in Christ,
ive cause reverently to bow, and to be truly and hum. sly thankful, that Christ, our great Lord, by offering esimself for us, hath taken away that imputation'; so that
arow through faith, and belief in Christ, accompanied with au ue repentance, and amendment of life, the imputation
four former sins is taken away; for this cause we bruaraise God, and adore his eternal majesty for ever.
2d. As to the word “miserable,” a christian may inheleed be poor; but since Christ is come to make us s'appy and comfortable, through the hope of eternal sal
ation, in his name and power (as we are not to think
urselves better than we are) so we cannot say nor think re are miserable, unless we are without God and Christ; nd then we are miserable indeed; but no mortal can be niserable who hath Christ; “ For he that hath the Son, ath life (eternal life) abiding in him :": to be truly in Christ, is to be truly happy; this doctrine is as clear as he sun at noon-day, or as a morning without clouds :
soul, when it comes to see itself undone without a Sav. our, and see sin to be exceeding sinful, and is ready to ry to the Almighty, Lord, help, or I perish! save
'ne, or I am undone forever! Then the soul seeth itself in niserable ; but it is for want of Christ : and when Christ
s come into, or unto the soul, then its misery vanisheth, or flieth away ; but from day to day, and week to week,
yea, all the days of one's life; to be miserable sinners, is 250 a miserable case indeed, destroying the very nature of h hristianity: wherefore, some tender, conscientious-souls,
cannot join with such miserable sinners and sayers, who
h putrefying sores, from the crown of the head to the sole of the fout, and that there is no soundness in us," Can
any congregation of such people as these (if they say truly, and if they do not say truly, what will the can sequence be, let the wise in heart judge) can, I say, a people be the church of Christ, or his spouse, or beau. tiful bride? Christ saith, “ If the inside be clean, the out
be side will be clean also; and he came to cleanse the souls of poor mortals, and to heal them, and wash them from sin, and doth it by his spiritual baptism, and the fire of his word; also the abovesaid church and people, contrary
, to this putrefied and unsound, constant and continual
be confession, do both “ Promise and vow, that they will forsake the devil and all his works, the pomp and vanity of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh, and walk in God's holy will and commandments, all the days of their lives.” The very highest pitch of perfection any man or christian can attain in this life! and yet contrary to those vows and solemn covenants, they tell the Almighty, from time to time, that they are unsound, nay, that there is no soundness in them; but that they are putrefied from head to foot (as above) and by their common practice intend to tell him so as long as they live in this life : this is unsound work indeed: and truly those who are tenderly conscientious, may well scruple to join with it, or with those who are in such ways words and works. Those bruised, putrefied, sore and unsound souls
, are therefore tenderly, in christian love, advised to come to Christ, the physician of value, and great doctor of the soul, that he may heal them, and wash their sinful putere la fied souls, and unsound hearts, “By the washing
IG regeneration, and renewing of his word and spirit." " Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you,” saith our Saviour. John xv. 3. They were cleansed by putting his word in practice; for, saith Christ
“He that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him to a wise man;” Mat. vii. 24. so consequently, he that doth them not, is foolish, sinful, and unclean.
4th. And further, say they, “ We have left undone those things which we ought to have done.” Now, doing the truth, and doing that which is right, is what we ought to do;, and committing sin, is that which we ought
not to do: certainly any man of sense and understand. sing, would think it mockery, if his children or servants
should serve him so from time to time, and make a coms! mon practice of it: by this confession (if it be genuine) - they must needs know better than they practise or do,
they knowing what they ought to do, but not doing it;
and our Lord Jesus Christ saith positively, “He that (knoweth his master's will, and doeth it not, shall be beat, een with many stripes :' and again, “Be ye not like the
scribes and pharisees; for they say, and do not; therefore be ye not like unto them."
But what can be expected from those who say they sin in their best duties? And if so, they sin whenever they read the common prayers; and by the same rule ; the oftener they read them, the oftener they sin ; wherefore, - how can a sincere, devout soul, who unfeignedly loves the Lord Jesus Christ, so as to keep his command ments (for that is to love him truly, and according to his own definition of it; “ If ye love me, keep my commandments,” saith Christ); I say, how can any such sincere soul join with such wrong doers and sayers ? it must needs be an unsafe practice to do what one knows should not be done; the nature of such doings being very pro voking, either to God or man : what man in the world would
like it, in either son or servant ? Oh! what would become of poor, degenerate man if the Lord Almighty were not very indulgent if he were not a God gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great loving-kindness to poor mortals !
5th. And as to their singing David's psalms in metre; how often do they sing that which is not true as to themselves, and also that which is not according, but contrary to their states and conditions? As when they sing?
“ That they water their couch with their tears;” and that they practice what they know, when they confess they “ Do that which they ought not to do, and leave undone that which they ought to do.”
The apostle said, he would " Sing with the spirit, and with the understanding also." And again, “ We know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered." Rom. viii. 26. In the primitive times of christianity, they prayed and sung as they were helped by the Holy Ghost, or spirit, and not by book, or stinted or set forms; but, Oh! the primitive soundness of christianity is too much lost and defaced; and therefore some who desire to come again to the primitive soundness and purity of the christian
religion, scruple to join with such unsound formalities, and that conscientiously, for the reasons above, and more which might be given.
When such scruples are mentioned, the members of the church of England usually reply, that the scriptures vindicate them in their form, which, how well they do so, let it be freely and fairly examined, not for contention, but for edification in the pure love of Jesus.
1st. “The scripture saith, that there was a people that was full of bruises and putrefying sores, &c."
Answer. But that was in the time of the law, when the people had transgressed the law, and were under the Jaw; for had they done their duty, and kept the law, they could not truly have said so. Isa. i. 6. They were then indeed gone astray like the lost sheep, and that brought them into that sore, putrefied state, and bruised condition, and.“ Their law did not make the comers thereunto perfect; yet (as saith, the apostle) the bringing in of a better hope did,” which was the hope of the gospel; so that the apostle preaches perfection under the gospel dispensation, though some of our worldly-wise men will not allow of it; and I hope we are not under the law, but under grace; “ And the glorious law of the spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, hath and doth set the true believers free from the law of sin and death ; so that a true christian cannot say truly (with the false and rebellious Jews, of whom the prophet there speaks), " That he is full of putrefying sores, and that there is no soundness in him, and say it all the days of his life.”
2nd. Again the scripture saith, “ I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm li. 5.
Answer. The psalmist was at that time under deep convictions for the sins he had been guilty of in the matter of Uriah ; but by his expressions in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh verses of the same psalm, it is plain he believed a better state attainable. And surely these expressions cannot be applicable to all men, at all times: for we read of them who were sanctified from the womb, Neither can it be reasonably or charitably supposed that all women, especially chaste and virtuous christians, do conceive their children in sin, and bring them forth in iniquity : and if it were so, (which God forbid), it doth not follow, that we must live in it all our days. No, surely, if we believe Christ, and the holy scriptures, whose doctrine is holy, and commands holiness, in both Testaments. And if people would walk in the holy light of Christ, who enlightens every man that cometh into the world, as recorded in the holy scriptures, they would then be cleansed from their sin, from both the act and the imputation, as saith the apostle, “ If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, then have we fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John, i. 7.
3d.“ There is none that doth good, no not one." Rom. iii. 12.
Answer. It is beyond all doubt the apostle spoke of the people in their unconverted state; for if they had been come to the work of conversion and regeneration, they must, and it is impossible but that they should do some good; and though there was a time that none did good, it was under the law, and not under grace; and spoken of the unbelievers, and, not of believers : especially since Christ has brought a covenant of grace, in order to teach and help us to live righteous, virtuous, holy, religious, and sober, lives and conversations. Titus. ii. 11.