« PreviousContinue »
THIS manual emerges, as it were, from the grave. The leading features of it, were strongly impressed on the mind of the author, at a momentous crisis—when he expected to be deprived of the residue of his years, and to behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world.
Anxiously solicitous for the spiritual welfare of his little family, he penned the majority of the sentiments contained in it, with a feeble hand, in the hope that through the blessing of God, his surviving children might receive scme paternal advantage, when he should be gathered to his fathers. This will serve as an apology for the familiarity of the style in which it is written.
Being afterwards encouraged to present it to the public, he has complied ; under the convietion that the doctrine of Justi fication, in particular, is less attended to, and perhaps more imperfectly understood, in this than in any other age subsequent to the reformation.
And though it has been a uniform maxim with the author, respecting the articles of his faith, to call no man Master, on earth; yet he freely acknowledges, that, in this little performance, he has been much assisted by the labours of those who have entered on the inheritance of the promises : and has even used their language sometimes in preference to his own, as correctly as a reduced memory enabled him to recollect:-not because he wished to enter on another man's line of things made ready to his hand, but in testimony of his obedience to that injunction, Let each esteem others better than himself.
Having stated these things, he submits the following sheets to the candid reader; with an earnest petition, that under the patronage of Heaven, the perusal of them may be as beneficial to him, as the study of the subjects contained in them, has been to
THE AUTHOR. Caroline, Nov. 6, 1823.
DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION.
And by him, all that believe are justified from all
things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Acts, 13. 39.
IN the beginning of this chapter we are informed that the Holy Ghost required Paul and Barnabas to be separated to the work of the min. istry; and that the prophets and apostles, having fasted and prayed, laid their hands on them and sent them away. In the course of their mission, they arrived at the capital of Pisidia (a small province in Asia Minor) and on the sabbath day went into the synagogue, after the example of their Lord and Master. Being courteously invited to offer a discourse upon the lessons just read ont of the law and the prophets, Paul stood up and took this opportunity of showing that Jesus was the true Messiah foretold by the prophets, and declared by John the Baptist : that though he was barbarously ted, and crucified and slain by the Jews, yet this was no more than what the same prophets had foretold concerning him : and that God's raising him from the dead, according to ancient prophecy, and his
being seen after his resurrection, by multitudes of witnesses who were ready to attest the truth of it, were the highest demonstrations of his being the Son of God. And, therefore, since forgiveness of sins and justification, which could not be attained by the law of Moses, were now tendered to those who believed in Jesus, it nearly concerned them as a matter of the last importance, not 10 neglect so great salvation.
This impressive address was delivered by an apostle, peculiarly eminent in almost every trait of his characier. He was a man visibly of a quick invention and an ardent temper. His natural and acquired abilities, were such as entitled him to a proininent place in the bighest circles of science. His education, which he received at Jerusalem, was under the direction of Gamaliel, a doctor of the highest eminence among the Jews, and celebrated as a president of their sanhedrim for the long space of thirty-two years. The proficiency of our apostle, under this venerable tutor, is visible to all. He was profound. ly versed in the writings of the Old Testament, and peculiarly acquainted with the doctrines of the New. All these, put together, suggested matter to him in abundance, on every subject that came in his way. His mode of address was informal and unaffected. His reasoning was logic, and his arguments conviction. And in his Epistles we are constrained to consider him when writing, as furnished with a multitude of sentiments striving for utterance.