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assisting grace, of which the one precedes, the other follows, prove to salvation :-an admission altogether inconsistent the mental action of belief in the Gospel.

with a belief in absolute decrees, and sufficient in itself to For, if the first of these be limited, as the natural meaning prove, that the assistance of the Holy Ghost is not a peculiar of the term should seem to limit it, to the implanting in our privilege of the gospel. mind those good desires which cannot be brought to effect For if none are punished for not performing impossibilities, without the subsequent furtherance of the other, it is plain and if some are punished for refusing to receive the gospel of that preventing grace by itself could do no more than induce in Christ, it is plain, that such suflerers must at one time have our hearts a perception of the happiness enjoyed by the faith-had it in their power to avail themselves of that gracious offer. ful, a desire that God would help our unbelief; but could But this is a power which is only conferred by the influence not, without additional help from the same good Spirit, con- of God's Spirit; and it follows that his influence is bestowed duct us either to external confession or hearty internal con- on some who neither are nor ever will be Christians. viction of the truth which is in Christ Jesus.

Nor must we suppose that this influence is, as Clagett So that to the very act of faith itself, even to the lowest seems to intimate, attendant only on the immediate hearing degree of faith, both species of grace are necessary; and the of the gospel; and given to be resisted or improved by those reasoning of those who maintain that the assistance of the individuals alone to whom the glad tidings of salvation have Holy Ghost is, at once, the cause and the privilege of Chris- extended. tianity, must remain as inconsistent as ever.

If we do not maintain, with Pelagius, that our unassisted It will be urged, indeed, by some, and their method of nature can quicken itself to faith and everlasting life, we canstating the question is free, apparently, from the objections not allow, what St. Paul expressly teaches, that the Patrito which the ordinary hypothesis is liable, that, though faith archs and ancient Israelites are fallen asleep in hope, unless be of grace and not grace of faith, yet is faith in Christ, with we at the same time allow, that those worthies of the elder all the blessed fruits which spring from it, inseparably con- world had obtained the same graces of the Holy Ghost, as nected with grace as its sure and necessary consequence; and those by the assistance whereof we hope to imitate their that, therefore, Christians only receive the help of the Holy righteous and memorable examples. Ghost, because such help is given to none who are not, Nor can any reader of those sacred poems which, though thereby, irresistibly called to Christianity.

composed under the law, express, in almost every line, those But, if we avoid, by this statement, the inconsistency of feelings and virtues, which it is the end of the gospel to dethe usual opinion, we avoid it only by incurring the yet more velope, entertain a doubt that the operations of grace, whereby portentous contradictions which are involved in the system the psalmist was awakened, and purified, and guided, and of Augustin, Bradwardine and Calvin.

established in holiness, were the same with those to which For, as none have, without the aid of the Holy Ghost, we daily look up for help and hope and victory. Nor, though received the religion of Jesus, so if, as they maintain, none we should omit or neglect the testimonies of the later Rabhave received the Holy Ghost, excepting those who are bins, who ascribe, like ourselves, all goodness to the Spirit's thereby inevitably conducted to embrace the Gospel, it will dispensation, can we venture to disregard the authority of follow, not only that these last have believed in Christ in our Lord himself, who, under the yoke of the Law, and long, consequence of an irresistible act of the Almighty, but that before the Paraclete was foretold, assured the multitude of all who have rejected him have chosen thus unhappily, not his hearers, that his Father would not deny the Holy Spirit from perverseness, but because they could not possibly have to those who asked him. chosen otherwise; not from wilful obstinacy, but from a blind- It is true, indeed, as the admirable Bishop Bull inculcates, ness which it was no more in their power to remedy, than, that these spiritual gifts, like the gifts of pardon and salvaby their unassisted strength, to scale heaven.

tion, though they extended to those under the Law of Moses, And, if it be further true, which is allowed on all hands, were not derived from the Law itself, but were purchased by that the rejection of the Gospel by the unconverted Jews and that foreseen expiation of sins on the rock of Calvary, Heathens was imputed to them by God as, in itself, a heinous whereof the blood and the merits gave efficacy to the sacrifice sin, and will be punished with more grievous damnation; of Abel, and won a pardon for the deep offence of David. that conclusion must follow which every modern Calvanist at But the assertion, however true in itself, is irrelevant to the least, with amiable inconsistency, disclaims, not only that present inquiry, since I am not maintaining, that the power the Almighty punishes men for rejecting what they had no of repentance is given to man through any other than the power to accept, but that he offers (I almost fear to speak it, merits of Jesus Christ; but I am urging, that through those but it is necessary that the natural tendency of every doc- merits the ancient Jews received it as well as the Christians, trine should be known) salvation to the reprobate on terms and that the promise of a Comforter, which had respect to a which they cannot accept, in order that, by this, their seeming future and peculiar benefit, could not be fulfilled by the conrefusal, he may obtain a pretext for punishing them more ti nuance of an ancient and general blessing. severely. A statement this, which involves in itself, as ap- Nor would this conclusion be materially affected, though plied to the Father of truth and mercy, a degree of blasphe- we should also grant, as the same learned Prelate supposes, mous extravagance which can hardly be conceived without and as in itself is not improbable, though it be not revealed impiety; which imputes to God a conduct from which the in Scripture with sufficient clearness to enable us to assent to warmest defenders of the hypothesis would, in their own it with unqualified conviction; that, not only the external mopersons, have shrunk with abhorrence, and which the angels tives to holiness, (which are irrelevant to the present inquiry,) who excel in power and might, would hardly have brought but the internal and sanctifying Spirit, whereby such motives as a railing accusation against the enemy of God and man and knowledge are improved to individual salvation, has been himself!

given in more ample measure to the Christian than to the But if, to avoid or to soften this horrible corollary, we sup- Jew. For a difference simply modal was surely not des. pose with Owen, that those miserable persons to whom the cribed by our Lord as an advent of the Spirit in a new and gospel is a savour of death are punished, not because they unknown character; and the gift of a new privilege is no less were unable to believe and repent, but because they did not distinct from the improvement of one possessed already, than desire to do so, that they loved the darkness to which they the plantation of a tree is different from its silent growth were condemned, more than the light into which they had no when planted. possible hope of entering; it may be urged in reply, that to But the ordinary graces of the Spirit were not confined to be content with an inevitable condition, is a part rather wise the house of Israel alone. The Heathens themselves, as may than wicked; and that if it was in their power to love the be proved, both from heathen and sacred testimony, were by light, it was in their power to choose between the light and no means utterly devoid of them. In support, however, of the darkness.

this assertion, and, since the case of these last is, doubtless, For it is allowed on all hands, that the obstacle which con- extremely different from the cases of the Jews and ancient demns the reprobate to impenitence is seated in their will Patriarchs, it will be necessary, and it is not impossible to alone; and that, if they heartily desire to devote themselves demonstrate, first, that the circumstances in which they were to the service of Christ, that merciful Redeemer will in no placed were not different from those under which the Holy wise cast them away.

Ghost is actually promised ; and, secondly, that they have If Owen, therefore, teaches that the reprobate may choose evinced the reality of such assistance by the only proof of between light and darkness, he must either mean that they which the fact is ordinarily capable. have, without grace, power to make their option, (an asser- And here it will, in the first place, be readily conceded, tion which is Pelagianism no less explicit than that which that though we presume not to limit the undeclared and unealled forth the bitterest censures of Augustin,) or else, that covenanted mercies of the Most High, yet, in the ordinary grace is given them which they may optionally resist or im- course of his dealings with mankind, and, so far as those dealings are made known to us in the sacred writings, there me, By Plato the creation and directing care of the world must be always premised a certain portion of exterual infor- are repeatedly and expressly ascribed to him. By Aristotle mation, without which those internal suggestions of which his unity, his excellence, his omnipotence, and eternal acwe are speaking can have no previous principles to which totivity, are, with yet more precision of language, asserted and refer, no data on which to operate.

maintained. The same exalted notions of the divine nature It is true, and it should never be forgotten, that as the are inculcated in the preface to the Locrian Code, and the Spirit of God is the governing providence of the world, the various Pythagorean fragments preserved by Stobæus. Of Disposer of all earthly occurrences ; so the outward means of Seneca, and of Thales, as quoted by Cicero, the opinions are knowledge and of grace, no less than the spirit of internal sufficiently known, as well as the testimony of Menander improvement, are accorded to us by the same free bounty. reprobating the idolatry of his countrymen, and instructing But, where the first of these is denied, we cannot perceive by them that God is "every where, and that he beholdeth all any light either of nature or revelation how the second is to things.” And, though the Epicurean taint be sometimes, act on the soul. For as grace (this ordinary grace at least) unfortunately, visible in the philosophical writings of Cicero; of itself teaches nothing; for, it it did, it would, as we have yet, in the midst of all his contradictions and inconsistencies, already seen, be no less than miraculous inspiration : it must though the faith of the moralist himself may frequently, perground, as is plain, its awakening and supporting faculty on haps, be questioned ; yet is it apparent, that the public a reference to previous knowledge. And, consequently, be- decency and established opinion of his time, (and they are fore we can assign to the heathen world the inspiration of the sentiments of the people at large, not those of a single attention and of memory, it will be necessary to show that sceptical statesman, which I am here concerned to vindicate), such a knowledge was accorded them concerning the source forbade him to deny, in express words at least, the existence and measure of their duty, as, when faithfully received and of a Being such as is here represented. recollected seasonably, might enable them to render an ac- And that the God whom the heathen thus acknowledged ceptable service to their almighty Creator and Redeemer. as supreme was, in truth, the same with him whom all nature

Now that degree of previous knowledge on which a justi- ought to reverence, is apparent not only from the propriety of fiying faith may be founded, is, in the case of Enoch, stated their notions respecting his nature and attributes, but from by St. Paul to be the knowledge of God's being and attributes, the infallible testimony of St. Paul. “ He that cometh to God must first believe that he is, and That great Apostle of the Gentiles came not, if we believe that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him." his own express declaration, to reveal to them a new divinity, Unless, then, it can be satisfactorily shown, that the heathen but that God, whose existence their poets and their sages had had a knowledge of God, and that they believed in his jus- tanght, and whom they had themselves, in former ages, howtice and his power to reward men according to their works, it ever ignorantly, worshipped. He acknowledges that, among is apparent that, the foundation not being laid, we may vainly the darkest heathen, the Almighty had not left himself withlook for a superstructure; and that, so far as the lights ex- out a witness; and while, in the person of a jealous Hebrew, tend which are supplied by God in the sacred Volume, we he lays to the charge of the Gentile world that they glorified must not venture to ascribe even their fairest outward actions not God as became his nature, he admits, at the same time, to the ordinary assistance of God's grace. And if, on the and he grounds the criminality of their conduct on this adother hand, it shall appear, that the heathen did really pos- mission, that they were not without a knowledge of God. sess even this, the lowest rank of religious information, it is And, grievously as we must deplore the apparently unino less evident that we cannot, if we assent to the authority versal prevalence of idolatry and its consequent vices among of the Epistle to the Hebrews, deny them the possibility at them, yet must we, at the same time, remember, that a simileast of receiving the further aids of the Holy Ghost. lar depravation of manners had, not unfrequently, threatened

For when the Apostle tells us, that without this know-the extinction of religious truth among the ancient Israelites ledge, or lowest degree of faith, no man can come to God, he themselves. evidently implies, at the same time, the reverse of this pro- Amid the apostasy of these last, however, the Almighty position, and teaches us, that where this knowledge and faith failed not to preserve a remnant: and a similar remnant, as are possessed, a man may come to God, and like Enoch, is apparent by the works of their leading philosophers, had please him. Whether Enoch himself were better taught, is been also preserved among the heathen. a question which I need not now examine; and, however The heathen, therefore, imperfect as was the glimpse probable in itself, is that which is neither told us by St. Paul, which they continued to enjoy of the true God, his nature, nor was, perhaps, revealed to him. But St. Paul is reason- and his attributes, were at no time so entirely blind as to be ing from the fact of Enoch's acceptance with God, that he deprived of that saving degree of knowledge which is the must have enjoyed a saving knowledge of him; and, conse necessary groundwork for internal grace; and the apparent quently, the limits, at which he fixes the extent of such a and shining virtues of many among their number are an arguknowledge, must needs have been, how barely soever, suffi- ment that such grace was sometimes not denied them. From cient, in his opinion, to conduct its possessor to Paradise. its fruit the tree is recognized; and not only by the authority

But we know that a man cannot come to God except God of the gospel, but by the admission of the best and wisest draw him; that he cannot please God, nor persevere in holi- among the pagans themselves, are we taught that our mortal ness, excepting he have the gift of God's good Spirit, and it nature cannot, without the inspiration of God, be quickened must therefore follow, that the mere belief in a Deity, in his to acts of noble self-denial or to sentiments of genuine mojustice, his mercy, his power, is sufficient to entitle him to rality. the visitation and comfort of grace, and to raise him, through It is unnecessary, and it would be presumptuous, to recal grace, to a share in the mercies of Christ, and to the inherit- your attention to those maxims and precedents of heroic exance of the Christian heaven.

cellence with which our childhood and our youth are chiefly It remains then to be proved, that this knowledge was conversant; those lessons from which, next to the sacred really possessed by those ancient heathen nations, of which, oracles themselves, we form our tempers and enlarge our unas we are best acquainted with their history and writings, derstandings. But I may be allowed to observe, what is not we are enabled to speak with greatest certainty; and which, so generally noticed, that, like ourselves, the sages and heas they extended over the most populous and civilized coun-roes of antiquity were accustomed to ascribe whatever of either tries of the world, may be regarded as no insufficient specimen good or great or wise was found among men, to the influence of the general condition of mankind before the Messiah's of a present and pervading Deity. coming, no less than of those to whom from remoteness of The comedian Epicharmus, in a remarkable fragment presituation or from other causes not imputable to themselves, served by Clemens Alexandrinus, describes that inspiration of the light of the gospel has not hitherto arisen in glory. And, wisdom which proceeds from God, as the source of all truth if there be any tribes so savage as not to have attained the and of all knowledge necessary to man. Menander taught degree of religious knowledge which the Greeks and Ro- his countrymen, that “God himself is the understanding of mans enjoyed, we may leave, without alarm, a proportion so the virtuous. The Theages and Epinomis of Plato inculcate trifling to the indulgence of him from whose care neither the necessity of the Divine assistance and blessing on our idiots nor madmen are rejected ; and with whom, we may be endeavours, in terms little different from those which a Chrissure, external impediments are as ample an excuse as natural tian would employ in speaking of grace. Even Cicero exincapacity, for the ignorance of good and evil.

pressed his own opinion, or the opinion of his countrymen, That the ancient heathens acknowledged a divinity, the when he observed, that no man could attain to excellence Creator and Governor of the world, it would be, before my“ without a certain divine inspiration;" and the expressions present audience, a presumptuous waste of time to demon- of Seneca on this subject may be read with improvement and strate at the length to which the subject would naturally carry delight, by the most rational and pious among Christians. God is present with us,” are his words to Lucilius; "he The lofty strains of Pindar resounded through the streets of is with thee, he is within thee. This I say, Lucilius; a holy Elis and Corinth, and amid the promiscuous and crowded Spirit dwelleth within us, of our good and evil works the solemnities of republican festival. Menander was the darobserver and the guardian. As we treat him, so he treatethling of the Athenian stage : and the hymn which placed Harus; and no man is good except God be with him. Can any modius in the green and flowery island of the blessed, was rise above external fortunes, unless by his aid? He it is from chanted by the potter to his wheel, and enlivened the labours whom every good man receiveth both honourable and upright of the Piræan mariner. purposes."

And, as their professed incentives to virtue were thus perAnd is it possible that sentiments thus pious and rational fectly consistent with the expectation of spiritual aid ; so should be founded in superstition or delusion? Can carnal were there many of their habitual actions which would have pride or earthly wisdom have prompted confessions almost been utterly preposterous, if they had not originated in a faith evangelical? Or shall we esteem it a sinful feeling which that God rewardeth those who diligently seek him. induced these noble heathens to refer to the giver of goodness If the continence of Scipio, if the generosity of Aristides, if those sentiments and actions from which Christians might the noble self-devotion of Socrates to what he regarded as the take example ?. Ošx Sotir vöx estivöras mezgrnxxor! It can- will of heaven, be deduced (as heaven forbid they should be not have been flesh and blood which revealed to them their deduced!) from the whispers of ambition or of policy ; yet to dependance on the Deity: in the wreck of our nature, this what exciting cause, if not to a dependance on Providence, fragınent of God's image has not utterly fallen from its shrine; can we ascribe the prayers and sacrifices of antiquity ? Inand, as the beams of day enliven those with th warmth stitutions these, however obscured by superstitious pollution whose dimmer eyes cannot receive their perfect glory, so must or misdirected to false and foul divinities, which intimate, that Spirit, whose name the Gentiles knew not, have girded nevertheless, in their very essence and necessary elements, a them with secret blessedness.

sense of guilt, a desire of expiation, a confidence in that mercy It is urged, however, on the other hand, and the objection whose everlasting gates are open to receive the penitent. is as old as the time of St. Augustin, that the seeming vir- And, that some at least of the sacrifices offered by the heatues of the heathen were prompted by human motives only, then, were not offered to evil or imaginary beings; that there and not from any desire of pleasing God, or from any prac-were not wanting those, in ancient times, who regarded the tical application of that degree of knowledge, which they can- several greater divinities of Polytheism as only different titles not be denied to have possessed respecting him. But it is of the One Supreme; that, with by far the greater portion of one of the most generally acknowledged positions in Chris- the multitude themselves, an awful distinction was made betian ethics, that the searcher of our hearts does not form his tween the father of gods and men and the herd of subaltern judgment of our conduct by the outward action only, but by immortals; that, lastly, the name itself of Jupiter or Jove is, the fountain, yet more, from which those actions flow. And probably, nothing more than a corrupt pronunciation of Jehoit will follow, that a seeming good deed, if it be secretly vah; as Cudworth and others have long since elaborately prompted by self-interest, or passion, or pride, so far from shown, I need do no more than call to your recollection. Nor being lovely in the eyes of an Omniscient Being, may, in can it be doubted, that the common faith in a God and the proportion to the sordid nature of its motives, and not without universal institution of sacrifice are alike the relics of that a reference to the hypocrisy wherewith those motives are con- primeval and patriarchial religion, whose altars have smoked cealed, be an object of indignation and punishment. And this wherever man has passed to raise them; and which was apmay explain the apparently harsh assertion of Augustin, that pointed as a pledge of expected salvation, not to the Jews

the virtues of the heathen were only sins;" and may fully alone, but to every descendant of Adam. jastify the more guarded censure conveyed in the thirteenth Nor can we reasonably doubt that symbols of expiation, article of our church, on “works done before the grace of originally appointed or approved by the Holy Ghost, were Christ, and the inspiration of his Spirit.”..

available and helpful even to those who obeyed the form withIf, therefore, the apparent virtues of the heathen can be out understanding its inward mystery; who sought atonetraced to impure or earthly sources, it is obviously worse than ment for sin through the blood of unoffending animals, though idle to adduce such counterfeits of hieroism as proofs that they they were ignorant of the one great sacrifice of which their had the help of God's grace: and it behoves us to inquire by hecatombs were types and shadows. every light in our power, whether the principles of action by The Jews themselves, to whose holocausts we cannot deny which these ancient worthies were swayed, were really the a reflected efficacy, were, notwithstanding, if we rely on the same with those which only can proceed from celestial inspi-accordant authority of the whole New Testament, little better ration; a desire, that is, to serve and please the Almighty, acquainted than the Gentile world with those destined sufferand a practical faith that he is the “rewarder of such as dili-lings of the Messiah, to which their symbols bore a prophetic gently seek him.”

reference. Nor, has any reason as yet been offered, why the But, that we cannot, without a gross defect in that charity ignorant Gentile might not, as well as the ignorant Israelite, which " hopeth all things,” deny that such a principle was derive imparted blessedness from a faithful though unskilful to many, at least, of their actions, the main and master spring, use of those appointed means of grace which were ordained is apparent from the assertions of their poets as well as their because of offences, till that seed should come on whom the philosophers, who had no interest in ascribing to their coun- offences of the world were laid. trymen and contemporaries a motive with which no heart Between a type, indeed, and a sacrament, as the one is a could sympathize, nor could have themselves conceived or de- shadow of good things to come, the other a representation or scribed a motive of which their own hearts were altogether memorial of good things already received, the distinction is insensible.

of the same kind as that which exists between a prophecy The decrepid husbandman, who could not himself hope to and a history, of which the latter is nothing if it be not intelreap the harvest of his toil, was content, as we are assured by ligible and actually understood; but the former may be faiththe Roman moralist, to “labour for the gods who never die." fully and profitably used by those by whom its secret mean

To Plato, to Pindar, to the Grecian comic writers, the idea ing is either utterly unknown, or, at best, very imperfectly of a future retribution seems to have been ever awfully pres- comprehended. Thus, if the narrative of Moses were, as ent. “There is a God,” saith the captive in Plautus, by some have fancied, allegorical, it would, doubtless, be to whom our words and actions are both heard and seen; it shall those who knew not its hidden meaning a vehicle of falsego well with him who deserveth well, and he who doeth evil hood only; but the Apocalypse of St. John may be studied shall receive the like again :" and the fear of those gods " by with instruction, (and a blessing is promised to those who whom our good and evil deeds are remembered," was the meditate its prophecies), though they should understand erroargument which Virgil supposed best qualified to soften the neously, or not attempt to understand at all the several events hearts and conciliate the hospitality of a barbarous and sus- which are therein mysteriously shadowed, contented with picious people.

that general certainty which it every where inculcates, of the Nor is that true, which has been sometimes asserted in the providential care extended over good men, and the final triardoor of speculative controversy, that these motives of ac- umph of Christ's kingdom. tion, or the future life on which, mainly, they depend, were In a sacrament, accordingly, we acknowledge with gratiinvolved by the heathen in the gloom of their sacred colleges; tude that definite act of mercy whereby the Almighty has that they were the suspicions of their priests and sages only, already freed the world from the dreadful consequences or revealed, at times, and sparingly, to the perishing multi- of sin; and it is therefore absolutely necessary to our tude, through the " ivory gate” of symbolical ceremonies, worthy participation, that we should understand the evils and under the sanction of mysterious secrecy.

from which we are preserved, and the manner in which we The creed of poetry is always the creed of the vulgar. have been delivered. But in a typical sacrifice the penitent

VOL. II._2M

offender looked forward with humble hope to an undefined outward form is a symbol or representation of Christ's death, but implied atonement; and the means whereby this atone- we in like manner express our perseverance in our profession ment was to be effected, as they were a mystery as yet in the of faith once made; we implore the pardon of the Most High bosom of God, so a knowledge of their nature was, clearly, for our subsequent transgressions, and his grace to assist as not essential to those objects for which God had instituted for the time to come. But, though the forms enjoined be exthe prophetic ceremony.

pressive of those great events on which we found our hopes And, 'as the significant nature of the ceremony itself was, of heaven, yet is it to these events themselves, and not to no less than the uniform tradition of their ancestors, sufficient their images and material representations, that we look for evidence to the pious Gentile, that the Almighty had, for peace and pardon: nor is our use of the appointed form exwhatever reasons, appointed this mode of expiation for sin, so pressive of any thing else than our hearty desire and humble was it no less incumbent on the Gentile than the Jew to bring hope of grace and forgiveness. his oblations to the Most High: no less than the Jew, the The spirit and internal principle of sacrifice are the same Gentile might expect, through such atonement, forgiveness with those of prayer; as the last of these is often styled a from their common Father and Judge; and the piety and pen- vocal offering, so may the former be without impropriety deitence of the great family of mankind, no less than the fined as a silent entreaty; and sacraments, which are an obpiety and penitence of the chosen and peculiar nation, must lation of ourselves to God's service, and a token of our have proceeded from the Spirit of God.

desire that he would grant us his love and favour, no otherIf, then, these ordinary aids of grace, this internal influence wise differ from the expression of the same sentiments in by which alone we are enabled to profit from external means prayer, than as the language of ceremony and symbol differs of knowledge, have been accorded to many both of the Jews from the language of the tongue. But, as it is by convention and Heathens, it is plain that, in this sense at least of the only that either our actions or our words are significant, it expression, the fellowship of the Holy Ghost is no distinctive was, a priori, as natural that our heavenly Benefactor should badge or peculiar privilege of Christians, and it is still more appoint the one as the other to be expressive, in his presence, evident that such a benefit could not have been consistently of our wants and our affections. And as every benefactor has held forth by the Messiah as a compensation to his Apostles an undoubted right to determine what services he will refor his own departure from the world. For, as I have shown quire, and what acknowledgment he will receive; it follows, in a former Lecture, the continuance of one blessing is no that we are to approach the mercy seat of God in whatever compensation for the loss of another; and, doubtless, if to manner is most pleasing to him, and that we must thank him any of Jewish or Heathen race such salutary influence had been for past favours, and entreat his future protection in those accorded, the grace of God, which sarctifieth to salvation, words or by those ceremonies which he hath himself thought had not been denied to those who were called by Christ; fit to institute. who had through faith obeyed the call, and who, in the course To this we are bound under the implied and most righteous of the conversation here recorded, had been styled by God penalty of having our requests rejected, if, despising the orhimself, his friends.

dinance of God, we offer them in any other than the comI conclude, then, that the prophecy of Christ, which has manded form; and to this we are moved by the implied furnished a text for these discourses, is not fulfilled by the assurance of Christ, that, asking in the manner which he dispensation (however such bounty may be purchased for us himself has chosen, our prayer shall not return without its by his merits only) of the ordinary and sanctifying graces of answer. the Holy Ghost. It is, indeed, most true, (and for a reason It is therefore that, the ceremony of baptism performed, which will appear in the sequel), that this internal and gra- we proclaim with so much holy confidence that our prayers cious influence, as enjoyed by the Christian church, is more are already heard, and the neophyte even now adopted. It is mightily blessed to the salvation of souls than it ever was for this reason that, after the celebration of the eucharist, we in the days of old and while the veil was on the face of na- thank the Almighty for assuring the devout participant in ture. And it is also true that the event which has produced those holy mysteries, that he is a member incorporate into this important difference in its ordinary efficacy is no other the mystical body of his Lord: and it is in this well-founded than that very dispensation of God the Holy Ghost which hope that we style the Christian sacraments, in our public Christ has described, in his prophecy, as the advent of the Com-formularies of instruction, the pledges of our Master's love. forter. But I need not caution my present hearers aganst con- Not that we conceive any necessary or mysterious connexfounding the effect produced with the circumstance which has ion between the forms themselves and the grace of which produced it—and wherein this last named and peculiar bless- they are the outward image; far less that any overt and voling consists, is a question which will yet remain for discuss- untary action of our own can possibly be a proof or token of ion in a future lecture. The remainder of my present dis- the good will of another person towards us: but because the course must be chiefly employed in obviating two material words of Christ enjoining us to seek such blessings by such objections, which may, not impossibly, occur to several ceremonies are in truth a most ample pledge that our service among my auditors against the system which supposes God's thus rendered is acceptable to God, and that we are consesanctifying grace to have extended to the Jews and Heathens. quently entitled to look forward in humble confidence to the

That system, I am aware, may be accused of detracting blessing which we seek at his hands. The sacraments, acfrom the efficacy of sacramental ordinances, and even from cordingly, are styled the means whereby we receive grace; the necessity of faith in the peculiar doctrines of Christianity: not as if they were vehicles through which the Spirit of grace And as either one or the other of these imputations would thinks fit exclusively to convey his gifts to the hearts of men, be sufficient, if well founded, to overturn the most plausible but because they are the appointed medium of our devout and hypothesis, I am most anxious to show, before we proceed acceptable aspirations to his throne. They are not the means any farther in our inquiry, that neither the one nor the other whereby God gives us grace, but they are the means whereby are consequences with which my opinion is justly charge- we ask and obtain grace from God: and it is evident that we able; that this opinion is perfectly consistent with the im- cannot, if either the one or the other be wilfully neglected, portance of Christianity itself, and of the symbols whereby expect from our Maker either pardon of our sins, or that spirits mysterious benefits are represented; and that the value itual assistance whereby only we are enabled to serve and of both will be yet more firmly established, when disencum- please him. bered from those extraneous circumstances with which the Nor can any consideration more strongly evince the danindiscreet veneration of some learned men has adorned them. gerous error or still more perilous obstinacy of those who,

It will, in the first place, be readily acknowledged by the from mistaken principle refuse, or from fondness for the advocate of universal grace, that with us, to whom the know-world neglect, observances in themselves so rational, and ledge of the gospel is given, and who are called, by that commanded by such awful authority. merciful communication, to enrol ourselves in the army of From the correspondence thus explained between sacraChrist's faithful followers on earth, the sacraments which mental and devotional ordinances, it is evident that the pracChrist has ordained are not only the solemn and indispensa- tice of infant baptism may be defended on a different and, ble forms of expressing our allegiance and fidelity, but the perhaps, a more satisfactory ground than the usual arguments necessary and appointed means whereby we are to seek at derived from precedent and human authority. For whether God's hands for grace and hope and happiness. In baptism, the infant be a legitimate object of covenant or no, it is cerwhich is the outward sign or image of that death unto sin tain that he is a proper subject of prayer and intercession; and new birth unto righteousness, which we, through Christ, and the devoting of a child to the service of his Maker, and receive, we declare our faith in him, and our desire to be ad- the supplication that his heavenly King would dispose him mitted, through his merits, to the privileges which his death in due time to ratify those engagements, when, above all, our has purchased for mankind. In the eucharist, of which the own endeavours may by education mainly contribute to the end proposed, is a proceeding, surely, no less reasonable, left without sufficient grounds of peculiar exultation and grathan it is pious and affecting and charitable.

titude; nor shall we lose those motives which by every bond But it will also follow from the above definition of a sacra- of love and pity would induce us to labour in the conversion ment, that the necessity either of baptism or the eucharist of our heathen brethren. can only rest with those to whom their obligation is known, While we contend that the heathen have received such a and their observance possible; and that we cannot, on any measure of knowledge and of grace, as, when properly imprinciple of reason or revelation, exclude any part of mankind proved, may elevate some of them, through the merits of from those benefits which the blood of Christ has bought for Christ, to a seat even in the Christian paradise ; while we all, on the plea of inevitable or ignorant noncompliance with delight to reckon among our future associates in glory the the positive institutions of Christianity. Were it otherwise, wise and virtuous of every age and every country, it will the parallel would altogether fail between the rites of circum- not, therefore, follow, that more of the benighted multitude cision and baptism, the passover and the eucharist, inasmuch might not have been wise and virtuous, had they enjoyed the as the Jew was pardoned, who, during his abode in the wil- same advantages with ourselves. It will not follow that those derness, or, afterwards, from bodily infirmity, omitted the who sinned against the degree of light allowed them might former rite. Nor was the Holy Ghost at any time bestowed not have repented in sackcloth and ashes, had they known in more ample measure than on those prophets of Israel's those important truths of whose value we are so negligent, or captivity, who were, by their situation, effectually excluded that those, be they many or few, who have been snatched as from all participation in the appointed offerings for sin. brands from the burning, might not, with greater means of

And, though our Saviour insists, in his conference with improvement, have attained to greater blessedness. Nicodemus, on baptismal no less than spiritual regeneration An equality of gifts or graces is nowhere to be found in the as equally necessary to the character of a perfect Christian, analogy of nature or religion: nor is it any imputation on the yet does the whole tenour of his argument imply, that these justice or mercy of God, that, where enough is given to all, were not the same but different things; which, though neither he offers more to some than to others. But it is the duty of of them was, without the other, sufficient to make us mem- the favoured part to remedy this seeming partiality, and to bers of his church, might exist, nevertheless, distinctly and remember, that the more advantages have fallen to their with different individuals. And, in point of fact, and if we share, the more clearly are they marked out by the common take as our example the particular case of Nicodemus, so far parent as instruments of dispersion and distribution. The from internal grace being the effect of baptism only, this rich must feed the hungry, the seeing must conduct the blind; order appears to have been absolutely reversed, inasmuch as the Christian must join his efforts with the church towards a considerable spiritual change had already taken place in the illumination of heathen darkness. the Jewish Rab who acknowledged Christ to be a teacher And, while we indulge our gratitude for that unspeakable come from God, although his remaining prejudices or timid- gift of the Gospel whereby we are admitted to the inmost ity as yet forbade the public profession of this faith by sanctuary of mercy, and rendered spectators of those secret baptism.

springs of grace, from whose diffusive dews and larger chanOn the whole, if we admit that, to those whom God hath nels the universal earth derives fertility; let us remember, commanded thus to approach him, the sacramental ordinances that not as spectators only, should we approach the well-head are indispensable means of grace; it will from thence by no of salvation; and that, unless we drink more deeply of its means follow, that no other inlei of scriptural hope remains purer stream, the virtues of the heathen will hereafter be for those to whom such opportunities are denied : nor if, on reckoned to our shame, when they shall come from the east the other hand, we maintain, that his mercy may dispense to and from the west to sit down in the kingdom of God, and others, where he will, and freely, those powerful aids for when the men of Nineveh and the queen of the south shall which himself hath taught us to pray, can we therefore hope rise up against us in judgment! that our disobedience will meet with the same indulgence as I have now examined the most important, indeed the only their misfortune. The arm of God is not so short or feeble serious objection which occurs to me as likely to be urged as that his Spirit should be confined to those who after a par- against the doctrine of my present lecture; and have shown, ticular form desire it; but neither is the word of God so I trust, satisfactorily, both from profane and sacred testimony, changeable as that he can be expected to communicate or to that both Jews and Pagans may have been partakers like ourcontinue his sanctifying grace to the church on any other selves in the graces of the Holy Ghost, and inheritors with us, terms than those on which he first engaged to grant it. through Jesus Christ, of everlasting life and glory.

The importance, then, of the initiative and commemorative But from the facts which I have established, we are authorceremonies of our religion, as necessary means of asking and ized to deduce some important though incidental corollaries. obtaining God's help and favour, will remain more firmly 1st. While by expressly attributing to the grace of God fixed than ever; though they will be deprived, perhaps, of every single instance of good, whether done or thought, or that unreasonable dignity which assigns to them not only a spoken, we cut up by the roots all human pride, and all tenrelative value as expressions of our faith and hope, but a dency to Pelagian error, it is apparent that we exhibit in a yet positive efficacy which no act of our own, except with this clearer point of view the improbability of that opposite syslimitation, can claim. Nor is the awful danger which be- tem, which supposes that sanctifying grace is, wherever belongs to a perverse rejection of revealed religion, impaired or stowed, irresistibly exerted ; and which, by referring our desslighted by the defender of that hypothesis which admits the tiny to a previous infallible decree, would leave to the human uninstructed heathen to a share in God's sanctifying grace: will but an empty name of freedom. For since no single innor are the blessings undervalued which follow from a faith- stance can be found in Scripture where the title of Elect is ful profession of that doctrine which maketh wise to eternal assigned to any other than Christians, and since it is assigned glory.

in the Epistles of St. Paul to communities of Christians geneBetween inevitable ignorance and a wilful refusal of offered rally and without exception; it must follow that it denotes knowledge, the difference is great indeed. And, though the some privilege in which all Christians and Christians only help of the Most High has sometimes girded those who participate. But if there be certain heathens from whom have been constrained, in the darkness of heathenism, to seek sanctification to eternal life is not withheld, and if there be after a God whom they knew not, what hope is left for him certain Christians (as is too lamentably and familiarly known) who hath done despite to the Spirit of grace, and hath openly who, by their own ingratitude, have lost all claim to this inrejected that Prince and Saviour by whom and for whose estimable privilege, it must follow that the election spoken of sake the power is given to repent, and repentance rendered by St. Paul has reference to some other blessing than that with available !

which the followers of Augustin are accustomed to identify it. But error of all kinds, even conscientious or invincible Nor can any doubt remain, that the only privileges to which error, can never be accounted any other than a very great and this election applies are a knowledge in this world of God's grievous misfortune. From such, though grace be not with more perfect will

, and a share in the comforts of the gospel ; held, yet (as the strength and character of the motives and a preference, no doubt, sufficiently great to call forth our unprinciples which that grace recalls to our mind must depend bounded gratitude, but which does not extend so far as to on our previous knowledge) it will follow, that the support give us the exclusive possession of our heavenly Father's love of the Holy Ghost as promised to Christians must be of and mercy. greater and more blessed efficacy than any which the heathen But, the distinction once removed which confines to Chriscan look for.

tians only the sanctifying grace of God, no reason can be Nor, though the state of these last be freed, on this hypo- given why such grace should be restricted to any particular thesis, from thar hopeless abandonment to which some mis- persons, either among the Heathens, Christians, or Jews; or judging Christians have consigued them, is the Christian why the merciful patience of God which leads us to repent:

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