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generally understood; it would
ward solid enjoyment, and the main object professed to be aimed at is missed; but in the latter, the most substantial and refined pleasure is obtained, and the most valuable object infallibly secured. How necessary is it then to commence a religious course with right views of its nature, and what the blessed God requires of his creatures in order to their everlasting felicity. The good word of God must be our only rule, and the assistance of his Holy Spirit must be earnestly and constantly sought, to enable us to understand it aright, and great care incessantly taken that we "lean not to our own understandings," nor trust to our purblind reason, which, with all our powers, is corrupted and impaired. It is an important maxim in the Christian Revelation, which deserves our most serious regard, that, if any man would be truly and savingly wise, let him first become a fool.
How poor are the pretensions of those persons to religious character, who withhold from God their hearts; and how vain and fruitless are their endeavours to please him, while destitute of the "faith that worketh by love." A heartless faith is not only vain and insufficient, inasmuch as it fails in being acceptable to God, but it affords no satisfaction or comfort to the mind of him who attends to it so superficially. The heart is not interested, swayed, and governed by it; lively feelings are not excited; that peace and joy" which attends sincere believing are not secured; and the duties attempted to be practised, must be a mere drudgery, a painful servi- There are many significant extude, produced by a slavish fear of pressions contained in the New God's displeasure, rather than from Testament, which are designed to a sweet sense of his love and give us a correct idea of the true favour, and a lively hope of eternal nature of religion in the soul, felicity. But when God is en- which shew it to be an inward joyed as the portion of the soul, and deep thing, that affects and and the heart is surrendered to influences all the powers of the him, and possessed by him; the man; and which, if they were person feels himself sweetly con- properly studied and regarded, strained and impelled by the force would prevent men from being of a grateful affection, to do the satisfied with that superficial thing, will of God. Devotion will then so frequently, but improperly debe pleasant, duty will be easy, the nominated religion. Thus it is deportment will be consistent, and called having "a new heart the most powerful sacrifices it re-created, and a right spirit renewed quires for the glory of God, and in us," Psal. li.-the being made the securing of immortality will be "God's workmanship, created anew found practicable. In the former in Christ Jesus unto good works," case, the conduct is constrained; Eph.ii. 10.-"becoming new creabut in the latter voluntary and tures, old things passing away, and free:-in the former, duty is irk-all things made new," 2 Cor. v. 17. some; in the latter, it is pleasant"learning the truth as it is in Jesus; and desirable:-in the former, it is putting off the old man, and puttinterrupted, inconstant and uncer-ing on the new, which after God tain; in the latter, it is uniform, is created in righteousness and true regular and persevering:-in the holiness," Eph. iv. 23, 24.—“being former, it is attended with no in- begotten of God's own will by the
for thy ignorance in this matter? couldst thou ever look one quarter of an hour into the Bible, and not meet with some intimation of this truth? What was the ground of thy mistake? What hath beguiled thee into so mischievous a delusion? How could such an imagination have place in thy soul? that a child of wrath by nature would become a child of God without receiving a new nature? That so vast a change could be made in thy state, without any at all in the temper of thy spirit !"
word of truth," Jam. i. 18.-" hav ing Christ formed in us," Gal. iv. 19.-"partaking the divine nature," 2 Pet. i. 4.-" possessing the incorruptible seed, the word of God," 1 Pet. i. 1.-" born of God, spirit of spirit," John iii. 6.-" passing from death unto life." 1 John. iii. 14. The above Scriptures do plainly hold forth the necessity of a real change to be made in the inward temper and dispositions of the soul; and not a relative one only, respecting its state. When a person's eternal blessedness depends upon the experience of what is con- , Religion is not only necessary to tained in the above passages, ought enable us to glorify our maker, and he not to be very careful that he secure everlasting happiness; but understand them aright, that he also to enable us to subserve those rest short of nothing that scripture valuable purposes for which we makes indispensably necessary to are placed and preserved in society. his entering into the kingdom of It includes the graces of meekness, God? Notwithstanding the lan- humility, benevolence, forgiveness, guage of Scripture is so expressive forbearance, &c. How amiable and striking, and such as is cal- do these render a person in the culated to alarm the conscience of estimation of all who have any every reader; how few, compara-perception or relish for that which tively, are excited by them to seri-is right and good! How much do ous enquiry, and close examina- they contribute to make him respec tion; though they are assured able and useful; respectable in the without holiness, no man shall see view of all whose opinion is of any the Lord; and, except a man be value; and useful as far as the inborn again, he cannot see the king-fluence of his example and active dom of God. What surprising endeavours extend! Were all prostupidity and deadness of heart! fessing Christians to act under the Under this view, an eminently influence of divine truth, breathe pious and judicious writer ex- the spirit of the gospel, live claims; "Lord! that so plain a their privileges, and exemplify thing will not enter into the hearts those virtues they profess to hold of men; that such urgent inculca- important, how greatly would the tions will not yet make them ap- state of society be changed, and prehend that their souls must be what an increase of happiness renewed or perish! that they will would be secured! still go dreaming on with that mad "God is a Spirit," and they conceit, that (whatever the word who desire to worship and serve of God says to the contrary) they him acceptably, must serve him might with unsanctified hearts get" in spirit and in truth." My to heaven! How deplorable is the son," he says, "give me thy heart." case, when men have no other An inspired Apostle speaks of hope left them, but that the God "doing the will of God from the of truth will prove false, and bely heart;"-that" without love we his word; yea, and overturn the are nothing;" and that "whatnature of things to save them in soever we do, whether we eat or their sins! Thou that livest under drink, we should do all to the *he gospel, hast thou any pretence glory of God." The discovery
which God has made to men, of his mercy and goodness in the gospel, and especially in the gift of his Son, as a sacrifice for the sins of the world; and the free and gracious offers of pardon, reconciliation, and eternal life, in and through him, is peculiarly calculated to interest and engage the heart, and secure the entire possession of it to God. This is what he designs by it; and a cordial and appropriating faith in and reliance on Christ, never fails to effect it. Hence the sincere believer feels himself renewed, his heart is purified; he is created anew unto good works. Being made free from sin," by a reliance on Christ as his Saviour, "he becomes the servant of God, has his fruit unto holiness, and his end everlasting life." The love of God in Christ, clearly perceived, and firmly believed, on the testimony of God's own word, sweetly disposes, and powerfully constrains him to live, not to himself, but to him that died for him and rose again. Thus also believing in and relying upon the Lord Jesus Christ, as offered to him in the gospel, as his Saviour; and eternal life in him; he takes the promises to himself, ventures his everlasting all upon them, appropriates the comfort contained in them, and has peace and joy in believing." "Whom not having seen, he loves, in whom, though now he see him not, yet believing, he rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory." For, "he that hath the Son hath life," is "delivered from condemnation," and "shall not perish but live for ever." He is thus filled with love, peace, and joy; and the prevailing desire of his heart is to please and glorify God.
unto himself; the proper impress of it therefore is, the actual reconciliation of the soul to God through Christ; a friendly well affected posture of spirit towards God, our last end, and highest good; and towards Christ our only way of attaining and enjoying it. To rest therefore in any other good dispositions or endowments of mind, is as much beside the business, as impertinent to the present purpose, as if one designed to the government of a city, should satisfy himself that he hath the skill to play well on a lute; or he that intends physic, that he is well seen in architecture. The general scope and tenor of the gospel tells thee, O man, plainly enough, what the business is thou must intend in order to thy blessedness. It is written to draw thee into fellowship with the Father and the Son, that thy joy may be full. It aims at the bringing thee into a state of blessedness in God, through Christ; and is therefore the instrument by which God would form thy heart thereto. The seal by which to make the first impression of his image upon thee; which will then as steadily incline and determine thy soul towards him, as the magnetic touch ascertains the posture of the needle. Wherefore doth he there discover his own heart, but to melt, and win, and transform thine? The word of grace is the seed of the new creature."
The notions commonly entertained of religion are extremely superficial and absurd. Many will say, "If I pay every man his due, and do no harm to any; and if, in addition to these, I go to church on a Lord's day, and read a chapter or two in the Bible; this is as much as is required, and there is no reason to doubt my being saved." But can such have seri
This divine process in the soul, "is no other than the proper adequate impress of the gospel dis-ously read their Bibles; Are such covery upon men's spirits. The the views that the scriptures give Sum of that discovery is, that God us of what is necessary to the atis in Christ reconciling the world tainment of everlasting life? All
according to the known rules of
that such a profession contains
[To be concluded in our next.]
REMARKS ON THE BOOK OF
To the Editor of the New Evangelical
While all christians agree
behalf of his guilty people; and of similar import with the voice from the excellent glory, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," they have considered them as applicable chiefly to David and others of the people of God, in a limited sense as they say. When the persons to whom I allude, meet with the Redeemer's complaints of sorrow, on account of the hidings of his Father's countenance, when he was made a sinoffering for us; they suppose these to be the experiences of David, and other saints; and well calculated to soothe the minds of those, who profess to know the joyful sound; but who are not walking in the light of God's countenance. I take this to be an awful perversion of the scriptures. But you, sir, have probably seen more clearly than I have, the many abuses of the book of Psalms; and perhaps you will pardon me for requesting that you, or some of your intelligent friends, will favour us with something on this subject, in your useful work.
I am, Sir,
Montrose. Sept. 5, 1816.
P. S. BY THE EDITOR.
The Editor agrees with the foregoing correspondent in his general remarks on this subject, and has often witnessed, much to his regret, the evil of which the writer com plains. He remembers, not long ago, hearing a sermon delivered from Psal. xl. 1-3, in which those remarkable words, so strikingly characteristic of the sorrows of our Divine Redeemer, when he sank in deep waters and the floods overflowed him, applied without reserve to the private experience of professors under the hidings of God's countenance (as they term it), while their application to the Messiah was never once mentioned; though we have the authority of the apostle Paul for saying that
this Psalm has an immediate reference to him. Compare ver. 6-8. with Heb. x. 8, 9, 10. Of preachers of this description, one can scarcely forbear saying, that "the vail is yet upon their hearts." Notwithstanding this manifest error, the Editor is of opinion that there is another class of Christians (the Glassites or Sandemanians), who appear to him to run the matter into the opposite extreme, and who can find nothing else but Christ in the Psalms. Thus according to them, the hundred and nineteenth Psalm is from first to last, a description of the state of the Messiah's heart; though they have not condescended to tell us how upon their principles we are to explain such passages as the following, "Before I was afflicted I went astray," &c. ver. 67. " I have gone astray like a lost sheep,” &c. ver. 176.
To the Editor of the New Evangelical
Whatever may be the obligations of the Ladies of Great Britain, or their expressions of gratitude to the Rev. Mr. Cox, I think very little is due to you for your severe animadversions on his work, and on the Female character and station; for notwithstanding your professions of attachment, &c. you seem to wish to reduce us to such an inferior station as is little short of menials or children. But let it be remembered, that Females are of the same order of species and of the same nature as Men, and sometimes possess powers of Mind superior to their husbands; and would you have Wisdom govern'd by Folly, and a Woman implicitly follow the directions and yield to the controul of a Man who is unfit to guide? But the Editor is a Man; and so was Paul. But if the Woman was created for the Man, I infer also that the Man could not do without the assistance