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which deep penitence has expref “ but I cannot behold him ;
he fed it felf, in every period of the “ hideth himself on the right Christian church. Time was, “hand, that I cannot see him. when Peter could confidently say “ Othat I knew where I might to Chrift, “ Though all men deny“ find him !" And of David : thee, yet will not 1.” But after “ Why ftandeft thou afar off, O his fall, we hear no more of this “ Lord, why hideft thou thyself, vain confidence. When the risen “ in times of trouble ?" of the Saviour demands of him, “ Love church : “Wherefore hideft thou “eft thou me more than these ?" “ thy face and forgetteft our afHe modestly answers. “ Thou “ fiction and our oppression ?" I knowest that I love thee," with fought him, whom my soul out drawing others, to their dir
Sloveth, I sought him, but I advantage, into comparison with 66 found him not." And of our himself.
blessed Saviour, when expiring on Chriftians have to fight not on the cross : “ My God, my God, ly against flesh and blood, but a. “ why haft thou forsaken me ?” gainit principalities and powers ; The act of God, in withdrawing and, as they advance in the Chrif- himself, does not necessarily imply tian course, they are more and fin in the subject, for Christ, who more sensible that they are utterly experienced this withdrawment, unable to contend with the powe knew no fin. In relation to him, ers of darkness in their own however, it was both retributive strength, that they can maintain and disciplinary ; retributive, as the combat and gain the vi&tory it was no small part of the penalty only by taking to themselves the of God's law which he suffered, whole armour of God, and that in expiating our fins ; disciplinary, Satan submits to no power, but to as he learned obedience by the that of the great captain of their things which he suffered ; but, in falvation.
relation to the faints, it feems to Add to this, God is pleafed, as be disciplinary only, and no part a sovereign, to afford, or to with of the penalty of the law. It is draw his comforting presence, as designed for the advancement of the peculiar state of his people re- their best good; it teaches them quires ; when he favors them with effectually their absolute dependthe light of his countenance they ence on God, for all their spiritrejoice, and when he withholds it, ual enjoyments, and the worth of they languish and mourn ; and the divine presence ; it prepares faints, in all ages, have, at times, them for lively exercises of graticomplainedof the hidingsof God's tude and joy, on its return, and face. Having had some discove- fits them for the work of eternal ries of the divine glory, the full praise, when faith shall be swalvifion and fruition of God is their lowed up in vision. fupreme desire, and the withhold
OMICRON. ing of it their greatest grief. (To be continued.) Thus, in particular circumstances, it is the language of Job : “Be Nymphas to Sofipater. « bold, I go forward, but he is (Contin. from Vol. II. p. 453.) " not there ; and, backward, but
LETTER III. “ I cannot perceive him ; on the S there not something surpri“ left hand, wliere he doth work, fing and awfully affecting in
the conduct of professors of the-/ er. How wonderful is our luke: present day, with respect to the warmness in this grand business! salvation of others Is not the How aftonishing is it that we do language of Cain the very lan- so little and are so little engaged.! guage of many, Am I my broth Our aftonishment in view of our er's keeper? Is it not truly won- feelings and conduct, with refderful, that we feel such a cold pect to the falvation of our felindifference about their eternal sal- low finners must rise much higher, vation; and in fact do so little to when we consider what infinite pluck them as brands out of the love has done to save man. God burning, and prevent their utter the father has given and set forth ruin? When we turn our atten. his dear and well beloved Son, to tion to them as being formed ra- be a propitiation, that whosoever tional creatures, furnished with believeth in him should not perish noble and immortal powers, in but have eternal life. With reftheir nature adapted to please and erence to this the son of God has glorify their God and Saviour and become incarnate, fulfilled ali to promote their own and the high-righteousnefs, and humbled himeft present and eternal good of his self and become obedient to death, moral kingdom, the worth of the the painful ignominious death of soul rises beyond the loftieft con- the cross. With respect to this, ceptions of Angels. Creatures the holy spirit exerts his almighty formed with such powers, furnifh-energy in convincing of fin, righted for the noblest service and for cousnessand judgment, and in shewenjoying the highest kind of bles- ing Christ to them and if unwilfedness, are of some real worth, ling, making them willing to reeven on supposition their existence nounce the world, to forsake all would terminate with this momen- and follow Christ. With respect tary life. Of what incomparable to this, prophets, apostles, evanworth must they then be, if after gelifts, pastors and teachers have as many millions of ages have rol been given, and the Golden Cans led away, as there are sands on dlefticks have been set up in the the sea Thore or drops of water in world, and divine ordinances have the ocean, their eternity is but be- been instituted. With respect to ginning ? How can it appear to this, angels are ever on the wing. us a matter of such indifference Can we think for a moment on whether creatures of such incom- what the father of mercies has parable worth, be saved or loft done and of his unspeakable gift? forever? For there is no other al. Can we read the memoirs of the internative. If they are not saved, carnation, the obedience and sufthey will certainly be loft. Is it ferings, life and death of the adopoflible, looking on any individu- rable son of God, how he agonial in the circle of pur acquaint-zed in the garden and poured out ance, if we can think it a matter his soul in tears and blood, on the of little importance whether he be accursed tree, and not feel amazeuseful and happy even through ment in view of our failings and life ? Much rather, it would seem conduct, that we are so languid, impossible that we can feel a cold so very lukewarm in our endeavors indifference whether he should be to save fouls from eternal death, useful and happy forever and ev- and hide the multitudes of their
fins ? Truly I am a wonder to the facred three have done and are myself, that I am so loft to all doing in the prosecution of this feeling and tender concern for my work, the intereft which the infellow finners, who are rushing on habitants of heaven take in the in a mad career into the devouring falvation of finners, for “ there flames and am disposed to do so is joy in heaven over one finner little. May we not blush and that repenteth,” and the zeal of hide our heads for shame, that the Apostles and the first Chriswe so little resemble the father of tians, upbraid our stupor, and call mercies ; that we are fo exceed-upon us to engage in this business ingly unlike him whom we call our according to its importance. If Lord and master, who came from we saw finners surrounded in the the bofom of delights to that very Aames of their houses, should we cross to save finners, and is now not fiy to their relief and do every high enthroned and vested with u- thing which could be done? And niversal dominion that he might should we not much rather exert deliver poor finners from fin, death ourselves to save them from everand hell and raise them to the lasting burnings? Their danger heights of blessedness in heavenly is great and pressing, the world, places ?
the flesh and the devil, are comYea, shame may cover us that bined to effect their destruction. we fall fo far behind the apostles And alas ! The poor creatures, and the first churches, in the zeal are in general, in a death-like sleep, we employ in this momentous bu- fearless of danger. What a great finess. They breathed the very and blessed thing would it be, if spirit of their divine master and we, thro' the Lord's grace might closely followed him in their pain- be instrumental, in saving even ful labors and travels for the fal- one of our fellow finners from vation of finners. What ardor misery? of foul did the great apostle Paul Let us put on Christ, and inbreathe ? How glorioufly did he bibe large measures of his fpirit exert himself? Nothing seemed to and follow him, let us imitate the him too much to do and suffer in example he has left us, of the this all-important business. In kindeft
, tenderest love to souls ; transacting this he was undismay- let us keep him in view and like ed in the view of the most thrcát him let us be ready to make any ening danger. In prosecuting facrifice in such a cause, and be this, he was willing to spend and ready to do and suffer as we have be spent-yea to spill the last drop ability and opportunity, for the of bis blood. Nothing was fuf- salvation of fouls, and finally ficient to damp his ardor, or di. may we shine in that kingdom of vert the current of his endeavors. our father, among those who win His very soul was all love to fine fouls and turn many to righteousners, and he was indefatigable in ness. Yours, &c. his labors for their salvation. His fellow laborers and the first churches of the saints breathed the fame On the moral imperfeétion of Chrif
tians. lovely spirit and followed him as he followed Chrift, and nobly exerted themselves in the fame IT is a clear cafe, that Chrif
tians are morally imperfect, rious business. The grand things and that, while in this life, they
have much remaining fin. This ly say, “ I have no sin." But the moral imperfection of Christians apoftle says, 1 Jolin, i. 8. If we must consist, either in the inconto fay that we have no fin, we deftancy of their holy exercises—inceive ourselves; and the truth is difting exercises of a different and not in us." opposite nature at the same time—or, 2. If Christians are perfectly in moral imperfe&tion in their boly ex- holy in this life, excepting that, ercises themselves. We can con at times, their holiness is interceive of no other, than one of rupted by some sinful affection, it there ways, wherein Christians can is not readily discerned why they fail of moral perfection. If it may not, also, be perfectly free from be in the firs, it is to be fupposed erroneous opinion. As all necefthat the holy affections they ex-fary truth is clearly and perfectly ercise are perfealy holy, but inter- revealed, in the holy fcriptures ; rupted by affections, which are and, the revelation altogether a. wholly and totally finful. If it dapted to the natural capacities of be in this that the moral imperfec- men, it may not be admitted that tion of Christians confifts, the fol. an unprejudiced mind will ever lowing confequences muft be ad- misunderftand or pervert divine mitted, viz.
truth : But on the other hand, · 1. That growth in grace, ex as our Savior says, Matt. vi. 22. cepting such improvement as will “ If thine eye be single, thy be in Chriftians after they arrive « whole body ihall be fulloflight.” to a state of perfection never again on the same ground he said ato be interrupted by fin, .confifts gain, John vii. 17. in the nearer approach to conftancy man will do his, (God's) will, of holy exercises. That it is the “ he shall know of the doctrine, duty of Chriftians to grow in " whether it be of God, or whethgrace—that they are frequently“ er I speak of myself.” The exhorted to it, in the word of apostle fays, allo, i Cor. xii. 7. God-and, that they in fact do, that “ love believeth all things. will not be denied. This growth We might, therefore, rationally in grace muft imply a nearer ap- expect perfect harmony in fentiproach to freedom from fin. But ment, among Christians ; as, alas their holy exercises are already fo, perfect brotherly love.-free from fia, the exhortation can Should it be said, that this perbe complied with only by their be- fect harmony in sentiment, and ing less frequently interrupted by perfect brotherly love, are presuch as are finful. And if the vented by sinful affections, which, Christian's growth in grace imply at times, intervene ; it may be a less frequent interruption of ho- replied, this would not prevent ly affe&tions, nothing appears to perfect harmony of fentiment forbid the expectation of an urin- and affection during the period, terrupted fucceffion of perfectly however long, of the succeffion holy exercises, in Christians, for of holy affections. But when days, months, and even years. those exercises, or that train of exAnd whenever this shall be the ercises take place, which, by supcase, the Christian arrives to all position, are totally finful, how that finlese perfection the greatest widely Christians may differ, in enthufrafts ever imagine attainable sentiment, is utterly uncertain : in the present state, and may tr-| As, also, whether any erroneous
" If any
belief whatever, be inconfiftent1 John, iji. 9. Peter, also, with the subject's being a child of speaks of Christians, as being God-But this much is certain, born, not of corruptible, but of they would be totally destitute of incorruptible feed, by the word brotherly love ; and would be just of God, which liveth and abideth as the scriptures describe wicked forever. 1 Pet. i. 23. This feed men, bateful and hating each other. must be the spirit of God, or ho
3. If the holy affections of ly love in the heart. And if it Christians are perfect, and entire- remain in him who is born of God, ly free from fin, no good reason, so that he cannot fin, it must be it is conceived, can be given, why that he is never without it-nevany one, who is born of God, er wholly destitute of it, after it. hould be without the full assurance is implanted in him.-- If he be evof hope. Perfect love to God and er wholly without it, and fin with to our fellow-men is so entirely the whole heart, as wicked men diftinct, in its nature, from any do, how can it with truth and justhing ever found in the natural tice be said, that God's feed re. keart, and so totally opposite to mains in him and that he cannot sin. it, that it cannot be mistaken. 5: To suppose the moral im. We may as well suppose, that a perfection of Christians to consist person inftantaneously restored in the inconftancy of their holy exfrom perfect blindness, to full and ercises, seems not consistent with clear vision, should feel uncertain the representation the scriptures whether he see the sun; as, that give of the struggle and warfare, one restored from perfect moral which Christians have within blindness, to perfect spiritual light, themselves. The apostle speaks fould feel uncertain whether, or of fleshly lusts warring against the not, he beheld the glory of God. soul, 1 Pet. ii
. 11. And Paul, Yet the apostle represents the full speaking of Christians, says, Gal. allurance of hope to be the fruit v. 17., « The flesh lufteth against of diligent application to duty. “ the spirit, and the spirit against Heb. vi. 11." And the asurance “ the flesh : And these are conof our calling and election is fpo- “trary the one to the other ; so ken of, 1 Pet. i. 10. as the ef- “ that ye cannot do the things fect of diligence. These passa- “ that ye would.” And that this ges imply, that the assurance of contrariety of luftings or desires hope, and of our calling and elec- in the same mind, does not consist tion, does not accompany the first in the perfect opposition of difgracious exercises, which take ferent and successive affections to place in the heart of one, who is cach other, appears from what born of God; but that it is the the same apostle says of himself, fruit, only of a fuccession, and Rom. vii. 21. « I find then a an increasing strength and purity“ law, that when I would do good, of holy affections.
“ evil is present with me.” But 4. That the exercises of the while the affections are perfectly Christian's affections should be at holy, evil is not at the same time any time wholly and totally finful, present : Nor is the power of is a supposition, which does not temptation in any measure felt. accord with what the apostle af- Were the exercises of holiness and ferta of him, who is born of God, fin, as taking place at differert viz. that his feed remaineth in him, "times in Chriftians, both perfet Vol. III. No. 1.