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kingdom of grace or real holiness, bly from within ourselves as from is at first exceedingly small in the without. And the most triking hearts of Christians, though by a expressions of a sense of linfulgradual increase it finally fills the ness, which are recorded in the whole heart, and subdues every bible, came from persons, who thing to itself.— The truth of this had made confiderable progress in idea, however, that holiness is at a holy life. Job, after his trials first so exceedingly small
, does not had proved the reality and holy rest entirely on such a dubious ap- nature of his religion, says, “I plication of scripture, but is fúl. abhor myself and repent
as in duft ly evident from several other con- and ashes :" Isaiah, after being fiderations : -as,
favored with some remarkable dil1. Christians may continue to coveries of the majesty of God, grow in grace many years, and cries out, “ woe is me, for I am yet be far from a state of perfec- a man of unclean lips :" And tion. That Christians ordinarily Paul, after many years diligent grow in grace is plain from many profiting in the school of Chrift, passages in fcripture : “The path exclaims, “O wretched man that of the just” we read “shineth I am, who shall deliver me from more and more until the perfect the body of this death ?” And day”—and, “ the water, that I with this agrees the experiences shall give him," says our Saviour, of Christians in all ages : They “ shall be in him, a well of water are at first ready to think, that springing up into everlafting the victory is accomplished, but life.” It is equally plain, also, they foon learn, that they have tliat after a long life of growth in but just entered the conteft.-grace Christians are very imper. Now if this be true, must it not fect : Many years after his con- be, that they at first estimated version, the apostle Paul could say, their comparative finfulness very * wretched man that I am, who erroncously? That their finful. shall deliver me from the body of ness was much greater than they this death ?” And this perfectly supposed, and, on the contrary, agrees with Christian experience: the kingdom of grace much smallAfter the longest life spent in the er? This argument receives adservice of God, under the great- ditional force from this confidereft advantages, and with the most ation, that, during all this time, unwearied application, Christians in which this finfulness had been invariably find, that their holy af- apparently increafing in their own fections are still in a very imper- view, they had been, perhaps, in fect fate. And how could this fact growing in grace; so that be, unless these holy affections the kingdom of grace in their were at first exceedingly small. hearts was, perhaps, never greater,
2. As Christians grow in grace than when they have the greatest they usually grow in a fense of sense of their own sinfulness. How their own finfulness. Our Sa- exceedingly small, then, muit it viour taught, “if any man should have been at first? How fitly is it put his hand to the plough and compared to a grain of mustard look back, he would not be fit seed?for the kingdom of God;" there But how, it is asked, does this by teaching us to be prepared for agree with the appearance of unexpected trials, as well probas young converts ? Are not their
thoughts and affections fixed moft , liverance, are exceedingly thankon fpiritual things at firft? Is not ful to our deliverer, and are very their zeal and engagedness in re ready to make him fome grateful ligion, then, the greatest ? And return : And, why should not a how is this consistent with the deliverance from eternal danger, idea, that their holy affections by the power of God, have a are so exceedingly small ?- In similar effect? Christians are sancanswer to this enquiry, the fol- tified but in part, much selfishness lowing things may be observed. still remains in them, and, there.
1. The peculiar fituation of fore, may we not well suppose young converts puts a remarkable that a considerable part of their check upon their finfulinclinations. I apparent love for God, and engaThis is evidently the cafe under gedness in his service, is the fruit conviction : The course of their of selfishness, rather than of true conduct is then totally altered. benevolence ? Much of their time is now spent 3. The first zeal and engagedin reading the word of God, in nefs of young converts invariably calling upon him in prayer, in at- subfides, after a certain time, and tending religious meetings, and gives place to a calm, steady and in conversing or reflecting upon rational observance of the divine the concerns of eternity; and this commands. From this we must change is not the effect of any re- suppose, either that Christians, al holiness of heart, but merely of instead of growing, do invariably, those views, which they now have after a little time, decay ; or, of themselves, and their fituation. that there is much more of the apThese views give a present check pearance of true religion in young to all their sinful inclinations, and converts at first, than of the real. make them appear almost totally ity. And is not the latter much different persons, from what they the moft fcriptural supposition ? were before. And may it not be, | And is not this supposition furthat the influence of this check ther countenanced by this, that continues for a considerable time, whenever persons after conviction after the kingdom of grace has attain a false hope, they invariabeen set up in their hearts ? May bly have the same appearance as not, therefore, a considerable por- the real converts ? The fame attion of their attention to things tention to fpiritual things, the of a religious nature be confidered same zeal for God, the same enas the effect of this check, rather gagedness in promoting his cause? than the fruit of real holiness? But notwithstanding all this, it is
2. The recent and remarkable not supposed that they have in deliverance, which they have ex- their breafts a fingle spark of diperienced, is such as must have a , vine grace to light up this
appearpeculiar influence upon their nat ance, and therefore, when the ural feelings, and produce, in this ferment of their natural feelings way, much of the appearance of has fubsided, all is gone. May it true religion. If we have been in not be, then, that during the first any great temporal danger, and engaged and zealous period of the experienced a remarkable deliver- real converts, true grace or real hoance, it always has a great effect liness in his heart, is like a mufa upon our feelings and conduct. tard seed, exceedingly small, and, We rejoice exceedingly in our de at the fame time, so greatly obscu
Vol. III. No. 6.
red by the rubbish of natural affec-The obligation of children to be kind tions, as scarcely to be perceived.
and attentive to their parents, para The view which we have ta. ticularly addrescd to those who ken of this subject, suggests a have parents in the decline of life. féw important reflections.
1. Young converts have much UBJECTS which are wholly less of true reiigion, than what practical have their impor. they are generally thought to tance as well as those which more have, or even than what they immediately respect doctrines themselves think that they poffefs. and cannot be dispensed with, by Hence, in their future lives they those who write or speak for the almoft invariably difappoint - both religious instruction of all classes, themselves and others.
consistently with declaring the 2. It is exceedingly difficult to whole counsel of God, and rightly diftinguish real religion, from the dividing the word of truth. Ia working of natural affection. If illuftrating the subje&t proposed, the greater part of that, which the following observations may appears
minds, is to be be made :thrown away, by what marks 1. Those, who have parents in shall we distinguish that which is advanced life, may learn their obto be retained and cultivated ? | ligation to be kind and attentive Well may Christians be directed to them, by looking to the exto work out their salvation with ample of Christ. fear and trembling
The Saviour was the true light, 3. Young converts should be which lighteth every man that humble. What do they find in cometh into the world. Every themselves, beside the workings part of his life was an exemplifiof natural affections, under which cation of the nature of true holithe small feed of grace or holiness, ness. In all his relations to manis almost entirely hidden. kind, he did that which was per
4. They should be charitable to- fectly right and agreeable to God's ward old professors. If old pro- holy law. The subject before us feffors are not as zealous and en confines our thoughts to a single gaged in religion as the young branch of his conduct ; viz. to convert appears to be, they are of his treatment of his mother. ten censured and condemned, as When suspended on the cross, he being in a cold, formal, lifeless observed among the spectators,
and their performances and standing near his cross, Mary greatly despised. But which pols his mother, and his mother's fil. lesses the greatest fhare of true re ter, and Mary Magdalen; and ligion? Let the young convert with them also John, his beloved learn to be humble, and to esteem disciple and intimate friend. To others better than himself? these persons how affecting, how
5. True religion does not con- mysterious was the scene? The fift fo much in appearances of zeal mother of the dying Saviour was and engagedness in the worship of now probably a widow, and had God, as in a calm, steady and af- been for some time. Evidence of fectionate observance of every du- this is gathered, from its being party enjoined in both the firft, and ticularly mentioned by the Evanfecond tables of the divine law. gelift, that she came with his
EUBULUS. brethren to fee Chrift, when he was
"fulfilling his miniftry; that the the Saviour fet a pattern of filial was present at the marriage in Ca- affection, Shall we say, he did na ; that she came to be a spec- this folely for his mother's fake ; tator of the crucifixion of her son, or shall we say, he designed herein without mentioning her husband, to set an example, for those who in any of these instances ; and are children, to follow? He did particularly that the Saviour, with it, no doubt, from a fenfe of obhis dying breath, commended her ligation to his mother then advanto the care of John, as if she were cing towards old age ; and what a woman in a lonely, bereaved is more important, that he might ftate. Tho' honored above all in this, as in all the transactions women, by being the mother of of his life, be a light to the world. our Saviour, 'The was nevertheless The plain language of his com subject to 'like passions as we all due to all who stand in the rela. are. She possefled natural affection of children is this Be kind tion, and was, undoubtedly, ac- and attentive to your parents in quainted with the feelings of a old age. Consider their trials and mother's heart.
their wants, and let po exertions As a divine person, Christ was be wanting on your part, to render without parents, and without be the evening of their pilgrimage ginnig ; but as God manifeft in Itate, as ealy and as agreeable as the flesh, or as to his human part, may be. To enforce this idea, he was born of a woman, and was the words of the apostle may be nourished and brought up by an pertinently applied Let this mind affectionate mother, whom he be in you wbicb-sas also in Chrift owned in this relation. For her Jefus. The argument now used, in her lonely state, he mramfefted to inculcate the duty of being great kindness. He did not leave kind to aged parents, is calculated the world, until he had made pro- to find its way to the conscience, vifion for her comfortable support. and is not easily evaded. It supKnowing the anguish of her foul, poses, that a compliance withthis when she saw him agonizing in duty is necessary, to give evidence death on the cross, he pitied her of being a follower of Christ, and case, and immediately adopted a cannot be dispeased with without measure which might adminifter reproaching the Christian charfome relief under her troubles. acier. This appears from John xis. 26, 2. The fame duty is strongly 27. “W ben Jesus therefore yaw enforced in the law, and in other bis mother, and the difciple flanding parts of fcripture. The words by, whom he loved, he faith unto his of God's holy law are very explimoiber, Woman, bebold thg for. cit, which are these :-Honor thy Then faith be to the disciple, Behold father and thy mother, that thy days thy mother. And from that bour may be-long upon the land, which the that difciple took her unto his own Lord thy God giveth thee. Will it home. From the phrase, “Behold be said, that this commandment thy fon," many receive the idea has a sole respect to children in a that Chrift meant himself; but he state of minority, and while they evidently had reference to John. are under the immediate control of He led his mother and beloved their parents ? That it has respect difciple mutually to adopt each to children in a state of minority, other, as parent and child. Here is readily adroitted ; but the duty
contain the sum of all that truth, erned by laws, and police, to that is necessary to the worship of prove, as it were, bridles, to reGod, and to our salvation: nor is itrain the immoral luits of the it lawful for angels or men, to world. make any alteration thereof, by How different the foregoing adding to it, or taking from it; confession of faith, from the pre. nor hereunto may any ways fuf- fent creed, and practice of the fice, either any antiquity, cuftoms, Romish church! May it not be or human wisdom, judgments, said of them, and those who are ediets, decrees, councils, visions, for fimbolizing with them either or miracles.
in the Romißh or in the present In another article they acknow- atheistical, and deistical errors, ledge, That the holy fcriptures and delusions, as was to Lucifer teach us, that in the divine ef- of old. Ifai. xiv. 12. How art sence, there do sublift three per-thou fallen! And when we confons, the Father, the Son, and the sider how greatly many among Holy Spirit.
us have deviated from the sacred In another article, they say, truths, and simplicity of the gofWe believe that man was at first pel, how proper and neceffary created, holy and upright, after must appear that divine direction, the image of God; but by his in Rev. ii. 5. Remember therefault fell from that grace which fore from whence thou art fallen, he received ; and alienated him- and repent, and do thy first works. self from God, the fountain of Let those who set themselves to righteousness, and of all good ; oppofe religion, which has for and is by nature altogether cor- ages past, and will ever be found, rupt, depraved in heart, and hath to be the greatest ornament, and wholly lost his integrity. fundamentally necessary to the
In another article, they say, well being and comfort of any We believe that all the race of community ; let those who sét Adam, are infected with that themselves to oppose the word of contagion, which we call original God; who lightly esteem and fin.
reject the holy scriptures, reckonIn another article, they say, ing them to be falfe, illusory, and We believe that out of this uni- needless, let such, timely and seversal corruption, and condemna- riously consider, repent and retion, wherein all mankind are in form, left the fruit of their own volved ; God did, in his eternal doings be recompensed upon them, and immrtable purpose, elect, in as fighting against God, and forChrift, some to be delivered, not saking their own mercies ; as they having respect therein, to any love their own souls, and would good works of their own. confult their own highest, and
In another article they say, We best interest and good, and that believe thuit Jesus Christ, the eter- of their children and fucceffors ; nal Son of God, did affumé our let them be persuaded to renounce nature ; and that in one person, what is so contrary thereto : and he is both God and man.
let none imagine, and say, that In the last article of that con what is so manifestly evident from feffion of faith which I shall here the word of God, and the experimention, they say, We believe ence of past ages, conducive to that God will have the world gov- man's happiness and comfort, as