« 前へ次へ »
to our Lord, what shall I do ple requisition, believe on the that I may inherit eternal Lord Jesus Christ, refers us life ?! Now eternal life, or to the conditions of salvation, the happiness which is com- or of eternal life, which our prehended in it, is the great Lord required of those, who reward of religion ; and con- sought an inheritance in scquently, the answer to this his kingdom in heaven, It inquiry must explain the nae was, in effect, to say, love ture of religion. What then the Lord thy God with all thy was the answer of our Lord ? heart, with all thy mind, and
Thou kpowest. thew.com- with all thy strength, and thy mandments. Do not commit neighbour as thyself, and thou adultery. Do not kill. Do shalt be saved. This is the not steal. Do not bear false end, the spirit, and all the witness. Honour thy father commands, of all the doctrines and thy mother.'Or, as he of our Redeemer... replied at another tinse to the Similar in import is the sensame "question, Thou shalt timent of the Apostle, if thou love the Lord thy God with all : shalt confess with thy mouth thy heart, and with all thy soul, the Lord Jesus Christ, and and with all thy strength, and shalt believe in thy heart that with all thy mind; and thy God raised him from the dead, neighbour as thyself. These thou shalt be saved ;' only things do, and thou shalt live;' herein requiring that we con.
thou shalt live forever with fess Christ with our mouth, God, and the society of the he refers us to the means, the just in heaven. These com- end of which is, the maintenmands, therefore, contain all ance of that faith in the heart, that is essential to the nature which works by love, and oof true religion. . . .
vercomes the world ; and is : A similar inquiry was pro- therefore the end proposed by posed to Paul and Silas by the God in all He commands us Jailer, who had the custody of to believe and to do, as moral, these Apostles. Affrighted accountable, and immortal be. by the earthquake which shook ings. With the heart,' we the prison, opened its doors, are told, man believeth unto, and loosed the prisoners from righteousness;' and righte. their bonds, he came tremb. ousness comprehends as well ling, and fell down before all the love which God rePaul and Silas, and said, sirs, quires for himself, as the duwhat must I do to be saved ? ties we owe to each other. And they said, believe on the Hence we read that Abraham Lord Jesus Christ, and thou was justified by the righteousshalt be saved ; and they ness of faith ; that is, by a spake unto him the word of faith which produced rightethe Lord. We know not, in- ousness, or a ready and entire deed, precisely, what was the obedience to the will of God. word of the Lord which they See then what is religion ; spake to him. But the sim- what it is to be religious, .
I said that, the seat of reli- which not only worketh no ill 'gion is the heart. From the to our neighbour, but all pracabundance of the heart-or, ticable good ; a love that can according to its moral state, bear and forbear; that hopeth we think, and feel, and speak, all things, and endureth ah and act. Love to God and to things ; that can return blessour neighbour form, therefore, ings for curses, and prayers for the essence of religion, be- injuries. In fine, a love which cause, in proportion to their will excite us in all circumprevalence in the heart, they stances to do to others, as we will produce a conformity of would that others should do all our thoughts and words, to us. To be religious thereour feelings and actions, to the fore, is to be wholly conwill of God ; they will sub. formed to the will of God; it due every passion and appę. is to have in ourselves the tite to the dominion of His mind that was in Christ ; it is law; they will make His ap- to possess the will, the teinprobation absolutely essential per and affections of "christto the peace of our hearts ; ians; and whether we eat or they will make it the very life drink, wherever we are and of our happiness. But let us whatever we do, to do al to the comprehend the "commande glory of God, by doing all in ment, for it is exceeding broad. obedience to His commands. We cannot love God, till we However conformed to His know him. Religion com- word are the articles of our prehends therefore, a knowl. faith, whatever professions we edge of God. in proportion make, whatever rites we obto our love of God, will be our serve, or whatever reputation confidence in Him; our en- of sanctity we may obtain, let. tire satisfaction with the cour us consider, these are not reses and designs of His provi- ligion. God looketh on the dence, whether we understand heart ; and as He cannot be them, or not; and our resig-. deceived, so He will not be nation to His will. If we love mocked. Him, we shall earnestly desire What then is the connexion and endeavour to be like Him; between religion, and its docwe shall do whatever we trines and rites ? I answer. know, or believe, will please 1. The doctrines of religion Him; we shall avoid whatevo comprehend all that we are er we have reason to believe taught of the character, goythat he cannot approve. If ernment, and purposes of God; we so love God, we shall feel of the person and offices of also a christian love of one a- our Lord; of our moral nature nother; for the greatest ob and capacities in this world ; stacles to the exercise of this of the happiness of the good, love of the active and uni- and the misery of the wicked, versal charity of the gospel, in the life to come. These will then be overcome in our doctrines are addressed to our hcarts. We shall feel a love, faith ; and it is obvious that, simply to believe them, will per, of good works, of obedi, not make us religious.. How énce to God, dead also then are they conducive to this II. Still more plain is the end ? Reflect on them but for distinction between the rites of a moment, and you will per- religion, and religion itself. ceive, that in these doctrines No positive institutions could are comprehended all the mo- indeed be more expressive, tives, by which the gospel ex- more appropriate, than are cites us to a godly, a sober, baptism and the Lord's Supper. and a righteous life. As mo. And yet, separated from the tives, it is immediately ap- ends of their appointment, parent how very important whát tendency has their obthey are, to the great and in- servance to make us more acfinitely important purposes, ceptable to God ? Baptism infor which God has revealed dicates the purity of heart, them. The doctrines of the which God requires of all who New Testament concerning enter His church. It is made the character and government the initiatory ordinance of our of God, and the person and religion, that adults, in receive offices of our Lord; concern- ing this " washing of regener. · ing our condition in this world, ation," may be most impres. and the circumstances which sively taught, and may strong. await us in the future, have a ly feel, the purity of that retendency the most direct and ligion into which they are bappowerful, in proportion as they tised, and to which their future. are understoood and felt, to characters and lives are to be exalt our conceptions of the conformed; ard that parents, infinitely great, and holy, and in bringing their children iné beneficent Father of the uni. to the church of Christ, and verse; to purify our affections having them baptized into his from all low and sordid attach- name, received as his disci. ments ; to make Jesus Christ ples, may feel their solemn ob as dear to us, as our hopes of ligations to-rear them in the eternal life; and eternal life nurture, and admonition of the with God and Christ in heaven, Lord.” And in the Lord's supthe high object of our daily per, we enter into the closest thought, and care, and labour, communion with Christ; we Considered as motives, they commemorate the great obare inestimable; and if we jects of his death ; we are to feel their importance, we shall cherish the strongest sense of most 'gratefully submit our obligation for the benefits he whole hearts to their influence. has obtained for those who But they will save us, only by love and serve him; and thus conducing to the end for which looking to God through him, they were given. Even as the with humble, penitent, gratebody without the spirit is dead, ful and devout hearts, while so is faith in these, and all the we reccive the emblems of his doctrines of religion, unless body and blood, we are to seek, productive of a christian tem, to pray, that Christ may be
formed in our hearis by faith. are given in it. But as the We can scarcely therefore ex. engrafted scion, though an ad. aggerate the importance of dition to the tree, and intend. these ordinances, as means of ed to produce new and better. religion, But unless they con- fruit, is yet of the same nature duce to the ends for which as the tree into which it is inthey were intended, they will serted, and is sustained in life avail us nothing.
by the same root and trunk I will only add two inferences. from which the branch is cut · I. The means of religion off, into which it is itself en. may be changed, in conformi- grafted ; so are the additional ty to the circumstances of doctrines and precepts of the those for whose use they are gospel sustained by the same appointed. But religion it. spirit, have the same princiself can never change. Like ple of spiritual life, as sudGod, it is the same yesterday, ported, and will forever supto day, and forever.
port that religion, which God The means of religion may at first planted ; and the gen. change. The only command uine fruit of which, in all ages, given to the father of men in has been the eternal life and Paradise was, “ of every tree happiness of the souls, in in the garden thou mayest which it has been produced, freely eat, but of the trec of and which have been sustained the knowledge of good and by it. It was the moral state cvil.” It was a command suit of the heart with which Abel -ed to the circumstances in sacrificed his first fruits, whicha which God had placed him. brought down the fire of heavBut the end of it was, his ex- en upon his offering. It was pression of obedience to 'the the disposition of Abraham, will of God; and this obedi. his faith working by love, and fence then was, and is now, re- producing entire confidence ligion - The patriarchs wor- in God, and prompt obedience, shiped God, sought to obtain which secured his acceptance, his favour and to avoid His when he raised the knife to displeasure, by the sacrifice of slay his son). Nor without this animals, or of a portion of the temper of mind, and these corproduce of their fields ; and respondent affections, would we well know what a number the Lord at any time have of rites · was · instituted, as been pleased with thousands means of promoting piety and of rams, or ten thousand rivers yirtue among the Jews. These of oil. "Hath the Lord as have all given place to the great delight in sacrifices and simple, but expressive rites of burnt offering, as in obeying the gospel. But amidst all the voice of the Lord ? Behold, this variety and succession of to obey is better than sacrifice ; "positive institutions, religion and to hearken, than the fai itself has remained unchanged. of rams.' This great sentiNew doctrines are taught in ment pervades all the dispenour religion, and new precepts sations of God. It answers
the question, what is religion ? tant end. So let us value and * He hath shewed thee, O man, use our sabbaths, our bibles, what is good ; and what doth the privilege of prayer, and the Lord thy God require of the ordinances of baptism, and thee, but to do justly, to love the Lord's supper. The means mercy, and to walk humbly with of religion are too easily, and thy God'. Circumcision was too often mistaken for its end; then only acceptable, when it and hence arises much of the was of the heart ; and sacri. contradiction we see between fice, when it was offered with the faith, and the practice of a: confiding, a grateful, or a men. Hence it is that some contrite spirit. . The king. think themselves to be pious, dom of God is not incat and even while they are perhaps drink, but righteousness, and notoriously vicions; and look peace, and joy in the holy spir. with confidence to the favour it; and, the fruit of the spir- of God, and the happiness af it is love, joy, peace, long-suf- heaven, while, it may be, they fering, gentleness, goodness, have nourished and strengthfaith, meekness, temperance, ened the most evil dispositions Against such, there is no law. and habits, by the very exerAnd they that are Christ's, cises which they have considhave crucified the flesh, with ered as offerings to the Most its affections and lusts.' . High God. So let it not be
II. Is religion itself forever with us. Let us not be so essentially the same ? Does it deceived. He that soweth to consist in an unreserved de. the flesh, of the flesh will rean votion of the heart, the pas- CORRUPTION. He that 8090sions, will and affections to eth to the spirit, of the spirit God; in a choice of God as will reap LIFE EVERLASTING. our Supreme good, and a ready to be carnally minded, is obedience to His will, from a DEATH. To be spiritually principle of love ? Then let minded, is life, and peace. Let us value and improve the U8 not then be weary in well mcans, with a faithful refer- doing ; for IN DUE SEASON WE ence to their infinitely impor- SHALL REAP, IF WE FAINT NOT.
For the Christian Disciple.
discover a spirit truly evangelI have lately perused a vol. ical, to employ that term in its ume of DR. MAYHEW, inti- legitimate import. The style tled “CHRISTIAN SOBriety: is simple, the manner engabeing EIGHT SERMONS on Ti- ging, the reasoning forcible. tus ii. 6. preached with a spe. The chief peculiarity seems to cial view to the Benefit of the be an occasional keenness of YOUNG MEN, usually attending remark, extremely good huthe public worship at the WEST noured, and suited to raise a Church in Boston,” They smile even in the individual,