« ÎnapoiContinuă »
Loveg. [interrupts.] Not on moral duties dear Sir, but on those highly spiritual principles belonging to the real followers of Christ, as far different from the morality of the mere man of the world, as heaven is above the earth. The morality (if it must be so called) of that sermon amounts to this, that the real Christian is mortified to every vile passion, and most completely devoted to God.
Lov. Yes Sir, I remember the Doctor admitted what you say ; but then be observed, how strongly our Saviour urged these words, “ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” And that it is not only hearing our Lord's words, but doing them that entitles us to the character of the Christian.--I know not how to give up conditions.
Loveg. Dear Sir, has not all this been answered before? While the fruits of righteousness describe and prove the Christian, is this to pass for proof that these are the conditions of his Christianity? But it is a pity the Doctor had not taken the whole of our Lord's sermon on the Mount, out of which you quoted that passage, into more close consideration; he would not have found any thing of his mild, lax, new law in these chapters, allowing a little sin, though in the very nature of things unallowable ; only because in our corrupted state we have an inclination to practise it. Had he examined his new law by that sermon, he would have found the anger of the heart, the impurity of the heart, the covetousness of the heart, bring us as much under the sentence of condemnation by that law which commands us to be
pure in heart, that we may see God," as if he had actually transgressed. So that after all, this remedial law is nothing more, than the old heresy of the Scribes and Pharisees, newly revived ; and it is awfully said, “Whosoever
“ Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and teach men so, he shall e called the least in the kingdom of heaven;" and
nothing can bring all these things more decidedly to the point, than what our Lord says in the same sermon, “Be ye perfect as your Father who is in
, heaven is perfect. It is a dangerous business, to preach up a doctrine that has such a direct tendency to teach us to violate God's most holy law, which must be as eternal and as uuchang'eable as God himself.
Wor. I am sorry Dr. Orderly should suppose that Christ came down from heaven, to abrogate the perfect law of his Father, and to set up an imperfect one in the room of it Is not this making Christ the minister of sin, and did he not say just the contrary, in the very same sermon, when he declared," he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it;" and that “not even one jot or tittle of it should pass away till all was fulfilled ?” Consid. Sir, as
a farther illustration of your remarks, we are to suppose that there was once a long measure of obedience fully defined, that we should love God perfectly; but that now an indefinite short one is to be introduced in its place; and that a part, be it more or less, is to pay for the whole. So as it respects the payment of debts, full-weight money was once demanded; but according to this new law, it is lawful to pay in short-weight money, provided we pay as well as we can. So that whether it be a half, or a quarter, or even less still, if the law allows it, I perfectly fulfil the terms of such a law, by my imperfect payment. Thus, while the old law condemns our corruptions, and demands perfect obedience, the new law makes a sort of an undefined composition between us and God; and I am sure, while this new law thus compounds for the sins of man, there can be no need of salvation by the Gospel. It is however, a strange way of talkiog, to suppose a man pays his rent perfectly, though he pays it but partially, provided he pays it sincerely, and as well as he can.
Lov. O Sir! the Doctor did not mean to go so far as this,
Loveg. I am persuaded Sir, he did not; but he ill conceives of the evil consequences of his owo doctrine. Every expression which has a tendency to withdraw our minds from the perfect purity of God's law, must also prove equally subversive of the Gospel of Christ; and we may easily judge what an unhallowed influence this must produce on the hearts of men.But pray Sir, did the Doctor show you any part of the Scriptures which settles this point ? I should have supposed that a doctrine so very essential in itself, would have been very plainly revealed.
Lov. Sir, his references were rather general than particular.
Loveg. I should suppose that such general references would best suit the cause, But did he not call this new-invented law, by the name of the remedial law ?
Lov. I think that was the term he gave it.
Loveg. No wonder that an unscriptural name was wanted for such an unscriptural doctrine ;* and I suppose the inventors of that phrase took it from the word remedy. A fine law truly, a remedy, for man's corruptions, by allowing a partial practice of them! Pray Sir, what would you think, if the laws of the country were as badly framed as these supposed modern laws of God; if the laws against theft, voilence, and adultery, were to be “made easy for the practice of the present age;"† and if a little latitude were to be given as a remedy on all these occasions, what would be the result of it?
ov. Sir, I am sure the Doctor never meant to encourage such immortalities.
* I am aware of an objection on this score, as it relates to the word Trinity. Some will ask the question, in what part of Scripture is that to be found ? I answer, no where; its utility alone exists in superseding the need of long circumlocutious expressions, that have been defined a thousand times over: though others have followed their example in calling themselves Unitarians, in contradistinction to Trinitarians, while they know that every Trinitaan is as much an Unitarian as themselves.
† See the title-page of the new Whole Duty of Man.
Loveg. Sir, though the purity of his intentions is indubitable, yet what have been the consequences of such sort of doctrines ? Why a system of lax morality has been introduced in the room of genuine Christianity. People have thereby been rendered careless and secure, in a state of mind, far inferior to what is demanded in the word of God. In short, preaching up the merit of good works, has produced nothing but the practice of bad ones. Such has been the case ever since the old standard doctrines of the Bible and of the Church of England have been neglected; the Churches themselves in most places, have been shamefully forsaken; and while the ordinances of the Sabbath, and the sanctuary, have been thus thrown aside, we cannot wonder at the abounding wickedness of the day.
Lov. But Sir, the Doctor's church is very decently filled, though not so crowded as yours.
Loveg. I have heard it is Sir, and I am happy that the people give that token of their esteem for such a respectable character. But look into other churches, where the same, or nearly the same sort of doctrine is preached by other clergy, much less respectable than himself.
Lov. Sir, the Doctor is as much displeased at the careless lives of the clergy as you can be.
You never see him out of temper, but when he is speaking about some of them in his own neighbourhood. And I assure you Sir, he never speaks of you or Mr. Merryman, and some other clergy, of your acquaintance, but in terms of high respect : though in some instances, be thinks you are mistaken in your doctrines; and from the same principle that you object to his, that they have a tendency to make men lax in their morals: though at the same time, he is not a little astonished that there has been such a reformation accomplished in your Parish; and he is quite surprised to see what a good man Mr. Merryman has been made, by your preaching,
Wor. But Sir, will you tell us plainly, if we ask
the question, have there been any instances of the influence of the Doctor's preaching on the hearts of his hearers, similar to those, which through the blessing of God, have been exemplified among others, who preach salvation by the entire mercies of Christ, to a ruined world?
Lov. Sir, the Doctor laments that circumstance exceedingly. He says, he has had the satisfaction of keeping and confirming the good in the habits of virtue; but he acknowledged, even with tears, that as yet, he did not know that he had reclaimed
that were really vicious from the error of their ways; though he thinks he knows a few instances of some, who are less vicious than formerly.
Loveg. Indeed dear Sir, both you and the Doctor are strangely mistaken, if you suppose that the Doctrines we preach, when properly understood, can in anywise have an immoral tendency upon our hearers. For, in regard to repentance, which you call one of the conditions of our salvation, and which consequently must be left in a great measure to corrupted man to perform by himself; yet we on the contrary believe, according to our excellent liturgy, that it is God who “ creates in us a new and contrite heart !" And again, while we believe we are by the Spirit of God, made to “ abhor that which is evil ;" under such sensations we are satisfied it will be impossible for any of us to live in it,—the existence of sin being the only hell we feel or fear. In short Sir, we believe that repentance is regeneration; it means a change of mind, and it is impossible that a man can live in sin when thus, by the grace of God, he is utterly set against it, by being thus “renewed in the spirit of his mind.”
So in regard to believing, which you suppose to be another condition, which is to be performed by us. As we are persuaded that none but humble penitents, will be true believers, so none but such will fly from sin to Christ : and no one can fly from sin, that he may live in it, any more than a man can fly from the plague, that he may catch it. Again Sir, while you