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dould rest on a less formal proof, than the Let us then leave all fruitless enquiries rcsurrcction, it is of no great conscqucncc : about this great event, and employ our for, if the rcsurreclion be fully proved, no- thoughts chiefly upon such circumitances of body can well deny thc afcention. If thc it as most concern us.--Let us animate our testimony of the Evangelists be allowed to hopes with the soothing reflection, that we prove the one, their word may be taken to have our fentence, in a manner, in our own cttablish the other.
power,--that the same gracious gospel which With regard to “ the right hand of God,” | directs our lives, thall direct the judgment wo it is a seriptural cxprefsion, used merely in receive,--that the fainc gracious person shall conformity to our gross conceptions ; and is be our judge, who died for our fins--and that not intended to imply any distinction of parts, his goodness, we are allured, will still operate but merely the idea of pre-eminence. towards us, and make the kindeft allowances
We believe farther, that "Chrilt thall come for all our infirmities, to judge the quick and the dead."
Bue left our hopes Mould be too buoyant, This article contains the most serious truth let us consider, on the other hand, what an that ever was revealed to mankind. In part awful detail against us will then appear. The it was an article of the Heathen crced. To subicct of that grand enquiry will be all our uncnlightened nature it seemcd probable, that, transgrellions of known duty-all our omifas we had rcalon given us for a guide, we lions of knowing better our secret intentions Kould hereafter be accountable for its abuse: our indulged evil thoughts--the bad moand the poets, who were the prophets of early tives, which often accompany our most plau, days, and durft deliver those truths under the lible actions--and, we are cold, cven our idle veil of fable, which the philosopher kept words.--" He thar hath cars to hear, let him more to himself, give us many traits of the hear."-Then hall it be known, whether popular belief on this subje& *. But the gol. we have answered the great ends of life? pel alone threw a full light upon this awful Whether we have madc this world subfertruth.
vient to a better -Whether we have preIn examining shis grcat article, the cu- pared ourselves for a state of happiness in riofty of human nature, ever delighting to heaven, by endeavouring to communicate explore unbeaten regions, hash often been happiness to our fellow-creatures upon earth? tempted, beyond its limits, into fruitless en- Whether we have restrained our appetites and quirics ; scrutinizing the time of this event, pafsions, and reduced them within the bounds and settling, with vain precision, the circum- of reason and religion? Or, whether we have stances of it. All curiosity of this kind is given ourselves up to plcafure, gain, or amidle, at least, if aot prefumptuows. When the bition, and formed such attachments to this Almighty hath thrown a vcil over any part world, as fit us for nothing else ; and leave us of his dúspensation, it is the folly of man to no hopes either of gaining, or of enjoying a endeavour to draw it aside.
better? It will be happy for us, if, on all
these heads of enquiry, we can answer without See particularly the 6th Book of Virgit's dismay.-.Worldly distinctions, we know,
will then be of no avail. The proudeft of
them them will be then confounded. “ Naked | godlincss ? looking for, and hastening unto, came we into the world, and naked muft we the day of our Lord; when the heavens return.” We can carry nothing beyond the being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elegrave, but our virtues and our viccs. ments shall melt with forvent heat.-Where
I thall conclude what hath been said on fore, beloved, seeing that we look for such the last judgment, with a collection of par- things, let us be diligent, that we may be sages on this head from Scripture: where found of him in peace, without spot, and only our ideas of it can be obtained. And blamelels; that cach of us may reccive that though most of these passages are figurative, blefled sentence, “ Well done, thou good yet, as figures are intended to illustrate rea- and faithful fervant: thou hast been faithful lities, and are indeed the only illuftrations of over little, cnter chou into the joy of thy which this subject is capable, we may take Lord.” it for granted, that these figurative cxpref- We believe, farther, in “the Holy Ghoft;" frons are intended to convey a just idea of the that is, we belicve every thing which the truth.-With a view to make the more im. Scriptures tell us of the holy Spirit of God.. preffion upon you, I dhall place these passages Wc enquire not into the nature of its union in a regular series, though collected from with the Godhead. We take it for granted, various parts.
that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, " The Lord himself fall descend from have fome kind of union, and some kind of heaven with his holy angels–The trumpet distinction ; because both this union, and this Thall sound; and all that are in the grave distinction are plainly pointed out in Scripture; thall hear his voice, and come forth. Then but how they exist we enquire not; concluding shall-he fit upon the throne of his glory; and here, as in other points of difficulty, that if all nacions thall be gathered before him--the a clearer information had beçn necessary, it books shall be opened ; and men thall be would have been afforded. jadged according to their works. They who With regard to the operations of the Holy kavc finned without law, shall perish (that is, Spirit of God (belides which, little more on be julged) without law; and they who have this head is revealed), we believe, that it difinned in the law, thall be judged by the law. rected the apostles, and enabled them to pro-Upto whomloever much is given, of him pagate the gospel--and that it will atsilt all Thall be much required. Then thall he say good men in the conscientious discharge of a to them on his right hand, Comc, ye blessed, a pious life. inherit the kingdom prepared for you. And The Scripture doctrine, with regard to the to them on his left, Depart from me, ye assistance we receive from the Holy Spirit of curfed, into everlafting fire prepared for the God (which is the most effential part of this deviland his angels.--Then thall the righteous article), is briefly this : Ihine forth in the presence of their Father ; Our beft endeavours are insufficient.' We while the wicked thall go into everlasting pu- are unprofitable servants, after all; and cannifhment: there shall be wailing and gnash- not please God, unless fanctified and assisted ing of teeth.
What manner of persons ought by his Holy Spirit. Hence the life of a good we then to be in all holy conversation, and man hath been fometimes called a standing
miracle; something beyond the common course As to the manner in which this spiritual of nature. To attain any degree of goodness, affistance is conveyed, we make no enquiry, we niust be supernaturally allisted.
We can as little comprehend it, as we can At the same time, we are assured of this the action of our fouls upon our bodies. We allistance, if we ftrive to obtain it by fervent are sensible, that our souls do act upon our prayer, and a pious life. If we trust in our bodies : and it is a belief cqually consonant felves, we shall fall. If we trust in God, to reason, that a divine influence may act without doing all we can ourselves, we hall upon our souls. The advocate for natural fail likewife. And if we continuc obftinate religion need not be reminded, that among in our perverseness, we may at length totally the heathens a divine infuence was a reincapacitate ourselyes froin being the temples ceived opinion. The priests of every oracle of the Holy Ghoft.
were supposed to be inspired by their gods; And indeed what is there in all this, which and the heroes of antiquity were universally common life does not daily illustrate? Is any believed to act under the influence of a sus thing more common, than for the intellect of pernatural alliftancc; by which it was conone man to assist that of another! Is not the ceived they performed actions beyond hutan whole scheme of education an effusion of power.-Íhis thews, at least, that there is knowledge and virtue not our own! Is it not nothing in this doctrine repugnant to reason. evident, too, that nothing of this kind can be
Gilpin. communicated without application on the part of the Icarner? Are not the efforts of the S 47. Creed continued.-Ibe Holy Catbolic teacher in a manner neceffarily proportioned
Church, &c. to this application? If the learner becomes We believe, farther, in the “ holy catholic languid in his pursuits, arc not the endeavours church," and the communion of laints.” of the teacher of course discouraged And “ I believe in the holy catholic church," will they not at length wholly fail, if it he is certainly a very obscurc expression to a profound in the end they answer no purpose : restant ; as it is very capabic of a popith con-In a manner analogous to this, the Holy ítruction, implying our trust in the infallibility Spirit of God co-operates with the endca of the church; whereas we attribute infalvours of man. Our endeavours are ne- libility to no church upon earth. The most cessary to obtain God's allistance: and the obvious sense, therefore, in which it can be more earnestly thcsc endeavours are excrted, confidered as a protestant article of our belief, the measure of this grace will of course be is this, that we call no particular fociety of greater.
christians a lioly catholic church; but believe, But, on the other hand, if these endeavours that all true and sincere chriftians, of whatever languish, the affiftance of H caven will lefsen communion, or particular opinion, shall be the in proportion; and if we behave with obstinate objects of God's mercy. The patriarchal perverseness, it will by degrees wholly fail. covenant was confined to a few. The Jewish It will not always frive with man ; but will church ftood also on a very narrow basis. leave him a melancholy prey to his own But the christian church, we believe, is truly yicinus inclinations,
catholic: its gracious offers are made to all
mankind; mankind; and God through Christ will take –We are assured, that this article, as well as our of every nation such as Thall be saved. the “ descent into hell," is not of the fame
The "communion of faints,” is an cx- antiquity as the rest of the creed *** pretion equally obfcurc., and whatever might We profefs our belief farther in the " forhave been the original meaning of it, it cer- giveness of sins.”—The Scripture-doctrine of tainly does not refolve itself into a very obvious lin, and of the guilt which ariles from it, is this: one to us. If we say we mean by it, that Man was originally created in a state of ingood christians living together on carth, should nocence, yet liable to fall. llad he persevered exercise all offices of charity among themselves, in his obedience, he might have enjoyed that no one will contradict the article ; but many happiness which is the consequence of perfect perhaps may ask, Why is it made an article virtue. But when this happy state was lost, of faith? It relates not so much to faith, as to his passions and appetites became disordered, practice : and the ten commandments might just and prone to cvil. Since that time, we have as well be introduced as articles of our belief. all been, more or less, involved in sin, and are
To this I can only suggest, that it may have all therefore, in the Scripture-language, “ un. a place among the articles of our creed, as a der the curse;" that is, we are naturally in a test of our enlarged ideas of christianity, and state of unpardoned guilt. as opposed to the narrow-mindedness of some In this mournful exigence, what was to be christians, who harbour very uncharitable opi- done? In a state of nature, it is true, we might nions against all who are not of their own be sorry for our fins. Nature, too, might dicchurch; and scruple not to thew their opinions tate repentance. But forrow and repentance, by uncharitable actions. The papists parti- though they may put us on our guard for the cularly deny falvation to any but those of their future, can make no atonement for fins already own communion, and perfecute thosc of other committed. A resolution to run no more into persuasions where they had the power.-In debt, may make us cautious; but can ncyer opposition to this, we profess our belief of the discharge a debt alrcady contracted t. great christian law of charity. We believe we ought to think charitably of good christians • See Bingham's Antiquities, vol. iv. ch. 3. of all denominations; and ought to practise + Thus Mr. Jenyns exprefies the same thing: a free and unrestrained communion of chari- “The punishment of vice is a debt due to justice, table offices towards them.
« which cannot be remitted without compensaIn this light, the second part of the article “ tion : repentance can be no compensation. It depends upon the first, By the “ holy catholic “ may change a wicked man's disposition, and church,” we mean all lincere christians, of
“ prevent his offending for the future; but can whatever church, or peculiarity of opinion; any one, by proAigacy and extravagance, con
“lay no claim to pardon for what is paft. If and by the communion of saints.” “A kind
“ tracts a debt, repentance may make him wiser, and charitable behaviour towards them.
“ and hinder him from running into farther Though it is probable this was not the
“ diftreffes, but can never pay off his old bonds, original meaning of the article, yet as the re- “ for which he must be ever accountable, unless formers of the liturgy did not think it proper “chey are discharged by himself, or some other to make an alteration, we are led to scck fuch “ in bis stead." afense as appears most consistent with scripturc.
View of the Intern. Evid. p. 112.
In this distress of nature, Jesus Christ camc believed their fouls were immortal from their into the world. He threw a light upon the own feelings, so impressed with an expectation gloom that surrounded us.-Hc thewed us, of immortality from observing the progrefthat in this world we were loft-that the law live state of the foul, capable, even after the of nature could not save us that the tenor of body had attained its full strength, of still thar law was perfect obedience, with which higher improvements both in knowledge and we could not comply-butthat Godmothrough in habits of virtue--from the analogy of all his mediation offered us a method of regaining nature, dying and reviving in every part happiness that he came to make that atone from their situation, here fo apparently incomInent for us, which we could not make for plete in itself; and from a variety of other ourselves—and to redeem us from that guilt topics, which the reason of man was able to which would otherwise overwhelm us--that suggest.--But though nature could obscurely faith and obedience were, on our parts, the fuggeft this great truth, yet Chriftianity alone conditions required in this gracious cavenant- threw a clear light upon it, and impreffed it and that God promised us, on his, the pardon with full degree of conviction upon our of our fins and everlasting life--that we were minds. first therefore to be made holy through the But the article before us proceeds a step gospel of Christ, and then we might expect farther. It not only implies the immortality falvation through his death: “Us, who were of the soul, but aflerts the resurrection of the dead in trespasses and fins, would he quicken. body-Nor was this doctrine wholly new to Chriít would redeem us from the curse of the nature. In its conceptions of a future life, law. By grace we fhould be saved thro' faith; we always find the soul in an embodied ftate. and that not of ourselves : it was the gift of It was airy indeed, and bloodless; but still God. Not of works, left any man ihould it had the parts of a human body, and could boasi."
Gilpin. perform all its operations.
In these particulars, the Scripture does not 48. Creed continued-Refurre&ion of the gratify our curiosity. From various passages Body.
we are led to believe, that the body thall cerWe believe farther “ in the refurrection tainly rise again : but in what manner, or of of the body.”—This article presumes our what substance, we pretend not to examine. belief in the immortality of the soul.
We learn, “ that it is sown in corruption, and What that principle of life is, which we raised in incorruption ; that it is sown in difcall the foul; how it is distinguished from honour, and raised in glory; that it is sown mere animal lifc; how it is connected with the a natural body, and raised a spiritual body :" body; and in what Itate it sublists, when its from all which we gather, that whatever fanne bodily functions ceasc; are among those in- ncfs our bodies may have, they will hereafter difloluble questions, with which nature every cake a more fpiritualized nature; and will where abounds. But, notwithstanding the not be subject to those infirmities to which difficulties which attend the discussion of these they were subject on earth. Farther on this questions, the truth itself hath in all ages of head, it behoves us not to enquire. the world been the popular creed. Men Instead, therefore, of entering into any mc.