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taphysical difquifitions of identity, or any other though we cannot collect the entire nature of curious points, in which this deep subject a future state of happiness, yet we can cafily might engage us, all which, as they are founded gather a few circumstances, which must of upon uncertainty, muft end in' doubt, it is course attend it; as, that it will be very great better to draw this doctrine, as well as all that it will last for ever-that it will be of others, into practical usc: and the use wc a naturc entirely different from the happiness ought to make of it is, to pay that regard to of this world--that, as in this world, our par. our bodies which is due to them-not vainly fions and appetites prevail; in the next, reason to adorn--not luxuriously to pamper them; and virtue will have the superiority—“hunger but to keep them as much as pollible from the and thirtt, tears and forroiv,” we read, “ will pollutions of the world; and to lay them be no more"-that is, all uncary passions and cown in the grave undefiled, there to be sealed appetites will then be annihilated--all vain up in expectation of a blessed resurrection. fcars will then be removed-all anxious and

Laftly, we believe " in the life everlasting:" intruding cares—and we shall feel ourselves in which article we express our faith in the complete and perfect ; and our happiness, not eternity of a future state of rewards and pu- dependent, as here, upon a thousand precaricus nishments.

circumstances, both within and without ourThis article is nearly related to the last, felves, but confiftent, uniform, and stable. and is involved in the same obscurity. In On the other hand, we pretend not to en-, what the reward of the virtuous will consist, quire in what the punishment of the wicked after death, our reafon gives us no informa confifts. In the Scripture we find many crcion. Conjecture indeed it will, in a matter pressions, from which we gather, that it will be which fo nearly concerns us; and it hath very great. It is there called, “ an everlasting conjectured in all ages : but information it fire, prepared for the devil and his angels hath none, excepe from the word of God; and where the worm dieth not, and the fire is never even there, our limited capacities can receive quenchedmowhere shall be weeping and gnahit only in general and figurative expreffions. ing of teeth-where the wicked thall drink of We are told, "there will then reign fulness the wrath of God, poured without mixture of joy and pleasures for evermore-that the into the cup of his indignation where they righteous fhall have an inheritance incorrupti- Ihall have no rest, neither by day nor night. ble, undefiled, that fadeth not away_where Though it becomes us certainly to put our they shall shine forth, as the fun, in the prc- interpretations with the greatest caution and sence of their father, where error, and fin, and humility upon such passages as these; yet misery thall be no more where shall be af- “ the worm that never dicth,' and “ the sembled an innumerable company of angels, fire that is never quenched,” a:c ftrong cxthe general assembly of the church, the fpirits pressions, and hardly to be evaded by any reof just men made perfect--that they shall finements of verbal criticisin. Let the deißt neither hunger and thirst any morc-ihat all bravely argue down his fears, by deinonfirao tears thall be wiped from their eyes that there ting the absurdity of consuming a spirit in mahall be neither death, nor sorrow, nor pain." terial fire. Let him fully explain the nature Froin theło, and such cxprefsions as these, of future punishment; and convince us, that

where

where it cannot reform, it must be unjust.--| as an addition to an everlasting account in the But let us, with more modcfty, lav our hands next.

Gilpir. humily upon our breasts, confifs our igno

§ 49. On the Ten Commandments. rance; revere the appointments of God, whatever they may be; and prepare to meet

Having considered the articles of our faith, then with holy hope, and treinbling joy, and we proceed to the rules of our practice, awful submijlon to his righteous will. Those, we know, are of such importance, that,

To the umenlightened heathen, the eternity let our faith be what it will, unless it influence of future punishments appcarcd no such un our lives, it is of no value. At the same time,

realonable doctrine. Their state of the damn-) if it be what it ought to be, it will certainly <d was of cturnal duracion. A vulture for have this infuencc. ever tore those entrails, aphich were for ever

On this head, the ton commandments are renewed .

first placed before us; from which the comOf one thing, however, we may be well posers of the catechism, as well as many other assured (which may let us entirely at reft divines, have drawn a compleat fyftem of in all aur cnquiries on this deep subicét), 1 chriftian duties. But this is perhaps rather that every thing will, in the end, be right too much t: Both Moses, in the law, and tuzt a jutt and merciful God mult act agreeably | Christ

, in the gospel, fccn to have enlarged to justice and mercy--and that the tirit of greatly, on morals: and cach of them, efpethee attributes will most assuredly be tempered cially the latter, to have added many practical with the latter.

rules, which do not obviously fall under any From the doctrine of future rewards and of the commandments. punishments, the great and most convincing But though we cannot call the decalogue practical truth which arifes, is, that we cannot a complete rule of duty, wc accept it with the exert too much pams in qualifying ourselves utmost reverence, as the sirf great written for the happiness of a future worid. As this happiness will last for ever, how bencficial vill

+ In the fourth volume of Bishop Warburton's be the exchange this world," which is but Commentary on Pope's Works, in the second for a moment, for that everlasting weight of Latire on Dri Donne, are these lines : glory which fadeth not away.”.

Of whose strange crimes no cangonift can tell Vice, on the other hand, receives the greatest

In which commandment's large contents discouragement from this doctrine, as every

they dwell. Can we commit in this world may be confidered

" The original," says the bishop, “ is more humorous.

In which commandment's large receipt they -Rostroque immanis vultur obunco

dwell; Immortale jecur tundens, fecundaquc pænis

" as if the ten commandments were fo wide, as Visceram

" to stand ready to receive every thing which *Æn. vi. 596.

" either the law of nature or the gospel com-Sedet, æternumqne fedebit

" mands.

A just ridiculo on those practical bufulix Therese

"commentators, as they are called, who include Ib. 616. “ moral and religious duties within them.”

law

law that ever God communicated to man. the sabbath; as one of the best means of preWe coalider it as an eternal monument, in- ferving a sense of God, and of religion in the fcribed by the finger of God himself, with a minds of men. few strong, indelible characters ; not defining The second table begins with injoining the minutiæ. of morals, but in joining those obedience to parents ; a duty in a peculiar grene duties only, which have the most par- manner adapted to the Jewith state, before ticular infiuence upon the happiness of society; any regular government was erected. The and prohibiting those enormous crimes, which temporal promife, which guards it, and which are the greatelt sources of its distress. can only relate to the Jews, may either mean

The ten commandments are divided into a pronuse of long life to each individual, who Iwo parts, from their being originally written observed the precept: or, of ftability to the upon two tables. From hence one table is whole nation upon the general observance supposed to contain our duty to God; the of it: which is perhaps a better interpretaother our duty to man. But this seems to be tion, an unauthorized division; and hạch a tendency The five next commandments are prohibi. to a verbal iniltake ; as if some duties were tions of the most capital crimes, which pollute owing to God; and others to man : whereas the heart of man, and injure the peace of soin fact we know that all duties are equally ciety. owing to God. Howes er, if we avoid this The first of them forbids murder, which is misconception, the division into our duty to the greatest injury that one man can do anGod, and our duty to man, may be a con- other; as of all crimes the damage in this is yenicnt onc.—The four first commandments the most irreparable. are contained in the first tablc : the remaining The seventh commandment forbids adulfix in the second.

tery. The black infidelity, and injury which At the head of them stands a prohibition accompany this crime; the confusion in fa. to acknowledge more than one God. milies, which often succeeds it ; and the ge

The second commandment bears a near neral tendency it hath to destroy all the dorelation to the first. The former forbids po- mestic happinefs of society, stain it with a very lytheism; the latter idolatry : and with this high degree of guilt. belief, and practice, which generally accom The security of our property is the object panied cach other, all the nations of the earth of the eighth commandment. were tainted, when these commandments were The security of our characters is the objcct given : especially those nations, by whom the of the ninth. Jews were surrounded.

The tenth restrains us not only from the The third commandment injoins reverence actual commission of fin; but from those bad to God's name. This is a strong religious inclinations, which give it birth. restraint in private life; and as a folemn oath After the commandments follows a comis the strictest obligation among men, nothing mentary upon them, intitled, “our duty to can be of greater service to society, than to God," and “our duty to our neighbour ;" hold it in general respect.

the latter of which might more properly be The fourth commands the observance of intitled, “Our dury to our neighbour and

ourselves."

ourselves."--These scem intended as an ex But this is the language of superstition. planation of the commandments upon Chrif- Mirth, within the bounds of innocence, cantian principles; with the addition of other not be offensive to God. He is offended only duties, which do not properly fall under with vicc. Vice, in the lowest degree, is any of them. On these we shall be more hateful to him: but a formal set behaviour large.

can be necessary only to preserve human difThe first part of our duty to God, is, " to tinctions. “ belicvc in him ;” which is the foundation The next duty to God is that of love, of all religion, and therefore offers itself first which is founded upon his goodness to his to our confideration. But this great point hath creatures. Even this world, mixed as it is been already considered.

with evil, exhibits various marks of the good. The next branch of our duty to God, is to ness of the Deity. Most men indeed place fear him. The fear of God is impressed their affections too much upon it, and rate it cqually upon the righteous man, and the fin- at too high a value : but in the opinion even ner. But the fear of thc finner consists only of wife men, it deferves some estimation. in the dread of punithment. It is the neces. The acquisition of knowledge, in all its fary consequence of guilt ; and is not that branches; the intercourse of society; the confear, which we consider as a duty. The fear templation of the wonderful works of God, of God here meant, consists in that reverential and all the beauteous scenes of naturc; nay, awe, that constant apprehension of his pre- even the low inclinations of animal life, fence, which fecures us from offending him. when indulged with fobricty and modera-When we are before our fuperiors, we na- tion, furnith various modes of pleasure and turally feel a respect, which prevents our doing enjoyment. any thing indecent in their light. Such (only Let this world however go for littlc. In in a higher degree) Thould be our reverence contemplating a future life, the enjoyments of of God, in whose light, we know, we always this are loft. It is in the contemplation of Stand. If a sense of the divine prefence hath futurity, that the christian views the goodness such an influence over us, as to check the bad of God in the fullest light. When he sees tendency of our thoughts, words, and ac- the Dcity engaging himfelk by covenant to tions; we may properly be said to be imprcf- make our short abode here a preparation for sed with the fear of God. If not, we neglect our cternal happiness hereafter—when he is one of the best means of checking vice, assured that this happiness is not only cternal, which the whole circle of religious restraint but of the purest and most perfect kind afforde.

when he fees God, as a father, opening all his Some people go a step farther; and say, stores of love and kindness, to bring back to that as every degree of light behaviour, though himself a race of creatures fallen from their fhort of an indecency, is improper before our original perfection, and totally lost through {uperiors; ro is it likewise in the presence of their own folly, perverseness, and wickednes; Almighty God, who is so much lupcrior to then it is that the evils of life seem as atoms in every thing that can be called great on the sun-bcam ; the divine nature appears farthe

overflowing with goodness to mankind, and

calls forth every exertion of our gratitude and scem easily to set things to rights on this love.

hcad. That the enjoyments of a future state, in The mifery of the brute creation is indeed whatever those enjoyments confift, are the gift more unaccountable. But have we not the of God, is fufficiently obvious : but with re- modefty to suppose, that this difficulty may gasd to the government of this world, there is be owing to our ignorance? And that on the often among men a fort of infidelity, which strength of what we know of the wisdom of escribes all events to their own prudence and God, we may venture to trust him for thosc induitry. Things appear to run in a stated parts which we cannot comprehend? course; and the finger of God, which acts un One truth, after all, is very apparent, that feen, is never fupposed.

if we thould argue ourselves into atheism, And, no doubt, our own industry and pru- by the untractableness of thefe fubjects, we deuce bave a great share in procuring for us thould be fo far from getting rid of our the blellings of life. God hath annexed them difficulties, that, if we reason juftly, ten thouas the reward of such exertions. But can we land greater would arise, either from con-, fuppose, that such exertions will be of any ser. lidering the world under no ruler, or under rice to us, unless the providence of God throw one of our own imagining, Opportunities in our way? All the mcans of There remains one farther consideration worldly happiness are surely no other than the with regard to the love of God, and that rocans of his government. Mofes faw among is, the measure of it. We are cold we ought the Jews a kind of intidelity like this, when he to love him with all « our heart,, with all our forbad the people to say to their hearts, “ My soul, and with all our strength.” These arc power, and the might of my hands hath got- ftrong expressions, and seem to imply a greater ten me this wealth," wheréas, he adds, they warmth of affection, than many people may ought to remember, " That it is the Lord perhaps find they can exert. The affections who giveth power to get wealth.”

of some are naturally cool, and little excitcd Others again have ubjected to the goodness by any objects. The guilty perfon, is he, e God, his permiffion of evil. A good God, whose affc&tions are warın in cvery thing but fxy they, would have prevented it; and have religion. The obvious meaning therefore of placed his crcatures in a situation beyond the the expression is, that whether our affections dintreties of life.

arc cool or warm, we should make God our With regard to man, there seems to be no chief good—that we should set our affections great difficulty in this matter. It is enough, more upon him, than upon any thing else furcly, that God has put the means comfort -and that, for his fakc, and for the fake in our power. In the natural world, he hath of his laws, we should be ready co resign given us remedies against hunger, cold, and every thing we have, and even life itself. So difcafe; and in the moral world, against the that the words seem nearly of the fame import mischief of fin. Even death itself, the last with those of the apostle, “ Sct your affcctions praat evil, he hath thewn us how we may on things above, and not on things on the change into the most confummate blelling. Á carth."

Gilpin, Iate of trial, therefore, and a future world,

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