« PrécédentContinuer »
in a state of total opposition. For graceless men, who are pacified merely in a belief that they are safe, are in any other view, of the same temper, toward the Deity, with the damned. For supreme self-love governs every apostate creature, who is totally destitute of true love, of disinterested benevolence to the most high God, the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth.
Mat. xxviii. 19. Baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
THE CHRISTIAN CREED; THE ARMINIAN CREED; MR. M.'S CREED. REMARKS ON EACH.
THAT which is commonly called The Apostles' creed, although not compiled by the apostles, yet is confessedly of very ancient date. And the three principal articles of it are these: 1. I believe in God the Father, almighty maker of heaven and earth. 2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son. 3. I believe in the Holy Ghost. Which doubtless had reference to the form of baptism appointed by our blessed Saviour. He therefore, who believes aright, and in a right manner, concerning Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, has the true Christian faith, and is himself a true Christian; and so is qualified to be active in offering up himself and his seed to God in Christian baptism. But some of the chief things, which in the inspired writings we are taught to believe concerning the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are these, which may be expressed in the following articles, in contrast with the Arminian creed, and with Mr. M.'s.
The Christian Creed. The Arminian Creed.
Mr. Mather's Creed.
1. Concerning God the 1. Concerning God the 1. Concerning God the
I BELIEVE that the moral character of God exhibited in the moral law, is perfect in beauty, without a blemish. And
I BELIEVE that it I BELIEVE that the would have been unjust moral character of God, in God to have held man- exhibited in the moral kind after the fall bound law, is not to us an object by the moral law, with-of love; and that it is
The Arminian Creed. out any abatement. And that therefore, some relief was in justice due to a fallen world. And therefore, the relief granted is not wholly of grace; ought it be acknowledged as such by us.
The Christian Creed.
that our disaffection to the Deity is absolutely inexcusable and infinitely criminal; and justly deserves the penalty threatened, infinitely dreadful as it is. In which view, the divine law is holy, just, and good; worthy of the highest honour; and the salvation of the Gospel from step to step, from beginning to end, is of mere grace.
I BELIEVE that Jesus Christ, in character of Mediator between God and man, loved the moral character of his Father, exhibited in the moral law, and lived and died to do it honour; that through him penitent believers might be saved, consistently with the divine justice, and to the glory of divine grace. And in this view Christ crucified is the wisdom of God, and the power of God.
2. Concerning God the 2. Concerning God the 2. Concerning God the
I BELIEVE that Christ died to purchase an abatement of this unjust law; and to procure salvation for us on terms which we are able to comply with, by his assistance.
I BELIEVE that fallen man is so disaffected to the character of the Father and the Son, that no means whatsoever are sufficient to reconcile us to God, without the regenerating influences of the Holy Ghost. So that except we are born again, we cannot see the kingdom of God. But in consequence of the regenerating influences of the Holy Ghost, by which the veil is taken off from our hearts, we behold the glory of the Lord, and every answerable affection is excited in us. And God
Mr. Mather's Creed
not a duty, but a sin, for us to love it: even contrary to the law of God. Because, to love it is the same thing as to love our own misery However, God has given his Son to fulfil this law, and to vindicate and maintain the honour and dignity of his character exhibited in it; that sinners might be pardoned while at enmity against it. p. 28. 41, 42, 43.
I BELIEVE that the character of God exhibited in the Gospel, is so accommodated to the state and temper of our hearts," that we shall love it as soon as known, without any new principle of grace; and even while we are at enmity against that character of God exhibited in the law. p. 22. 41-48.
3. Concerning God the 3. Concerning God the 3. Concerning God the
I BELIEVE that all I BELIEVE that all men have sufficient assist- needful assistance of the ance to comply with the holy Spirit is promised to terms of salvation, as it all baptised persons, to would be unjust to re- render external means quire more than we can effectual to salvation. do, without granting But light is all that is needful assistance to en- needful. For no kind of able us to do it. And regeneration will bring thus the injury done to the human heart to love us by the law is made up that character of God by the Gospel. And in which is exhibited in the this view the divine char- law: and the character acter appears amiable in of God exhibited in the our eyes. And all man- Gospel, will naturally be kind might love it, did loved, as soon as known, they but know it, without by every one, without any new principle of any new principle of grace. See Dr. Steb- grace. But not loved bins, on the Operations very much; for I believe,
The Christian Creed.
and Christ are loved more than wives and children, than houses and lands; yea, than our own lives. Whereby we are disposed and prepared to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ and publicly join with his people, and espouse his cause.
The Arminian Creed.
of the Spirit. Dr. Whit-
Mr. Mather's Creed.
that not more than one convert in a hundred can say, with a good conscience, that he loves God at all. And so saints as well as sinners stand in need of the external covenant. First book, p. 39.60. Second book, p. 45-48. 78, 79, 80, 81.
Remark 1. According to the Arminian creed, mankind are the injured party, Christ died to get justice done us; and simply to have justice done us is all we need to bring us to be at peace with God. Let the terms of salvation be as low as in justice they ought to be; let us have all that assistance which in justice we ought to have; and we need no more: the rest we will do ourselves. But for God to do us justice, is not an act of grace.
2. According to Mr. Mather's creed, the divine law, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ, requires us, on pain of eternal death, to do that which is not our duty to do: yea, that which to do, in us, would be a sinful thing, viz. to love God with all our heart. And so Christ fulfilled a law, in our stead, which it was not our duty to fulfil: yea, a law to obey which, in us, had been a sinful thing. But to pay a debt for us, which we ourselves did not owe, was needless and to honour a law which requires sin, is a sinful thing.
3. The divinity of God the Father is the first article of the Christian creed, and so much the foundation of the whole Christian system, that if this is denied, the whole will sink of course. Or in other words, that God, the Creator and moral governor of the universe, is an absolutely perfect, and infinitely glorious and amiable Being, infinitely worthy of supreme love and universal obedience from his creature man, is the foundation on which the law stands, and on which the whole Gospel scheme is built. To deny this point, is in effect to deny the whole of divine revelation. Atheism is at the bottom of infidelity. The contrariety of the carnal mind to
God's true and real character, is at bottom of Atheism. The fool saith in his heart, there is no God.
4. It was wise in God, even at the expense of the blood of his own Son, to assert and maintain he honour of a law, which is a transcript of his moral character, and which all his apostate creatures join to hate; because in this he does justice to himself, and to his government, while he shows mercy to sinners. But enmity against the divine law renders us blind to the wisdoin, glory, and grace of the Gospel, and is the cause of unbelief. 1 Cor. i. 18. and ii. 14. Com
pared with Rom. viii. 7. and iii. 25. and vii. 12. John viii. 42, 43.
5. He who understands and believes the Christian creed, and who is affected and acts accordingly, is a Christian qualified for baptism, and entitled to eternal life. Mat. xiii. 23. Mark xvi. 16. John xvii. 3.
6. He who believes the first article' of the Christian creed, with a living faith, has what Paul means by repentance toward God. And he who believes the second article of the Christian creed, with a living faith, has what Paul means by faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. A belief of both which is implied in that faith by which a sinner is justified. Luke iii. 3. and v. 31, 32. and xviii. 14. and xxiv. 47. Acts xx. 21. Rom. iii. 19–26. And this faith is the first grace, and the sum, seed, and root of all Christian graces. Mat. xiii. 23. And is peculiar to the regenerate. Rom. viii. 7. 1 John v. 1. 1 Cor. i. 18. and ii. 14. John i. 13. Luke viii. 11-15. And is eternal life begun in the soul. John xvii. 3.
7. The love of the truth is the life of faith; or in other words, love to the truth believed is of the essence of a living faith, and that wherein it specifically differs from the faith of devils, or a dead faith. John xvi. 27. 2 Thes. ii. 10, 11, 12. Jam. ii. 26. And therefore,
8. There is a universal inseparable connexion between a living faith, and a holy life, (which renders assurance attainable by believers in common. Mat. xiii. 23. Jam. ii. 17, 18. 1 John ii. 3.) So that those words are strictly true, 1 John ii. 4. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a LIAR, and the truth is not in him. But,
9. The faith of devils, attended with a lying profession, is not that qualification for baptism which our Saviour had in view, in Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.
10. The Gospel may be, and ought to be, preached to all in common, even to every creature, let their character be ever so vicious, as a means of their conversion: but baptism is not to be administered to adults until they believe, and profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him. Mark xvi. 15, 16. Acts viii. 37. Rom. x. 9, 10.-For,
11. The adult person, in the act of offering himself to God in baptism, practically declares, that he devotes himself God through Jesus Christ, and so puts on Christ. Gal. iii. 26, 27. But a false and lying profession is condemned by God in the Old Testament. Psalm 1xxviii. 86, 37. Eccl. v. 5. and by Jesus Christ in the new. Luke vi. 46. Mat. xxii. 12. Luke xiv. 25–35. 1 John ii. 4. Rev. ii. 2. 9. And is a means, not of salvation, but of destruction, Acts v. 1–11.
12. The adult person, who is unqualified to offer himself in baptism, is equally unqualified to offer his infant child in baptism. For he who is without a heart to devote himself to God, is equally without a heart to devote his child to God.
13. Pride, in ambitious minds, may excite very strong inclinations to make a false profession; but a well enlightened conscience never will dictate this, as matter of duty.
14, It is the indispensable duty of every one, to whom the Gospel comes, to become a real Christian without delay: and then without delay to make a public profession of Christianity and then to attend the seals. But to seal the covenant of grace with our hands, while we reject it in our hearts, is to act deceitfully with our Maker. And to invent a new covenant which God never exhibited, and a new scheme of religion to support it, which God never revealed, suited to the hearts of those who reject the covenant of grace, and who are under the curse of the covenant of works, is to find a resting place for the wicked..