« PrécédentContinuer »
and delicate subject and inexpedient to express an opinion upon it,' when their opinion lay open, in the Confession of Faith, to the world, and their avowed adherence to that opinion was recorded in heaven? I apprehend that they had no right to express indecision in a particular case, when the general principle, involving a decision of all particular cases, was not contested. If they had any doubt of the general principle, they ought to have declared their doubt, and resorted to the measure which has been at last adopted. But if they had acted upon the principle firmly, which they were certainly by their adoption of the Confession of Faith, obliged to do, there could have been no future difficulty; for every man and woman then would have known, that marriage within the interdicted degrees, cut them off, without remedy, from our communion. Nor could any one reasonably complain of this. If a person desire to be a member of a society, he certainly ought to reckon it no hardship to conform to its rules.
But to the Law and the testimony;' if the clause in question he contrary to the word of God, or not substantially contained in that word, let it be torn from the leaf, which it has occupied undisturbed for ages; but if it be an echo of the voice of God, let no hand be lifted up with sacrilegious violence against it.”
Then after giving an outline of the argument from Scripture, he concludes by saying,
“This principle of limitation (viz. that when the law forbids marriage in any specified relationship it forbids it to all within the same degree) is as easy as it is necessary and legitimate. It breathes the very spirit, and embraces fully, the intention of the law. It is the principle which guided the venerable compilers of the Confession of Faith, when they drew up the clause of the xxivth Chapter, now in question. I hope we shall not recede from it; and I hope the clause will remain where it has stood unmolested for nearly two hundred years. I hope it will never be said that the American clergy have less respect for the law of God than the civilians of Europe, and the monks of the dark ages. Nay, I hope, that instead of relaxing by little and little, the reins of morals, discipline, and doctrine, we shall be animated by a growing watchfulness and zeal for the purity of the church, the welfare of souls, and the glory of our covenant God.
Selections. SIGNS OF A LIVING OR GROWING CHRISTIAN.
From a valuable author of the last century. Sign 1. When your chief delight is with the saints, especially them that excel in virtue.
2. When the smitings of the righteous are not a burden to you, and you can hear of your faults with affectionate attention.
3. When Jesus Christ, in the midst of temptation, is more to you than all the world. 4. When reproach for Christ, makes you not ashamed of Christ.
5. When wandering thoughts in time of duty find less entertainment than formerly.
6. When length and standing in the profession of Christianity, work increase of hatred to all sin.
7. When you carry about with you a constant jealousy over your own heart, that it turn not aside from God and goodness.
8. When every known new mercy begets new thankfulness, and that with delight.
9. When known calamity in God's house begets deep sorrow
in your heart.
10. When God's afflicting you for your sins makes you love God the better.
11. When the same care and travail you at first laboured in to get Christ, is as much if not more laboured in to keep Christ.
12. When a feeling sense of the peace and edification of the church of God lies so near your heart that you can prefer it above your chief concerns.
13. When under deep distress or languishing, the word of God is precious to you.
14. When any condition, though in itself mean, as it comes from God, is most welcome.
15. When the peace of Christ's house begets chief joy in your heart.
16. When chief care to avoid all sin is as truly occasioned through fear of dishonouring God, and incurring his present displeasure, as wrath to come.
17. When the least apprehension of God's withdrawing, makes you seek him more earı
arnestly in such ways wherein he will be found.
18. When every company is burdensome to you, that is not designing your Father's glory, but derogating therefrom.
19. When the sins of others come so near your heart, that you walk sadly to see such persons transgress God's commands.
20. When the light of your understanding grows more strong to your making judgment of spiritual things according to God's word.
21. When bitter things become sweet to you, as they are squared by, and founded on the will of God.
22. When the path of the humble is so delightful, that you would rather be with them, than in the tents of the ungodly.
23. When your pity is such to perishing people, that you cannot but weep at the thoughts of their ruin.
24. When the yoke of self-denial imposed by Christ Jesus, is not grievous, but pleasant to you.
25. When the force of resurrection and judgment to come, lies so close at your heart, that it makes you answer every call of Christ to do or suffer cheerfully.
26. When increase of time in Christ's acquaintance, works increase of delight in communion with Christ.
27. When in the walk of faith you are more frequent, and less depend upon walking by sense.
28. When the majesty of the great God, considering how visible you are in his sight, hath an awful prevalence upon your heart.
29. When you are at open war and constant hostility with bosom sin, as displeasing to God, and forbidden by his law.
30. When you have a thirsting care to get the power of godliness in your heart, rather than the form of godliness in the head or outward profession.
31. When the worship of God agreeable to his word, is highly prized and faithfully practiced, in the worst of times.
32 When the soul is more hungry for the word of God, than the body is for temporal food.
THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE OF FAITH. This short treatise was written by the pious Professor FRANKEN,
the founder of the celebrated Orphan House at Halle, in Germany. It was translated from the original German into low Dutch; and
thence into English, for the Christian's Magazine. This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus
Christ whom thou hast sent.---John xvii. 3. This is the way of faith by which I live, the truth which I have learned from the word of God, and which the holy Ghost has sealed upon my heart. This is the race ground upon which I run, where I am preserved from every false path, and shall obtain the prize of life.
I acknowledge myself to be a poor and wretched worm; 1 know that, by my original and actual sins, I have deserved the wrath of God, and am justly obnoxious to temporal death and eternal damnation.
But the son of God has given himself for me, and reconciled me to the Father by his blood, so that God doth not impute my sins to me; but imputes for my justification the righteousness of bis only begotten son, which I receive by faith in his name.
That faith by which I am truly justified is of the operation of the holy Ghost, who has filled my breast with faith.
In this my justification I have found peace with God. Jam a child of God, and I am comforted while I rejoice in his grace. I am confident that I shall never see nor taste death, but that I have eternal life, and am passed from death to life.
Since God has thus graciously received me by faith in his Son Jesus, I am not justified at one time and condemned at another; but I am always and constantly in the grace of God, and have in my heart the witness of the holy Spirit to my adoption of God.
I do not at all consider myself to be free from faults and infirmie ties; yea, I well know that those which God has discovered to my view cannot be numbered, and I firmly believe that those which I do not see are more numerous; yet since I am in Christ Jesus and he is in me, these my faults and infirmities are not imputed to me, but God is forbearing and forgiviug towards me as a father with his child.
Notwithstanding, his grace doth not render me careless, but excites me daily to be more and more renewed in the spirit of my mind.
God, who produces whatever is good in me, makes a filial fear to reside in my heart, and he hath implanted an awful reverence for his holy majesty, which preserves me from sinning, or turning his grace
into laciviousness. He purgeth me as a branch of the vine, that I continually bear more fruit.
I am actually cleansed by the word which Jesus Christ hath spoken, and which I have believed. This is not a mere imagination or false conclusion, for Christ hath truly loved me and washWhat I have thus seen, and heard, and learned, by spiritual experience, is more certain and sure to me, than what I see with my eyes, or hear with my ears, or touch with my hands.
God himself has taught me clearly to distinguish between light and darkness, imagination and reality.
But God is not only faithful to forgive our sins, but also just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Therefore I confess my sins and pollution before him, and desire continually to be more and more purified.
I consequently fight against sin, and crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts; yet I cannot do this in my own strength, but through the Holy Ghost, who dwells and works in me.
My beginning, and progress, and ending, is by faith in Jesus.
While I am conscious of my utter inability, and acknowledge that I can of myself do nothing but sin; when I feel that I cannot of myself draw near to God and enjoy his communion, but depend wholly upon his grace, and look to the Lamb of God who bore my sins, and came through his blood to the Father; then a new power is communicated to me, and I feel faith in my heart as a divine light and fire; I taste the love of Christ; and the new man grows as “a good tree in its verdure,” which blossoms, diffuses its fragrance, and produces fruit acceptable to God and
I do not seek to be justified in one way, and sanctified in another. I have but one way, that is Christ; who is the way, the truth, and the life.
Asl cleave to nothing but Christ, when I plead for the pardon of my sins, so I cleave alone to him, and turn in simplicity and sincerity to his grace and power, when I strive to increase in faith, in love, and hope.
Yea, I need nothing more to enable me to stand firmly in the grace received, and the renewed principle which the Son of God has given me, (to know him that is true, and to continue in him who is true:) in this way the work of God is perfected in me; for God alone, without my aid, is the author and finisher of his own work.
When I yield myself to be formed by him as an infant, and cease to oppose his Spirit, he then works in me both to will and to do, of his own good pleasure.
But it is not his will that I should become negligent, and sink