« PreviousContinue »
ON OUR DUTY TO GOD, AND THE DISPOSITIONS WHICH WE SHOULD MANIFEST TOWARDS HIM.
ON LOVE TO GOD. Mark xii. 30.—And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all
thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. In the former part of this work, I have treated of the fundamental doctrines of the two covenants which God has made with mankind. The first was entered into with Adam in a state of innocence, which he voluntarily broke by his disobedience®: and the second, with his fallen race, through Christ our Mediator, whose death ratified the solemn compact between God and man, and ensured the bestowment of its exalted blessings aa.
A sincere faith in these momentous doctrines is necessary to salvation; because they are manifestly a revelation from heaven, acquainting us with the only method by which the lost favour of God may be regained. To slight, then, these doctrines, or to hold thein, as is too commonly the case, as mere matters of speculation, must be a high affront to God, who has seen fit to reveal them for the regulation of our belief and practice : and it must be attended with ruinous consequences to ourselves ; since it is only a Gen, iji. 120.
aa Mat. xxvi. 28. VOL. II.
by a vital faith in Christian principles that we can be rightly influenced to obey God, and honour Christ by all the fruits of a righteous life. Whilst, therefore, we decidedly object to a cold sceptical spirit, which refuses to receive the Christian scheme as essential to salvation, we protest most loudly against the licentiousness of Antinomianism, which "imprisons the truth of God in unrighteousness," and destroys the souls of its advocates by an unhallowed zeal without Scriptural knowledge and obedience. Against such persons the censure of St. Paul is justly levelled:—“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate 6b.
The Scriptures invariably found the most valuable practical instructions upon the doctrines which they inculcate: which establishes the fact, that the design of Christianity is not only to enlighten us with the knowledge of divine things, but also to purify our hearts, and to produce an uniformly upright and holy life.
" Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word ; that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing ; but that it should be holy, and without blemisho.
It is clear, then, that they who do not strive to manifest the effects of an orthodox creed, by a compliance with the precepts of the Gospel, however strenuously they may contend for the doctrinal points of religion, are indeed entire strangers to the very nature and design of those holy principles in which they professedly confide for salvation. To such unsound professors of his Gospel, Christ now Rom. i. 18. bb Tit. i. 16.
Ephes. v. 25-27.