صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]

necessarily lead to the habitations of misery, and those of virtue to permanent happiness. But we discover in these benevolent characters nothing of that vindictive spirit which has been but too generally ascribed to the Deity: whereas it appears that all he requires of us is evidently for our own good....not for his: for we can do nothing by which he can be benefited; for when we have done all, we are but unprofitable servants. It also exhibits, in the character of the eldest son, the disposition of many pious people at this day, who cannot brook the idea that any person should be accepted by our heavenly Father, that is not as righteous as themselves. They have served God by praying in their families every night and morning, and have gone to church twice or three times every Sunday for many years, while these vagabonds were haunting taverns and houses of ill fame. And shall they now be placed on the same footing with us? Shall they who came into the field at the eleventh hour receive as much wages as we, who have borne the heat of the day?

But pray, Messieurs Notables, be honest, and re-examine your motives. Were your boasted services performed out of pure love to God, or were they not evidently to serve yourselves, to recommend you to God, and make him your

debtor for services performed? Although we cannot merit salvation by the performance of these duties, they should not be neglected. But there is a way in which we can render services pleasing to God, and of essential advantage to ourselves and to mankind.

When God created mankind, it is demonstrably evident that he intended to bring every individual of the human race into a state of permanent happiness; as I shall endeavour to prove in the course of this work. It is therefore our duty, and also our interest, to co-operate with the Deity and all good beings, to promote the order, peace and happiness of every individual or society, of which we may become members, as far as God may have enabled us to perform this pleasing and necessary duty." Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment."*

* 1 John iii. 16, 17, 23.

"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."*"Look unto me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory."t

By the laws of nature which are founded upon, and have their root and sanction in, the immutable attributes of God, there is an eternal, essential, and immutable difference between right and wrong; good and evil; virtue and vice.... and as their nature and properties are diametrically opposite, so are their tendencies. Virtue is naturally and necessarily productive of order, peace, and happiness; and vice as naturally conducts its votaries to discord, confusion, and misery. Now as virtue and happiness are evidently preferable to vice and misery, every rational being, from the highest in the scale of existence to the lowest, are under the most indissoluble obligations to promote virtue and happiness, and to obviate, banish, and annihilate

* John xiii. 34.

Isaiah xlv. 22, 23, 25.

oice and misery out of the creation of God, in such ways, and by such means, as he in his infinite wisdom may see fit to direct or employ for this purpose: and this obligation (which is incumbent upon all) is enhanced in proportion to their grade in the scale of existence, and their ability to perform the necessary and pleasing duties which are conducive to this important end.

Upon these principles, and for these important reasons, Christ became the appropriate Saviour of the world; as he was the being most strongly obligated, and the only one perfectly qualified to destroy vice and misery (which are emphatically termed the works of the devil) and to purify, cleanse, and restore the whole human race to virtue, peace, and permanent happiness; which was the original and immutable design of our heavenly Father.

If Christ (agreeably to the eternal, immutable laws of nature) was not legally bound to regard the happiness or misery of the human race, how could he justly and legally be "wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities?" If the world of mankind had been fur

Isaiah liii. 5.

nished with and had retained sufficient powers to have wrought out their own salvation, the mission of Christ would have been needless."Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." "* "I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."†

But as we, like sheep, had all gone astray, the benevolent parent of the human race so loved the world, that he sent his dearly beloved Son into it, invested with plenipotentiary power to be Saviour of the world; and also with an ample commission, and celestial authority, to destroy the works of the devil. "For this pur pose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." What? all his works! Yes, verily, both root and branch. And what is still better, even the devil himself shall be destroyed. "Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also, himself, likewise took part of the same,

* Gal. ii. 16. and 1 John iv. 14.

† Gal. ii. 21.
§ 1 John iii. 8.


Isaiah liii. 6.

« السابقةمتابعة »