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which deep penitence has expref- "but I cannot behold him; he fed itself, in every period of the "hideth himself on the right Chriftian church. Time was, "hand, that I cannot fee him. when Peter could confidently say "O that I knew where I might to Chrift, "Though all men deny "find him!" And of David: thee, yet will not I." But after "Why ftandeft thou afar off, O his fall, we hear no more of this "Lord, why hideft thou thyself, vain confidence. When the risen "in times of trouble?" Of the Saviour demands of him, "Lov-church: "Wherefore hideft thou "eft thou me more than these ?" "thy face and forgetteft our afHe modeftly anfwers. "Thou" fiction and our oppreffion?" I knowest that I love thee," without drawing others, to their difadvantage, into comparison with himself.

Chriftians have to fight not only against flesh and blood, but a gainft principalities and powers; and, as they advance in the Chriftian courfe, they are more and more fenfible that they are utterly unable to contend with the pow. ers of darkness in their own ftrength, that they can maintain the combat and gain the victory only by taking to themfelves the whole armour of God, and that Satan fubmits to no power, but to that of the great captain of their falvation.

Add to this, God is pleafed, as a fovereign, to afford, or to withdraw his comforting prefence, as the peculiar ftate of his people requires; when he favors them with the light of his countenance they rejoice, and when he withholds it, they languish and mourn; and faints, in all ages, have, at times, complained of the hidingsof God's face. Having had fome difcoveries of the divine glory, the full vifion and fruition of God is their fupreme defire, and the withholding of it their greatest grief. Thus, in particular circumftances, it is the language of Job: "Be"bold, I go forward, but he is "not there; and, backward, but "I cannot perceive him; on the “left hand, where he doth work,

"fought him, whom my foul "loveth, I fought him, but I "found him not." And of our bleffed Saviour, when expiring on the crofs: "My God, my God, "why haft thou forfaken me?" The act of God, in withdrawing himself, does not neceffarily imply fin in the fubject, for Chrift, who experienced this withdrawment, knew no fin. In relation to him, however, it was both retributive and difciplinary; retributive, as it was no fmall part of the penalty of God's law which he suffered, in expiating our fins; difciplinary, as he learned obedience by the things which he suffered; but, in relation to the faints, it feems to be disciplinary only, and no part of the penalty of the law. It is defigned for the advancement of their best good; it teaches them effectually their abfolute dependence on God, for all their fpiritual enjoyments, and the worth of the divine presence; it prepares them for lively exercises of gratitude and joy, on its return, and fits them for the work of eternal praise, when faith shall be swallowed up in vifion.

OMICRON. (To be continued.)

Nymphas to Sofipater. (Contin. from Vol. II. p. 453-) LETTER III.

there not fomething furprifing and awfully affecting in

er. How wonderful is our lukewarmnefs in this grand business! How aftonifhing is it that we do fo little and are fo little engaged Our aftonishment in view of our feelings and conduct, with ref pect to the falvation of our fellow finners must rise much higher, when we confider what infinite love has done to fave man. God the father has given and set forth his dear and well beloved Son, to be a propitiation, that whofoever believeth in him fhould not perish but have eternal life. With reference to this the fon of God has become incarnate, fulfilled all

the conduct of profeffors of the prefent day, with refpect to the falvation of others? Is not the language of Cain the very language of many, Am I my brother's keeper? Is it not truly wonderful, that we feel fuch a cold indifference about their eternal falvation; and in fact do fo little to pluck them as brands out of the burning, and prevent their utter ruin? When we turn our attention to them as being formed rational creatures, furnished with noble and immortal powers, in their nature adapted to please and glorify their God and Saviour and to promote their own and the high-righteoufnefs, and humbled himeft present and eternal good of his felf and become obedient to death, moral kingdom, the worth of the the painful ignominious death of foul rifes beyond the loftieft con- the crofs. With respect to this, ceptions of Angels. Creatures the holy spirit exerts his almighty formed with fuch powers, furnifh-energy in convincing of fin, righted for the nobleft fervice and for eoufnefsand judgment, and in fhewenjoying the highest kind of bles-ing Chrift to them and if unwilfednefs, are of fome real worth, even on fuppofition their existence would terminate with this momentary life. Of what incomparable worth muft they then be, if after as many millions of ages have rolled away, as there are fands on the fea fhore or drops of water in the ocean, their eternity is but beginning? How can it appear to us a matter of fuch indifference whether creatures of fuch incomparable worth, be faved or loft forever? For there is no other alternative. If they are not faved, they will certainly be loft. Is it poffible, looking on any individual in the circle of pur acquaintance, if we can think it a matter of little importance whether he be ufeful and happy even through life? Much rather, it would feem impoffible that we can feel a cold indifference whether he should be ufeful and happy forever and ev

ling, making them willing to renounce the world, to forfake all and follow Christ. With refpect to this, prophets, apostles, evangelifts, paftors and teachers have been given, and the Golden Can dlesticks have been fet up in the world, and divine ordinances have been inftituted. With respect to this, angels are ever on the wing. Can we think for a moment on what the father of mercies has done and of his unfpeakable gift? Can we read the memoirs of the incarnation, the obedience and fufferings, life and death of the adorable fon of God, how he agonized in the garden and poured out his foul in tears and blood, on the accurfed tree, and not feel amazement in view of our failings and conduct, that we are fo languid, fo very lukewarm in our endeavors to fave fouls from eternal death, and hide the multitudes of their

the facred three have done and are doing in the profecution of this work, the intereft which the inhabitants of heaven take in the falvation of finners, for "there is joy in heaven over one finner that repenteth," and the zeal of the Apoftles and the first Chrif tians, upbraid our ftupor, and call

fins? Truly I am a wonder to myfelf, that I am fo loft to all feeling and tender concern for my fellow finners, who are rushing on in a mad career into the devouring fames and am difpofed to do fo little. May we not blush and hide our heads for fhame, that we fo little resemble the father of mercies; that we are fo exceed-upon us to engage in this business ingly unlike him whom we call our Lord and mafter, who came from the bofom of delights to that very crofs to fave finners, and is now high enthroned and vefted with univerfal dominion that he might deliver poor finners from fin, death and hell and raise them to the heights of bleffednefs in heavenly places?


according to its importance.
we faw finners furrounded in the
flames of their houses, should we
not fly to their relief and do every
thing which could be done? And
fhould we not much rather exert
ourfelves to fave them from ever-
lafting burnings? Their danger
is great and preffing, the world,
the flesh and the devil, are com-
bined to effect their destruction.
And alas! The poor creatures,
are in general, in a death-like sleep,
fearlefs of danger. What a great
and bleffed thing would it be, if
we, thro' the Lord's grace might
be inftrumental, in faving even
one of our fellow finners from

Let us put on Chrift, and imbibe large measures of his fpirit and follow him, let us imitate the example he has left us, of the kindeft, tendereft love to fouls; let us keep him in view and like

Yea, fhame may cover us that we fall fo far behind the apostles and the first churches, in the zeal we employ in this momentous bufinefs. They breathed the very fpirit of their divine mafter and clofely followed him in their painful labors and travels for the falvation of finners. What ardor of foul did the great apostle Paul breathe? How gloriously did he exert himself? Nothing feemed to him too much to do and fuffer in this all-important bufinefs. In tranfacting this he was undifmayed in the view of the most threat-him let us be ready to make any ening danger. In profecuting facrifice in fuch a caufe, and be this, he was willing to spend and ready to do and fuffer as we have be fpent-yea to fpill the laft drop ability and opportunity, for the of his blood. Nothing was fuf- falvation of fouls, and finally ficient to damp his ardor, or di- may we fhine in that kingdom of vert the current of his endeavors. our father, among those who win His very foul was all love to fin- fouls and turn many to righteoufners, and he was indefatigable in nefs. Yours, &c. his labors for their falvation.


fellow laborers and the firft church- On the moral imperfection of Chrif

es of the faints breathed the fame lovely fpirit and followed him as he followed Chrift, and nobly exerted themselves in the fame glo. rious bufinefs. The grand things



Tis a clear cafe, that Chriftians are morally imperfect, and that, while in this life, they

2. If Chriftians are perfectly holy in this life, excepting that, at times, their holinefs is interrupted by fome finful affection, it is not readily difcerned why they may not, alfo, be perfectly free from erroneous opinion. As all necef

have much remaining fin. This ly fay, "I have no fin." But the moral imperfection of Chriftians apoftle fays, 1 John, i. 8. If we must confift, either in the incon-fay that we have no fin, we deflancy of their holy exercifes-in ⚫ceive ourselves, and the truth is diftinct exercifes of a different and not in us." oppofite nature at the fame time-or, in moral imperfection in their boly exercifes themselves. We can conceive of no other, than one of thefe ways, wherein Chriftians can fail of moral perfection. If it be in the first, it is to be fuppofed that the holy affections they ex-fary truth is clearly and perfectly ercife are perfectly holy, but interrupted by affections, which are wholly and totally finful. If it be in this that the moral imperfection of Chriftians confifts, the following confequences muft be admitted, viz.

revealed, in the holy scriptures and, the revelation altogether adapted to the natural capacities of men, it may not be admitted that an unprejudiced mind will ever mifunderstand or pervert divine truth: But on the other hand, as our Savior fays, Matt. vi. 22. "If thine eye be fingle, thy

1. That growth in grace, excepting fuch improvement as will be in Chriftians after they arrive" whole body fhall be full of light." to a ftate of perfection never again On the fame ground he faid ato be interrupted by fin, confifts gain, John vii. 17. "If any in the nearer approach to conftancy "man will do his, (God's) will, of holy exercifes. That it is the "he fhall know of the doctrine, duty of Chriftians to grow in "whether it be of God, or whethgrace that they are frequently" er I fpeak of myself." The exhorted to it, in the word of God-and, that they in fact do, will not be denied. This growth in grace muft imply a nearer approach to freedom from fin. But as their holy exercifes are already free from fin, the exhortation can be complied with only by their being lefs frequently interrupted by fuch as are finful. And if the Chriftian's growth in grace imply a lefs frequent interruption of holy affections, nothing appears to forbid the expectation of an uninterrupted fucceffion of perfectly holy exercifes, in Chriftians, for days, months, and even years. And whenever this fhall be the cafe, the Chriftian arrives to all that finlefe perfection the greateft enthufiafts ever imagine attainable in the prefent ftate, and may tru

apoftle fays, alfo, 1 Cor. xiii. 7. that "love believeth all things.' We might, therefore, rationally expect perfect harmony in fentiment, among Chriftians; as, al-' fo, perfect brotherly love.Should it be faid, that this per fect harmony in fentiment, and perfect brotherly love, are prevented by finful affections, which, at times, intervene; it may be replied, this would not prevent perfect harmony of fentiment and affection during the period, however long, of the fucceffion of holy affections. But when thofe exercifes, or that train of exercifes take place, which, by fuppofition, are totally finful, how widely Chriftians may differ, in fentiment, is utterly uncertain: As, alfo, whether any erroneous

Peter, alfo,

I John, ii. 9.
fpeaks of Chriftians, as being
born, not of corruptible, but of
incorruptible feed, by the word
of God, which liveth and abideth
forever. I Pet. i. 23. This feed
muft be the spirit of God, or ho--
ly love in the heart. And if it
remain in him who is born of God,
fo that he cannot fin, it must be
that he is never without it-nev-
er wholly deftitute of it, after it.
is implanted in him.-If he be ev-
er wholly without it, and fin with
the whole heart, as wicked men
do, how can it with truth and juf-,
tice be faid, that God's feed re-
mains in him,and that he cannot fin.

belief whatever, be inconfiftent with the fubject's being a child of God-But this much is certain, they would be totally deftitute of brotherly love; and would be juft as the fcriptures defcribe wicked men, hateful and hating each other. 3. If the holy affections of Chriftians are perfect, and entirely free from fin, no good reafon, it is conceived, can be given, why any one, who is born of God, fhould be without the full affurance of hope. Perfect love to God and to our fellow-men is fo entirely diftinct, in its nature, from any thing ever found in the natural heart, and fo totally oppofite to it, that it cannot be mistaken. 5. To fuppofe the moral imWe may as well fuppofe, that a perfection of Chriftians to consist perfon inftantaneously restored in the inconftancy of their holy exfrom perfect blindnefs, to full and ercifes, feems not confiftent with clear vifion, fhould feel uncertain the reprefentation the fcriptures whether he fee the fun; as, that give of the ftruggle and warfare, one restored from perfect moral which Chriftians have within blindness, to perfect spiritual light, themselves. The apostle speaks fhould feel uncertain whether, or of fleshly lufts warring against the not, he beheld the glory of God. foul, 1 Pet. ii. II. And Paul, Yet the apoftle reprefents the full fpeaking of Chriftians, fays, Gal. affurance of hope to be the fruit v. 17. "The flesh lufteth against of diligent application to duty." the fpirit, and the fpirit againft Heb. vi. 11. And the affurance" the flesh: And thefe are conof our calling and election is fpo- trary the one to the other; fo ken of, 1 Pet. i. 10. as the ef-"that ye cannot do the things fect of diligence. Thefe pafla-" that ye would." And that this ges imply, that the affurance of contrariety of luftings or defires hope, and of our calling and elec- in the fame mind, does not confift tion, does not accompany the firft in the perfect oppofition of dif gracious exercifes, which take ferent and fucceffive affections to place in the heart of one, who is each other, appears from what born of God; but that it is the the fame apoftle fays of himself, fruit, only of a fucceffion, and Rom. vii. 21. "I find then a an increafing ftrength and purity" law, that when I would do good, of holy affections.

4. That the exercises of the Chriftian's affections fhould be at any time wholly and totally finful, is a fuppofition, which does not accord with what the apoftle afferts of him, who is born of God, viz. that his feed remaineth is him,

VOL. III. No. 1.



"evil is prefent with me." while the affections are perfectly holy, evil is not at the fame time prefent: Nor is the power of temptation in any measure felt. Were the exercifes of holiness and fin, as taking place at different times in Chriftians, both perfe&t D

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