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But notwithstanding what the scriptures have said to excite confidence in the divine mercy through Jesus Christ, it will not appear strange that we are so slow of heart to believe, if it be remembered that unbelief is a radical evil in human nature; that by which it was first contami. nated, by which it is still infuenced, and, in fact, the fruitful source of many atrocities that dis. grace the character of man.
When that positive law was given by conformity to which the first pair were to manifest their submission to the divine will, they were expressly told, that, in case of disobedience, ‘They should surely die.' But no sooner was the command made known to Satan, that enemy of all righteousness, than he had the audacity to assert, that the prohibitory injunction might be violated with impunity—That they should not surely die'-declaring, at the same time, That this was only an artful pretext by which to preclude them from the godlike knowledge which the Almighty knew the fruit of that tree was. adapted to impart.
Now on this principle all men proceed in attempting to extenuate the turpitude of their own actions. For though God have peremptorily declared, That he will by no means clear the guilty-that the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God: yet they say, not merely of comparatively small, but of enormous sins, “ The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.' Though they continue to indulge their evil propensities in almost every species of iniquity, yet they flatter themselves with the hope of escaping divine justice, or at least that, in consequence of sorrow and repentance at the last hour, the Almighty will mercifully pardon and accept them. Why, therefore, should it be thought unaccountably strange that the real christian should, when left to himself, feel the painful effects of unbelief? be harrassed with doubts and fears, and sometimes manifest distrust of the divine goodness? Human nature is the same in both, and so totally depraved, that, without foreign aid, it has neither power nor inclination to counteract the pernicious influence of this diabolical principle. It is not, therefore, the mere
promulgation of a fact in reference to salvation by Jesus Christ, that will calm the perturbed mind, or excite confidence in divine mercy. The carnal mind is alienated from God; and this alienation, especially if attended with deep conviction of apostacy and guilt, generates suspicion, and suspicion distrust: the impediments to reconciliation and to peace must therefore be removed before there can be either confidence or affection. But, as the springs to resist evil in the moral system are in man so completely weakened, the sinner must inevitably fall a prey to his own disease, unless he that spake the world into being mercifully interpose to save the soul from perdition.
If then it be true, that in God we live, and move, and have our being; and that without his divine agency we perform no physical action, surely no argument can be wanted to prove that we must stand solely indebted to him for that faith which counteracts the sinful propensities of our nature, which purifies the heart, and overcomes the world; which, in opposition to sense, is conversant with invisible realities, and which
not only joyfully receives, but gratefully confides in the divine testimony.
If, therefore, we are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God: If faith be his gift, and no man can come to Christ except the Father draw him: If, without divine energy, we can neither overcome our natural propensity to evil, love the divine character, nor cordially trust in revealed mercy: If, after having tasted that the Lord is gracious, we cannot stand stedfast in the faith, unless he that began the good work perform it until the day of Christ; what need have we to implore the Father of mercies to work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure—that he would guide us by his counsel, and afterwards receive us to glory!
mestherhoastilhe small whisper
in your car, ge And he that never doubted of his state,
no hope who never had a fear ;
He may perhaps-perhaps he may-tou late.
ANXIẾTY like yours, Lavinia, interests all the feelings of humanity, and imperceptibly raises the soft emotions of compassion. The severity of your triat strikes me with peculiar force: it resembles, in many respects, what I have formerly experienced ; and if the recital of similar distress could excite encouragement, I might relate how your affectionate correspondent, and others have been exercised in the same circumstances. 'For among the various methods of consolation to which the miseries inseparable