« AnteriorContinuar »
wrought in the mind or conversation of any one person, by any thing of a religious nature, that ever he read, heard, or saw, that had not his affections moved. Never was a natural man engaged earnestly to seek his salvation ; never were any such brought to cry after wisdom, and lift up their voice for understanding, and to wrestle with God in prayer for mercy; and never was one humbled, and brought to the foot of God, from any thing that ever he heard or imagined of his own unworthiness and deservings of God's disa pleasure ; nor was ever one induced to fly for refuge unio Christ, while his heart remained unaffected. Nor was there ever a saint awakened out of a cold, lifeless frame, or recovered from a declining state in religion, and brought back from a lamentable departure from God, without having his heart affected. And, in a word, there never was any thing considerable brought to pass in the heart or life of any man living, by the things of religion, that had not his heart deeply affected by those things.
4. The holy scriptures do every where place religion very much in the affections ; such as fear, hope, love, hatred, desire, joy, sorrow, gratitude, compassion, and zeal.
The scriptures place much of religion in godly fear; in'somuch that it is often spoken of as the character of those that are truly religious persons, that they tremble at God's word, that they fear before him, that their flesh trembles for fear of him, and that they are afraid of his judgments, that his excellency makes them afraid, and his dread falls upon them, and the like: anda compellation commonly given the saints in scripture, is, fearers of God, or they that fear the Lord. And because the fear of God is a great part of true godliness, hence true godliness, in general, is very commonly called by the name of the fear of God; as every one knows, that knows any thing of the Bible.
So hope in God and in the promises of his word, is often spoken of in the Scripture, as a very considerable part of true religion. It is mentioned as one of the three great things of which religion consists, I Cor. xiii. 13. Hope in the Lord is also frequently mentioned as the character of the saints: Psal. cxlvi. 5. Happy is he that hath the God of Ja. sub for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God. Jer. xvii. 7. Bles:ed is the inan that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.. Psal. xxxi. 24. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your henrt, all ye that hope in the Lord. And the like in many other places. Religious fear and hope are, once and again, joined together, as jointly constituting the character of the true saints; Psal. xxxiii. 18. Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy. Psal. cxlvii. 11. The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. Hope is so great a part of true religion, that the apostle says, we are saved by hope, Rom. viii. 24. And this is spoken of as the helmet of the Christian soldier, 1 Thess. V. 8. And for an helmet, the hope of salvation ; and the sure and stedfast an. chor of the soul, which preserves it from being cast away by the storms of this evil world, Heb. vi. 19. Which hope we have as ari anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the vail. It is spoken of as a great
fruit and benefit which true saints receive by Christ's resur. - rection, i Peter i. 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
The scriptur-s place religion very much in the affection of love, in love to God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and love to the people of God, and to mankind. The texts, in which this is manifest, both in the Old Testament and New, are innumerable. But of this more afterwards.
The contrary affection of hatred also, as having sin for its object, is spoken of in scripture as no inconsiderable part of true religion. It is spoken of as that by which true religion may be known and distinguished, Prov. viii. 13. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. And accordingly the saints are called upon to give evidence of their sincerity by this, Psal. xcvii. 10. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil. And the Psalmist often mentions it as an evidence of his sincerity; Psalm ci. 2, 3. I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes : I hate the qvork of them that turn aside. Psal. cxix. 104. I hate every false way. So ver. 128. Again Psal. cxxxix. 21. Do I not 'hate then, O Lord, that hate thee?
So holy desire, exercised in longings, hungerings, and thirstings after God and holiness, is often mentioned in scripture as an important part of true religion ; Isa. xxvi. E. The desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance
of thee. Psal. xxvü, 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, and that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. Psal. xlii. 1, 2. As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God; my soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? Psal. lxiii. 1,2. My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is : to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Psal. lxxxiv. 1, 2. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Psal. cxix. 20. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. So Psal. lxxiii, 25. and cxliji. 6, 7. and cxxx. 6. Cant. iii. 1, 2. and vi. 8. Such a holy desire and thirst of soul is mentioned, as one of these great things which renders or denotes, a man truly blessed, in the beginning of Christ's sermon on the mount, Matth. v. 6. Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled. And this holy thirst is spoken of, as a great thing in the condition of a participation of the blessings of et rnal life, Rev. xxi. 6. I will give unto him that is athirst, of the fountain of the water of life freely, . .
The scriptures speak of holy joy, as a great part of true religion, So it is represented in the text. And as an important part of religion, it is often exhorted to, and pressed with great earnestness; Psal. xxxvii. 4. Delight thyself in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psal. xcvii, 12. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous. So Psal. xxxiii. 1. Rejoice in the Lord, 0 ye righteous. Matth. v. 12. Rejoice, and be exceering glad. Phil. iii. 1. Finally, brethren, rijoice in the Lord. And chap. iv, 4. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again, I say, Rejoice. I Thess. v. 16. Rejoice evermore. Psal. cxlix. 2. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be jayful in their King. Ti is is mentioned among the principal fruils of the Spirit of grace, Gil. v. 22. The fruit of the Spirit is loves joya &c.--The
psalmist mentions his holy joy as an evidence of his sinceri· ty, Psal. cxix. 14. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.i n .',' .' .
Religious sorrow, mourning, and brokenness of heart.
founthe scripture is represen is often exh04. Deligheart. Psali.
are also frequently spoken of as a great part of true religion. These things are often mentioned as distinguishing qualities of the true saints, and a great part of their character; Matt. v. 4. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted. Psal. xxxiv. 18. The Lord is nigh into them that are of a broken heart: and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Isa. Ixi. 1, 2. The Lord hath anointed me to bind up the broken-hearted, ~to.comfort all that mourn. This godly sorrow and brokenness of heart is often spoken of, not only as a great thing in the distinguishing character of the saints, but that in them, which is peculiarly acceptable and pleasing to God; Psal. li. 17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit : a broken and a contrite leart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Isaiah Ivü. 15. Thus suith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy, I dwell in the high and holy place ; with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Chap. lxvi. 2. To this man will I look, even to him that is: poor and of a contritr spirit.' 1. Another affection often mentioned, as that in the exercise
of which much of true religion appears, is gratitude; especially as exercised in thankfulness and praise to God. This being so much spoken of in the book of Psalms, and other parts of the holy scriptures, I need not mention particular texts.
Again, the holy scriptures do frequently speak of compassion or merey, as a very great and essential thing in true religion ; insomuch that good men are in scripture denomia nated from hence; and a merciful man, and a good man, ate equivalent terins in scripture; Isa. lvii. 1. The rightes! man perisheth, and 12 inan laneth it to lieart; and mercifi men are taken away. And the scripture choose's out this quality, as that by which, in a peculiar manner, a righteous man is deciphered ; Psal. xxxvii. 21. The righteous she weth mercy, and giveth; and verse 26. He is ever merciful, and lendeth. And Prov. xiv. 31. He that honoureth the Lord, hath mercy on the poor. And Col. iii. 12. Put ye on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, &c. This is one of those great things, by which those who are truly blessed are described by our Saviour, Matth. v. 7. Blessed are the
merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. And this Christ also vi speaks of, as one of the weigiitier matters of the law, Matth.
zby God fice. Whisaviour, und zi.
xxiii. 23. Wo unto you, seribrs and Pharisees, hypocrites ; for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, inercy, and frib. To the same purpose is that, Micah vi. 8. He bath slequel thee, O man, what is good : and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justice, and love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God? And also that, Hos. vi. 6. For 1 desired mercy, and not sacrifice. Which seems to have been a text much de. lighted in by our Saviour, by his manner of citing it once and again, Matth. ix. 13. and xii. 7.
Zeal is also spoken of, as a very essential part of the religion of true saints. It is spoken of as a great thing Christ had in view, in giving himself for our redemption, Tit. ii. 14. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. And this is spoken of, as the great thing wanting in the lukewarm Laodiceans, Rev. ïïi. 15, 16, 19.
I have mentioned but a few texts, out of an innumerable multitude, all over the scripture, which place religion very much in the affections. But what has been observed, may be sufficient to shew that they who would deny that much of true religion lies in the affections, and maintain the con trary, must throw away what we have been wont to own for our Bible, and get some other rule, by which to judge of the nature of religion.
5. The scriptures do represent true religion, as being summarily comprehended in love, the chief of the affections, and fountain of all other affections.
So our blessed Saviour represents the matter, in answer to the lawyer, who asked him, which was the great commandment of the law, Matth. xxii. 37,--40. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commundments hang all the low and the prophets. Which last words signify as much, as that these two commandments comprehend all the duty prescribed, and the religion taught in the law and the prophets. And the apostle Paul does from time to time make the same represeritation of the matter ;, as in Rom. xiii, 8. He that loveth another, hath fulfilled the law. And ver. 10. Love is the fulfilling of the law. And Gal. v. 1*