Imatges de pÓgina

neither party is devotedly attached to the respective creeds of Calvin or Arminius. If you will permit me to mention very briefly the faults and excellences of the two parties, you will understand more thoroughly the nature of that style of preaching which our best divines have adopted, and which I would earnestly recommend to your consideration.

The faults of the Evangelical teachers are, that they render Christianity repulsive to men of sober judgments, and refined taste, by enforcing the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel in an obscure and unusual phraseology, which is neither consistent with a right interpretation of Scripture, nor with sound and strict reasoning. If they would enforce, for instance, the doctrine of the corruption of human nature, they use language which would lead their hearers to infer that we are demons in malignity and wickedness-whereas we are represented in Scripture, and the truth is confirmed by experience, to be only fallen men, inclined to evil rather than to good, but capable of restoration to the favor of God, which a demon cannot be. If they would deny the merit of good works, they sometimes speak so incautiously that they seem to represent good works as unnecessary; and they do

this by confounding the doctrine of the Reformers, who denied the meritorious nature of penances, pilgrimages, and similar works, with the doctrine of the Antinomians, who deny the merit of repentance, and obedience: whereas, while the former class of good works are utterly useless, as the proofs of true faith, the latter are so essential, that without them faith has no existence. If they teach the necessity of the influences of the Holy Spirit, they interpret some passages of Scripture so inconsiderately, that a hearer of their own modes of expression would imagine the Deity to be a capricious, or arbitrary Being, instead of being governed by laws as just, and certain, in His conduct towards His accountable spirits, as He ordinarily proceeds by certain and immutable laws, in His regulation of the material universe. They too often separate passages of Scripture from those which precede and follow them, to enforce the probable truth of opinions, to which the passages which they quote have no reference. They too often insist on some one truth, to the exclusion of others-as the foreknowledge of God to the exclusion of so much free will on the part of man, as renders him a responsible being. They speak with too much familiarity of the love of

God, of the Holy Spirit, and of the atonement of our Saviour. They do not sufficiently represent the episcopal clergy as the only authorized teachers. They sometimes speak of the salvation of the soul, as if that salvation depended upon the decrees of the Almighty, and not upon the acceptance of that mercy which the Almighty decreed to be the means of salvation. They do not seem sufficiently to value the sacraments, nor the institutions of the Church. The language of their devotion is mysterious, and almost unintelligible; as when they inquire of their hearers, whether they feel that they have an interest in Christ; by which, and similar phrases, they mean to inquire, whether the belief which their hearers profess in the truth of the doctrines of Revelation, has so influenced their conduct, and their hearts, that they are conscious of having endeavoured to remove wilful evil, and have begun to derive consolation and happiness, under the sorrows of the present life, and in the anticipation of the future. One of the most strenuous advocates of that mode of instruction which is generally called Evangelical, has written an Essay on the aversion of men of taste to Evangelical Religion. If taste be the result of knowledge, cultivation of intellect, and

mental refinement, that taste will never be adverse to Scripture, to the Liturgy, to the Articles of the Church, or to the solemn language of those devotional Christian writers, who unite the soundest common sense with the language of the purest religion. The confession that men of taste can be adverse to Evangelical Religion, while they are not adverse to the Volume of Scripture, and the truth of orthodox Christianity, is the severest condemnation of that system of instruction which is generally called Evangelical.

Such is one class of faults which the Christian Clergyman will avoid-but he will be no less anxious, on the other hand, to shun the extremes which too often characterize those whom we must call, for the sake of distinction, the Anti-evangelical preachers.

The faults of these are no less objectionable; and they may easily be pointed out as being the opposite of those already enumerated. If the Antievangelical party, for instance, have occasion to speak of the corruption of human nature, they sometimes use phrases respecting the dignity of man, and the excellence of that moral virtue to which he may certainly attain, even without the aid of revelation, which would seem to imply that

the assistance of the Holy Spirit is not so absolutely essential to perfection, as it is represented to be, both in the Articles of the Church, and in the pages of Scripture. They sometimes confound those moral virtues, which are the result of instinct, society, necessity, and experience (and which are, therefore, practised alike by the heathen and by the infidel, as well as by the Christian), with those higher virtues, which can only be the result of more than human principle. The corruption of human nature consists in this-that the heart of man, and his affections, are alienated from the will of God; and not that he is unable or unwilling to perform the duties which are required by man. The love of children to parents, and of parents to children, are universal duties; but they may be the result of instinct, or natural affection, without any reference to the will of God: and the practice, therefore, of the moral virtues, which are the consequences of this natural affection, does not imply that the nature of man is not alienated from God. The same reasoning will apply to such duties as obedience to magistrates, and many others, which must be practised for the sake of the general happiness. And while these various duties must be all enforced by the Chris

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