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order to his return: but the necessity of his return was not thereby superseded, nor was he accepted of his father until he did return. It is true, the father beheld him while a great way off,' and met the first movement of his heart towards him: but whatever were his kind designs, he was not accepted, according to the established laws of the house, till he had actually returned. It was not necessary, that while he thus justified his father's character, he should be ignorant of his readiness to forgive. Without a persuasion of this, however he might have reproached himself, he could have had no encouragement to return as a supplicant. Nor is it supposed that a sinner, in being brought to justify God as a lawgiver, must needs be ignorant of his being revealed as the God of grace but the question is, whether in the order of things, it be possible for him to see or believe any grace in the gospel, beyond what he feels of the equity of the law? He may be persuaded of God's exercising what is called pardon; and knowing himself to be à sinner, exposed to wrath, he may be affected with it: but it cannot possibly appear to him to be a gracious pardon, any farther than as he feels reconciled to the justice of his claims as a lawgiver. To suppose it possible that we should believe the doctrine of grace, without being first made to feel the equity of the law, so as to justify God and condemn ourselves, is to suppose a contradiction. There is no grace but upon this supposition, and we cannot see that which is not to be seen. Whatever promises there may be to the least degree of holiness, if they respect the first movement of the heart towards Christ, it is under the consideration of its issuing in faith in him, without which no works of a sinful creature can be accepted; such promises therefore ought not to be brought for the purpose of superseding it. 'He that cometh to God must first believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.' Many promises also are made to believing: but if from hence we were to infer, that a man is sufficiently blessed in
believing, so as to render coming to God unnecessary, we should put a force upon the scriptures. Believing is supposed to have its immediate issue in coming, and therefore is treated in the scriptures as in effect the same thing. John vi. 35.
Secondly: It is supposed, that when once a sinner is accepted of God, he has but little occasion for either faith or grace, or Christ, in comparison of what he had before. "If after a person is reconciled to the divine character," says Mr. Booth, "he applies to Christ for justification, he cannot, consistently with his new state, believe in him as justifying the ungodly, nor consider himself as entirely worthless, and on a level with sinners in general." But (1) This supposes him not only to be renewed in the spirit of his mind, but to be conscious of it, which Mr. Booth's opponents do not contend for. (2) Supposing he were conscious of it, did not Abraham believe on him that justifieth the ungodly;' and that many years after his being a good man, and a believer; and did he not consider himself at that time as " entirely worthless, and as to acceptance with God, on a level with sinners in general?" (See Rom. iv. 3-5, compared with Gen. xv. 6. xii. 1-3. Heb. xi. 8.) We might add, does not every good man stand in the same need of faith, and grace, and Christ, with respect to justification, as at the first moment when he believed? And in all his approaches to God for this blessing, does he not consider himself as "entirely worthless, and upon a level with sinners in general?"
REVIEW OF MR. BOOTH'S SERMON :
"The Amen of social Prayer."
THE summary of prayer given by our Saviour to his disciples, stands unequalled for conciseness and comprehensiveness. Every petition, and almost every word in such a prayer, may be expected to contain an important meaning. That such a meaning is comprehended in the concluding term, and which forms in itself a perfect sentence, the judicious author of this sermon has fully evinced. Previous to his attempting this, however, he expresses his utter dislike of the practice of preaching from a single word, as a trial of skill, and offers what must appear to every candid reader a sufficient reason for his complying with the request of his brethren in this instance.*
Having stated the scriptural meaning of the term Amen,' he proceeds to consider various important truths, directions, encouragements, cautions, and reproofs, which are suggested by it. Particularly, That to close our prayers with a suitable Amen, they are required to be offered with understanding: for without knowing the revealed will of God, and our own unworthiness as sinners before him, believing in the alsufficient atonement and prevailing intercession of Christ, and depending on the aid of the Holy Spirit, we cannot hope for success in our petitions -With fervour: for if we be not in earnest in our prayers, our Amen loses its emphasis, and becomes a superficial formality, a mere word in course-Also with expectation for the animating principle of our 'so be it,' arises from the grounds we have to believe that so it shall be. Our obligation to pray, is not from hence; but our
This Sermon was one of a series of discourses on the Lord's Prayer, delivered at the Monthly Meeting in London, and published by desire of the Ministers who heard it.
encouragement is. We are not warranted to expect an answer to our prayers, at the time and in the manner we may prefer; but in God's time and manner we are. We have no ground to hope for success in prayer against the prevalence of our corruptions, unless we also watch against them but so praying we have.
Farther: That the Amen of prayer suggests various reproofs and solemn cautions, both to those who lead, and those who unite in the worship. Particularly, in him who leads, or is the mouth of the assembly, it reproves all words which persons of the weakest capacity do not understand; all quaint expressions, or terms or phrases that are adapted to raise a smile, or which in any way savour of wit or contrivance; all ambiguous language, or words of doubtful meaning; all contending or arguing for or against a doctrine; and every thing like anger, envy or malignity, or which has a natural tendency to interfere with devout attention, deep solemnity, and the lively exercise of holy affections towards God: for to all or any of these things, how shall a serious assembly say, Amen ?—In those who silently unite in this solemn duty, it cautions against, and severely reproves, every degree of negligence respecting their attendance at the place of prayer, before the devotional exercise begins; all wandering thoughts and inattention during the exercise; all unkind, unsociable, and immoral feelings towards one another; and all aversion of heart from the genuine meaning of the ascriptions, confessions, or petitions, which are presented for with such frames and feelings, how can they with a good conscience say Amen ?
The sermon concludes with a very solemn and interesting address to those who take the lead in prayer, those who unite in it, and those who pay little or no regard to it. On the whole, the writer of this Review feels thankful to God, and the worthy author, for having seen this highly interesting publication.*
In a private note Mr. Fuller added, that he thought this Sermon one of the best that Mr. Booth or any other man ever delivered.
REVIEW OF THE MEMOIRS OF REV. JAMES GARIE.
It is good to read the lives of holy men; and the more holy they have been the better. Some readers, it is true, are not satisfied unless they discover in others the same low, grovelling, half-hearted kind of life, which they find But satisfaction of this sort is better missed than found. It is good to be reproved, and stirred up to labour after greater degrees of spirituality, than any which we have hitherto attained.
It is good also to observe the difference between the accounts of the same person as communicated by a friend, and by himself. As given by the former, the character appears nearly faultless; as depicted by the latter, it abounds with imperfection. Whence this difference? We know more of ourselves, than any other person can know of us. What then will our lives be, when declared by Him who knoweth all things? Well might one of the greatest and best of men desire, that he might be found in him!
It is pleasant that in the same years, months and days, that we have been walking in the ways of God ourselves, others, whom we knew not, were travelling in the same direction, and with kindred sensations. What a society shall we find assembled, when we get home! We read the lives of eminently holy men in former times, and when we come to their decease, are ready to ask with a sigh, Are there any such men to be found in these days? God hath a reserved people however, in this as well as in every other age.
The characters of men are chiefly known by trial. It is not how we may feel and conduct ourselves in times when we have nothing in particular to affect us; but how we bear the temptations and afflictions, the smiles and the frowns, the evil reports and the good reports of the world,