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The great end which Mr. Mant proposes to himself in these volumes, is the most important which a Christian Minister can adopt; so to propose the truths of the Christian faith as to render them productive of Christiau practice. This principle of his Sermons he thus states in his preface.
" As to the principles of these Sermons, I would observe, that it appears to be the gracious design of Almighty God, our heavenly Father, by the Gospel to bring men froin a sinful and lost condition to happiness, by the way of holiness :-happiness, purchased by the precious blood of the incarnate Son of God for those, who through an active faith in his merits repent of their sins, and sincerely and diligently labour to obey hin:- and holiness, conferred by the Holy Spirit of God on those, who will conscientiously practise the appointed means of grace. To be the instrument of promoting this holiness as the means, and this happiness as the end, by an assiduous preaching of " Jesus Christ, and him crucified,” and by a careful exposition of the distinctive doctrines and precepts of his religion, should be the endeavour of every Minister of the Gospel. To promote these objects should be the aim of every sermon. I trust it will be found, that I have never lost sight of them in the following discourses: but that the truths of the Christian faith are so proposed, as to be made the foundation of Christian practice; and that the duties incul. cated are of such a character, and are enforced by sucla notives, as become the followers of Christ." Vol. I. P. xi.
The reader is thus prepared to find inculcated in these volumes the necessity of adorning, or rather of proving, Christian faith by Christian practice; and he will not be disappointed. Neither will lie find any ambiguity of expression as to the nature of faith and works. He will perceive it to be ably stated, that a true faith is the only proper foundation of good works; and that good works can alone be acceptable to God when they tow troin, and are accompanied by, an unfeigned trust, that they will be accepted, through faith, in the merits of a Redeemer.
In corroboration of what we have oliserved respecting the necessity of repeating the same great truths, which are as invariable as the author of our religion, we beg to call the attention of our readers to the candid and very judicious conclusion of the Preface to these volimes.
« It is necessary for me to add, (and the acknowledgment may serve as an useful line to some of my younger brethren in the Ministry, into whose hands this publication may chance to fall, chat in corposing these sermons assistance has been occasionally derived from the treasures of sound Theology, contained in the works of ROIAB pi our most valuable Divines. The judicious Pre
late to whom I just referred, observes on this point: 'I would have young Clergymen, especially, make very great use of the works of able Divines: not inconsiderately and servilely transcribe them; but study, digest, contract, amplify, vary, adapt to their purpose, improve, if possible, what they find in them. For thus it will fairly become their own; mix naturally with what proceeds altogether from themselves; and preserve their youthful productions from the imputation of being empty and jejune *' For my own part, I have found the adapting of an ancient sermon to modern use to be at once an interesting and a profitable occupa. tion: and I am persuaded, that those specimens of it, which form parts of the present collection, are the most valuable of its con. tents.
“ It may be satisfactory to the reader to be informed, that the substance of the 7th, 9th, 14th, and 15th sermons is for the most part the property of Bp. Andrews; that a considerable portion of the materials of the ist, 24th, and 25th, was supplied by Bp. Beveridge ; that the statement of the argument for universal Rem demption in the 5th, is taken from Isaac Barrow, and for the Di. vinity of our Saviour in the 4th, from the late Rev. W. Jones's Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity; that the 11th is abridged and altered from Joseph Mede; and that the general plan of the 30th was suggested by the Homily on the fear of Death. Of any other important obligations I am not sensible:. but it is by no means improbable, that I have been sometimes indebted to a favourite author for some course of thought or turn of expression, without being at present able to recollect, and even without having been at the time aware of, the source, from which it was derived. If I have thus enriched my own compositions, and made them more
profitable for instruction in Christian righteousness,'. I doubt not that the authors, coull they be sensible of it, would rejoice in becoming, even in this way, the Ministers of God for good," and would forgive me this wrong." Vol. I. P. xiv.
The Sermons contained in the first two volumes are on the following subjects.
“ 1. Comparative Value of the World, and of the Soul. 2. The Gospel, the only Foundation of religious and moral Duty. 3. "Eternal Life, the Gift of God in his Son. 4. On the Divinity of the Word. 5. The Son of Man the Saviour of that which was lost. 6. The Love of God the Motive to Man's Salvation. 7. The Sufferings of our Saviour unexampled. . 8. The Humility and Patience of our Saviour. 9. Christ crucified, a Motiye to Holiness, and a Pattern for Imitation, 10. Insufficiency of Works of Righteousness to purchase Salvation. 11. Obedience to Christ necesBary to the Salvation of Christians. 12. Effects of Disobedience
* Abp. Secker's Third Charge at Canterbury, p. 269.
exemplified in the Punishment of Saul. 13. Deceitfulness of Sin, and Efficacy of Repentance, exemplified in David's Fall and Restoration. 14. On the Existence and Divinity of the Holy Ghost. 15. Necessity, Evidences, and Means of receiving the Holy Ghost. 16. The Fruits of the Spirit exemplified in the Character of Joseph. 17. The Spirit of God manifested by his Fruits. 18. Pride a worldly Quality; irreligious and irrational. 19. Uncleanness inconsistent with a Profession of the Gospel. 20. The Danger and Sinfulness of Covetousness exemplified in Ahab. 21. Malice incompatible with the Christian Character. 22. The Đoctrine of Grace, a Motive with St. Paul to Humility and Diligence. 23. Efficacy and Requisites of Prayer. 24. Self-Deceit of those who are Hearers, but not Doers of the Word. 25. Necessity and benefit of Baptism. 26. Necessity and Benefits of the Lord's Supper. 27. The Duty and Advantage of Church Com. munion. 28. Spiritual Blessings no Privilege for Sin ; exemplified in the Punishment of the Jews in the Wilderness. 29. The Uses of Affliction. 30. The Death of the Righteous. 31. The Glory which shall be revealed."
In the tenth of these Sermons, the insufficiency of works of righteousness to purchase salvation is most ably stated, and the fallacy clearly exposed of those, who, like the Jews, on the one hand, rest their hopes upon their own obedience to the law of God, instead of relying on the all-sufficient merits and the perfect obedience of Jesas Christ; or who, like the Gentiles, on the other hand, substitute “a vague and heartless morality. for the glowing faith, the unfailing charity, and the undefiled holiness of the Gospel."
While the author as a faithful minister of Jesus Christ, clearly displays and refutes these errors, at the same time, he forcibly demonstrates the necessity of belief in Christ's merits being accompanied by righteousness of life.
“ Do I mean to speak contemptuously or slightingly of obe. dience to the commandments of God? God forbid ! Such obes dience I understand to be, generally speaking, indispensibly necessary to salvation :--the surest evidence, the constant accompaniment, the fairest ornament, the only infallible criterion, the very crown and perfection, of a true Christian faith. It is that without which faith is nothing,' and is dead *.' But my meaning is to set obedience upon its true scriptural ground; to exclude it from every pretension to be considered as meriting our salvation : to protest most decidedly against the notion, that any thing or every thing, which we can do, is to be considered in the light of an atonement for what we do not do: and to assert most unequivo. cally the doctrine, that after all the exertions of a Christian, he
# 1 Cor. xiii. 2. James ii. 17, 20, 26.
trust throw himself unreservedly for salvation upon the meritorious sacrifice of Christ ; for that there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."" Vol. I. P. 222.
Many erroneous notions have prevailed and still continue to prevail, among Christians, respecting the precise nature of faith in Jesús Christ, and the merit of obedience to the commandments of God. Mr. Mant, in different Sermons, administers a seasonable remedy to these erroneous notions, and successfully proves the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ as it may become an operative principle of good works, and the necessity, at the same time, of those works being performed in humble" reliance for their acceptance upon the mercy of our Heavenly Father, through the merito rious sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the twelfth Sera mon, the effects of disobedience are exemplified in the punish ment of Saul. Having in the tenth Sermon, displayed the insufficiency of righteousness to purchase salvation, the author is not satisfied with the cautions which, in that Sermon, he judiciously suggested against an abuse of the doctrine which might lead to the depreciation of good works, but he now teaches that obedience to the commandments of God is no less strictly enforced by the Gospel than by the law, that it is no less the duty of the disciple of Christ, ihan it was of the followers of Moses.
$ It is frong this consideration that the historical parts of the old Testament derive their principal interest. Take away
from the Christian his obligation to keep God's commandments, and it follows, that the examples of virtue and vice which the Jewish scriptures afford, however they may interest us on account of the persons in whose characters and conduct they were exhibited, become altogether of no value, as to any effect which they might produce practically in ourselves. On the contrary let it be allowed, that the Christian is bound equally with the Jew to keep the com mandments of God; and then every example of obedience on the one hand, and on the other hand every example of disobedience, which the old Testament contains, become respectively an encouragement or a warning to us, in our conduct towards that supreme Being, in whose sight, now as ever, “to obey is better than sacrifice,' and who never faileth to reject them, who reject his word.” Vol, LP, 257,
On this proper scriptural ground, Mr. Mant proceeds to ex, emplify the fatal effects of disobedience in the punishment of Saul, applying his interesting history, so that every Christian may be edified, by accompanying the author in his devout pieditatioas. None can read thein with attention without being
reminded that their obedience, if such it may be called, is verò faulty, and none can be influenced by the pious admonitions. offered on this occasion, without becoming better men, and better Christians.
But these volumes are not only valuable as they contain the justest description of Christian faith and practice; they are further valuable, as they point out the scriptural and apostolical means by which that faith and that practice may be maintained. This they do, generally, by stating the efficacy of those truly Christian virtues of humility and teachableness, without which, it may be said, that the spirit of the Gospel dwelleth in
But these means are specially insisted on in the twenty-seventh Sermon, on the Duty and Advuntage of Church Communion; wherein are most ably shown, in a Christian temper and spirit, becoming a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus, Ist. The general Sinfulness of Schism, or an unreasonable Separation from the Church ; and 2ndly, the Benefits to be de: rived, individually, from a conscientious Communion with it.
These are subjects of peculiar importance at this present time; they have, indeed, been of importance at all times, since we find that schisms prevailed in the Christian Church so early as in the days of the Apostles, and have continued to prevail to the present period. But that which renders them now of very peculiar importance is that we live in times when many strange opinions prevail in faith and in practice, when there exists an alarming indifference as to what religious opinions are adopted, and when, even the professors of the true faith, are likely to become suicides on their own just opinions by their evident unconcern to check the progress, or to mark the evil of schism, which is the too fruitful parent of much false doctrine, and of much destructive heresy.
We would not willingly speak with harshness of any, particularly of those who cherish the best and most pious intentions; but surely this unconcern is too strongly displayed in the novel union, or rather affectation of union, among Churchmen and every description of dissenters, both in doctrine and discipline, which is invited by the British and Foreign Bible Society. Let it not be thought that it is our inteution to charge all Church. men, who have involved themselves in that vortex of false uvion, with religious indifference, or to describe them as ignorant, or careless of the evils of schism. But we do charge them with allowing their honest desire of circulating the Scripture to gain the ascendency over their prudence, and to render them too incautions as to the means by which that circulation is to be assisted, and the channel through which it is to flow. The means adopted with this view are those which invite to one association