« PreviousContinue »
the teaching of the gospel. At a particular point in life two men had the power to turn to the right or to the left. One turned to the right: he sought God by prayer, and found Him, and went forward in peace. The other turned to the left, and met with an event divinely predestinated and mercifully calculated to affect his mind, and to open his eyes to the future consequences of his present wandering from the truth. “Except ye repent,” said Christ, " ye shall also likewise perish.”. The goodness of God (St. Paul teacheth) leadeth to repentance. Thus, although the natural condition of man, ψυχικός άνθρωπος, is not
* Luke xiii. 1. 5. Vide Deut. xxxvii., xxxviii. and the second commandment. Hence the Jews said to the blind man, “ Thou wast altogether born in sins.” John ix. 34. They believed that obedience and disobedience were respectively rewarded and punished with blessings and curses. The notes of the commentators on Luke xiii. 1-5. and John ix. and xi. are very unsatisfactory. I would venture, but with diffidence, to suggest, that our blessed Saviour expressly taught in them, the contrary doctrine to that held by the Jews on what is now called moral rewards and punishments. The Jews supposed the blindness of one man and the death of others were in consequence of their sin, or disobedience, or immorality. Christ said, “ Nay." And then He taught the design of such calamities ; namely, that the works of God should be made manifest, John ix. 3.: for the glory of God, John xi. 4. ; and to lead men to repentance, Luke xiii. 3. Are not these the "secret things” mentioned after the promise of blessings, and denunciation of curses, and the exhortation to obedience, Deut. xxix. 29. ?
t Rom. ii. 4. xi. 22.
analogous to his spiritual condition, there is a design in it of far more importance than a moral theory; teaching him that he cannot love and obey his God of his own natural and moral powers. And thus the law acts as a schoolmaster *; instructing the heart in its own weakness; shewing it the emptiness of all worldly institutions, and the spiritual folly of earthly wisdom. And thus the gospel strives to accomplish in us the great design of natural life, namely, to send us to Christ for salvation.
I am, &c.
* Gal. y. 24.
1824. SUFFER me to claim your attention to the conclusion of my remarks on the interesting and important subject of a moral nature.
Dr. Paley, treading in the steps of Locke, makes the Scriptures to be a part of moral philosophy*; but again, with much indistinctness of thought, defines virtue, “ The doing good to mankind in obedience to the will of God, and for the sake of everlasting happiness.”+
Two apostles use the word ågetvirtus, but not in the sense of the above definition. The translators of St. Mark and St. Luke make it synonymous with dúvapis, potentia, vis †; and Cicero writes, " Virtus est affectio animi constans, conveniensque, laudabiles efficiens eos in quibus est;" and again, 6 Virtus in tempestate quieta est, et lucet in tenebris, et pulsa loco manet tamen, atque hæret in patriâ, splendetque per sese semper, nec alienis unquam sordibus obsolescit.” Whence it appears that the word
* Principles, &c. 1 vol. 1. + Ib. 42. # Mark v. 30. Luke vi. 19. Ib. viii. 46.