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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 from 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 him: – and holiness, conferred by the Holy Spirit of God on thbse, 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 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 he find any annbiguity 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 flow from, 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 observed respecting the *
necessity of repeating the same great truths, which are as inva-
“It is necessary for me to add, (and the acknowledgment may
serve as an useful hint to some of my younger brethren in the
derived from the treasures of sound Theology, contained in the
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 contents, “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 1st, 24th, and 25th, was supplied by Bp. Beveridge; that the statement of the argument for universal Redemption in the 5th, is taken from Isaac Barrow, and for the Divinity 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, could 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 o
Sufferings of our Saviour unexampled. - 8. The Humility and Patience of our Saviour. 9. Christ crucified, a Motive to Holiness, and a Pattern for Imitation. 10. Insufficiency of Works of Righteousness to purchase Salvation. 11. Obedience to Christ necesMary to the Salvation of Christians. 12. Effects of Disobedience
* Abp. Secker's Third Charge * Canterbury, p.269.
exemplified in the Punishment of Saul. ... 13. Deceitfulness of
Fruits. 18. Pride a worldly Quality; irreligious and irrational. '
19. Uncleanness inconsistent with a Profession of the Gospel. 20.
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 Jesús 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
“Do Imaan to speak contemptuously or slightingly of obedience to the commandments of God? God forbid! Such obedience 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.
must 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 motions have prevailed and still continue to prevail, among Christians, respecting the precise nature of faith in Jesus 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 meritorious sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the twelfth Sermon, the effects of disobedience are exemplified in the punishment of Saul. Having in the tenth Sermon, displayed the illsufficiency 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 § of the disciple of Christ, than it was of the followers of soses, - ,
“It is from 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 commandments 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 saileth to “reject them, who reject his word,” Vol. I. P. 257,
On this proper scriptural ground, Mr. Mant proceeds to exemplify 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 meditations. None can read them with attention without being - reminded * *
reminded that their obedience, if such it may be called, is very
which is the too fruitful parent of much false doctrine, and of
much destructive heresy.