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least degree of grace, is a new creature, or a new man, who will walk in newness of life. The least saint has all the marks of a real saint. Though some men differ in their size, and figure, and countenance from others; yet they have all the essential properties of men. So the least saint has all the properties of the greatest saint, though they may be blended with greater degrees of moral imperfection, or inconstancy in duty. The gospel gives the same marks of piety in the least, as in the greatest christians. Christian graces do not exist alone. Where there is one grace, there is every grace. Where there is true love to God, there is true repentance, true faith, true submission, and true obedience to every precept and prohibition. When a man examines himself to know whether he be the subject of special grace, or a saving change, he must inquire not only whether he has one grace, but every grace; not only whether he loves God, but whether he loves Christ; not only whether he hates one sin, but whether he hates every sin; not only whether he obeys one command, but whether he obeys every command; not only whether he loves his friends, but whether he loves his enemies. Every subject of special grace, does actually exercise every holy affection, and desires to perform every christian duty; and indeed he performs his duty, even in neglecting to do what
is duty, because he verily think it is not his duty. If any person finds upon inquiry, that he lacks this, that, or the other christian grace, he has reason to draw the affecting consequence, that he has not the least degree of grace, but is a sinner dead in trespasses and sins,
7. If the least degree of grace constitutes a saint; then the world have reason to expect that the least christian should exhibit the marks of a real christian. The man, who appears to be the least of sinners, may appear destitute of every mark of a real christian.—— The world have no right to expect that every professor should appear an eminent christian; but they have a right to expect that every professor should give evidence of being a real christian, who is a friend to Christ, is on his part, obeys his commands, and seeks to promote his interests in preference to his own. The world know how well sinners may act; but they are not very apt to call them christians, when they do nothing more than what they
know is consistent with an unrenewed heart. They expect that every christian should exhibit the scripture marks of a christian; and discovers not only one, but every christian grace. If real christians would give evidence to the world that they are so, let them be uniform and persevering in exercising all the christian graces. This will carry conviction, that
they are the sincere friends of Christ, and are for him, and not against him.
Finally, let sinners realize the I dreadful consequences of being destitute of the least degree of =grace. So long as they live destitute of grace, they live in continual disobedience to God, and pursue the path which leads to death, and to an eternal separation from all holy and happy beings, and an everlasting and aggravated punishment in a future state. "There is saith my God, no peace for the wicked."
A LETTER TO A FRIEND.
but scripture and experience con-
To the Editors of the Christian Mag- me, as he ever was to the Jews.
The following relation was originally written in a letter to a friend. The writer had been for some years a professor of religion and had made a high profession. She was, at the time to which the following letter has reference, the subject of pungent conviction, which conviction resulted in new and very different views of divine truth. I may add that this letter was written nearly twenty years ago, and without any expectations of its ever being made public. If in your judgment it is fitted to produce conviction in the minds of others in similar circumstances, you are requested to allow its insertion in your valuable magazine.
I used to think, that I received the bible as a revelation from God;
When with you I had some relig
My late impressions were at sus went up into the temple and taught." The Jews were surpris ed and offended, that one who had been brought up in an obscure village of Judea and had no distinguished advantage for education, should attempt to instruct the doctors of their supposed wise and learned nation. He however, informed them, that his instructions were not his own, but were such as he had been commissioned to deliver from him, who sent him. He also informed them, that the preparation of mind for understanding his doctrines, does not consist in natural quickness and vigor of understanding; but in a sincere desire to know and do the will of God. "If any man," said
first very distressing and very perplexing to me. When the commandment came home to my own case, it revived sin in me and brought to light the hidden works of darkness. When reading the character of man, as hating God and despising the pleasant land, it seemed as though my heart lay on the bible before me; yet I could not endure the thought of becoming a fool in my own eyes, and to give up my own righteousness was like separating the soul from the body. But when it pleased God, of his mere mercy, to shew me his glory, my whole heart turned as with a natural abhorence from what I had esteemed my own righteousness; if it had been even lawful to take praise to myself I could not; my heart would have spurned at the idea. I have now, my dear friend, poured out my whole heart, I hope I have not done it in the spirit of boasting: for, though to my own shame I have loved the praise of men, more than the praise of God, now it appears to me a small matter, that I should be judged according to man's judgment-to God I stand or fall. Yours, &c.
For the Christian Magazine.
ON THE INFLUENCE OF RIGHT AFFECTIONS IN OUR RELIGIOUS INQUIRIES. On a certain occasion, when the Jews were assembled together to observe the feast of tabernacles, "about the midst of the feast, Je
he, "will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."
To illustrate the influence of a sincere desire to know and do the will of God, upon a person in his inquiries after religious truth, is my leading design in the following remarks.
Such a desire, influences the person, by whom it is possessed, to use the proper and appointed means for discovering religious truth. God has established an intimate connexion between using certain appointed means and obtaining a correct knowledge of religious truth. So intimate is this connexion, that no person expect to obtain such knowledge, without using the divinely ap pointed means. And the perso
who is the subject of a sincere desire to know and do the will of God, will be thereby influenced, in his inquiries after religious truth, to use all those means, which God has appointed for that purpuse.The making use of these means will be the natural effect of such a desire. It will influence him diligently to read and study the Holy Scriptures. They contain the will of God as revealed to man. They are full of instruction upon the most interesting and important subjects. By them the will of God is clearly and fully made known. They do, indeed contain all that religious truth, which it is important for us to know in the present world. Does a person, then sincerely desire to know and do the will of God?He will thereby be naturally influenced to read and study that volume in which the divine will is so clearly revealed. It will be his meditation, day and night.He will, moreover, be influenced by such desire reverently and constantly to attend upon the instructions of the sanctuary. God has set apart an order of men, whose chief business is to inculcate re
ligious truth. Such were the prophets under the former, and the apostles, under the latter dispensation. Such too are all faithful ministers of the gospel at the present time. It is reasonably expected of ministers of the gospel, that they will so familiarly acquaint themselves with the whole system of religious truth, as to be
able to instruct others who have not the same opportunity for reading and study. God has, also, set apart one day in seven, to be employed in worshipping him in the sanctuary, and in attending upon the ministrations of his servants, the preachers of the gospel.There can, therefore be no doubt that the person, who is the subject of a sincere desire to know and do the will of God, will be thereby influenced, reverently and constantly to attend upon the instructions of the sanctuary. He will regard such attendance as one means, which God has appointed for obtaining a correct knowledge of religious truth.
Influenced by a sincere desire to know and to do the will of God, a person is guarded, in his inquiries after truth, against the influence of many things, which tend to prevent its discovery.
No person, who seriously considers the multitude of conflicting opinions upon the subject of religion, which are embraced at the present day, can doubt that the religious world is full of error.How shall we account for the existence of this fact? That men, with the inspired volume in their hands, and professing a desire to discover and embrace the truth, do draw, from that volume entirely opposite conclusions, and do embrace radically different doctrines, is certainly a fact worthy our most serious attention. The existence of this fact cannot certainly be ascribed to the bible
itself. To suppose, that it is deficient in any respect, would be an impeachment of its divine author. If it is what it claims to be a revelation from God--it must not only be free from all absurdity and contradiction, but must speak clearly and decisively upon all religious subjects, concerning which it is necessary and important for men to have information. The fact under consideration cannot, then, be ascribed to a want of clearness in the inspired volume. The true cause of that diversity of religious opinion which now prevails in the christian world, must, therefore, be sought in something pertaining to men.-The fault is most certainly, within themselves. Many are not influenced by so sincere a desire to know and do the will of God as they fondly imagine. Prejudices of various kinds blind their minds, and prevent them from discovering the truth. The learned are often prevented from discovering the truth upon the subject of religion, by pride of genius and learning.-By such, an improper stress is laid upon the strength of the powers and faculties of the human mind.Reason is exalted above revelation, and is thus made to assume a province for which it was never designed. To the decisions of what many are pleased to call enlightened reason, every religious sentiment must be brought and tried. Every religious sentiment, which, in some respects, is above, not to say contrary to reason,
must be rejected, as the idle dream of some superstitious bigot or whimsical enthusiast. Whatever the bible says, which does not accord with the preconceptions of reason, must be tortured to make it inculcate a different sentiment, from that, which it seems naturally to inculcate--and which is more pleasing to the inclinations of the natural heart.-Hence the fact that "not many wise men after the flesh, nor many mighty, not many noble are called," seems naturally to be accounted for by that pride of intellect, or genius, and of learning, which the wise or learned men of the world are so much accustomed to indulge. This too may serve as an answer to the inquiry, why so many of the most learned men of this and other nations have been found in the ranks of infidelity. What was falsely said of an apostle, may be truly said of many learned and philosophical men, that "much learning makes them mad." They are too proud of their learning to be willing to sit at the feet of the poor, despised Nazarene, and learn of him.
Men are often prevented from embracing religious truth by the influence of self love. Any sentiment which is not accordant with this main spring of affection and action in the unrenewed heart, is believed with reluctance, if not rejected with disdain. To him, who is wrapped up in self-love, the bible afford no pleasure. It tells him many painful truths.-