Page images
[ocr errors]

only can furnish out, exhibit, and present the Motives of a morally good, or morally evil Action, Deed or Agencyíto the Will. It is atterly impossible to perform an unknown Daty. It is absolutely impoffible to love an unknown God, the perfect, the absolute, the eternal, the Divine Infinitude of his Excellency Goodpess and Beauty, notwithstanding. Moreover the Law of God, which is an exact, and molt perfe&t Transcript of the infinite Perfections of the Godhead; and, by jull

' Inference, 'neceffarily hoty, and Juft, and Good, and immutable, yea, Infinitely reasonable, and desirable de too, fioce it commands us to be Tupremely happy, Yea, to be perfe&, even as God himself, is perfect ; I lay this infinitely excellent, this most divinely holy, Law of God, which only enjoiás us to be perfectly happy, cannot posibly, be the Rule et our moft holy Faith and Practice, before we know the Tenor of the fame.

But to shew yet farther, and more particularly, that Tbeory ought to precede Practice. Surely we must have a proper View of the immense Perfection, Beauty and Goodness of God, before we can rationally desire to have a Conformity to, or Communion with him; or before we can be truly desirous ot having the Divine Image impressed upon our Souls by the Supernatural Grace of Regeneration. mult needs have a clear and distinct Perception of the immaculate Purity, and infinitely glorious Sanctitude of God Jehovah, before we can posibly have a deep, strong, painful, humbling, diftrefling Sense, and full Conviction of our own Vileness, Pollution and Unholinels. We muft discover the Divine Perfeâion and Beauty, before we can perçieve our own utter Imperfection and most mondrous (moral) Defor: mity. (Videre rite debemus, Deum esse vel ipfam plane Divinam Omnitudinem omnium compoffibilium Perfectionum infinitarum, quam Maxime, et absolute realium, antequam rečie percipere valeamus, nos pro Nihilo effe omnino.) In plain English; We must needs see, and know that the Cre, ator is All, before we can possibly know that the Creature is Nothing, yes, even less than Nothing, and altogether Vanity, We must have a clear, and most distinct Perception of the






inknite Greatnefs, infinite Beauty" & infinite Beneficence of the eternal Godhead, before we can discover the infinite Evil, Malignity, and Deformity of Sin ; or the infinitely execrable Turpitude and Criminalty of Ingratitude,

It behoves us, moreover, to have a due Understanding of the Relation we kand in to God as ogrimost adorable Creator, Preserver, Redeemeç and eternal Benefactor; In order to our being properly sensible how great our Obligations to Love and Gratitude, necefferily resulting from this everlasting and molt codearing Relation, are: In one Word, we must have a clear and diftinct Knowledge, and perfect Conviction of our indispensable Duty towards God, our Neighbours and Ourselves, and, whence they arise, before we can rightly perform, Yea even before we can even possibly so much as de fire to perform the fame.

Hence it is, plain, that Theoric Divinity must always Arecede Pradic Divinity. And hence Divines do roundly aver, that we must not only know God as a Being of boundless Perfection and Beneficence, in general; but also that we must know him as a Triune God of absolute Allfufficiency, in particular, before we (who live under the most Divine Light of the Eternal Gospel of our most blessed Lord and Savious, Jesus Christ, and have arrived at the Age of Discretions can poffibly become the Subjects of a most holy, and truly, Salutary Faith, or of real Religion. For true it is, that saving Faith presupposes Knowledge of God and Chrift, as also of the Method, or Way of Salvation, laid down, and exhibited to us in the most glorious plan of the everlasting Gospel. I say a most holy, and most falutary Faith does always necessarily preluppose a due Knowledge of the infinitely Sacred Trinity, and his perfect Alllufficiency ; as also of Man Extreme Milery. In order to Salvation, then, we must be deeply sensible of our own infinite Wreich: edness, and our

atter inability to fave ourselves from it. We must have a full Conviction of our Sin and Guilt, and have a deep, lively, and distresling Sense of our moft extreme Need of the Redemption, which is in Christ Jefus. We must knoy Immangel in all hii moft glorious Cbaracters and


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Mediatorial Offices. We mot know Jesus Chrift as the most Supremely Wite, or absolurely all-wife Prophet, to dispell out Intellectual Darkness by illuminating, teaching and guiding us with his moft boly Word and Spirits as the greate high Prielt, to attone for all our Sins by his most bloody Paffion, infioitely diłmal Agony, and omnipotently violent Death ; 'as'a mott glorious, and triumphant King, to protect, defend and keep us by his Almighty Power, before we can fincerely believe, in Him, or, in good earnest,"endeavour co glorify God by Him. We must also know the 'Holy Ghost as Sanctifier and Comforter. "We must have due Knowledge of the ablolute Anfufficiency of the triune Deity, and of the perfect Salvation, that is in Him." Yea, in one Word, our Eternal Happiness depends on the true Knowledge of the Trinity. (joh. xvii. 3. ). How deplorable, then, is the molt exceflive Folly, and monftrous Perversity of those an. happy Mortals, who call Ignorance the Mother, or Source of Devotion and Piety, vainly Rudying to please God by a blind Obedience & Mistaken Zealots these t Who lay a molt violent Aress upon a Arią Obfervance of a great Round of bodily Exercises, and external Works (opera operata) even the emty Form of Godliness in which the real Foundation, true Subttance and very Life of unfeigned Piety, to wit, a clear Knowledge, and most profound Sense of the endless Glory; peerlefs Majefly, most exuberant Goodness, and in finitely transcendent Beauty of the Diery, is wanting

But tho it is certain that Theory most always precede Practice; tbar being the Bafs, Motive and End of this;ă yet all that Species of Knowledge by some termed Heada Krozwirdge) which does hor move the Will, influence the Conduct, and mend the Heart ; I say, this merely speculative Science of divive Verities, or this faint, imperfect dead Sort of Knowledge, which does not really ferve as a Spring to every''virtuous Action, nor effectually meliorare the whole Life, is fő far from being truely faluta rý to Men, that it will only aggravate their Guilt and enbance their. Milory 1 Theologs, ther, or Religion, before it can poffibly.

prove truely falutary to Men, and be in very Deed perä feat, mal be both Theorical and Practical.

Desirous of contributing my poor Mire towards the Pro, motion of speculative and Active Divinity, or real Reş ligion, I have ventured to offer the I beological Tbefes, and even my Discourse, to the Candour of the awful Pablic.

The Tbeological Tbeles constitute a very compendioas, elegant and most pervous System of Natural and Supero natural, of Tbeoric and Pra&tic Theology. I cannot but fatter mylėlf, that these Theological Politions, perused with due Attention, examined with tria Candour and Inpertialily, will sufficiently recommend themselves to all fias cere Admirers of the most facred Science of Divine Truths, (the Imperfection and Inaccuracy of my Traaliation not, withstanding.) To all at least, who are not the greatest Adepts in Divinity, I would recommend a molt candid, Attentive and reiterated Perasal of this whole Syltem, which being good and short, cannot fail, by the Concurrence of

divine Bleffing, previously implored, to prors. Salutery and delightful.

To these. Thrological Thefes, conprehended in one Hans dred concise Sections, I have annexed, and fabjained my Discourse. That there is no remarkable Incongruity in this Annexion, may appear if we confider that the Subje& of my Discourse is a most compendious, perfect and maft beaueitul Synopsis, or Epitome of Speculation, and Active Divinity, or Religion.

My Design in pablithing the following Works, was to present my Countrymen, who for want of Age, and Ope portunity, have made no great Proficiency in Divinity, and whole Salvation I (ought) carneftly to with, with a dhort, plain, and comprehensive Sketch of the chief Principles of Christianity. It fome Unlearned derive way Edification ; if fome fubborn Offenders are effeaually convinced, and if, Lortie broken-hearted, very disconfolate and fincerely penitent: Şinners derive any Çonfolation : Yea, if all derive fomercal ind solid Advantage from the Perosal of say the public Pro daction, I thall deem myself more than alamatandy rewarded

Since the infinitely great, and well Dinimalo glorieuze

Ekcellency of all the Physical, and Moral Perfections of God. Jehovah, in Conjunction with his illimitable Beneficence, constitute the only Bafis and Motive of all true Religion, I have in my Discourse defignedly given the beft Display of them in my Power, hopeing that, by the Concurrence of Divine Grace, some might get such a Sight, or Knowledge, and be impressed with such a profound, Atrong, lively, and permanent Sente of the amiable and cremendous' Greatness, Goodness and Beauty of the Lord God, as may effe&tually dispose, incline and enable them to love him with all their Heart, with all their Soul, with all their Mind, with all their Understanding, and with all their Strengib;' And their Neighbours as themselves. What excellent, noble, gloriqus, beautiful, and, tho' not in Degree, Yet in Kind, Perfeæ Beings would we all be, if we were all to fulfil this infinitely reasonable and most Divine Law of the Lord our God (N · B. The Larv is a Rüle of our free A&s, prescribed to us by Him, who has the Right to obligate us, to do and perform fertain Deeds, and to omit others.)

And now I would yet remark, that God is, and only is to be loved, feared, and glorified by all his Creatures for, or upon the Account of his Esential Perfection, and A&tual Beneficience; or, in other Words, for all be is, and for all be'does. Becauseall be is, is infinitely, excellent'; and all he does, is in finitely well done, and consequently, perfect Beneficence. This we ought to remember - well, in order to have a juft and clear Perception of the only true Foundation of all real Religion , and to prevent Confusion in a Matter of the laft Impotance.

And fince God is infinitely perfect, infinitely Beneficient, infinitely Beautiful, and; THEREFORE, an infinitely' amiable Bean ing, let us love Him most fupremely, even onto all Eternity ! And if our Neighbours are just so good by Nature as we ; juft 5 fit and able to promote the Honour and Declarative Glory of the Creator, and the Happiness of the Creatures, and by juft and necessary Confequénce, in the fame Degree end: Measure amiable as we are ourselves; then- surely we: bull love them juft to much as we do love, or ought to

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »