Изображения страниц

For my part, I hate to see a young Christian trying the strength of his judgment by an erroneous book, or an erroneous ministry. I always think it is a daring presumptuous tempting of God, and provoking of him to leave us exposed to the temptations of the devil, as a proof of his disapprobation, and a just reproof for our presumption. “All that ever came before me,” saith the Saviour, “are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them," John x. 8. And many such thieves and robbers are yet to come; and we are com

manded not to follow them: "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many." "And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many," Matt. xxiv. 11. “Go not after them, nor follow them," Luke xvii. 23. "Take heed what ye hear." "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." All these are warnings and cautions that we should not tempt God. He commands us to beware of dogs, Phil. iii. 2; and not to be so fond of taking them by the ears, Prov. xxvi. 17.

The Lord grant that I may ever exercise my mind in the knowledge of good, and not study the mysteries of spiritual wickedness, Eph. vi. 12. Adam and Eve were happy while they knew only good; but when they attained to the knowledge of evil, they soon found the knowledge of evil · got, and of good lost,' as saith the learned Milton:

[ocr errors]

and so many happy souls have found it since, by. diving into the infernal mysteries of ghostly iniquity. It is life eternal to know God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent; while, on the other hand, the devils, who are masters of arts with. respect to their knowledge of the mysteries of iniquity, are as far from happiness as divine felicity can place them. Some indeed read all sorts of authors, in order to obtain the right knowledge of God, and the way of salvation, by human means. And we may say of them, as a great apostle saith, They are "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." The Star of Jacob can never be found out by a telescope: nor can a saving knowledge of God be obtained by all the lines of practical philosophy. The man into whose heart God shines knows him, but no other; "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. iv. 6. This is the only revealed way that a saving knowledge of God can be attained in: philosophical rules are wholly excluded in this matter; "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit; after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ," Col. ii. 8.

Cushi. I much admire your assertions. Divine knowledge must be sought with a suppliant knee at a throne of grace; to seek it any other way is a

contempt of the revealed will of God, and an attempt to be wise above what is written. And the farther they go to find out God by human means, the deeper they sink into error. To measure divine perfections, and divine conduct, by human lines, and tracing all from the proper centre, down to the bar of depraved and unrenewed reason, is puzzling the human soul in her fallen state, and loading her rationality with a burden, under which she is sure, without divine aid, to sink.

When any child of God meets with a difficult text of scripture, a difficult experience, or providence, how is his mind burdened, until by humble prayer he cast it off, or resolve it in the sovereign will of his God; which, when done, his faculties resume their usual vigour, and he moves sweetly in his heavenly sphere; and by these things he finds that God lays no more on him than he enables him to bear.

Many have been drowned in error, open profanity, despondency, despair, destruction, and perdition, by attempting the knowledge of Infinite Divinity by human wisdom, instead of submitting human wisdom to that which is divine and infinite. Who can find out the Almighty to perfection? it is higher than heaven, and deeper than hell; broader than the earth, and wider than the sea, Job xi. 7-9. It has puzzled many of the learned naturalists in the world to unfold the mysteries of the thunder, and those strange phænomena the burning mountains. In these things they are just as

much at an uncertainty as Moore's Almanack is in its predictions from the aspects of the planets, concerning the weather, which, from the best observations that I have made, have hitherto been contrary to the events produced by Providence.

The real believer, when he hath considered his frame, can with humble adoration say with the Psalmist, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." And with respect to the works of creation, and all the mysteries of nature, he can admire their Author, and say, "In wisdom hast thou made them


[ocr errors]

But to proceed. This was one of the most puzzling trials that ever Prodigalis had met with; for when the arch enemy had gained an advantage over him, and blinded his understanding, there was not a mystery in the Bible but he put his if' to, and attempted to raise doubts in his mind about. The mystery of the Trinity; the wonderful mystery of our Lord's incarnation and essential divinity; the veracity and authenticity of the Bible; the existence of Jehovah; and even the existence of fallen angels, was not left out of the dreadful dispute; though Prodigalis had sensibly felt the power, and wonderfully seen the workings of all things then in debate. O how careful should a child of God be to avoid these things! How many have gone limping and halting to their graves, broken in judgment, barren in soul, fruitless in life, and confused in mind, only by reading erroneous books?

This trial effectually cured Prodigalis of that disease. After this he acted like those in the Acts; "And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver: so mighty grew the word of God and prevailed," Acts xix. 18-20. Ancient books of curious arts, and modern books of cursed errors, are both of one lineage; all came from one infernal source, and lead to the same infernal end. Embracing of an error is receiving a lie; and holding of a lie is certain destruction. "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.”

Ahimaaz. I have no doubt but that fiery trial cured Prodigalis of that disease. It was with him as it was with the Jews; they were in general doting upon idols until their Babylonish captivity; but the commandment of the king of Ba-bylon in the plains of Dura, Dan. iii. 1, was a sufficient purge to cleanse them: at their return Ephraim was heard to say, "What have I to do any more with idols?" Hosea xiv. 8.

Cushi. It was for many months that Prodigalis. lay in that confused and bewildered state; and yet, at the same time, never advanced in public one sentence but what was point blank against those

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »