Page images
PDF
EPUB

in a state of total opposition. For graceless men, who are pacified merely in a belief that they are safe, are in any other view, of the same temper, toward the Deity, with the damned. For sapreme self-love governs every apostate creature, who is totally destitute of true love, of disinterested benevolence to the most bigh God, the Creator and Lord of beaven and earth.

SECTION IX.

Mat. xxviii. 19. Baptising them in the name of the Fa. ther, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

THE CHRISTIAN CREED; THE ARMINIAN CREED; MR.

M.'S CREED. REMARKS ON EACH.

THAT which is commonly called The Apostles' creed, although not compiled by the apostles, yet is confessedly of very ancient date. And the three principal articles of it are these : 1. I believe in God the Father, almighty maker of heaven and earth. 2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son. 8. I believe in the Holy Ghost. Which doubtless had reference to the form of baptism appointed by our blessed Saviour. He therefore, who believes aright, and in a right manner, concerning Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, has the truo Christian faith, and is himself a true Christian ; and so is qualified to be active in offering up himself and his seed to God in Christian baptism. But some of the chief things, which in the inspired writings we are taught to believe concerning the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are these, which may

be expressed in the following articles, in contrast with the Arminian creed, and with Mr. M.'s.

The Christian Creed.

The Arminian Creed.

Mr. Mather's Creed.

1. Concerning God the 1. Concerning God the | 1. Concerning God the Father. Father.

Father. I BELIEVE that the I BELIEVE that it I BELIEVE that the moral character of God would have been unjust | moral character of God, exhibited in the moral | in God to have held man- exhibited in the moral law, is perfect in beauty, kind after the fall bound law, is not to us an object without a blemish. And by the moral law, with- of love; and that it is

nor

The Christian Creed, The Arminian Creed. Mr. Mather's Creed. that our disaffection to lout any abatement. And not a duty, but a sin, for the Deity is absolutely in- that therefore, some relief us to love it : even conexcusable and infinitely was in justice due to a fal. trary to the law of God. criminal ; and justly de. len world. And therefore, Because, to love it is the serves the penalty threat the relief granted is not same thing as to love our ened, infinitely dreadful wholly of grace ; own misery However, as it is. In which view, ought it be acknowledged God has given his Son ta the divine law is holy, as such by us.

fulfil this law, and to vin." just, and good ; worthy of

dicate and maintain the the highest honour; and

honour and dignity of his the salvation of the Gos.

character exhibited in it; pel from step to step,

that sinners might be par. from beginning to end, is

doned while at enmity of mere grace.

against it. p. 28. 41, 42, 49.

2. Concerning God the % Concerning God the 2. Concerning God the Son, Son.

Son. I BELIEVE that Je. I BELIEVE that Į BELIEVE that the sus Christ, in character Christ died to purchase character of God exhibit

of Mediator between God an abaternent of this un- ed in the Gospel, is so 26and man, loved the mo- just law; and to procure commodated to the state ral character of his Fa- salvation for us on terms and temper of our hearts, ther, exhibited in the which we are able to that we shall love it as moral law, and lived and comply with, by his, as- soon as known, without died to do it honour ; sistance.

any new principle of that through him peni

grace; and even while tent believers might be

we are at enmity against saved, consistently with

that character of God ex. the divine justice, and to

hibited in the law. p. 22. the glory of divine grace.

41-48. And in this view Christ crucified is the wisdom of God, and the power of God.

means

are

3. Concerning God the 3. Concerning God the 3. Concerning God the Holy Ghost. Holy Ghost.

Holy Ghost. I BELIEVE that fal. I BELIEVE that all I BELIEVE that all len man is so disaffected to men have sufficient assist. needful assistance of the the character of the Fa. ance to comply with the holy Spirit is promised to ther and the Son, that no terms of salvation, as it all baptised persons, to

whatsoever would be unjust to re- render external sufficient to reconcile us quire more than we can effectual to salvation. to God, without the re- do, without granting. But light is all that is generating influences of needful assistance to en- needful. For no kind of the Holy Ghost. So that able us to do it. And regeneration will bring except we are born again, thus the injury done to the human heart to love we cannot see the king- us by the law is made up that character of God dom of God. But in con by the Gospel. And in which is exhibited in the sequence of the regene- this view the divine char- law: and the character rating infuences of the acter appears amiable in of God exhibited in the Holy Ghost, by which the our eyes. And all man- Gospel, will naturally be veil is taken off from our kind might love it, did loved, as soon as known, hearts, we behold the glo- they but know it, without by every one, without ry of the Lord, and every any new principle of any new principle of answerable affection is grace.

means

See Dr. Steba grace.

But not loved exoited in us. And God bins, on the Operations very much ; for I believe,

The Christian Creed.

The Arminian Creed.

Mr. Mather's Creed.

are

more

and Christ loved of the Spirit. Dr. Whit- | that not more than one than wives and l by on the five points.

convert in a hundred can children, than houses and

say, with a good cone lands; yea, than our own

science, that he loves lives. Whereby we are

God at all. And so saints disposed and prepared to

as well as sinners stand deny ourselves, take up

in need of the external our' cross, and follow

covenant.

First book, P. Christ : and publicly join

39. 60. Second book, p. with his people, and es

45-48. 78, 79, 80, 81. pouse his cause.

Remark 1. According to the Arminian creed, mankind are the injured party, Christ died to get justice done us ; and siinply to have justice done us is all we need to bring us to be at peace

with God. Let the terms of salvation be as low as in justice they ought to be ; let us have all that assistance which in justice we ought to have ; and we need no more : the rest we will do ourselves. But for God to do us justice, is not an act of grace.

2. According to Mr. Mather's creed, the divine law, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ, requires us, on pain of eternal death, to do that which is not our duty to do : yea, that which to do, in us, would be a sinful thing, viz. to love God with all our heart. And so Christ fulfilled a law, in our stead, which it was not our duty to fulfil: yea, a law to obey which, in us, had been a sinful thing. But to pay a debt for us, which we ourselves did not owe, was needless : and to honour a law which requires sin, is a sinful thing

3. The divinity of God the Father is the first article of the Christian creed, and so much the foundation of the whole Christian system, that if this is denied, the whole will sink of

Or in other words, that God, the Creator and moral governor of the universe, is an absolutely perfect, and infinitely glorious and amiable Being, infinitely worthy of supreme love and universal obedience from his creature man, is the foundation on which the law stands, and on which the whole Gospel scheme is built. To deny this point, is in effect to deny the whole of divine revelation. Atheism is at the bottom of infidelity. The contrariety of the carnal mind to God's true and real character, is at bottom of Atheism. The fool saith in his heart, there is no God.

course.

4. It was wise in God, even at the expense of the blood of his own Son, to assert and maintain the honour of a law, which is a transcript of his moral character, and which all his apostate creatures join to hate ; because in this he does justice to himself, and to his government, wbile he shows mercy to sinners. But enmity against the divine law renders us blind to the wisdoin, glory, and grace of the Gospel, and is the cause of unbelief. 1 Cor. i. 18. and ii. 14. Con)pared with Rom. viii. 7. and iii. 25. and vii. 12. John viii. 42, 43.

5. He who understands and believes the Christian creed, and who is affected and acts accordingly, is a Christian qualified for baptism, and entitled to eternal life. Mat. xiii. 23. Mark xvi. 16. John xvii. 3.

6. He who believes the first article of the Christian creed, with a living faith, has what Paul means by repentance toward God. And he who believes the second article of the Christian creed, with a living faith, has what Paul means by faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. A belief of both which is implied in that faith by which a sinner is justified. Luke iii. 3. and v.

31, 32. and xviii. 14. and xxiv. 47. Acts xx. 21. Rom. iii. 19-26. And this faith is the first grace, and the sum, seed, and root of all Christian graces. Mat. xiii. 23. And is peculiar to the regenerate. Rom. viii. 7. 1 John v. 1. 1 Cor. i. 18. and ii. 14. John i. 13. Luke viii. 11-15. And is eternal life begun in the soul. John xvii. 3.

7. The love of the truth is the life of faith ; or in other words, love to the truth believed is of the essence of a living faith, and that wherein it specifically differs from the faith of devils, or a dead faith. John xvi. 27. 2 Thes. ii. 10, 11, 12. Jam. ii. 26. And therefore,

8. There is a universal inseparable connexion between a living faith, and a holy life, (which renders assurance attainable by believers in common. Mat. xiii. 23. Jam. ii. 17, 18. 1 John ii. 3.) So that those words are strictly true, 1 John ii. 4. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a LIAR, and the truth is not in him. But,

D. The faith of devils, attended with a lying profession, is not. that qualification for baptispy which our Saviour bad in view, in Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth and is baptised shall be sated.

10. The Gospel may be, and ought to be, preached to all in common, even to every creature, let their character be ever so vicious, as a means of their conversion : but baptism is not to be administered to adults until they believe, and profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him. Mark xvi, 15, 16. Acts viii. 37. Rom. x. 9, 10.-For,

11. The adult person, in the act of offering bimself to God in baptism, practically declares, that he devotes himself to God through Jesus Christ, and so puts on Christ. Gal. iii. 26, 27. But a false and lying profession is condemned by God in the Old Testament. Psalm lxxviii. 36, 37. Eccl. v. 5. and by Jesus Christ in the new. Luke vi. 46. Mat. xxii. 12. Luke xiv. 25–35. 1 John ij. 4. Rev. ii. 2. 9. Aud is a means, not of salvation, but of destruction, Acts v. 1-11.

12. The adult person, who is unqualified to offer himself in baptism, is equally unqualified to offer bis infant child in baptism. For he who is without a heart to devote himself to God, is equally without a heart to devote his child to God.

13. Pride, in ambitious minds, may excite very strong inclinations to make a false profession ; but a well enlightened conscience never will dictate this, as matter of duty.

14, It is the indispensable duty of every one, to whom the Gospel comes, to become a real Christian without delay : and then without delay to make a public profession of Christianity: and then to attend the seals. But to seal the covenant of grace with our hands, while we reject it in our hearts, is to act deceitfully with our Maker. And to invent a new covenant which God never exhibited, and a new scheme of religion to support it, which God never revealed, suited to the hearts of those who reject the covenant of grace, and who are under the curse of the covenant of works, is to find a resting place for the wicked..

« PreviousContinue »