« הקודםהמשך »
and excellent; 2. A delight in religious company and conyersation ; 3. Enjoyment in public, private, and secret worship; 4. Pleasure in reading the Bible and other religious books, and in meditating upon divine subjects; 5. Joy at the prosperity of Zion, and a desire that the cause of Christ should flourish and triumph ; 6. Humility and meekness in deportinent; 7. Benevolence to all men, and love of complacency towards Christians; 8. Hatred of sin and love of holiness, and a supreme and habitual desire after it; and 9. Obedience to the commands of God in daily life. (k)
Q. 14. Do the renewed in heart ever entertain doubts of their regeneration ?
A. They do; and their doubts arise either, 1. From their not understanding in what regeneration consists; or 2. From the great remaining sinfulness of their hearts; or 3. From the weakness of their Christian graces; or 4. Fronı misjudgment respecting the nature of their religious affections; or 5. From constitutional melancholy or infirmity. But when under these doubts, it becomes Christians to examine
(k) John iii. 8. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth : so is every one that is born of the Spirit. -Rom. viii. 14. 16. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.-Mal. iii. 16. Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another. -Ps. Ixxxiv. 2. My soul longeth, yea, even sainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.--Ps.cxix. 07. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.--Ps. cii. 14. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof.---Matt. xi. 29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in beart.--Mark xii. 31. And the second is like, namely, this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.-1 John ii. 14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Rom. vii. 24. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?-1 John iïi. 10. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil; whosoever doth not righteousness is not of Gud, neither he that loveth not his brother.-2 John ii. 3. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
themselves by the evidences of their being religious, to be much in prayer to God for more spiritual light and life, and to live nearer to Him in holy obedience.
Q. 15. At what time of life do the greater part of Christians experience religion ?
A. Much the greatest number, no doubt, are renewed in youth, or the younger part of life, though some are regenerated in infancy, some in manhood, and a few in old age.
A. It is distinguished into love of benevolence, and love of complacency, according to the object on which it terminates.
Q. 2. What is meant by love of benevolence ?
Å. Desire for the happiness of percipient beings, or beings susceptible of pleasure.
Q. 3. In what proportion should the love of benevolence be exercised towards beings susceptible of happiness?
A. The proportion should be according to their capacity for happiness, other things being equal. God is to be loved more than all His creatures, because of the infinitude of His being. Our fellow men are to be loved as we ought to love ourselves. This benevolent affection will act most vigorously towards those who are most in view, and with whom we are most conversant and most connected, because of the relation thus sustained, and the duties thence arising. (a)
Q. 4. By what property is this love of benevolence distinguished ?
(a) Mark xii. 30, 31. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy sirength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely, this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
A. True benevolence is disinterested ; that is, it does not regard our own private interest merely, but fixes also upon the welfare of others, and is exercised towards all beings susceptible of pleasure in proportion to their intrinsic, relative, and comparative worth and importance in the scale of existence.
Q. 5. How is disinterested benevolence or affection regarded by mankind in general ?
A. It is applauded by most men, but exercised by only a few.
Q. 6. What is meant by love of complacency?
Of this kind is the love of God to His holy creatures, and their love towards Him, and towards each other. In this love is included the fraternal affection of Christians towards one another on account of their holiness.
Q.7. What is the ground of distinction between love of benevolence and love of complacency?
A. This is the ground of distinction; when it has for its object the good of others, it is called love of benevolence; when it has for its object true moral excellence, it is called love of complacency. Thus every being susceptible of pleasure is a proper object for the love of benevolence, and a being that is holy is a proper object for the love of complacency ; and a being susceptible of pleasure, possessed of holiness, is a proper object both for the love of benevolence and complacency.
Q. 8. Are all mankind bound to exercise this holy love?
A. They are; as obedience to the moral law and conformity to God. This duty is enjoined by reason and revelation. (6)
(6) Rom. xiii. 10, Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.-1 John iv. 8. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.—Matt. v. 43–45. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate
pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your father which is in
Q. 9. How ought this holy love to be viewed by all intelligent beings ?
A. It ought to be viewed as most excellent and lovely, and as constituting the true glory of men, of angels, and of Jehovah himself.
A. It is turning from sin to holiness; and implies a sense and hatred of sin, and a sense and love of holiness; and is attended ordinarily with hope of forgiveness and favor through the merits of the Redeemer; and is followed by obedience. It implies love to the character, law and gospel of God, and has particular respect to sin as its object. This repentance, therefore, does not consist in any of the natural affections, such as gratitude, remorse, fear of punishment, pity, and sympathy. These, though given for wise and benevolent purposes, constitute no part of true repentance. (a)* heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.-Ps. xi. 7. For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.—Is. xliii. 4. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hasi been honorable, and I have loved thee.blatt. xxii. 37–39. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all ihy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.-John xiii. 34, 35. A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that
love one another.—1 Pet. ii. 17. Love the brotherhood.-Rom. xii. 10. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love ; in honor preferring one another.-Phil. ii. 3, 4. Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind, let each esieem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
(a) Joel ïi. 12, 13. Therefore also now saith the Lord,
* Repentance, according to the original word, used in the Scrip tures, means change of mind; coming to one's senses.
Q. 2. What is legal repentance ?
X. It is that sorrow for sin, which arises principally from the consideration, that it exposes to punishment, and which does not imply hating and forsaking sin, or loving and practising holiness. Such was the repentance of Judas. It is true his repentance was real and not feigned, was deep and distressing, was attended with full conviction of guilt, frank confession of it, and external reformation in part; but it arose not from true love to God and hatred to sin, but from selfishness and fear of punishment. Such, too, is often the repentance of thieves and murderers, when detected and brought to justice. They sorrow for the consequences of sin, but not for sin itself. (b)
Q. 3. What are the motives to repentance? A. 1. Repentance is reasonable. Sin is base, dishonorable and hateful to God, a violation of His law, opposition to the good of His moral kingdom. If permitted, it would dethrone Him, and subvert the benevolent end of His government. And it does actually involve its subjects in misery in the present life. These considerations are an argument in favor
Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning. And rend your heart, and pot your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.-Ezek. xiv. 6. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God, Repent and turn yourselves from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations.--Ezek. xxxvi. 31. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities, and for your abominations.-İs. lv. 7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
(b) Matt. xxvii. 3–5. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the tomple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.