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mere casual reader of the decalogue would suppose. These demands of perfect purity, ardent piety, strict justice, and constant obedience to every commandment, Mr. Adam allowed to be right, and due to God, as well as of perpetual obligation. But he found that his best attempts to fulfil the law served more clearly to show him the infirmity of his nature, and the depravity of his heart. This view of the spiritual nature of the law of God he took in common with David and St. Paul, as well as many other godly men, both before and since the coming of Christ. The prophet David says, Psalm cxix. 96, “I have seen an end of all perfection ; but thy commandment is exceeding broad.” And St. Paul makes this confession: “For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” The unerring rule of God's law Mr. Adam ever held to be the only right standard of men's motives and actions. He everywhere repudiated the notion that the gospel has furnished to man "a remedial law,” suited to the weakness and frailty of human nature; and which God will accept in the place of perfect obedience to the divine commandments, as explained by Jesus Christ and his apostles. Mr. Adam maintained the position, that the holy precepts of the decalogue are not arbitrary dogmas, constituting actions, words, and affections to be right or wrong, by the mere authority of the lawgiver ; but on the other hand, that the precepts and prohibitions of the law define the boundaries of sin and duty, which indeed existed from eternity, and makes them plain to the obtuse perceptions of man, in his fallen and depraved state. Mr. Adam denies that men have any just plea to excuse themselves from acknowledging, with shame and contrition, their guilt before God; while he contemplates many who profess to keep the greater part of the law, under general circumstances, but plead for particular indulgence when urged by uncommon temptations.
He allows no Christian to consider himself as freed from the law of God, as a rule of life; but he affirms, that its power to condemn to everlasting misery is taken away with respect to them that believe in Christ, and obey the gospel.
When we measure our judgment, affections, and conduct, by the holy law of God, we discover our need of Christ's righteousness to be imputed to us for justification, and subsequently, through life, we discover, by the same rule, our need of being washed daily in the fountain of the Redeemer's blood ; and of having continually the benefit of his all-prevailing intercession for us before God; and of possessing the Holy Spirit to purify our hearts, and to afford us direction and comfort in running the heavenly race, and in fighting the good fight of faith.
The question comes to this issue : Adam . right in adopting the divine law as the standard by which to measure his obedience to God? We answer, truly, he was. With the Bible in his hands, he could not do otherwise, since Christ
" Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach them so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them,
the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven;" and as a member of the Church of England, he could do no less; since he must every sabbath-day pray to that effect, after the repetition of each commandment: “Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law."
His confessions of sin were necessarily deep, as he could not allow anything in himself to be faultless which offended against either the letter or the spirit of any commandment. Other readers may acquit Mr. Adam of any supposed enormity of transgression, but they may resolve the phenomena of his deep self-accusations into some wrong or exaggerated notions upon the subject of religion. They may conclude that his mind was, in some measure, thrown off its proper balance, and that he was thus led to take a distorted view of the commandments of God. Here again we confidently refer to his whole life in confutation of such a supposition. He was dispassionate, deliberative, patient, and discursive in examining principles, and drawing conclusions. He found by long experience that he had within him opposing principles, not chiefly those of reason and appetite; but those which St. Paul calls “the flesh,” and the spirit —" the law of the members warring against the law of the mind."
Mr. Adam, when far advanced in life, published his Paraphrase and Exposition of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans; and in commenting on the seventh chapter, he has set this clearly forth, and has fully proved that St. Paul lamented the same conflict which he himself endured. Should any blame Mr. Adam on this account, they will involve the apostle
St. Paul in the same censure, who during some years after he left the sect of Gamaliel, by whom he had been instructed in the sacred learning of the strictest sect of his religion, was not aware that he had misunderstood the character of God, and had lived in ignorance of his holy law. Hence he confesses his former ignorance, “ The commandment which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.” The Holy Spirit, who assisted him to make this discovery, directed him to Christ as the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth : therefore he exclaimed, “ God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
It may be added, that the Book of Common Prayer, the writings of the Fathers of the English Church, the Homilies, and the works of Mr. Adam, with some others, will appear to the attentive reader to present a consistent and uniform display of Church of England piety.
The sacraments of the Church of England are fully supported in the writings of Mr. Adam. Perhaps no divine of the Church of England, in the eighteenth century, has written with more piety and consistency with himself, and with the church of which he was a minister, as well as with the Holy Scriptures, on the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, than the rector of Wintringham. The editor has not discovered a sentence in his works which were intended for the public eye, or in his · Private Thoughts,' which rob those holy institutions of their sacred character, of their divine authority, or of their scriptural efficiency, when rightly received; the former to generate grace in the heart, and the latter to strengthen and perfect the same. Exceptions can rarely be taken, even by the most captious ritualist, to the language which he uses, when he insists upon the necessity of “ repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.” He at all times uses sound speech which cannot be condemned, and upholds the ecelesiastical pretensions of the Church of England to be a true branch of the Church of Christ, in which the pure word of God is dispensed, and the sacraments administered according to Christ's holy institution.
In conclusion, it may be observed, that an unhappy prejudice has been long fostered in the minds of some good men respecting the doctrinal views which Mr. Adam held. He did not in every particular adopt the doctrinal views of either of the parties which, in his day, attracted the attention of well-disposed people, and divided their suffrages. He neither allowed himself to be a partisan of Mr. Whitfield nor Mr. Wesley. His letter to the latter, shows that he could not be brought to believe that persons without ordination might usurp the priest's office. Mr. Wesley some years afterwards had occasion to impugn his doctrinal views, and to intimate that he was not in favour with his divine Master. He mentioned that he had read the Paraphrase of Mr. Adam on the Romans, and then adds, “ It is the very quintescence of Antinomianism. I did wonder much, but I do not wonder now, that his rod does not blossom.” The other party who held the high doctrines of Mr. Whitfield's school, charged