Page images

to a person appointed to receive it, without further trouble to any party. Thus the subscription. above-mentioned is fifteen dozen pence: fifteen of these collectors bring a shilling each from their respective circles.





"I have been young," (Juvenis,) " and now am old" (Senex): when I was Juvenis, I wrote or spake as a Juvenis: perhaps should your correspondent Juvenis, (in your Number for September,) live to be Senex, he may adopt a less confident - way of speaking on a controverted subject.

[ocr errors]

I own I could not but recollect, as I read his letter, a story which I heard long ago, and which, I am persuaded, your readers in general will not blame you for inserting. A young minister in the company of many seniors, on a disputed subject being proposed, arose first, and began, Brethren, I hold-.' He was about to proceed, when a grave, and perhaps too severe a Senex arose, and said, 'Young man, on such a subject, and in such a company, it behoves you to hold your tongue.' ·

I do not mean to apply this in its whole extent to Juvenis's letter, but I have little doubt that your readers in general will agree with me, that a good deal more modesty, humility, and deference

to the judgment of seniors, would have rendered his remarks more becoming, and given them a more attractive appearance.

I am not disposed to criticize the skeleton of his sermon he who attempts, on this ground, to emulate the Rev. Mr. Simeon, (now Senex) is a bold man. The skeleton of Juvenis, should it be admitted to contain no positive error, will, I doubt not, be generally thought deficient in discrimination, as to the nature and fruits of that faith by which sinners become partakers of the free salva-, tion which is in Jesus Christ.

In respect of restitution, Mr. Henry's decided and excellent language is sufficient: 'It is certain while that which is got by injustice is knowingly retained in the hands, the guilt of the injustice remains upon the conscience, and is not purged by sacrifice or offering, prayers or tears, for it is one and the same continued act of sin persisted in.'

I know not what efficacy Juvenis imagines the persons whom he would oppose, to attribute to repentance, but professed repentance, like professed faith, is either sincere or insincere: if sincere, it will appear by restitution, when in a man's power; and, if either avarice, self-indulgence, or the pride of life, prevent restitution in a professed penitent, this proves him a hypocrite by the same reasoning which St. James employed concerning faith.1

Our Lord, who could see that repentance was genuine previously to the fruits which it would certainly produce, might properly have pronounced Zaccheus's sins pardoned, before he professed his

[blocks in formation]

purpose of ample restitution; yet he deferred this till afterward. The restitution did not add to the efficacy of his faith, but it proved that he was no hypocrite.

When Juvenis favours us with a skeleton on Acts iii. 19, "Repent and be converted that your "sins may be blotted out, &c." I will, if living and able, add remarks on that skeleton, shewing that repentance always precedes forgiveness.

I hope the numerous conversions, of which Juvenis speaks in his former situation, may prove sound. I have met with many disappointments in my sanguine hopes, and been often reminded of Mr. Whitfield's words on seeing a man reeling in drunkenness: 'I,' said he, 'converted that man 'some years ago:' to which one answered, ' You 'mean, the Lord converted him: No,' said Mr. 'W.: 'had the Lord converted him, I should' 'not have seen him in such a situation.'

I am, your constant reader,


P. S. I mean also to say that, if the doctrine, that forgiveness precedes repentance, be brought forward in your publication, in any form, I shall deem myself pledged to reply to the statement.




In much modern divinity, the terms duty and privileges frequently occur, and are often opposed to each other, or at least contradistinguished. Perhaps some of your readers may not be aware, that the word privileges is not found in scripture ; the word privilege, indeed, once occurs in the margin of John, i. 12. (for eria.) Probably the frequent use of the expression arose from this circumstance, namely, that the style of our modern evangelical divinity was formed at a time when political disputes ran high about the privileges of parliament and of the people, and the prerogatives of the crown; (implying the duties of the people ;) and among those who stood up most zealously for privileges against prerogatives.

The word duty occurs in a few instances; but, in some of them, it is printed in Italics, as not in the original; 1 and it is not used, in the sense of modern divinity, in more than two or three places.2

Are we then to conclude, that we have neither privileges nor duties? By no means. There are many things which we ought to do; these are duties and many which we ought not to do; these it is our duty to avoid. We ought to fear


'Eccles. xii. 13. Ezek. xviii. 11.

2 Luke xvii. 10. Rom. xv. 27.

[ocr errors]

and love God; to repent and believe in Christ; to love one another: to " do justice, love mercy, "and walk humbly with our God." There are also duties owing to parents, children, and every other relative, and every human being, as far as we have access to him: and obedience to our God and Saviour consists in performing them.

On the other hand, God has "given us ex"ceedingly great and precious promises," which are uniformly limited to characters, that is, to those who repent, or believe, or love God, or fear God, to the humble, meek, &c; and our privileges consist in being interested in these promises, and in enjoying and hoping for the promised blessings, as "the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty."

[ocr errors]

But it appears to me, that the same ideas may be expressed in scriptural language: and, though I would not restrict our popular discourses wholly to scriptural terms, yet in all that which assumes the appearance of controversy, it should either be adhered to, or a substantial reason assigned for the use of other expressions. This would give our discussions more authority, and render them more luminous and less objectionable; for, after a laboured argument on privileges and duties, it would be rather an unfavourable circumstance, should any one object, that privileges are not mentioned in scripture, and the word duty very


I have, however, a further reason for making these observations. It appears to me, that it is antiscriptural to oppose privileges and duties, as if perfectly distinct things, in the manner often

« PreviousContinue »