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Ralph Wardlaw.

Discourses on the principal points of the Socinian controversy online

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the feet of Jesus, his Divine teacher : and, sensible of the
insufficiency of natural light, receiving his instructions
with gratitude and gladness of heart, and with the docile
meekness of a little child : — by which means he '* grows
in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ."

• See Fuller's Calv. and 8oc. Systems compared, 3d ed. p. 168.



ON THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER. 373

This advancement in knov/ledge does not at all imply
an incessant variation of sentiment. There are some
truths, which he reads in the Scriptures, written as with
pencils of light : — and knowing and feeling how opposite
these are to certain feelings of pride and corruption in his
heart, it is his constant prayer, that he may be established
in the faith of them, and his mind preserved from the in-
fluence of these blinding and perverting principles of his
fallen nature. But, without any change of sentiment with
regard to these fundamental truths, it is very evident that
he may progressively attain clearer and more comprehen-
sive views of them, in their individual excellence, and in
their glorious harmony. The earliest glimmering of the
dawn is the same in its nature, with the brightness of the
risen sun ; — it is light : — but it is light which increases
in splendour, till it reaches its meridian effulgence. The
knowledge possessed in heaven, is knowledge without er-
ror, and therefore without change : yet even this, we have
reason to believe, is knowledge that shall brigliten and
expand forever.

II. The Christian is a Lover of Christ.

I mention this, as a distinct particular, because it is
much insisted on in the Ncav Testament, and in such
terms as clearly show it to be an essential and distin-
guishing chai'acteristic.

I have more than once, in former Discourses, adverted
to this topic ; yet 1 cannot omit it here, witliout present-
ing a very defective portrait indeed, of the character which
it is my object to delineate. '' Grace be with all them
that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity !" is an ex-
pression of apostolical affection for all Chnstians ; none
being, in Paul's estimation, worthy of the name, who were
not animated by sincere and fervent love to the Redeemer.
So far from Oivning as Christians those who were desti-
tute of this sacred principle, and including them in his



37^! ON 'r»E CHRISTIAN CHARACTER.

apostolical benediction, lie loads them Avith a heavy curse
— a curse dictated by the Spirit of God : " If any man
love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anatliema, mar-
anatha.''* His language on this subject is in full harmo-
ny with that of his Divine master : " If any man come to
me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife and
children, and brothers and sisters, yea and his own life al-
so — he cannot be my disciple. "f These words, I need
hardly remark, were intended to express, not how little
wc should love our relatives, but how much we sliould
love Christ. So fai- from implying that our afiection to
the former ought to be weak, they derive all their spirit
and energy from the very assumption tliat it is, and ought
to be, strong and fervent. The lesson which they impress
upon our minds is — that powerful as are these attachments
of our nature to kindred, and to life, they must never be al-
lowed to stand in competition with our regard to the Re-
deemer. The words were originally addressed, w ith the
faithfulness which invariably marked the Saviour's con-
duet, to ^^ great multitudes, who went after him ;" who
■would no doubt be confounded by the dignity and singu-
larity of the declaration, so completely without a parallel,
or even a remote resemblance, in the conduct of the most
eminent among the ancient prophets. He addresses the
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Online LibraryRalph WardlawDiscourses on the principal points of the Socinian controversy → online text (page 31 of 36)