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The real Character of Talkative. 105

ble and fall; and will be, if God prevents not, the ruin of many more. (0) Faith. Well, my brother, I am bound to believe you; not only because you say you know him, but also because like a Christian you make your reports of men. For I cannot think that you speak these things of ill-will, but because it is even so as you say. Chr. Had I known him no more than you, I might perhaps have thought of him as at the first you did : yea, had I received this report at their hands only that are enemies to religion, I should have thought it had been a slander, (a lot that often falls from bad men's mouths upon good men's names and professions ;) but all these things, yea, and a #. many more as bad, of my own knowledge, I can prove im guilty of . Besides, good men are ashamed of him; they can neither call him brother nor friend; the very naming of him among them makes them blush if they know him. Faith. Well, I see that saying and doing are two things, and hereafter I shall better observe this distinction. Chr. They are two things indeed, and are as diverse as are the soul and the body; for, as the body without the soul is but a dead carcase, so saying, if it be alone, is but a dead carcase also. The soul of religion is the practic part : “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” This Talkative is not aware of; he thinks that hearing and saying will make a good Christian; and thus he deceiveth his own soul. Hearing is but as the sowing of the seed; talking is not sufficient to prove that fruit is indeed in the heart 106 The Difference between saying and Doing.

*James i. 2, 3, 22–27.

(o) Those believers who have made the most extensive and accurate observation on the state of religion in their own age and place, and are most acquainted with the internal history of the church in other lands, or former periods, may be deemed inferior in charity to their brethren; because they surpass them in penetration, and clearly perceive the mischiefs which arise from countenancing specious hypocrites. They would “do good to all men,” “bear with the infirmities of the weak,” “restore in meekness such as are overtaken in a fault," and make allowances for the tempted : but they dare not sanction such men as talk about religion and disgrace it; as mislead the simple, stumble the hopeful, prejudice the observing, and give enemies a plausible objection to the truth. Here charity constrains us to run the risk of being deemed uncharitable, by unmasking the hypocrite, and undeeeiving the deluded. We must not indeed speak needlessly against any one, nor testify more than we know to be true even against a suspected person: but we should shew, that vain talkers belong to the world, though numbers class them among religious people, to the great discredit of the cause,

and life; and let us assure ourselves that at the day of loom men shall be judged according to their fruits 3" it will not be said then, 'Did you believe?” but, “Were you Doers, or talkers only ; and accordingly shall they be judged. The end of the world is compared to our harvest; and you know men at harvest regard nothing but fruit. Not that any thing can be accepted that is not of faith; but loo this to shew you how insignificant the profession of Takative ill be at that day. Făiii. This brings to my mind that cf. Moses, by which he describeth the beast that is clean :-he is such an one that parteth the hoof, and cheweth the cud: not that parteth the hoof only, or that cheweth the cud only. The hare cheweth the cud, but yet is unclean because i. parteth not the hoof. And this truly resembleth Taikative; he cheweth the cud, he seeketh knowledge ; he cheweth upon the word; but he divideth not the hoof, he parteth not with the Woy of sinners; but, as the hare, retainéth the foot of a dog or bear, and therefore he is unclean. Chr. You have spoken, for aught I know, the true gospel sense of those texts. And I will add another thing : Faul calleth some then, yea, and those great talkers too, “sounding brass and §§ cymbals;” that is, as he expounds them in another place, “things without life giving sound.”: “Things without life;” that is, without the true faith and grace of the gospel; and consequently things that shall never be placed in the kingdom of heaven, among those that are the children of life, though their sound, by their talk, be as if it were the tongue or voice of an angel. (p)

* Matt. xiii. 23. xxv. 31–46. * Levit. xi. Deut. xiv. 3:1 Cor. xiii. 1–3. xiv. 7. ( p) Talkative seems to have been introduced on purpose, that the author might have a fair opportunity of stating his sentiments concerning the practical nature of evangelical religion, to which numbers in his day were too inattentive ; so that this admired allegory has fully established the important distinction, between a dead and a living faith, on which the whole controversy depends. We may boldly state doctrines of the gospel with all possible energy and clearness, and every objection must ultimately fall to the ground, and every abuse ho excluded, provided this distinction be fully and constantly insisted on : for they arse without exception, from substituting some false nation of faith, in the place of that living, acto and efficacious principle, which the Scriptures so constantly represent as the grand poulaity of vital godliness. The language used in this passage is precisely the o . branded with the opprobrious epithet of legal, by nu, bers who would be o o o o ; as any impartial person must perceive, upon an attentive stand before un o * expressions are used, which they, who are accustomed to practic * : make a man an offender for a word,” have learned to avoid. “The Part is accurately defined to be the unfailing effect of that inward life which is the

Faithful wants to be rid of Talkative. 107

Faith. Well, I was not so fond of his company at first, but am as sick of it now. What shall we do to be rid of him P Chr. Take my advice and do as I bid you, and you shall find that he will soon be sick of your company too, except God shall touch his heart and turn it. Faith. What would you have me to do F (4) Chr. Why, go to him, and enter into some serious discourse about the power of religion; and ask him plainly, (when he has approved of it, for that he will.) whether this thing be set up in his heart, house, or conversation ? Then Faithful stepped forward again, and said to Talkative, Come, what cheer : how is it now P Talk. Thank you, well; I thought we should have had a eat deal of talk by this time. Faith. Weil, if you will, we will fall to it now; and since you left it with me to state the question, let it be this: “How doth the saving grace of God discover itself, when it is in the heart of man P” s Talk. I perceive, then, that our talk must be about the ower of things well, 'tis a very good question, and I shall {. willing to answer you; and take my answer in brief thus.-First, where the grace of God is in the heart, it causeth there a great out-cry against sin.—Secondly,– soul of religion. True said, justifies, as it forms the sinner's relation to Christ; but it always “works by love,” and influences to obedience: hence the inquiry at the day of judgment will be rather about the inseparable fruits of faith, than about its essential propcities and mature. (7) When we speak to loose professors, we should always keep two things in view; either to get rid of such ensnaring and dishonourable companions, or to use proper means to convince them of their fatal mistake. There is indeed more hope of the most ignorant and careiess than of them : yet “with God all things are possible,” and we should not despair of any, especially as the very same method is suited to both the ends proposed; which the subsequent discourse most clearly evinces. Very plain and particular declarations of those tlings, by which true believers are distinguished from the most specious hypocrites, (whether in conversation or preaching.) are best calculated to undeceive and alarm false professors; and form the most commodious fan, by which the irreclaimable may be winnowed from the society of real Christians. This is of great importance: for they are Achans in the camp of Israel, rea, spots and blemishes to every company that countenances them. Doctrinal or even practical discussions, if confined to general terms, do not startle them; they mimie the language of experience, declaim against the wickedness of the world, and the blindness of pharisees, and strenuously oppose the opinions held by some rival sect or party : they ean endure the most awful declarations of the wrath of God against the wicked ; suppos. ing themselves to be unconcerned : nay, they will admit that they are backsliders, or inconsistent believers. But when the conversation or sermon compels them to complain, ‘in so saying thou condemnest us also ; they will hear no longer, but seek refuge under more confortable preachers, or in more candid company; aud represent their faithful monitors as eensorious, peevish and melancholy.

108 Knowing and Doing distinguished.

Faith. Nay, hold, let us consider of one at once: I think you should rather say, It shews itself by inclining the soul to abhor its sin.

Talk. Why, what difference is there between crying out against, and abhorring of sin P

Faith. Oh! a great deal | A man may cry out against sin

of policy, but he cannot abhor it but by virtue of a godly an

tipathy against it. I have heard many cry out against sin in the pulpit, who yet can abide it well enough in the heart, house, A. conversation. Joseph’s mistress cried out with a loud voice, as if she had been very holy; but she would willingly, notwithstanding that, have committed uncleanness with him.” Some cry out against sin, even as the mother cries out against her child in her lap, when she calleth it slut and naughty girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it. "fik. You lie at the catch, I perceive. Faith. No, not I, I am only for setting things right. But what is the second thing whereby you would prove a discovery of the work of grace in the heart 2 Talk. Great knowledge of gospel mysteries. Faith. This sign should have been first: but, first or last, it is also false; for knowledge, great knowledge, may be obtained in the mysteries of the gospel, and yet no work of grace in the soul.f Yea, if a man have all knowledge he may yet be nothing, and so consequently be no child of God. When Christ said, “Do you know all these things P’ and the disciples had answered, Yes; he added, “Blessed are }. if ye do them.” . He doth not lay the blessing in the onowing of them, but in the doing of them. For there is a knowledge that is not attended with doing : “he that knoweth his Master’s will, and doeth it not.” A man may know likes n angel, and yet be no Christian: therefore your sign is not true. Indeed to know is a thing that pleaseth talkers and boasters; but to do is that which pleaseth God. Not that the heart can be good without knowledge ; for without that the heart is naught. There is therefore knowledge and knowledge : knowledge that resteth in the bare speculation of things and knowledge that is accompanied with the grace of faith and love, which puts a man upon doing even the will of God from the heart: the first of these will serve the talker; but without the other the true Christian * Gen. xxxix. 11–15, ti Cor. xiii. s:

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The Fruits of true Faith. 109

is not content: “Give me understanding and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” (r) Talk. You lie at the catch again; this is not for edification. - Faith. Well, if you please, propound another sign how this work of grace discovereth itself where it is. Talk. Not I, for I see we shall not agree. Faith. Well, if you will not, will you give me leave to do it P Talk. You may use your liberty. Faith. A work of grace in the soul discovereth itself, either to him that hath it, or to standers by. To him that hath it, thus: it gives him conviction of sin, especially of the defilement of his nature, and the sin of uni. for the sake of which he is sure to be damned, if he findeth not mercy at God’s hand by faith in Jesus Christ.f This sight and sense of things worketh in him sorrow and shame for sin; he findeth, moreover, revealed in him the Saviour of the world, and the absolute necessity of closing with him for life; at the which he findeth hungerings and thirstings after him: to which hungerings, &c. the promise is made.j (s) Now according to the strength or weakness

* Psa.cxix. 34. t Psa. xxxviii. 18. Mark xvi. 16. John xvi. 8, 9. Acts iv. 12. Itom, vii. 24. # Jer. xxxi. 19. Matt. v. 6. Gal. i. 15, 16. Rev. xxi. 6.

(r) Spiritual knowledge, obtained by an implicit belief of God's sure testimony under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, producing a hearty love of revealed truth, is always hunbling, sanctifying and transforming : but speculative knowledge is a mere notion of divine things, as distant from a man's own concern in them, or a due apprehension of their excel. leney and importance, which puffs up the heart with proud self-preference, seeds carnal and malignant passions, and leaves the possessor under the power of sin and Satan.

(*) Divine teaching convinces a man that he is justly condemned for transgressing the law, and cannot be saved unless he obtain an interest in the merits of Christ by faith; and that unbelief, or neglect of this great salvation, springs from pride, aversion to the character, authority, and law of God, and love to sin and the world ; that it implies the guilt of treating the truth of God as a lie, despising his wisdom and mercy, demanding happiness as a debt from his justice, and defying his “wrath revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” This conviction makes way for discovering that a free salvation by faith is exactly suited to his case: he perceives the glory of the divine perfections harmoniously displayed in the person and redemption of Christ ; and his heart is inwardly drawn to close with the invitations of the gospel, and to desire above all things the sulfilment of its exceedingly great and precious promises to his soul.-The expression revealed in him is taken from St. Paul :" but as his conversion was extraordinary without the intervention of means or instruments, and as he seems rather to have intended his appointinent to the ministry, and that communication of the knowledge of Christ to his soul,

* Gal. i. 16. K

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