« PreviousContinue »
“ That the commandments of God are grievous.”—That the way which leads to life is not only ftrait, for that our Saviour tells us, and that with much tribulation we shall seek it ;-but that christians are bound to make the worst of it, and tread it barefoot upon thorns and briers, if ever they expect to arrive happily at their journey's end.--And in course, --during this disastrous pilgrimage, it is our duty fo to renounce the world, and abstract ourselves from it, as neither to interfere with its interests, or taste any of the pleasures, or any of the enjoyments of this life.
Nor has this been confined merely to speculation, but has frequently
been extended to practice, as is plain, not only from the lives of many legendary faints and hermits, --whose chief commendation feems to have been, “ That they fed unnaturally from all commerce with their fellow creatures, and then mortified, and piously-half farved themselves to death"_but likewise from the many austere and fantastic orders which we see in the Romish church, which have all owed their origin and establifhment to the same idle and extravagant opinion.
Nor is it to be doubted, but the affectation of something like it in our Methodists, when they descant upon the necessity of alienating themfelves from the world, and selling
all that they have, is not to be ascribed to the same mistaken enthusiastic principle, which would caft fo black a shade upon religion, as if the kind Author of it had created us on purpose to go mourning, all our lives long, in fack-cloth and alhes,--and sent us into the world, as so many saint-errants, in quest of adventures full of sorrow and af Aiction.
Strange force of enthufiafm! and yet not altogether unaccountable.-For what opinion was 'there ever so odd, or action fa extrava? gant, which has not, at one time or other, been produced by ignorance, -conceit,- melancholy:a ture of devotion, with an ill con
currence of air and diet, operating together in the fame person.When the minds of men happen to be thus unfortunately prepared, whatever groundlefs doctrine rises up, and settles itself strongly upon their fancies, has generally the ill-luck to be interpreted as an illumination from the spirit of God; and whatever strange action they find in themselves a strong inclination to do,—that impulse is concluded to be a call from heaven; and consequently, that they cannot err in executing it.
If this, or fome such account, was not to be admitted, how is it possible to be conceived that christianity, which breathed out nothing but peace and . comfort to mankind, which profef
VOL. V. Q
sedly took off the severițies of the Jewish law, and was given us in the spirit of meekness, to ease our shoul, ders of a burden which was too heavy for us ; that this religion, so kindly calculated for the ease and tranquillity of man, and enjoins no thing but what is suitable to his nature, should be so misunderstood; -or. that it should ever be supposed that he who, is infinitely happy, could envy. us our enjoy: ments ; or that a. Being infinitely kind, would grudge a mournful palfenger a little rest and refreshment;
, to support his spirits through a weary pilgrimage or that he should salı him to an account hereafter, be cause, in his way, he had, haftily