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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 great many more as bad, of my own knowledge, I can prove him 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 say. ing 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
* James i. 2, 3, 22–27.
(0) 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 bistory 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 mis. chiefs 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 unde. veiving 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 talkt rs belong to the world, though numbers class them among religious people, to the gruai discredit of the cause,
106 The Difference between Saying and Doing. and life: and let us assure ourselves that at the day of doom men shall be judged according to their fruits ;* 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 I speak this to shew you how insignificant the profession of Talkative will be at that day.
Faith. This brings to my mind that of Moses, by which he describeth the beast that is clean :i-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 he parteih not the hoof. And this truly reseinbleth Taikative; he cheweth the cut, he seeketh knowledge; he cheweth upoz the word; but he divideth not the hooi, he parteth not with the way of sinners; but, as the hare, retaineth the foot or a dog or bear, and therefcre he is unclean.
Chr. You have spoke, for aucht I know, the true gospel sense of those texts. And I will add another thing : Faul calleth sone rien, yea, and those great tolkers too, sósounding brass and tinkling 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. (?)
* Matt, xiii, 23. XXV. 31-46.
*Levit. xi. Deut. xiv.
11 Cor. xii. 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 he excluded, provided this distinction be fully and constantly insisted on : for they arise without exception, from substituting some false notion of faith, in the place of that living, active, and efficacious principle, which the Scriptures so constantly represent as the grand peculiarity of vital godliness. The language used in this passage is precisely the same, as is now branded with the opprobrious epithet of legal, by nui bers who would be thought to admire the Pilgrim ; as any impartial person must perceive, upon an attentive perusal of it : and indeed some expressions are used, which they, who are accustomed to stand lxfore such as “make a man an offender for a word,” have learned to avoid. "The practic part' is accurately defined to be the unfailing effect of that inward life wiich is the
Faithful wants to be rid of Talkative.
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 ? Chr. Take my advice and do as I bid you,
shall find that he will soon be sick of your company too, except God shall touch bis heart and turn it.
Faiin. What would you have me to do? (9)
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?
Talk. Thank you, weli; I thought we should have had a great deal of talk by this time.
Faith. Well, 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?"
Talk. I perceive, then, that our talk must be about the power of things ? well, 'tis a very good question, and I shall be 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 faith justifies, as it forms the sinner's relation to Christ ; but it always "works by love," and influences to obeljence : hence the inquiry at the day of judgment will be rather about the inseparable fruits of faith, than about its essential propaties and nature.
(9) When ve 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 consince them of their fatal mistake. There is indeed more hope of the most ignorant and Careless 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 things, by which true believers are distinguished from the most specious hypocrites, (whether in conversation or preaching,) are best calculated to undective and alarm false professors ; and form the most commodious fan, by which the irreclaimable may be winnowed from the society of real Christiar.s. This is of great importance: for they are Achans in the camp of Israel, yea, 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 condennest us also ;' they will hear no longer, but seek refuge under more comfortable preachers, or in more candid company; and represent their faithful monitors as eenisorions, 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 ?
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 antipathy against it. I have heard many cry out against sin in the pulpit, who yet can abide it well enough in the heart, house, and 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 uncleauness with him. * Some cry out against sin, even as the mother cries out against her child in lier lap, when she calleth it slut and naughty girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it.
Talk. 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?
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. 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 ?” and the disciples had answered, Yes; he added, “Blessed are ye if ye do thein.” He doth not lay the blessing in the knowing of them, but in the cloing of them. For there is a knowledge that is not attended with doing : she that knoweth his Master's will, and doeth it not." A man may know liken 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
* 1 Cor. xiii.
* Gen. xxxix. 11-15.
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?
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 hini conviction of sin, especially of the defilement of his nature, and the sin of unbelief, 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.t 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. (s) Now according to the strength or weakness
* Psa. cxix. 34. † Psa. Xxxvïïi. 18. Mark xvi. 16. John xvi. 8, 9. Acts iv. 12. 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 hunibling, 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. lency and importance, which puffs up the heart with proud self-preference, feeds carnal and malignant passions, and leaves the possessor under the power of sin and Satan.
(8) 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 workl ; 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 froin heaven against all ungodli. ness and uurighteousness of men.” This conviction makes way for discovering that a free salvation by faith is exacuy suited to his case : he perceives the glory of the divine perfections harinoniously displayed in the person and redeniption of Christ ; and his heart is inwardly drawn to close with the invitations of the gospel, and to desire above all things the fulfilment 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 int.rvention of means or instruments, and as he seems rather to have intende his appuinundut to the ministry, and that comnunication of the knowledge of Christ to his soul, • Gal. i. 19.