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the gracious plan of man's salvation; it is to form a precedent for the guidance of fallible man, after that plan has been fully unfolded. Such a course of argumentation is obviously irrelevant and inconsequential in the highest degree. It is, moreover, most pointedly at variance with the express words of our Saviour. After having explained the parable of the Sower to his disciples apart from the multitude, he put to them this question,—Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid which shall not be manifested. Neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. *
It is, however, necessary to examine the bearing of this principle of reserve, in connexion with the fundamental doctrine of the atonement, upon the actual state and condition of those members of our Church, who are pursuing a sinful course, and are not fulfilling the terms of the baptismal covenant.
* The advocates of the principle of reserve would do well to ponder attentively this passage, with Whitby's paraphrase upon it, which is here given. —" These words being only spoken to Christ's disciples, when he was alone with them, and both here, and in Luke viii. 16, 17, subjoined to the explication of this parable, I think it best to explain them accordingly. As if Christ had said,—' I give you a clear light, by which yon may discern the import of this and other parables. But this I do, not that you may keep it to yourselves, and hide it from others, but that it may be beneficial to you, and by you be made beneficial to others; and that having thus learned, you may instruct them how they ought to hear, and to receive the word heard in good and honest hearts. And though I give you the knowledge of these mysteries of the kingdom of God,—KaTapovas—privately, T do it not that you may keep them so; for there is nothing (thus) hid which should not be made manifest, neither was any thing made secret (by me) but that it should (afterwards) come abroad."—Whitby's Annotations on Mark iv. 21,22.—See Appendix, viii.
That such a state is one of aggravated guilt cannot be denied. That the sinner, if he pass out of time into eternity with this guilt uncancelled, must be for ever excluded from heaven, is equally certain. How, then, is he to be transferred into a state of pardon and acceptance? In other words, to what must he look, as the sole gound of his justification before God—the sole means of the renewal of his claim to eternal happiness? Must he not place implicit reliance on the efficacy of that atonement, which his Saviour has made for his sins, as the exclusive foundation of his hopes of mercy? Shall he fondly imagine that by any mortification of the flesh—any acts of self-denial, however painful—any exercises of asceticism—any self-imposed austerities, he can liquidate some portion of the debt of ten thousand talents which he has contracted? Shall he impiously dare to place any sacrifice of his own, however great, in juxtaposition with the infinitely meritorious and costly sacrifice of the death of Christ? Shall he presumptuously suppose that any of his own performances must be added as supplementary to the finished work of the Redeemer, or that his own righteousness may be rendered partly instrumental in securing for himself an interest in that perfect righteousness, which is unto all and upon all them that believe? If he follow the corrupt traditions of the Church of Rome, many of which may be traced to the sanction of earlier writers, whose authority he is now taught by some to prefer to that of the distinguished promoters of the Reformation, he will be in danger of falling into these pernicious errors. But if, in humble dependence on the illumination of the Holy Spirit, he takes that Scripture which was given by inspiration of God for the sole infallible guide of his judgment and conduct, bringing to the interpretation of it the effective aid supplied by the liturgy, articles, and homilies of the Church of which he is a member, he will find that the debt which he had incurred was cancelled on the cross, and that by such a faith in the doctriue of the atonement as worketh by love and produces the fruits of righteousness, he is made a partaker of all the benefits of his Saviour's passion. * Is, then, this doctrine to be withheld, and to be preached cautiously and sparingly, lest the convinced and awakened sinner should prematurely reap the comfort of it? Is a doctrine to be taught with reserve, which reconciles the seemingly conflicting attributes of justice and of mercy, and which, by the ineffable dignity and transcendent glory of the sufferer, exhibits, on the one hand, the most impressive manifestation of the dreadful malignity of sin; and, on the other, by the satisfaction made to the Divine Justice, leaves the penitent and contrite soul no room to doubt that God can be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus?
But there is another consideration of essential and supreme importance, which the advocates of the system of reserve seem entirely to have overlooked, and that is —it's obvious tendency to repress and extinguish the emotions of love, and to substitute in the room of this refined and exalted principle, a spirit of legal bondage and servile fear. Exactly in accordance with the declaration of our Blessed Lord that the two great commandments, in which are concentrated all the moral precepts scattered throughout the law and the prophets, are—love to God and love to man,—St. Paul affirms that love is the fulfilling of the law, and that the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience and a faith unfeigned.—He even goes further: he pronounces a solemn denunciation on those who are destitute of love to their Redeemer; if any man, says he, love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.—But how is this passion to be awakened and excited? Assuredly by meditating with a stedfast faith on his unspeakable love to us; especially as it was evinced by the atonement which he made for our sins upon the cross. For the love oj Christ constraineth us; because me thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again,*
* Sec Appendix, ix.
* The connexion between love and obedience is precisely the same as that between faith and good works. Genuine love will produce consistent obedience; and a lively faith, will be evidenced by good works. But love must have an object; and if that object be of an invisible and spiritual nature, it must be apprehended by faith. The understanding, therefore, must be made acquainted with its excellencies and attributes, and with the benefits which it may have conferred, or may be capable of conferring upon us. The energy of faith and the fervency of love may be expected to be in proportion to the accuracy and extent of our knowledge in these respects. Consequently, to withhold the Scriptures, or to hesitate to declare the whole counsel of God, as therein revealed, for the salvation of man must, from the essential constitution of the human mind, have a necessary tendency to extinguish both faith and love.
To the same effect is the language of the beloved Apostle, who dilates still more fully in his first epistle on this heavenly grace. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his onlybegotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
The connexion between love and obedience is clearly pointed out by the Divine Author of our holy religion, in John xiv. 15. 21. 23. 24. If ye love me keep my commandments. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me. If a man love me, he will keep my words. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings. Upon the 15th. verse the pious Burkitt makes the following useful practical reflections:—" In these words our Saviour implicitly reproves his disciples for their fond way of expressing their love to him, by doting upon his bodily presence, and sorrowing immoderately for his absence; and he expressly warns them to evidence their love to him by their obedience to his commands, If ye love me, keep my commandments. Where observe, Christ requires an obedient love, and loving obedience. Love without obedience is but dissimulation: obedience without love is but drudgery and slavery. Such a love as produces obedience, must be a dutiful love, a love of reverence and honour to him as a Commander;—and an operative and working love, a labour of love, as the Apostle calls it. Not waiters, but workers, are the best servants in Christ's esteem. And such an obedience as is the product of love, will be a willing, easy, and cheerful obedience, a pleasing and an acceptable obedience, a constant and abiding obedience. All other motives without love are servile and base, and beget in us the drudgery of a slave, but not the duty of a son. He that only fears God, is afraid of smarting: but he that loves God, is afraid of offending."—Burkitt's Commentary, in loco.