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LENO

NEW YORK

Printed by W. Collins & Co

Glasgow.

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY.

We hold it of prime importance, in the business of practical Christianity, that we understand well the kind of work which is put into our hands, both that we may go rightly about it, and also that we may have the comfort of judging whether it is actually making progress under our exertions. A mistake on this point may lead us perhaps to waste our efforts on that which is impracticable; and when these efforts of course turn out to be fruitless, may

lead us to abandon our spirits to utter despondency; and thus, to use the language of the Apostle Paul, running as uncertainly, and fighting as one that beateth the air, we may spend our days, alike strangers to peace, and to progressive holiness.

Now we regard the doctrine which forms the main topic of the following admirable Treatise of Dr. Owen, “ ON INDWELLING SIN IN BELIEVERS," as one of those subjects, a right understanding of which has no small degree of influence on the believer's peace and

progress in the divine life. And it is most important to attend to the Apostle's reasoning, in his exposition of this subject, in which he

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And we

Now we

not only illustrates the general truth, but states his
own experimental finding of the matter.
regard certain of the terms which he employs in his
exposition as big with significancy.

66 Let not sin,"
says the Apostle, “reign in your mortal body, that
ye should obey it in the lusts thereof."
cannot fail to perceive how widely diverse the in-
junction of the Apostle would have been, if instead
of saying, “ Let not sin reign in your mortal bodies,”
he had said, Let sin be rooted out of your mortal

, bodies; or if, instead of saying, Obey not its lusts, he had bid us eradicate them. It were surely a far more enviable state to have no inclination to evil at all, than to be oppressed with the constant forthputting of such an inclination, and barely to keep it in check, under the power of some opposing principle. Could we attain the higher state, on this side of time, we would become on earth, what angels are in heaven, whose every desire runs in the pure current of love and loyalty to a God of holiness. But if doomed to the lower state, during all the days of our abode in the world, then are we given to understand, that the life of a Christian is a life of vigilant and unremitting warfare—that it consists in the struggle of two adverse elements, and the habitual prevalence of one of them that in us, and closely around us, there is a besetting enemy who will not quit his hold of us, till death paralyze his grasp, and so let us go—and that, from this sore conflict of the Spirit lusting against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit, we shall not be conclusively delivered, till our present tainted materialism shall be utterly taken down; and that the emancipated soul shall

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Let us try

not have free and unconfined scope for its heavenly affections, until it has burst its way from the prisonhold of its earthly tabernacle.

Now, this view of the matter gives us a different conception of our appointed task from what may often be imagined. Sin, it would appear, is not to v be exterminated from our mortal bodies; it is only to be kept at bay. It is not to be destroyed, in respect of its presence, but it is to be repressed in its prevalency and in its power. It will ever dwell, it would appear, in our present frame-work; but though it dwell, it may not have the dominion. then to banish it; and defeated in this effort, we may give up, in heartless despair, the cause of our sanctification, thus throwing away at once both our peace and our holiness. But let us try to dethrone it, though we cannot cast it out; and succeeding in this effort, while we mourn its hateful company, we may both keep it under the control of strictest guardianship, and calmly look onward to the hour of death, as the hour of release from a burden that will at least adhere to us all our days, though it may not overwhelm us.

We see then the difference between a saint in heaven, and a saint upon earth. The former may abandon himself to such feelings and such movements as come at pleasure, for he has no other pleasure than to do the will of God, and to rejoice in the contemplation of his unspotted glory. The latter cannot with safety so abandon himself. It is true, that there is an ingredient of his nature, now under an advancing process of regeneration, which is altogether on the side of godliness; and were this

left unresisted by any opposing influence, he might be spared all the agonies of dissolution, and set him down at once among the choirs and the companies of paradise. But there is another ingredient of his nature, still under an unfinished process of regeneration, and which is altogether on the side of ungodliness; and were this left without the control of his new and better principle, sin would catch the defenceless moment, and regain the ascendency from which she had been disposted. Now it is Death

. which comes in as the deliverer. It is death which frees away the incumbrance. It is death which overthrows and grinds to powder that corrupt fabric on the walls of which were inscribed the foul marks of leprosy, and the inmost materials of which were pervaded with an infection, that nothing, it seems, but the sepulchral process of a resolution into dust, and a resurrection into another and glorified body, can clear completely and conclusively away.

It is death that conducts us from the state of a saint on earth, to the state of a saint in heaven: but not till we are so conducted, are we safe to abandon ourselves for a single instant to the spontaneity of our own inclinations; and we utterly mistake our real circumstances in the world we judge not aright of what we have to do, and of the attitude in which we ought to stand—we lay ourselves open to the assaults of a near and lurking enemy, and are exposed to most humiliating overthrows, and most oppressive visitations of remorse and wretchedness, if, such being our actual condition upon earth, we go to sleep, or to play among its besetting dangers; if we ever think of the post that we occupy being any other than the

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