Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

they are established, strengthened, settled, a state of soul that is by the apostle styled perfect. See 1 Peter v. 10.

The word perfect is elsewhere used in the same sense, “ Every one that is perfect shall be as bis Master.” Luke vi. 40. “ Be ye perfect.Matt. v. 48. “ The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way.” Prov. xi. 5. “ We speak wisdom among them that are perfect.1 Cor. ii. 6. " This also we wish, even your perfection.” 2 Cor. xiii. 9. Examination of these passages with their context, will show that by perfection as thus applied to God's children, the Spirit intends a state matured, consisting of enlarged capacities for receiving the knowledge of Christ, and of enlarged abilities to use that knowledge in holiness to the Lord. A person thus perfect will not commit sin by a deliberate willing transgression against God's law: he cannot sin the sin denounced in the epistle of St. John, that is, as antichrist, or as an apostate ;-for the seed of God remaineth in him, therefore he cannot fall away.

Sanctification when thus received, is amongst the highest privileges of the faithful; but we must not mistake its nature and end. Let us seek the Spirit's teaching, and strive to possess

power to distinguish one doctrine from another, that we may glorify the Lord in all. In the truth before us we have vast provision for gratitude, and much to awaken us to dependence. Every figure through which this work of grace is exhibited, comes replenished with testimony that all our sufficiency is from the Lord. What though the seed be sown, the garden cultivated, and watched : it is God who giveth the increase! What thougb the branch be pruned, and the promise of fruit be fair, it is the sap from the parent root that supplies the nurture, and matures the production ; and vain were the hopes of man, had he not a life-giving and life-maintaining Creator to keep his promise of blessing in season. How true is this of all spiritual existence! " From me is thy fruit found.” Hosea xiv. 8. “Abide in me, and I in you: as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” John xv. 4. We, therefore, whilst blessing our God for the operation which we may be able to discover within us, must ask of him grace to be momentarily dependent, and remember the encouraging words, “ He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit."

VIII.-JUSTIFICATION.

It is most suitable that the subject following our last, should be that of justification. By connecting our view of the new birth and its results in sanctification, with the doctrine of grace by which we possess a title to the everlasting inheritance on high, we shall not only have the method of the covenant of life in Jesus brought in simplicity before us, but be assisted in looking into the distinction between that operation by which we are made meet for glory, and that title by which we have right to the kingdom. Justification is a term by which we describe the case of one who, being accused, is found upon examination of his case to be clear of the charge brought against him. It supposes that so far from being found guilty and reprovable; he is pronounced to be unoffending and approved. When used in reference to the privileged believer, it de

scribes that gracious act whereby he is in this sense accepted before God, his accusers being confounded and silenced, his claim upon the promised inheritance substantiated and acknowledged. It differs from pardon, which supposes guilt to be found, and places the pardoned in circumstances of disgrace, as having committed transgression. Forgiveness of sin may secure the sinner from punishment, but cannot render him deserving of reward. It may free him from apprehension of going down to the pit, but it will not assure him of rising to glory in heaven. A man who is indebted for his safety to that which cancels his debt, cannot be said to have paid the uttermost farthing; he has liberty, by the lenient disposition of his creditor, not by any right irrespective of that grace. These are not the terms on which the redeemed of the Lord enter their reserved rest, as more fully defined elsewhere; were it possible to separate forgiveness and justification in the Divine covenant, we might find a soul with its transgression washed away in the blood of the Lamb, and yet left unclothed with the garment that must render him an accepted guest at the marriage supper of Christ.

The original conditions on which the reward was made dependant, are every where proclaimed in the scriptures. this and live." “ The doers of the law are justified,” Rom. ii. 13. Man was created a responsible creature, under obligation to yield the obedience of perfect love to his maker, and his disposition to obey was addressed through the prohibiting command in Eden ;-“ Of the tree of knowledge thou shalt not eat.” Supreme love to his God was to be the governing principle by which it should be his joy habitually and constantly to please his Lord. The alteration made in man's nature and condition has not procured any change in the mind of God. Jehovah is of one mind-he changeth nothis counsels also are in wisdom, needing no amendment, and admitting of no decrease or addition. Laws instituted by such a lawgiver, must partake of his character, and we never discover throughout the word of revelation the slightest intimation of a different standard proposed to man, or of an accommodation of the divine law to the circumstances of the fallen creature. It invariably pronounces death upon the transgressor, it continues to shew us, that he “ who is guilty of one is guilty of all,” that all who are under the law are under the curse, for it is written, “ Cursed

« AnteriorContinuar »