Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

He that keepeth my commandments, he it is that loveth me. TTe are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye' bear much fruit: Jo shall ye be my disciples (c). Is not the beloved disciple in complete accordance with his Master? But after the ascension of our Lord do the other Apostles agree with St. John in preaching this doctrine? Hear, in the first place, St. James. Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. What doth it projit, though a man fay he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? Know, 'O vain man, that faith -without 'works is dead (d). Against whom does St. Jude direct the condemning force of his Epistle? -Against men polluted by continuance in fin; concerning whom he pronounces that, because they 'walk after their own ungodly lujls, they have not the Spirit (e). How speaketh St Peter? His Epistles are replete with exhortations to holiness as indispensable to salvation j and warnings against sin as the forerunner of destruction. He describes Christians as appointed through

(c) John, xtv. 2i. 73, 24. xv. 14. 8. {J) James,

i. 2?. ii. i4.20. («) Jude, i8, i9.

fancTtfication fanclification of the Spirit unto obedience. He commands them,to be obedient children, not fashioning themselves according to the former lufs in their ignorance, but to be holy in all manner.of conversation : to abstain from fleshly lufls which war against the foul: to eschew evil and do good, if they love life; to add to their faith virtue and knowledge and temperance and patience and godliness and brotherly kindness and charity, if they would have an entrance ministered unto them into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (f)- The only remaining writer of Epistles, whether addressed to individuals, to particular churches, or to Christians at large, is St. Paul. Is he of the fame sentiments with his brethren? Time allows me to produce but few' of his expressions: but they mall be such as are decisive. They that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh with the affeclioris and lusts.. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God (g). How is a person to know whether he is led by the Spirit of God? By examining

(/) I Pec. i. 2. i4, i5. it. it. Hi. i0, iI. 2 Pet. i. 5, 6. ii. (^) Gal. v. 24. Rom. viii. 9. i4.

whether

whether the fruits of the Spirit are brought forth in him. What are the fruits of the Spirit? St. Paul replies; The fruit of the Spirit is all goodness and righteousness and truth; love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, temperance, every good -word and work (h).

All 'these testimonies, my brethren, whether of our Lord Jesus Christ or of his Apostles, breathe the fame language, proclaim the fame truth. They proclaim that God acknowledges not any man as one of His people, who does not habitually and unreservedly labour in all things to keep His commandments. Evangelical obedience is to be the foundation of evangelical com- , fort, It is by obedience, not separated from faith, but wrought through faith and in evidence of faith: not regarding itself as possessed of any native holiness, but ascribing every thing in itself which is pure to the Spirit of grace: not laying claim to recompense as of debt, as in any degree purchased by inherent merit of works, but looking for reward entirely as of grace, as in every particular from first to last purchased by the justifying atone

(b) Ephes. T. 9. GaJ. v. 22, 23. 2 Thess. ii. 16, 17.

ment

ment of Christ: it is by this obedience anct by this only that you can prove yourselves to be the people of God, that you can become entitled, as such to the consolations of the Gospel. i

Let us proceed briefly to apply the observations which have been made. .. Truth, by establishing itself, overthrows error, and dissipates delusion. If a true standard of judgement be recognised; the authority of every false standard is destroyed. If Christian obedience be the criterion by which you are commanded to judge of your title to comfort j can any other criterion be necessary? Can any other be safe? Can any other be scriptural? You perhaps have been accustomed to believe that God has been pleased by a sovereign decree to select from the mass of mankind certain favoured individuals; 'whom, while he leaves the rest of the posterity of Adam to merited punishment, he exclusively crowns with the privileges of mercy. "These," you have said to yourself, " are the elect of God: these are ** the heirs of salvation and its attendant "blessing's. To this chosen number I "belong. To me, as belonging to them* "the comforts of the Gospel, present and

"future,

v

"future, are ensured." Unbiassed researches into Scripture, and a closer comparison of things spiritual with spiritual, might possibly convince you that your fundamental doctrine is not the doctrine of your Lord. But what if it were? Why speak you of comfort belonging to - you as one of the elect; when your Lord pronounces it to belong only to the obedient? If you are not faithful in obedience; will you presume, under pretence of being one of the elect, to take comfort in contradiction to the declaration of Jesus Christ? If you are faithful in obedience j is any thing farther requisite to authorise you to apply to yourself the comforts, which Jesus Christ assures to the obedient? Or have you, on your own principles, any right to consider yourself as one of the elect of God longer than while you continue faithful in obedience?

But your mistake may be of a different kind. "I have experienced," you affirm, "an internal impulse, an impression from "above, an indescribable sensation of peace "and joy wrought, in my heart by the "Holy Ghost, as a seal and pledge of the "actual forgiveness of my fins. When a "reconciled God has thus spoken peace

to

« AnteriorContinuar »