« FöregåendeFortsätt »
tions of the sons of God in their glorified bodies, in which they will appear in character as the adopted sons of God. For the believing Jew and Gentiles, as respects the body, were in consequence of one man's sin subjected to corruption in the grave ; not, indeed, with their own consent; but they now cheerfully submit their bodies to the dust of death because God has subjected them to it, in hope that these mortal bodies shall be liberated from the bondage of corruption in the grave, and introduced into the freedom of the glorious immortality of the children of God. Besides, we know that bodily suffering is not exclusively the lot of Christians, for the whole human race groan together and travail in pain even yet with all their efforts to escape these evils. And not only the unbelieving Jew and Gentile, but ourselves, who, by faith in Jesus, are become the sons of God, who have the chief and most exalted gifts of the Holy Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, anxiously waiting for the full adoption of the sons of God; namely, the redemption of our bodies from the grave at the resurrection of the just. For we are sustained in these bodily sufferings in hope of this glorious resurrection. Now you know, O Romans ! that hope which has obtained its object is not hope; for what a man sees, how can he hope for it? But if we hope for that which we do not see, then we patiently wait for it, as is the case with respect to the resurrection and glorification of our bodies.
SPECULATION IN RELIGION. By speculation in religion we mean religious ideas that never enter into practice. Man is a religious creature, because, as an intelligent, immortal, and accountable being, he is dependent on God, and the more dependent he feels himself, the more religious he is, while his speculations in religion bring him no nearer to God. Man, therefore, without the knowledge of Jesus Christ as the only mediator between God and man, has no godliness. By godliness we mean, the transformation of mind, passion, and conduct to the will of God as revealed in the gospel. Speculation in religion is that which does not affect, according to the will of God, either the sentiments, passions, or conduct of the religious being
Speculation in philosophy has been wisely discarded from approved systems. Since the days of Bacon our scientific men have adopted the practical and truly scientific mode—That is, they have stopped where human intellect found a bound, over which it could not pass, and have been contented to go no further than material objects, analyzed, gave out their qualities, and left the manner of their existence, as beyond the bounds of created intellect. Since men have been so wise in handling and analyzing material objects, we have heard little or nothing about
occult sciences: but the sciences and the arts have advanced with in. creased velocity to the great good of human kind. We plead for the same principle in the contemplation of religious truth. The qualities of matter are to be found in the great elaboratory of the material world, by inducing matter by every process to give out its qualities, and to deduce nothing from hypothesis; so religious truth is to be deduced from the revelation which the Deity has been pleased to give to man. And as in the elaboratory of the material world, every truth concerning the qualities of matter is to be deduced from the matter itself; so in divine revelation we are to deduce what is practical, avoiding all speculation.
Philosophers have become wise in their generation, and, therefore, we will not even mention the hypotheses of past ages with respect to the material world, which have been scouted by science; but come immediately to our point, namely, that the men of religion have been less wise than the men of science. A few examples shall suffice.
OF TRUTH. God is too good to condemn and The Lord God is merciful and grapunish his creatures.
cious,-slow to anger,-longsuffering,
-forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin,-and by no means clearing the
guilty. Holiness is God's darling attribute. The Lord is holy in all his works, and -Mercy is God's darling attribute. just in all his ways. God's eternal Son.
That holy offspring which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God. This is my beloved Son, in whom
I am well pleased : hear you him. The Spirit proceeds from the Father If I go not away the Comforter will and the Son by eternal procession. not come, but if I go away I will send
him to you—which proceeds from the Father, and he will take of mine and
show it to you. The Redeemer came to save the elect. The Son of Man came to seek and
såve that which was lost. The Redeemer will only save his elect This is a true saying and worthy of people.
all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came
into the world to save sinners—the chief. The elect infants that die in infancy Suffer little children to come to me, shall be saved.
and forbid them not, for of such is the
kingdom of heaven. Are there few that be saved ?
Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for I say to you that many shall seek to
enter in, and shall not be able. The gospel is only good news to sen Good news to all people.
sible sinners. .
The gospel is not to be preached to sinners till they are sensible of their lost estate.
Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature ; he that believes shall be saved, he that believes not shall be condemned.
Sinners in their natural state are dead in sin as the dead in the grave; they can do nothing—they cannot come to Christ, nor repent, nor believe, &c.
You do search the sacred scriptures, for in them you think you have eterna) life, but you will not come to me that you might have life. The animal man discerns rot the things of the Spirit of God, they are foolishness to him, for they are spiritually discerned. This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.
He that believes not the Son of God is condemned already, because he has not believed on the only begotten Son of God.
Jesus comes in flaming fire to take vengeance on all those who believe not God and obey not the gospel.
Faith is the gift of God, and, therefore, not the duty of sinners.
Unbelievers cannot believe the gospel, and therefore, they cannot be condemned for that which they are unable to do.
Faith includes in it truth, confidence, and many fruits of the Spirit, and, therefore, a man cannot possess faith without the Spirit of Christ.
If you have real faith.
Many may believe all that the sacred Scriptures say, and yet perish.
Regeneration is an inexplicable mystery.
In regeneration the soul is passive, and in conversion active.
Faith is the substance of things not seen, the confidence of things hoped for. He that believes on the Son of God has everlasting life.
There is one faith.
He that believes on the name of God is not condemned.
Seeing you have purified yourselves in obeying the truth through the Spirit.
They were pierced to their hearts, and cried out Men and brethren, what shall we do? Be converted every one of you.
Without faith it is impossible to please God-Purifying their hearts by faith.
Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have huid his face from you.
We love him because he first loved us -God is love; he that dwells in love, dwells in God, and God in him.
Regeneration is the root of all good
God often hides his face from his people in sovereignty.
Before that a man can ascertain that he is a child of God, he must love God for what he is in himself as the source of all perfection, without any relation to what he is to believing sinners.
Man shall not be justified till the last day.
Once in Christ always in Christ.
Christ has left no direct nor specific form of government for his church.
Being justified by faith we have peace with God.
He that endures to the end, the same shall be saved-Kept by the power of God through faith to salvation.
Go you into all the world, disciple all nations, baptizing them—and teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you ; and lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world.
To-day shall you be with me in Paradise. I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better.
The souls of men sleep with their bodies till the resurrection.
With what body do they come?
You fool! that which you sow is not quickened except it die. And God gives
to every seed its own body. It is vain talking. We know that Who are you, O! man, that reply salvation is of God-and we know that against God? To day if you will hear if we strive ever so much we cannot be his voice, hearden not your heart. Come saved except we be elected.
let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as wool.-Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts : Let him turn to the Lord, who will have mercy upon him, and to our God, who will abundantly
pardon. It would, indeed, be an arduous undertaking to give specimens of all the ways in which men speculate in religion. The above specimens are given as an example of what is meant by speculation in religion. It is of great consequence to have spiritual discernment to distinguish between that which is speculation in religion and that which is truth. The more especially as such speculations put on the appearance of truth, or seem to have truth for their basis. Such was the first speculation in religion, by attention to which man fell from his original state. “You shall be as God, knowing good and evil," is as true as any speculation that has been proposed since that time.
Speculations in religion may be known by this test : though they could be ascertained, they do no good ; and agitated, and discussed, and acted upon, they have the most pernicious consequences. Such are the features of speculation as drawn by Paul-Foolish and untaught questions avoid, kuowing that they do gender strife. Of this cast was the first speculation, “ You shall be as God." Well be it so. What has been the consequence? Or take any of the above specimens of speculations. Say God is too good to condemn and punish his creatures. Well! agitate the question. Be emboldened in sin, and then find that he will by no means clear the guilty. Again, say that holiness is God's darling attribute, and then have all your powers heardened in despair. Proceed again to mercy as the favourite of the Most High, and speculate yourself into hardened insensibility. Speculate again, and say that the Saviour is God's eternal Son, and try if you can believe and act upon it, that the Son, as such, and the Father are equally eternal, as regards the Deity. Or if you try your powers upon what men call the eternal procession of the Spirit from the Father and the Son, endeavour to show what you have gained in knowledge of the influence of the Spirit in regeneration, and in that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. Or say that the Redeemer came to save the elect only :-discuss the question in all its bearings-Do you know who are the elect? Or if you contend that the gospel is only to be preached to sensible sinners,
the truth leads to inquire who is the sinner that is truly sensible of his sins before he receives the gospel ? Or are you such a sensible sinner as to value the gospel without believing it?
The pursuit of speculation leads further from truth and further from God. But the truth is one ; always does good, and its practical tendency is happiness to the individual and benevolence to all.
The test of trnth is the word of God in its plain sense, addressing itself to every man's conscience. The Word of God is itself the truth, nor is there one speculation in all the Word of God.
Speculations seem to be founded on the Sacred Scriptures. It is, however, only a false appearance. Say that speculation takes up the proposition that men in their natural estate are dead in sin, and do nothing pleasing to God, and cannot repent, nor believe the gospel without the Spirit of God. It is all true in a true sense, the Bible says the same things, and much more strongly than men's words can express ; but the Bible does not say the same things by way of speculation. It speaks practically; that is, it represents man's entirely helpless state, that he may come to the Saviour, and that in not coming to the Saviour, he may condemn himself as a guilty and depraved enemy to God, and to the gospel, in his mind and by wicked works. Speculation always leads from practice. Men, in their speculations, even about the guilty, depraved, and totally helpless state of man by nature, become vain and proud of their accuracy of knowledge, and thereby are kept from the Saviour, while the reception of the truth of God upon the state of human nature leads to the Saviour, because it is derived from a knowledge of him that came to seek and save that which was lost.
CONSTITUTION OF A CHURCH. The following Constitution of a Church lately fell into my hands.-Can any one find fault with it ?
A. CAMPBELL. The Church at — , believing that the Church of God in the Gospel, in its covenant, constitution, denomination, doctrine, laws, ordinances, offices, duties, and privileges, is the only divinely established order of religious society that now exists in the world ; and that all others in reference to it, which differ or are distinguished from it, in any of these particulars are schismatic, and forbidden; disowns any other church covenant than the new covenant in the blood of Christ, or any other constitution or actual state of the church as of divine appointment than that which is built upon the foundation of the doctrine of the Apostles and the Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.
She acknowledges no other bond of church union or principle of