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right to the tree of life, are they who keep the commandments, and the truth that an unrighteous man shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If a man see not every one object that is placed within the sphere of his natural vision, he sees none of them, and his whole body is full of darkness. If a man believe the Bible to be the word of God, he will read it; but if he read it, and believe not every one truth that lies within the grasp of his understanding, he believes none of them, and is in darkness, and knoweth not whither he is going.
of faith, and suppose it to be Jesus Christ in his person and in his character. It is a summary, but at the same time a most true and substantial affirmation, that we are saved by faith in Christ. And yet this very affirmation, true as it is, may have been so misunderstood as to darken the minds of many, into the very misconception that we are attempting to expose. I could not be said to have faith in an acquaintance, if I believed not all that he told me. Nor have I faith in Christ, if I believe not every item of that communication of which he is the author, either by himself or by his messengers. So that faith in Christ, so far from excluding any of the truths of the Bible, comprehends our assent to them all. But we are willing to admit, that the phrase is calculated to fasten our attention more particularly on such truth as relates, in a more immediate manner, to the person and the doings of the Saviour. Take it in this sense, and you will find, that though eminently and directly fitted to work peace in the heart of a believer, it is just as directly and powerfully on the side of his practical righteousness. When I think of Christ, and think of him as one who has poured out his soul unto the death for me, I feel a confidence in drawing near unto God. When employed in this contemplation, I look to him as a crucified Saviour. But without keeping mine eye for a single moment from off his person,-without another exercise of mind, than that by which I look unto Jesus, simply and entirely, as he is set forth unto me,-I also behold him at one time as an exalted Saviour, and at another time as a commanding Saviour, and at another time as a strengthening Saviour. In other words, by the mere work of faith in Christ, I bring my heart into contact with all those motives, and all those elements of influence, which give rise to the new obedience of the gospel. When the veil betwixt me and the Saviour is withdrawn,-when God shines in my heart with the light of the knowledge of his own glory in the face of his
If I open the door of my mind to the word of God, I as effectually make it the repository of various truths, as, if I open the door of my chamber, and take in the Bible, I make this chamber the repository of the book, and of every chapter, and of every verse, that is contained in it. I thus bring my mind into contact with every one influence, that every one truth is fitted to exercise over it. If there be nothing in these truths contradictory to each other, (and if there be, let this set aside, as it ought, the authority of the whole communication,) then the mind acts a right and consistent part in believing each of them, and in submitting itself to the influence of each of them. And thus it is, that believing the propitiation which is through the blood of Christ, for the remission of sins that are past, I may feel through him the peace of reconciliation with the Father; and believing that he who cometh unto Christ for forgiveness must forsake all, I may also feel the necessity which lies upon me of departing from all iniquity; and believing that in myself there is no strength for the accomplishment of such a task, I may look around for other expedients, than such as can be devised by my own natural wisdom, or carried into effect by my own natural energies; and believing that, in the hand of Christ there are gifts for the rebellious, and that one of these gifts is the Holy Spirit to strengthen his disciples, I may look to him for my sanctification, even as I look unto him for my redemption: and believing | Son,-when the Spirit taketh of the things that the gift is truly promised as an answer of Christ, and showeth them unto me, and to prayer, I may mingle a habit of prayer, I am asked which of the things it is that is with a habit of watchfulness and of en- most fitted to arrest a convicted sinner, in deavour. And thus may I go abroad over the midst of his cries and prayers for dethe whole territory of divine truth, and turn liverance,-I would say, that it was Christ to its legitimate account every separate por- lifted up on the cross of his offences, and tion of it, and be in all a trusting, and a pouring out the blood of that mighty exworking, and a praying, and a rejoicing, piation, by which the guilt of them all is and a trembling disciple,—and that, not be-washed away. This is the rock on which cause I have given myself up to the guidance he will build all his hopes of acceptance of clashing and contradictory principles, before God. He will look unto Christ and but because, with a faith commensurate to be at peace. But this is not the only attithe testimony of God, I give myself over tude in which Christ is revealed to him. in my whole mind, and whole person, to He will look to Christ as an example. He the authority of a whole Bible. will look to him as a teacher. He will look to him in all the capacities which are attached to the person, or identified with the
But secondly, let us take what some may think a more restricted view of the object
doings of the Saviour. He will look to him, | pretext and a pacification to his conscience, asserting his right of authority and disposal under a wilful habit of perseverance in Over those whom he has purchased unto iniquity. But, if this partial faith of his be himself. He will, by the eye of faith, see not a real faith, then we are not responsible that rebuking glance which our Saviour cast for his conduct, nor ought he to be at all over the misconduct of his disciples, and quoted as an exception against that alliance, which, when Peter saw, by the eye of sight, for which we are contending, between the he was so moved by the spectacle, that he faith of the gospel and the cause of practical went out and wept bitterly. That meek-righteousness. Only grant the faith to be ness and gentleness of Christ, in the name real, and as there is no one doctrine of the of which, Paul besought his disciples to Bible, out of which it may not gather a puwalk no more after the flesh, will be pre-rifying influence to the heart, so out of this sent in its influence on those who, though doctrine of the atonement, will such a purithey see him not, yet believe him, and have fying influence descend most abundantly on their conceptions filled and satisfied with the heart of every genuine believer. his likeness. They will behold him to be an exalted Prince, as well as an exalted Saviour, and they will count it a faithful saying, that he came to sanctify as well as redeem, and they will look upwards to his present might as a commander, as well as forwards to his future majesty as a judge, and they will be thoroughly persuaded, that to persevere in sin, is altogether to thwart the great aim of the enterprize of our redemption, and they will understand as Paul did, who affirmed, with expostulations and tears, that the enemies of righteousness are also the enemies of the cross;--and thus, from Christ, in all his various attitudes, will a moralizing power descend on the hearts of those who really believe in him,and as surely as any man possesses the faith that is in Christ Jesus, so surely will he be sanctified by that faith.
For, it first takes away a wall of partition, which, in the case of every man who has not received this doctrine, lies across the path of his obedience at the very commencement. So long as I think that it is quite impossible for me so to run as to obtain, I will not move a single footstep. Under the burden of a hopeless controversy between me and God, I feel as it were weighed down to the inactivity of despair. I live without hope; and so long as I do so, I live without God in the world. And besides, he, while the object of my terror, is also the object of my aversion. The helpless necessity under which I labour, so long as the question of my guilt remains unsettled is to dread the Being whom I am commanded to love. I may occasionally cast a feeble regard towards that distant and inaccessible Lawgiver: But so long as I view him shrouded in the darkness of frowning majesty, I can place in him no trust, and I can bear towards him no filial tenderness. I may occasionally consult the requirements of his law: But when I look to the uncancelled sentence that is against me, I can never tread, with hopeful or assured footsteps, on the career of obedience. But let me look unto Christ lifted up for our offences, and see the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, and which was contrary unto us, nailed to his cross, and there blotted out and taken out of the way; and then I see the barrier in question level
And, thirdly, let us confine our attention still farther, to one particular article of our faith. Paul was determined to know nothing, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Now, conceive faith to attach itself to the latter clause of this verse, and that Christ crucified, for the time being, is the single object of its contemplation. There is still no such thing as a true faith, attaching itself to this one object exclusively; and though at one time it may be the sole contemplation which engrosses it, at other times it may have other contemplations. If, in fact, it shut out those other contemplations, which are furnished by the subject-led with the ground. I now behold the way matter of the testimony of God, it may be of repentance cleared of the obstructions, proved now, and it will be proved in the by which it was aforetime rendered utterly day of reckoning, to be no faith at all. But impassable. This is the will of God -even just as it has been said, that the mind can your sanctification, may be sounded a thouonly think of one thing at a time, so faith sand times in the ear of an unbeliever, and may be employed, for a time, in looking leave him as immoveable as it found him; only towards one object; and as we said be- because, while under a sense of unexpiated fore, let Christ crucified be conceived to be guilt, he sees a mighty parapet before him, that one object. From what has been said which he cannot scale. But if the same already, it will be seen, that this one exer- words be sounded in the ears of a believer, cise of faith will not counteract the legiti- they will put him into motion. For to him mate effect of the other exercises. But we the parapet is opened up, and the rough should like to compute the influence of this way is made smooth, and the mountain and one exercise on the heart and life of a be- the hill are brought low, and the valley of liever. In the case of an Antinomian, the separation is filled, and he is made to see doctrine of the atonement may furnish a the salvation of God. The path of obedience
is made level before him, and he enters it | somuch that the state of the believer, in re
with the inspiration of a new and invigorating principle; and that love to God, which the consciousness of guilt will ever keep at a distance from the heart, now takes up the room of this terrifying, and paralysing, and alienating sentiment; and the reception of this doctrine of atonement is just as much the turning point of a new character, as it is the turning point of a new hope; and it is the very point, in the history of every human soul, at which the alacrity of gospel obedience takes its commencement, as well as the cheerfulness of gospel anticipations. Till this doctrine be believed, there is no attempt at obedience at all; or else, it is such an obedience as is totally unanimated by the life and the love of real godliness. And it is not till this doctrine has taken possession of the mind, that any man can take up the language of the Psalmist, and say, "Lord, I am thy servant, I am thy servant, thou hast loosed my bonds."
spect of motive and of practical influence, is the very reverse of what we have now adverted to. In the act of becoming a believer, he awakens from the deep and universal lethargy of nature. With his new hope commences his new life. He ceases to be stationary,—and what is more, he never ceases to be progressive. He does not satisfy himself with barely moving onwards to a higher point in the scale of human attainment, and then sitting down with the sentiment that it is enough. He never counts it enough. The practical attitude of the believer is that of one who is ever looking forwards. The practical movement of the believer is that of one who is ever pressing forwards. He could not, without a surrender of those essential principles which make him what he is, tarry at any one point in the gradation of moral excellence. It is not more inseparable from him to be ever doing well, than it is inseparable Conceive, then, a believer with the career from him to be ever aspiring to do better. of obedience thus opened up and made So that the paltry question about the dehopeful to him,-conceive him with the ne- grees and the comparisons of virtue, he encessity of obedience made just as authen-tertains not for a moment; and, with all the tically known to him as are the tidings of aids and expedients of the gospel for helphis deliverance from guilt,-conceive a man ing his advancement, does he strenuously who, by the act of rendering homage to the prosecute the work of conforming to the truth of God, rests a confidence in the death precept of the gospel,-to be growing in of Christ for pardon, and who also, by the grace, to be perfecting himself in holiness. very same act, subscribes to the sayings of It has been a much controverted quesChrist about repentance, and the new walk tion, how far this process of continual adof the new creature,-and then let me ask vancement will carry a believer in this you to think of the securities which encom- world. Some affirm it will carry him to pass his mind, and protect it from the delu- the point of absolute perfection. Others sion that we have already alluded to. We more cautiously satisfy themselves by the have said that the peace which is felt in a remark, that whether perfection be ever vague apprehension of God's mercy, and our attainment or not, it ought always to which makes no account of his truth, or of be our aim. And one thing seems to be his justice, has the effect of making him certain,-that there is no such perfection who entertains it altogether stationary, in in this world, as might bring along with it point of acquirement. With the semblance the repose of victory. of good that he has about him, he will meet the sterner attributes of the Deity. For his defect of real good, he will draw on the indulgent attributes of the Deity. He will make the character of God, suit itself to his own character, so that any stimulus to advance or to perfect it, shall be practically done away. And thus it is, that along the whole range of human accomplishment, you may observe an unvaried state of repose, the repose, in fact, of death,-for the repose of man who brought to the estimate of a spiritual law, will be found, to use the significant language of the Bible, dead in trespasses and sins,-sinning at one time without remorse, trusting at another time without foundation.
Paul counted all that was behind as nothing, and he pressed onwards. And it is the experience of every Christian, who makes a real business of his sanctification, that there is a struggle between nature and grace, even unto the end. There is no discharge from this warfare, while we are in the body. To the last hour of life there will be the presence of a carnal nature to humble him, and to make him vigilant ; and, with every true Christian, there will be the ascendency of grace, so as that this nature shall not have the dominion over him. The corruption of the old man will be effectually resisted; but not, we fear, till the materialism of our actual frames be resolved into dust, will this corruption be destroyed. The flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, is the short but compendious description of the state of every believer in the world;-and could the evil and adverse principle be
Now the gospel scheme of mercy is clear of this abuse altogether. It comes forth upon the sinner with an antidote against this security, just as strong and as prominent as is its antidote against despair. In
eradicated, as well as overborne,-could a of Christ, is, through his means, to obtain living man bid the sinful propensity, with an erasure of the sentence of their conall its workings and all its inclinations, demnation. Now, though this, undoubtconclusively away from him,-could the edly, be one great design of the gospel, it authority of the new creature obtain such is not the design in which it terminates. unrivalled sway over the whole machinery It may, in fact, be only considered as a of the affections and the doings, that re- preparation for an ulterior accomplishsistance was no longer felt, and the battle was ment altogether. Christ came to redeem brought to its termination,-if it were pos- us from all iniquity, and to purify us unto sible, we say, for a disciple, on this side of himself a peculiar people, zealous of good the grave, to attain the eminency of a con- works. It were selfishness under the guise dition so glorious, then we know not of of sacredness, to sit down, in placid conwhat use to him would be either a death tentment, with the single privilege of jus or a resurrection, or why he might not tification. It is only the introduction to bear his earthly tabernacle to heaven, and higher privileges. set him down by direct translation amongst But not till we submit to the righteousthe company of the celestial. But no ness of Christ, as the alone meritorious There hangs about the person of the most plea of our acceptance, shall we become pure and perfect Christian upon earth, personally righteous ourselves,-not till we some mysterious necessity of dying. That see the blended love and holiness of the body, styled with such emphasis a vile Godhead, in our propitiation, shall we body, by the Apostle, must be pulverized know how to combine a confidence in his and made over again. And not till that mercy, with a reverence for his character, which is sown in corruption shall be raised-not till we look to that great transacin incorruption,-not till that which is tion, by which the purity of the divine nasown in weakness shall be raised in power, ture is vindicated, and yet the sinner is -not till that which is sown a natural delivered from the coming vengeance, shall body shall be raised a spiritual body,-not we be freed from the dominion of sin, or till the soul of man occupy another tene- be led to admire and to imitate the great ment, and the body which now holds him Pattern of excellence. The renewing Spirit, be made to undergo some unknown but indeed, is withheld from all those who glorious transformation, will he know what withhold their consent from the doctrine it is to walk at perfect liberty, and, with of Christ, and of him crucified. Paul was the full play of his then emancipated determined to know nothing else; and it is powers, to expatiate without frailty, and in this knowledge, and in this alone, that without a flaw, in the service of his God. we are renewed after the image of him who created us.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
We know that the impression which many have of the disciples of the gospel is, that their great and perpetual aim is, that they may be justified,-that the change of state which they are ever aspiring after, is a change in their forensic state, and not in their personal,that if they can only attain delivery from wrath, they will be satisfied, and that the only use they make
APPLICATION OF CHRISTIANITY
COMMERCIAL AND ORDINARY AFFAIRS OF LIFE.
THE following Discourses can be regarded in no other light, than as the frag ment of a subject far too extensive to be overtaken within a compass so narrow. There has only a partial survey been taken of the morality of the actions that are current among people engaged in merchandise: and with regard to the morality of the affections which stir in their hearts, and give a feverish and diseased activity to the pursuits of worldly ambition, this has scarcely been touched upon, save in a very general way in the concluding discourse.
And yet, in the estimation of every cultivated Christian, this second branch of the subject should be by far the most interesting,-as it relates to that spiritual discipline by which the love of the world is overcome; and by which all that oppressive anxiety is kept in check, which the reverses and uncertainties of business are so apt to inject into the bosom; and by which the appetite that urges him who hasteth to be rich is effectually restrained-so as to make it possible for a man to give his hand to the duties of his secular occupation, and, at the same time, to maintain that sacredness of heart which becomes every fleeting traveller through a scene, all whose pleasures and whose prospects are so soon to pass away.
Should this part of the subject be resumed at some future opportunity, there are two questions of casuistry connected with it, which will demand no small degree of consideration. The first relates to the degree in which an affection for present things, and present interests ought to be indulged. And the second is, whether, on the supposition that a desire after the good things of the present life were reduced down to the standard of the gospel, there would remain a sufficient impulse in the world for upholding its commerce, at the rate which would secure the greatest amount of comfort and subsistence to its families.
Without offering any demonstration, at present, upon this matter, we simply state it as our opinion, that, though the whole business of the world were in the hands of men thoroughly Christianised, and who, rating wealth according to its real dimensions on the high scale of eternity, were chastened out of all their idolatrous regards to it-yet would trade, in these circumstances, be carried to the extreme limit of its being really productive or desirable. An affection for riches, beyond what Christianity prescribes, is not essential to any extension of commerce that is at all valuable or legitimate; and in opposition to the maxim, that the spirit of enterprise is the soul of commercial prosperity, do we hold, that it is the excess of this spirit beyond the moderation of the New Testament, which, pressing on the natural boundaries of trade, is sure, at length, to visit every country where it operates, with the recoil of all those calamities, which in the shape of beggared capitalists, and unemployed operatives, and dreary intervals of bankruptcy and alarm, are observed to follow a season of overdone speculation.