Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

" De

eity, and sparing neither age nor sex, he devoted the form to the Church of Rome ; he also stated to him, wretched inhabitants to the fury of the sword. Every that the conditions which had been formerly proposed torture that could be devised was inflicted. The heart to him were dishonourable, and highly indecorous in recoils at the very recital of the foul enormities com- those whose eyes ought to be as chaste as their mitted, with which our pages need not be soiled. The thoughts ; that his people would rather choose to beautiful city of Beziers was reduced to ashes; up- die than submit to such treatment. The legate rewards of 60,000 persons were massacred : even the plied, that the inhabitants of Carcassone might exercise adherents to the Romish see were not spared.

their own discretion, and act as they pleased; but that stroy them all without exception,was the fiendlike com- it was now unnecessary for the earl to trouble himself mand of Arnold, abbot of Cisteaux ; “ for when they are any farther about them, as he was himself a prisoner dead, the Lord knows how to pick out his own."

until Carcassone was taken. The Earl of Beziers, foreseeing the ruin which The earl, not a little astonished at such perfidy, awaited the city, made his escape to the neighbouring protested that he was betrayed, and that faith was city of Carcassone, which was much more strongly for- violated; for that the officer, by whose entreaties he tified, both by nature and art, than Beziers. The had been prevailed on to meet the legate, had pledged upper town stands on a hill, surrounded by a double himself by oaths and execrations to conduct him back wall; the lower town is in the plain, about two miles in safety to Carcassone. But appeals or entreaties distant. Numbers of the Albigenses resided there, were of no avail; he was committed to the custody of and many more fled to it for security. The earl, fully the Duke of Burgundy, and having been thrown into alive, by the horrible proceedings at Beziers, to the prison, died soon after, not without suspicion of having determination of the papists, resolved to defend Car- been poisoned. cassone to the utmost. He urged the inhabitants to No sooner had the inhabitants of Carcassone re. defend themselves; to recollect that both their lives ceived the intelligence of the earl's confinement, than and the free exercise of their religion were at stake; they burst into tears, and were seized with such terror, pledging himself that he would never forsake them. that they thought of nothing but how to escape the

The pope's army was now increased by the arrival danger in which they were placed; but blocked up as of fresh troops, and consisted, according to some, of they were on all sides, and the trenches filled with nearly five hundred thousand men, who now directed men, all human probability of escape vanished. A their attention to the siege of Carcassone. Here, report, however, was circulated, on the authority of however, they met with a strong repulse, and the one of the most aged citizens, that there was a subground was literally covered with the bodies of the

terraneous passage somewhere in the city, which led slain. The following day, the legate ordered scaling- to the castle of Caberet, a distance of about three ladders to be applied, and a general assault to be made. leagues; and that if the entry thereof could be found, The inhabitants behaved most bravely, but were at Providence had provided for them a way of escape. length overpowered, and given up to the sword. The

All the inhabitants of the city, except those who kept same work of butchery was carried on as at Beziers. watch upon the ramparts, immediately commenced the

The upper town was as yet safe ; but the army im- search, and with success. The entrance of the cavern mediately proceeded thither. The inhabitants here,

was found, and, at the beginning of the night, they all also, fought most nobly for the truth; the soldiers of commenced their journey through it, carrying with the holy army fell by thousands; and a base and un- them only as much food' as was deemed necessary to principled mode of action was adopted to gain posses- serve them for a few days. They, however, arrived sion of the place. The King of Arragon, who was in the following day at the castle, from whence they the army, but who is said to have been in his heart

dispersed themselves through different parts of the opposed to the Romish worship, endeavoured to in

country, some proceeding to Arragon, some to Cataduce the Earl of Beziers to surrender, but without lonia, others Toulouse, and the cities belonging to effect. The legate, pretending to be influenced by the their party, wherever God in his providence opened a king's entreaties, otiered the following terms to the way for their admission.* earl :--that he should be permitted to come out of the Such was the system of cruelty and perfidy which city, and to bring with him twelve others with their

the Inquisition, termed by Paul the Fourth, " the grand baggage; that the rest of the inhabitants should not

spring of the papacy," was instituted to uphold. How leave the city except at his discretion ; and that all

deeply depraved must have been the hearts of those should come forth without any covering of any kind. who could think they did God service, and were gain

The king was fully persuaded that such a propositioning a title to heaven's merited rewards, by aets which it was needless to offer to the earl ; nevertheless, at the would have disgraced a savage tribe! How fearful the legate's request, he submitted it. The earl's answer

answer, which the planners and perpetrators of such was, that he would never quit the city on such condi

bloody deeds shall have to render to God, when he tions, and that he was resolved to defend it to the last.

shall avenge the blood of his servants at her hand, Thus foiled in his attempt, the legate soon had re- which did corrupt the earth with her fornication ; who course to a more deeply laid plot. He insinuated liim

has been drunken with the blood of the saints, and self into the graces of one of the officers of his army, with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus! What tongue telling him that it lay in his power to render great shall describe her torments, when the Lord shall arise, service to the church, and that if he would undertake

and his enemies be scattered! they shall “have no it, besides the rewards which he would receive in

rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his heaven, he should be amply recompensed on earth. image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." The object was, to get access to the earl, professing for ever revered be the memory of those, who, himself to be his kinsman, assuring him that he had

whether of this or any other period of the Church, something to communicate of the last importance; and, witnessed a good confession. For ever blessed are having thus far succeeded, he was to prevail upon him their spirits : for they have fought and conquered to accompany him to the legate, for the purpose of

through the blood of the Lamb. They have come out negotiating a peace, under a pledge that he would be

of great tribulation, and are enrolled amongst the safely conducted back again to the city. The officer

myriads of the noble army of martyrs; and the crown played his part so dexterously, that the earl impru

of imperishable triumph, and the wreath of unfading dently consented to accompany him. At their inter

victory, and the palm of untarnished honour, shall be view, the latter submitted to the legate the propriety

their glorious portion through a joyous eternity; and of exercising a little more lenity and moderation to- while they encircle the throne of His majesty, who wards his subjects, as a procedure that might have the happiest tendency in inducing the Albigenses to con

• See Jones's History of the Waldenses.

liveth for ever and ever, they will celebrate the praises | Saviour himself at one time rebukes the of his grace and mercy; who gave them the faith Jews, “ Ye will not come unto me, that ye whereby they were enabled to stand in an evil day, and the courage whereby they were enabled not to

may have life" (John, v. 40). At another count their lives dear, and who then brought them to time he says, “No man can come to me, Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. except the Father which sent me draw him”

(John, vi. 44). As believers in the divine

authority of the Bible, we take all these THE WORKING OF DIVINE GRACE IN

statements to be true : one Spirit dictated THE SOUL:

these several passages.

The two leading a Sermon,

ideas contained in them are, therefore, conBY THE Rev. CHARLES Porter, B.D.

sistent. We are to regard ourselves as the Formerly Fellow and Tutor of Caius College, Cambridge; subjects of a quickening, renewing grace, Formerly Fellow and Tutor of Caius College, Cambridge; communicated from God, by virtue of the now Vicar of St. Martin's, Stamford Baron.

covenant which he hath made with us in Phil. ii. 12, 13.

Christ Jesus; and we are also to engage in " Work out your own salvation with fear and trem- the work of our moral renovation with the bling. For it is God which worketh in you both to

same feelings, and in the same way (exceptwill and to do of his good pleasure."

ing as to prayer), as if all depended upon The doctrine of Divine grace working in the ourselves. human soul presents many difficulties. We In the text the doctrine of grace is laid cannot explain nor understand how the Al- down—" It is God that worketh in you both mighty Spirit can influence the moral powers to will and to do of his good pleasure :" of a man, and yet leave that man free and the improvement is also stated—“ work out accountable. But the obscurity belongs to your own salvation with fear and trembling :" the subject, not to this particular doctrine. the two being connected

the two being connected—“ work out ... The whole subject of man's accountability is for it is God ...." one upon which we have no data to argue I. Before we enter upon the explanation of from, no facts to guide us ; it is not matter the words in which the apostle broaches the of reason, but of instinctive feeling and con- doctrine, I would notice two objections science. However curious such inquiries against it. may be, they are not a proper part of reli- The first is, that it is a doctrine which gious feeling or duty; we are not bound to leads to licentiousness; the second is, that believe any thing concerning our moral con they who hold the doctrine differ in their stitution. The Scriptures present the two views of it. great truths (1. that we are accountable; 2. 1. Some persons hesitate to admit this that the Divine Spirit influences us) sepa- doctrine, because it seems to lead to licenrately. Thus (Is. i. 16, 17),

tiousness. make you clean; put away the evil of your We admit that it has been so perverted. doings from before mine eyes :" and, on the There have been ungodly persons who have other hand (Jer. xxxiii. 8), God says,

“I will received the doctrine and abused it; but I cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby think it is a full answer to this objection, they have sinned against me.” At one time that others, by the reception of this doctrine, the prophet is commissioned to cry, “ Cast have been turned from sin to holiness. If away from you all your transgressions, the truth, that the grace of God is given to whereby ye have transgressed ; and make the soul that seeks it, has ever brought peace you a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezek. to a troubled conscience, and reclaimed a xviii. 31). At another time, the Lord by wandering sinner; if any one, who is worthy the same prophet declares (xxxvi. 26), “A of credit, can say that he had experienced its new heart will I give you, and a new spirit soothing and converting power, then, I conwill I put within you.” David, in one place, tend that this is a holy doctrine : and they says, "I will wash my hands in innocency: who have received the grace of God in vain so will I compass thine altar, O Lord” (Ps. have opposed its workings, and done despite xxvi. 6). In another Psalm (li. 2, 7), he to the Spirit of grace; and their evidence prays, “ Wash me thoroughly from mine only goes to prove the natural wickedness of iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. the human heart; and that the grace of God, Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be if it acted at all in them, did not act irreclean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than sistibly. snow.” Jeremiah (xxv. 5) exhorts sinners to But, further, having admitted that grace

turn again, every one from his evil way;" has been turned into licentiousness, we draw while, knowing this can only be done by God's from this fact an argument for the truth of power, he asks, “ Turn thou us, O Lord, and the doctrine itself. St. Paul, the great we shall be turned" (Lam. v. 21). And our | preacher of this doctrine, was charged with

- Wash you,

this very objection. Had it arisen from any deservings, nor his need of our services; but mistaken view of the doctrine, he would at his own love prompted him to this act of once have silenced the objector by stating the mercy, by which a rebellious people might be true doctrine. When it was asked, “Shall reclaimed to their allegiance, and a fallen we continue in sin, that grace may abound ?" people “ have grace whereby they may serve how did he reply? not by saying that grace God acceptably with reverence and godly would follow holiness ; but by declaring, fear." more plainly than before, that the object for The “good pleasure" of God to be in us, which grace was given, was that we might and to work in us, is a most comfortable and not serve sin : “ Sin shall not have dominion animating doctrine to the humble and peniover you; for ye are not under the law, but tent sinner ; for now he is assured that He under grace."

who is “able to keep him from falling, and There cannot be stronger evidence of St. present him faultless before the presence of Paul's view of this doctrine, than the method his glory with exceeding joy,” has towards in which he answers this objection brought him thoughts of kindness and good-will; and against it by the unbelievers of his day. that he who hath begun a good work in him, Here was the opportunity for him so to have is willing to carry it on. There is, however, explained the doctrine of indwelling grace as another sense attributed to the words “ of his to give no offence to the moral teachers who good pleasure ;" namely, that “ God works in opposed it; but he still maintains the doc

men according as he pleases, arbitrarily;" and trine in its exclusiveness—he preaches grace I wish to state my reasons for rejecting this as preceding man's effort, and he contents interpretation. The word translated " good himself by stating that they who heartily pleasure” is the same that was used by the embrace the truth will know the objection to angels in announcing to the shepherds the be false ; and, as for others, " the natural Saviour's birth : “ Glory to God in the highman receiveth not the things of the Spirit of est, and on earth peace, good-will toward God; for they are foolishness unto him : men.” It is used also in the first chapter of neither can he know them, because they are this epistle, fifteenth verse : "Some preach spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. ii. 14).

Christ of envy and strife; some also of 2. The second objection to be removed is, good-will"-— which is explained in the subthat different theologians take different views sequent verses : “ The one preach Christ of of this doctrine, and do not agree as to the contention, not sincerely, supposing to add extent of the Divine influence.

affliction to my bonds : but the other of lore." But is it not certain that all true Christians The idea of preference is never conveyed by use this doctrine for their sanctification ? and this word. St. Paul does not mean that God in their notions all agree so far as the Scrip-gives his grace to whom he will, but that he

their speculations upon is borne by his own goodness to give it at this, as upon every other intricate subject, all: and in those passages of Scripture which differ as

soon as they venture beyond the seem to favour the notion of arbitrary selecwritten testimony. The divisions that exist tion on God's part, the sacred writers are among the members of Christ's Church are only combating the fatal opinion that men to be lamented, not only as a stumbling- can of themselves turn to God; for till every block in the way of unbelievers, but as a high thought be subdued, and all confidence hinderance to the exercise of many Christian in self be cast away, the sinner will not take virtues ; yet who can, with any shew of fair- hold of Christ, nor pray for the Holy Spirit. ness, charge these rents in the garment of Hence, self-conceit, an opinion of our priviChrist to the doctrines he has left us ? leges or goodness, as an obstacle to grace, is

“ It is God that worketh in you both to first to be overthrown, by insisting both upon will and to do of his good pleasure ;" or, as the necessity of God's in ward help, and upon it might be rendered, "God is he who, of his the freedom with which he bestows it. We good pleasure, worketh in you, both to will must bow ourselves down to the dust, in and to do.” This is God's prerogative ; none order that we may enter the low and narrow but the Eternal Spirit can work within us : portals of the kingdom of Christ. " of him alone come the preparations of the This is the key to the interpretation of such heart in man:" none other than “ the Spirit passages as Matt. xi. 25, 26 ; Luke, x. 21; of God can bear witness with our spirit.” | John, vi. 43-45 ; Rom. ix., and x. 3. This But because God, and he alone, can do this, point is very important, because the words what assurance have we that he will do so? good pleasure” are often used in our lanThere is nothing in his relation towards us, guage of an arbitrary selection and preferas Creator, Preserver, Governor, Judge, to ence ; and if we should so interpret them lead us to expect it. St. Paul says it is “of here, we should defeat the apostle's argument, his good pleasure;" not our nature, nor our which calls upon all to work because they

renews

have a divine help. The words are added that sin and misery are bound up together ; for our comfort, not to make a distinction and that, if we would not perish, we must between the gifts bestowed on one sinner and find some remedy for the guilt and power of those bestowed on another - none are given sin. But since this desire may be stified or because of, or in proportion to, our deserts ; come to nought, choked by the world's cares, but it is the will, the pleasure of a merciful extinguished by some new temptation, or God, that every sinner should repent and be banished by the doubts of our power to saved; he therefore provides, by his influ- | escape, which Satan is ever ready to instil, ence upon the heart, the means by which therefore God “ looketh upon him that is they may work out their salvation.

poor and of a contrite spirit : he dwelleth " God worketh in you.” This is not the with the humble and broken spirit, to revive same expression as is used in the 12th verse : the spirit of the humble, and to revive the work out your own salvation.” It does not heart of the contrite ones :" he furnisheth mean the accomplishment of any purpose or them with spiritual armour for the warfare thing ; it merely denotes that there is an im- in which they are engaged : he “worketh in pulse, an energy, a motion (see collect for them both to will and to do.“ The law of first Sunday in Lent) in us.

It is the same

the Spirit of life maketh them free from the kind of agency which St. Paul attributes to law of sin," to which they would be brought “ sin, working in our members to bring forth into captivity by the law which is in their fruit unto death;" and to Satan, the prince of members. " This, I say, then, walk in the this world, “who now worketh in the children Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the of disobedience.” This energy of God takes flesh.” Surely we can distinguish between place through the natural powers of the soul : the works of the flesh and of the Spirit; he “ worketh with our spirit;" he

surely we can discern whether we have that us in the spirit of our minds;" 'the

eyes

of carnal mind, which is “ enmity against God, the understanding" are "enlightened, that we for it is not subject to the law of God, may know the things that are freely given to neither indeed can be ;” or that "spiritual us of God;" the “ vail is taken away from mind which is life and peace.” And this is the heart," its blindness is removed; and, the proof that God worketh in us. under the Spirit's restraining and guiding Value not those good desires, which neaction, it places the affections upon new cessarily spring up in a heart not altogether objects-loving and fearing God, hoping and callous, when the terrors of the Lord are trusting in him, and delighting in the ways of forced upon your attention by some sermon holiness. This is the energy which God perhaps, or by some incident in your own or exerts in the soul of man, — wonderful in its a neighbour's life : value not these, for they origin, which is the everlasting love of the may be as "the morning cloud, and as the Deity; wonderful in its effects, converting early dew, that passeth away ;" and though the whole man, constituting him a new they may be the workings of grace, yet, if creature : but in its mode of operation silent; they ripen not into fruit, it is grace received coming not with observation ; acting through in vain. But search whether that grace

works the natural powers ; requiring that we should in you to will and to do ;--if so, then may cherish it; capable of being resisted, grieved, you know that God is in you of a truth: quenched: but if its leadings be followed, its connect this with his assurance, that it is his effects grow, as from a small seed, to the pleasure that all men should be saved ; constature of a large and goodly tree. It is hid nect it with the assurance, that Christ hath like leaven, till it leaveneth the whole lump. purchased for us the gift of the Spirit; and

“ God worketh in you both to will and to ye will conclude that he will give you also do.” Mysterious as are the ways of the persevering grace. Spirit, it giveth signs of its efficacy; it is II. “ Therefore work out your own salvaknown by its fruits. Were it not so, how tion.” “Eye hath not seen, nor hath ear heard, could the apostle speak of the Spirit being neither hath entered into the heart of man,' “an earnest of our inheritance ?" (Eph. i. 14; the full meaning of the term “ salvation.” 2 Cor. i. 21, 22.) Does not this language In the verse preceding the text St. Paul deimply something, of which the apostle, and scribed the condescension, obedience, death, they to whom he wrote, were conscious ? and and exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ, predoes not the language of the text imply some senting him as our pattern, as our imitable witness of God's inward working to stimu- pattern; as one whom we may resemble, late us to “ work out our salvation ?"

whose triumphs and bliss we may eventually “ Worketh in us to will and to do.” He share. That is salvation in its fulness and putteth good thoughts into the heart; of him perfection : but in our present state there is cometh the first faint desire to escape from a foretaste of it in our peace with God, in the the power of Satan ; the dawning conviction 1 joy of the Holy Ghost; in that righteousness, goodness, and truth, in which is the ministers and teachers, and promoters of our fruit of she Spirit: and the means by which religious societies: so that to all it is opporthis salvation is wrought out are supplied to tunely said, " work out your own salvation us in the covenant which God hath made with fear and trembling."

The same exwith us in his Son, “having chosen us to pression is used (2 Cor. vii. 15) of the Cosalvation through sanctification of the Spirit, rinthians, who, after a severe rebuke from and belief of the truth."

the apostle, repented; and, still rememberTo “work out this salvation," therefore, ing their grievous error, received Titus, whom implies an entrance into this covenant, and Paul had sent, “ with fear and trembling." an abiding in it, not formally, or in the sight Again, in Ephes. vi. 5, he exhorts, "servants, of man ; but with “repentance towards God, be obedient to them that are your masters and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.” according to the flesh, with fear and tremIt implies that we receive Christ as Saviour, bling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ.” Mediator, Guide, and Lord ; that we hold him By a comparison of our text with these two as the head, living by faith in him. By this passages, it appears that we are to "work vital principle, we shall put off the old man, out our own salvation with fear and tremwhich is corrupt according to the deceitful bling;" first, remembering what we were, lusts; be renewed in the spirit of our mind, the pollutions from which we have escaped, and put on the new man, which, after God, the dangers from which we are delivered, is created in righteousness and true holiness : the vain conversation from which we are rethat we "fashion not ourselves according to deemed ; and, secondly, considering that we the former lusts in our ignorance; but as He are not yet wholly free from temptation to which hath called us is holy, so we be holy sin : there are yet two masters, as it were, in all manner of conversation.” It means that contending for us-one, Satan, whose service we daily “grow in grace, and in the know- we have renounced, but who still entices or ledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;" harasses us: the other, the Lord Jesus Christ, passing from the state of sin and alienation of the Leader and Captain of our salvation. heart from God, in which we were by nature, There are also other considerations that lead onwards to that holiness without which no us to "serve the Lord with fear.” The Lord man shall see the Lord. And, my brethren, our God dwelleth in us: we are temples of the whose work is this? Is it the work of God? Holy Ghost : how should we fear lest we in It is, so far that he hath prepared all good any way defile this holy temple! He workworks for us to walk in; it is so far the work eth in us of his good pleasure ; he operates of God, that he gives us power to begin, carry with such freedom, that if his favours are on, and accomplish it: but it is our part to slighted, they may, in his righteous anger, “work it out;" to obey the motions of the be withdrawn. It is a fearful thing to know Spirit: we are called

upon

to save ourselves that “his Spirit will not always strive with from this outward generation,” to “fight the man;" and if we suffer the God of this world good fight of faith,” to “ lay hold on eternal to blind our eyes against the light which God life,” to “ strive to enter in at the strait vouchsafes to give us, he in his judgment gate," to "deny ourselves," to give all may give us over to a reprobate mind. And diligence to make our calling and election is there not also much comfort to be drawn sure."

No other person can do this for us, from his addition of the words, “ with fear not parents nor ministers ; the ordeal which and trembling,” to the apostolic injunction, we must pass through will separate all ; and work out your own salvation ?" For how place the deeds of every individual in im- few Christians are able to realise present joy mediate contrast with the holy word; either and exultation ! “ He that feareth, is not to be condemned by it, or to be made mani- made perfect in love;" yet a holy fear is a fest that they are wrought in God.

true mark of one who is going on to perfec“Work out your own salvation.” How tion. Conscious as we are of imperfection, often are we earnest, zealous, and skilful in and tremblingly diligent in the working out converting others, while we seem to overlook our salvation, God working in us both to will the interests of our own soul! How many and to do, we rejoice to find, from ina parent watches over, corrects, and exhorts, spired authority, that “ fear and trembling" his children ; or chooses with care a semi- should accompany our endeavours. nary where their religious instruction will be attended to; while, alas! the parents are themselves following the broad road that

JERUSALEM. leadeth to destruction! They are endeavour- After we had climbed a second mountain, higher ing to work out their children's salvation, and more naked than the former, the horizon sudyet neglect to work out their own; and

denly opened to the right, and exhibited the whole greatly extended might the illustration be, to • From De Lamartine's Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

66

« PoprzedniaDalej »