« PoprzedniaDalej »
Inward work of redemption, which thus goes on by the operation of the Holy Spirit, has the power of producing a new birth in men—this office of the Spirit acknowledged by other ChristiansMonro, Hammond, Locke-it has the power also of leading to perfection-Sentiments of the Quakers as to perfection-and of the ever memorable John Hales-Gell-Monro-This power of inward redemption bestowed upon all.
THE sufferings, then, of Jesus Christ having, by means of the forgiveness of past sins, put men into a capacity of salvation, the remaining part of salvation, or the inward redemption of man, is performed by the operation of the Holy Spirit; of which however it must be remembered, that a more plentiful diffusion is considered by the Quakers to have been given to men after the ascension of Jesus Christ than at any former period.
The nature of this inward work of redemption, or the nature of this new office, which it performs in addition to that of a religious teacher, may be seen in the following account.
It has the power, the Quakers believe, of checking and preventing bad inclinations and passions,-of cleansing and purifying the heart,—of destroying the carnal mind, of making all old things pass away-of introducing new,-of raising our spiritual senses, so as to make us delight in the things of God, and to put us above an unreasonable pursuit after earthly pleasures. Redeeming thus from the pollutions of the world, and leading to spiritual purity, it forms a new creature. It produces a new man in the heart. It occasions a man by its quickening power to be born again, and thus
him into the way of salvation. " For verily I say unto thee,” says Jesus Christ to Nicodemus, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God*.”
This, office and power of the Spirit of God is acknowledged by other Christians. Monro, who has been before quoted, observes, « that the soul, being thus raised from the death of sin and born again, is divinely animated, and discovers that it is alive by the vital operations which it performs."
* John üi. 3.
Again," says he, "this blissful presence the regenerate, who are delivered from the dominion and cleansed from the impurities of sin, have recovered, and it is on the ac
count of it that they are said to be the habitation of God through the Spirit, and the temple of the Holy Ghost. For that good Spirit takes possession of them, resides in their hearts, becomes the mover, enlightener and director of all their faculties and powers, gives a new and heavenly tincture and tendency to all their inclinations and desires, and, in one word, is the great spring of all they think, or do, or say; and hence it is that they are said to walk no more after the flesh, but after the Spirit, and to be led by the Spirit of God."
Dr. Hammond, in his Paraphrase and Annotations on the New Testament, observes, that he, "who hath been born of God, is literally he, who hath had such a blessed change wrought in him by the operation of
God's Spirit in his heart, as to be translated
from the power of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son."
"As Christ in the flesh," says the great and venerable Locke, "was wholly exempt
from all taint and sin ; so we by that Spirit, which was in him, shall be exempt from the dominion of carnal lusts, if we make it our choice, and endeavour to live after the Spirit.”
“ Here the apostle,” says Locke, “shows that Christians are delivered from the dominion of their carnal lusts by the Spirit of God, that is given to them, and dwells in them, as a new quickening principle and power, by which they are put into the state of a spiritual life, wherein their members are made capable of becoming the instruments of righteousness.”
And this Spirit of God, which thus redeems from the pollutions of the world, and puts a new heart as it were into man, sidered by the Quakers as so powerful in its operations, as to be able to lead him to perfection. By this they do not mean to say that the perfection of man is at all like the perfection of God, because the perfection of the former is capable of growth. They believe, however, that in his renewed state he may be brought to be so perfect, as to be able to keep those commandments of God, which are enjoined him. In this sense VOL. II.
they believe it is that Noah is called by Moses a just and perfect man in his genera'tion*, and that Job is described as a perfect and an upright man†, and that the evangelist Luke speaks of Zacharias and Elizabeth in these words: " They were both righteous before God, and walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelesst.'
That man, who is renewed in heart, can attain this degree of perfection, they hold it but reasonable to suppose: for to think that God has given to man any law to keep which it is impossible for him, when aided by his Holy Spirit, to keep; or to think that the power of Satan can be stronger in man than the power of Christ, is to think very inadequately of the Almighty, and to cast a dishonourable reflection on his goodness, his justice, and his power. Add to which, that there would not have been such expressions in the New Testament as those of Jesus Christ: therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Nor would there
* Gen. vi. 9.
↑ Job i. 8. ↑ Luke i. 6.