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to say upon the several interpretations of Scripture, which our author has introduced into this inquiry but the cause requires a more solemn consideration than verbal criticism can enable us to give it.
No truth would seem to be recorded more legibly in every part of Scripture, than that "all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God." At the same time it is admitted, that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord." How then shall any man be ever admitted into his presence? or who shall stand when he appeareth?
This is the awfully interesting question, which the Gospel proposes to solve: and how does it solve it? Not by extenuating the evil, but by providing a remedy.
In this fearful predicament much doubtless is expected by those who do not receive the doctrine of an atonement from the absolute forgiveness of God; and far be it from me to disparage the infinite stores of the Divine compassion and mercy. But mercy is not the only attribute of the Almighty: "A God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he." (Deut. xxxii. 4.) We are given to know, that his throne is surrounded by spirits of a higher order than ourselves, and these spirits are holy. They have never offended. Shall man, therefore, be admitted without an atonement into the society of those who never have transgressed, join with them in the same strains, be admitted with them to the same privileges, partake with them in the same glory? We know not how deeply this might entrench upon the perfection of that moral government which Almighty Wisdom has established in creation; and without attributing anger, or any human passion, in the strict sense of the term, to the Supreme Governor, the very justice of his government might require from him, for any thing we know to the contrary, that he should
make a distinction between the innocent and the guilty, between those who have never offended, those who have ceased to offend, and those who continue offending.
If, however, the justice of God may have presented this obstacle (for on points like these I dare not dogmatize) to our absolute forgiveness, the wisdom of God has not been wanting to obviate, nor his goodness to surmount it. For
when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman." (Gal. iv. 4.) "The great object of his mission," says Mr. Wright, "death, and resurrection, was to bring eternal life to men.— He hath abolished death and brought to light life and immortality. He died and was raised from the dead, to redeem us from death, and communicate justification to life by the Gospel." " God hath appointed him to raise the dead, and to conduct his followers to eternal life, actually to redeem them from death and the grave. He is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him." So far then I agree with our author. But how did he perform this work? or what did all that he did and suffered contribute towards removing the difficulty in the way of our being admitted to that city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to that innumerable company of angels, into which entereth nothing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie? To this question, a complete answer is given in Tit. ii. 14. "The great God, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
There were two main obstacles to be surmounted: for sin had not only deprived us of all title to the presence of God, but had unfitted us for the enjoyment of it. The first of these obstacles was overcome by our Saviour's redeeming
us from all iniquity, and the last by purifying unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works, He redeemed us from all iniquity by paying the price of our rausom; and He purified unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works, by sending to them his Holy Spirit. But it is asked by Unitarians, Why was any price due for our ransom? Here, again, I awfully feel I am approaching the secret things of God; yet I would hnmbly venture a few remarks: First, sin is a transgression of the law; and it is written, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." (Gal. iii. 10.) It was necessary, therefore, that this curse should be removed; which I conclude could not be the case, till the penalty affixed to it had been paid. Now, "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. vi. 23): and, as we are told, that "one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled "(Matt. v. 18), it was necessary that the penalty should be discharged. It was discharged by Christ Jesus, who hath ་་ once suffered for sin, the Just for the unjust" (1 Pet. iii. 18); and it could be discharged by no other; for "no man may deliver his brother, or make agreement unto God for him." (Psal. xlix. 7.) No created being could offer an obedience to God, which he did not himself owe. But the Eternal Word voluntarily undertook to place himself in the condition, and perform the service of a creature, being himself the Creator; and the obedience which he so rendered, the penalty which he so discharged, was so acceptable to the Father, that he received it as a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many. Once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Heb. ix. 28. 26.) And "he is the propitiation,
not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world." ( John ii, 2.)
Thus one obstacle was removed from our re-admission into the favour of God. Our title to the Divine favour was again made good and available to all who receive the Saviour. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." (John i. 12.) The highest seraph need no longer be ashamed to be a partner in praising God, with the humblest Christian, for whom Christ died. That ransom cancelled all inequalities, and, on the simple condition of faith in the Son, gave us again access to the Father.
Still, however, we remained unfit for the privilege, so restored. Our Saviour says, "Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin.” (John viii. 34.) It would be to no purpose therefore, that we were redeemed, if we were not also purified. tinuing sinners, the servants of sin, we could not come to God. We could have no heart for his service. Our title, indeed, was made good, but our unfitness remained.
It is to remove this obstacle, that another person in the blessed Trinity is continually, as the Scriptures represent, "striving with us." The work of redemption was vicarious; and the Son of God performed it for us. But the work of sanctification is personal; and therefore the Holy Ghost dwells continually within us to produce it, to regenerate us by implanting an incorruptible seed in our hearts, and to watch that seed and cherish it till it grows up to perfection. It is in this work that he draws us "with cords of a man, with bands of love." (Hos. xi. 4); for "faith worketh by love," (Gal. v. 6.); and thus we feel what our author says, that "there is a principle, if not more powerful at the moment, more salutary and permanent in its influence than terror, and that principle is love." Whereever this work is finished, there
indeed is finished salvation. The ransom is paid, the title restored, the fitness renewed; and it may be said, "All things are now ready; come ye to the marriage."
This, in few words, is my view, and, I trust, not an unscriptural view, of the great work of human salvation. It answers well to the description of a mystery, "which was kept secret since the world be gan, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith." (Rom.xvi.25,26.) It consists in a deliverance from sin, and from all its fearful consequences; not, indeed, to all the world, I mean in the Universalists' sense of that expression, for we are told of some "who will depart into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matt. xxv. 41.) But of this we are certain, that whoever falls under this last, this irretrievable sentence, will have himself only to accuse for it. It will be the sin of his own heart, not any defect in God's love, which will be the cause of his ruin.
that peace with God which our Saviour came on earth to regain for us. To a person in this state of mind, faith in Christ Jesus will be a tenet as necessary as it will prove reviving. Without it, he might, through a deep and abasing sense of sin, be driven to despair. By it he beholds his peace, his pardon, and his reconciliation effected. He beholds that obstacle to his peace, insuperable to all, but Christ, hopeless to every thing short of divine love, surmounted. God is 'reconciled to him already. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself:" (1 Cor. v. 19): and he is now ready in return to listen to that exhortation of the Apostle," Be ye reconciled unto God." (1 Cor. v. 20). It might before have appeared to him useless, to exhort a sinner to be reconciled to God. But he who has become acquainted with his heart, and has probed his conscience to the bottom, has discovered, that, so long as the works continue wicked, the mind must be at enmity against God. He has learned, in his own case at least, the truth of that maxim, that when enemies are to be made friends, the offending party is often the most difficult to reconcile. He will therefore strive against sin, as that which withholds him from God. He will search and ponder the word of God, that his struggle may not be carried on in the dark. He will pray for the grace of God, that it may not be carried on in vain. And even when his natural infirmities prevail against him, and he falls into sin, as it were against his better judgment, he will make it an occasion of more severe repentance, deeper contrition, and more lively faith in that atoning mercy, which saves even to the uttermost. (Heb. vii. 25.) In this way he will be continually making progress under Divine grace, towards that state of final perfection in which sin shall at length be utterly abolished, when "our Lord Jesus Christ shall come to be glorified in
In the mean time, what is the course which we must take in order to avoid that dreadful catastrophe, and to lay hold of the promised salvation? We must begin by searching our heart, that we may 'not leave undiscovered any trace of that enmity which still lurks there against the holy law of God; and, to aid us in this work, we must pray for the enlightening grace of our Creator. We must be ready to say, even after our deepest selfexamination, "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way still remaining in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" (Psal. cxxxix. 23, 24). No one ever seriously proceeded in this work, but discovered much evil, that he never suspected before, and became better acquainted with his distance by nature from
ed in Luke xi. 13, that our heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.
his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe." (2 Thess. i. 10.) This, indeed, is a scheme of life and doctrine, to which the Unitarian must be an entire stranger. Nevertheless, it appears to me, and to many other persons in all ages, to be the genuine doctrine of the Bible. Who shall decide between us? One thing is certain. Mr. Wright believes that he is able to be converted and saved, without the influence and teaching of the Spirit. (p. 494.) It is to this, then, after all, and not to any deficiency of evidence, that we are constrained to attribute his not discerning in the sacred volume some doctrines, which to others appear to be written there as with a sun-beam. We know from the Bible itself, that there have been persons who, "seeing, see not, and do not undersand;" and there are persons even now, over whose hearts there is a veil. But these are not among those who pray earnestly and sincerely for the influence and teaching of the sacred Spirit; for we are assur
Let, then, Mr. Wright adopt this course, as I confess for myself I would humbly do. Though he may think he can discern the truths of Scripture without illumination from above, he cannot think that he will discern them the less for such illumination; nor can he imagine, that it will be less plentifully afforded him in consequence of his seeking it in earnest prayer. Let him then bow his knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he will be pleased to make known his ways unto us by his Holy Spirit, and lead us into the way of truth, revealed in his Gospel, that we may be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment, and that we may soon, however now we differ, with one mind and one mouth, glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
ACT FOR BUILDING ADDITION-
HAVING received various inquiries
(foolscap folio); but we are not aware that we may have omitted any thing, except what is merely technical. We shall feel sincerely rejoiced, if the perusal of this analysis shall induce any individuals of influence in neighbourhoods where the want of church-room may be felt, to consider attentively how far any of the provisions in the Act may be applicable to their immediate case.
The preamble states the great want of churches in the metropolis and vicinity, and in other cities and large towns, on account of the increased population, and the need of erecting and maintaining addi
1818.] Act for building Churches in populous Parishes.
tional churches, with a certain
The commissioners thus appoint-
The commissioners are authorized to grant assistance only in cases in which the population of a parish, or extra-parochial place, amounts to four thousand persons, and in which there is not accommodation in the existing churches or chapels for more than one fourth of the population to attend Divine service in the Establishment; or, in cases in which there are one thousand persons resident more than four miles from any such church or chapel, and in which the commisCHRIST, OBSERV. APP.
sioners shall be satisfied of the inability of the inhabitants to bear any of the charge of such building, in addition to the charge after menalso make grants or loans to assist tioned. The commissioners may like population, and requiring adin parishes or places containing a ditional accommodation, but where the inhabitants are able to bear a part of the expense, or of repaying the loan by instalments.
being adequate to affording grants
In selecting places for grants,
the commissioners, the bishop, and
the existing incumbent, the new