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WESLEYAN REFORM UNION
“While desirous of maintaining the Connexional principle, we hold that all Local Courts
8, EXETER HALL;
AND MAY BE HAD OF ALL BOOKSELLERS.
THREE years have passed away since, with great reluctance, we undertook the task which we now cheerfully resign into other hands; trusting most sincerely that our successor will secure the whole of our staff of contributors, and add considerably to their number. After all, that which tends to lighten labor is success : in vain do friends praise our periodical, if the circulation declines. Both Editor and Publisher can stand up against unfavourable criticism, providing that the circulation enlarges.
The Three Vols. which are now before the public, if they do nothing more, will at any rate convey to future collectors of Methodist history a fair report of the struggles of the WESLEYAN REFORM UNION to maintain those principles of Christian freedom which have been abandoned by so many who once ranked among Wesleyan Reformers,
We now bid our readers farewell; and from what we know of the preparations for 1864, we think that the enlarged series will merit their support and recommendation.
Nov. 20th, 1863.
INDEX TO THE THIRD VOLUME.
THE CHRISTIAN ESSAYIST.
Circnit. Bradford East Circuit, Sixth
Wycombe. Denby Dale Circuit. Middles-
WESLEYAN REFORM UNION MAGAZINE.
The Christian Essayist.
FAITII IMPUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. When Paul declares, “To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness," his object is not to depreciate works of righteousness, or obedience to God. There is an opposition ; but it is not in faith and works considered in themselves, but as means of justification. Works of righteousness follow the faith which justifies, and are needful to prove it genuine. “Faith without works is dead.” Paul's doctrine is, that works can never constitute a meritorious ground of justification. The death of Christ on the cross does that. Strictly speaking, the opposition is between works and Christ's sacrifice. But as faith “lays claim to His merit and takes for our own," it is opposed to works, as that which instrumentally procures our justification.
Man's way of getting salvation, as opposed to God's, is to earn or merit it by his own works, and to regenerate himself by the exertion of his own powers. God's way is to justify the sinner freely, by His grace, in consideration of what Christ has done in the room of the guilty. Man’s way secures the honour of salvation, if not altogether, in part at at least, to himself. God's way gives man the blessing and Himself the praise. In it He is the imparter, man the recipient.
Man truly wants a preparation in order to believe in Christ ; but it is not one of holiness or spiritual transformation : it is the perception and feeling of his lost condition. He wants to know the sin which is in him, and the sin which he has done, and then the cry of his heart will be, “ God be merciful to me a sinner !”
If a man could procure one tittle of godliness without Christ, possessing that tittle he would not be utterly lost and ungodly. Christ would not then be his Saviour. He came not to call the righteous, not those who had any righteousness of their own, but sinners. “To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted unto him for righteousness.
What then is the whole duty of the sinner, and for which he is held responsible ? It is simply to believe on Him who justifieth the ungodly. He believed in God as his justifier, and he is saved. But how can God justify the sinner without countenancing sin ? The cross of Jesus gives the answer. Their sin was punished in the Surety. How awful that