صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

until He is pleased to do this, all human anxiety is unavailing. And when this great work is going on, it will be progressive, and in due order, from the first to the seventh. And as it is carried on, how every thing is brought down into greater and greater degrees of abasement, till nothing but God alone is exalted, and there is silence in heaven!

But before this state is experienced, there is another state or dispensation to be passed through a state represented by the most striking metaphors: "There was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken by a mighty wind. And the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?" Rev. vi. 12-17. Where then will be all the idle notions of speculative minds! The very heavens the imagined righteousness of these, must pass away as a scroll when it is rolled together.

Let us then seek rather to have our minds enlarged in the love of God in Christ Jesus, that we may adopt the language of the apostle; "We love Him, because He first loved us." 1 John iv. 19. In the effusions of


this love, which prompts the filial language of Father, we shall be enabled "to receive the kingdom of God as a little child." How striking the comparison! In the little child there are no bold flights of fancy-no philosophical reasonings (falsely so called)—no feelings of its own independent capacities and powers; but all is dependence on the teaching of the parent-all is faith, unhesitating confidence in the counsel and instruction received. In this humble, dependent, teachable state of mind, with love predominating over all, we shall be prepared for the opening of the seals; and, viewing with increasing gratitude, at every stage of this progressive work, the wonders of Redeeming Love, to sing the new song, saying; "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, and hast made us unto God kings and priests:" Rev. v. 9, 10-and finally to participate in that heavenly silence, in which God is felt to reign over all, with that power and majesty which the language of saints and angels cannot adequately convey.



I have already shown in preceding articles, that we believe Justification to consist of two parts," or to have a twofold consideration." It has also been fully stated, that we believe that the first part consists in what Jesus Christ did for man, in removing the incapacities of the fallen state, and placing in every human heart that Seed of Grace, which is the first principle and efficient cause of salvation. The second part consists in what He does for us, in us, and this forms the subject of the ensuing article.

As the inward operations of the Spirit of Truth are submitted to, in the convictions for sin, and desire after Redemption, which it produces in the heart, the work of Sanctification and Justification advances; for they go on together.

The apostle very clearly sets forth the successive advances of this great work: "But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Cor. vi. 11.

The first operations of Divine Grace on the heart, are generally of a tendering kind. It is true that the mind may be powerfully broken in upon, and the just judgments of God for sin may be awfully revealed; but this does not take place unless there has been a slighting of the day of merciful visitation, and the offers of Re

deeming Love. But even when the rebellious and backsliding are thus met with judgments mixed with mercy, as there is a willingness wrought to submit to the purifying dispensation, the heart is brought into a state of great tenderness.

This state of Christian experience is beautifully illustrated by the baptism of water to repentance; and is the very thing typified by that baptism, as used by John, to whose ministration it peculiarly belonged. And this answers to the language of the apostle, who represents washing as the first process in the great work of renovation.

Under this dispensation, the subject not only becomes washed, and cleansed from the more obvious defilements, such as (figuratively speaking) water can reach; but, as repentance is experienced, and the melting, soothing effusions of Divine Love, the soul becomes powerfully attached to its Redeemer. And thus it becomes prepared to bear a more purifying dispensation, which answers to the baptism of fire; wherein all those deep defilements that were not reached by the former cleansing are removed; the dross, the tin, and even the reprobate silver are consumed, and sanctification takes place.

And not till we have passed through these purifying dispensations, are we "sanctified and justified, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Cor. vi. 11. Then it is that old things are done away; and all things become new. In this state the soul is united to God, in a holy fellowship and communion, and stands as justified or accounted just; its former transgressions being forgiven, done away, and remembered no more.

The judgments of God are not according to the

decisions of men, who sometimes justify or account men just, when there is no real change effected, but a mere exemption from the consequences of guilt. But as sin produces corruption and defilement, these must be cleansed and removed, before the subject can be accepted or accounted as justified:-and this cleansing from the defilements of sin, is Sanctification.

Various opinions have existed among the different denominations of Christians on the subject of Justification. While some have imagined it to depend on good works, others rejected works altogether, and supposed it to depend on the merit and righteousness of Christ imputed to us. And others again imagine our justification and acceptance, to depend on an irrevocable decree, existing from all eternity. The Society of Friends do not exactly concide with any of these opinions.

As we stand in the fall, or unregenerate state, we possess no merit, or power of ourselves, by which we can obtain acceptance, or make reconciliation with God: much less can we have any thing to make atonement for sins committed. God requires nothing but our duty. Any thing more than duty, could not be acceptable to Him. This leaves nothing wherewith to balance the account of duties omitted or crimes committed. But by the coming and offering of Christ, "the Free Gift came upon all men unto justification of life." Rom. v. 18. Here it is shown that this natural incapacity is removed; that this Free Gift is extended to all men; and that, if not obstructed by disobedience, it ultimately leads to "justification of life." This Grace and Gift to us, is the pure love of God; by which we are called and invited to come unto Him, and by which we are drawn in love, and gratitude, and

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »