Imágenes de páginas

must be in the object that salvation itself may come from it. If not in the object it cannot be in the faith of that object. If salvation be not in a text, it cannot come out of it; and if it be not in a sermon it is impossible that it should come out of it. Whether or not every sermon should have in it the way of salvation, it is quite certain that it must be in it before it can come out of it.

II. The object of saving faith is contained in the Scriptures. It is here, and here only. The Bible was given for this end. If we meet with it elsewhere it must have have come from the Scriptures. Inspired truth is inspired truth, find it where we may. Whatever cannot be traced to this source is not the object of saving faith. Salvation comes from this book, and from this book alone. This is both the object and the ground of our belief. We are to believe what it teaches upon its own testimony, and there can be no firmer ground of belief. It is a sure word to which we do well to take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place. There is no need, says an apostle, to ascend into heaven to bring down the object of saving faith from above, nor to descend into the deep to bring it up from thence, but it is nigh thee, that is the word of faith which we preach. It is in that word. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. We have the object of saving faith, then, in the divine word, not in human reason or tradition, and we have it in the plain declarations and common-sense interpretations of that word. Whether we have it in refined criticisms and learned annotations upon the Scriptures is always uncertain, but that we have it in plain and direct propositions, and in the full and concurrent testimony of the book itself, is always sure. The object of saving faith, therefore, depends much upon where it comes from. However beautiful, emotional, and rational other truths may be, they cannot save. Salvation is not in them, and therefore cannot come out of them. Whatever we bring to the Scriptures, and is not brought out of them, is not saving. Originality in preaching (so far as it applies to the subject, and not to the manner of its presentation), from the very fact of its originality, cannot save. So far as we have plain Scripture teaching in our sermons, so far we may rest satisfied that we have in them the object of saving faith.

III. What is the object of saving faith made known to us in the Scriptures? All Scripture is not the object of saving faith. All is proffered for our faith, but not all for saving faith. We are not required to believe all the truths of the Bible in order to be saved. That which is necessary to be believed in order to salvation is that part in which the salvation is said to be contained. There is no salvation without Christ. Christ, therefore, must be in the object of saving faith. If the only Saviour be not there, the only salvation cannot be there. There is no salvation without Mediation. This is the only method by which reconciliation can be effected between those with whom God cannot deal directly on account of justice, nor they with him on account of sin. This, therefore, which is an essential part of the object, must be in the faith. There is no salvation without Substitution, consequently no saving faith. There is no salvation without Atonement, and no real atonement but in the cross at Calvary. This, therefore, which enters into the salvation must enter into saving faith. There is no salvation without Imputed Righteousness. How, then, can we be justified by faith

unless the gift of righteousness becomes the object of that faith? There is no salvation but by Grace. This too, therefore, must be an object of faith. These truths are inseparable from each other, and are essentially one. They must be known to be believed, and in the right knowledge of them and belief of them salvation consists. The words of Christ himself are, "This is life eternal to know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." The words of the chief of his apostles, are, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." Of faith in him the Christ testifies, "If he believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins," and the apostle testifies, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved." To these may be added the testimony of the beloved disciple, "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." Now the Christ of all these prepositions, the Christ to be known and believed, must be the real Christ as he is revealed in the Scriptures, for if it be another Christ, it is another subject altogether to which the predicates of salvation and eternal life do not apply, and of which they are expressly denied. What we maintain then is, that there must be a clear objective Christ before he can be subjectively received by faith. Salvation must be seen to be in him, before it is felt to be in us. We must not only see that God will forgive sin, but how he forgives it through the merits of his Son. We must believe him not to be merciful merely, but to be "faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," and this cannot be believed without believing in Christ as a real and full substitute on our behalf. This is the salvation, and must therefore be in saving faith. Is there no faith, then, but this that saves? Must this be the object of all saving faith? We reply, Yes! If the Scriptures are true, Yes! If the testimony of the best of men in all ages is to be trusted, Yes! If experience is to be our guide, Yes! If the testimony of the dying can be credited, Yes! If the effects of this faith and the effects of other faith for salvation upon the life and death of others can teach us, again we reply, Yes! There are those, we are aware and their name is Legion, who say, No! It is not necessary, they tell us, to believe in Christ in order to salvation or even to know him. Let men trust in the mercy of God for pardon, and they need not know on what ground they are pardoned; as though faith in the mere mercy of God were the faith of the gospel. It is not necessary, we are told, if we do believe in Christ, to believe in his Divinity in order to be saved through him. Is there any Christ left, we would ask, if we take his Divinity away? It is not necessary, say others, to believe any part of the work of Christ to be substitutionary, as his death for propitiation and his obedience for justification in behalf of others. What again, we ask, is left of Christ as he is revealed in the New Testament? There is no salvation in the object, and consequently none in the faith. There is nothing to connect the salvation with the individual who seeks to be saved.

If it be true that the Son of God became man; if it be true that the Father sent the Son to be the Redeemer of the world; if it be true that he took upon him the likeness of sinful flesh, and became a man of sorrows

and acquainted with grief; if it be true that the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all, pouring upon him the vials of his wrath that they might not be poured upon us; if it be true that he was more willing that the fierce anger of his Father for our sins should be upon him than upon us; if it be true that he died the just for the unjust to bring us to God, and by his stripes we are healed; if it be true that he gave a perfect obedience to the law we have broken that it might be set to our account for complete, instantaneous, and eternal justification as soon as we believe in him; if it be true that God the Father was so well pleased and glorified by this whole work on man's behalf that he has placed his Son for ever upon the throne of the universe in that person in which it was performed; if all this be true, and true it must be if there be any truth in God and in his creation, then no room is left for any other salvation, it covers the whole area, and precludes the possibility of any other; it is all in all. Nor is it possible to conceive how the faith which ignores all this could derive any benefit from it. Certainly it is not the faith which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things

not seen.

That such is the real and only object of saving faith, may be seen from another point of view. What the servants of God are commissioned to preach is the object of saving faith. They are commissioned. to preach not the fact of salvation merely, but the salvation itself, and consequently it must be both known and believed. It was clearly and fully explained in the preaching of Christ and his apostles. Why was this, if it were not necessary to be believed in order to salvation? If it be not necessary to believe in a way of salvation, why make it the chief thing and the first thing in the ministry of the word? Why speak of Christ first and put the cross at once before the sinner, if it be not needful to saving faith? Why not simply declare that God is merciful, and preach his universal Fatherhood, if that will suffice? It would be a much shorter and easier way of dealing with the souls of men. It is what many are doing in our day. Why not do it? Because it was not the preaching of Christ and his apostles; because it is not the commission that we have received; and because we do not hold it to be a sufficient object for saving faith.

(To be continued.)

A Rare Providence.

ECORDS of the direct interposition of Providence in times of danger and fierce persecution come to us as welcome encouragement, even in our own times of peace. To find such things we have to turn aside from the broad, well-beaten track of general history and seek them in highways and byways comparatively little frequented. Many such life-histories shed cheerful gleams through the darkest era of Puritan persecution.

Directly associated with Monmouth's rising in the West, in 1685, was a person of the name of Story, who was sufficiently unfortunate to

be captured and imprisoned. During the early part of his confinement Story spent much time in trying to invent some means of delivering himself from the grasp of his enemies, and from those who were also working to discourage true religion in England. He happened to know a person of the name of Brough, who was a friend of the Chief Justice Jeffreys, and with whom Story once spent some hours in company with the Judge. The prisoner now turned his thoughts to his friend, and, on being applied to, he readily undertook to render any assistance within his power. Accordingly, Jeffreys was waited upon at one of the morning levees which he was accustomed to hold. Brough remained some short time among the crowd; but being a tall conspicuous figure, as well as a particular acquaintance of the Chief Justice, he was soon requested to enter the drawing-room. "I pray thee, Robin, to what is it that I must ascribe this morning visit?" said the judge. "To enquire after your lordship's welfare," was the answer. "No, no, Robin! I am not to be put off with such flams as that," replied Jeffreys; "Thou art come to solicit favour on behalf of some snivelling Whig, or fanatic, that is got into Lob's pound yonder in the West. . . Thou mightest as well have spared thy labour." Brough now began to explain himself. All were not alike guilty; and besides, Story owed him, the speaker, one hundred pounds or more, and therefore it was hoped that he would not be consigned to death with others. Jeffreys was just about to start on that tour of butchery, which history has chronicled as the "Bloody Assizes," and Brough offered to accompany him; but to this proposition the other would not consent. Take my advice,” he said, "for once, and go thy ways home, and take not the least notice to any of what has passed. Particularly take care to give no hint to Story himself, or to any one capable of conveying it to him, that there has been any application to me concerning him; and though he should write never so often, give him no answer directly or indirectly. . . . . I'll see what can be done."

This counsel was acted upon, though in the meantime, Story languished in a western gaol, and supposed himself to be forsaken by man, as none of his letters were once noticed. Then came the dreaded day of trial. Story stood before the ferocious judge and heard a specimen of that judge's rhetorical powers-"What forlorn creature is that that stands there? It is certainly the ugliest creature my eyes ever beheld ! ... Ay, Story! I confess I have heard enough of thee! Thou art a sanctified rogue! A double-dyed villain! The common punishment is not bad enough for thee! ... I'll give thee thy desert, I'll warrant thee!" No words, however, could convey even a faint impression of the nature of the ravings and bellowings which proceeded from the bench. It was as though some volcano had suddenly burst forth in violent eruption. The judge shouted, railed, and threatened until he foamed at the mouth, and until the strain on his lung-power seemed to interfere with his breath.

Yet all this time, and after the trial, some mysterious influence was working. The prisoner was respited, and sent from prison to prison until he reached Newgate, in London. In Newgate he was heavily ironed, besides being confined in a dark, loathsome dungeon, wherein, when the noontide sun was shining, he barely had sufficient light, even

while standing on a box to catch the rays, to make out a few verses in his pocket Bible. Again he seemed to be forsaken, and doomed to destruction.


But one day Story was startled by being summoned to appear before the King in Council. Very naturally, he wished to put himself in proper order this, however, he was not suffered to do. Friends were not allowed to bring decent clothes. The prisoner must not even be shaved. He must appear before the King precisely as he was. A coach was brought, in which the prisoner, attended by a keeper, rode to Whitehall; and the keeper advised Story, in a confidential manner, to answer straightforwardly any questions which his Majesty might ask. The prisoner was in a frightful condition. He more resembled the ghost of a man, clad in polluted grave-clothes, than a living human creature. "Is that a man?" cried the King, in accents of horror, as the apparition-like being entered, and filled the presence-chamber with the fumes of prisonfever "Is that a man ?" Then James recognised him and said, "Pray, Mr. Story, you were in Monmouth's army in the West?" Yes, an't please, your Majesty." And you were a commissary there, were you not?" "Yes, an't please, your Majesty." "And you made a speech before great crowds of people?" "Yes, an't please, your Majesty." "Pray let us have some of your fine-flowed speech, some of the flowers of your rhetoric," continued the King. "I told them," replied the unabashed Story," that it was you that fired the city of London, that you poisoned your brother, and that your Majesty appeared to be fully determined to make the nation both papists and slaves." "A rare rogue impudence in the height of it! a rogue with a witness!" cried James, in astonishment; "But what would you do, Story, if, after all this, I should grant you your life?" Pray for your Majesty as long as you live." Then," replied James, "I freely pardon all that is past, and hope you will not, for the future, represent your King as inexorable."


[ocr errors]

When, three or four years later, Jeffreys himself was in trouble, he, in turn, applied to Story for protection and shelter from the fury of the enraged populace of the Revolution. He did not apply in vain. Story could not have admired the character of a monster so utterly wanting in instincts of humanity as Jeffreys; he declared, nevertheless, that rather than have denied succour to the man who once saved him, he would have hazarded his very life.


The Model Superintendent.


AVING exposed the faults and foibles of Sunday-school Superintendents, we now propose to indicate the chief characteristics of those who may be regarded as models worthy of imitation. It is of the utmost importance that a superintendent should be perfectly competent to discharge the duties of his office. The non-success attending the labours of many a band of devoted teachers is due, to a great extent, to the inefficiency of their leaders. A wellofficered school has the best guarantee of success, humanly speaking; nor do we

« AnteriorContinuar »