Imágenes de páginas




age, seeking to give it a ruinous direction; we hear lawless anarchy pleading in the councils of the church for the deathwarrant of wholesome bonds and restrictions; and, alas! we also catch the words of cloaked skepticism, with her smooth tongue explaining away the very vitality of the oracles of God. Now this state of things existing in Christ's fold, we think that the recognition of the authority of the ministry might be a balance wheel in the huge and now industrious. engine. If pastors would speak boldly, and if men would give heed to Christ's ambassadors as if they were ambassadors from on high, there might be never-so-great activity in the moral machine, and yet be no results but good to man and glory to God. We urge our doctrine, then, as a check to error, a bridle to fanaticism, and an obstacle to religious anarchy. 3. The acknowledgment of the authority of the ministry by the church, is a needed example to the state.

The principles of democracy have long been the instruments of unholy craft to designing men. Demagogues have belied the true theory of liberty, that with their plausible doctrines, they might win popular favor. They have pronounced authority a mere fiction; have declared office and officers to be the playthings of the majority; and have affirmed the voice of the people, however uttered, whether spoken in the calm exercise of reason, or screamed in the defiant madness of the mobbing spirit, to be the very voice of God. Flattered and poisoned with such pleasing but deadly sentiments, the people of our country have often forgotten the claims of God, of bleeding humanity, and rebuking righteousness; and we fear that unless the true principles of liberty and the just prerogatives of government be better understood, our republic will soon become a "plain of death," over which the lifeless and tideless waters of a political dead sea will roll their noxious and sluggish billows. But what prophet shall rise up to teach the people wisdom? Out of what Nazareth shall deliverance come? We answer from the church. Let the Christians of America show by their ecclesiastical action that the ruled may exercise all the just rights of liberty, while the rulers shall possess authority as their admitted prerogative. Let Christ's house be a pattern of general freedom and of governmental control, and no doubt the example will tell effectively on the destinies of this land of letters, of religion, and of liberty.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


Recent Discussions on the Subject of Entire Sanctification in this Life,

[ocr errors][merged small]

ABOUT the year 1832 or 1833, the sect called Antinomian Perfectionists sprung up about the same time, in several places in New York and New England. We have in their leading organ, "The Perfectionist," published at New Haven, Ct., their articles of belief or their confession of faith, as it professes to be, carefully prepared and published by request. It is as follows:


1. We believe, that God is the only rightful interpreter of the Bible, and teacher of theological truth,-hence,


2. We believe, that no doctrine can become an article of true faith, which is not recognized by the believer as an immediate revelation to him from God,-yet,

[ocr errors]

3. We believe, that God, "who worketh all in all," can and does teach his own truth, through his written word, and through the testimony of his sons,-therefore,

4. We believe it is proper, that we should state, as witnesses for God, the fundamental articles of our own faith.


5. We believe, there is none good but one, that is God,' that all the righteousness in the universe is God's righteousness.

6. We believe, that God's righteousness may be revealed in his creatures, as a man's spirit is revealed in the motion of his body.

7. We believe, that "the works of the flesh, [that is, human nature,] are adultery, uncleanness, envyings, strife, and such like" only.


8. We believe, that all attempts to produce better results from human nature, by instruction and legal discipline, only increase the evil,-inasmuch as they refine and disguise, without removing it.

19. We believe, that the Son of God was manifested in human nature for the purpose of destroying, (not reforming,) the works of the flesh, and revealing the righteousness of God.

10. We believe, that the righteousness of God was never revealed in human nature, till the birth of Jesus Christ.

11. We believe, that the object of all God's dealings with the human race before the birth of Christ, was, not to promote the righteousness of the flesh, that is, self-righteousness, that is, the perfection of sin; but to prepare the way for the manifestation of his own righteousness through Jesus Christ, hence,

12. We believe, that the righteousness of the saints, under the law before Christ, was only a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things,' bearing a relation to the true righteousness of God, like that of a type to its anti-type.

13. We believe, that the servants of God under the law, by submission to the discipline of the dispensation in which they lived, were prepared for, and became heirs of the righteousness of God, afterward revealed by Jesus Christ.

14. We believe, that, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself,'-that the union of human and divine nature in him, made the righteousness of God accessible to all men.

15. We believe, that Christ is properly called the second Adam, and as the human race in spirit is one body, that he became, by his incarnation, the light that lighteth every man.'

16. We believe, that all who are apprized by the gospel of the fact, that the Son of God has come, and thereby called to choose whether they will hold the fallen or the risen Adam as their head.

17. We believe, that faith alone receives, and unbelief alone rejects the blessings given to man by the second Adam,-by faith men awake to a perception of the truth as it is in Christ,-unbelief is the devil's dream.

18. We believe, that Christ, as he is in his resurrection and glory, is given to every member of the human race.

19. We believe, that all the faith, righteousness, liberty and glory of the risen Son of God, are given to every man.

20. We believe, that Christ in his incarnation was made under the law,' and that the Christian dispensation did not commence, în any sense, till he ascended up on high.

21. We believe, that none are Christians, in any sense, till they receive Christ in his resurrection,-hence,

22. We believe, that the disciples of Christ, during his personal ministry in the flesh, were not Christians.

[ocr errors]

23. We believe, that Christ in the resurrection is free from sin, from the law, from all ordinances, and from death; hence, all who are subject to any of these, are not properly called Christians, as not having attained the hope of their calling.

24. We believe, that the history which the Bible contains of the church after Christ's ascension, commonly called the primitive church, is a history rather of the latter-day glory of Judaism, than of the commencement of Christianity.

25. We believe, that the apostles and primitive believers, so far as they were subject to sin, law, and death, were Jews and not Christians,

26. We believe, that Christ plainly and repeatedly promised to his disciples, that he would come to them a second time, and complete their salvation within the life-time of some of his immediate followers.

[ocr errors]

27. We believe that the primitive church, living in the transition period, from the first to the second coming of Christ, were more or less partakers of the resurrection, holiness, liberty, and glory of Christ according to their faith.

28. We believe, that at the destruction of Jerusalem, the end of the Jewish dispensation, Christ came to believers the second time according to his promise.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

29. We believe, that, at the period of the second coming of Christ, Christianity, or the kingdom of heaven, properly begun.

30. We believe, that this was the period of the full development of the NEW COVENANT, (Heb. viii,) which secures to believers perfect and eternal salvation from sin, full freedom from written law, and human instruction.


31. We believe, that the whole body of Christ, that is, the church, attained the perfect resurrection of the spiritual body at his second coming.

32. We believe, that Antichrist, at the same period, attained the perfect resurrection of damnation.

33. We believe, that this was the period of the commencement of the judgment, (CRISIS, see the Greek,) of this world.

34. We believe, that after this period, the salvation given to all men in Jesus Christ, included nothing less than a perfect and eternal salvation from sin, a perfect redemption from the law and legal instruction, -a perfect resurrection of the spiritual body, and a standing on the plain of eternity beyond the judgment."

In the winter of 1836-7, I preached a course of lectures to Christians in the church of which I was then pastor in the eity of New York, which were reported by the editor of the New York Evangelist and published in his paper. Soon af ter they were published in that form, they were published in a volume, and went into extensive circulation both in Europe and America. Among these lectures were two on the subject of christian perfection or entire sanctification, from Matthew 5: 48-"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

In the first of these lectures I endeavored to show

I. What perfection the text does not and what it does require.

II. That this perfection is a duty.

III. That this perfection is attainable in this life.

IV. I proceeded to answer objections.

I regarded the perfection demanded by the text as consisting in entire obedience of heart and life to the law of God. And so I taught. I then proceeded to show that this state of obedience is attainable in this life. The remainder of this and the following lecture were occupied in answering objections to the doctrine of the first discourse. These lectures were soon spread before thousands of readers. Whatever was thought of them, I heard not a word of objection to the doctrine from any quarter. If any was made it did not, to my recollection, come to my knowledge.

In the year 1840, President Mahan published a small work on the subject of christian perfection. Several pieces had

previously been published by him and myself in the Oberlin Evangelist upon the same subject. Prof. Cowles about the same time published a series of articles in the Oberlin Evangelist upon the subject of entire sanctification in this life which were soon after their first appearance collected and published in a small volume. Nearly at the same time I published a course of lectures in the same paper which were soon also put in a volume by themselves. We all three of us gave a definition of christian perfection or entire sanctification, amounting in substance to the same thing, making it to consist in entire consecration to God, and entire obedience to the law, and supported the attainability of this state in this life by substantially the same course of argument. We agreed in stating the attainability of this state as the thing which we proposed to prove, and to the proof of which we shaped our whole course of argument. The attainability of this state we attempted to establish by many arguments, among which are the following.

1. We argued the possibility of attaining this state from the fact that God expressly commands it.

2. From the fact that man by virtue of his moral agency is naturally able fully to obey God.

3. From the fact that provisions are made in the gospel for the entire sanctification of believers in this life.

4. From the fact that we are commanded to pray in faith for the entire sanctification of believers in this.

5. From the fact that Christ and the apostles prayed for this. 6. From the fact that the entire sanctification of believers. in this life is expressly promised in Scripture.

Bro. Mahan and myself especially urged the attainability of this state not only from the foregoing and many other considerations, but also from the fact that this state has been attained, and instanced Paul the apostle as an example of this attainment.



Immediately upon the publication of the above named works, the public journals opened a battery upon us, strangely and I must say unaccountably confounding our views with those of the antinomian perfectionists. What analogy was discernible between our own views as set forth in our writings and those of the antinomian perfectionists as expressed in their own formula of doctrine, as above, I am utterly at a loss to understand. But it was insisted that we were of that school and denomination, notwithstanding the greatest painstaking on one part to make the public acquainted with our

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »