Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

We will only observe cursorily, what will hereafter be shewn more at large, that St. Peter thought it not only possible, but necessary, to say something more to those who were “ elect through the sanctification of the spirit.” * ..

He did not caution them against humility, but required them to be “clothed”: with it. He did not puff them up with a persuasion that their salvation was accomplished, but said, “If ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear."* And again—" Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth, through the spirit, unto unfeigning love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently, being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."*

Thus did that truly-inspired evangelist exhort even those who had been “ born again,” and “had purified their souls in obeying the truth, through the spirit,” to love and to good works. Nay, he admonished them “ to pass the time of their sojourning here in fear;” and for this weighty reason, because “the Father without respect of persons, judgeth according to every man's work.”

But this, we are now told, is not gospel-doctrine; this is not preaching Christ! The spirit

* 1 Peter, c. i. v. 2. v. 17. v. 22, 23.

of modern evangelism has superseded that which spake in time past by the prophets and apostles, and the Son of God himself. This seducing spirit speaks a different language from that of St. Peter, the rock on whom our Lord promised to build his church, and vainly endeavours to prevail against it. “ Are you born of God, then heaven is yours. The righteousness of Christ is your title to it, but herein is your fitness for it. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God; it follows, therefore, if he be born again, he shall see it. God has made you to differ from the mass of mankind."*

* Village Sermons, vol. vii. p. 84, 85.

1. CHAPTER VII. .

THE ERROR OF METHODISTS IN CONFOUNDING CAUSAL AND FINAL JUSTIFICATION.-THE LATTER SHEWN TO DEPEND ON THE PRACTICE OF CHRISTIANITY.UNION WITH CHRIST NO UNFAILING ASSURANCE OP IT, ACCORDING TO ST. PAUL AND ST. PETER.-MORAL FITNESS A REQUISITE QUALIFICATION FOR THE DIVINE FAVOUR. - THE CLERGY CALUMNIATED AS PREACHERS OF NEW DOCTRINES.-OPINIONS. THAT WERE HELD IN THE REIGNS OF ELIZABETH AND JAMES 1. UPON THIS SUBJECT, AS RECORDED BY FULLER AND STRYPE.

THE great and fundamental error which betrays, the Methodists into these false and dangerous opinions, appears to be this: they do not distinguish the general and unlimited act of mercy, even the atonement, which justifies all who believe the gospel, from the particular influence of divine grace, which accompanies those only who continue in the practice of religious duty, or having neglected it, repent and amend their doings, and thus become qualified for the recompense of the just.

To throw a fuller light, therefore, on the point at issue between us, it will be necessary to touch briefly on the doctrine of justification, which although it be a separate article, is intimately connected with this subject.

Causal or present, and final or future justification, are two things: the first is the work of God's mere grace, the last depends subordinately on the will of man. “ The word Arxaion," says * Parkhurst, † “ is most usually applied to evangelical justification ; to justify, to esteem, pronounce, or declare just or righteous, to acquit or

* Lexicon ad verb:

+ The authority of this learned and pious man will hardly be disputed; and his humility, the usual attendant of true excellence, well deserves the notice, and challenges the imitation of those who are little acquainted with that eminent christian virtue. “ For my own part,” be says, “as long as I continue on this side the grave, I expect and desire to continue in the condition of a learner. Sufficient, abundantly sufficient honour is it for me,” he modestly subjoins, “ if I have been able, for the benefit of all who understand English, to produce a tolerable Hebrew Lexicon, and such as may initiate my readers in the true knowledge of the Hebrew scriptures. But why speak I of honour or reputation among men? Alas! the fashion of this world passeth away; which great and indisputable truth should remind us all " to seek that honour which cometh of God only.” May I then express, an humble hope, that my labours in this blessed harvest will be graciously remembered by the Lord of that harvest, and yield me comfort in that day, which cannot be very distant, when all creaturecomforts will and must fail; and He alone, who expired upon the cross, can, through the consolations of the eternal spirit, support the pardoned sinner. - Preface to Heb. Lexicon, p. 1x. glasno monftabrolisi

If this quotation, the matter of which is so truly evangelical, should induce one preacher, who arrogates that title, to consult the letter, and imbibe the spirit of this pious interpreter of holy writ, it may happily recover a 'soul from the error of his way. in

[ocr errors]

absolve from past offences, and accept as just to the reward of righteousness. In this view it is plainly a forensic term. It is in the New Tes* tament applied either to present justification in this life, Acts xiii. 39. Rom. v. 1, 9. viii. 33. 1 Cor. vi. 11. Tit. iii. 6. James ii. 21, 24, 25. et alibi; or to final justification at the last day, Matt. xii. 37. comp. Romans ij. 13.

This distinction harmonizes many passages of scripture, which, without it, might be thought repugnant to each other.

If it be considered that the community of Christians was a new state, or society, from which Jews and Gentiles were alike aliens, and strangers to the covenant of promise, * proposed to them by the gospel : but that “ now through Christ, both have access by one spirit unto the Father, and are therefore no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God:” † It will not be difficult to understand the value of that blessing which is granted to us on our admission into the “ covenant of promise :” a blessing of inestimable worth; for by that grace, we are saved through faith. We should have still remained far off from the communion of saints, “ having no hope, and without God in the world,” had we not been thus made “ fellow heirs and partakers of the divine promise in Christ, by the gospel.” I. To this privilege we are entitled

* Eph. ii. 12. + Id. 18, 19. Id. iii. 6.

« AnteriorContinuar »