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would rob us of a God who is love? Does it not just amount to this : “The Gospel cannot mean what some idly suppose, that God would have each sinner saved, and would not have him perish : the fact is, sinners have perished, and shall perish-all but the few who are compelled to come in, according to a purpose of eternal election--and this proves what the mind of God
But the object of the Christian's faith is a mountain summit fixed high above these earth-born clouds, which draw their being from the marshes of that evil which is not of the Father, but of the world ; above time and events, and plans and purposes, yea, even the plans and purposes of God (for these, too, are of events in time, and are their seed);-above space, and form, and history, or the ancient prototype of all that fills them, itself modified, limited, moulded by the limits of temporal and local things—the Christian reaches, to deposit his own soul's hopes, and the hopes of his race, in the calm region of eternal, moral, spiritual truth, that holy of holies, to which the church and the universe are the sanctuary and the outer court. He proves the sincerity of his belief that God is holy, by believing that it cannot be the will of God that he should be unholy; thus learning to say, This is the will of God, even my sanctification. He proves the sincerity of his belief that God is love, by believing that it cannot be the will of God that he should perish.
But we may well conceive that those of far other spirit than mere polemics, or mere scribes, may say, Truly this were a high attainment, and were much honour done to moral and spiritual truth, and to its infinite being in the Being of God; but how is it to be reached through the tumult and fighting of very opposite appearances? We admit it a high and difficult attainment, most unlike the process by which the worldly man reaches his confidence, intelligent and systematic, of gaining worldly good; and prepares for himself either success, the parent of pride; or regrets, the base-born children of hope uniting with worldly care. A high attainment-for far be it from us to underrate the difficulties, to overcome which God sent a Champion for mankind destroying the works of the devil. We will not speak untruth for God; we will not deny many appearances against him, many misgivings and tremblings, when the hand attempts to grasp the truth that God's will is not to be judged truly by every thing which passes into facts and events. But if the difficulty be great, the remedy is proportionate,-Christ, bis birth, his death, his burial, his risen life, his eternal perfection of human goodness. None, believing him to be truly man, and truly the best of men, can doubt that the sinfulness and misery of any are against his will ; and He and the Father are one.
Let us ask ourselves, if we be sincere in thinking that the highest expressions of devotional rapture have fallen short in the utterance of gratitude and admiration for his labours and sufferings. Let us ask, then, what ground for admiration and gratitude, but the belief that the simple sincerity of love prompted him to the dreadful task; love unwilling that sinners should perish, rejoicing in the prospect of their holy welfare. And let us think again, is it credible, is it human, that one capable of living and dying thus for any of those whom he saw truly in the mean deformity of their wickedness, could be indifferent to the eternal misery of any one of their fellow-sinners? Is it human ? Can the same heart be capable of this intensity of love and of this hardenedness of indifference ?-But shall not God take vengeance? Yes, he shall take vengeance by the Man whom he hath appointed ; but he shall do it out of justice: not out of indifference, not out of malignity, but of justice; which shall be magnified in proportion as the objects on whom descends its red right hand are dear to him: justice that never would have come forth, that would have belied her name and nature by coming forth, save as the avenger of insulted and rejected love.--Still may the heart which has not yet known the character of God to be a rock, while it admits that God may bear it love, and therefore have no pleasure in its death, and that the holy God may desire its holiness, suggest that even this is not enough: for the very existence of misery and sin, in spite of this the will of God, teaches us to suppose some difference between that case in which God's will is resisted and that in which it is yielded to. Now, happily, to this important question a distinct answer can be given: the will of God revealed in Christ as holy love, has been revealed for the express purpose that the faith of it might constitute the very difference thus sought after. The whole word of God is a continued call to trust in him, absolutely to trusta call to all people to trust at all times—a call, in short, to possess, maintain, and hold fast that very assurance of all real good, present and future, from God, which is too often dreaded or contemned. Now, just as the acts in which a friend proves his character, open up to me a basis in him on which, when he asks me in any instance to confide in him, I rest my confidence of future services and justifications of my trust; so has the work of God in Christ shewn me a rest. But that work was done for this very purpose, that the confidence, not only permitted, but required as a duty, might be encouraged by it: and what an encouragement it is to know, that God, whose commands honestly express his desires, has commanded me to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to this very end, that I might further obey him by giving up to him my temporal and eternal all, and know. ing it to be safe in his hands! The difficulty, in short, that may remain in a mind believing in God's holiness, as willing its holiness; in God's love, as willing its well-being; and yet not knowing how it shall individually come to their actual enjoyment, is removed by seeing that the very knowledge of them and rest in them is God's way for conveying their enjoyment. And, indeed, much of the perplexity on this subject arises from regarding unbelief as a passive thing, a submitting to the consequences of an unhappy want; and faith as an active thing, a putting forth of strength to change ourselves, our circumstances, and the relation of God to us. Now the very reverse is truth: unbelief is rebellious activity for the attainment of an object which we cannot leave in the hands of God, our own happiness : and its punishment is the fruit of its own doing; the creature of unbelief, not the creature of God: its worm, its own worm, dieth not; its fire is not quenched. Faith is the cessation of independent activity for objects resigned to God; it is the man who knows he cannot swim in this flood, ceasing the struggle that might drown him, because he knows his passive body will be borne up safely by the waters. The will of God is bearing all things that yield to it towards the joy of their Lord. He who knows this, ceases to strive with it and provide against it, and is borne on unresistingly towards the blessedness to which it presses to carry him.
A. J. SCOTT.
THE OUT-POURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
It is a remarkable phenomenon in the human mind, to pray,
fervently, and for a long course of time, for certain things which when granted are either despised or hated. The fables of Æsop have rendered this characteristic familiar to us from our earliest years, and shew the same general law to belong to our species as much under one mode of moral culture as under another. The pamphlet of Mr. J. H. Stewart must be well known to most of our readers, in which he urges the Christian church to pray in especial meetings for the out-pouring of the Holy Ghost, founding his exhortation upon the promise in Joel. Mr. Way replied to this pamphlet, and pointed out from the context that that passage referred to the Jewish people, although an earnest of it in a measure had been given to the Gentiles at Pentecost. In this we think that Mr. Way was more correct : but Mr. Stewart would have taken up an invulnerable position if he had founded his argument upon the fact of the Christian dispensation being at all times one and the same ; and that, consequently, the church had a right, nay, it was her duty, to use those gifts with which God had endowed her at one period, as well as at another : and if she ever found herself without them, she ought to have
continued instant in prayer until they were restored. Mr. Stewart was so strongly impressed with the importance of his view, that he circulated many papers upon the same subject; dropping, however, the reference to Joel, and urging the duty on general principles. A very considerable number of churches and individuals followed his counsel; several Dissenting magazines took up the subject also, although on different grounds, and with different objects : so that it is not to be doubted that the voices and hearts of many thousands ascended to the Throne of Grace, that the presence of the Holy Ghost might be made more manifest in the church of Christ at present in these lands. Although this measure was considered culpable and visionary by many-so much so that Mr. Stewart found great difficulty in obtaining licence for a renewal of his chapel-there is no ground for denying that the promises and gifts which were given to the first Christians are our inheritance also ; and, believing that this subject is ill understood amongst Christians at the present day, we deem it serviceable to the church to bring the question under its consideration.
We have often had occasion to shew, that the leading difference between the Popish and the Protestant apostasies-the apostasies of the latter, and of the last days-consists in this; that the former smothered, obscured, and defaced the truth; while the latter denies it altogether. Hence, too, there was longsuffering, and offer to repentance, held out for the one; while nothing but quick destruction awaits the other. In the present instance, as in all others, the continuance of supernatural powers in the church is rightly maintained by the Church of Rome, as a point of orthodox doctrine, although the liquefaction of Januarius's blood is an abominable falsehood.
Amongst other ways in which the prayer of so large a body of Christians for the out-pouring of the Holy Ghost has been answered, the gift of interpreting prophecy, and of imparting the knowledge of it to others, was formerly mentioned in this journal. This gift is second only to that of Apostleship, and is consequently the highest but one which men in weak and corruptible tlesh are capable of receiving. It is on this account, doubtless, that it excites greater scorn and ridicule, not only from the profane world, but from false, or at least carnal, professors, and disputatious controversialists, than the gifts of faith, or hope, or charity, or indeed than any other :-although it is to be granted that there is a difference between gifts and graces ; the former meaning external, and the latter internal manifestations of the Spirit; the latter consequently being also unknown to, or at least but imperfectly cognisable by, other men. But we apprehend that that prayer has had a yet more extended answer; and that Mr. Stewart, and those who have followed his advice, bave produced an effect for which neither he nor they, -and we are bound to acknowledge, not we ourselves—were prepared.
In order to understand this matter aright, the attention of the reader must be earnestly given to this extract from a recent publication :
“ The following remarks are offered under a deep conviction of the importance of the subject treated in the passage of Holy Writ which forms their basis. It is said of our Lord in the lxviii th Psalm, ' Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that God, Jan, might dwell among them. In the inspired narratives of the days of the Lord's flesh are many anticipations of the bestowal of these gifts, when he should have ascended on high. ' He spoke of the Spirit that should be given.' * The Spirit was not yet, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.' ' In the proclamation of his titles made by his forerunner, none was more conspicuous than Baptizer with the Holy Ghost. In the prospect of parting from his brethren, no reason for his departure was found so sufficient, no consolation so powerful, as the procuring from the Father the mission of another Comforter. And when all power was given him in heaven and in earth, the Father glorified Jesus by commencing the days of the Holy Ghost. These days are the Christian dispensation. Men have chosen certain parts of the promises regarding the heavenly gift, and rejected others so interwoven that consistency would have taken all, or rejected all: they have confounded faith, the teaching of the Father, and charity, 'a more excellent way, with the gifts of the Holy Ghost : they have invented distinctions of ordinary and extraordinary, saving and miraculous. Finally, in a presumptuous dread of the confidence of faith, they have so spoken of the presence of the Spirit, as though it were an obscure and uncertain thing, that men calling themselves spiritual are habituated to the searing familiarity of thinking that the Holy Ghost may be in them, and themselves never awed, never strengthened, never raised above the world, by knowing that the Holy Ghost is in them of a truth. Under the belief of the falsity of that reasoning in behalf of Revelation which represents that which alone the Scriptures call the gift of the Holy Ghost, as designed merely once for all to stamp credit on a book : under the belief that the church is Christ's resident ambassador to the world, always needing a commission as authoritative and plenipotentiary as at first; believing in no divine power but miraculous power ; in no gifts but extraordinary gifts; in no presence of the Spirit but å direct, immediate, supernatural manifestation of the living God in the person of Christ's members, we cannot but regard the church as at present existing as being, at best, a temple without a Shechinah, without Urim and Thummim. These hints are so far from exhausting