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we are capable of reflecting, judging, reasoning, and determining; that celestial emanation of divinity, which makes us bear the image of God, who is a spirit. By soul they understood that animal principle of life and motion, which is in some sort common to man with brutes, and which is the fountain of all our sensual appetites and inclinations.
However, without entering into the propriety of this distinction *, it is sufficiently clear, that St. Pauli means, by these words, the whole and entire man, with all his faculties and operations. The first rule therefore deducible from them is, that a' Christian's integrity must be universal, must extend to every faculty of his soul and body, all of which must be preserved blameless, as far as human infirmity will permit..sa
It will not therefore be sufficient for us to change one part only, to have some good thoughts, to resist some passions, to abstain from some sins, or to perform some good actions. No: the whole life of a Christian, the whole entire man, with all his faculties, thoughts, inclinations, and judgments, his whole spirit, soul, and body, must be devoted to the service
# Vide Le Clerc, Whitby, &c.
of God and man, or else he cannot be preserved blameless.
The second part of this prayer of St. Paul for the Thessalonians is, that they may be preserved blameless before God.
A prayer truly important and interesting! For we may appear blameless before men; we may do our alms before men; we may seem unto men to fast; the uplifted eye or bended knee may have the semblance of devotion; in short, we may appear outwardly to be fair and virtuous, and yet within, like whited sepulchres, be full of rottenness and all uncleanness. should remember, that God seeth not as man seeth. The eye of mortality discerns not be yond the surface of things; but the eye of Omnipotence pierceth the very reins and heart. If therefore we would reach St. Paul's idea of Christian perfection, we must lay aside the mask of hypocrisy, we must strip off every disguise, and walk before God in sincerity and truth, without which we cannot be blameless before him.
Thirdly, our holiness must be attended with constancy and perseverance. This is St. Paul's meaning, when he prays “ that the Thessalo" nians may be preserved blameless before God, “ uñto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” For it is not enough to start in the Christian race, unless we also persevere in it to the end. We may remember, that our Saviour's language is, " blessed is that servant, whom his lord, “ when he cometh, shall find so doing.” And assuredly those, and those only, will be blessed, whose days are crowned with a firm and unshaken piety, and whose virtue ends not but with their lives. A consideration highly deserving the attention of those who have been trained in their early years in the ways of virtue and piety, but in a more advanced age, fall into divers lusts and temptations, which draw them from their duty, and will, in the end, drown them in eternal perdition: for as the prophet said of old, even so it is also now: “ when the
righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doth
according to all the abominations that the “ wicked man doth, shall he live? No: all his
righteousness that he hath done shall not be “ mentioned; in his trespass that he hath tres
passed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, " in them shall he die.” Such then is St. Paul's idea of Christian perfection: it must extend to the whole spirit, soul, and body; it must be blameless in the sight of God; and lastly, it
must continue to the last moment of our lives, “ to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
If such then be the importance of Christian holiness, we shall naturally be led to inquire, how it is to be obtained? The same Apostle will tell us.
For when he prays, that God would wholly sanctify the Thessalonians, he plainly points him out to us, as the author of that sanctification, which we are commanded to seek for by earnest prayer.
And various are the means, which God makes use of for this purpose. For, strictly speaking, every act of his providence, whether tending to promote our happiness or increase our misery, is an instrument in his hands to bring us to holiness. The principal, however, and more inmediate instruments for this purpose, are his word and the Holy Spirit.
By his word, he enlightens our minds, lays before us the most prevailing arguments, gives us the most salutary instructions, points out the most engaging examples, to lead and allure us to the practice of holiness: the word is therefore justly, on this account, called in scripture, the
power of God unto salvation, and an incorruptible seed.
But we are not to suppose, that God has done all he designs to do for us, when he causes the word of God to be preached among us, and the seed of the Gospel to be sown in our hearts. The scriptures farther teach us, that he not only acts outwardly upon us, by the preaching of the word, but also inwardly in our hearts,' by the power of his Spirit. This is what St. Luke means, when he tells us, “that the Lord opened “ the heart of Lydia, so that she attended unto “the things which were spoken by Paul." This is also what the writer to the Hebrews means, when, in his prayer for them, he says, “.the God of peace make you perfect in every “ good work to do his will, working in you “ that which is well-pleasing in his sight.” And St. Paul says, in the text, to the same purpose, " the very God of peace sanctify you wholly." All which expressions clearly suppose, that all is not done when the word is preached, but that still it remains for God, by his Holy Spirit, to give life to the seed sown, and make it bring forth fruit, some sixty fold, and some an hundred fold.
There are indeed some men, who, from the ridiculous notions which fanatics and enthusiasts hàve too often given of the operations of the Holy Spirit of God, have been unhappily led to