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You might as well think that the obedience must be rendered as the Ethiopian can change his skin, as criterion of any one loving God. suppose it possible that man by But since men have already vionature can love God. Can he love lated the law, their future obediholiness when he delights in sin, ence must be null and void, were and is held by it-can he love the it ever so perfect. Justice requires law that condemns him-can he that the law, from the time of its inlove the lawgiver that threatens fringement shall work wrath ; which him and frowns him from his pre- in fact is the origin of all the evil sence ?
that presents itself either felt or And yet it is absolutely neces- witnessed ; it is all the result of a
must learn this violated law. Christ, it is true, temper if he is to dwell beyond the became a curse for us, in one sense ; skies after death; he must learn to but it is equally true, that we live love God then. There are not a in a world under condemnation,few who know this truth and value as every world, how fair soever, it beyond all price ; and it is very must be that “lieth in wickedevident that all who would be ness.” The world generally, has happy must seek to know it in been penetrated with light; but time. How shall we get this light if not improved, adds to the knowledge, how shall we learn a curse under which unbelievers lie, better spirit than that which leaves when they will not come unto us only more wretched than before? Christ to have life, Men
may Can it be that our Maker denies it perish, and alas are perishing in to any of his creatures, seeing that unnumbered thousands in the midst it is not in one of us by nature ? of light, sinning against light, conCan he and will he bestow it, demned because they had light; though we have never yet served and were not the better for light : him aright, never yet manifested
" this is the condemnation, men any better temper than that of loved darkness better than light, bondage ? If we are in earnest, because their works were evil.” this should be the frame of mind And thus we have another inin which we seek some method of stance of man's miraculous misreceiving a blessing. But where take; thus we learn that knowis it to be sought and how ? In ledge of duty is not the same as the first place do we understand the performance, or in any way what we want. Do we wish for connected intimately with it: the some motives to obedience. If we regeneration of individuals, like do, then we must seek them, not that of our species, in the aggrein ourselves, but in him who re- gate, is nothing forwarded by quires that implicit obedience. civilization, without religious moThere is no pretence that the law tives and religious influence. is not to be satisfied.
In the case of these Ephesian not to destroy, but to fulfil the converts, it was necessary that law. “ If ye love me,” said they should be reminded to walk the Saviour whom Moses typi- worthy of the vocation wherewith fied when the law was given on they were called-worthy of the Sinai, “if ye love me, ye will teaching which they had received. keep my commandments." Now
They, in their life and conduct his word expressly declares, “ that were to present a contrast to other he is the same yesterday, to- Gentiles who walked in the vanity day, and for ever.”
of their mind, aliens from the life we read, “ I am the Lord, [ of God. They had not so learned change not,”
,” and yet further- Christ. They had been taught “ He abideth faithful;
their need of Him by the law
which served to give the knowledge hearts. It was a deliverance; beof sin : “ The law was a school- cause if left alone, they would master, to bring them to Christ.” have continued as the other GenIt was not in themselves to seek tiles, God only making them to Him; it was not in themselves to differ. It was a deliverance, because learn of Him. There is that over- if not preserved by grace omnipowhelming blindness in the natural tent, they would have returned in heart, that keeps men ignorant heart to Egypt, and the house of though Christ is an all-sufficient spiritual bondage. It was a deTeacher. Light is come into the liverance, because they were not world ; but men are blinded, so as abandoned to the curse of a violated to glory in their ignorance of reve- law which worketh wrath. It was lation because it only condemns a deliverance, because they had them,-Christ being the way, the not received the spirit of bondage, truth, and the life, pre-eminently, which compelled them to fear, and solely :if men reject Him, they when they had it once-not that wander, are deceived, and perish. again. They had been brought He that rejects Christ shall not into the glorious liberty of the see life," the wrath of God children of God-not a liberty abideth on him.” But the Apostle which allows sin, but liberty which declares of those to whom he admits of holiness, and renders it wrote, that they had been taught possible of all attainment. If Adam by him. Therefore their hearts before the fall was free to do good, had been softened ; stubborn pride -the second Adam was undeniahad been dishonoured; unbelief bly so; and if our great surety, had been exchanged for humble pattern and guide were free to do resolute faith; many a mountain good, -it follows that His people obstacle had been removed ; and when the glorious work is perit might seem a thing easy of per- fected in them are free also, and formance that the old man, which in this sense servants --not to sin is corrupt according to deceitful but to holiness, We need not lusts should be put off, and that trouble ourselves with the question they being renewed in the spirit of of man's free agency in the abstract. their mind, might put on the new Enough for us, that the Apostle man, which after God is created exhorts those to whom he writes, (by power more than natural,) in as if they were free to "put away righteousness and true holiness. lying ” (as in the verse following) By whatever means, in whatever and to speak every man truth with way, all this was to be brought his neighbour ; free to abstain from about, it was absolutely, indispen- stealing,-free to work the thing sably necessary. Other blessings which is good, and to give to him connected with conversion might that needeth,- free to abstain from follow, and doubtless would follow, corrupt communications,--free to
- but this was a blessing which cherish the opposite graces,-free cast all others into the shade ; to abstain from grieving the Holy withoutit man had better never have Spirit,- free to put away all bitbeen born, than live unchanged, terness, and wrath, and anger, and and come to an accursed end ; with- clamour, and evil speaking, with out it, eternal life would prove all malice, and to be kind, tenderbut eternal anguish. Having this hearted, forgiving one another, even blessing they had escaped that as God for Christ's sake had forperil; being taught of Christ they given them. If the renewed man were not left in the darkness of has not this freedom, neither are antheir understandings; they were gels free; they serve God in that delivered from the blindness of their perfection of holiness which the
great and good Creator intended ty—to endeavour to answer it with when He made them; in the other all patience; not even to rest satiscase there is a righteousness im- fied then, but if we find it with us puted to the believer, and a strength otherwise than we could wish, we made perfect in weakness. If it ought to desire the mighty change, be said that the apostle Paul ex- as that which alone marks us out claims against the “body of death” as those who have learnt Christ. as if he were not delivered from it; That desire ought to arrest all our it should be remembered that he faculties ; it ought to summon all subsequently declares that the our efforts; it ought to keep alive law of the Spirit of life in Christ from time to time our relaxing Jesus (Rom. vii, viii.) had made energies. It is not enough that we him free. And in what did that are called by the name of Christ ; freedom consist ? Was he not we might as well to all intents and free from the law of sin and
purposes be called by the name of death ? (v. 2.) For, he goes on to Mahommed unless, Christ being say,
6. for what the law could not formed in us the hope of glory, we do, in that it was weak through are cultivating the spirit of Christ. the flesh, God sending his own If any man have it not, “ He is Son in the likeness of sinful none of His ;” because if Christ flesh, and for
for sin condemned be our great Teacher, that man sin in the flesh." And for what has never learnt of Him-has purpose ? “ That the righteousness never yet been taught what the of the law might be fulfilled, (not law requires : Christ in his gospel obviated,) in us who walk not after alone can teach it, and in that the flesh, but after the Spirit.” sense he is alive without the law. Now all this is perfectly consistent It may be in his possession, it may with what our Lord himself says be mastered by the understanding ; concerning the power of the truth, but it has been a dead letter to in other words His own infallible which the heart has been a stranteaching : “ the truth shall make ger. And yet that man professes you free.”
to have learnt Christ, calls himWe may take it therefore as a self his disciple, owns his ignocriterion, whether or not any one rance of many things, and acknowhas been taught of Christ : is he ledges that Christ is an all-sufficient still in bondage to the beggarly Teacher. How is it that he is elements, which the child of God still
still in darkness ? Has he not put must not make the ground of his himself in the way of getting light hope, or is he the servant of holi
poured upon his understanding ? ness, being free from sin ? Is the Brethren, if we make a difficulty spirit of bondage still prevailing of this, every thing which we and keeping him an alien from the witness in the experience of divine commonwealth of Israel; per
of Israel; per things, will seem anomaly plexing him with the knowledge equally as striking. Is it not what of religious duties, without motive we see every day exemplified ? to the performance, save
those Has not sin such power, and our which are unworthy of one who nature such frailty, that unnumbears the name of Christ; or in bered circumstances such as this the place of this temper has he
may be found ?
We know that received the spirit of adoption. outward observances often find And since the question is one of their votaries among those who moment, one in which we never think of inward devotedness. all interested, it becomes us to It is so in society at large, it is so in propose it to our own hearts and that narrower circle in which reconsciences, with all possible fideli- ligion is more openly professed
as the badge that distinguishes a clude them from the presence of party. Religion has nothing to do their Maker. But wisdom is juswith the follies of one class or the tified of her children : they have other. There are many, I cannot not so learned Christ, as to remain doubt, whom the world considers without His Spirit. as no better than themselves, and Now brethren, it were well to only following the multitude in the ask ourselves, in what way we eager pursuit of worldly advantage, have learned Christ; are we bondbut who have received an unction slaves, or those whom the truth bath from the Holy One, by which they made free? Let every one here understand all things relating to satisfy himself on this point, and their peace; and by which they let him not delay. Let every one are by some miracle of deliverance here say to himself, it is essentially kept from the evil that is in the
necessary that I know my real world, and eventually brought off state before that God to whom, more than conquerors over such my reason tells me, as well as overwhelming contingencies. And, revelation, I am accountable for on the other hand, there are many the light I possess. Have I any false professors of religion among real and lasting advantage from my those, who with every religious knowledge of Christ? If I were advantage, and every chance in to go hence and be no more seen, their favour, so to speak, having what would revelation profit me ? shut themselves out from the How has the day of grace been world, have never had that depra- spent by me? If it found me a vity removed which nullifies every debtor to the divine law, and unChristian ordinance, makes re- der its wrath, would it leave me ligious privileges leave them still so still, and so Christ be made of unblessed, and must finally ex- none effect as far as I am concerned ?
UNTHANKFULNESS A HINDRANCE TO CHURCH
The following comment of the we ought to do. God hath given pious and excellent Samuel Hieron a long time of rest to us in this on Psalm li. 19, appears to me
nation, during all which time, in so appropriate to the existing state places where the means have been of things amongst ourselves, that I afforded, there hath been a comcannot but wish to see it reprinted fortable liberty for all men to give in the Christian Guardian, The their due attendance at the posts of work from which it was taken was the Lord's doors, and for the published in 1617.
spouse of Christ to pasture by the
tents of the shepherds. We have Then shalt thou be pleased with
not been fain to do as Christians of the sacrifices of righteousness; with
our profession in other countries, burnt-offering and whole burnt
to assemble by stealth, and privily, offering; then shall they offer bul
in vaults, and woods; or else to locks upon thine altar.
go armed to the churches, for the • At wbat a high rate we ought prevention of some sudden surto value this freedom and liberty prise. The re-edifiers of Jeruof serving God publicly in peace !.. salem after the captivity, with one We are herein for the most part
hand did the work with the exceeding faulty, even that we trowel, and with the other held the esteem not this mercy of God as sword; (Nehemiah iv. 17.) we are not put to any such strait. There Then shall they offer calves upon be many
of God's dear servants in thine altar, and shall the gates of the world, who if they might, thine house stand open, and there would redeem the one half of our shall be free access unto thine freedom, even with the most of altars ; and let us labour for the their estates. But how do we same affections.
Oh, that we reckon of it? I do but appeal in would once truly thank God for the fear of God, and in his sight the glorious gospel of his Son; unto your souls and consciences, to and that for the sound of trumpets, say
When did we rouse up our and roaring of cannons, which our spirits, when we have been in neighbours in other countries have meditation by ourselves, to thank been used to,* we have had the God for the liberty of his gospel, noise of bells calling us to the for the free use of his word, for house of God, to be partakers of the peace of profession? The his word. . . . . Alas, (I know not truth is, there be many things how) plenty hath made us wanton, wanting amongst us, many defects and the ordinances of God begin and blemishes in matters of the even to wax stale; men can let pass church; but I am persuaded, if we and neglect many opportunities, were more thankful than we be for and oft-times let the altars of God so much as is enjoyed, God would be naked
small occasions. go on in his mercy to us: but be- If once God should shew himself cause of our general unthankfulness angry with Sion, and lay down the herein, and our not prizing the walls of Jerusalem, it may be we goodness of God, as it doth de- would then desire to see one of the serve, we are more like to be days of the Son of Man, but shall deprived of that we have than to not see it: (Luke xvii. 22.) so is enjoy more. Why should the Lord the Lord wont to punish, not to suffer us to see more of Sion's give that which is desired, when beauty, who are not so in love being given, it is not valued as is with this we see as we should ? I fiti' beseech
let us think with what heart David spake this here,
* Alluding to the state of the French Protestants in those times.
BY THE REV. PREBENDARY TOWNSEND,
The following observations on the which that duty is taught in the duty of preaching without reserve pages of revelation, and enforced the doctrine of the Atonement, in the services of our Church. appear in a charge delivered by • Our ministry, my Christian the Rev. Prebendary Townsend, brethren, is the ministry of reconto the Clergy and Churchwardens ciliation to God. It is the office of the peculiar of Allerton.
of effecting the reconciliation of « Before I mention the error to
man to God. Before reconciliawhich I allude, and the arguments, tion there must have been enmity. if such they may be called, by Man by reason of sin was at enwhich it is defended, I will sub- mity with God. This enmity arose mit to you the view I have always from two sources, fear because of taken of the one great duty of a guilt, and fear because of the conclergyman, and the manner in sciousness of continued sin. Our