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they can add the testimony of their conscience that not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God they have their conversation among their people are actuated by right motives, governed by right principles, aiming at right ends in their work—with how unmoved mind may they, secure in the approval of Christ, listen to the anathema of man, knowing well that the curse causeless will never come. And their people may with a like confidence receive their ministrations, not doubting that of whom they learned the truth they may accept the signs of the Gospel—that through whom the grace of God reached their hearts, the blessing of God will rest on their worship.
If our Episcopalian brethren allege,—“Your churches are themselves disorderly, they cannot therefore originate and maintain an orderly ministry. They are in a schism which vitiates every thing connected with them—their fellowship, their ministry, their ordinances. And all this because of their separation from us the true body, the only church of Christ in this land, through whom alone any ecclesiastical connexion with the apostles can be maintained.” To this we reply, the separation from you commenced by our fathers, and continued by us, is necessary, lawful, and scriptural, It does not sever us from the apostles, it unites us to them. We have left you in nothing wherein you are apostolic. In those things wherein you are not apostolic we have left you that we might in them obey and imitate the apostles. The true fellowship with the apostles is maintained through their infallible writings, not through the traditions and practices of fallible men. The Scripture knows of no spiritual succession but that maintained by oneness of faith, and resemblance of character. They only are the seed of Abraham, who partake of the faith of Abraham. Your church set up in things divine, an authority to which conscience would not allow our fathers to submitthe authority of man. Your church sought to compel their submission to that authority by force and penalties. Your church employed these weapons to enforce the decisions of that authority in things confessedly subordinate and indifferent. Our fathers appealed from men to God; from canons of convocation and acts of parliament, to the Scriptures of the apostles. Herein we justify them. We assert that they did not lose, but gain a true apostolicity, a valid church status, by this course. They built, and we build on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. In this matter we cannot yield. We believe ourselves not inferior to you. We believe our entire difference from you, carries us so much nearer to the apostles. In this belief we refer the whole case to the supreme and final adjudication of the last day. “The Lord judge between us and you."
Yet would we walk in these things by rules of charity. It is not our judgment that precise, minute agreement in forms, is essential even to order, much less to validity in the Gospel ministry. We think there may be the substance of order—all that is essential to it—under diverN. S. VOL. VI.
sified forms of administration. Such differences seem to us occasions for forbearance, for charity. We may think the order adopted by other churches faulty, without concluding that it is utterly insufficient, much more without condemning as altogether invalid, the ministry that is thus deemed defective in forms aud modes. That ministry, under whatever forms appointed, we hail as valid, in which we can discern the purity of truth and the power of the Spirit, labour for the salvation of men, and zeal for the honour of Christ. With that ministry we are prepared to hold fellowship as orderly, wherein our brethren as servants of Christ are humbly labouring with the sanction of those churches which they conscientiously, though it may be erroneously, believe to be ordered in accordance with the will of our common master and head.
ON “JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH.”
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CONGREGATIONAL MAGAZINE,
whence it now, amide ungodly?"
Dear Sir.—Will you make room in the forthcoming number of your magazine for a few thoughts on the way in which God is set forth in the Bible, as making righteous the ungodly? The subject appears to me peculiarly important now, amid so much prevailing Puseyism and Romanism ; whence there springs to us all, perhaps, not a little danger of exaggerating the works of man, and of depreciating the works of God. For, of the works of God, does the righteousness with which God makes the sinner righteous, by the very terms of it, wholly consist, as appears also from both Testaments.
The most likely way of getting a clear idea on this subject, is to look at what those men have done who are spoken of in the word of God, as righteous men. Such is one of the first names in the history of the church of Christ :--the third man ; the second son and brother ; the first recorded believer in Christ, and the first martyr-Abel. He is emphatically pronounced “ righteous” by our Lord; his name, righteous Abel-his blood (which is his life,) righteous blood. Safely, then, may we go upon the fact, that we have here a righteous man; and hence an unfolding of what we are to understand by righteousness. That Abel was born in the moral likeness of his fallen father and mother, and was, therefore, by his birth, a sinner, we need not stay to prove; and that he is, therefore, of that number about whom the Holy Ghost has declared, “ that there is none righteous, no, not one." Along with the rest of mankind, the Scripture has shut him up, as in one world under (as a firmament of) sin. Here are two facts, then : Abel was born in sin ; he died in righteousness. The question is, how came he by that righteousness ? and of what did it consist? The
I fell a sacrific, when on earth, world:” by the 'o John, “the La
utmost light thrown on this subject is in Paul's epistle to the Hebrews, where we learn that Abel's righteousness was, as to its principle within him, by believing, that unmixed believing, whose spring is God; hence called by our Lord, “ God's believing ;” and its dwelling-place on earth, the believer's heart. Abel's proof of his belief was his bringing near towards the place of worship an offering of blood; perhaps a lamb, a figure of the great atonement to be made for sin. Hence it may be Jesus Christ is named in the Revelations to John, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world :" by the last part of which expression, Jesus, when on earth, marked the time when Abel offered, and fell a sacrifice. Having thus shown his belief in God by bringing near the lamb; having poured out the blood ; laid the parts in order on the altar of earth ; uttered over it some confession and prayer to the unseen God; having prayed over this shadow of the great atoning sacrifice—Himself hereafter in the end of the world to be offered once for all-Abel having begged of God that the lamb might be reckoned the sinner, not he; that the sin might, by the will of God, be taken away from Abel, and laid upon the lamb; that sin might be reckoned to the lamb, righteousnesss to its offerer ;-having thus poured out his sinful heart over the sacrifice before God, until all the sin of that heart had become, so to speak, emptied out of the spirit of Abel upon the atoning victim :-then, whilst yet watching into his prayers for the great result; waiting on the Lord in his own way, there came down a stream of fire upon the sacrifice, now, in God's estimation, and in answer to Abel's prayer, filled, impregnated, saturated, overflowed with Abel's guilt; in token that God could both be righteous, and make righteous him that believeth into Jesus; that he was at once so holy as not to bear with, but to burn up, the sin; so merciful as to save the sinner. Whilst the fire wholly swallowed up the offering, the sinner, now made righteous, it did as wholly spare, to perceive that all his sins had been consumed, taken away, annihilated ; inasmuch as the sinoffering (regarded by God as if its nature were all guilt, no longer lamb, before the fire came down; hence duapria, means both “sin” and “sin-offering,”) had been made utterly to disappear; so, when Abel's sins were sought for, they could no more be found. Now, had there ever been a sin-offering partly accepted by fire from heaven, partly not; any example in the Old Testament of one portion of the victim remaining unconsumed, then might there be degrees of righteousness for the sinner ; but if, as the truth is, the offering was either wholly accepted, as Abel's, by God witnessing on his gifts in the fire of His own presence ; or not at all accepted, as Cain's, because of no blood in it; and not brought near in God's own way; then, it appears, even from the Old Testament, that a man cannot be partially righteous and partially guilty ; but must be either wholly guilty in the sight of God, or else as righteous as is the person by believing into whom he becomes 80'; that is, as righteous as Jehovah himself. “ He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” It is needless to urge that the efficacy of Abel's sacrifice all dwelt in Him whom the lamb represented, the appointed Lamb of God; who had bidden it to be offered, and who was about to become the Son of man, that he might die, and essentially atone for sin.
There might be brought forward in further illustration, the example of Abraham presenting Isaac to God; when he became righteous by believing, and there was given to him a new manifestation of the Lord his righteousness. He offered Isaac as he was bidden, who was not accepted ; but he offered a ram which God had provided ; that was. He unloosed the bonds of death that had bound his son, whom he received in a figure from the dead; as now, therefore, in the state of resurrection. Abraham, for the first time, now saw what kind of person would be the Redeemer of the world ; that He would die, and make all sin disappear, as had been shown to him in the annihilation of the ram by fire; and then that the Redeemer would remain, as his own Isaac remained beside him, living in the state of resurrection, in the form of a Son of man. The righteousness of Abraham was neither in Isaac nor in himself, but in some one whom the ram, that had been burned, prefigured; for whom the time had plainly not yet arrived that he should come into the world. Might not reference likewise be made to the ground on which the destroying angel passed over all the houses of the Israelites, on the memorable night in Egypt; when he freed them, at once, because of the blood of the paschal lamb, not only from the bondage of Egypt, but from a much deeper bondage ; when he sent them all forth as one righteous family of his, having shown to them, in their obedience to him, in wholly burning up the remainder of their paschal sacrifice, that he retained no remembrance of all the sins which they and their fathers had committed in Egypt during four hundred and thirty years. In Moses, as the representative of the people, was there the same principle of believing as before in Abel and in Abraham ; and it was accompanied by the same results. The anger of God was all poured as on the paschal lamb ; and every Israelite was spared. The eye of the angel of the covenant looked on the blood on their door-posts in that night; and in the annihilating power of His glance, the blood and the guilt which it atoned for at once disappeared.
Is not also in direct corroboration of this way of making righteous, the burning of the offerings of Moses and Aaron on behalf, and in the sight of all Israel, at the dedication of the tabernacle; when the fire came forth from the presence of the Lord to blaze on, and make to vanish away the offerings, in token that the sins had disappeared; while the people were left alive to fall on their faces, and do homage to that Jehovah who had thus manifested, in one unfolding, “mercy and truth
hundred anchey and their fathe he retained no re
meeting ; righteousness and peace embracing ?” How distinct from the persons themselves were these sacrifices, which became accepted instead of them; which became their righteousness, as the sacrifices of the law are indeed often called! Is it not, also, a striking figure of the worship hereafter to be given to the Lord Jesus Christ; that it was before THE ACCEPTED SACRIFICE, that all the people adoringly fell.
Is there not, too, in the offering presented by the father and mother of Samson before his birth, a striking view of what it was in those days that enabled men to see God and live ? Did they not in obedience to the command of the angel of Jehovah present upon the top of the rock a sacrifice for a burnt-offering, whilst the angel did wondrously; in other words, manifested himself as the wonderful angel ; wholly making their offering to disappear, to teach them that their sins were gone, that they would not die, while he went up to heaven in their sight in that uncreated flame which had been poured, and from his own presence, upon their gifts ?
Doubtless none of these manifestations would have been made but for Christ's sake ; He is the beginning and the end of them; the first and the last. The Holy Spirit had given them forth as shadows of the essential sacrifice. . He had propounded them by the great reality existing in the depths of His own mind. A more full and clear illustration, indeed, than any that has been mentioned, is in the history of the prophet Elijah, when he confronted and confounded the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. There God made Elijah righteous in the sight of all Israel. He built an altar. He sacrificed a bullock. He prayed and confessed over the sacrifice. He pleaded God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In other words, he pleaded Christ, so far as he had, in that age, become revealed. Then, the fire came down, when Elijah's sins had been transferred, by the will of God, from him to his sacrifice. The fire devoured everything—the bullock-the wood—the stones—the dust—the waters in the trench around the altar —made all disappear, and therefore all Elijah's sins—and there stood Elijah, righteous by faith in God. Now, it is to be observed, that the fire came down as vigorously on the sacrifice of Elijah, as it had come down on Abel's, ages before ; and it did not yet say, “ enough ;” no, nor would that fire ever have said enough, unless it had been directed to fall upon the person of the incarnate Son of God. What presumption and blindness in one, no more than man, to undertake to feed that flame! It was by preying on the soul of the Lord Jesus Christ, that it became satisfied. It was when He, through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God. It was not on his body but on his soul that it first fell, and when it had flamed to the point of separating his soul from his body in death ; it desired no more. When it could be said with truth, that the Son of God had died : then was satisfaction made to God for all the spiritually dead generations of the family of