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ascension, on the life to come, the future judgment and the retribution awarded to all men; these great truths, and many others dependent upon them, among which we would specially mention the great doctrine of the Atonement, are written with the clearness of a sunbeam, and he that runnetli may read. There is no difficulty whatever in the honest seeker after truth finding what the Scriptures teach on the essentials of salvation. That difficulties sometimes have been found, has arisen very much from the unreasonable claims of sects who have incorporated their points of difference, often very secondary ones, with the essentials of Christianity, and demanded the reception of all alike on the peril of outlawry. But the fault is with man, noi with God; He has made His will sufficiently clear to those who will study it aright, and He has promised the Holy Spirit to those who seek His blessed influence.
And this leads us to remerk that something more is needed than diligence and study to understand the Scriptures. No catechisms, formularies, or creeds can lodge a system of Divine truth in the soul of man; nay, it may be for this very reason
that God has caused the Bible to be written in so unsystematic a manner; it may be to drive man to rely on the teaching of that Spirit of Truth which Christ promised to all believers, and of whom it is testified that “He will guide you into all truth.” Hardly any doctrine is set forth more copiously than this, that man needs the teaching of the Spirit of God to enable him to understand the truth of God, and it is mere bibliolatry that would divorce the Bible from its living expositor. This fact takes away much of the difficulty that has been made of the inexactness of Scriptural language. Had the New Testament been framed like the ceremonial law, there would have been little use for the guidance of the Spirit ; but written as it is, with many difficulties to the human mind, with many deep things hard to be understood, and with many simple things stated in a way that at first sight puzzles the understanding, there is abundant need for the teaching of that Spirit of whom it is said, "the deep things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God.” The beautiful consequence of this law is that humility is a primary requisite to the full understanding of Scripture. The proud
self-reliant soul will not stoop to be taught of the Spirit; but the humble believer will grow rich in that knowledge which endures unto life eternal. “The natural man knoweth not the things of God, for they are foolishness unto him—but the spiritual man judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged by no man.” We see, therefore, that it is the Word of God as interpreted by the Spirit of God that forms the groundwork of Christianity. It is neither alone; the Word divorced from the Spirit leads to hard scholastic theology; the Spirit divorced from the Word leads to mysticism. The union of the two gives a basis of dogmatic belief, combined with that pliancy and sweetness which form the complete Christian. When free play is given to this two-fold revelation of God, there will not be vital differences among believers in Christ; there will no doubt be divergences upon minor points so long as man is a finite creature, with a limited understanding, but the "unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” will manifest itself by the brotherly love of Christians, and testify to the world that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.'