Imatges de pÓgina

upon them, as an inducement to a contrary practice, the consideration that they had been washed, sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God

I proceed therefore, in the first place, to assign my reasons for maintaining, that the washing here spoken of is the washing of Christian Baptism; and secondly, to point out the important confirmation, on that supposition afforded by the text to our former inferences.

Now had St. Paul, in the discourse which introduces the passage, been adverting to the moral impurity contracted by the commission of the sins enumerated in the preceding verses, it might have been a fair inference, that in the washing mentioned in the text, he alluded generally to the removal of that impurity, which the abandonment of the sins, by which it was contracted, would in the ordinary use of language imply. But the point of view, in which he has been considering the offences in question, has not been in reference to the defilement of the man here, but to his exclusion from the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven hereafter; from the final benefit, in another world, of his Christian profession upon earth.

c 1 Cor. vi. 11.

earth. Know ye not, he says, that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of Godd. The direct and natural method of pursuing his exhortation here, following up the metaphor he had already adopted, would have been, “but to that inheritance


have a “claim, do not therefore forfeit it.” And this is the implied conclusion, and that to which the passage, as it now stands, carries us,

if we interpret the washing mentioned in the text of Baptism ; in which, as the rite of admission to the Christian church, is given the claim to that inheritance, against the

d 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10.

loss of which the Apostle is here cautioning his readers. This interpretation, therefore, so far falls in with the argument of the Apostle. But again, this washing itself is either literal or figurative. If it be taken literally, we know of no washing of Christian converts, to which St. Paul can allude, but that in the waters of Baptism: if taken in a figurative sense, we in like manner know of no other figurative washing, as applied to believers, but that which spiritually accompanies the same material washing. In that indeed we have already found by the example of St. Paul himself, that sins are washed awayo: and we are to remember, that in point of fact, those to whom he writes had been baptized. : This being then the most natural and obvious sense of the word in the passage before us, let us consider its suitableness in other respects to the particular place in which we find it; how far it is in agreement with the other assertions of the text. Now we find in close connection with the

[merged small][ocr errors]

washing spoken of, both sanctification and justification; and this washing, sanctification and justification are, either severally or collectively, said to have been effected, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Here the real difficulty is, to separate what are so obviously joined together. Let us however make the attempt; and omitting for the present all notice of the washing spoken of in the text, let us consider, in what sense we may be said to have been sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Sanctification may, scripturally, be put for one of two things; either for that separation from common use or common life, by which either men or things may, we know, be dedicated to the more especial service of God; or, for that operation of the Holy Spirit on the heart of man, by which believers are inwardly strengthened and supported in the discharge of their duty, drawn off from the service of sin, and protected from the influence of the contrary spirit of evil

. As applied in the first sense, we might be

sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus by an external dedication to him; as applied in the second, we should be more directly said to be sanctified by the Spirit of our God. Nothing here, be it remembered, would seem to prevent, what the general tenor of Scripture certainly admits as possible, the union of the two, so that the external and internal sanctification should go together.

In like manner we may scripturally be said to be justified, or counted righteous, or as free from sin; either, because we are placed in a situation in which the penalties of sin will not be exacted, on account of something exterior to ourselves of which we are allowed the benefit, as in the case of a free pardon; or because such a change is internally produced in us, as enables us to take the benefit of a pardon, conditional, we will

suppose, on our personal acknowledgment of the justice of the sentence before impending over us. The first of these, in reference to sin, might be the consequence of our admission into external covenant with God; and we might, in that sense, be justified in the name of the Lord Jesus : the

« AnteriorContinua »