Imatges de pÓgina

Homerton, tion of their personal holiness, in every SIR,

February 12, 1825. possible respect. TO

V a demand from any of your Obs. I use the term personal holi

correspondents, but especially to ness, as the most accurate and comone from Mr. Gibson, (p. 17,) I'am prehensive; and understanding by it happy to pay respectful attention. a sincere, habitual and circumspect You and he will excuse my express- observance of all the inward princiing myself more in the dogmatic form ples and all the outward rules of piety than is at all agreeable to me. I know towards God, virtue in the governno other way of avoiding diffuseness: ment of our passions and the employand, if I were to introduce argumentsment of our faculties, and morality in and illustrations, my letter would swell relation to our fellow-creatures. to a very inconvenient size.

Quest. 2. “Will those persons who When, in the Remarks which you most habitually attend to the obligadid me the favour of inserting upon tions of universal virtue, and who the Statements of M. Chenevière, I acquire most personal holiness, be touched upon the subject of Justift- the justified before God?” CATION, it never occurred to me that Ans. YES. it was needful to define the term and Quest. 3.

“Will any such persons to guard it against such a confusion be excluded from the justification be. of ideas as Mr. Bakewell inanifested fore God?" in his Reply. (Mon. Repos. Vol. XIX. Ans. NO. p. 663.) Notwithstanding our unhappy Quest. 4. “Will those persons who differences, I certainly should not have have less habitually attended to the expected that a well-instructed Unita. obligations of universal virtue, and rian, or indeed any man but mode- who have less personal holiness, be rately acquainted with the theory of preferred and equally justified before religion, could have so egregiously God?” stumbled in subjects of such easy Ans. The term JUSTIFICATION exdistinction as the nature, grounds and presses not a disposition or quality objects of Justification on the one of mind which might exist in various hand, and Sanctification or the dis- degrees, but a state or relation of positions and actions of universal holiman, as an accountable being, with ness) on the other.

respect to God as the righteous and Mr. Gibson suggests that “a simple holy Governor of the moral universe. affirmative or negative may suffice" It therefore does not admit of degrees: for a reply to his four questions. In sit either is or is not. We may distinthis I am sorry that I cannot entirely guish between the act and the state of agree with him. His first and last Justification. cannot, I conceive, be answered with- (1.) The act of Justification is the out some explication of terms. I will, judicial decision of the Supreme Mohowever, give the shortest answers ral Ruler, by which he pardons the that I can devise to each of the quese sins of those who are the subjects of tions; and I trust you will allow me this blessing, and regards them with space for a few remarks to explain complacency as persons upon whom and guard against misapprehension. it is equitable, right and well-pleasing

Quest. 1." Is the justification of a to all the Divine perfections, to be sinner in the sight of God determined stow the enjoyment of perfect and by the unchangeable obligations of eternal happiness, a species of happi. universal virtue ?"

ness of which holiness is the chief and Ans. The justification of a sinner essential part. in the sight of God is determined (2.) The state of Justification is upon the principles of strict equity, that condition, standing or relation of in relation to the moral government a sinful human being, in respect of of God and all the obligations of ac- the perfect moral government of God, countable beings: and it is a bless. which denominates him pardoned and ing gratuitously bestowed upon sinful accepted to the favour of the rightemen, in that mode and under all those ous Deity. circumstances which are, and ever will This is not the opportunity for be, the most effectual to the promo- adducing proofs in support of this

description of the great Christian plicity and godly sincerity,” we are doctrine concerning the Justification scripturally encouraged to take the of a sinner in the sight of God. Yet same consoling hope to onrselves; I would say, that I have assumed no yet ever remembering the apostolic more than is contained in the defini- caution, “Examine yourselves :-thou tion of this subject given by Valenti- standest by faith :-be not high-mindnus Smalcius in the Racovian Cate. ed, but fear.” chism : “By faith in Christ we obtain iv. SANCTIFICATION, or the sincere Justification.- Justification is God's love and persevering practice of all esteeming us as righteous; which he holiness, is the necessary and invaridoes by granting us the pardou of our able adjunct of Justification. It is sins and the bestowment of eternal the criterion of all well-founded hope life; of which the Apostle Paul clearly of favour with God. As, in the anitestifies, when he says that the bless- mal frame, the nervous and the arterial edness of man consists in the Lord's parts of the constitution are totally imputing to him righteousness ;' and different in structure and function, yet then adds from the Psalm, ‘Blessed neither can subsist without the other, is the man to whom the Lord im- and both are essential to life; so, in puteth not sin.'"-P. 240, ed. Racov. the moral system, Justification and 1609.

Sanctification are blessings of salvaRequesting attention to these pre- tion quite distinct, yet each absolutely liminary positions, I answer Mr. Gib. necessary, the one inseparable from son's question by the following re- the other, and both equally essential marks:

to the spiritual life or the reality of 1. Every man is either justified or religion. not justitied, in the righteous and The following distinctions may be unerring judgment of his holy Sove- of some use to preclude misapprereign. There is no intermediate or hension : neutral condition.

1. Justification respects the state 11. If a man thinks himself to be of the soul as standing in the judicial justified, while he does not from the presence of God, the Supreme Lawheart abhor and renounce all sin, and giver and Ruler. Sanctification rewith equal earnestness cultivate all spects the inward and conscious per. holiness, he is under an awful delu. ceptions of the mind, in its inclina: sion.

tions, aversions, inotives, aims and 111. Yet it is a fact which we know practical determinations. by painful and humbling experience, 2. Justification is an act of Divine that sincerity of motive, uprightness Benevolence; yet, through the intiof intention, and circumspection of nitely valuable MEDIATION of our practice, with regard to all the duties Lord Jesus Christ, it is conferred of holiness, do not imply perfection, without compromising the honour of in the present life. There are low the divine law, in either its requiredegrees, as well as high, in the cha- ments or its sanctions. The penitent racter of genuine and cordial obedi. and believing sinner is pardoned, beence; and there are all the interme- cause Christ gave himself a sacrifice, diate points of the scale : but the a ransom, an atonement; not to purlowest, be it ever remembered, is chase the Father's grace, but as a fruit honest, sincere, upright, allowing of and effect of that grace, and in order no sin, and aiming at perfection. The that this exercise of mercy might be Omniscient alone knows unerringly just, fit and glorious, and in no way the real character and state of indivi- disparaging to the claims of infinite duals. If we see a person who seri- and unchangeable rectitude. The peously professes faith in Christ, accor. nitent and believing sinner is also ding to the Scriptures, and whose beheld with complacency by the Holy conduct exhibits all the appearances One; and supreme happiness is conof Christian integrity, we rejoice in ferred upon him as the recompense of the rational evidence that he is a jus- merit to Christ, whose righteousness tified person, pardoned and accepted is no more than justly acknowledged by God. If, with the same outward by the conferring of all the blessings evidence, we are conscious of “ sim. of salvation on those who seek thein through him, but to the sinner him- racter: they will abhor and renounce self as the free gift of sovereign and their sins, and turn to God and holiunmerited grace.

ness with all their hearts. Then may Sanctification is work of Divine they be addressed by the sequel of Power and Goodness upon the rational the passage: “ Such were some of susceptibilities and faculties of the you: but ye are washed, ye are sancmind, producing a holy sensibility and tified, ye are justified, by the name of justness of feeling, by virtue of which the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of it detests all sin, and loves and pur- our God.” sues all holiness.

vi. Do the defects of Sanctification 3. Justification is an act of Divine extinguish the interest in Justificalove and mercy performed for us: tion? I answer, No; for they are Sanctification is an operation of Di- defects, felt, lamented and opposed vine influence performed in us. in sincerity and with constancy: they

4. Justification is the ground of are defects, not indulged sins masked right and title to celestial blessedness: under the name of infirmities. If the Sanctification is the process of pre- case be not thus ; if the professor of paring and qualifying for the posses. religion prove that he is not "resion of that blessedness. The one deemed from all iniquity, purified may be compared to the reversal of unto Christ, and living soberly, righan attainder, and the restoration of teously and piously;" let him know the forfeited estate, by the proper act that " he has neither part nor lot in of the legislature; the other, to the this matter, for his heart is not right educating of the heir to fill his station, in the sight of God.” and the imbuing him with the mind VII. But does not this doctrine and manners congruous to bis rank. make all characters equal, as sinners Only, let it be observed, that in this before their conversion, and as saints imagined illustration the two requi- after it? By no means. The remarks sites might be separated; but, in the already submitted sufficiently prevent case illustrated, they are absolutely such an inference. As, atnong unand for ever inseparable.

converted persons, there are vast difv. There is, therefore, an essential ferences of character, though all are difference between the lowest degree alienated from a right regard to God, of that kind of personal character and form themselves upon principles which necessarily accompanies Justi- of corrupt selfishness, whether gross fication before God, and that kind or refined ; so, among true Christians, which is governed by sinful principles, though all are justiñed before God, whether it be plainly laid open or and all are governed by sincere and masked with plausible hypocrisy.- upright principles, there are great “Know ye not that the uprighteous inequalities as to the attainment and shall not inherit the kingdom of exercise of personal holiness. Yet I God? Be not deceived. Neither for. venture to think that, abating those nicators, aor idolaters, nor adulterers, dreadful falls by sudden and violent nor impure abusers of themselves, nor temptation which with real Christians thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, are, I trust, very rare, their deficienpor revilers, nor rapacious men, will cies and infirmities are to be ascribed inherit the kingdom of God.” A more to other causes than to any corchange of state may, indeed, take ruptness of motive or principle. The place with such persons, through the more closely I have been enabled to riches of Divine grace; and it will be study the human character, and the infallibly attended by a change of cha- more intimately to become acquainted

with serious persons, the more have In which class I cannot but include unhappy infirunities are chiefly the

I seen reason to conclude that their plagiarists, who publish other men's writings as their own ; and malverters of offspring of intellectual deficiencies; frusts, who apply the property which they of absurd and unchristian education hold as trustees for fulfilling the will and of natural weakness of inind, produintent of others, to purposes which they cing contracted habits of thought and know to be entirely contrary to that will an inaptitude to understand and apply and intent.

general principles to particular cases ;

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of ignorance, become inveterate by esteem myself happy if my request untoward circumstances; of connex- could induce my respectable Querist ions with prejudiced and ill-informed to read Mr. Fuller's Sermon on “The persons; of a vicious style of religious Christian Doctrine of Rewards.” instruction from the pulpit; and of I beg to conclude this long letter a neglect to cultivate the mind by by two extracts from the writings of judicious and comprehensive courses a' dear and venerable friend, who, of reading. I admit that much blame through a long and useful life, has attaches to the persons who are per- been eminently “set for the defence verted, by these and similar causes, of the gospel." Though these citafrom the simplicity and purity of the tions refer to those unhappy persons, Christian character, or are prevented the Antinomians, who ignorantly misfroin attaining to higher degrees of represent or perversely misapply the them. The moral evils of the heart doctrines usually called Calvinistic, mingle with those noxious causes and they are not the less available for oboccasions. The subjects of them are viating the great misapprehensions what the apostle denominates “babes, which are entertained by my respecunskilful in the word of righteousness, table Querist, and probably by many carnal, and walking as men” governed others in his class of religious profesby low and worldly principles. Yet, sion. with all this deduction from attain- “ They who are redeemed from the ment, comfort and usefulness, it is curse of the law,' will never suppose evident that sincerity and integrity do that Christ has cancelled or lessened indeed reign in the heart and cha. their obligations to obedience. Like racter.

Paul, they will consider themselves vi. Mr. Gibson has inserted the as being not without law unto God, word "preferred,” in a manner which but under the law unto Christ; or as I do not clearly understand, and which debtors, not to the flesh to live after seems to obscure the purport of his the flesh, but debtors to God and query. Perhaps the intention is to grace. Knowing that they are bought ask whether, according to what ap- with a price, they will own that they pears to me to be the scripture doc. are the property of their Redeemer, trine of Justification, defective, yet and feel themselves bound to glorify sincere, Christians will have the same God with their bodies and with their dignity and happiness in the heavenly spirits, which are God's. The Lamb state as those who have far exceeded that was slain hath redeemed us to them in the practice of personal holi- God by his blood; and his grand obness and universal virtue. I reply, ject, when he once suffered for our By no means. Though the future sins, the just for the unjust, was, that happiness of the righteous will be he might bring us to God, that we, pure and unalloyed, we have reason being dead to sins, should live unto to think that its quantity (if I may righteonsness. He has confirmed every so speak) will be very different in antecedent obligation which we were different subjects. The capacity for under to obedience, and has superholy happiness and immortal services added new ones, of the most powerful to the Lord of glory, will probably and endearing kind. He has redeembe unspeakably greater in some than ed us from the curse of the law, not in others : and this capacity in the from the blessing of the larc. For world of perfect bliss will be in pro surely it is a blessed thing to have a portion to the amplitude and energy certain standard of duty, a directory with which holy principles operated to shew us how we ought to walk and in this probationary state. Thus, please God; and a still higher blessthough all sincere followers of Christ ing to be truly conformed to that are justified, all are sanctified, and standard.” Dr. Ryland's Sermon on all shall " be with him, where he is, Redemption from the Curse of the to behold” and to partake “ his Law, p. 35. glory;" yet the degrees of glory will "Surely, of the two, there is fur be very different, according to the de- more reason to say natural evil can grees of ardent and active holiness do no harm to the believer, than to acquired in the present life. I should say moral evil can do him none. But will any man abuse this, so as to en- grounds than this as an infringement courage a disregard to health or safety, on Christian liberty?” or to discourage the use of means for If I understand the import of this preservation? We are expressly as- phrase aright, it presumes that the sured that neither tribulation, nor service under consideration deprives distress, nor persecution, nor famine, the individuals concerned in it of some nor peril, nor sword, shall separate Christian privileges which they previfrom the love of Christ: but who will ously enjoyed. The only parties whom say, 'Be not careful to avoid poverty, it can affect are either the congregaor contagious diseases, or robbers, or tion or the minister: and upon the fire, or inquisitors;- none of these liberty of which does it infringe? The things can hurt a believer! Leap minister is already the fixed and unbi. froin St. Vincent's rocks, or throw assed choice of the society with which down your child from the precipice; he is connected. He seeks not the - neither broken bones nor loss of counsel of his brethren to qualify him children can hurt a believer!' You for the work which he'has undertaken; would not tell a consumptive friend, for previously to this service he has or one in danger of any infectious fulfilled all the duties of his office. disorder, “You need not be so care- He makes no profession of opinions ful of your bodily health, for sickness which are to fetter his investigations, and death cannot hurt you.' And or to prevent any future change in his will you tell a poor, imperfect pro- sentiments. He makes no promises, fessor, before he becomes exposed to he enters into no engagements, except any particular temptation, that, if it that he will devote his time and his should come in his way, and he should abilities to the discovery and diffusion comply with it, it can do. him no of truth, and to the peculiar duties harm? Can that man be a believer of his office. If, then, the mutual who fears nothing but final damna- privileges of the parties remain the tion; who cares nothing for the dis- same; if the right of private judgment honour of God ?”—The same Author's is uncontrolled, and the independence Serious Remarks, p. 69.

of each church is strictly preserved, J. PYE SMITH.

how can there be any infringement of Christian liberty? Such a power is

specially disclaimed in the “ Services" SIR,

already alluded to. “Never, indeed," CAD I been less connected with says the author of the passage in

question, – never may any of us have called forth the animadversions forget that the whole business of this of your correspondent Ruris Colonus, day and place has our common ad(pp. 27-29,) I might have felt disa vantage for its object; that we are posed to trouble you with some re- all brethren in the midst of brethren; marks in reply to his paper : but, that we humbly aim at recognizing under present circumstances, some- and aiding a fellow-labourer in our thing more than inclination—a sense Master's household; and that your of duty-compels me to come forward appointinent and adınission here are in defence of the service of Ordina- exclusively the acts of the Christian tion; since, in my own case, it was society who have chosen you to be neither determined upon without an their pastor." * anxious and careful examination of But Ruris Colonus further inquires, its propriety, nor adopted in connex. whether the service “is not objecion with any circumstances that could tionable as a practice not enjoined by legitimately give it even the appear. Christ, or authorized or used by his ance of superstition.

apostles, and, as such, partaking truly The Services of that occasion are

of the character of will worship?" now before the public, so that your To the first part of this objection, correspondent will have an opportu- it might be enough to state, that there nity of judging for himself whether, is no precept in the gospel for the " in its present form, its liability to be abused to superstitious purposes is * See the Services at the Ordination not guarded against.” But he adds, of the Rev. F. Baker, Mr. Kentish's "Was it not objectionable on far other Charge, p. 40.



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