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terpret the Apostle's words, as to make him contradict himself. And if we will make him consistent with himself, the plain meaning of the words is this: His old judgment concerning justification, holiness, happiness, indeed concerning the things of God in general, is now past away. So are his old desires, designs, and affections, tempers, and conversation. All these are undeniably become new, greatly changed from what they were. And yet, tho' they are new, they are not wholly new. Still he feels to his sorrow and shame, remains of the old man, too manifest taints of his former tempers and affections, tho' they cannot gain any advantage over him, as long as he watches unto prayer.
3. This whole argument, "If he is clean, he is clean,' "if he is holy, he is holy;" (and twenty more expressions of the same kind may easily be heaped together,) is really no better than playing upon words: it is the fallacy of arguing from a particular to a general; of inferring a general conclusion, from particular premises. Propose the sentence entire, and it runs thus: "If he is holy at all, he is holy altogether.' That does not follow: every babe in Christ is holy, and yet not altogether so. He is saved from sin; yet not entirely it remains, tho' it does not reign. If you think it does not remain, (in babes at least, whatever be the case with young men, or fathers,) you certainly have not considered the height, depth, length, and breadth of the law of God; (even the law of love, laid down by St. Paul in the thirteenth of Corinthians,) and that every (avoia) disconformity to, or deviation from this law, is sin, Now, is there no disconformity to this in the heart or life of a believer ? What may be in an adult Christian, is another question. But what a stranger must he be to human nature, who can possibly imagine, that this is the case with every babe in Christ!
4. "But believers walk after the Spirit, * Rom. viii. 1,
* What follows for some pages is an answer to a paper, published in the Christian Magazine, p. 577-582. I am surprised Dr. Dodd, should give such a paper place in his Magazine, which is contrary to our ninth Article.
and the Spirit of God dwells in them. Consequently they are delivered from the guilt, the power, or, in one word, the being of sin,”
These are coupled together, as if they were the same thing. But they are not the same thing. The guilt is one thing, the power another, and the being, yet another. That believers are delivered from the guilt and power of sin we allow; that they are delivered from the being of it we deny. Nor does it in any wise follow from these texts. A man may have the Spirit of God dwelling in him, and may "walk after the Spirit," though he still feels "the flesh lusting against the Spirit."
5. "But the church is the body of Christ, Col. i. 24. This implies, that its members are washed from all filthiness. Otherwise it will follow, that Christ and Belial, are incorporated with each other."
Nay, it will not follow from hence," those who are the mystical body of Christ, still feel the flesh lusting against the Spirit," that Christ has any fellowship with the devil, or with that sin which he enables them to resist and overcome.
6. "But are not Christians come to the heavenly Jeru-. salem, where nothing defiled can enter ?" Heb. xii. 22. Yes; and to an innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect: that is,
"Earth and heaven all agree;
All is one great family."
And they are likewise holy and undefiled, while they walk after the Spirit: although sensible, there is another principle in them, and that these are contrary to each other.
7." But Christians are reconciled to God. Now this could not be, if any of the carnal mind remained: for this is enmity against God: consequently, no reconciliation can be effected, but by its total destruction."
We are reconciled to God through the blood of the cross. And in the moment, the govna aagxos, the corruption of nature, which is enmity with God, is put under our feet, the
flesh has no more dominion over us. But it still exists: and it is still in its nature enmity with God, lusting against his Spirit.
8. "But they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts," Gal. v. 24. They have so: yet it remains in them still, and often struggles to break from the cross. "Nay, but they have put off the old man with his deeds," Col. iii. 9. They have: and in the sense above described, "old things are passed away; all things are become new." A hundred texts may be cited to the same effect. And they will all admit of the same answer. "But to say all in one word, Christ gave himself for the Church, that it might be holy, and without blemish," Eph. v. 25, 27. And so will it be in the end: but it never was yet, from the beginning to this day.
9. "But let experience speak. All who are justified do at that time find an absolute freedom from all sin." That I doubt: but, if they do, do they find it ever after? Else you gain nothing. "If they do not, it is their own fault." That remains to be proved.
10. "But in the very nature of things, can a man have pride in him, and not be proud? Anger, and yet not be angry?"
A man may have pride in him, may think himself in some particulars above what he ought to think, (and so be proud in that particular,) and yet not be a proud man in his general character. He may have anger in him, yea, and a strong propensity to furious anger, without giving way to it. "But can anger and pride be in that heart, where only meekness and humility are felt?" No: but some pride and anger may be in that heart, where there is much humility and meekness.
"It avails not to say, these tempers are there, but they do not reign. For sin cannot, in any kind or degree, exist where it does not reign. For guilt and power are essential properties of sin. Therefore, where one of them is, all must be."
Strange indeed! "Sin cannot, in any kind or degree, exist
where it does not reign." Absolutely contrary this to all experience, all scripture, all common sense. Resentment of an affront is sin, it is avoue, disconformity to the law of love. This has existed in me a thousand times. Yet it did not, and does not reign. "But guilt and power are essential properties of sin; therefore, where one is, all must be." No: in the instance before us, if the resentment I feel is not. yielded to, even for a moment, there is no guilt at all, no condemnation from God upon that account. And in this case, it has no power: though it lusteth against the Spirit, it cannot prevail. Here, therefore, as in ten thousand instances, there is sin without either guilt or power.
11, "But the supposing sin in a believer is pregnant with every thing frightful and discouraging. It implies the con tending with a power, that has the possession of our strength, maintains his usurpation of our hearts, and there prosecutes the war in defiance of our Redeemer. Not so. The supposing sin is in us, does not imply, that it has the possession of our strength. No more than a man crucified has the possession of those that crucify him. As little does it imply, that "sin maintains its usurpation of our hearts." The usurper is dethroned. He remains indeed where he once reigned; but remains in chains. So that he does, in some sense, "prosecute the war," yet he grows weaker and weaker: while the believer goes on from strength to strength, conquering and to conquer.
12. "I am not satisfied yet. He that has sin in him, is a slave to sin. Therefore, you suppose a man to be justified, while he is a slave to sin. Now, if you allow, men may be justified while they have pride, anger, or unbelief in them nay, if you aver, These are (at least, for a time) in all that are justified; what wonder that we have so many proud, angry, unbelieving believers?"?
I do not suppose any man who is justified, is a slave to sin. Yet, I do suppose, sin remains (at least for a time) in all that are justified. "But, if sin remains in a believer, he is a sinful man: if pride, for instance, then he is proud: if self-will, then he is self-willed; if unbelief, then he is an
unbeliever; consequently, no believer at all. How then does he differ from unbelievers, from unregenerate men?"
This is still mere playing upon words. It means no more, than, if there is sin, pride, self-will in him, then-there is sin, pride, self-will. And this no body can deny. In that sense then he is proud, or self-willed. But he is not proud or self-willed in the same sense that unbelievers are, that is, governed by pride or self-will. Herein he differs from unregenerate men. They obey sin, he does not. Flesh is in them both. But they walk after the flesh: he walks after the Spirit.
"But how can unbelief be in a believer?" That word has two meanings. It means either no faith, or little faith; either the absence of faith, or the weakness of it. In the former sense, unbelief is not in a believer: in the latter, it is in all babes. Their faith is commonly mixed with doubt or fear, that is, in the latter sense, with unbelief. "Why are ye fearful, says our Lord, O ye of little faith?" Again, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" You see here was unbelief in a believer: little faith and muchunbelief.
13. "But this doctrine, That sin remains in a believer: That a man may be in the favour of God, while he has sin in his heart, certainly tends to encourage men in sin." Understand the proposition right, and no such consequence follows. A man may be in God's favour though he feel sin; but not if he yields to it. Having sin, does not forfeit the favour of God; giving way to sin does. Though the flesh in you lust against the Spirit, you may still be a child of God. But if you walk after the flesh, you are a child of the devil. Now this doctrine does not encourage you to obey sin, but to resist it with all your might.
V. 1. The sum of all is this. There are in every person, even after he is justified, two contrary principles, nature and grace, termed by St. Paul, the flesh and the spirit. Hence, although even babes in Christ are sanctified, yet it is only in part. In a degree, according to the measure of their faith, they are spiritual: yet, in a degree they are carnal. Ac