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he is condemned for the perversion of the most sacred services. We value a popular harangue for its power to please and move the multitude, and a lecture for its learning; but upon the principle we have developed, we must value a sermon for its adaptation to promote the holiness of men. What a shameful abuse of a sacred profession it must be, for a man sent out in the name of God to save sinners, to value his performances for their abstract learning, their rhetorical elegance, their oratorical power, or popular effect ! Let any man clearly apprehend the fearful wrong and deadly evil of sin. Let him see that God has given his Son to make its removal from the hearts of men possible, and sent him expressly to proclaim this great salvation, and we are sure he will feel that fidelity to his Master requires that he should frame every sermon with reference to this great end; and he will be satisfied with his effort only in proportion to the power with which he has exposed sin, attacked it in its most insidious forms, paralyzed its influence, and gained the advantage for that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. What a vast amount of preaching is found, by this rule, to be worse than trifling!
Finally: it is evident, that in its spirit and aim, the Christian system stands alone. We have numerous organizations for the improvement of society—for the production of wealth—for the gratification of ambition--for the relief of human suffering; but only one for the promotion of holiness. We know of no other that professes to "purify the heart.” What strange infatuation then it must be to secularize this system!—to bring it down from the lofty purposes to which it was consecrated, and appropriate it to the service of worldly glory, and force it to gratify a lust for power. It cannot be deemed strange that “ blasting and mildew” have followed in the train. Indeed, nothing is easier now than to explain the slow progress of Christianity, the feebleness of its disciples, and the reproach which has so often fallen upon the Church. Would that all Christians might be agreed upon this one thing—to consider Christianity as set apart to the work of purifying the hearts and lives of men. For all other purposes there are associations enough, while in the range of human thought there is no other that has the slightest claim to adaptation to produce this result. Precisely this is the desideratum of the times; and not until it is supplied shall we see the Church shining in her own pure light, and moving on in the greatness of her strength to the conquest of the world. Happy is he who contributes, even in the smallest degree, to this glorious result.
We have but little room for the remaining object of this paper;
but we must glance at the special adaptation of Mr. Foster's book to promote holiness of heart and life. We must allow him to speak for himself, so far as to indicate his peculiar power in amplification, explanation, argument and persuasion. The first object of a writer, is to be understood; and whoever would appreciate the manner in which Mr. Foster accomplishes this object, must read all the didactic parts of his book, but especially from the thirty-seventh to the seventy-eighth page. He has given an able analysis of the different views in answer to the question, "What is the highest attainable moral and spiritual excellence in this life?" He then anticipates an objection-No two men are alike; and all should be, if raised to the same standard of moral excellence. He explains :
“ There is one thing which ought to be taken into the account here, as having a most important practical bearing on the subject; the influence upon character, of both body and mind-an influence quite as discernible in the sanctified state as in other stages of religious experience. Two men equally, and, if you please, entirely holy, may, under certain circumstances, appear with very different advantage, and may generally indeed exhibit quite variant manifestations of character. If judged of without respect to constitutional make and educational influences, and peculiar circumstances and temptations, they may seem most dissimilar, when in truth they are equally holy in the sight of God. It is for this reason mainly that we ought not to judge without palpable indications. One man is of a highly nervous temperament—another is as decidedly imperturbable; one is sanguine—the other distrusting; one impulsive-another dispassionate: now let all these be brought under the influence of sanctifying grace; it will not change their temperaments all into one -it will not remove the constitutional differences between them, but only control and regulate them. They will be seen, and will impart diversified shade to character, and to different minds will increase or diminish the admiration or otherwise, which character must always awaken," &c.-Pp. 66, 67.
The whole paragraph should be read. We have not room for it. But what relief it affords to a doubting mind, and what a rebuke to cold and invidious criticism !
Our author thus proceeds to show that “ holiness is a state in advance of mere justification and regeneration :
“Regeneration is not entire sanctification: the merely regenerate are not sanctified; they are not entirely freed from sin; they are not perfect in love. Their sins are pardoned; their nature is renewed; they are become children of God; a wonderful and glorious work has been wrought for them and in them, by which they are rescued from the dominion of sin, and become heirs of the promises : but great and glorious as the work is which they have experienced, and exalted and blessed as are the privileges and destiny to which it entitles them, and will assuredly secure to them if retained, yet it is not a complete qualification for heaven-an entire freedom from sin; they are nothow glorious soever their estate, how much to be esteemed and prized, and no language can magnify its moment--they are not completely holy, entirely sanctified; the old man of sin is not dead, but subjected—not cast out, but bound--not crucified, but brought into captivity.”—Pp. 69, 70.
We regret that we have not room for other extracts from the ex
cellent “advice to those professing holiness." We would refer with commendation to the cautions given on pages 214_217.
But many will say, We understand, but do not believe you; to which he replies with a torrent of argument, both direct and indirect, that is absolutely overwhelming. The following is taken from the introduction to his argument from the Bible :
“It (holiness) breathes in the prophecy-thunders in the law-murmurs in the narrative-whispers in the promises-supplicates in the prayers-sparkles in the poetry--resounds in the songs--speaks in the types--glows in the imagery-voices in the language—and burns in the spirit of the whole scheme, from its alpha to omega, from its beginning to its end. Holiness! Holiness needed! Holiness required! Holiness offered! Holiness attainable! Holiness a present duty-a present privilege--a present enjoyment, is the progress and completeness of its wondrous theme! It is the truth glowing all overwebbing all through revelation; the glorious truth which sparkles
, and whispers, and sings, and shouts, in all its history, and biography, and poetry, and prophecy, and precept, and promise, and prayer; the great central truth of the systein. The wonder is, that all do not see, that any rise up to question, a truth so conspicuous, so glorious, so full of comfort.”—Þ. 80.
Take the following as a specimen of the fearless and triumphant manner in which Mr. Foster sustains his position :
Again : if holiness is not attainable in this life, then it cannot be required; or if it is not attainable, and yet is required, then an impossibility is required. [Mr. Foster almost seems to imagine he has Mr. Rice in his fingers again.] If the last consequence is assumed, then it follows that God is guilty of the grossest injustice; for he requires an impossibility. No Christian mind certainly can embrace this alternative for a moment. But, then, take the remaining alternative. Such a state is not required. What follows? Manifestly this: if entire freedom from all sin is not required, then some sin may be felt or indulged properly, innocently, without guilt; for it is contrary to no requirement—the transgression of no lav--and cannot, therefore, involve guilt or crime. But, further, admit that God does not require men to be free from all sin, then this follows-entire freedom from sin is not best, (it is better to have some sin remain ;) or, if entire freedom from sin is best, better then that some sin should remain, and yet God does not require it, then the unavoidable consequence is, God does not require what is best. Neither one of these postulates can be admitted—no one will contend for either: but their admitted absurdity is fatal to the premises.”_Pp. 95–97.
We have room for no further extracts upon this mode of amplification. Our readers will perceive that Mr. Foster is a close and powerful reasoner. Indeed he absolutely crushes an opponent. He shuts him in and pelts him with such merciless severity as really to excite our sympathy. If Mr. Foster gets sight of an error, explanations and even apologies in its behalf are just as impossible as they would be useless.
But our author realizes that multitudes are saying, We are convinced, we both understand and believe you, but we do not intend to act. He must therefore try his power of persuasion. Listen to his appeals :
“ You attach value to wealth, beauty, learning, good name, happiness. It is well. These are all desirable; but how less than dust in the balance are they when compared with conscious, inviolable virtue! Would you not prefer to be the hero of a single virtue, rather than conqueror of the world ?-a martyred Paul, shining in radiant vestments, rather than a bloody Alexander, dazzling with the splendours of conquest? Why do you attach the idea of beauty and glory to angels? Is it not because they are holy,-because they love with a perfect love, adore with perfect adoration, and glow with a perfect fervour? If they sing sweetly, is it not because they feel purely? Is it not holiness which spreads joy over all the celestial regions ? which causes the gush and rapture of the skies? which kindles the lustre and awakens the song of heaven ? which suffuses the very spirit of Jehovah with his ineffable glory, and the spirits of all his holy worshippers with inexpressible and everlasting bliss ? Surely, if this be so, we are correct, when we assume that there is, in the very nature of holiness, an infinite motive to its gain. Rubies are not so precious, and nothing that can be desired can be compared unto it.-Pp. 186, 187.
What Christian can read this passage without feeling his heart burn with desire to be holy? The persuasion is powerful, and it is followed by others equally so. Purchase the book-read it over and over again-lend it-give it to your friends scatter it broad-cast with your fervent prayers for the blessing of God upon its lucid instructions, its cogent arguments, and its irresistible appeals.
The precise relation of this book to the theme is that of a warm and stirring persuasive argument, characterized as an appeal to the heart. It is easy for the reader to see that the author writes because he wants something done. True, he explains, but it is that he may prepare the way for action; he reasons, but only that he may remove the obstacles to the results he wishes to achieve; and upon his attempts to rouse the Church, to induce the highest efforts of faith, and the actual experience of the glorious truth that "the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin,” he concentrates all his explanations, all his arguments, and all his power. Persuasion pervades the work from beginning to end, and this is precisely the reason why we pronounced it a book for the times. The Church needs instruction, she needs building up in the theoretical faith of our fathers, of course, now as ever. But it is not this chiefly and peculiarly that constitutes the want of the present. Christians need to be roused to a sense of their duty, and induced to do it. And while such vigorous efforts are made to accomplish it, let every one see that they are not made in vain.
ART. II.—THE DOCTRINE OF THE LOGOS IN THE INTRODUC. —
TION TO JOHN'S GOSPEL, CHIAP. I, 1-18.
Verse 13. Οι ουκ εξ αιμάτων (scilicet εγεννήθησαν),] This is added as a caution against the natural inference with a Jewish mind as to the mode of yevéoyal Tékva. This title the Jews claimed as exclusively applicable to themselves, (John viii, 41.) There were three ways in which alone persons became members of the Jewish Church, and these, accordingly, we think are expressly referred to by the several negations of this verse.
The first and chief mode of being constituted a Jew was by descent from Abraham: on this all pure Israelites prided themselves and relied for favour with God, (compare Matt. iii, 9; John viii, 33, 34;) to this mode corresponds the present êç aiuátwv. The Hebrew pluralis excellentiæ is here used for the singular, an idiom that even occurs in Euripides, Ion, 693, άλλων τραφείς αφ' αιμάτων, sc. άλλης μητρός. The allusion to successive ancestors is doubtful. The article is omitted for the sake of generalization; q. d., no blood, however noble, that may flow through their veins. 'Ek shows their origin; or, aiuátwv being taken in the metaphorical sense of descent, it will then indicate the referential cause, in virtue of which šyevvñonoav is predicated.
Ουδε εκ θελήματος σαρκός,] The second mode of introduction into Judaism is here referred to; namely, by one's own choice (19éanua σαρκός, that is, ίδιον) as a proselyte. Σάρξ is put continually in the New Testament for corrupt human nature, and here gives the invidious meaning of caprice to héanua. The meaning, thus derived, that regeneration is not the effect of any personal efforts or native inclination, is consistent with the context and with sound doctrine. The view adopted by many interpreters, that the plural aluátov implies the union of both parents in generation, and that oaprós here signifies the female, and åvdpós the male, while Néanua indicates the sexual passion involved, is not only too gross, but too farfetched and hair-spun to be admitted when any other easy explanation can be found; for what need would the Evangelist have of guarding against a mistake as to regeneration so egregiously sensual ? Under this supposition, moreover, oapkós and åvdpós would absolutely require the article, and even aiuátwv could hardly dispense with it. Eapkóg needs no article here, because aútāv is understood, which sufficiently specifies apkós; if râs had been expressed without the reflexive aútāv, the sense might have been