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I should preach among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ep. c. iii. v. 7.) “ Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ." (Eph. c. iii. v. 20.) “ Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philip. c. i. v. 11.) “ Increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might according to his glorious power.” (Col. c. i, v. 11.) “ Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James c. i. v. 17.) “ Now the God of peace
make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.” (Heb. c. xiii. v. 21.) “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” (2 Pet. c. i. v. 3.) Our blessed Saviour declared of the apostles, that when they had done all they were unprofitable servants. He said again, “ Without me ye can do nothing.” (John c. xv. v. 5.) “ So neither is he that planteth any-thing, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.” (1 Cor. c. iii. v. 7.) “ And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me In nothing am I behind the very chiefest of the apostles, though I be nothing.” (2 Cor. c. xii. v. 9-11.)“ I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. * * * Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith,” &c. (Rom. c. xii. v. 3—6.) “ But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; that according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Cor. c. i. v. 30.) " Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works ? Nay, but by the law of faith.” (Rom. c. iii. v. 27.) “ That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” (Isa. c. xi. v. 3.) “ This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord; and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” (Isa. c. liv. v. 17.) “ Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” (John c. i. v. 16.) “ A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” (John c. iii. v. 27.) “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any-thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God." (2 Cor. c. ii. v. 5.)
It is very probable that the Romanist will advert to the parable of the talents. Now in this parable the Christian is instructed that he must unceasingly labour to glorify God. But the principle of free grace is clearly involved in it; for all the ten talents are returned to God at the last; and this could not be, if part of the merit or glory
were reserved to the servants of God. We have seen that it is of God both to will and to do. The sin of the indolent servant, who hid his talent in a napkin, appears to have consisted in his resisting the influences of the Holy Ghost, by whom he would have obtained with faith both the will and the power to glorify God. And if it be remarked that the reward has a reference to the amount of services performed, the most that can be deduced from this fact is, that God purposes to proportion the reward of grace, to the measure of grace which he bestows upon his saints. All that is good in man proceeds from God; as the glory of the sun and the beauty of the flower are his handy-work, so are the spiritual beauties of the saints; we admire and love the work, but weglorify only the infinite Workman.* It is the Spirit of God who breaketh the proud heart of the sinner; it is the Holy Ghost, who gives birth to the new man, engrafts him by faith in Christ, and enables hini to mortify the old man, and the body of sin; it is the Holy Ghost who sheddeth abroad in his heart the love of God, and the love of man; and every Christian grace is His workmanship. The guilt of man consists in his resisting the Holy Ghost. “ If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you, but if I depart I will send him unto you; and when he is come he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John c. xiv. v. 7, 8.) “ Then hath God also granted to the gentiles repentance unto life.” (Acts c. xi. v. 18.) “ Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John c. iii. v. 3.) “ No man can come upto me except it were given unto him of my Father.” (John c. vi. v. 65.)
6 No man can come unto me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.” (John c. vi. v. 44.) “ As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. c. viii. v. 14.) “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his.” (Rom. c. viii. 9.) “ If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live." (Rom. c. viii. v. 13.) “ The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.” (Rom. c. v. v. 5.) “ The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." (Gal. c. v. v. 22.)
Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Cbrist for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gist of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you and your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call,”
The talents are the situation in life, the mental and bodily powers, and all the occasions of glorifying God which a man possesses. These he is bound to improve, and his zeal in this respect is the test of that love to God, which is the certain product of saving faith. The adopted child of God desires to glorify his heavenly Father, and prefers his petition to the throne of grace for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which shall enable him to glorify God. This precious gift is never withheld from the true Christian. The unprofitable servant, on the other hand, hardens his heart against the word and the Spirit ; he is an unbeliever, and ignorant of the true character of God, for be perceives not the treasures of his grace in Christ Jesus ; he remains at enmity with God, and as lie regards him as a hard master, he has no desire to serve him. The will and power of obedience are both the gift of God, through faith in the finished redemption by Emmanuel; and bence all the talents are given to God at last.
(Acts c. ii. v. 38.) “ And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man." (Gen. c. vi. v. 3.) “But they rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit.” (Isa. c. lxiii. v. 9.) “ Ye stiff-necked and uncir-' cumcised, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost, as your fathers did, 80 do ye.” (Acts c. vii
. v. 51.) « Not by works which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour." (Tit. c. iii. v. 5.) “ Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith) to-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Heb. c. iii. v. 7).
Having thus refuted these fatal errors of the church of Rome, it will be profitable to show that faith is the only principle of true godliness, that it is a holy doctrine, that it is the very fountain of all acceptable obedience to God. It is most important to undeceive Romanists upon this head. They are taught that the reformed religion is unholy; that it denies the necessity of good works; and that Protestants hold that if a man after a life of iniquity at his last hour only says “ I believe," he shall be saved; and the Romish advocates invariably pronounce the word “ wholesome” when they recite our article with a peculiar emphasis, which generally provokes a responsive smile from their own people.
But which doctrine is best calculated to write the first and great commandment of the law upon the heart of man, the doctrine which ascribes the whole of the sinner's justification to the unmerited mercy of God, or that which represents it as partly earned by the sinner's own sufferings and mèrits? It is the contemplation ofthe unutterable love of God in Christ Jesus, which, brought home with power to the heart by the Holy Ghost, softens it and melts it into boly adoration. If in the language of Paul, the love of man heaps coals of fire upon the heads of his enemies, by which figure he intends, that as the furnace fuses the hardest metal, so will human charity dissolve the most inveterate hatred; much more shall the perception of the glory of the love of Christ subdue the heart of the repentant sinner. It is by the doctrine of the cross, when the preaching is accompanied by the Spirit of power, that is fulfilled the covenant of God. will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts.". (Heb. c. viii, v. 10.). The apostate beholdeth with the eye of faith the King of kings putting off his eternal crown, descending from the throne of his glory, humbling himself to the form of a servant, perfectly obeying in his stead the law of God, bleeding for him at Calvary, and descending into the mansions of the dead. The iron of his heart gives way before this mysterious miracle of infinite love, and it is then that the first and great commandment of the law sinks deeply into it. Obedience to the second commandment naturally emanates from the first.“ We love God because he first loved us ;" (1 John c. iv. v. 19.) and if we love him we naturally desire to prove our love to him by some active demonstrations of it. The mode of doing this is clearly set forth by Christ~ If a man love
* This Holy Spirit not only sheds abroad in the heart of the believer the love of God, but the love of his holy law, and enables him to perceive its excellence and beauty.
me, he will keep my words.” (John c, xiv. v. 23.) This is a precept which none can mistake; he who does not strive to keep the coinmandments cannot love Christ, and he who does not love Christ, cannot believe in Christ with a true and saying faith; for to all who truly believe in Christ is given the Spirit of promise, which sheds abroad in their hearts the love of God. "In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." (Eph. c... y. 13.). The love of God is the motive which Paul presses so emphatically upon the Ephesians—“ God, who is rich in mercy for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath.quickened 08. together with Christ (by.grace ye are saved), and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his gracę, in his kindness towards us through Cbrist ; for by grace ye are saved, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast, for we are his workmanship.” (Epb. c. q. v. 4.) The : quickening principle therefore of Christian obedience precludes the idea of merit. The şaints upon earth desire to glorify God, not that they may thereby win heaven, but because God hath freely given them all things in Jesus Christ. They serve Him
from the ground of the heart;not that they may obtain pardon thereby, but on accout of the infinite atonement which has blotted out their sins, and which has been freely made for them by a crucified Redeemer. The primary motive, therefore, of Christian: obedience is identically the same with that which influences every holy creature; he has received life and, holiness and happiness. freely from his God, and he loves him in return. This must have been the source of praise to our first parents before the fall; and this must necessarily give rise to the everlasting thanksgivings of the boly angels. But the saints on earth and in heaven have a nobler song; they celebrate in time, and, striking their golden harps, they shall celebrate throughout eternity the glories of the Lamb who ransomed them with his blood. Hence this holy love proceeding from a living faith is an eternal principle. Faith shall be swallowed up in sight, hope in enjoyment, but love shall abide for ever. The pardoned sinner derives a motive to obedience from every part of the providential agency, which has been employed in his salvation. He feels an
npulse given to his obedience when he contemplates the creative love of God; but the zeal of his service is incalculably enhanced when he views the wondrous scene at Calvary, when he gazes upon a bleeding Saviour, and that Saviour, "the mighty God, the Prince of Peace." "
" " The love of Christ constraineth him.” (2 Cor. c. v. v. 14.) In his communion with God, the Holy Spirit poureth into his heart floods of light, and peace and joy; and this new evidence of the grace and power of God, cheers and animates him in his pilgrimage; whilst the hope of the unmerited crown' which awaits him, inclines him by anticipation to cast it before the throne with the elders, and to say, « Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, honour, and power, for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created.” (Rev. c. iv. v. 11.) Call to mind the glowing language of Paul :-"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. c. viii. v. 35.)
In conclusion, a forcible representation should be made of the consequences of adopting and preaching a false gospel, both to individuals and to churches.' With regard to the former, no plea of succession will avail, if a false gospel be proclaimed, and Christ be robbed of his glory. Paul," an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead," (Gal. c. 1, v. 1.) declares, “ Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. c. i. v. 8.) And with respect to churches, the Jews were cut off, because they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Rom. c. X. v. 3.) The candlestick of the church of Laodicea was removed, because she fancied herself rich when she was poor and naked, and left her first love. And what an awful warning was given to the church of Rome! it would have been well for her if she had attended to it-" Thou standest by faith; be not high-minded, but fear.” (Rom. c. xi. v. 20.) She, whose faith was once spoken of all over the earth, hath left that faith and the goodness of God, to plead her own righteousness; hence a day of terror awaits her_6 That great city Babylon shall be cast down, and shall be found no more at all.” (Rev. c. xviii. v. 21.)
THE RULE OF FAITH.
The Bible only is the Protestant rule of faith. It was the appointed rule to the Jewish church. (Isaiah c. viii. v. 20.) It is the appointed rule for the Christian church, for there is no unwritten word; (John c. xii. v. 48.) and it is a sufficient rule, for that which can give eternal life must be sufficient as a rule of faith. And as John's Gospel is thus proved to be sufficient, much more must the whole Bible be sufficient as a rule of faith. (John C. XX. v. 31.)
All that the church of Rome can oppose to this reasoning is, that the Bible does not contain the whole of the word of God now extant, but that there is an unwritteu word of God in the possession of the church of Rome.* This we positively deny, and we challenge her
An argument which is valueless; for we have seen that the Gospel of John suffices without the rest of the written word.