« PreviousContinue »
grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?"- Rom. 6: 1, 2. Adding, "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." Listen to Peter: "For he that hath suffered in the flesh HATH CEASED FROM SIN; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."- 1 Peter 4: 1, 2. Here is a whole "body of divinity," on the subject. And I wish you to keep it in remembrance, as I may refer to it again. Now, it is to credit this great truth, according to the above theory. I could have added much more; but, then, one good "title-deed" to property is as good as fifty. By crediting the truth in a promise I mean placing unwavering and implicit confidence in such a promise as that in 1 John 1: 9.-"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." To which add that promise of our Lord, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it."-John 14: 13, 14. Credit these promises; place unfaltering reliance upon the veracity of Jesus.
3. BY TAKING CARE NOT TO MISAPPLY SCRIPTURE.
That is, applying it to a purpose never intended by the Holy Ghost. Mis-assigning Scripture; that is, taking a text to prove what it never was designed to prove, dragging a Scripture away from the doctrine to which it belongs, and applying it to that for which it never was intended. Instance: "My Father is GREATER than I,”
which evidently refers to his human nature; this the Unitarians drag out of its place to prove that Christ did not allow that he was equal with the Father as regards Divinity, therefore not God. The passage, you see, is mis-assigned. The true text for that ought to be this: "I and my Father are ONE."-John 10: 30. And it belongs to a text of the same class, proving the same thing, that Jesus claimed to be God, such as, "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, EVEN AS WE ARE ONE.”. John 17: 22. "For One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren."- Matt. 23 8. There you have the perfect equality of the Christian brotherhood. "That they may be one," equality recognized again,-"EVEN AS WE ARE ONE." Here you have an assumption; equality with the brethren he does not look at, but claims at once equality with God. Could he have done so without being guilty of blasphemy, had he not considered himself EQUAL with God, and God, in John 10: 30? Is it not to this St. Paul refers, where he says, "Who being in the form of God THOUGHT IT NOT ROBBERY TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD but made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and, being found in the fashion of a man, he humbled himself," &c.- Phil. 2: 6, 7, 8. This is a digression; but I have thrown out the hint for the benefit of that "Inquiring Unitarian." Pardon me, but it shows how such misapply Scripture. Nor is this misconduct confined to such. Those who deny the possibility of being cleansed from all sin before death are guilty of the same. The seventh chapter of Romans, for instance, is dragged away from the experience of an awakened and penitential sinner, which Paul personifies, and which it strikingly
illustrates; and is held as a torch over the experience of all believers, to prove that none before death can attain unto a higher state. They do not understand that the passages * I quoted in the beginning are the true torches to illustrate the doctrine of a higher experience. There are other passages mis-assigned, but time will not permit.
4. By a serious consideration of the PROPRIETY of this doctrine.
That is, its fitness and suitability as to time and place, as well as harmony with the Scriptures. How fit we should be holy and pure here, that we might be happy and useful here! How becoming to those who serve so holy a God, and probationers for a holy heaven!
5. By not holding the truth in mere SPECULATION. That is, holding it in theory only, without reducing it to experience and practice, the sin or fault of many of our Methodist people. Consider well what you have heard, and may the Holy Spirit guide you into all truth. Amen.
*See pages 235—7.
HELPS TO PERCEIVE THE PROPRIETY OF EXPECTING FULL SALVATION IN THIS LIFE.
YOUR attention, for a few minutes! Let that person whom I addressed last night hearken! You say, "Last night you urged me to consider the propriety of the doctrine that we may be cleansed from all sin, in life and health. Now, here is just my difficulty. I have not materials of thought sufficiently strong to enable me to cope with the prejudices of education, and other temptations which assail my mind against the doctrine. It is true I have the Scriptures, and I did admire the 'body of divinity' of them which you presented so convincingly. But I am unable to classify and draw proper inferences, so as to silence objections within and without. Can you help me any further?"
Perhaps I can. But let me say I am a poor controversialist, especially with the children of God of other denominations. It is not my forte. I have no heart to it. It does not quite become a stranger. It is the proper work of the regular pastors, I think, if it must be done. Nor should it be in any other spirit than that of love, seeing that one is our Master, even Christ, and all we are brethren.-Matt. 23: 8. However, I have no objections. you all the assistance in my power. As there are
others in like circumstances with yourself, they may be benefited, also, by this public reply. But I must apprise time will not allow me to expatiate largely; you as brief as is consistent with perspicuity.
Let me ask you a few questions. You need not trouble about noting them down, as that will distract your attention and weary you; besides, I am not fond of seeing such note-takers in our assemblies. If you wish a copy of the questions afterwards, you can have them. Give me your undivided attention now, and if the Holy Spirit condescend to write the questions and answers on your heart, you will have no difficulty in calling the substance of them to remembrance.
1. WHERE was the sin of our race contracted?
There can be but one answer: In this world. And, besides, by our first parents, when in perfect health, and long before death. To our original sin we have added our own personal impurities, which bear the mark of years. Now, where is the impropriety of supposing we may be cleansed from them in this world?
If our first parents sinned when in perfect health, why may not their posterity be cleansed from it in perfect health? If they lost their holiness long before death, why may not we regain it long before death?
If Satan has tempted and polluted every one of us, less or more, in health, why may not Jesus cleanse us from it in healtb? Or, has Satan more power to pollute than the Son of God to purify? This would be curious theology, and Christ-dishonoring.
If Adam and Eve, and each of us, have been rendered guilty and polluted by believing Satanic promises, why, in the name of all that is good, may we not be pardoned and purified by believing Divine promises? That one, for in