« PreviousContinue »
same time, "grieved for the hardness of their hearts." So then he was angry at the sin, and in the same moment grieved for the sinners; angry or displeased at the offence, but sorry for the offenders. With anger, yea, hatred, he looked upon the thing; with grief and love upon the persons. Go, thou that art perfect, and do likewise. Be thus angry, and thou sinnest not; feeling a displacency at every offence against God, but only love and tender compassion to the offender.
27. Thus doth Jesus "save his people from their sins:" And not only from outward sins, but also from the sins of their hearts; from evil thoughts, and from evil tempers." True,” say some, we shall thus be saved from our sins; but not till death; not in this world." But how are we to reconcile this with the express words of St. John?" Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: Because as he is, so are we in this world." The Apostle here, beyond all contradiction, speaks of himself and other living Christians, of whom (as though he had foreseen this very evasion, and set himself to overturn it from the foundation) he flatly affirms, that not only at or after death, but in this world, they are as their Master. (1 John iv. 17.)
28. Exactly agreeable to this are his words in the first chapter of this Epistle, (verse 5, &c.,) "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we walk in the light,-we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." And again: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Now, it is evident, the Apostle here also speaks of a deliverance wrought in this world. For he saith not, the blood of Christ will cleanse at the hour of death, or in the day of judgment, but, it "cleanseth," at the time present, us," living Christians, "from all sin.” And it is equally evident, that if any sin remain, we are not cleansed from all sin: If any unrighteousness remain in the soul, it is not cleansed from all unrighteousness. Neither let any sinner against his own soul say, that this relates to justification only, or the cleansing us from the guilt of sin; First, because this is confounding together what the Apostle clearly distinguishes, who mentions first, to forgive us our sins, and then to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Secondly, because this is asserting justification by works, in the strongest sense possible; it is
making all inward as well as outward holiness necessarily previous to justification. For if the cleansing here spoken of is no other than the cleansing us from the guilt of sin, then we are not cleansed from guilt, that is, are not justified, unless on condition of "walking in the light, as He is in the light." It remains, then, that Christians are saved in this world from all sin, from all unrighteousness; that they are now in such a sense perfect, as not to commit sin, and to be freed from evil thoughts and evil tempers.
29. Thus hath the Lord fulfilled the things he spake by his holy Prophets, which have been since the world began ;—by Moses in particular, saying, (Deut. xxx. 6,) I " will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul;"-by David, crying out, "Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me;”—and most remarkably by Ezekiel, in those words: "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: From all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you;-and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.-Ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses.-Thus saith the Lord God, In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities, the Heathen shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places;-I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.” (Ezek. xxxvi. 25, &c.)
30. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved," both in the Law and in the Prophets, and having the prophetic word confirmed unto us in the Gospel, by our blessed Lord and his Apostles; "let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
fear, lest" so many "promises being made us of entering into his rest," which he that hath entered into, has ceased from his own works," any of us should come short of it." "This one
thing let us do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, let us press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus;" crying unto him day and night, till we also are "delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God!"
THE PROMISE OF SANCTIFICATION.
(Ezek. xxxvi. 25, &c.)
BY THE REV. CHARLES WESLEY.
1 GOD of all power, and truth, and grace,
2 Calmly to thee my soul looks up,
3 That I thy mercy may proclaim,
That all mankind thy truth may see,
4 Chose from the world, if now I stand
5 Perform the work thou hast begun,
Love me, for ever love thine own,
And sprinkle with thy blood my heart.
6 Thy sanctifying Spirit pour,
To quench my thirst and wash me clean;
Descend, and make me pure from sin.
7 Purge me from every sinful blot;
From all the filth of self and pride.
8 Give me a new, a perfect heart,
From doubt, and fear, and sorrow free;
9 O take this heart of stone away!
In me no longer let it stay:
O take away this heart of stone !