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unto the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed belong unto us and our children."
The apostle Paul, on the .subject of the resurrection, says, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor. xv. 50. And the apostle John writes with still more caution, for he says, "Beloved, now.are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but when he cometh we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; and every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 1 John iii. 2, 3. This ought to be'the main object of our thoughts, to purify ourselves even as he is pure, in order that we may become the sons of Q«d. "My little children," saith the apostle, " of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you." Gal. iv. 19. "There is one body, and one spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ." Eph. iv. 4-7. "Till we all come, in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the So*n of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." ver. 13. This stature of the fulness of Christ consists, I believe, in a. state of perfect obedience to the law of Divine love, by which means our minds may become so transformed by the spirit of Christ, as to be in unity with him, even as he is in unity with the Father; agreeably to the prayer of the blessed Jesus, when he said, " Holy Father, keep through thine own name, those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are. As thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they maybe one in us." John xvii. 11,21. "I will pray the Father," said he, "and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither know
eth him: but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you." John xiv. 16-18.
Here we see that the same Holy Spirit which was in Jesus, and thus dwelt with the disciples, was to be manifested in them, for their comfort; and not unto them only, .but unto as many as should believe on him through their word.
John. If we consider the divine Word, or Spirit of Christ, to be the medium through which God reveals himself to man, does not this seem to imply that there are two Divine powers or persons?
father. I will answer this question by asking another. What do men generally understand by the term nature, when they speak of the laws of nature and the powers of nature? Do they mean that there is another power besides that of God operating upon the material world?
John. I understand by it nothing more than the power of God, as continually displayed in the outward creation. •
Father. And so, when I speak of Christ or the Divine Word, I mean "the power of God and the wisdom of God," (1 Cor. i. 24,) as manifested in the souls of men, to redeem them from all iniquity, and to bring them into his own glorious image of purity and love. This Divine power is represented under various figures or metaphors, in the Scriptures; but the most striking and beautiful is that of light. The apostle John says, "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." And speaking of Christ he says, "In him was life, and the life was the light of men; that was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." God is the great luminary or sun of his spiritual creation; and that power or influence by which he acts upon 'the souls of men, is called his light: "For whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, awake, thou that
sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Eph. v. 13, 14. As the light of the sun is the source of all the beauty that adorns the outward creation, and as the smallest ray of light contains in itself every, colour of the rainbow; so this Divine light which emanates from God, is the source of every christian virtue, and "in it are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
When we see such striking evidences of Divine power and goodness displayed in the government of the outward world,—clothing the earth with flowers and verdure in spring, with harvests in summer, and with 'fruits in autumn,—and preserving the various tribes of animals through the severity of winter: when we feel assured that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without his notice;—can we suppose that he withdraws his presence from the immortal part of his creature man? No; it is on the rational soul of man that he bestows his peculiar care; it is there that his sensible presence is felt, and to him alone are we indebted for every holy aspiration after virtue, and every feeling of extended benevolence. And he not only incites us to goodness, but he reproves us for evil, and, as a tender father, he visits and revisits his erring children with "the reproofs of instruction, which are the way of life."
"Thou art the source and centre of all minds,
There is one text which was not introduced nor alluded to in the foregoing conversation, because its authenticity is now considered so doubtful that it has been abandoned by some of the most learned biblical critics. The following remarks in relation to it are extracted from the commentary of Adam Clarke, a learned trinitarian writer.
1 John v. 7. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one."
"There are one hundred and thirteen Greek MSS. extant, containing the first epistle of John, and this text is wanting in one hundred and twelve. It only exists in the Codex Montfortii, (a comparatively recent MS.,) already described."
"All the Greek fathers omit the verse, though many of them quote both verse '6th and 8th, applying them to the Trinity, Divinity of Christ,«nd the Holy Spirit."
"The first place the verse appears in Greek, is in. the Greek translation of the acts of the council of Lateran, held A. D. 1215."
"The Latin fathers do not quote it, even where it would have greatly strengthened their.arguments, and where, had it existed, it might have been most naturally expected. It is wanting in all the ancient versions, the Vulgate excepted; but the most ancient copies of this have it not."
"It is wanting in the German translation of Luther, and in all the editions of it published during his lifetime. It is inserted in our early English translations, but with marks of doubtfulness."
"In short, it stands on no authority, sufficient to authenticate any part, of a revelation professing to have come from God."
[See Griesbach's Greek Testament. ]
ON SALVATION BY CHRIST.
James. In our last conversation the attributes of the Divine Being and the Divinity of Christ, were discussed; and I now feel desirous of being better informed respecting the Christian doctrine of salvation.
Father. This is the most important subject that can possibly engage our attention: and we ought each one of us to take it into serious consideration, and endeavour to know by experience what it is to be saved from sin. It is an individual work; for " no man can save his brother, nor give to God a ransom for his soul;" but we must all "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling." Phil. ii. 12.
John.' I should think this last quotation is not to be taken so literally as to imply that we can work out our own salvation without Divine assistance.
Father. Certainly not. It only means that we should accept the offers of Divine grace, and heartily co-operate therewith: for the apostle says in the next verse, "It is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure." After all that we can do, our salvation must be attributed to God: for although it cannot be done without us, it is equally certain that it cannot be done of ourselves. "By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Eph. ii. 8.
The first point to be considered in this inquiry is, What is salvation? I think all must acknowledge that it is a deliverance from the guilt and dominion of sin; and consequently an exemption from the misery that is entailed upon sin, both here and hereafter.