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are not sins according to the royal and evangelical law of our Melchisedec: And therefore they do not prove, that all believers remain full of Indwelling Sin till death.- If Mr. Hill reply, that “ The many offences, of which St. James speaks, are voluntary offences, and therefore real breaches of the law of liberty;" I answer, that this genuine sense of the words, taken in connexion with the context, confirms our doctrine of Christian Perfection, and our opposition to Autinomianism ; and I prove it thus:
The text and context run thus : 'My brethren, be not many masters; [i.c., lord it not over one another ;] knowing that we (who do so] shall receive the greater condemnation' if we do not learn humility." I say we because I would not have you think that God our Judge is a respecter of persons, and will spare an apostle, who breaks the law of liberty and does not repent, any more than he would spare you. For if I represented God as a partial Judge, Judas's greater condemnation would prove me mistaken. And I insist the more upon this awful doctrine, because in many things we offend all,' especially in word, till we are made perfect in love, that love which is the fulfilling of the law,' and enables us to keep our tongue as it were with a bridle' all the day long."-If Mr. Hill ask, by what means I can shew, that this is really St. James's meaning: I reply, by that plain rule of Divinity and Criticism, which bids us take the beginning of a verse in connexion with the end. And if we do this here, we find the doctrine of Christian Perfection in this very text, thus: “We shall receive the greater dampa. tion' if we do not repent and cease to 'be many masters; for in many things we from time to time offend all,' especially by our words till we are perfected in love. ?'" If any man offend not in word, the same is, what each of us should be, a perfect man, aud able also to bridle his whole body. (Jaines iii. 1, 2.)-So certain therefore, as there are men able to bridle their tongue, and their whole bodies, there are men perfect in the body-perfect before death, according to the doctrine
nd in this controverted passage of St. James.
“But St. James says also, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy, James iv.5."
I reply: 1. It is usual for modest teachers to rank themselves with the persons, of whom they say something disagreeable : And this they do to take away the harshness of their doctrine, and to make way for the severity of their charges. Thus Peter writes, 'The time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abomiuable idolatries;' though it is evident, that Peter, a poor, industrious, godly Jew, never 'walked in abominable idolatries, working the will of the Gentiles. Now the same delicacy of charity, which made St. Peter rank himself with Heathens, who walked in drunkenness, whoredom, and gross idolatry, makes St. James rank himself with the carnal Christians, who are possessed by an envious spirit.
2. Nay, St. James himself, using the same figure of speech, says, 'The tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison, &c.; therewith curse we men, wh made after the similitude of God.' But would it be reasonable to infer from these words, that his tongue was still · full of deadly poison,' and that he therewith continued to curse his neighbour? Therefore all that is implied in his words about envy, is that, till we are made perfect in the Charity which envieth not, and is not puffed up, the spirit that is in us lusteth to envy' and pride. And that we, who have not yet attained Christian Perfection, need not be always envious and proud, is evident from the very vext words, ‘But he giveth more grace, wherefore he says, God resisteth the proud envious man, but giveth grace to the humble :Resist the devil and he will flee from you :-Purify your hearts, ye double-minded : Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep : Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into heaviness :' So severe was St. James to those adulterers and adulteresses, those genteel believers, who stopped short of Christian Perfection, loved the world, and envied one another! Therefore,
to press him into the service of Solifidiauism, is as rash an attempt, as to call his Epistle an Epistle of stravy, worthy of being committed to the flames : And (if the preceding remarks are just) Mr. Hill is as much mistaken, when he appeals to St. James, as when he quotes St. Peter, in defence of Christian Imperfection.
SECTION VI. St. Paul preached Christian Perfection, and professed
to have attained it.-A View of the different Sorts of Perfection which belong to the different Dispensations of Grace and Glory.—The holy Child Jesus's Imperfection in Knowledge and Suffering, and his growing in Wisdom and Stuture, and in Favour with God and Man, were entirely consistent with his Perfection of Humble Love.
St. Paul's name appears upon Mr. Hill's list of witnesses against Christian Perfection ; but it is without the apostle's consent : For Peter and James did not plead more strenuously for the glorious liberty of God's children, than St. Paul. Nay, he professed to have attained it, and addressed Fathers in Christ as persous that were partakers of it together with himself: "We speak wisdom,' says he, “among them that are per.. fect.” (1 Cor. ii. 6.)—— Let us, as many as be perfect, be thus minded.' (Phil. iii. 15.)
Nor did St. Paul fancy, that Christian Perfection was to be confined to the apostolic order: For he wanted all believers to be like him in this respect. Hence it is, that he exhorted the Corinthians à to perfect holiness in the fear of God; (2 Cor. vii. 1;) to be perfect; (2 Cor. xiji. 11;) to be perfectly joined together in the same mind;' (1 Cor. i. 10;) and shewed them the perfect, or more excellent way.' (1 Cor. xiii.)—He told the Ephesians, that God gave pastors for the perfecting of the saints, till all come in the unity of the faith, -unto a perfect man, unto the ineasure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.' (Eph. iv. 12, 13 )-He“ taught every man, &c. that he might present every man perfect. in Christ Jesus. (Col. i. 28.)-He wanted the Colos
sians fully to put on charity, which is the bond of perfection,--that they might stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.' (Col. ii. 14; iv. 12.) He would have the man of God to be perfect, thoroughly furnished to every good work.” (2 Tim. iii. 27.)-He exhorted his converts, whether they did eat, drink, or do any thing else, to do all to the glory of God, and in the name of the Lord Jesus; rejoicing evermore, praying without ceasing, and in every thing giving thanks ;' that is, he exhorted them to walk according to the strictest rules of Christian Perfection.--He blamed the Hebrews for being still such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat ;' observing that
strong meat, EOTI TELEW, belongeth to them that are perfect, even to them who by reason of use, (or exrience,] have their spiritual] senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. v. 12, &c.) He begins the next chapter by exhorting them to 'go on to per. fection ;' intimating that, if they do not, they may insensibly fall away, put the Son of God to open shame, and not be renewed again to repentance.' And he concludes the whole Epistle by a pathetic wislı, that • the God of peace would make them perfect in every. good work to do his will.' Hence it appears, that it would not be less unreasonable to set St. Paul upon *crucifying Christ afresh,' than to make him attack Christ's well-known doctrine, “Be ye [morally] perfect, [according to your narrow capacity and bounded power,] even as your Heavenly Father is (morally] perfect [in his infinite nature, and boundless Godhead.] (Matt. v. 48.)
Mr. Hill will probably attempt to set all these scri;tures aside, by saying, that nothing cau be more absurd, than to represent Paul as a Perfectionist, because he says himself, “Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect.” (Phil. iii. 12.) -But, some remarks upon the different sorts of Perfectiou, and upon the peculiar Perfection which the apostle said be had not yet attained, will easily solve this difficulty. Mr. Hill is too well acquainted with Divinity, not to
know that Absolute Perfection belongs to God alone ; and that Christ himself, with respect to his humanity, fell and still falls short of Infinite Perfection. Omniscience, and a Wisdom admitting of no growth, are essential to Absolute Perfection : But the man Christ was not omniscient ; for he did not know the day of judgment : Nor was his wisdom infinite ; for he grew in wisdom. Nay, his happiness is not yet absolute; for daily increases as he sees his seed, aud is more and more satisfied. God alone is supremely perfect : All beings are imperfect, when they are compared to him ; and though all his works were perfect in their places, yet, as he gave them different degrees of perfection, they which have inferior degrees of goodness, may be said to be imperfect in comparison of them which are endued with superior degrees of excellence. Thus archangels are perfect as archangels, but imperfect in comparison of Jesus Christ, Angels are perfect as angels, but imperfect in comparison of archangels. Enoch, Elijah, and the saints who arose with our Lord, are perfect as glorified saints; and, in comparison of them, the departed spirits of just men made perfect continue in a state of imperfection : For the risen saints are glorified in body and soul; but the mouldered bodies of departed saints, not having yet felt 'the power of Christ's resurrection,' are still under the power of corruption. Imperfect as St. Paul and St. John are now, in comparison of Enoch, Elijah, and the twenty-four elders so often mentioned by St. John; yet they are far more perfect than when they were pressed down by a corruptible body, under which they 'groaned, being burdened :' For the disembodied spirits of ‘just men made perfect' are more perfect than the most perfect Christiaus, who are yet in a - body dead because of sin.' And, as anjong rich men, some are richer than others; or among tall men, some are taller than others; so, among perfect Christians, some are more perfect than others.
According to the gradation which belongs to all the works of God; and according to the doctrine of the dispensations of divine grace; the least perfect of all