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Spiritual Magazine ;
“ There are Three that bear record in heaven; the FATHER, the WORD, and the HOLY GHOST: and these Three are One.»
1 John v. 7, "Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
(For the Spiritual Magazine.)
“ CHRIST THE WAY.”-John xiv. 6. “ BROAD is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” This is a solemn and affecting declaration ; yet, solemn and affecting as it doubtless is, it is equally true, that in one or other of these roads which issue in an eternal and unalterable state, all are travelling. There is no medium way. When we enter this in hospitable desert, through the porch of life, we beat the pulse of death; none are exempted from this movement; nor can there be any discharge from the warfare into which sin has introduced us. Propelled forward by domineering lusts and vitiated propensities, the sinner bends his course heedlessly onward in the wide path, not dreaming of higher felicities than the fatal indulgence of sensual gratifications. The fancied roses, and the enchanted springs so accustomed to allure him, abound throughout his journey : these invite his affections, while the familiar converse of innumerable travellers bound for the same destination, naturally courts his superior esteem. These delights he would not forego, and can never consent to sacrifice them, until almighty grace induces a change in the soul by an implantation of heavenly principles diametrically opposed to vanity, and at perpetual strife with sin. Until the full accomplishment of this wonderful new creation, there is not, nor can there be the semblance of inclination to relinquish the gay pursuits of the broad wuy, for those which enrich the mind and ennoble the soul, and render the Redeemer, who is the very Vol. VIII.- No. 93.]
commencement, course, centre and termination of it, past expression precious. Give to the worldling health, riches, honours, and long life, and he will thank you not for any other good ; he will desire no other blessing. The constant and unwearied object of his research is happiness: to attain the airy phantom he rushes forward with astonishing avidity, and eagerly enterprises every thing to gain the specious summit. Alas ! how slight is the tenure of such hopes ! His expectations are dashed with disappointment and sorrow, and daily experience becomes a faithful monitor, which admonishes the soul that substantial bliss cannot be derived from any pursuit which has not for its object a full Christ and a finished salvation.
The blind infatuation which directs to the pursuit of happiness in the "s broad way” of destruction, is manifest in every class. In this respect there is no distinction between the king and his subjects, the prince and the peasant, the learned and the rude, the rich and the poor ; for in all men there is a deep-rooted spring of pride and ignorance, (the true and inherent constituents of human nature) which pervade and corrupt the whole, and, like a false and illusive meteor, holds out fair pretences, and directs to fine prospects but to bewilder and destroy.
The christian's pursuit also is happiness; but he seeks it in Christ the narrow way. That way in which he once delighted, he has discovered, by the light of regenerating grace, to be the way of death. His mind, once abject darkness, is now under the charming influence of a heavenly bias ; he eyes the end of his course as the desired haven where he will enjoy uninterrupted peace. His hopes for strength, and every blessing by the way, centre in Christ; he rests by faith on bis immutable promises and word, and is led to know that there is no other resting-place. Surely these meek and humble followers of the Lamb should not be discouraged by the passing taunts of their less favoured enemies, to whom their conduct and choice must appear surpassing strange, and contradictory to all the sentiments of boasting reason. They must be content to follow Jesus in the narrow way, counting it all joy and a high honour to be partakers of the sufferings of their Master for his sake, and thus manifest their union to him, and their renunciation of the world, with all its giddy scenes, as insufficient to procure a single gleam of comfort in life, or in a dying hour.
The way to glory is narrow, by far too narrow for an unhumbled scribe or pharisee, or hypocrite to walk. It is a path admirably defined by Job, which the “ vulture's eye hath not seen.” The reasoning powers of man may be aptly compared to the keen and penetrating glance of the vulture's eye; but so palpably blind is the eye of reason to the perception of spiritual objects, that there appears no comeliness in Jesus, and consequently no happiness anticipated in his ways. Never did the merely self-righteous enter this narrow way.
His language, like that of Balaam is, “ let me die the death of the righteous," merely to escape the penal consequences
of sin, while he holds the life of faith in utter abhorrence, and cannot endure the cross, and submit to crosses by the way. The candidate for the immortal honours of a diadem, as yet unseen, must first become acquainted with his destitute condition, be stripped of his fair plumes of arrogance and pride, and emptied from his bloated vanity, before he can either be conversant with Christ, prize his ways, or follow him, as the great object which faith and love adore, in the way to the delightful plains of life eternal. He must be quickened into newness of life by the regenerating power of the Holy Ghost; have eyes to see, hands to feel, feet to walk, and other sensibilities of the new-born man of grace, before he can know the dangers of his former course, and perceiving them, fly to Christ for shelter as the only way of salvation.
Christ is himself the way of salvation, in his person, characters, relations, offices, and works. “ There is no other name given whereby any can be saved.” Deliverance from the wrath to come is in and through him as the only divinely constituted medium.
The obedience and death of Christ were the conditions of Jehovah’s reconciliation to the transgressor. Hence, from the memorable promise to our original progenitor suspended the first dawn of hope to a guilty world. A restoration of the honours of the divine Legislator, and the engagements involved in the doctrine of substitution, were the terms of peace; and from hence resulted a general amnesty and pardon to his saints. The blessed promise was not less pregnant with an amazing development of Jehovah's glory, than blessings of discriminating grace to its happy subjects. The fruit that hung on the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden, was forbidden fruit; but that which grew out of the promise, connected with the atonement, is dispensed to the whole election of grace, as a rich repast. A participation of the forbidden fruit did indeed open the eyes, but it was to the experience of bitterness and woe ; while, on the contrary, the divine promise of life, in and through him, opened up a way peace and pardon, which dispersed the awful gloom which overspread the scene. Thus was the way to the holiest made manifest ; thus was the path to bliss broken up, which in the patriarchal ages gradually rose conspicuous, and at length shone in fullest radiance on his cross, being there exhibited in the illustrious Sufferer, “ in crimson lines of blood.”
To Christ, as the only way to God and heaven, “ prophets witness.” The various types and shadows of the ceremonial law, the bloody sacrifices under the Mosaic dispensation, and all the Jewish metaphorical representations, signs and symbols, all directed to Christ, and were fulfilled in him. These ritual observances published the way of salvation to be alone through the Saviour's blood and righteousness, and the absolute necessity of a remission of guilt, and a spotless righteousness to adorn the soul ; while they no less declared the indispensable necessity of a new nature, wrought by the Holy Ghost, to appear subjectively meet for the marriage supper.
gave all the
fresh and green.'
Every view of Jesus as the way to the kingdom, is transporting to the redeemed. Here faith beholds a cluster of blessings which no pen can describe! The whole scenery, from his cradle to his cross, and from Calvary's summit to his ascension into glory, is grand beyond expression. What prospect so inviting, what object so lovely and desirable to review as Jesus ? If we gaze at his person, how eminently does he evince that it is both human and divine; and, how shall worms of the earth adequately speak of this astonishing assemblage of majesty and beauty, or pourtray his glories ? Still, when his beauties “ strike our eyes," and the captivating influence of his love animates our hearts, we cannot remain silent; we must utter his praise, however mean and poor may be the strains, though they rise but little higher than the dust.
Yes, in his person, Christ is the way, into which the Holy Ghost introduces the ransomed sinner, and therein he finds " the pastures
It is alone through the channel of his vicarious sufferings that he can obtain acceplance before the throne. United to bim his saints are by an eternal union which can never be dissolved; and by a vital principle of faith, the exercise of which makes it manifest, and cements the blessed bond, they enjoy the blessedness resulting from it. Thus they receive a guarantee for their safe entrance by the right way, and all things which may be appointed as necessary for their welfare.
Jesus is the way of access to God. As the only Mediator, and Advocate of the members of his mystical body, he undertakes their cause, and represents them fully in his heavenly courts, and ever lives to plead it
. There can, therefore, be no uncertainty of success with him for the happy recipients of his grace, nor failure of the expected end. Their ultimate and eternal triumph over sin, death, and hell, is unalterably secured in him, and absolutely certain. How delightful, then, is such a way-a way which humbles the sinner in the dust, and exalts the Saviour as the Prince of Peace, and con fers on every saint innumerable riches !
( 'To be concluded in our next.)
(For the Spiritual Magazinc.)
( Concluded from page 203.) Again, if the great Redeemer had been nothing more than what the accomplished and philosophical heresiarch, Dr. Priestley, and other “ rational christians”' chose to term, - a mere creature, but of a superior order, and exalted station;" we reply, no matter how dignified his “ order," or how exalted his s station," as a mere creature,” he must have been under and subject to, that law which governs all rational creatures, therefore, “the best obedience of his hands, could but fulfil the law's demands," for himself alone ; and
we, (i. e. Trinitarians) confess ourselves so irrational as to believe, and because we believe it, therefore we say, that such is the constitution of the divine code, that none can boast of a supererogatory obedience: therefore we find the ground solid, and our footing safe, when we get within the pale of revelation, and assert, upon the authority of a “ thus saith the Lord,” (from which there can be no appeal) that he who made the world, redeemed the world ; that he that created man, became incarnate to redeem and save man; and that our Creator is our elder brother, participating in our sorrows, and sympathising in our afflictions, “bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh;" because we maintain no more than that to which holy men of God were inspired to testify, and their testimony is not to be gainsayed, seeing it is stated in terms too unequivocal to admit of a doubt, as to the recognition of the Godhead of the Saviour :: “ Great is the mystery of godliness! God was manifest in the flesh, and died for our sins, according to the scriptures !''
But not only did it devolve upon Christ to effect the reconciliation, and to render harmonious the divine attributes, but " for this (also) was the Son of God manifest, that he might destroy the works of the wicked one,” and emancipate his church from the domineering power of sin, and the vassalage and iron grasp of Satan, and redeem it from the power of the grave. And in anticipation of this mighty conquest over the confederated powers of sin, death, and hell
, he exultingly sang, “ death, I will be thy plague ! O grave, I will be thy destruction ! and repentance shall be hidden from mine eyes." And this glorious victory he achieved, when by death he extracted the monster's sting, and destroyed the cause of death, which is sin, and paralyzed the infernal energies of him that had the power of death, which is the devil, and made a shew of them openly, to the confusion and discomfiture of the demoniac host, whose concentrated machinations contemplated no less than the permanent subversion of that universe over which they had usurped authority. But in the incarnation of the Lord's anointed, devils recognized their original Victor, by whose prowess they were hurled over the battlements of the skies, and confined in Tophet, to feel eternally the vengeance of his ire. While man, hardened man! (for whom the immaculate Saviour endured such dolorous pangs,) mocked his privations and his sufferings, and disclaimed his authority, by refusing allegiance to him as their rightful Lord, devils tremblingly confessed, know thee whom thou art, thou Holy One of God : art thou come to torment us before the time ?"
Thirdly. This salvation is effectual in its application. By virtue of the responsibility and suretyship engagement of Christ, the Spirit Jehovah covenanted to go forth as the Spirit of adoption, and as the revealer and glorifier of Jesus in the hearts of the elect; and as the regenerator, sanctifier, and comforter of the church ; and to render meet for glory the vessels of mercy whom God the Father had engaged to accept through the mediation of the Son.
Hence we see,