Page images
PDF
EPUB

light; as a fountain and its flow; or rescuing from obscurity, which was any cause and effect. Justification almost oblivion, the doctrine of justiby works is the issue of justification fication by faith, at first rejected the by faith — correlative, spontaneous epistle of James, because he anexhibitions.

nounced justification by works. This It is desirable to clear away all great doctrine had been almost banground of misconception. It is not ished to the cloisters. We say to the so much the nature of works, as their cloisters, for God had reserved to Him source, that gives them paramount even in popedom, as in Israel of old, value. Remembering the poor to re

those who did not “ bow the knee to lieve their wants, under any circum- Baal." The pulpits did not resound stances, would have a value, yea, a with this doctrine, but Luther found reward. If a man endow a hospital some, not so bold as himself, who, in with only a thought and purpose of their unproductive monastic lives, ministering to the wants of his suffer- held the same doctrine. They, alas ! ing fellow creatures," he shall in no did not justify themselves by their wise lose his reward," in this world works as did Abraham. alone ; whilst if he do the same thing But observe that in Abraham to commend himself to the favour of “faith wrought with his works, and a holy God, apart from faith in His by works was faith made perfect." Oh, Son Jesus," he shall suffer loss ;" it let us do likewise. James is made to is all only the “wood, hay, and stub- say, by our translators, “Can faith ble" of human merit. “ Will the save thee?" Surely; faith can, faith Lord be pleased with thousands of does save; except—if such faith can rams, or with ten thousands of rivers exist-a faith without works : and it of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for is faith of such a kind that James my transgression, the fruit of my reprobates. But he wrote, “ Can this body for the sin of my soul? He faith save thee?"—this faith that is hath showed thee, O man, what is dead? There is a considerable class good; and what doth the Lord require of religionists who feed on doctrines of thee, but to do justly, and to love -mere principles of truth. Behold mercy, and to walk humbly with thy them ! lean, cold, cheerless. Not so God ?" (Micah vi. 6, 7.) Now all this they who are “careful to maintain is impossible to the old man, for good works." They are gladsome “the whole head is sick, and the whole servants of a loving Master. heart faint. From the sole of the liberal soul maketh fat," both itself foot even unto the head, there is no and others. soundness in it; but wounds and So necessary is this maintenance bruises, and putrefying sores." (Isa. of good works, that we are urged to i. 5, 6.)

“work out our own salvation with It is he then who has already been fear and trembling.” (Phil. ii. 12.) washed, and sanctified, and justified, That doing is meant here is proved who has to be justified by works. He by the context, “God worketh in you thus will justify God who has called both to will and to do.” Moreover him, and likewise the profession he the glory of God is hereby manifested, has made that he is justified by faith as Jesus declares, “Let your light so in the once crucified, but now risen shine before men, that they may see Christ.

your good works, and glorify your James ii. 21: “ Was not Abraham Father which is in heaven." (Matt. justified by works, when he had v. 16.) The gloomy ascetic, the selfoffered his son upon the altar? Seest torturing recluse, the self-immolated thou how faith wrought with his nun, do not this. These “kindle a works, and by works was faith made fire, compass themselves about with perfect ?"

sparks; they walk in the light of There is ever danger that, in advo- their fire, and in the sparks that they cating a doctrine which has been have kindled; but," adds Jehovah, imperilled, we undervalue, if we do “ this shall ye have of My hand, ye not lose sight of, a doctrine of correla- shall lie down in sorrow.” (Isa. 1. 11.) tive importance. Thus Luther, in James ii. 24: "Ye see then how

" The

now.

that by works a man is justified, and neither the cold nor the hungry poor. not by faith only.”

Neither will a friend be satisfied with So James concludes his argument: the warmest protestations when, if it is so clear that he can, with the able, the heart and hand withhold confidence of an able advocate, say, their complement of help. One of “ Ye see.” Surely; and no speaker our kings made many foes, and lost or writer of the present day would his friends, because he said and did insult his hearers or readers with not: profuse in words, he falsified any other utterance. There is a them by his deeds: thus, unsustained, straightforward readiness in the his profession brought his head to minds of all whose evil ways do not the block; and thus will it be with force them into evil doctrine, to admit those who “say and do not,” as the that a man is bound to prove his pre- Scribes and Pharisees of old. cepts by his example. The precept It was praise of the highest chamay even be accepted, but the teacher racter which our Lord bestowed on will be rejected unless he is a living the woman who poured on His head epistle himself, known and read of the “ointment of spikenard very men. "Show me thy faith by thy precious." In defending her from works," is a reasonable demand; and those who murmured against her, if the tree is bearing no fruit, we He said “she hath done what she shall conclude that it is dead, or could," Can so much be said of ready to perish, or that some per- many

How many of us nicious evil is at work,

so faith

“ seek their own, and not the things without works is dead." So great a which are Jesus Christ's ?" (Philip. stress does Scripture lay on works ii. 21.) This solemn charge, not that it declares them indispensable lightly made by Paul, affected the to the perfection of faith. This, we Christians of his day, men and are told, was the actual fulfilment of women who had been redeemed with that Scripture, “Abraham believed the precious blood of Christ, and who God, and it was accounted to him for had by faith “ laid hold of the hope righteousness." Rahab also was jus. set before them." Are we better than tified by works ; she thus proved her they? or do not the same things beset faith ; it is “the outward and visible us ? and do we not bend our necks sign of an inward and spiritual grace." under the same yoke?

Now what is faith? A persuasion We may bring these thoughts to a that God is true in all that He is close by the solemn entreaty of Paul, and in all that He declares-confi. I beseech you, therefore, brethren, dence from God, and then confidence by the mercies of God, that ye prein God. What are works such as sent your bodies a living sacrifice, He accepts? Such as declare and holy, acceptable unto God, which is prove our trust in Him. These are

your reasonable service." (Rom. xii. often national losses to us, as giving 1.) our goods to feed the poor, denying Many may be ready to admit the ourselves iudulgences that might add reasonableness of this service, who to our personal comfort, or advance are not able to apprehend the necesus in the esteem of others, who judge sity of such, in order to perfect their of their fellows by their possessions salvation. We say not to ensure and the pomp thereof. We might salvation. Indeed, this is rather“ be truly reckoned of all men the hard saying,” but not really more so most miserable, were it not for faith than the utterance that " by works and hope ; and thus do the faithless was faith made perfect;" which means and unbelieving judge of us.

that without works a true and perfect The doctrine of justification by faith had no existence. It is reasonworks is what all in reality do be- able that we should give some proof lieve and maintain. This is seen of our professions; thus said one of in the laconic aphorism deeds not old, How canst thou say "I love words." The words will be accepted thee,' when thine heart is not with if the deeds sustain them; but * be me? thou hast mocked me these three thou warmed and filled" supports times." (Judges xvi. 15.) To his ruin,

[ocr errors]

indeed, Samson proved his guilty love, but he was consistent.

Above all stands forth our blessed Redeemer, who presented His body a sacrifice for us, who died, but now liveth for evermore. Let us learn of Him. Ere He gave Himself to be slain for us, His body, His soul, His strength, His all-all He was, all He had, was “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." He is gone to His Father, and our Father, leaving us a pattern that we should walk in His steps.

Meagre in desires, cold in our love, slow in purpose, ineffective in design, sluggish in effort, how shall we attain to that eminent grace described by the words, “she hath done what she could." No efforts can succeed but such as are in accordance with the counsel of God revealed in His word ; and one who would know this counsel must search the word.

Self-indulgence must be resisted. If this be yielded to there can be no presentation of our bodies to Christ and to God. This may be misapprehended. All are not required to deny themselves the same things. Satan may take advantage of a weak understanding concerning this. It is well known that one

may well do without what would be almost, if not quite death to another.

Self-will must be mortified “ with the affections and lusts." There caanot be two masters in one house, especially in the house of God; "one is your Master, even Christ;" and as the Father's will was His, so must Christ's be ours.

Self-judgment must be practised, How clear should this be to every

“In me, that is, in my flesh dwelleth no good thing :" then surely this flesh must be tried, and in the light of the truth only can it be. The best judge will be the one most learned in the law of God, and at the same time the most upright. “The righteous Lord loveth righteousness, His countenance doth behold the upriglit.” (Ps. xi. 7.) Clifton.

SAMSON IN PRISON; OR, THE BELIEVER UNDER A CLOUD.

JUDGES Xvi. 20, 21. “DARK, dark, irrevocably dark"mylot: A veil hath fallen o'er my mental eyeDark,-dark and sad what late was full

of light! Once free as air ;—now bound with fet

ters fast, And made the slave of cruel heartless

foes, Who mock and jeer my sorrows to be

hold, Glorying in their own impiety, And burning incense to their net and

drag, In mockery of the LORD of earth and

heaven ;Behold my misery in this prison-house ! Woe, woe is me!-my strength is

weakness now! Woe, woe is me! The secret of my

might Hath been confided to a treacherous

heart, Whose boasted love was empty flattery, And covert selfishness,- and proud dis

dain. Woe, woe is me! Time was when I

was strong In supernatural strength,-in strength

Divine. The Lion, and the wild Philistine

hosts (To SAMSON real ;-mystical to me ;Yet, in a deeper sense -realities), No terror had : the LORD, my“ Cap

tain," stood Ever between me and the enemy, And mine the shout of victory or

e'er The fight began,-so certain the result ! Now, scales have fallen, dark and

sorrowful, Between my vision and the glorious

W. HOWELL. ERRATUM.-In No. 20, p. 476, line 5, read “communion with God the lack of which."

one.

sun,

[blocks in formation]

One smile from Him, were worth a

thousand worlds :One pledge of reconcilement better

far Than freedom.-Holy Father, hear my

prayer ! Upon the face of Thine Anointed

look ! Return to Thine unworthy child once

more! I ask not life, or love, or joy on earth, Thy will in these-not mine–Thy will

be done ! But make me Victor over Sin,-e'en

though In death alone the conquest may be

won, And these mine enemies laid low in

Nor ever turn as outcasts on the

world ; Nor ever spoil of treasures once

possessed : But dost from day to day a thousandfold

[love : Enrich and bl the objects of Thy For having loved, Thou lovest to the

endThe end without an end-Eternity!

dust;

So dying, let me but return to Thee,
From whom I've wandered :

This is all I ask ! We all are Samsons while we safely

guard The secret of JEHOVAH with His

saints, And walk before Him with a holy

fear, Yielding a love-obedience every hour, The fruit of vital, vitalising faith. We all are conquerors in JEHOVAH'S

might : But if we fling our pearls before the

swine, What marvel if they trample them in

dust, And turn again, and rend us !

Fools we are, Weaving the web of our once punish

ment, And throwing water on our spirit's

light! Oh! Thou who knowest “madness in

our hearts," From infancy to hoary-headed age ;Watch o'er us every moment :-hold us

back When we would yield ourselves an

easy preyAs to Delilah Samson did of oldTo specious words, deceitful as the

fruit That springs from out the Dead Sea's

cursëd shore ; Withhold the poisoned cup we fain

would quaff! Dispel the mirage which would lure us

on To spiritual dearth in wilds of sin ! Thou-whom Thou lovest never dost betray,

* Eccles. ix. 3.

WHAT THE PATRIARCH OF SYRIA

AND HIS SUFFRAGAN BISHOP OF JERUSALEM THINK OF ENGLAND

AND ENGLISH CHRISTIANS. The following addresses, delivered by the two illustrious Oriental ecclesiastics, at present in this country, will be read as an interesting sequel to Mr. Finn's short article in this our number. The distinguished visitors were entertained at a banquet, by one of the City companies, on the evening of the 18th ult. On “the loving cup being presented to the Patriarch, he spoke to the following effect, as interpreted by his young and talented friend Mr. Finn:

For many years,"and ever since he was a very small boy, the wish had been ever in his heart to see perfect civil and religious liberty, and that he never had seen it till he came to this country. He could not express how much he had been delighted with all he had seen. And as God had been pleased to allow him to be present at the banquet that evening, he was glad to testify how much he had been impressed by seeing everywhere he went to-in the streets, in the houses, and in the churches—the name of God reverenced by men, women, and children, and he attributed it to the righteous rule of her Majesty (whom God preserve) and those who had preceded her. It was written that those who obeyed His words should not only eat of the fruits of the earth, but that every one should pursue ten, and ten a hundred, and a hundred a thousand of their enemies; just as in former times as well as now, England had pursued her enemies and destroyed them. So might it be for ever! and he prayed that the people of England might not only

be honoured in this world, but blessed and the proper order of everything in the world to come. He concluded in England, and especially in this by drinking to the love of all present. town. We, like the Queen of Sheba,

At a later part of the entertainment, have seen for ourselves; and we, too, the master-William Thomas Reeve, found that in our far off Eastern counEsq.-proposed the health of the emi. try we had not heard one half of the nent ecclesiastics in the following terse truth of that greatness. May God and becoming terms :

bless your Queen, and the Archbishop “We have here to-night the honour of Canterbury, and all your clergy, of numbering among our guests two and all those under whose guidance august representative men from the and arrangement the Word of East, his Holiness the Patriarch of God is taught in all your schools Antioch and the Right Rev. the and colleges. And God bless you Bishop of Jerusalem. This must be for so supporting them, and for considered a remarkable evening so obeying the Divine command, when we think that his holiness re- • Love one another.'

Hardly any; presents that great city which once thing has struck me so much since I formed so remarkable a feature in the came here as the love you all show history of civilisation, which once one for another throughout the whole gloried in the name of the Queen of land, wheresoever I have visited. the East, where the name of Chris- May God keep this friendship and tian was first given to the followers love one for another among you, and of our Blessed Lord; and that his may you always as now fulfil the right rev. friend comes from the holy Gospel, A stranger I was, and ye and sacred city of Jerusalem itself. took me in. May God fulfil all His It fills our minds with ideas to which promises on you. May He bless you we can hardly give expression.-To and all your friends, and all who bethink that these venerable represen- long to you—in the name of the tatives of the Christian faith come Father, of the Son, and of the Holy from the cradle of Christianity, but Ghost. God bless you all !" bound to us by one common faith, There were calls for the Bishop of that which has come down to us, and Jerusalem, who at once intimated his which they have held purely, from willingness to address a few words to the days of the apostles. We bid the assembly. He said—“Dear brethem a hearty welcome, and hold thren, and all present, you have no out to them the right hand of fellow- idea of the pleasure and of the love ship."

which has been brought out of me The Patriarch, on rising to respond towards you. In these last two was received with hearty English months we have seen so much that greeting. He said (Mr. Finn translat- is glorious, so much of order, so ing as before with singular facility)- much wisdom, and so much cleverness "My Christian brethren and friends, it amongst you all, that, as the Patriarch is stated in Holy Writ that the Queen has said, our hearts have been overof Sheba came to see King Solomon whelmed within us. May God bless and all his glory. And when she the Queen, who is the ruler of you came and saw with her own eyes all all; and may God make you strong the wisdom, the philosophy, the glory, to conquer all who are opposed to and the completeness of all his ar. you. May you all live a long life of rangements, and all the good things happiness and contentment; and as which had been given to him by God you have shown so much goodness Almighty, her heart fainted within and kindness to us strangers, so may her, and she said to the king, "Truly God in His mercy show kindness to I had not heard one half of the glory you. And we give thanks to Almighty of the greatness of thy wisdom and God, who created this world and man power.' So also we had heard of the in it, not to be by himself, but to be glory and majesty of the Queen of in fellowship with each other, for England, and of the riches and great- bringing us here to see each other ness of the City of London. We had to-night. May God preserve your heard of the wisdom, and the riches, Queen, and not only protect her and

9

« PreviousContinue »