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“ Catholicus," has vindicated Mr. Knox's doctrine from the charge of novelty. It is one, indeed, universally accepted in a practical sense, wherever true devotion is found; for however narrow a creed may be made, the text stands sure, and is accepted, that, “ without holiness, no man can see the Lord.”
The double design of our Saviour's sacrifice on the cross, and the pre-eminent importance of the grace which sanctifies above that grace which expiates, (as Cudworth observes,) is, I think, evident from these texts. “ Delivered (to death) for our offences, and raised for our justification.” “ If we were reconciled to God hy the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Here the death which reconciled us is considered of less importance than the life or spirit of Christ in us, which is said to save us—thus our Saviour said, “ Because I live, ye shall live also," and hence we may conclude, that, if Christ be not raised, (though he has died for us, yet still if he be not raised and gone to Heaven to send us the sauctifying gifts of the Spirit,)“ we are yet in our sins,” and pot “ saved." So that we may well say, not only that Christ has died, but rather that he is risen again, &c.
I was the more struck by Mr. Knox's opinions, from having been brought to adopt them previously to seeing his work, by a diligent perusal of St. John's gospel, and of the epistles, with the view of illustrating the text so often repeated in the scriptures" without holiness no man can see the Lord!"
The degrees of holiness required would be considered by the orthodox as fanatical, and by the Calvinist as impossible—and yet the apostles set out by considering their converts as in a state of justification, as to pardon and righteousness, which the humility of all parties rejects even for the most matured. These Gentile converts are supposed to be assured of their acceptance and reconciliation-to be actually incorporated into the kingdom of Christ-to be sons-to be heirs—to be the temples of the Holy Ghost—to be purified—to be sanctified—to have a present access into the most holy places, and thus to be not only priests but high priests, and yet they were required to leave first principles, and go on unto perfection,—to be filled with all the fulness of Christ, to be one with Christ; and such only could have a “hope full of glory” and “ perfect peace”-such only “could rejoice in the Lord.” Now, supposing that we do not presume even to end where these began, but go on repenting in dust and ashes, and clinging to first principles ; supposing that we do not dare to presume upon an assured pardon, and cannot expect a hope of glory, and have not the witness of the spirit within us, and all the other privileges which the ancient churches rejoiced in ; I do not see how such spiritual progress can be made as that which is required, for, without these assurances, we cannot deeply love God; and if faith works only by duty, its chariot wheels are soon clogged.
It is also in vain, that God's promises of holiness are unlimited, and his rewards held forth, while we consider the best we can do as “filthy rags.” Our minds are not so constituted as to bear depression and elevation at the same time. If we can do all things through
Christ strengthening us, and if our lives are to be without blame before God, must we in the same moment believe that what the Spirit enables us to do is filthy ? The New Testament labours to elevate the moral condition of men, and while we are nothing out of Christ, we are, if in Him, raised to such possibility of perfection, that words fail in expressing the greatness of that state of spirituality which we are called upon to attain. Here, then, is a stimulus to exertion,-here is space for love to expand in till it casteth out fear; but, tell me, how can the abased Calvinist, who thinks himself a worm and no man, and supposes that death only can purify him, how can he love with the warnı, and generous, and confiding love of the gospel ? how can he go on to perfection, when his creed holds bim worthless to the last ? how can he rejoice, except in the “ fractional election" of an arbitrary master? how can he be conformed to the image of God, when his heart is never to be considered otherwise than as desperately wicked ?”
It is not possible to be sufficiently explicit in this small space, but I am not to be understood as depreciating humility. We have nothing that we have not received, for it is God which worketh in us, both the will and the action. The higher we go in sanctification, the greater delight have we in glorying in our faith and righteousness as the gifts of God. The same Saviour who died for our reconciliation, lives that he may finish our salvation by performing a still greater work, in subduing all things in us to himself. I cannot imagine why we should make a personal boast of the one work more than of the other; but, as Paul distinguished the old man from the new, so may we distinguish between boasting of the natural fruits and the fruits of the spirit. If we take David as the most humble of saints, we shall find him continually exulting in the righteous, and looking for the reward of integrity. Even when justly under the rebuke of God's displeasure, is the most penitential of his psalms he expects to be restored to the joy of salvation, to have joy and gladness in consequence of being “ purged" and of being washed “ whiter than snow." He did not mean to lie always in sackcloth and ashes, but lie expected to have “ a clean heart,” and “ a right spirit" renewed within him, which was over and above the cleansing and the washing of past sins; for he well knew that niere pardon, without a renewed nature, would do him little good, and that the sacrifice of a broken heart must be followed by the “ sacrifices of righteousness." Then, and not till then, would the broken bones thoroughly rejoice. In the 23rd Psalm, David expresses the same notions.
He says first, that the Lord, his shepherd, restores his soul, and then leads him in the paths of righteousness; that all good things follow in consequence, and that his “ cup
It is strange that we see so little appearance of this rejoicing in the Lord among modern saints, though the Gospel so absolutely requires it; but if, on the one band, we think it presumption to have “ quietness and assurance for ever;" or on the other hand suppose that Christ has done all in washing our souls, and that there can be no hope of his power working positive moral righteousness in us; then,
indeed, our joy is restrained ; it may be intense gratitude, but it cannot be rejoicing in the way that David rejoiced.
But as there is reality in the righteousness of saints, so is there in their joys,-they literally drink of pleasures as out of a river. Those who feel that they are growing up into Christ, are being conformed to His image, and filled with His fulness, have the mind satisfied with good things. And this happiness, which is in present possession, diffuses itself over the whole man, till a literal practical interpretation is given to passages and requirements of scripture which others consider as being hyperbolical. For the heart which habitually seeks God has its conversation in heaven; it naturally rejoices evermore, and, being lifted up without effort, actually prays without ceasing. What can be so attractive to others as such an exhibition of mind as this!
It is readily admitted that we do not live up to our privileges as Christians; and, may I ask, do we preach up to them? If it be the object of our ministry to win souls to Christ, though that must sometimes be done by the terrors of the law, the most generally effectual way is, by the glories of the Gospel. It is almost vain to tell men to give up worldly pleasures, unless you offer them others equally present and substantial in their room. But give the ambitious man another object for his ambition, in perfecting holiness; the covetous, a legitimate pursuit in coveting the best gifts.” It is of little effect to excite the lovers of pleasure by the hope of future pleasures in an unseen world, but prove to them that the blessedness of which the Bible speaks begins here—that there are real joys and a real spring of happiness in a sanctified heart—that God does not lie when he says his ways are pleasant—that the promises have reference to the life that now is, as well as that which is to come, and that the surest way to have good days, is to seek the peace of God.
Where spiritual delights are not enjoyed, it must be either because they are not desired or not hoped for. The latter is sadly the case among thousands who are religious, because the ardour and relish for personal holiness is depressed by the chilling persuasion that after all it is worthless or ideal; and thus they lose the vigour of their piety, and with that its pleasures. Doubtless they are within the pale of salvation, they are in the court of the Gentiles, but they know nothing of the glories of the inner sanctuary.
I fear, Sir, I have already trespassed too long, but the life of Christ in us is so little attended to, in comparison of his death for us, that it requires some restraint to pause in the subject. It is such pleasure to contemplate the possibility of a human Being rising from a state of death and sin into an actual incorporation with the Deity, “ We in Him, and He in us”—to trace out the powerful means so amply provided, and to anticipate the enjoyment of the peace of God, which includes more than we can either ask or think; that to turn from these bright prospects and high delights, to think of those who dare not expect them, or of those who care not for them, is painful in the extreme. To all such, I earnestly recommend Mr. Knox's work, not for a hasty perusal, but for prayerful consideration. Let them read
the epistles with his views in their mind, and let them also compare them with our invaluable Liturgy. Our church services, I imagine, bear out all that Mr. K. asserts of our high calling; and it provides for that early initiation into religion which, he justly says, is essential to its full enjoyment. I wish that the Dissertation on Baptism, in the appendix, were printed separately, and in the hands of every family belonging to the establishment.
CHEVALLIER'S TRANSLATION OF EPISTLES, ETC. MR. EDITOR,—May I take the liberty of offering an observation upon a passage in the Rev. T. Chevallier's “ Translation of the Epistles of the Fathers”?–a work which I have read with great satisfaction and advantage.
At page 78, in the Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, the writer proceeds thus :-“ Nevertheless, I have heard of some who have passed by you having perverse doctrine, whom ye did not suffer to sow among you; but stopped your ears, that ye might not receive those things which were sown by them, as being the stones of the temple of the Father, prepared for the building of God the Father, raised up on high by the engine of Jesus Christ, which is the cross; and using the Holy Ghost as the rope, and your faith is your support, and your charity the way which leads to God.”
Upon this passage there is a note at the bottom of the page, exculpatory of the taste of Ignatius in using these strained similitudes. Ignatius compares the faithful to the stones composing the temple of the Father-Jesus Christ to an engine, by which they are raised on high-the Holy Spirit to the rope by which they are drawn-faith to the pulley or windlass—and charity to the linked road along which the stones are drawn from the quarry. Comparisons of this kind, carried even to a greater degree of minuteness, are common in the early Christian writers. Those who object to them as opposed to our present notions of taste, must remember that refinement upon
such points formed no part of the habits of those who were addressed ; and that the writings of St. Paul (as, for instance, Ephes. vi. 14,) owe much beautiful and forcible illustration to comparisons of a similar nature.
It seems to me probable that Ignatius used these comparisons advisedly, and with a studied reference to the persons whom he was addressing. At Ephesus, there were extensive and celebrated marble quarries; and there was besides something in the history of the Ephesians that might bring to his mind the figures of the engine and the rope.
The following extracts are from Chandler's “Travels in Asia Minor," and from Cramer's “ Geographical Account” of the same country:
“ Mount Pion, or Prion, is among the curiosities of Ionia enumerated by Pausanias. It has served as an inexhaustible magazine of marble, and contributed largely to the magnificence of the city ; its bowels are excavated.” He then goes on to relate the story of the
discovery of this quarry by a man whose name was Pyxodorus, but which was changed by the Ephesians to Evangelus," the good messenger,” in honour of the event.-See Chandler, p. 154.
Cramer, at page 363 of vol. i., says,—“ Herodotus relates that the Ephesians, being invaded (by Crosus), dedicated their city to Diana, by fastening a rope from their walls to the temple of the goddess, a distance of seven stadia.” Again, at page 364,—“The first temple was planned and constructed by Chersiphron, a Cretan architect, assisted by lvis son Metagenes, who contrived a machine for conveying the boge blocks of which it was constructed from the quarries of Mount Prion."
I do not know whether you will consider these circumstances worth noticing, being certainly of greater curiosity than importance. But, at all events, I trust you will excuse my attempt to relieve Ignatius, in this instance, from the charge of bad taste, by shewing that, by these allusions, he very probably intended to convey an indirect, and not an inelegant, compliment to the Ephesians, by thus intiinating his acquaintance with the antiquity and magnificence of their city; at the same time applying them in illustration of a subject of so much grander and more momentous an import than the building of an earthly and perishable city, however costly and unrivalled.
I am, Sir, your bumble servant, C. H. St. Tudge, August 24th.
REPUBLICATION OF OLD DIVINES. SIR,—Now that the tracts and books of the venerable Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge are undergoing revision, and all the world are anxiously expecting great improvements to result from the greatly improved tone of the Society's proceedings,* could nothing be done in proper quarters to obtain froin the Society a republication of some of our more ancient, standard divinity works, such as Jewell, Foxe, Hooker, Leighton, Usher, Beveridge, &c., &c., many of which are now scarcely to be obtained, except in old and rare editions, or in too expensive a form for general use. Surely the Society would be doing a work well calculated to promote Christian knowledge if they were to furnish the clergy with correct editions of such authors, with good indexes, in as cheap a form as a volume of the Saturday Magazine, (and that very form would most nearly reseinble the original editions, and, alas! there is no borly of men who stand in greater need of the Society's charity than the clergy.
I am, Sir, your obliged servant, Elri.
Pray who are “all the world ?” What “
improvements” do they expect ? And in what does the “ greatly improved tone” consist ? With respect to the proposal in this letter, the society perhaps would be justly accused if it should give any of its funds to purposes not strictly charitable. Whether it could promote such a publication, without risque, is another question.-Ed.