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obedience to Him. This love of God, through Jesus. Christ, is the very spirit of reconciliation, and the only possible medium by which we can become united to Him. But in its first extension to us, we are no further justified than to receive the capacity to salvation, and the offers of forgiveness of sins that are past, and to stand, acquitted from them by the atonement of Christ, supplying what was lacking on our part, on condition of our obedience to the manifestations of his Spirit. As these manifestations are obeyed, and repentance and the laver of regeneration passed through, with the various baptisms and purifying operations of Divine Grace in us, the work of sanctification is effected. And as we are sanctified, so we are justified. Nor does complete justification take place, in moral agents, any other way. We may indeed be sanctified in part, and justified in part; for as this is not, generally, an instantaneous work, so there are many intermediate stages between the beginning and complex tion of this important change.
As we possess no power or capacity of our own for any good thing, so we cannot pretend that our own right hand can save us. All the willings and runnings of our will, avail nothing: “ By grace we are saved, through faith; and that not of ourselves: it is the gift of God." Eph. ii. 8. But though it is by this alone that we are saved--though we can claim nothing as due to us—but, on the contrary are bound to acknowledge after all, that
we are unprofitable servants," we have done no more than was our duty to do, and this by the help of the Spirit of God, producing the will, and giving ability to do the deed; yet as this Divine Principle of Light and Life becomes the governing and predominating power in us, it brings forth works of righteousness, as well as a state of sanctification. Good works are the fruits of this Die vine Principle, as said the apostle; “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." Gal. v. 22, 23. And thus also, the same apostle, in another place, says; “ By the Grace of God, I am what I am.” I Cor. xv. 10.
And as our beneficent Creator, in his inscrutable wisdom and goodness, has constituted us with the freedom of will, to choose the principles and motives by which we will be governed, (for though He produces in us the will, and gives ability to perform his own good pleasure, yet He grants us the privilege to make that will our own,) as this is realized in us, and works of righteousness are produced as the fruit of the Spirit, we not only become sanctified and justified; but also, in some sense, objects of rewards—not by virtue of what we have done in our own wills, but in the Divine will.
When we reflect, that not only the ability for every good word and work, but even the most secret inclination of heart to serve God, is the effect of his own Divine Influence on us; when we further bring to mind the disappointments, the miseries, and vexation of spirit, which are the genuine effects of sin, on the one hand; and the pure, substantial enjoyments of peace and animating hope, which are the portion of the righteous in this life --we may exclaim, in the language of the poet:
“Astonishing beyond astonishment !
Heaven the reward for heaven enjoyed below!" To conclude,—“Let none be so bold as to mock God, supposing themselves justified and accepted in the sight of God, by virtue of Christ's death and sufferings, while they remain unsanctified and unjustified in their own hearts, and polluted in their sins; lest their hope prove that of the hypocrite, which perisheth. Neither let any foolishly imagine that they can, by their own works, or by the performance of any ceremonies or traditions, or by the giving of gold or money, or by afflicting their bodies in will-worship and voluntary humility, or foolishly striving to conform their way to the outward letter of the Law, flatter themselves, that they merit before God, or draw a debt upon Him, or that any man or men have power to make such kind of things effectual to their justification ; lest they be found foolish boasters, and strangers to Christ and his righteousness indeed. But blessed for ever are they, that, having truly had a sense of their own unworthiness and sinfulness; and having seen all their own endeavours and performances fruitless and vain, and beheld their own emptiness, and the vanity of their hopes, faith, and confidence, while they remained inwardly pricked, pursued, and condemned by God's Holy Witness in their hearts; and
haying applied themselves thereto, and suffered his Grace to work in them, are become changed and renewed in the spirit of their minds, passed from death unto life, and know Jesus arisen in them, working both the will and the deed ; and so having put on the Lord Jesus Christ, in effect, are clothed with Him, and partake of his righteousness and nature; such can draw near to the Lord with boldness, and know their acceptance in and by Him; in whom, and in as many as are found in Him,the Father is well-pleased.” (Barclay's Apol., Prop. 7, § XIII.)
OF PERFECTION AND PERSEVERANCE.
It has been shown in the preceding article, that as the Grace of God which brings salvation is received, and its teachings obeyed-(for it is always accompanied with power)--as, under its blessed influence, instruct, ing and strengthening us, we come to deny ungodliness and the world's lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, we become washed, sanctified, and justified. It remains to be considered, how far this work of renovation may be advanced, or how far Christ may prevail in us, and we over our soul's enemies, through the operation of his Power in us.
Does the Captain of our salvation lead us to com. plete victory or must we remain "all our life-time subject to bondage ?" The weapons of the saints' warfare are "mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Cor. x. 4, 5.
The Society of Friends accordingly believe, that it is possible to obtain a complete victory over sin, in this life. If we believe that there are some who are completely hardened, and given up to a reprobate mind, such as the apostle said, “it is impossible to renew again to repentance," Heb. vi. 46; can we suppose that God is not able or willing, to carry on his work of renovation and sanctification in his devoted servants, as far as the grand enemy of mankind can carry on his work of darkness in the children of disobedience?
The testimony of Scripture is very clear on this subject: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighten ousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you.".. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness ?” Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? fór 'the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have
fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is Eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. vi. 12–14, 16, 18, 20-23.
“Awake to righteousness and sin not.” 1 Cor. xv. 34.
“Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John v. 4.
• We shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is