« הקודםהמשך »
himself, than the Hephzibah and Beulah of Jehovah, yet such we are; and in this character the Holy Ghost addresses us in the text, “ Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” It has often with propriety been said that this was the favourite theme of the apostle John, and no wonder, seeing that he had felt in his own soul so much of the blessedness of it, that to him it gave fulness to every other subject in the Bible, and so endeared to him the whole Gospel in doctrine, promise, and invitation, that there was no kind of persecution which the enemy could invent, or sorrow which the world could inflict, but he could submit to rather than deny his Lord, or keep back from the church any part of that truth which his Lord had revealed to him. He did not dwell upon the love of God as an abstract subject, but as that which gave being and blessedness to all others, and without which we could have had no Bible, no heaven, no God in covenant, no Christ, no salvation, no faith, no hope ; for it is the love of God which regulates the whole of his conduct towards his people. And the first word in the text, “ Beloved,” is written upon every cross we bear, as much as on every indulgence we receive in this world; therefore, beloved, Now are we the sons of God; yes, now, while in poverty's vale, and labouring under the temptations of Satan, often ready to say, with ancient Zion “ The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me.” And while in this state the men of the world may pass by us as not being worthy of their notice, at which we are not much surprised; but when our brethren in the Lord seem disposed to treat us in the same way, we are at first staggered, and think our case hard, saying with one of old, “ I am like a pelican of the wilderness, or an owl of the desert,” forgetting that even now we have for our companions the excellent of the earth ; Job, the man of patience; Jeremiah, the man of godly sorrow; and David, the man after God's own heart; with an exceeding great multitude which no man can number. But these things, are told, must come ; and so far from being evidences against us, as Jacob once said they were, they are decidedly for us; hence the question of the apostle, “What son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”. Let us, therefore, pray to be enabled to hang upon these sweet words, "Now are we the sons of God.” And what is it to be a son of God ? It is to be one with Christ in the Father's love, and blessed in him with all the communicable riches of grace and glory ; “ for if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.'' And, moreover, he has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts, whereby we cry, Abba, Father; in which we have power or right to become the sons of God, triumphing over all those impediments which stood in our way, as sin, death, law, and hell; for these were effectual barriers against sinners entering into the privilege of the sons of God, like the cherubims and flaming sword which were placed before the way of the tree of life. Until the Spirit of life and power enters the soul we are dead in sin, and in captivity to the god of this world; but when the Spirit is poured out from on high, the desert rejoices and blossoms as the rose, life and immortality are brought to light, and death for ever abolished; as the apostle says (Rom. viii. 2), “ The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made us free from the law of sin and death.” Thus there is liberty to the sons of God from all that was against them, and we have a hearty welcome by God in Trinity to all that is blessed in the house of mercy, in which house we abide as sons for ever. But whatever foretaste we enjoy here while drinking of the river of his pleasure, we must say that one half of the heavenly felicity hath never been told us; for in Christ there are riches unsearchable and glory inconceivable by finite minds, and the love which sent him, and the beauty and majesty of his divine Person which manifested that love to us, must remain a mystery ever telling and yet untold. And so it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when the Father's first-begotten Son shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. For this he prayed, John, xvii. 24. Let us observe that our seeing him insures our being like him; there is a sense in which this truth is realized now, as the apostle shows (2 Cor. iii. 18), “But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord;” and the soul most favoured with this fellowship with God his Saviour, will appear most like him in the present world. But John speaks of seeing him without a glass, and such a sight will have a transforming effect; for we shall be like him in the triumph of his conquest, the purity of his person, and the perfection of his glory. It was said to the men of Galilee, “ The same Jesus whom you have seen ascend, shall in like manner descend” (Acts, i. 11); and the apostles spoke with as much confidence of his second coming, as the Old Testament prophets had of his incarnation. But oh! what tongue or pen can describe the mighty contrast between his first and second advent! In the one he came to his own, and his own knew him not, and so rejected both him and his message; in the other he will be known and admired by the millions of his redeemed sons, who have fallen asleep in him. These shall arise from their graves, saying, “ This is our God, we have waited for him ;" while that portion of his family which shall at that day be found upon the earth, shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and that change will be as glorious as it will be sudden, for they shall be like him ; which seemed to be the full extent of David's. wish, for he exclaims, "I shall be satisfied when I awake up in thy likeness.” This will be a change from corruption to incorruption, from dishonour to honour, from weakness to power; or, in a word, from the likeness of the first Adam to the likeness of the second Adam ; for as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly ; and so we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
[We beg the reader's attention to the annexed letter; we admire its spirit, and should rejoice to see its increase among the real children of God.-Ed.]
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. MY VERY DEAR FRIEND AND BROTHER,
In reading the letter of Mr. Pym, in the present number of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE, animadverting on Mr. Triggs' letter to Ruth, I felt a fresh cause of lamentation at the differences which we see constantly arising (by reason of our flesh, or fleshly nature) between members of the same family, children of the same Father, objects of the same love, partakers of the same grace, and, as in this case, ministers of the same God, sent forth and commissioned by the same almighty Spirit. It is very certain, my dear brother, that whatever tends to mar the brotherly-love and affection which ought to subsist between those who are thus united in the Spirit, must arise either from the flesh or the devil; “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Among the dear children of God, as far as the new man of grace is concerned, nothing but the most perfect unity and concord can subsist; being completely united in Christ, and joined
to the Lord, one Spirit. But oh! in this wilderness-state, since every child of God is like the Shulamite, having a company of two armies; “ The flesh lusting against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh ;" how the devil and our fleshly hearts take advantage of every circumstance, however trifling, to cause discord between the brethren.
You may readily conclude, from these remarks, that I esteem and love, as children and ministers of God, our brethren, both Robert Pym and Arthur Triggs; and I venture to say, that were they to sit down by a fireside, and tell each other what God had done for their souls, and the Master's presence were with them, causing the oil to flow, they would most perfectly agree as to the nature and indwelling of sin ; they would both agree in sweet union, that sin is of such a nature as to cause them to groan under it, day by day, being burdened; but they would also be enabled to rejoice together, being experimental witnesses of the truth of that blessed declaration, “ Sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law, but under grace ;' and again, “ Grace reigns, throngh righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Mr. Pym appears to me to be mistaken. He supposes that when Mr. Triggs speaks of sin being reigned down in us, he means that sin is utterly annihilated in us. I confess that such an interpretation might readily be made of the word "nonen:ity," and I can easily see that Mr. Triggs does not properly explain himself, but what he is speaking and thinking of is, that sin, as far as concerns its power to bring into condemnation before God, is a “nonentity;" that there is no more condemnation to a child of God on account of sin, than there would be if it had never existed. But as to the indwelling of sin in believers, in these our mortal bodies, I have heard a great many choice ministers of God, but never heard any man dwell so particularly and so fully on its dreadful effects_stopping up communion between God and the soul, and being the cause of all our wretchedness, misery, doubts, fears, rebellions, and all that we are the subjects of -as does Mr. T. The difference, then, can only be in word, in the mere expression we make use of. Mr. Pym, in his letter arrives at several conclusions which he supposes are quite in opposition to what Mr. Triggs would believe; but which are, in reality, precisely what that man of God
knows to be truth, from experience. I will just quote one. Mr. Pym says, “ The reign of grace over sin in us, só that it shall not have the dominion, does not, in my humble opinion, consist in having it so reigned down in us that we neither feel it, nor are sensible of any evil arising from it in our own particular case; I cannot receive this as a scriptural creed.” Most certainly not; nor can Mr. Triggs any more than brother Pym.
I would say, then, there is nothing whatever conclusive in Mr. Pym's letter. He really makes Mr. Triggs speak language which he would shudder at, and imposes on bim creeds which he would utterly reject. “ What, then, shall we say to these things ?” I would say to all God's sent ministers, Take heed what ye hear concerning one another, and how ye judge one another. If you listen to what is told you about a brother in the ministry, set it down as magnified a hundredfold ; and be jealous of everything that is likely to cause the least root of bitterness towards each other. If you find a brother use expressions which you think unscriptural, don't make the worst of it, but ascertain his real meaning, take his connexions; and, if he be a minister of God, and manifested in your conscience as such, be assured tha a little conversation on the subject would soon set the matter right. I am perfectly aware of the jealousy and prejudice that exist in the minds of many whom I esteem as ministers of God, equally with Mr. Triggs; but it is all in the flesh. Could this prejudice be removed, and each be brought to