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“ mediates, and atones” and renders “God propi. tious,” and “reinstates man in the holy image he has fallen from by sin !" So speaks William Penn; and, with hardly less mysterious obscurity, speaks Robert Barclay, when he represents this “spiritual,
heavenly, invisible principle, in which God, as “ Father, Son and Spirit dwells," as “ a seed which " of its own nature draws, invites, and inclines to God,”
a measure of which is in all men;" so that, “ when “ it is resisted Christ is said be slain or crucified : " and, on the contrary, as this seed is received in the “ heart, and suffered to bring forth its natural and
proper effect, Christ comes to be formed and raised, "of which the Scripture makes so much mention, “calling it the new man; Christ within, the hope of “glory. This is that Christ within, which we are “heard so much to speak and declare of, every where “preaching him up, and exhorting people to believe “in the light, and obey it, that they may come to “know Christ in them, lo deliver them from all sin." And then—" As many as resist not this light, but “ receive the same, it becomes in them a holy, pure, “and spiritual birth, bringing forth holiness, right
eousness, purity, and all those other blessed fruits “ which are acceptable to God: by which holy birth, “to wit, Jesus Christ formed within us, and working “his works in us, as we are sanctified, so are we " justified in the sight of God.”—Thus we are justi
fied, not by believing on the Christ who died on Calvary, the atoning “ Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world,”—but by receiving and cherishing a mystical principle, called the “universal light," the “saving light," the “Christ within :"and this being the new birth, we are justified by being born again.-In contrast with all this mysticism, so unintelligible in itself, and so wide of the simplicity of the Scriptures, it is refreshing to recur to the luminous and truly evangelical representations of this all-important subject, from the pen of Joseph Jobn Gurney :-“ Man by nature is the child of wrath, ·labouring under the curse of the law—the awful “ sentence of eternal death. What, then, can be “conceived more adapted to his need, than justifica“tion—a plenary remission of all his sins through “the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and a free accept
ance of him as righteous, for the sake of a right
eous Saviour ? Here he finds reconciliation with “a God of justice, deliverance from condemnation “and eternal punishment, and a well-founded hope “ of immortal bliss. The utmost claims of the law
are satisfied ; the holiness of the Creator is more “ than ever manifested ; and the broken-hearted sinner reposes
in peace on the bosom of infinite mer. cy.
In himself, indeed, as a transgressor from his “birth, he is vile and polluted; but, by the blood of “ Jesus sprinkled on his heart, his conscience is
"purged from every dead work; and, having ob"tained an interest in the Saviour of men, he wears “a robe of righteousness in which there is no “spot. God accepts him in the Beloved; and
adopts him, as a child of grace, and as an heir of "glory." *
5. I have but one observation more to offer on Mr Barclay's statements. It relates to the strange misrepresentation of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, without works,-as if it implied that men might be justified by faith, continuing in sin. Thus, as a specimen of more to the same purpose : _" This doctrine Luther and the protestants then “had good reason to deny and oppose; though many “ of them ran into another extreme, so as to deny “good works to be necessary to justification, and to “preach up, not only remission of sins, but justifica“tion by faith alone, without all works, however “good. So that men do not obtain their justifica“tion according as they are inwardly sanctified and “renewed, but are justified merely by believing that “ Christ died for them : and so some may be per"fectly justified, though they be lying in gross “ wickedness; as appears by the example of David, who, they say, was fully and perfectly justified,
* • Hints on the portable evidences of Christianity, by Joseph John Gurney," p. 138.-as quoted by Richard Ball, in his
Holy Scripture the Test of Truth.”
“ while he was lying in the gross sins of murder and “adultery."
But there cannot be a grosser slander of the protestant doctrines than this. That in the wild ravings of antinomianism, representations may be found, such as afford too much countenance to the slander, is, I am aware, too true. But still it is slander. If evangelical protestants taught, that a sinner might be justified without being sanctified,--that there might be pardon without penitence, -acceptance in the sight of God, without regeneration and a new heart, there would be ground for the charge. But it is not so; and Mr Barclay knew, or ought to have known, when he wrote, that it was not so. Justification and sanctification, though blessings distinct in kind,-the one (as before explained) relating to change of state, the other to change of character,--are yet, in point of fact, inseparable in the sinner's experience. The same faith of the gospel testimony which brings the sinner into union with Christ, and gives him an interest in his atonement and righteousness for the forgiveness of his sins and his acceptance with God, introduces, at the same time, into his heart the principle of regeneration and progressive holiness. The truth as it is in Jesus, which, under the teaching and power of the Spirit, is the means of his regeneration, being received into his heart by faith, continues to operate there according to its own holy nature.
* Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God” (immediately afterwards interpreted of “the Gospel") " which liveth and abideth for ever,"—this “his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 Pet. i. 23, 25. compared with 1 John iii. 9. The new nature, of which he then becomes the partaker, is opposed to all sin, and, in the operation of its principles, productive only of holiness. Sin, it is true, remains; but it belongs to the old nature; and it remains, because, in regeneration, the principles of that nature are not annihilated, but only overpowered and brought into subjection." There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus :"—this is justification ; and it is in virtue of their being “in Christ Jesus” that it is enjoyed ; faith so uniting them to him, that his righteousness becomes theirs, as being that of their substitute :“ Who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit:” this is sanctification; and, according to the explicit and universal testimony of scripture, none are “in Christ Jesus," and of the number of those “ to whom there is no condemnation," who do not thus “ walk after the Spirit.”—Justification is by faith; but it is by a faith that is always subsequently productive. There is, in truth, no other. An unproductive faith is no faith ; any more than an unproductive charity is really charity. The faith that does not sanctify,