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quently they who are redeemed by it, are redeemed absolutely of God's free grace, without condition or reserve. Now this opinion is certainly less impious than the former, because it does not dispute the authority of Scripture; but it is equally injurious to the practice of true religion. It springs not, like the former, from pride and obstinacy, but rather from ignorance or enthusiasm; and above all from the dangerous habit of founding our notions of religion upon single texts, instead of "comparing spiritual things with spiritual." We cannot form too high a conception of the value and efficacy of our Lord's Atonement; but we must not for a moment imagine that the whole Christian system is exclusively comprehended in this single truth. Far different is the sense of Scripture. The expiation of sin by the blood of Christ is but one doctrine of the Gospel. The necessity of sanctification; the great duties of repentance, piety, meekness, self-denial, and devout submission to the will of God, are inculcated with equal force. It is indeed most true that the "blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin;" and he who does not believe it, has but slight claims to the character of a Christian. But the very passage in which these words occur, is quite sufficient to prove that if we rely exclusively on this doctrine, and flatter ourselves that we are quite secure, we shall be miserably deceived at the last day. "God is light," says St. John, "and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." Surely the sense of this passage is too clear to be mistaken. The force of the argument depends. on this simple truth, that light and darkness are opposite and irreconcileable. To walk in darkness is to continue in sinful habits; to walk in light is to practice the injunctions of the Gospel. If we walk in light, endeavouring to perform the will and to imitate the perfections of that glorious Being," in whom is no darkness at all," then have we fellowship one with another -we have a common intèrest as members of Christ's Church, and heirs of his eternal kingdom, and the "blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin." In that case, and not otherwise, his blood becomes effectual to our salvation. This very text then, which is so often improperly applied, proves beyond contradiction, that no professed Christian can hope to be saved by the blood of Christ, who has not practised the Christian law. The doctrine of Atonement affords the highest degree of encouragement both to the obedient disciple and to the repentant sinner; but it is not the only doctrine with which they are concerned; it is a single article of the Gospel, not the whole; and if we accustom ourselves to dwell on this alone, without considering other truths inseparably connected with it, we shall never comprehend the sense of Scripture; and what is infinitely worse, we shall be in continual danger of missing the way that leadeth to everlasting life.
Of such infinite importance is it not to build our faith on insulated texts, but to examine with a cautious eye the general tenor of Holy Writ before we venture to expound any doctrine or precept of the Gospel. This, perhaps, it will be thought is merely a maxim of common
sense, which every reader may discover for himself; but it is a maxim so perpetually violated in the interpretation of Scripture, that its necessity cannot be too frequently or earnestly inculcated. The neglect of this principle has led men of real piety to the most fearful perversions of religious truth; and has operated among professed Christians, more, perhaps, than any other single cause, to the corruption both of faith and practice. Let me exhort you, therefore, to bear it in mind, as the only principle on which a sound knowledge of Revelation can ever be acquired. Be assured that whatever tends, directly or indirectly, to release men from the practical obligations of the Gospel, can not be the word of God, rightly interpreted. Remember that our natural depravity eagerly catches at any doctrine which substitutes internal feeling for active duty-a spurious for a genuine faith-an indolent reliance on the doctrines of Atonement and Grace, for a resolute opposition to sin and Satan. "But we," at least, "have not so learned Christ." If we listen to that sound and scriptural instruction which the Church of England sets before us in her Liturgy and Articles, we shall be preserved from these dangerous errors; and shall have the best opportunity of imbibing just notions of religious doctrine, and of applying our faith to its only legitimate end, the steady and conscientious discharge of Christian duty.
To conclude; let us embrace with all fervour and humility this glorious proposition" it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and having made peace by the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to Himself." Let us maintain this truth in all its integrity as it affects our faith and practice; avoiding the impiety of those, who attach no value to our Saviour's blood; and the delusion of others, who believe that salvation exclusively depends upon it. And in all our contemplations upon religious doctrine, and especially on the sacred mystery of the cross, let us ever preserve a spirit of humility, a feeling of profound submission to the word and ordinance of Almighty God. If it is ever necessary to cast " down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God," it is surely when we meditate on the sufferings of his incarnate Son, "pouring forth his soul an offering for sin," and "opening the kingdom of heaven to all believers." God grant that this awful mystery may produce on us its proper influence-that having been the object of humble faith, and the motive to ardent piety here on earth, it may be the cause of everlasting happiness in heaven; that "so an entrance may be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."- "Now unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood-be glory and dominion for ever and ever." Amen.
T. L. S.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
The Apostle Paul, a Pattern for Christian Ministers. A Sermon, preached at a General Ordination in the Cathedral Church of Chester, on Sunday, October 3, 1824. By the Rev. William Hale Hale, M.A. of Oriel College, Oxford, Domestic Chaplain, to the Lord Bishop of Chester, and Preacher at the Charter House. 8vo. pp. 17. Chester. 1824.
PRACTICAL exhortation relative to the ministerial duties can never be out of season, but in times of perplexity and hazard to the Church it is peculiarly needful. It becomes then an imperative duty on those who have any thing to urge, by which their brethren in the ministry may be guarded against any prevailing errors either in doctrine or practice, and strengthened at once in their zeal for their holy profession and in their union with each other, to come forward and offer their suggestions for the public advantage of the body to which they belong. It is the natural effect indeed of danger from without to concentrate the body which it threatens. When a common enemy is at hand, the members of a community naturally look to each other for mutual support and encouragement. At such a crisis they feel more especially the truth of the saying, that in a multitude of counsellors there is safety. They are held from despair of their cause, when they find among themselves persons able to devise measures for the common welfare; they see that their case is not to be abandoned, when means are readily offered to them of extricating them from their difficulties and repelling the aggression of the enemy. And the greater need which there is of counsel at such a time, the more cordially will it be received. Each adviser of good is then welcomed with a sentiment corresponding to that which Agamemnon expresses in his reply to the needful counsel of Nestor:
Αἲ γὰρ, Ζεῦ τε πάτερ, καὶ Αθηναίη, καὶ ̓́Απολλον,
Mr. Hale has certainly shewn himself in the sermon now before us, one of whom "ten such fellow counsellors" might well be desired. The remarks which he addresses to the Candidates for Orders are characterized by a piety and a prudence which must render them serviceable, not only to those who are meditating the heavy responsibility which they are about to inin undertaking the stewardship of the mysteries of God; but to those also who having already entered the Lord's vineyard are bearing the burthen and heat of the day. They will welcome the timely admonitions of one who evidently has at
heart the sacred cause in which he has engaged in common with them, and appears as anxious to be himself guided by the suggestions which he makes as to enforce them on others.
The stress of his exhortation is laid on the active interest required from those, who are "ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God," in behalf of that portion of the Church of Christ which is especially committed to their charge. This is illustrated by Mr. Hale from the example of St. Paul, who while he was called to a station of power in the Church, yet does not so much insist on the dignity of his office, as on his ministerial character and responsibility. To render the application of the example more forcible, Mr. H. first shews the truth of the parallel between St. Paul and ministers in the present age of the Gospel.
"No man, indeed, may now boast that he has been separated by a miracle to the work of the Gospel, or that he has learned from immediate inspiration the deep counsels of God in effecting the salvation of mankind. To none of us has Christ appeared, sending us forth to open the eyes of men, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. But though the special exertion of almighty power be not the means by which the Christian Minister is now called, we still do confidently hope and believe, that it is not without the secret influence of the Holy Spirit that men are led to dedicate themselves to the service of the Church in this later period of the world. Let us believe that in the stead of that miraculous and appalling light, which called the persecutor Saul to serve Him whom he had despised, a softer but as holy a light, the light of conscience, purified by the illumination of the Spirit, has led us to devote ourselves to the ministration of the Gospel.
"What though some who are admitted to bear office amongst us be too much devoted to worldly pursuits and cares, and too inattentive to their sacred charge, who take the wages of the Shepherd, but neglect or lead astray the flock,-and others, omitting to stir up the gift' that is in them, increase but little for the great Husbandman the harvest of immortal souls-shall we therefore say, that the Spirit dwells not with us?-God forbid! The prayers which every faithful pastor fails not day by day to offer up for the divine blessing on his labours, and the fruits which visibly follow the ministry of such servants, are proofs that the Spirit of Christ is still with the Church of God, fulfilling the promise-I am with you always, even to the end of the world.'
"The title also of stewards of the mysteries of God,' belongs as truly to those who are now called to teach the people of God, as it did to the Apostle. The work of reconciliation was indeed committed to him by our Lord himself, as he himself says, 'I neither received it of man, nor was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ;' but whether we are taught the mysteries of God by immediate inspiration, or by the slow, but sure, advances of diligent study and holy meditation, in both cases the knowledge acquired is the gift of God: however given, the gift is the same.' P. 8.
As Ministers of the Gospel accordingly are to be considered equally with St. Paul " stewards of the mysteries," they are reminded by Mr. Hale, that "the account which shall be required of their stewardship at the last great day will be as severe as that demanded of the great Apostle himself," and that an omission of their duties, whether it arise from ignorance or from indifference, will equally subject them to the heaviest guilt. But while the Ministers of the Gospel are encouraged to take to themselves the appellation of "ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God," they are cautioned against any indiscreet adoption of the dignity of the title, and directed rather to rest their claims to public attention on their own personal character and the evidence of their useful labours.
"It may then be allowed the Minister of the Gospel to address his flock in the language of the text, and to require that they esteem him as a 'minister of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God.' But if he ask all the honour due to his office, let him remember, that however it may be due to him as a Christian pastor, empowered to teach, it is, in fact, never paid to any, but those who earn it by the faithful discharge of their duties. I grant that there is respect due to the office itself; and that, according to the principle of the Apostle 'the elders that rule well are worthy a double honour;' but of what value to any man is a respect paid merely on account of his office, and because men have too much regard for the Clergy not to reverence in some degree even the unworthy members of so high and sacred an order? No reproach is more bitter, no censure more severe, than that cast upon the formal and careless dispenser of God's word and sacraments by those, who wait upon his ministry lest they should appear to despise the lawfully appointed minister of Christ, and who pay that outward respect to the pastor, which in their hearts they withhold from the man.
"Again, if we would have men so account of us as of the ministers of Christ,' we must not always be asserting the dignity of our office. When our lot is thrown among persons who have heen habitually indifferent to the excellence of our Church in doctrine and discipline, and who are inclined at the first offence wholly to desert it, we shall find it of little use to display our authority and to threaten them with the guilt of heresy and schism. If with St. Paul we claim to be ministers of Christ, we must be able to show how much we labour for the good of those committed to our care: our own life and deportment must testify that we are inwardly, and in very deed, what by the authority of the Church, we have a title to be.
"When the Corinthians had affected to treat with contempt the power of St. Paul, we find him not only asserting that he was not in rank and privilege a whit behind the chiefest of the Apostles, but also appealing to the hunger and thirst, the cold and nakedness, the journeyings and imprisonments,' which he had endured in preaching the word of life and in them he possessed arguments of his authority, if not more solid, yet more touching, than in his miraculous conversion, or the visions which he had seen, and the revelations which were made to him of the Lord." P. 12.