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Irving's church, and are even under erroneous impressions concerning his doctrines, having received them only at second-hand. To all such persons we would urge the justice-nay, the necessity of examining for themselves, if they would escape the sin of bearing false witness against a brother; a brother through whom God has given new vigour to the church, and is about to do a still mightier work.
Let Mr. Irving's doctrines be judged of as a whole, and not in fragments; and in his own statements, not in the comments of adversaries: and if in any point he has failed in expressing himself clearly, or has so expressed himself that it may be understood erroneously, let charity give the favourable constructioncharity, which rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth, and which will not make a man an offender for a word. No divine of the day has been more extensively used by God than Mr. Irving; few of us as much so : at the torch lighted in him a thousand tapers have been kindled, and by these soon shall be kindled beacon-lights on a thousand hills." Then shall the righteous man stand in great boldness before the face of such as have afflicted him, and made no account of his labours. When they see it, they shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the strangeness of his salvation, so far beyond all that they looked for. And they, repenting, and groaning for anguish of spirit, shall say within themselves, This was he whom we had sometimes in derision, and a proverb of reproach. We fools accounted his life madness, and his end to be without honour. How is he numbered among the children of God, and his lot among the saints ! The righteous live for evermore: their reward is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the Most High.”
TO CORRESPONDENTS. OUR readers will be happy to hear that MR. WOLFF REACHED BOKHARA IN SAFETY
on the 15th of February. This information has been transmitted by Meerza Baba, Physician to the Prince Regent of Persia. We have not space at present for the insertion of Meerza Baba's letter ; but it, together with a continuation of Mr. Wolff's Journal, will probably appear at the end of our next Number. A Correspondent of the Investigator, in the number of that work for August, complains (under
the signature of C. S.) that an “ extract" from a paper of his “ has by some means found its : way into the Morning Watch "-is “materially garbled"--and “exhibits his views at very
great disadvantage.” As he refers to the page of our work in which the extract appears, we are enabled, at no great expense of time or trouble, to answer his complaint. The piece to which he refers was sent to us for insertion ; and as we approved of the sentiments it contained, and found it convenient to introduce it into an article we were penning, we availed ourselves of the opportunity, quite as much in courtesy to the unknown author as for the merits of the composition ;-but then we inserted it entire, without omitting a single word : the “ garbling," therefore, of which C. S. complains, must have been the work of some other hand-possibly of some friend, who was not aware of any objection to its publication, and who extracted the portion which he considered most deserving of transcription. The matter is of no importance but as it regards the feelings of C. S.; and this explanation, we trust, will convince him that we are guiltless of offence in the affair. Our readers will find the lines alluded to, marked as
extract, in p. 372 of our last volume. Communications from R. N.; W. S.; and C. K., have been received, and will be inserted as
soon as practicable. Some extra copies of the two Tables of the Apocalypse which appeared in our last Number have
been printed, and may be had separately.
THE LANGUAGE OF HEAVEN. THOUGH the image of God in man, which was marred by
the Fall, is “renewed after the image of Him that created him” in the members of the body of Christ; yet is it needful, and very profitable, to refresh and invigorate the renewed soul by comparison with the height of its calling, and by recollection of the all-sufficient power with which it is endowed for attaining this glorious height.
Called to be "sons of God,” “ heirs of God,” “joint-heirs with Christ Jesus,” we are roused by the call; but feeling around us and within us “the bondage of corruption,” under which the whole creation groans, we are constrained to cry out, “Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” The answer is given by the Apostle ; and any thing short of it comes short of a deliverance. The full answer is the subject of the whole succeeding chapter ; but its substance is contained in the single assertion, that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. viii. 2). Yet the assertion of this, or of any other doctrine, is of no avail till it is rendered practical by such an application as leaves no room for evasion : without this it is of no avail to the believer, of none in the sight of God; it influences neither the faith nor the practice.
Now it is obvious, and would be verbally acknowledged by all, that the word “law,” which occurs twice in this text, must be taken in the same sense in both instances; the “law in the members” being a power which worketh to bondage and death, the “law of the mind ” being a power which worketh to freedom and life. But nothing less than the broad, comprehensive sense of a power influencing the whole life and practice will equally suit both members of the sentence: the law which brings the natural man into bondage binds the whole man; the law which frees the regenerate, frees them wholly. The force
VOL. VI.NO. II.
of this is evaded in two ways: first, by understanding the word “ law” ambiguously, because it has a different sense in the context, and preceding chapter; next, by applying the text solely to the members of Christ, without reference to their Head, and then understanding the deliverance in a limited sense, and as only partially attainable, while the bondage is allowed to have been unlimited.
This evasion of the simple meaning of the word of God is unknowingly practised by many pious persons, with no other injury to themselves than the loss of that full confidence, peace, and joy which the knowledge of Jesus Christ, as our Brother, and the real Head of his body the church, would bestow. But on others we know that the effect of weakening the force of Scripture is more injurious ; leading them, on the one hand, to deny the possibility of that holiness which the Gospel requires ; and, on the other hand, to deny our oneness with Christ Jesus by regeneration, his sympathy with us in our trials and temptations, and his power to give us the perfect mastery over them all. In each one of us, till empowered by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus-as in all mankind before the Incarnation-the law is weak through the flesh, and we cannot do the will of God; but now, after“ God hath sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,” not only to live a life of perfect holiness, but to die for our sins, sin is inexcusable in us : “God hath condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
“ Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. “As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.” “Ye are all the children of God,” who have “ faith in Christ Jesus.” “When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons :” (Gal. iii., iv.) “ Led by the Spirit of God;" “ Suffering with Christ now, that we may be also glorified together” (Rom. viii. 14, 17). And those who live beneath their privileges as sons of God, have reason to be afraid of themselves, as Paul was of the Galatians, “ lest they should have received the grace of God in vain :” nay, even lest they should "crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame;" lest they should " have trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant, which sanctifieth, an unholy thing, and done despite to the Spirit of grace” (Heb. vi. 6; X. 29).
We have referred to this passage, not with the purpose of enlarging upon it to shew how the standard of holiness is lowered, and the bonds of obedience relaxed, by evading the simple meaning of the text, but merely as an example, by way
of preface; while we endeavour now to shew the necessity of taking all the word of God in its simple and literal meaningunless we think it a slight matter to be found false witnesses for Him who is the Yea and the Amen ; which we shall find to be no slight matter in the Day of Judgment.
The word of God' is an expression which we all have frequently on the tongue; but few of us have considered how much is implied in the expression, and still fewer are so habitually under the influence of that which is implied therein as to do nothing derogatory to, or inconsistent with, the reverence due to the word of God. In some of Mr. Irving's early Orations this was finely expressed; and every pious person must feel with what deep reverence he would 'hear, and with what implicit diligence obey, the voice of God, if now uttered from heaven, as it was of old from Sinai, or Mount Tabor. Yet words change not their sense when we grow insensible to their meaning; and God " is not a man, that he should lie; nor the son of man, that he should repent: ” the word of our God abideth for ever; one jot or tittle shall in no wise pass away, or fail of its accomplishment.
The word of God is from everlasting to everlasting the same. It varies not to suit the changes of the form or mood of the creature, but is itself the standard to which all creatures must conform themselves : the fiat of the Creator, which first called them into being, and gave them their present powers and places; and which by another fiat can exalt them to a higher or sink them to a lower sphere; can change the present constitution of things into that glorious Millennial dispensation which the whole groaning creation now earnestly longeth for. "By the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: “the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come, as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat: the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.” (2 Pet. iji. 5—15.)
These things we, who have grace given us to receive the Scriptures as the word of God, " know before,” and are enabled
to beware of being led away by the error of the wicked, so as to fall from our own stedfastness; but endeavour to grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (ver. 18). And, on the other hand, in the increasing blindness and perverseness of those who are unlearned and unstable, and who wrest the Scriptures unto their own destruction, we see exemplified the chief characteristics of the last days; when, it is declared, scoffers shall arise, saying, “Where is the promise of his coming ?” Men resisting the truth....of no judgment concerning the faith” (2 Tim. iii. 8): “Giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. iv. 1). Men to whom the vision of all “ is become as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I am not learned” (Isai. xxix. 11). Such is notoriously the state now of a large proportion of the nominal church; the blind leading the blind : "For the Lord hath poured out upon them the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed their eyes : the prophets, and the rulers, and the seers, hath he covered ; and to those that are led by them, the Lord saith, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from ine, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men; therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder : for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid....and in a very little while Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field into a forest : and in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel: for the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought” (Isai. xxix. 10—21).
This terrible state of things, predicted of the last times, and which we see already at work, and in rapid progress to its consummation amongst us, is brought about by neglecting the word of God to follow the precept of men; by not fearing and serving God alone, but fearing man more than God. Many do this unconscious of its guilt, many even unconscious of the influence; and it is for their sakes that we would endeavour to shew that we have the
word of God for our guide, and that it is an unerring and allsufficient guide. The great controversy which we have had to