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To take another view. We do not call for the emancipation of the slave, that he may be put in possession of absolute freedom from all law,—that he may be lawless, and so, a law to himself. No; but we demand his liberation from unrighteous law, that he may be placed under and enjoy the benefits of righteous law. His liberation from all law would result in licence; but submission to righteous rule would establish liberty. So is it with the sinner. He is delivered from an unrighteous lawthe law of that “spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience;" but not that he may be a law to himself, or lawless. No; he is liberated that he may be under the law of holiness—the law, the “perfect law of liberty.” The more fully he conforms in heart and life to that law, the freer he must be. “I will walk at liberty, for I keep Thy precepts.” “I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou hast enlarged my heart.” In his Epistle to the Colossians, the great Apostle uses words of vast extension, which may be regarded as setting forth this growth and breadth of all Christians :-“We do not cease to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding ; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord to all well-pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness ; giving thanks unto the Father, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”
IV. Belief in the Word of God, brings “breadth” and “liberty” of mind.
Never till the brand of the slavery of sin is lifted, can there be true mental liberty. The sweep of mind was narrowed, and its God-like independence surrendered, when man separated himself from God. The only way to restore mind to its high and Divine condition as of old, is by reunion with the Creator of mind. Mind needs emancipation from the fetters which sin and Satan forged for it, and, in order to its freest and broadest exercise, must be put in subjection to the infinite Mind of God. The mind-power is one of those powers and principalities, which are now among the “all things” put in subjection to Christ, and which shall yet willingly acknowledge His universal, mediatorial reign. The believer who studies the doctrines of the Divine Word, and accepts the whole revelation there given, ought to be the freest and broadest thinker in the world.
Extensive is the impression that to bow to the truths of the Gospel, is to enslave one's self; that there is some measure of antagonism between these truths and mental freedom; that, in short, unreserved submission to the Word inflicts a paralysis on human thought. Absolute independence of mind, such as some crave for, is indeed excluded by belief in the Word, and is impossible in any circumstance, for mind itself is a creature. Created mind best secures its liberty and independence by fulfilling the work to which it was designated by the creating Mind. The freedom of the worlds in space is secured by their occupying their appointed positions, and moving according to the ordinance of Him who called them out of nothing. If mind is not under subjection to Christ, then there is one power in the universe swung loose from the Mediatorial dominion: or, if subjection to Him involves a cramping of mind and the surrender of its truest freedom, then Christ is not the friend but the foe of man. The mission of Christ to this world, and His sufferings and death therein, were for the purpose of bringing back man altogether to God, and making him altogether like God. Yes, the Gospel, when accepted, casts down "imaginations," and " brings into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
The men who have thought in accordance with revealed truths, have been the freest and broadest thinkers in history. Mental submission to the will of God imparts a Divine control and impetus to the most towering genius, ennobles and refines the loftiest imagination. The thoughts of Scripture have aided and sustained created mind in its highest flights. The names that most adorn the roll of even the greatest philosophers, metaphysicians, poets, reformers, are those who have drunk most deeply of the water of this well of Bethlehem. The evangelical faith has ever communicated a powerful impetus to mind. Saul of Tarsus was blinded in his understanding, and bigoted in his soul. Paul, the convert and apostle, was enlightened by the Spirit of God, and, through the telescope of Divine revelation, he beheld the wonders of the “wisdom and knowledge of God," while the most glorious doctrines, like brilliant stars, burst upon his enraptured gaze. What a grand galaxy of doctrine does he pass in review in the close of that chapter to the Romans--predestination, calling, justification, intercession, perseverance, glorification! What a field was this for the most powerful sweep of his giant mind! Following in his footsteps, brilliant was the assembly of free men of the periods of Reformation in this and other lands—Luther and Knox, and Henderson, and the noble army of the confessors and martyrs.
" Men who dared alone be free,
Amid a nation's slavery."
These men were conservative of all truth; every particle of it was dear to them; every portion was to them a pearl.” “Better," said Luther, “Better that heaven and earth be blended together in confusion, than that one particle of God's truth should perish." And were not these men, and their times in proportion to their influence upon them, characterized by a broad and catholic spirit ? Is it not to those times, those men, and the doctrines they held and propagated, that we trace a revival of the principles of liberty? Was it not Renwick—that Renwick who signed the Standards, and held by the Covenants now denounced as antiquated and narrow, and for the truths therein came gladly to the scaffold, --who, in the catholicity of his soul, sighed
“Oh! when shall those be agreed on earth, that are agreed in heaven? Methinks, if my blood would be the means of effecting a union, I would willingly shed it in so good a cause.”
He who is actuated by the Word of God will make it his study to inquire into and maintain all truths. The partial character of multitudes of Christians, in this respect, is great indeed. They know something of Christ's priestly office and His prophetical office, but they neglect too much His kingly office. Often, in this way, in the apprehension of Christians, Christ is shorn of much of His glory. They narrow His mediatorial offices, and deprive themselves of the full view they might enjoy of His perfectness as a Saviour. And by shutting out of consideration His universal mediatorial dominion, they cannot have a broad and elevating view of his relations to the kings and kingdoms of earth. A truly broad mind will seek to take in the whole temple of revealed truth. As God is the architect, the structure will reflect the perfectness of the Divine mind. The length and the breadth, and the height of it are equal.
Moreover, he who grows into the spirit of the Word, and accepts its doctrines in their whole breadth, rises more and more above denominational jealousies and sectarian spleen. Not for alliance with a party is he seeking, but for alliance with the truth; not so much with the people of Christ, as with Christ Himself. Wherever error is, he is ready to oppose it; wherever
truth is, he is ready to defend it. To every system against Christ and His truth, he is an enemy—a resolute enemy, no matter how influential, in the world's sense, may be the supporters of that system. To every effort for Christ he is a friend, a sincere, a zealous friend, no matter how humble those be who engage in that effort. Right is his standard, and righteousness the impelling force within. His mind and heart become broad and catholic, like Him with whom is no respect of persons, "neither barbarian, Scythian, bond, nor free."
“My son, give me thine heart." There must be surrender, and surrender of the heart, that the soul may live, and grow, and become perfect. Why not yield the claim? Why refuse the broad invitation—“Whosoever will ?” None is excluded from that “whosoever.” None can object that the terms of the Gospel invitation are not free and broad enough to meet their case. The Saviour invites sinners to come to Him, that they may enjoy all the blessings of the covenant-all the benefits of His purchase. He presses them to come, that they may be bound up with the “Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.”
Let there be earnest prayer, and self-denying labour, to hasten the universal extension of Christ's kingdom. “I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them, saith the Lord.” The overthrow of all error and sin, and the universal triumph of truth and virtue, are promised to prayer and effort. The prospects of a speedy reformation are dark, very dark; but, as Judson said, when he thought of his meagre success in the mission-field,—“The prospects are as bright as the promises of God.” “As I live, saith the Lord, the whole earth shall be filled with My glory.” All the errors and iniquities of the wide earth shall pass away; and the glory of Christ shall fill all lands. The Broadchurchism of the Gospel shall be triumphant then. Christ in and over every heart; Christ in and over every household; Christ in and over His Church, then one; Christ in and over every association and community; Christ in and over every throne—all giving homage to Christ, all honoured by Christ, and Christ all in all. For
“ All ends of the earth remember shall,
And turn the Lord unto;
To Him shall homage do."
THE FEAST AT ENROGEL;
THREE HOMELY WORDS OF WARNING TO YOUNG MEN.
REV. ALEX. WILLIAMSON.
WEST ST. GILES', EDINBURGH.
“And all the guests that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went their way.”—1 Kings i. 49.
SUCH was the abrupt close of a splendid and important entertainment. A messenger, hot and excited, rushed into the banquethall among the happy guests, and, by the startling announcement which he made, brought the festive gathering to a sudden and a sad termination. The ardour which had animated every breast was quenched in a moment, and every cheek became pale. The distinguished friends who were the guests of Adonijah—some of them occupying high military and ecclesiastical positions—all suddenly disappeared. Fear triumphed, and they sought safety in flight. Their host was in danger as well as they, but they preferred looking after themselves, and so they—vanished ! They liked him well enough, but they liked themselves better ! Selfishness crushed out the claims of friendship. They had approved his recent course of action, but, unfortunately, he was unsuccessful. They had applauded his ambition until they saw that it had overleapt itself, and was about to prove his ruin. So the devoted followers silently separated, and swiftly dispersed. Before that messenger came, Adonijah was admired and adored, the centre of all their hopes. The minute after he came, Adonijah was left alone, looking round in dismay on the empty couches of the deserted chamber, wondering how quickly his staunch and valiant friends had disappeared! Fickle and fearful! Summer birds scared by the chill