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correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
“ Secondly: God hath seen meet that herein we should see as in a looking glass, the conditions and experiences of the saints of old, that finding our experience to answer to theirs, we might thereby be the more confirmed and comforted, and our hope of ob. taining the same end strengthened; that observing the providences attending them-seeing the snares they were liable to, and beholding their deliverances, we may thereby be made wise unto salvation, and seasonably reproved and instructed in righteousness.This is the great work of the Scriptures, and their service to us, that we may witness them fulfilled in us, and so discern the stamp of God's Spirit and ways upon them, by the inward acquaintance we have with the same Spirit and work in our hearts. The prophecies of the Scriptures are also very comfortable and profitable to us, as the same Spirit enlightens us to observe them fulfilled and to be fulfilled. In all this it is to be observed, that it is only the spiritual man that can make a right use of them: they are able to make the man of God perfect; so it is not the natural
And whatsoever was written aforetime was written for our comfort-our, that is, for the believers, or for the saints; concerning such the apostle speaks. Peter plainly declares, that the unstable and unlearned wrest them to their own destruction. These were they who were unlearned in the divine and heavenly learning of the Spirit, not in human and school literature, in which we may safely presume that Peter himself, being a fisherman, had no skill.”
In setting forth the use and service of the Holy Scriptures to the church, as a secondary rule, subordinate to the Spirit of Truth, he further says, We do look upon them as the only fit outward judge of controversies among Christians, and that whatsoever doctrine is contrary unto their testimony, may therefore justly be rejected as false. And for our parts we are very willing that all our doctrines and practices be tried by them; which we never refused, nor ever shall, in all controversies with our adversaries, as the judge and test. We shall also be very willing to admit it as a positive certain maxim, that whatsoever any do, pretending to the Spirit, which is contrary to the Scriptures, be accounted and reckoned a delusion of the devil. For as we never lay claim to the Spirit's leading, that we may cover ourselves in any thing that is evil, so we know that as every evil contradicts the Scriptures, so it doth also the Spirit in the first place from which the Scriptures came, and whose motions can never contradict one another, though they may appear sometimes to be contradictory to the blind eye
of the natural man."
The love of ease naturally leads men to prefer an assent to the truths of religion, rather than submission to the practical operation of it on the heart. It is much easier to profess faith in what Christ has suffered and done for us, than to yield obedience to the daily cross, and endure the portion of suffering inseparable from the baptism of the Holy Ghost, by which the corruptions of the heart are removed.
From the rise of the Society, Friends have unequivocally declared their faith in the efficacy of the propitiatory offering which our Lord voluntarily made of himself for the sins of the whole world. George Fox early testified respecting his crucifixion, that “at that time, the sins of all mankind were upon him, and their iniquities and transgressions, with which he was wounded; which he was to bear and to be an offering for as he was man, but died not as he was God; so in that he died for all men, tasting death for every man, he was an offering for the sins of the whole world." But while they fully believed that remission of sin and reconciliation with God was obtained only through Christ and his most satisfactory offering, they also believed that no man was justified while he continued in sin, whatever might be his profession of faith. These devoted ministers of the gospel as it was opened to them in its primitive purity, accordingly preached in life and doctrine, the indispensable necessity of holiness, without which the Scriptures declare, that no man shall see the Lord; and they placed justification where the apostle places it, in connection with being washed and sanctified, but not as preceding sanctification.
When they went forth in their ministry, they found the different professors pleading for the impracticability of reing free from sin in this life, while they considered themselves justified by faith in the Lord Jesus; alleging that our sins were imputed to him, that he suffered instead of us the penalty of infinite wrath and vengeance due to our sins, and thereby fully satisfied divine justice; and they rested in the false hope, that though they lived in sin, Christ was their surety and they were saved by his imputed righteousness. They argued, that as God has made Christ to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, therefore as our sin is imputed to Christ, who had no sin, so Christ's righteousness is imputed to us, without our being righteous. Friends bore a decided testimony against this sinpleasing doctrine, declaring that were the sentiment admitted, that God was so reconciled with men as to esteem them just while they were unjust and continuing in sin, he would have no controversy with them, which would make void the great practical doctrines of repentance, conversion and regeneration. Though Christ bore our sins, suffered for us, and among men was accounted a sinner, yet they denied that God ever reputed him a sinner, or that he died that we should be reputed righteous, though no more really so than he was a sinner. They understood the apostle, when he speaks of our being made the righteousness of God in Christ, to mean, that we are to be made really righteous, and not by imputation merely; for he argues against any agreement between righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness. Our Lord, in all his doctrines and precepts, enforces the necessity of good works; and although properly speaking, we are not justified for them, yet we are justified in them, agreeably to the apostle James, “ Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” “For as the body without the spirit is dead, even so faith without works is dead also.”
We apprehend that some may be in danger of falling back into the errors against which our early Friends testified; and while endeavouring to counteract the spirit of infidelity, which denies the propitia
tory efficacy of the death of Christ, they may run into the contrary extreme of attributing the justification of the ungodly to a professed reliance on the atonement and an imputed righteousness, without experiencing true repentance and the sanctification of the Spirit. To the repenting, returning sinner, who of himself has nothing on which to rest his hope of forgiveness and acceptance with his offended Maker, the mediation, intercession, and propitiation of the Redeemer of lost man, is inexpressibly precious. It is through Him alone that the door of hope is opened, and all who receive into their hearts the gift of grace which comes by Him, and yield to its convicting power, by which alone they can be brought to see their sinful state and to repent as in dust and ashes, will in the Lord's time, through faith and submission to him, know the blood of Christ to cleanse them from all sin, and from the guilt of sin.
Robert Barclay lays down the doctrine of Justification in these terms: “ As many as resist not the light of Christ, but receive the same, it becomes in them a holy, pure and spiritual birth, bringing forth holiness, righteousness, 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, according to the apostle's words; But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.' Therefore it is not by our works wrought in our will, nor yet by good works considered as of themselves, but by Christ who is both the gift and the giver, and the cause producing