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Moses; if any, called to be sons, prefer the bondage of servants ; if any
of Christ's freemen love to be slaves of the Law; if any children of Sarah call themselves children of Hagar; let such know that God will not accept of their maimed offerings, their double tongues. They shall wholly lose the higher, the nobler privilege of sons of God; and it is greatly to be feared may even lose the lower standing of servants, which is all the Jews are promised in the future dispensation ; ministers and subjects in that kingdom whose kings are the sons of God.
The new song to be sung by the Jews is the recognition of His mercy to them, when He shall have put them in possession of all that he promised to their fathers; bringing them back to the land of Canaan; re-constituting their civil and ecclesiastical polity, as declared in Ezekiel ; and planting his Shechinah glory on Mount Zion for evermore (Ezek. xliii.). This song is given in many parts of Scripture; as, Isai. xxvi.; Psalm cxviii. cxx. to cxxxvi.; and especially xcviii. : “ Oh sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things : his right hand and his holy arm have gotten him the victory. The Lord hath made known his salvation : his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel : all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God..... For he cometh to judge the earth.” And in Psalm xcix. : “ The Lord reigneth ; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubim ; let the earth be moved." The Jews are subjects of this reign, but the sons of God are the kings and judges: the Jews worship at the footstool of the throne, but the church is the cherubim, the throne itself.
Those Jews, and Judaizing Christians, who think they can sing the song of Moses without learning the song of the Lamb, have their counterpart in folly, and their companions in affliction, in the foolish virgins; who are also left in the outer darkness, because they have refused to learn more than half of the bridal song; and are shut out, as disqualified, from the marriage supper.
The priestly stamp upon the forehead, of “ Holiness to the Lord,” is the sum and substance of that part of the qualification to which the song of Moses refers ; and Satan has stopped the ears of the foolish virgins, by his malignant but Siren songs of election and reprobation, of original sin and imputed righteousness, of free grace without the deeds of the law, and such like e; glorious truths when rightly held, but which may be perverted into snares of Satan and opiates of the soul; and which we know to be at this time fettering multitudes to whom God says “ Up and be doing,” and lulling them to midnight slumbers when the streaks of dawn are breaking.
This point we have often argued, both in its doctrinal and its prophetic aspect: indeed, it may be said to have been the one main point of all our arguments; the main drift of all our labours. The argument may be summed up in two texts : "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein ?” and, “ We have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts."
It is a complete mistake, too, in both these parties, to suppose that they can learn one of these songs aright, without learning the other ; that they can know the character of God by one half of his purpose ; that they can become conformable to the mind of God by half-faith in Christ,-by faith in one advent only, in one nature only. The whole person of Christ, and not the half of it, is the revelation of the mind of God; the whole work of Christ, and not the half of it, is the revelation of the purpose of God. Faith in the whole Christ-the God-Man, the King of Glory and the Man of Sorrows, the Lamb slain and the anointed King of Zion-and willing submission to him in all his titles, alone is Christianity, alone is wisdom, alone can qualify to enter with the Bridegroom before the door is shut, before the outer darkness closes in.
The outer darkness is a judgment on the living-it applies not to the dead; and it is distinct from the lake of fire, into which the great majority of those that are left in the outer darkness shall ultimately be cast. We have long been deterred from telling out all that we believe on this subject, by soft-hearted tenderness towards our weaker brethren, who, though they hold our doctrines themselves, cannot bear a full,
full, uncompromising statement of the inevitable consequences to all who do not hold these doctrines, and walk in consistency with them. Stern and reckless as we are deemed by many, we have faltered and trembled, and shrunk from telling out to a faithless church the heavy burden of woe laid upon her in Scripture. The heaviest judgments of God shall light, not upon the Heathen that know not God, but upon the people that are called by His Name; upon those whose increase of privilege is also an increase of responsibility; to whom much has been given, and of whom much shall be required.
Another fear has also had its influence upon us,--the fear lest we should be ministering to sluggishness and incredulity, by presenting any middle state between heaven and hell; any lesser motive than the instant alternative of the highest eternal bliss, and the deepest eternal woe. But these fears are not of God, but of the carnal, reasoning of man; and we will endeavour to
VOL. VI.-NO, I.
discard them, and state out plainly whatever God shall teach'us from his holy word.
The true doctrine has been rendered difficult of statement and hard of belief by the Papal fiction of Purgatory, and the traffic in the souls of men which that abominable priesthood has carried on. But this, like every other figment of Popery, is a perversion of truth still more reprebensible than pure unmingled falsehood : not merely insulting to man, and in that degree offensive to God, but insulting to God himself-a falsification of His own word ; dishonour to the Divine Majesty ; provoking in the highest degree his wrath and indignation against the offenders.
Another difficulty lies in our way from erroneous meanings commonly attached to the words redemption, salvation, elect, kingdom of heaven, hades or hell, the bottomless pit, the lake of fire, and many such expressions. Redemption is a word of the largest extent,-full deliverance from a bondage, full acquittal from a debt. Applied to mankind, it is a reversal of all the guilt incurred by the Fall, payment in full of all its penalty. In Adam's fall his whole posterity, and the whole creation of which he was the head, fell also : mankind and the whole creation were redeemed by Christ Jesus. The least sin is in its own nature and consequences infinite ; and, committed against an infinitely holy God; redemption from the least sin required, therefore, an Infinite Sacrifice; and, being infinite, it redeems at once all the sins of that whole species which has received redemption for the least sin in the least of its members.
Salvation may have the same extent as redemption, or it may have a less wide application, according as we regard it in itself, or in its application. Salvation, like redemption, is provided for all, and is offered to all; but not attained by all, because all have not faith to be saved. Redemption and salvation, again, should be taken in reference to the bondage from which we are redeemed, and the evil from which we are saved. Mankind was redeemed from the Fall, Israel was redeemed from Egypt, the Jews shall be redeemed from all the corners of the earth. In like manner, salvation is applied in many senses. Every thing which is kept in being since the Fall, is called saved: “Thou savest man and beast” (Psa. xxxvi. 6). The Angel of the Presence of the Lord “ saved” the children of Israel (Deut. xxxiii. 29; Isa. xiii. 9). And every deliverance is a salvation; and every deliverer raised up by the Lord is a saviour. And even after the appearance of the Saviour, whom all previous deliverers typified, salvation is sometimes spoken of in the enlarged sense of preservation, not in the special sense of becoming heirs of the kingdom ; as (1 Tim. iv. 10),“ We trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, but especially of them that believe.”
This special salvation belongs to the elect; is the privilege of
them that believe, and known only to God and the believer. The term is applied to the angels who kept their first estate, though these have no part in the blood of Christ (1 Tim. v. 21); to the Israelites, as the “chosen ” people of God (Deut. vii. 8; Isa. lxv.9-22); but in its highest and fullest sense to those who are “chosen in Christ Jesus before the world began (1 Pet. i. 2; Eph. i. 4). And some of these elect ones shall (for their blind obduracy in refusing to learn the song of Moses, as well as the song of the Lamb) be left in the great tribulation of outer darkness, after the translation of the saints; and for ever regret that folly by which they have lost the highest rank in the kingdom of God, acknowledging that it is of mere mercy that they have not been cast into the lake of fire for their little faith.
For the sake of these elect it is that the tribulation, into which their folly has brought them, shall be shortened (Matt. xxiv. 22). God will not let any of the least of his flock perish, and will deliver every one that hath true faith, however weak or little that faith be. But see to it that the faith is true; that it is not a mere name to live, but living faith ; that it is not formality, or lip service, or following the stream ; that it is not a mockery of God, but honest and sincere folly. As folly it shall suffer eternal loss, as is most meet and just; but if there be any insincerity mingled with the folly, not merely loss, but eternal misery, shall be its doom; for “the fearful and unbelieving," as well as “ the abominable, and murderers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death” (Rev. xxi. 8).
The kingdom of God, or of heaven, is now preparing to be revealed. It was preached in spirit by John the Baptist, though he himself belonged not to it. "Of them that are born of women there had not been any greater ; but he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. The kingdom preached in spirit by John, was spiritually received by those who heard him, and has been secretly inwrought by the Holy Spirit in all the true members of Jesus. “The kingdom of God is within you.
But another preaching is now begun,-of the revelation of that kingdom; of the coming forth of Jesus in glory, to set it up openly, and to give the dominion under the whole heaven to the people of the saints of the Most High. To the highest rank in this kingdom all our fathers who have died in the faith of Christ shall attain, as the bride of the Lamb, as the members of the body of Jesus. But our believing fathers, if they had lived in these days, when further objects are presented to the faith of the church, would have had their faith enlarged to receive all that is now preached, concerning the Second Advent, and the preparation of the bride to meet her Lord, by adorning the
church with all the gifts of the Spirit. They contended manfully against the enemies which then assailed the church, and died in the full faith of all that God then called upon them to believe. But we have new, more subtle and more potent, enemies to contend with. The devil is come down in great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time. We need more than ever the whole armour of God. And we have the hope presented to us, not merely of sleeping in Jesus-not merely of resurrection from the dead-but of triumphing over death, by not tasting of it; of being caught up alive to meet our Lord ; of the changing of these vile bodies, to be fashioned like unto his glorious body, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
This glorious hope, though ever presented to the church, was not called into lively and immediate action till the predicted signs, which we have seen so rapidly accomplished in our times, had all come into manifestation, and left nothing further to expect before the actual coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven. Truly may it be said of us, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see the things which we see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things which we hear, and have not heard them.
The gathering of the bride, the fashioning of the members of Jesus, takes place during the time between the first and second advents. To this highest rank none shall ever attain but the saints of the Christian dispensation, beginning at the day of Pentecost, ending at the coming of the Bridegroom : when the wise virgins go in, the door is shut, and the foolish virgins left out in the outer darkness. The faithful worthies of the Old Testament shall have their places, their lot, their rank, in the kingdom of heaven, and rejoice to the full in the accomplishment of all which their faith realized and their hope expected : they shall see the city of our God, and rejoice in its light and joy; though they are not the lively stones thereof, not members of the body of Jesus, but under his blessed government. The foundation stone of that glorious building was laid at the Incarnation, and the fabric shall be completed when the chief stone shall be brought forth at the coming of Christ in glory. The body of Jesus had no beginning till he was raised from the dead, and exalted to be its head ; and in him shall it be headed up by the resurrection and translation of the members, to come with him at his appearing. Enter into this, ye who are called to be sons of God.
Hades, or the place of separate spirits, will then give up its tenants : the just, to their several stations in the kingdom of heaven; the wicked, to be cast into the lake of fire by Christ coming to judgment. This judgment begins at the coming of the Son of Man, or the first resurrection; and the first who are