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penances and sacrifices of self-instituted | The grace of God was frustrated : the worship, been designed.
work of Christ was suspended: tho This was virtually the question which offers of a free and full salvation were was engaging and beginning to agitate withheld : and the "glad tidings" of rethe mind of Europe at the commence- demption were misrepresented or unment of the sixteenth century, and soon known. The results were disastrous. produced that discord and division It was insult to Heaven - mockery which le foretold who was Himself on earth. The soul had no resting. "the truth,” and had appeared to testify place: human hope no anchor: the it in our world—“ I came not to send guilty conscienco no relief: and prayer peace on the earth, but a sword.” The no reason, and no plea, at the foot of tyranny of Rome, which had at that the Divine throne. All was darkness time reached its height, and spread its --all was confusion-all was lost! A delusions over almost every land, had wreck had happened to the dearest inframed and imposed the huge error on terests, aspirations, and prospects of the mind of the nations, (or at least had humanity; and in the midst of the calaattempted so to do, that the above mo- mity no other than a spurious help and mentous inquiry was to be answered by feigned deliverance was at hand; whilst the merit of human doings; and that of that help none could avail themselves, these, according to a fixed scale of rising for, in addition to its own feebleness or declining value, which it held in its and insufficiency, it set up a rival to the own hands, would secure just so much, only power that could avail, and the and no more, of the favour and goodwill only arm that could bring salvation. of an offended God. It had set itself up The question was, Is it “ of works," to be both mediator and judge between “ of grace?” Is it of God, or of the consciences of men and the supreme man? Of Christ, or of the sinner?tribunal of the universe, and affected to that righteousness which justifies : dispense peace and pardon in its own which procures acceptance before the name, and in the name of the Infinite supreme Lawgiver, and causes man to Majesty, to erring mortals, on the be treated as if he had never sinned ground of penances to be endured, or and never fallen? On whom shall a works to be performed, or payments to feeble creature, immortal, accountable, be made, in obedience to its own de- and guilty, depend? On himself, or mands, and in accordance with its own another ? On his own doings and sufprescribed rules. This daring usurp- ferings, or on those which constitute ation it had sustained now for some the righteousness and atonement of the ages past, and this awful delusion it bad Son of God ? spread with all the diligence of priest- Just at this time, God was working in craft, and all the “ deceivableness of un- secret for the solution of this inquiry, righteousness," through the nations and preparing an instrument by his around. It was an error of gigantic mag- providence and Spirit for the maninitude, and of dire consequences! At festation of it before Europe and the once it robbed the Almighty of his glory, world. There was a young man in the and man of his hope. It sullied the heart of Germany, in a convent at perfection of the Divine law, and un- Erfurth, amongst the secluded and solidermined all its claims. It contemned tary there, on whose soul this trementhe rights of eternal justice, and dark. dous question had long weighed with ened the lustre of eternal love. It re- more than ordinary power, and whose duced to a nullity the cross of Emma- deepest feelings it had agitated, even as nuel, and left mercy, in its noontide the lake is tossed by the violent storm. splendour there, shorn of all its beams. It had impelled him from one expedient
to another; and through all the succes. with the anxious inquiry, “How shall sive stages of a liberal education it had
man be just with God?" followed him, to rise and deepen with Deliverance was near. That gracious his progress in the knowledge of him. Being that "showeth mercy,” was at self, of literature, of science, and of the band. “ He will not contend for ever, ecclesiastical studies of the day. In all neither will he be always wroth, lest the these he had sought rest, and found spirit should fail before him, and the none. It haunted his spirit by night soul which he hath made.” He" will and noon; in solitude and in society; not suffer us to be tempted above what in the family and in the school; in the we are able, and will with the temptauniversity, and now in the convent to tion also make a way for our escape." which he had betaken himself with the There was a Bible in the room of the hope of finding refuge there. There convent in which the sufferer lay. He were no means which he left untried, turned his eyes upon it. It was chained; and no imposed form of devotion, or but it was liberty to the captive, and attention to the external ceremonies of the opening of the prison to one that religion, with which he was not willing was bound. He read therein. He to comply. He was an earnest disciple moistened it with his tears, and perof the Church of Rome. He had readily fumed it with his prayers. Not more observed all her prescribed rites and carefully did his father dig in the mines ordinances : and of fastings, penances, of Mansfeldt for the precious ore, than and prayers, he might have said, as one the young Luther now searched the before him had of the institutions of Scriptures, that he might find therein Pharišaism, “ All these have I kept from the "pearl of great price.”
He sought, my youth.” But miserable comforters and found. One precious truth after were they all. He found no peace another engaged his astonished and within. They left liim a stranger to enraptured view. He read: “Not by light, to hope, to consolation; and the works of righteousness which we have storm agitated bis bosom still. He done, but according to his mercy, he saw, he felt the overhanging wrath of saved us by the washing of water and God. The thunders of Sinai sounded the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” in his ears; and its awful lightnings “ The blood of Jesus Christ his Son flashed conviction deeper into his soul. cleanseth from all sin.” “The Lord He wept, he prayed, he wrestled, he
our righteousness." "Him that cometh feared, he fainted ! It was as if the to me I will in no wise cast out." fountains of the great deep were broken It was enough. It was all his salvaup within him; whilst over him the tion; all his desire. Henceforth and heavy clouds were gathering, and the for ever, that sacred volume shall be rising waves of grief and despondency the guide of his inner man, and the were threatening soon to overwhelm | light of his soul. He studied it by him. Again he retired: again he wrest- night; he perused it by day. Some. led: again he disputed with the world, times a whole day was occupied in the flesh, and the devil. To work out pondering one of the precious truths he his own salvation was all his thought, had discovered therein, especially when all his aim, all his hope. He had no it bore upon the great subject of his other idea : at that time he had no mental controversy, and the question other resort. Distressed, distracted, and of his personal acceptance with God. alone, he threw himself on the cold Gradually bis mind was illumined; his floor of the monastery in which he heart found peace; and the burden of lived, while ever and anon the sigh of his guilt full as he stood and gazed his spirit burst forth to break its silence upon the Crucified One. At once he
saw the awful delusion in which, for | to his mind, or secure his acceptance years, he had been trained; and as he with a holy God. In vain was he repersevered and meditated, the “mystery commended to rites and penances, to of iniquity” became more and more re confession and absolution, to the priests vealed to his view. He descried his and to the fathers, to the halls of fearful mistake. His eyes were opened science, or to the shrines of the saints. just on the brink of the precipice to They could not supply his want. They which Rome had conducted him, and could not relieve him of his burden. from which all her strategy and power They could not calin the tempest of his could not deliver him. Her superstitions soul. But the rising of the "bright had propounded to him an enormous lie, and morning Star" did. The glories instead of the truth of God, and it could of the Sun of Righteousness dispelled not stand. The falsehood was now ex- all the illusions of his mind, and dissiposed. The proud fabrio of human pated the mists of error, darkness, and merit fell, and left him alone in its doubt, in which he had been so long ruins. The self-inflictions of a voluntary involved. Now he saw
" the truth," humility could bring him no relief. The and the truth had made him free. That grace of Christ alone could save. The truth, that one glorious truth of salvarighteousness of Christ alone could tion, had taken deep hold of his spirit, justify. And like Jonah, as he escaped and it was to be his theme, bis charter, from the belly of hell, he joyfully ex- his guide, and his aim, through all the claimed, “ Salvation is of the Lord !” future days of his life. It had brought
Such was the process by which the joy and peace to him in believing. It great Reformer discovered and felt the bad ended the strife where wit and readoctrine of justification by faith in the son failed. It had healed his wounded perfect righteousness of the Son of God. spirit, and bound up his broken heart, In him it was the heart of humanity and poured the balm of consolation conflicting with Rome. In this he was over all the powers of his being, when the representative man, struggling nothing else could have ministered such through the darkness, bursting the relief; and how now could he but refetters, and at length escaping the joice over it, and be enamoured with it, gloom, and coming into the liberty of and view it as the most precious gift of the children of God.
God's love to man? All his hopes, and Not to himself alone, not in vain for joys, and treasure were there. It had others, was that cardinal truth of Chris- proved to him "the day-spring from on tianity and brightest beam of Holy Writ high," and as life from the dead, —"As thus revealed to the mind of Luther, the light of the morning when the sun and so powerfully impressed on his ariseth, even a morning without clouds ; inmost soul. It had been presented to as the tender grass springing out of the him, and its infinite importance and earth by clear shiving after rain.” value had been apprehended by him, Happy was it for himself, for the in a way and amidst circumstances that Church of God, for Europe, for the were calculated to brighten the dis- world, that it was só. In the soul of covery, and seal the impression on his Luther it was like the mustard-seed cast heart. A sense of his own vileness and into the earth, which was to spring, guilt, his native helplessness and misery, and rise, and become an expanding had produced a feeling of utter self-tree, in whose branches multitudes despair, and disclosed to his view the might find shelter and repose. It was absolute insufficiency of any works or the opening of a well of water, which attainments of his own, and of those of was to " spring up into everlasting life,” all other created beings, to bring peace and overflow its boundaries to irrigate
the nations in its course thitherwards. to suffer all things for the gospel's sake It did. God had given to the youthful He will endure the reproaches of some, monk of Wittemberg a mind formed for the pity of others, the scorn of more. great purposes, and the accomplish- He will fight with men, as with beasts ment of glorious things. Large, elastic, at Ephesus." He will withstand Tetindomitable, and aspiring, it was the zel to the face, and confront him for his very mind to receive, to grasp, and horrid traffic in indulgences, and such then to propagate, a truth of infinite soul-destroying ware. He will write moment to the spiritual interests of his theses, and affix them to the door his generation. Cultivated by education, of the church at Wittemberg, that all exercised in the schools of philo- may see them. He will attend a “Counsophy and of literature, familiar with cil, and vindicate them there.” He will all the prescriptions and impositions of go to Worms, “though he should have Rome, and endowed with courage which to encounter as many devils as there nothing could intimidate or dismay, he were tiles on the houses of the city." seemed the very man to wage war with He will burn the Pope's bull in the any species of oppression or deceit view of all Christendom, for the glowhich bore upon the moral prospects rious truth which he has found, and for of mankind. Moreover, he had now its propagation throughout Europe and been taught in the school of grace. He the world. had sat at the feet of the great Teacher. Such was the man-the man of God When Christ has need of a special in the man of his age-the man of his strument to perform his work, he pre- generation. He honoured God, and pares it by suitable previous discipline, God honoured bim. The same grace and thus brings it forth, as a polished that distinguished Saul of Tarsus among shaft in his quiver, to execute his de- the apostles, rendered Luther pre-emisigns. And so he did with his ap- nent among the Reformers. A dispointed servant now. That mental pensation was committed to him. He process through which he had passed; had one great mission to fulfil, one that deep insight which he had ob- special work to perform. It was to tained into the spiritual necessities of “ bear the name of Christ," and to exalt his own nature; that awful conflict His merit as the only and all-sufficient with himself and with Satan, the very Saviour,“ before the Gentiles and remembrance of which was anguish to kings,” and the children of his people. his soul, had but prepared him to em For this he lived; for this he laboured ; brace, with more than joyous welcome, for this he suffered. It was to spread the blessed truth of redemption, and the doctrine of complete justification to resolve that, having bought it so through the righteousness of Christ, dearly, neither earth nor hell should imputed to, and received by faith alone, again wrest it from his hands. Accord that he dared and endured all. This ingly, he held it fast, and “sold it not.” was the key-stone of the arch he threw Not all the attractions of superior —the foundation of the structure be power, nor the promises of ecclesiasti- reared—the compass of his voyagecal promotion, could induce him to the polar star of his horizon. He saw part with it; nor all the threats of im- its fulness—its Divine authority-its perial wrath, or indignant Rome, in- adaptation to the necessities and weakduce him to renounce it. “They would ness' of our fallen nature, and he have forgiven me all," said he on one durst not “hold that truth in unrightoccasion, “if I would but have written eousness," by withholding it from his feldown six letters-Revoco” (I recant). low-men. It glowed in all his sermons; But no. It is impossible. He is willing | it pervaded all his writings. To illus
trate it, amidst prodigious labours, he but this she had concealed, defaced, published his Exposition of the and buried beneath the accumulated Epistle to the Galatians ;" and in his heap of her superstitions and traditions, solitude in the Castle of Wartburg, the rubbish of ages. But that revelatranslated into his native tongue the tion of eternal love “cannot be hid.” whole record of the wonderful works of Like the orb of day, when he conquers God. That was a boon Germany had the mist of a wintry sky, or as he never received before; a gift in which emerges from his ocean bed, it shall her sons rejoice to ihis day. It dif- still warm the earth and spread light fused, it has perpetuated, it enshrines over the nations. As “the Article of a the truth for which Luther contended, standing or falling church,” which the and the might of which enabled him to illustrious Reformer pronounced it to evade all the stratagems, and endure be, judged by that standard, the mystic all the fury, of the apostate Church of Babylon shall fall never to rise again ; Rome. And when she shall have ex whilst the church of the living God shall hausted all the resources of her deceit lift up her head, and triumph in her and her tyranny, and the fountains of glorious inheritance, the sacred deposit her corruption are dried up, and of her intrusted to her care. That deposit is imposing hierarchy nothing is left but the cardinal truth of salvation, “more the ruins, that truth shall survive, to precious than rubies, and all the things tell the secret of her fall, and to dis- | that can be compared to it,"—than “the close the power that inflicted the mortal chief things of the ancient mountains, blow. She gave not God the glory. She and the precious things of the lasting laid prostrate in the dust the finished hills;” that truth which alone can give work of the eternal Son, to exalt in peace to the conscience, hope in life, its stead an imaginary righteousness victory in death, and the prospect of and merit of her own. She took from eternal happiness beyond it. “Being man the only ground of his hope, and justified freely by his grace," through left him in the moral universe, a debtor faith in the Beloved. “Surely, shall of ten thousand talents to his righteous one say, In the Lord have I righteousSovereign, with nothing to pay. She ness and strength.” “ In the LORD had been intrusted with the deed of shall all the seed of Israel be justified, Heaven's conveyance, which brought the and shall glory." pardon down, free, full, and irrevocable;
DR CHANNING AND SOCINIANISM. SOCINIANISM has often been cha- whom we might name, are now among racterized as “the half-way house to its most efficient promoters. DisreInfidelity." Of late years it has been garding the indestructible evidence by giving many proofs of the legitimacy of which the Bible is proved to be from its claims to this unenviable distinc- God, they are labouring to bring it tion, in the eagerness manifested by down to the level of other books,-like some of its disciples to perform any them, containing somewhat that is service that might help to undermine good, with much that is either questionthe authority of revelation, and advance able or bad, and requiring, therefore, the cause of unbelief. Theodore Parker the discriminating exercise of the huin America, the Martineaus in Eng. man reason to embrace the one and land, and others of the same school reject the other. Of course, while the