« PreviousContinue »
productions, originally written and WHAT 18 MEANT BY FULFILLING published in the German language, and translated A.D. 1523, by the famous Justus Jonas, into Latin. “ But to fulfil the law is, to perEach paragraph, according to the form those things commanded in usage of the learned in the fifteenth the law, with hilarity, uprightness, and sixteenth centuries, has a di « and cheerfulness of heart ; that is, tinct heading, descriptive of the spontaneously, and of one's free subject on which it treats. The choice, to live to God, and to perfollowing are a few speciinens; and form good works, even though the they contain that part of the tract law had no existence. But non conwhich Mr. Wesley mentions, as tingit cordibus, our hearts have not “ describing the change which God any such hilarity; cheerfulness, faworks in the heart through faith in vourable inclination of the will, and Corist.”
ardent affection, except through
vivificatorem, the life-giving Spirit, THE LAW IS SPIRITUAL.
and his lively impulse and agitati“THEREFORE the Apostle says, in onem, motion in the heart : as the chap. vii., 'The law is spiritual;' as Apostle says in chap. v. But the if he had said, If the law were only Spirit is bestowed solely through carnal and moral doctrine, it might faith in Jesus Christ. In like manbe fulfilled by outward works. For, ner, at the commencement he has since it is spiritual, that is, as it said, Faith cometh by hearing the requires all our spirit and affections, Gospel, or the word of God; by then no one fulfils it unless he per- which Christ is preached as having forms those things which the law died for us, as having been buried, commands with a cheerful heart, and raised from the dead, as he and with a certain ardour of mind, declares in chap. iii., iv., X. Our and with entire affection. But thou entire justification, therefore, is of obtainest such a new heart, and God; faith and the Spirit are these ardent and cheerful affections likewise of God, and not of ourof the heart, not throngh any selves." strength or merit of thine own, but solely through the operation and afflatus of the Holy Spirit. For he alone renews the heart, and makes “ Hence also faith alone justifies, a man spiritual ;. that, thus being and it alone fulfils the law. For, spiritual, he may love spiritualem faith, through the merits of Christ, legem, the law of the Spirit; and obtains the Holy Spirit. This not through fear, or through desire blessed Spirit renews, exhilarates, of any advantage, but with a cheer. excites, and inflames the heart, so ful and free heart, inay fulfil it; and that it spontaneously performs what may be borne on hy quodam impetu, the law requires. And then, at a sort of divine impulse, spontane. length, from the faith thus efficaously and without constraint to do ciously working and living in the those things which belong to the heart, freely fuunt, proceed those law. The law is spiritual,' must works which are truly good. The therefore be thus understood : The Apostle wishes to convey this meanlaw is not fulfilled except with a ing in the third chapter. For after spirit and heart renewed by the he had, in that chapter, utterly conHoly Spirit. Therefore, wherever demned the works of the law, and this spirit and renovation of heart might almost seem, by the doctrine through the Holy Spirit are not, 80 of faith, about to destroy and abofar is the law from being there ful. lish the law, he at once anticipates filled, that, on the contrary, all the the objection by asserting, We do [natural] repugnance to it and not destroy the law, but we estabhatred of it remain there, although lish it ;' that is, We teach how the the law of itself is holy, and just, law is really fulfilled by believing, or and good.'”
FAITH ALONE JUSTIFIES.
WHAT IS TRUE FAITH.
firmly relying on God, he feels no
dread in opposing himself solum, as “But true faith is the work of
a single champion against all creaGod in us, by which we are born tures. This bigh and heroical feelagain and renewed, through Gou ing, therefore, hos ingentes animos, and the Spirit of God, as we are this noble enlargement of spirit, is told in John i.; and by which the injected and effected in the heart by old Adam is slain, and we are com- the Spirit of God, who is imparted pletely transformed per omnia, in [to the believer] through faith. And all things; as the Apostle declares, hence we also obtain [the privilege] • We are made new creatures in to be impelled to that which is good, Christ through faith ;' ubi, in which by this vital energy in our hearts. new creatures the Holy Spirit be. We also obtain such a cheerful procomes vita et gubernalio cordis, the pensionem, inclination, that freely living and ruling principle of the and spontaneously we are eager and heart. But faith is an energy in the most ready to do, to suffer, and to heart; at once so efficacious, lively, endure all things in obedience to a breathing, and powerful, as to be Father and God of such great clemenincapable of remaining inactive, but cy; who, through Christ, has enriched bursts forth into operation. Neither us with such abundant treasures of does he who has faith moratur, grace, and has almost overwhelmed demur about the question, whether us with such transcendent benefits. good works bave been commanded, it is impossible that this efficacious or not; but even though there were and vital principle of faith can be no law, feeling the motions of this in any man without continually opeliving impulse putting forth and rating, and producing fruit to God. exerting itself in his heart, he is It is just as impossible for a pile of spontaneously borne onward
to dry faggots to be set on fire without work, and at no time does he cease emitting flames of light. Whereto perform such actions as are truly fore use watchfulness, ibi, in this pious and Christian. But whuso. quarter, so as not to believe the vain ever from such a living affection of imaginations of thy own mind, and the heart produces no good works, the foolish cogitations and trifles of he is still in a state of total unbelief, the Sophists. For these men posand is a stranger to faith; as are
sess neither heart nor brains : they most of those persons who hold
are mere animals of the belly, born long disputes, and give utterance to
only for these solemn banquets of much declamation in the schools, the schools. But do thou pray to about faith and good works, 'nei- God, who by his word' bas comther understanding what they say, manded light to shine out of darknor whereof they affirm.'
ness, that He would be pleased to shine into thy heart, and create faith
within thee; otherwise thou wilt “ Faith, then, is a constant fidu- never believe, though thou shouldest cia, trust in the mercy of God spend a thousand years in studying towards us ; trust living and to fabricate such cogitations about a efficaciously working in the heart; faith already obtained or to be hereby which we cast ourselves entirely after acquired.” on God, and commit ourselves to While the great German Reformer Him; by which, certò freti, having thus “ described the change which an assured reliance, we feel no hesi. God works in the heart through tation about enduring death a thou. faith in Christ,” the English Clersand times. And this firm trust in gyman who had gone to the ends of the mercy of God is tam animosa, so the earth to convert the Heathen, aniipating, as to cheer, elevate, and and returned in a penitent state of excite the heart, and to transport it heart, having there learned that he was with certain most sweet affections to. not converted himself, tells us, “I felt wards God; and it animates this heart my heart strangely warmed. I felt of the believer in such a manner, that, I did trust in Christ, Christ alone,
WHAT FAITH 19.
for salvation : and an assurance was tually fulfilled all righteousness; given me, that he had taken away and hence there is nothing to hinder my sins, even mine, and saved me the communication of the Holy Spifrom the law of sin and death." rit in all his plenitude of regenerat.
It is worthy of remark, that the ing power. This salvation is matter principles which Mr. Wesley recog- of personal consciousness. There is nised in this most solemn and mo- the Spirit of adoption in the believmentous transaction he steadily ing heart, crying, “ Abba, Father; maintained till his spirit returned to and permanently happy are the men God. He regarded the natural whom the Son thus makes free by state of men as a state of guilt and an application of his blood, and the condemnation, and of depravity and mighty working of the Holy Ghost. helplessness. They are under the Little did Mr. Wesley and the few sentence of eternal death ; and they devout people who met with him a are at the same time under the hundred years ago in a private house in power of sin, so as to be unable Aldersgate-street imagine what imeither to offer to God acceptable portant results would arise from the worship or acceptable obedience. events of that evening. From that They cannot atone for any of their hour he was a new man. He found sins; nor can they escape from their what he had long desired, a conevil nature, by any devices that they science calm and tranquil; and a can form, or any efforts that they heart purified from sin. Up to that can put forth. The salvation which period he had wearied himself in inhas been merited for them by the effectual struggles to gain the mas. death of Christ, and which the Gos- tery over the evils of his own nature. pel reveals, fully meets their case. His sincerity and his outward conIt comprehends two great blessings, duct were indeed unimpeachable ; -justification, and sanctification, for the gratuitous insinuation, that by which we understand deliverance he was guilty of some immoral act from the guilt and from the power in Georgia, which has been recently of sin. This salvation is obtained advanced by a biographer of his by the simple exercise of faith in friend Mr. Whitefield, I will venture Christ crucified. Whatever may be to affirm was never previously heard the depth of a man's penitential sor. of; yet he painfully felt that he was row, the correctness of his moral not inwardly holy: he was not preconduct, the intensity of his desire pared to die. But now the prevailto please and enjoy God, or the ing disposition of his heart was that earnestness and importunity of his of heavenly love, connected with the prayers, he is not accepted and rege. peace of God which passeth all unnerated till he believes in Christ. derstanding. Long had he accusIt is only when he trusts in Christ tomed himself to fasting and prayer; that forgiveness is sealed upon his he had carefully studied all the arconscience, and the sin that dwelleth guments in favour of natural and in him ceases to have the dominion. revealed religion ; he had collected There is an inseparable connexion the finest devotional compositions, between these blessings. No man both in prose and verse, and recan receive one without the other. peated them upon his knees with Yet in the order of nature justifica- great seriousness and sincerity; yet tion is first vouchsafed. It is indeed after all he felt himself to be the absurd to suppose that the Holy slave of unbelief, of the fear which Ghost will so renew us in the spirit hath torment, and of various inward of our minds as to make us partak- evils. “But now,” says he, “I al. ers of the divine nature, while we ways conquered.”. He had reproved remain under the curse of God's sin, and warned the wicked, from a violated law. But when we are sense of duty; but now he loved “ accepted in the Beloved,” there is the souls of men with a yearning no “charge” against us; we are as pity, like that of his Saviour. It fully justified as if we had never was his intention to bury himself committed a single sin, but had ac- for life in the retirement of his col. lege ; but now his heart expanded people, scattered over the four quarin universal charity. He saw that ters of the globe, have adopted the there was something in Christianity discipline which he recommended to which meets the wants of the world; guard and foster the work of God; this substantial good he longed to and perhaps five times that number make known; and he soon began to attend the ministry which he was a offer this salvation, in all its magni- means of providing“Behold how tude and freeness, to condemned fe. great a matter a little fire kindleth!” lons, to sinners of every grade ; and To what extent the labours of this many. “ rejoiced for the consola- great man will be a means of good tion.”
in future ages, the divine mind only At first he was weak in faith; but can foresee. But whatever that good he was greatly strengthened and en- may be, the elements of it all are couraged by a visit to Hernhuth, to be traced to the change which and his conversation there with se- took place in his heart in the little veral intelligent members of the meeting in Aldersgate.street. Had Moravian Churcb, “who were in he not found peace with God through Christ before him." He was hap- our Lord Jesus Christ, he would pily compelled by the force of cir- never have been an itinerant and a cumstances to violate that canonical field Preacher; nor would he ever order which was a direct infringe- have been a means of effecting that ment upon the liberty wherewith revival of religion, the fruits of Christ had made his people free, by which are visible in the length and preaching this salvation in the open breadth of the land, among all de. air, in private houses, in barns, in nominations of Christians, and in town-balls, and other unconsecrated some of the remotest nations of the places, sanctioned by the example earth. Nothing but the love of of his Lord and the Apostles. In Christ, shed abroad in his heart by the same manner he was led to ac- the Holy Ghost given unto him, cept the assistance of Preachers on could have prompted him to under. wbose beads Episcopal hands had take the gigantic labours in which Dever been laid. To make this sal- his life was spent; nor have enabled vation known to the widest possi. him to bear up under the violence ble extent was the one business and mockery of mobs, and the bit. of his subsequent life. His mi- ter contumely that was heaped upon nistry, his authorship, his disci. him from the press. plinary arrangements, had all refer- That the Methodist body tena. ence to this great end. lo recom. ciously adhere to their original docmending this salyation he patiently trine of free, present, and conscious endured opposition and discourage- salvation from sin by faith in the ments of unexampled severity; for Lord Jesus, is matier of sincere he felt that the object which he had congratulation. Upon the faithful in view immensely outweighed every preaching of this doctrine the Lord personal consideration; and when of the harvest at present vouchsafes laid upon the bed of death, tbe bis signal blessing, as he has done Lord whose mercy he had known from the beginning. The variand preached for more than fifty ous revivals of religion wbich are years was still “ all his salvation, now witnessed in Great Britain, and all his desire.”
and upon several of the Mission How many persons have been stations, attest this.
That some saved by his instrumentality, di- men should misapprehend the docrectly and indirectly, within the last trine in question, and represent it as century, the day of the Lord will big with Antinomian licentiousness, declare. None will deny that his is not at all surprising; but such labours have exerted a powerful in- objectors neither know what they fluence both upon the established say, nor whereof they affirm. The Church and the different bodies of salvation which Mr. Wesley obtained evangelical Dissenters. In the pre- by faith in Christ, and which he sent day more than a million of taught other people to expect, is VOL. XVII. Third Series. May, 1838.
salvation from sin, its guilt, its that place to commemorate the an. power, its pollution, its pain; and niversaries of their great religious that such a salvation should lead to and philanthropic Societies. Tid. the practice of sin is a positive con- ings of success from the wide Mistradiction; for it is a salvation sion field will then be recited ; rewhich comprehends both inward ports will be given of the progress and outward holiness. The Wes- of Christian education, both at home leys and their zealous associates and abroad, and of the distribution measured their success, not by the of the holy Scriptures; so
as to number of persons that embraced awaken the most grateful emotions, their opinions and modes of wor- and to call forth loud expressions of ship; but by the number of persons praise and thanksgiving. that were saved from sin, and made the holy and spiritual worshippers
“ See how great a flame aspires, of God. This is still our great call
Kindled by a spark of grace !
Jesu's love the nations fires, ing; and to this Methodist litera
Sets the kingdoms on a blaze. ture, preaching, and Missionary
When he first the work begun, operations ought to be most sacredly Small and feeble was his day : directed. “ Let the dead bury their Now the word doth swiftly run, dead; but go thou and preach the Now it wins its widening way ; kingdom of God.”
More and more it spreads and grows, It will be delightful, during the
Ever mighty to prevail ; ensuing month of May, to contem
Sin's strong holds it now o'erthrows, plate John Wesley, with a sad and
Shakes the trembling gates of hell. disconsolate heart, meeting with
Sons of God, your Saviour praise !
He the door hath open'd wide ; half a dozen people likeminded with
He hath given the word of grace, himself, in a private room in Alders
Jesu's word is glorified : gate-street, to read and pray, and
Jesus, mighty to redeem, there finding rest to his soul; and He alone the work hath wrought ; to contrast this scene-this “ day of Worthy is the work of Him, small and feeble things”—with the Him who spake a world from nought.” joyous crowds that will assemble at
DIDYMUS. a comparatively short distance from
April 11th, 1838.
ON BACKSLIDING. To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine. BACKSLIDERS are such as have while guided and governed by the fallen from a state of grace into Spirit, that religion's ways are a sinful and perishing condition. ways of pleasantness, and paths of Once they saw and felt their need of peace.” salvation, were led sincerely to re- But they have fallen from this pent of their sins, and were made state of grace. “Concerning faith,' partakers, through faith in Christ, they have made shipwreck';" have of God's justifying and renovating turned “from the holy command. grace. “ Being justified by faith," ment.” In this they have acted a they had "peace with God, through cowardly, treacherous, and foolish our Lord Jesus Christ.” Made free part; and now they may be said to by the truth, sin had no longer do. be “twice dead, plucked up by the minion over them. Raised from a roots, and fuel to the fire. They state of spiritual death, they had have lost the favour of God, the begun to live for heaven. United life of grace, the peace and consoto Christ, and sealed by his Spirit, lations of the Saviour's religion. they had a title to glory, and an They have become indifferent to the earnest and foretaste of the heaven- best things, hard and unbelieving in ly inheritance. Thus saved by grace their hearts, and gross and earthly through faith, they were pious and in their affections. They have rehappy. They found by experience, lapsed into sinful ways and habits;