here were two kinds of sacrifice in the Levitical economy—of atonement and of acknowledgment. The former found their fulfilment and their end in the Lamb of Calvary, and are to be offered no more; but the sacrifice of acknowledgment is perpetual in the Church.
Having clearly demonstrated, in the Epistle to the Romans, that justification could not come by the law, the apostle shows that the Gospel absorbs into itself the sacrificial ideas of the law, spiritualises them, and in their most perfect form re-issues them as the rule for the Church in succeeding ages. “Present,” he says, “your bodies” [Romans 12:1], not your oxen, and sheep, and goats—the one great sacrifice on Calvary hath swept these away for ever. The sacrifice required now is not blood but service, not death but noblest life. “A living sacrifice” refers to the contrast between the death of the victim under the law and the life which is now to be presented to God; and to be consumed not by fire, but in doing God’s will, and in the service of humanity. Just as the Jew brought the body of the dead sheep and laid it on the altar to be consumed, “a whole burnt offering,” so we are invited to bring our living bodies, and present them to God to be consumed in a life of perfect deeds and continual self-denial and devotion. [click to continue…]
oliness is not only a state but a way, and not only a way, but a highway, wherein the redeemed are to walk; and walking along that highway we shall always have Christ at our side.
We get into the highway of holiness by a definite act of consecration and faith, and walk upon that highway by continuous surrender and trust. Christ is the door, and He is the way. Walking with Him, we shall grow more and more unworldly and heavenly-minded, more transformed, more like Christ, until our very faces shall be radiant with Divine glory. As with Moses, who “wist not that the skin of his face shone” [Exodus 34:29-30] with the reflected radiance which it had received when he was in the presence of Jehovah, so from those who walk with God there emanates an unconscious influence which makes the ungodly tremble before them just as Satan in “Paradise Lost,” 1 when he saw the sinless pair in Eden, “trembled to behold how awful goodness is.” [click to continue…]
hose who have read Bunyan’s immortal allegory will remember how he brings his pilgrims, before they crossed the river of death, into the land of Beulah. In that region they were “clear out of sight of Doubting Castle”; the gates of the Celestial City were full in view, the sun shone by night as well as by day. They heard continually the singing of birds, and in their walks they encountered several groups of the shining ones. As they walked to and fro in this goodly land they found it to be “a most pleasant, mountainous country, beautiful with woods, vineyards, fruits of all sorts, flowers also, with springs and fountains, very delectable to behold.” 1 It may seem at first sadly at variance with facts to describe Christian experience on earth in such glowing colours, but there is a high and serene inheritance “common to and for all the pilgrims,” a promised land, towards which we are beckoned, where, as Dean Alford would say, “Materially we are yet in the body, but in the spirit we are already in heaven—only waiting for the redemption of the body to be entirely and literally there.” [click to continue…]
hen all our powers are harmonised, each with each, and all with God, the soul enters upon a condition of undisturbed rest which is beyond the reach of doubt and fear. Among the many characteristics of the spirit-filled life there is none more marked than this feeling of rest which is developed in our personal consciousness. We sing of rest beyond the river, but we must not transport to the other shore the things which God has prepared for those who love Him on this side of the river. “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” [1 Corinthians 2:9]. These words are often quoted as though they had reference to the heavenly world. “But,” says the Apostle, “God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit” [verse 10], indicating clearly that the believer’s heaven on earth is meant, not some experience beyond the grave. “We which have believed do enter into rest” [Hebrews 4:3]. This rest is described in the Epistle to the Hebrews as “God’s rest” (Heb. iii. 11), “My rest” (Heb. iv. 1), “His rest,” “Christ’s rest” (Heb. iv. 10), “a Sabbath rest” (Hebrews iv. 4, 9). In the same Epistle we are taught that…
I. Soul rest implies cessation from our own works.
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atthew Henry says “that when Christ died He left a will, in which He bequeathed His soul to His Father, his body to Joseph of Arimathea, His clothes fell to the soldiers, His mother He gave to John, but to His disciples, who had left all for Him, He left not silver and gold, but something that was infinitely better — His peace.” 1 “My peace I give unto you” [John 14:27]. Elsewhere this peace is described as the peace of God [Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15], because He is its source and origin. It is the peace which Christ had with the Father from the beginning, the peace in the heart of the Eternal, the stillness of eternity entering the spirit, causing a waveless, breathless calm. It lies not in the emotions, nor in the absence of the emotions. It is a peace not springing up in the course of nature, but handed down from heaven, and implanted in the believing soul. [click to continue…]
. H. Spurgeon once wrote as follows: “There is a point of grace as much above the ordinary Christian as the ordinary Christian is above the world.” Of such he says: “Their place is with the eagle in his eyrie, high aloft. They are rejoicing Christians, holy and devout men doing service for the Master all over the world, and everywhere conquerors through Him that loved them.” The experience to which Mr. Spurgeon refers has been described as the higher life, entire sanctification, Christian perfection, perfect love, the rest of faith, and by numerous other names or terms. Modes of expression have been selected by various Christians which have best coincided with their theological views. There may be shades of difference in their import, but, generally speaking, the terms mean one and the same thing. [click to continue…]
The Christian must have a music in his own soul far sweeter than any Siren-song of this delusive world.
he question is often asked, “How are we to keep our converts from lusting for the flesh-pots of Egypt, the leeks, the onions, and garlic of their former life?” [Exodus 16:3; Numbers 11:4-5] There is but one answer, the joy they have in God must surpass all the pleasures of sense. We read in the old myth that the Sirens sang men to death, but died themselves if they failed. When the Argonauts passed by them, Jason ordered Orpheus to strike his lyre. The enchantment of his singing and music surpassed theirs, and the Argonauts sailed safely by; whereupon the Sirens cast themselves into the sea and became transformed into rocks. We cannot make the Sirens fail unless we carry a charm with us greater than theirs. Joy must conquer joy, and music must conquer music; the Christian must have a music in his own soul far sweeter than any Siren-song of this delusive world. [click to continue…]
t is a mistake to suppose that there is any state of grace this side of heaven which puts a Christian where he is exempt from temptation. So long as a soul is on probation, it will be tested by solicitations to sin.
…temptation cannot be inconsistent with holiness, because Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” [click to continue…]
“The history of the Church proves that just in degree as she has come to have the human she has ceased to have faith in the supernatural.”
e do not disparage other kinds of power, but for spiritual work spiritual power is the first and indispensable qualification. Christianity invites and consecrates every gift of God, and every grace and art of which man is capable. Nowhere does human ability find such sublime inspiration and such lofty exercise as in the service of God. All natural gifts are good, when lost in the great purpose of the Gospel, but they are perilous if depended upon instead of the Holy Ghost. The more gifts the better, if all are subsidised and sanctified by the Spirit of God; but, apart from absolute reliance upon Him, gifts may become a peril and a snare. Said the late Mrs. Booth: 1 “The history of the Church proves that just in degree as she has come to have the human she has ceased to have faith in the supernatural.” Paul writes: “Our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Ghost” [1 Thessalonians 1:5]. And again he says: “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and in power” [1 Corinthians 2:4]. If numbers and prestige decline, it is vain to resort to external aids and appliances. The work is spiritual, and only spiritual power can accomplish it. [click to continue…]
s explained in our last chapter, holiness does not bring exemption from temptation. It follows, therefore, that it is always possible for the entirely cleansed soul to sin. Holiness secures the safest possible condition on earth, but absolute security does not belong to this world.
Some assert that the doctrine of entire extirpation of sin from the heart puts the soul beyond real temptation. “There can be no real temptation,” they say, “to a soul which has nothing in its nature responsive to the solicitations of sin.” But such an assumption is much too broad. It renders angels in probation, Adam in Eden, and our Lord Himself, incapable of real temptation. But the fact that some angels fell, that Adam sinned, and that Jesus Christ “was in all points tempted as we are” [Hebrews 4:15], should be sufficient proof that holy souls are capable of temptation. [click to continue…]
An ancient writer wisely said,
There have been from the beginning two orders of Christians. The majority of the one order live a harmless life, doing many good works, abstaining from gross evils, and attending the ordinances of God, but waging no downright earnest warfare against the world, nor making any strenuous efforts for the promotion of Christ’s Kingdom. These aim at no special spiritual excellence, but are content with the average attainments of their neighbours. The other class of Christians not only abstain from every form of vice, but they are zealous of every kind of good works. They attend all the ordinances of God. They use all diligence to attain the whole mind that was in Christ, and to walk in the very footsteps of their beloved Master. They unhesitatingly trample on every pleasure which disqualifies for the highest usefulness. They deny themselves not only indulgences expressly forbidden, but also those which by experience they have found to diminish their enjoyment of God. They take up their cross daily. At the morning’s dawn they pray, “Glorify Thyself in me this day, O blessed Jesus.” It is more than their meat and drink to do their Heavenly Father’s will. They are not Quietists, ever lingering in secret places, delighting in the ecstasies of enraptured devotion; they go forth from the closet, as Moses came down from the mount of God, with faces radiant with the Divine glory, and visiting the degraded and the outcasts they prove by their lives the divineness of the Gospel. [click to continue…]
he reason why many do not apprehend the true nature of the salvation of Jesus Christ is because they do not understand the true nature of sin. Defective views of sin lead to incorrect views of privilege. What we think of the Atonement depends greatly upon our view of the evil which made it necessary.
Without the fullest information about sin, no man can have the fullest information about himself; or, what is still more important, without understanding sin no man can ever understand God and His dealings with us. The man who has felt his guilt most deeply always appreciates most the value of Christ’s redeeming work. Sin has many aspects, but there are two primary forms in which it exists. We can form no adequate conception of its nature, nor of the remedy God has provided, unless we look at it from these two points of view. We must discriminate between guilt and depravity. [click to continue…]
ome writers of advanced Christian experience magnify the will and emphasise the importance of absolute submission, while others urge faith as the condition of blessing. Both are right. Perfect trust cannot exist without complete surrender. Nor can we surrender our will to One whom we cannot trust. Lady Maxwell 1 could pray, “Put a thorn in every enjoyment, a worm in every gourd, that would prevent, or in any measure retard my progress in Divine life.” And when we can say, from our inmost heart, “I am willing to receive what Thou givest, and to want what Thou withholdest, and to relinquish what Thou takest, and to suffer what Thou inflictest, and to be what Thou requirest, and to do what Thou commandest. Have Thine own way with me and mine in all particulars,” we are not far from the Canaan of God’s perfect love. [click to continue…]
ivine forgiveness and the new birth are ever co-existent and inseparable. No man receives the new name of a child of God without at the same time receiving a new nature. He becomes there and then a partaker of the Divine holiness. Condemnation is removed, the culprit is forgiven, and as invariably as day follows night, a sublime change is wrought by the Holy Spirit, creating within the soul a new spiritual life, a life of loyalty and love. [click to continue…]