Зображення сторінки

others, is a false teacher. Every doctrine which does not tend to promote individual righteousness and holiness, is false doctrine.

St. Paul, for example, complains of Hymenæus and Philetus, who “concerning the truth had erred, saying that the resurrection was passed already; and overthrown the faith of some. He complains also of false brethren who troubled the Galatians, and perverted the Gospel of Christ ;' taught them that the sacrifice once offered upon the cross was not a full, perfect, and sufficient propitiation for the sins of all men, and would not avail for salvation, unless they were circumcised, and conformed to the law of Moses. St. John, again, warns his disciples against false prophets who had gone out into the world, denying that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh :

i. e. denying that the Son of God had really taken on Himself the nature of




If we try these teachers by their fruits, we plainly that none of them could build up their hearers in that true faith of the Gospel, to which is annexed the promise of eternal life.

To say “that the resurrection is passed already," is to overthrow the basis of our Christian faith : to take from men their hope in the season of trial, and their defence against temptation.

66 Then is our faith vain, and they that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.”

If, as the Judaizing teachers affirmed, rites and ordinances can procure the forgiveness of sins, then is the work of Christ dishonoured, his sacrifice made of none effect : to hold this is to “ fall from grace,” and seek to be “justified by the law.”

And, again, unless we believe Jesus did really “come in the flesh," taking from his human mother the nature of man, there can be no right understanding of the scheme of redemption ; the deliverer from sin bearing its punishment in the nature of the sinner ; “wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities ;" “ the Lord laying on Him the iniquity of all :” that as “in one man, Adam, all died, even so in Christ,” the second Adam, should “all be made alive."

7 Gal. i. 7; iv. 12. 8 1 John iv. 1-3.

6 2 Tim. ii. 17.

9 1 Cor. xv. 14-18.

i Gal. v. 4.

The work of such teachers “would not abide, in the day that shall try every man's work, of what sort it is :'3 it would show its own unsoundness, by the unsoundness of the fruits which grow from it : and every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire. A man does not plant a tree, but for the purpose of obtaining fruit : and if no good fruit appear he loses his labour, and says to the husbandman; “Lo these three years I come to this fig tree, seeking fruit, and find none : Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground ?”. So with the prophets. If their doctrine do not bear the fruits of righteousness, lead to “ those good works which God hath ordained that we should walk in them," it comes from a corrupt stock, not of the Lord's planting ; and though the tree may be suffered for a while to disfigure his earthly vineyard, it can have no place in his everlasting kingdom.

Therefore “ believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they be of God.” Ye shall know them by their fruits. “ For when they speak great words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them that live in error.

Whilst they promise liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption."

[ocr errors]

2 Isa. liii. 5. 3 1 Cor. iii. 13.

6 1 John iv, 1.

4 Luke xiii. 7. 5 Eph. ii. 10. 7 2 Pet. ii. 1, 18, 19.



MATT. vii. 21-23.

21. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the

kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

[ocr errors]

No one shall enter into the kingdom of everlasting glory, who does not say unto Christ, Lord, Lord. Christ is He that liveth, and was dead; and has the keys of hell and of death : and his words are, “Look unto me and be saved, all ye ends of the

For “the Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” “He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath


[ocr errors]

not life.4.


Still, not every one that saith unto Him, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of his Father which is in heaven. For the purpose of coming to Christ, and calling Him Lord, is that we may be brought unto God, and reconciled. And we are brought to God and conciled, not that we may oppose or disobey his will. It was disobedience to his will, that separated men from God at the first, and they must continue alienated as long as they continue disobedient. So that to say unto Christ, Lord, Lord, and not to do the will of his Father, is to contradict the Father's design in sending his Son into the world, and to set aside the purpose of the Son, in making an atonement for lost and sinful man. “He died unto sin,” that we might “live unto righteousness.”

And therefore the first message of i Rev. i. 18.

2 Isa. xlv.

22. 8 John v. 22. 4 1 John v. 12.


the Gospel was, “Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” “ Cease to do evil ; learn to do well.”. “Mortify your members which are upon the earth,” renounce the works of the flesh :" “live after the Spirit,” in righteousness, and godliness, and charity. ** For this is the will of God, even our sanctification ;” and whoever calls upon the Lord Jesus in the spirit of true and genuine faith, must make it the business of his life to fulfil this will : to watch against every departure from it, to seek for higher measures of grace, that he may daily approach nearer to it, and "go on unto perfection.”

But even in the earliest days, we read of those who, like Simon the magician, were more willing to possess christian gifts, than to follow christian practices : who desired the privileges, without the conditions; and spoke of continuing in sin, that grace might abound.” All such have a solemn warning.



22. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not pro

phesied in thy name ? and in thy name have cast out devils ? and in

thy name done many wonderful works? 23. “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you : depart from

me, ye that work iniquity.

We can easily understand how one might prophesy, i. e. preach or teach in the name of Jesus, and yet be none of his; their “hearts going after their covetousness,' even whilst they were outwardly proclaiming the words of righteousness and truth. We know too that the Lord has made use of instruments such as Balaam, who have uttered the words which He has put into their mouth, whilst their hearts were far from Him. But we are startled to hear that men might cast out devils, and do many wonderful works, and yet not be true disciples of Him in whose name they were acting. St. Paul, however, saw no such difficulty :

5 Acts viii. 18. 7 Ezek. xxxiii. 31.

6 Rom. vi. 1.
8 Numb. xxii. 18.

[ocr errors]

for he says, “ Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

19 Therefore the gift of tongues and the gifts of healing might be granted for the special purpose of making

the Gospel known, whilst the hearts of those who exercised these powers had never joined themselves to the Lord Jesus “in a perpetual covenant,” and were yet in an unconverted state. We know, for instance, that Judas was unconverted. Yet there is no reason to suppose that when Jesus sent forth his Apostles to proclaim his coming, He withheld from Judas the powers which

He gave to others.

He said to him as to the rest, “ Heal the sick, cast out devils.' Yet would He say to him at last, I never knew thee.

The true sign of his favour is taught us here. Not outward qualifications, but inward holiness. Not a gifted head, but a tender heart. We admire activity, and energy, and splendid talents : they may be useful, they may even be employed in the service of God, and help to carry out his purposes; yet they may exist without “the spirit of Christ :” and “the spirit of Christ,” manifested by its fruits, is the true test by which his disciples are discerned: neither will He acknowledge those who, pretending to be his, “walk after the flesh,

and are not “turned from their iniquities.”

Indeed this sentence offers a solemn consideration to all who belong to the visible church, and profess and call themselves Christians." We all say unto Christ, Lord, Lord. We bow at the name of Jesus in his name we offer our petitions and claim his mediation. And we do well: for there is no other access to the Father, but by Him. The other part remains, that we do the will of his Father. Otherwise our profession is vain, and " we are yet in our sins."


9 1 Cor. xiii. 2.

1 Ch. x. 8.

2 Rom. viii. 9.

« НазадПродовжити »