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AMONGST those whose hearts are awakened by the quickening power of Divine Truth, there are many inquiring doubtfully on the great questions of Sin and Holiness, and on the great questions inseparably connected with them, namely, Atonement and Righteousness before God.
Young hearts are perplexed by doubts as to whạt constitutes a thing lawful or unlawful. Older hearts desire to cast away the fetters of worldly thought and habit, and to walk at liberty in the way of God's commandments; they fear to come short, yet fear hardly less an over-strictness in the eyes of others. They realise that the question of Holiness of heart and life is a question that includes pursuits, amusements, social intercourse, - everything that makes up life. Yet they are not able clearly to trace how to refuse the evil and choose the good, because they do not clearly see the mind and will of God revealed in
our Lord Jesus Christ, and are therefore not able to take their stand in the Atonement, and the Righteousness which is of God by faith.
Such appear to long for the Divine Law to be uttered as of old, in the exactness of The Letter;' not breathed in the Life-giving Grace and Love of the Word by The Spirit of Truth.' But God writes not the Law for His children on tables of stone, with the mandate affixed to each act, 'Thou shalt,' or Thou shalt not.' He reveals His mind and will, His very heart to them, in Jesus Christ. * All things that the Father hath are Mine; therefore said I that He (the Spirit of Truth) shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you.' (John, xvi. 13–15.) 'He will guide you into all truth.' Again, Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are Life.' Through the Word of God, applied by the Spirit of Truth, the Lord and Giver of Life,' the soul is restored-converted to God, the eyes enlightened, and the whole man governed.
This Book is written as TESTIMONY to the • Truth as it is revealed in Jesus Christ,' opened to man in Eden, and perfected in Heaven.
EDEN AND HEAVEN.
WHO CAN BRING A CLEAN THING OUT OF AN UNCLEAN? NOT ONE!'--JOB, XIV. 4.
BEFORE entering on Scenes in Eden, we would face the Question that lies at the door of every Conscience, What is Sin? Holy Scripture contains a plain, direct, and complete reply; with a full revelation of the way of entire deliverance from it. Nowhere else can any answer be found, nor any remedy provided, on which the soul can rest with unshaken confidence. That which speaks with uncertainty, from a finite and limited view, can never bring assurance. It must be the Testimony of an Infinite Mind, taking in the Whole — the Beginning and the Ending – on which alone the soul can rest. "God is Light, and in Him is no Darkness at all.' (1 John, i. 5.) If we are willing, in His Light to see Light (Ps. xxxvi. 9), the most
repulsive subject, and the darkest shadow, will open out into the brightness of Eternal Truth.
There is in our nature this evil called Sin. It is silently confessed when Conscience wakes and warns the soul, and publicly confessed in the public worship of God. Are we satisfied with this occasional sense and public confession of Sin, without any inquiry into its nature and consequences ? Have we asked with the earnestness of those who feel the question of the utmost importance, What is this Sin that dwelleth in me? and how can it be put away?
This question, of infinite importance to every one, is treated by many as though the less it were thought upon the better; as though to forget it would lessen responsibility on account of it. Sin dwells in the heart, and flows on in the life unquestioned ; its right never disputed; until the soul and its sin depart together. Both together are hidden from earthly view; it is taken for granted that all is well with the departed; the question whether the Sin that was in it here has followed it to the World of spirits, is not considered ; no disquietude is felt by those who are left; no solicitude because of their own sinful nature; they seem to expect that in some unknown
before they quit this mortal life, the Sin that they own to will be separated from them, though now they seek no deliverance from its presence and its consequences.
Others appear to feel that by fulfilling every
duty in earthly relationship, by acting from right motives and principles, they do all that they can ; and that any Sin of nature must be left to a merciful God to forgive. But the question returns in its searching inquiry, 'Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? Not one!' If the
nature we inherit be unclean by reason of the Sin that dwelleth in it, unclean in the sight of that God who is 'of purer eyes than to behold evil' (Hab. i. 13), then every duty it fulfils, every motive that guides and every principle that governs it, is shut out for ever from the divine acceptance or recognition ; because the nature itself is sinful and Sin is the one only thing in all the Universe that God accounts ' an evil thing.' 'Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord.' (Jer. ii. 19.) Job, as a man, the most perfect and upright, was given up to the trial of adversity under the teaching of God in the Light of the Divine Presence, until he saw and felt the indwelling Sin of his nature, and was brought to the heartfelt confession, 'I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.' (Job, ii. xlii.) Sin is that evil, wherever it is found and in whatever degree, on which the wrath of God must eternally fasten, God continuing Holy and Sin remaining Sinful, “For our God is a consuming Fire.' (Heb. xii. 29.)
But another fact stands face to face with this evil fact of Sin in our nature; a blessed and glorious