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tidings with which it is replete, viz. that the high Priest of our profession hath entered the holiest of all, that he hath entered for us with his own blood, it is then that our souls do indeed revive, that our spirits rejoice, that we unceasingly magnify God our Saviour.
The holy crown too, proclaims to my understanding, more than at any period of my life, I have ever been able to find words to express. Its description is contained in the thirty and thirtyfirst verses of this thirty-ninth chapter. "And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote upon it a writing, like to the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE Lord.
"And they tied unto it a lace of blue, to fasten it on high upon the mitre, as the LORD commanded Moses."
It is observable that this plate, with this engraving, HOLINESS TO THE LORD, was placed upon the head of the high Priest; the engraving, HOLINESS TO THE LORD, was not wrought upon the plate, that contained the names of the tribes; yet it was as effectual, for the head and the breast are connected, and hence it is written, that the head of every man is the holy one of Israel. The high Priest could not enter the holiest of all, without this holy crown, without holiness, no man can see the LORD. God, our God, the God of the whole earth, in thus teaching us, gives us to know that Jesus Christ is the high Priest of our profession, that he is indeed made of God unto us, not only wisdom, and righteousness, but sanctification also. Yet the doctrines and traditions of men, taking place of the doctrines of God our Saviour, with unwarrantable licence, put asunder what God, in those sacred writings, the testimony of which is worthy of all acceptation, hath joined together.
The assembly of divines, in their catechism, speaking of justification, assert that it is an act of God's free grace, that it is perfect, and becomes ours upon believing, because it is the righteousness of Christ. But sanctification is the work of God's spirit upon the heart of the creature, rendering him more like God in himself. Is not this putting asunder what God hath joined together? I do not deny a work of the spirit upon the heart, I believe that the spirit, takes of the things of Jesus, and shows them unto the believer, and I am confident, that the spirit influences the genuine believer, to conform his life, as much as possible, to the rules and directions, so plainly given in sacred writ; but as all creative ex
cellence, while in this imperfect state, must of necessity be imperfect, I am impelled to deny, that this work of the spirit is sanctification, or that holiness, without which no man can see the LORD.
We frequently hear of being sanctified in part, and many a sincere preacher believes this doctrine, sanctification in part, to be a scripture doctrine. Thus I once believed, and I once taught. But from the period when, by the grace of God, I was permitted to turn aside from the traditions and doctrines of men, from the moment when I beheld the figure of the true high Priest, entering into the holiest of all, in his sacerdotal habit, according as the LORD commanded Moses, I have continued steadfast in the faith, constantly believing, that we were accepted in the beloved, as made of God unto us sanctification, and that sanctification in part, was a solicism in language, especially when we attempted the delineation of scripture testimonies.
We are no more sanctified in part, than we are justified in part. In fact our Saviour was, and is, a complete Saviour, made of God unto us, who are in our best estate vanity, prone, constantly prone, to evil; yet the immaculate Redeemer is made of God unto us righteousness, and sanctification.
The people of God were accepted in their high Priest, and, saith the Apostle Paul, Colossians, ii. 10, "Ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."
I say again, the children of Israel were accepted in their high Priest, who was appointed an illustrious figure of the holy one of Israel, they were complete in him; he was exhibited as their holiness; HOLINESS 10 THE LORD was not, I repeat, inscribed upon the breastplate, where the names of the people were engraved, but the intimate union of the head and breast, is my au thority, for declaring that the holiness, without which no man should see the LORD, is found in the head, and hence it cannot be remembered with too much gratitude, that the head of every man, is the holy one of Israel, and that although Israel may be as the sands of the sea for multitude, yet, is this exalted head the holiness of every individual. Nor can the most excellent created being, say unto this glorious head, I, for one, have no need of thee.
Such was the gospel preached unto the people in the law of ceremonies, and those who are taught by the spirit of God, will see
it, and seeing it, will believe it, and believing it, will be saved from all the misery which is consequent upon unbelief.
But the plate and its engraving, was not only placed upon the head of the high Priest, but fastened upon his head with a lace of blue. The same God which directed the figurative plate, directed also that it should be secured upon the head, that the people with lifted eye might always behold that holiness, without which it was impossible they should see God.
Be ye holy as God is holy. Be ye perfect as, as whom? As Moses, as Peter, as John? No, no; but be ye perfect as your Father who is in heaven, is perfect.
Nothing short of the holiness of God, can gain us admittance into that state, where nothing that defileth can enter. Perfection in part, sanctification n part. Nonsense, errant nonsense; perfection in part, sanctification in part can have no existence. Who so offendeth in one point, is guilty of all. When we hear of holy men, without turning with a single eye to the holy one of Israel, when we hear christians describing men as good men, good men even in the sight of God, and yet admitting they have stopped short of perfection, when we compare this testimony with the testimony of that man, that Redeemer, who spake as never man spake, and who pronounces positively, that a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, What can we say to these things? Surely we must acknowledge that the great master was full of grace and truth.
But, why did the Saviour of the world thus teach his disciples? Assuredly that they might turn unto him, in the complicated character which he sustained, and say with the royal prophet, Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none on earth I desire beside thee. Such will indeed be the language of every christian, in every place, and every age; they will count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their LORD; all the righteousness of men, in every age and place is, when viewed as the matter of our justification or sanctification, in the sight of God, nothing, and worse than nothing, it is a rag, a filthy rag. Such was the language of the pupils of the old school, until it was believed, good morals were not sufficiently inculcated, that it w better to lay these doctrines aside as obsolete, or at least to relax in our tenacious adherence to these antiquated testimonies; it savoured too much of bigotry, to be thus wedded to a sentiment.
When we say the scriptures declare thus, and so, this is agreeable to the testimony of Moses: thus spake God by his prophets, thus saith the Redeemer of the world, and thus, and thus, declared the apostles of our Lord; a company of weeders start up, to oppose us, "It is necessary," say they," to weed this same Bible; it is an old book, and may contain some good things, but we have been long enough schooled with these old sayings, we should dare to think for ourselves. The men who wrote the scriptures were perhaps well meaning, well disposed men, and we ought to have charity for them; but they were but men, and we are men, and we will not give up our reason to any of them. We will judge for ourselves, we will act as becomes reasonable creatures. This is a day of light and liberty; must we be always children? The writers of what you call divine Revelation, have written as they felt, they were true to their own judgment, and so were those who came after them; and they were wise enough to say, let every one be persuaded in their own minds."
But I must be excused for believing the Bible to be the word of God, written by the pen of inspiration, by men under the especial influence of Deity, and while I thus think these sacred oracles must continue to be my standard, and I must say to every system maker, to the law, and to the testimony, if you speak not according to the things written in the book, it is because there is no light in you. I do not set about weeding the Bible, it is highly acceptable to me, precisely as it stands, my understanding does not object to a single passage which it contains, my method is to explain passages by corresponding, or explanatory passages, and thus is my comment as infallible as my text, and when I have not a perfect comprehension, still I do not object, I take refuge in an unwavering assurance, that the testimonies all consist in the character of Christ Jesus, and that his words, all his words are full of grace and truth.
I do not deny that every man should be persuaded in his own mind, and so, blessed be God, are they who take, and hold fast the testimony of divine truth, as the form of sound words.
Yes, we should be in the exercise of charity, and while in the exercise of charity, we should not deal damnation round the land, to all we judge the foes of God.
I acknowledge that every man has an unalienable right to think for himself, he who differs from me, may be as meritorious, and
perhaps abundantly more so than I, myself am. Yet I will not, in complaisance to any man, relinquish my own faith, my own reason; I will endeavour to hold fast the profession of my faith, without wavering, and I will be ready on all occasions to render unto every one that asketh me, a reason of the hope that is in me, with meekness and fear. But I would say, Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity.
It is the wish of the christian, to do unto others at all times and upon all occasions, as he is desirous that others should do unto him but, alas! in this and in every thing else, we all, in many things offend; so that we are constantly necessitated to turn to our strong hold, and as we have received the LORD Jesus, so to walk in him.
But to return to the tabernacle; we have seen the holy crown, and its engraving; the lace of blue by which it was fastened to the mitre, we have seen the whole bound upon the forefront of the head of the high Priest. We have seen why it was thus, and if we consult our luminous commentator, the apostle Paul, we shall hear him affirm, Hebrews, vi,
"When God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he swore by himself,
"Saying, surely blessing, I will bless thee, and multiplying, I will multiply thee.
"That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us.
"Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast; and which entereth into that within the veil.
"Whether the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus made an high Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec."
Is it not a blessed consideration, that what the Redeemer was, when this epistle was written, he now is, and will continue to be, worlds without end? For he was made a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. And what, and who is Melchisedec? The same yesterday, to day and forever; he was King of Salem, and Priest of the most high God, without beginning of days, or end of time; his name, by interpretation is King of righteousnes, King of Salem, King of peace.
Without father, without mother, without descent, but made like unto the son of God, abiding a Priest continually.