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CHAPTER VIII.

FURTHER ILLUSTRATION OF THE FIXED AND NECESSARY CHARACTER OF SALVATION AS DETERMINING THE NATURE OF THE ATONEMENT AND THE FORM OF THE GRACE OF GOD TO MAN.

I HAVE said that the character of the Mosaic institutions, as commented upon in the Epistle to the Hebrews, ought to have saved us from the direct connecting of the atonement with the subject of rewards and punishments, and more especially from that direct connecting of forgiveness through the blood of Christ with exemption from punishment which has so prevailed, seeing that the blood of the victim was intended to purify and cleanse for participation in worship. In this light as to the relation of the sacrifice to worship, and seeing the worship typified to be that worship which is sonship, we see how perfectly that which our Lord taught in saying, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me"--meaning to fix the attention of His disciples on what He Himself was in their sight, as the revealer of the Father by the manifested life of sonship,--accords with the elements of confidence in drawing near to God, which the Apostle enumerates in exhorting men to "draw near in the full assurance of faith, having their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and their bodies washed with pure water." That our Lord and the Apostle must have contemplated the same thing as the due and accepted worship we cannot doubt. But it is only when we understand, that the shedding of the blood of Christ had direct reference to our relation to God as the Father of our spirits, and to the opening of a way in which we as 192 rebellious children can return to the bosom of the Father's love, according to the truth of what the Father is, and what sonship is, that we see that, "having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say His flesh, and having an High Priest over the house of God," is the same thing with the Son of God being to us a living way to the Father.

The doctrinal form of thought which the language of the Apostle presents, would probably have been more difficult of apprehension to the disciples, who had yet to learn that "it behoved Christ first to suffer and afterwards to enter into His glory," than even their Lord's language as to their own favoured position as the chosen companions of the path of Him who could say, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." Yet, afterwards, they could look back and see the identity of what they subsequently learned, with what had been presented to their faith in their personal acquaintance with Christ. These disciples, indeed, knew not then the form which the work of redemption must take in being perfected, but they had received under the Lord's personal ministry that spiritual teaching, for the want of which, no familiarity with the full record of the finished work of Christ can compensate, and in the absence of which, our study of that record never is safe; for already they were fit subjects for that high testimony from their Lord, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world;" they had received the Son as coming to them in the Father's name, and that was quickened in them which was according to the truth of our relation to God as the Father of our spirits. Their attraction to their Master was, that they felt that He "had the words of eternal life;"--their cry 193 was, "Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us;" and so, when the true worship, of which their temple service had been a type, was subsequently clearly revealed to them as that worship which is sonship, and when they learned distinctly to contemplate the heart of the Father as the Holy of Holies, they were prepared to know the Son of God as both the sacrifice and the High Priest.

This unity of their recollections of the Lord as they knew Him so nearly, with the light that afterwards shone to them in His blood shed for the remission of sins, and in His relation to them as the High Priest over the house of God, is illustrated to us by that opening of the first Epistle of John which has already engaged our attention. The fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, which the Apostle had entered into in receiving the knowledge of eternal life, we have already noticed. This divine fellowship he proceeds at the 5th verse to speak of as calling Him to declare to men as the divine message--the Gospel--"that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." This statement in the connexion in which it is made has clearly the same fixedness of character, as respects the terms of grace and the way of salvation, which we have seen in the Saviour's own words, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." For, he adds, "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another." This is, indeed, but the same spiritual law or necessity elsewhere declared in the words, "there is no communion between light and darkness." But the experimental character of the. Apostle's language as used by one claiming to have the fellowship with God of which he speaks--fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus

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Christ, claiming through knowledge of Christ both to know that God is light, and to be walking in that light, and making His own experience in this spiritual region known to us with the purpose and hope of our coming into the fellowship of it, and so being saved;--this brings the truth that "there is no communion between light and darkness"--very near to us--very home to us: the felt unity of what the disciples came to know, when they came to understand that 'it behoved Christ to suffer, and afterwards to enter into His glory,' with what had been presented to their faith in the life of Christ, and what their Lord had commended to them as the light of life when He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me," coming fully out in the words which follow, ''If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." Not surely--what I fear these words too often suggest--a cleansing having reference to our exposure to the punishment of sin, but a cleansing having reference to the pollution of sin itself. Not, therefore, a cleansing spoken of in a legal sense, and as something over and above the spiritual cleansing implied in walking in the light of God and having fellowship with God, but a cleansing having effect in that fellowship, and which is referred to as explaining that fellowship, explaining how it comes to pass in a way that gives the glory of that fellowship to the blood of Christ in which such cleansing power is found. For we cannot doubt that the power to cleanse which here the words, "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth from all sin," declare, is the same that is contemplated where it is said, "If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how 195 much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" To say that the blood of Christ "cleanseth us from all sin," and to say that it "purges the conscience from dead works, to serve the living God," are but different ways of declaring the spiritual power of the atonement when apprehended by faith,--asserting its fitness for being partaken in by us as the mind of Christ in relation to our sin. And so the words are added in relation to our own participation in Christ's expiatory confession of our sin, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

So he proceeds to speak of Christ as our advocate with the Father, and the propitiation for our sins: "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not," for he has been shutting them up to a salvation which is walking in the light of God, and is fellowship with God. And, that they may feel the reasonableness of proposing to them "that they sin not," he reminds them that "if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;" and that "He is the propitiation for our sins." Of course, if any man sin and then find comfort in remembering that he has an advocate with the Father, this implies, that with the thought of that advocate will rise the thought of the pardon of sin; but it is clear that the pardon of sin is here rather implied than expressed, for the value and use of the advocate directly contemplated is His value to those who are called "not to sin;" therefore is the "righteousness" of the advocate that on which attention is fixed: for He is made of God unto us righteousness, and righteousness is in Him for us as 196 the sap is in the vine for the branch. On the ground of the sap that is in the vine, therefore, are the branches here exhorted to bear fruit; which also determines the light in which the Saviour is contemplated when it is added, "He is the propitiation for our sins;" and that this is spoken in direct reference to Christ's righteousness, and the fitness of that righteousness to meet the need of the sinner as being deliverance from sin. In other words, Christ is the propitiation for our sins as He is the way into the holiest,--the living way to the Father.

And He is the propitiation: for propitiation is not a thing which He has accomplished and on which we are thrown back as on a past fact. He is the propitiation. Propitiation for us sinners,--reconciliation to God,--oneness with God abides in Christ. When we sin, and so separate ourselves from God, if we would return and not continue in sin we must remember this. For it is in this view that the Apostle, writing to us "that we sin not," reminds us of the propitiation--not a work of Christ, but the living Christ Himself; and so he proceeds--"Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments;" the direct effect of knowing Christ the propitiation for sin being keeping Christ's commandments. And because of the power to keep Christ's commandments, which is ours in Christ as the propitiation for our sins, the Apostle, in words similar to those which he had just used with reference to the claim to fellowship with God who is light, adds, "He that saith I know Him," that is Christ the propitiation for our sins, "and keepeth not His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected,"--the end of this gift of love accomplished. "Hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he

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abideth in Him ought himself also to walk even as He walked."

We need not then be uncertain what the reference is in which the "righteousness" of the Advocate with the Father is here contemplated, or doubt that, by abiding in Christ is here meant, that abiding in which the branch receives the sap of the vine, that it may bear fruit. And yet I know that this directness of relation between knowing Christ as the propitiation for our sins, and walking as He walked, some may deny, and that, retaining that meaning for the word "propitiation" which the conception of an atonement as substituted penal suffering has given to it, it may be said that it is as a motive to gratitude, because of the deliverance from punishment through the sufferings of Christ, that a moral power is here ascribed to Christ's being the propitiation for our sins. The impression of directness in this matter, that is, of direct dealing with sin itself as the evil, and of recognition of Christ as the deliverer from sin, which not only the verses I have quoted, but the whole Epistle gives, is, however, so strong that I cannot but hope that, in spite of associations of old standing, I may not in vain have directed the reader's attention to it.

And, with a similar hope, though with the same knowledge that deep-rooted associations stand in the way, I would now take the reader to a parallel passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews. I refer to the 2nd chapter, verses 17, 18, "Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted. He is able to succour them that are tempted." To succour us when we are tempted, is 198 manifestly to do for us that very service which I have just represented the Apostle John as leading those to whom he writes "that they sin not," to expect from that righteous advocate with the Father, who is the propitiation for our sins. For this service of love, Christ is here represented as fitted, in that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted--as there by being righteous. Both thoughts are combined when it is said, that "He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin." Now, going back from the 18th verse to the 17th (the 18th, "For," &c., being given as the justification of the comfort offered in the 17th), it is clear, that "making reconciliation for the sins of the people," is the same thing with "succouring us when we are tempted,"— in other words, is a dealing with our spirits as worshipping God--calling Him Father, in a way of merciful and faithful aid, such as the High Priest, who is related to us according to the power of an endless life--the Son of God, in whom we have eternal life,--has been qualified for ministering to us through having "been made in all things like unto His brethren."

I know that this view of making reconciliation for our sins as being the ministering to us a present help, according to our spiritual need,--enabling us to be at peace with God spiritually, and therefore, truly,--enabling us to worship God, who is a spirit, in spirit and in truth--is not that usually taken. And that thus to interpret Christ's making reconciliation by the reference made to His experience of our conditions as what has qualified Him for this office of an High Priest, is as great a departure from prevailing associations with the sacred language, as there is in the view just taken of what is taught when Christ is said to be the propitiation for our sins. Yet there is no case in which there is to my mind a more painful illustration of the 199 power of system, than in the way in which the 18th verse has seemed to have been lost sight of in fixing the meaning of the 17th, and in which, indeed, I may say the tone of the 17th itself, as a whole, has been misunderstood.

If the interpretation of the expressions, "propitiation" and "reconciliation," now adopted in harmony with the view taken of the nature of the atonement, commends itself to the reader, he will be prepared to receive a corresponding interpretation of the expression "peace," as applied to Christ, when He is said to be "our peace,"--making it equivalent to His claim to being the only "way to the Father." Eph. 2:14.

In the teaching by which the Saviour comforted the disciples in the near prospect of His being taken from them, we find Him, in words referred to already, encouraging them by the prospect of passing through the trials that awaited them in the fellowship of the inward consolation by which they had seen their Lord Himself sustained in all they had seen Him pass through. "Peace," says He, "I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." That He could speak to them of His own peace, has been already noticed, as a part of the perfection of His witnessing for the Father. That He could promise to them the fellowship of that peace which He thus claims as His own, has been also already noticed as one of the forms in which He made them to know that the life of sonship which they witnessed in Him, was in Him the Father's gift to them. If they were to be sons of God in spirit and in truth, the peace of the Son in following the Father as a dear child, would be their portion also. Further, as they were to live the life of sonship, not as independent beings, following the example of the Son of God, but as abiding in the Son of God, as branches in the true 200 vine, this peace which He bequeathed to them they were not to have apart from Himself. In abiding in Him were they to have it as a part of the fulness that was in Him for them--a part of the all things pertaining to life and to godliness. ''In me ye shall have peace." Thus are we to understand the word ''peace" in the promises of the Lord to the disciples before His departure; thus are we to understand it when, on those occasions on which He appeared to them between His resurrection and ascension, still further to comfort their hearts and to strengthen them for what was before them, He stood in the midst of them and said, "Peace be unto you; as the Father hath sent me, even so send I you." Doubtless, thus also are we to understand the ''peace" intended in the apostolic prayer and benediction, "Grace be unto you, and peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." Nor has the word any other meaning than this in the song of the heavenly host at the nativity, ''Glory to God in the highest; on earth peace, and good-will toward men." Now the reader is prepared to understand that in accordance with the nature of the atonement as now represented, it is the same peace, the peace of sonship, the peace that is "from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ;" being peace "in fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ,"--it is this same peace that I understand to be the peace spoken of when it is said that Christ "is our peace."

The parallelism of the 2nd chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, with the portion of the 10th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, considered above, is obvious. The language of the temple service is not so closely adhered to, nor is salvation so exclusively contemplated as the condition of true and accepted worship; for with the idea of "a holy temple," is united 201 that of "citizenship," and a "household,'' verses 19, 20, 21, 22; but the summing up of the evil of the state in which the gospel had found the Ephesians, in the words "without God in the world," verse 12--the setting forth, as the grace revealed to them, their being "made nigh by the blood of Christ"--the purpose ascribed to Christ, to reconcile us to God, by slaying the enmity,--all express the same conception of the evil of man's state as a sinner as consisting in his spiritual distance from God, and of the salvation revealed in the gospel as consisting in spiritual nearness to God. In this connexion the peace which Christ is said to be, and which is said to be preached to men, can only be understood to be a spiritual peace with God--a spiritual destruction of the previous enmity--a spiritual reality present in the humanity of Christ, and proclaimed to men as the gift of God to them in Christ,--one with the way into the holiest, which He has opened up for us,--the way to the Father, which He is to us. And this spiritual conception of the peace spoken of, suggested by the tone of the whole passage as what alone accords with the spiritual realities of distance from God and nearness to God, is sealed to us as the true conception by the explanatory words of the 18th verse. "For through Him we both have access by one spirit unto the Father." "For," that is to say, because of this condition of things, viz., our having, both Jew and Gentile, through Christ, access by one spirit unto the Father,--therefore, is peace preached to us, for in this is peace for us.

Looking more closely into the passage, there is a complication foreign to our present purpose introduced by the mention of Jew and Gentile. This has arisen from its being an Epistle to Gentiles. But we see that the Apostle is taking us deeper than the distinction 202 between Jew and Gentile. He is taking us down to our common humanity, and presenting to our faith the Son of God by one work doing away with the separation between Jew and Gentile, and reconciling both Jew and Gentile--all humanity--unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby. Paul says to the Galatians, "We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." So here he takes the Ephesians to the contemplation of that dealing of the Son with the Father on behalf of all humanity, in which Jew and Gentile were alike interested, and in which they must alike see their interest if they would see the veil rent that separated them from each other, and separated them from God; for, indeed, the veil is one and the same that separates man from God, and that separates man from man.

I will not anticipate that tracing of the atonement in connexion with the actual history of our Lord's work to its close on the cross which I contemplate, and by which, I hope, the view I am presenting of the nature of the atonement will be felt to be illustrated and confirmed. In no view of the atonement can the crucifixion be separated from the previous life of which it was the close. Yet, it is only the view now taken that identifies the peace to which our Lord was conscious throughout His own life on earth, and which He promised to His disciples, with the peace which He fully accomplished and vindicated for humanity in that death on the cross, which was the perfecting of the Lord's work of redemption, the perfected fulfilling of the 203 purpose, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God," the perfecting of His declaration of the Father's name. But the gospel does not proclaim two manners of peace with God: one legal, the result of Christ's bearing the penalty of our sins; the other spiritual, to be known in our participation in Christ's spirit. That oneness of mind with the Father in the aspect of the divine mind towards man, which was fully developed and perfected in humanity in the Son of God when His confession of the Father before men, and His dealing with the Father on behalf of men, were perfected on the cross,--this was that divine and spiritual peace for man in His relation to God, which is to be contemplated, first, as in its own nature and essence spiritual; and then, because spiritual, also legal,--a perfect answer to all the demands of the law of God,--a perfect justification of God in regard to the grace in which we stand.

And thus was the atonement adequate to whatever victory of Christ on our behalf is implied in His leading our captivity captive, when "through death destroying him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and delivering them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage," Hebrews 2:14, 15. The power of evil adverse to us to which this language refers we imperfectly understand. Definite conceptions of the manner of our bondage we have not beyond this, that ''the strength of sin was the law.'' But, if the honour regarded as done to the law by the death of Christ conceived of as implying the enduring of penal infliction for our sins, have seemed a sufficient explanation of the power thus ascribed to Christ's cross, how infinitely more adequate to the results accomplished, because infinitely more honouring to the law of God, and a real living dealing with that in the heart of the Father of spirits to which the law refers, is the moral 204 and spiritual atonement of which the cross was the perfecting! Christ said to Pilate, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above;" and this we know of all subordinate power, wherever present, for "power belongeth to God alone." Therefore has the power ascribed to the accuser of the brethren--our adversary the devil--been always, and rightly regarded, as what could only rest upon the fixedness of that moral constitution of things of which the law is the formal expression, and our rebellion against which had given him advantage over us. But the root of that constitution of things is the Fatherliness of the Father of our spirits: nothing, therefore, could truly honour that constitution which did not do due honour to that Fatherliness in which it has its root; while that Fatherliness being duly honoured, the law must of necessity have been therein honoured, and with the highest honour.

While, therefore, that formal literal meeting of the demands of the law which men have seen in Christ has been to them the spoiling of the power of the devil, because it was a meeting of the law seen simply as the law; in the light in which we are now contemplating the work of redemption, it is the Son's dealing in humanity directly with the Fatherliness that is in God--and so dealing with the violation of the law in relation to the ultimate desire of the heart of the Father, who gave the law--by which we see ourselves, who were under the law, redeemed, that we might receive the adoption of sons; this true doing of the Father's will by the Son, and not a mere literal fulfilling of the law, being the spiritual might by which our captivity is seen to be led captive.

This deliverance wrought out for all humanity,--the peace accomplished on the cross,--is, in respect of 205 its being first spiritual, and then, as a consequence, legal, in striking accordance with the order that is observed in our individual participation in it. "Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John v. 24.

But to this order men do not easily conform. There is a state of mind in which it will be asked, "If the relation of the atonement to our participation in the life of Christ be thus direct and immediate,--if it be such as necessitates our giving a moral, a spiritual meaning, as distinguished from a mere legal meaning, to the expressions, 'peace with God,' 'reconciliation with God,' 'propitiation for sin,'--if the immediate and only natural reflection in seeing the pardon of our sins as the gospel reveals it, be, that we are free to draw near to God, to join in the services of the true sanctuary, and in the spirit of sonship to have communion with our heavenly Father,--if Christ's suffering for us, the just for the unjust, thus simply suggest the purpose of bringing us to God,--then is the gospel to us sinners the good news which it claims to be? The wrath of God has been revealed against all unrighteousness of men; we are sinners under condemnation,--our first need is pardon, as a discharge from the sentence upon us. Granting that our true well-being is to be ultimately found in peace and reconciliation in the spiritual sense of the words, have we not at first need of peace and reconciliation in a legal sense? Our fears of wrath may not be holy feelings, or what pertain to the divine life in man; but are they not natural, allowable, nay, right feelings in us sinners? And if they are, are they not to be taken account of and must not this be done in the first place?"

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I have said above, that what of severity is in the moral governor of the universe, has its root in the heart of the Father of spirits. We cannot, therefore, believe in an atonement that satisfies the heart of the Father,--we cannot believe in blood shed for the remission of our sins, which has power to purge our spirits for that worship which is sonship,--and yet be uncertain whether, partaking in the fruit of such an atonement, and joining in this worship, we are still exposed to the righteous wrath of God. If an atonement be adequate morally and spiritually, it will of necessity be legally adequate. If it be sufficient in relation to our receiving the adoption of sons, it must be sufficient for our redemption as under the law. To think otherwise would be to subordinate the gospel to the law, and the love of the Father of spirits to His offspring to that moral government which has its origin in that love. We are not under the law, but under grace. Let us receive this gracious constitution of things in the light of the love that has ordained it. Let us understand that He was made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Let us conform to this purpose of God,--let us receive the righteousness of God in Christ, and be the righteousness of God in Him,--let us be reconciled to God, and we shall find all questions as to our exposure to the wrath of God to have been fully taken into account in that divine counsel which we have welcomed, for we shall understand the experience of the Apostle,--"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world." Surely Philip was right when he said, "Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." Surely we do not know to what we are listening when we are listening to the testimony of God concerning

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His Son, viz., that ''God has given to us eternal life, and that this life is in His Son," if we can answer, "But if we receive this life to be our life, will that be enough for us; shall we not need something besides, to save us from the wrath to come?" Oh, my brother, "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." If you are "reconciled to God by the death of His Son," how shall you not be "saved from wrath through Him?" It is, indeed, unbelievable--no man can believe--that receiving Christ as our life, we can feel that His blood does indeed cleanse from all sin, in relation to that worship of God which is in spirit and in truth; but that we cannot feel secure as engaged in this worship, unless that blood of Christ, under the power of which our spirits have come by faith, speak to our consciences of penal sufferings, endured for us, and so assure us that the law has no claim against us.

But the difficulty felt is not that of persons seeing the subject from this point of view. One once said to me, when urging on him the evidence for the universality of the atonement, in opposition to his own faith of an atonement for an election only,--"Were I to believe that Christ died for all, it would destroy the peace which I have in the faith of the atonement, for this is my peace,--He suffered, therefore I shall not suffer." This was the same idea which we have seen urged on Arminians by Dr. Owen, in that dilemma which appears unanswerable, on the assumption that the atonement was the enduring of penal suffering by Christ as our substitute. Yet, however inconsistently, and though not in the strong form,--"He suffered, therefore I shall not suffer,"--many feel as if they were less obnoxious to suffering, because of the penal suffering which they assume to have been endured by Christ, even when their faith in the universality of the 208 atonement necessarily qualifies their comfort from this source. I do not now recur to the inconsistency which Dr. Owen has so well exposed, but will deal directly with the state of mind which desires, if it does not quite venture to cherish, the peace of saying, "He suffered, therefore I shall not suffer."

This state of mind only exists through not seeing our relation to God as a moral governor, in its true subordination to our relation to Him as the Father of our spirits. I have asked, "Can the moral governor remain unsatisfied if the Father of spirits is satisfied?" The converse of this question is, "Can the moral governor be satisfied while the Father of spirits is not?" To suppose that peace can ever be justifiable on the ground, "He suffered, therefore I shall not suffer," is to answer this question in the affirmative,--it is to suppose that when Christ suffered, the just for the unjust, the direct end was that the unjust should not suffer. Now, we cannot doubt the pain which the exposure of the unjust to suffering was to God, or the desire of His heart to save them from suffering; but we must not forget that the original reason for connecting sin and misery still continued,--that that connexion was not arbitrary,--that the wrath of God revealed against all unrighteousness of men was not a feeling that has passed, or could pass away,--no revelation of the unchanging God could. Therefore, when the just suffered for the unjust, it was with the direct purpose of bringing the unjust to God,--that is, bringing the unjust to the obedience of the just, leaving the connexion between suffering and injustice, or sin, undissolved, the righteousness of that connexion being unchanged.

Here we are met by another necessity, corresponding to that already dwelt on as declared in the words, "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." But 209 how could it be otherwise? If departure from the Father be the ultimate root evil, which it was righteousness--the righteousness of love--to visit with wrath, how should deliverance from wrath be experienced otherwise than in returning to the Father, or mercy to those who had departed, take any other form than opening for them the way of return?

I have said that the atonement reconciles us to the spiritual necessities, the laws of the kingdom of God which it reveals. We should in our darkness be willing to lose the Father in the moral governor, if we could think of the moral governor in a way that would permit to us the feeling of security under His government; and all the demand that we should make on the fatherliness of the Father of our spirits, would be for such mercy as would qualify His moral government and modify it in accommodation to what we feel ourselves to be. But in the light of the atonement which reveals the Father to us in the Son, we bless God that not our wishes in our darkness, but God's own fatherliness and our capacity of sonship have determined the nature of the grace extended to us. Nor would we now desire to see one terror that is connected with sin separated from it, or one token of the divine displeasure against it withdrawn. For Christ's sufferings have revealed to us the nature, and the depth, and the righteousness of God's wrath against sin,--what our sins are to His heart, and what that mind in relation to sin is to which it is His sole desire in the matter to bring us, and which mind is His gift to us in Christ, in whom it is revealed. Therefore, the pardon of sin in any other sense than the revealing, and the opening to us of the path of life, is now to us as undesirable as, in relation to the moral government of the Father of spirits, it is inconceivable.

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To some whose serious thoughts are occupied with the punishment of sin as an object of terror, rather than with the sin itself on which it is God's mark, this tone may seem high, and, it may be, even presumptuous, and in relation to themselves, unfeeling; more like the self-congratulation of the pharisee, than the humility of the publican, and sounding like self-righteousness, however it may be but that "giving of thanks at the remembrance of God's holiness" of which the psalmist speaks. Others again, entirely occupied with their own newly-discovered and dimly-apprehended exposure to divine wrath, will not venture to judge those on whom they look as more in the light of God than themselves, or to doubt that their professed sympathy in the mind of God towards sin, may be genuine, and consistent with humility, but they are still disposed to say, "Shew us something more suited to our present position, some ground of safety to rest upon--to trust to at once; and then teach us to worship, and direct us to the provision for doing so in spirit and in truth; for doubtless such worship belongs to Christianity."

As to the first of these states of mind, the misconstruction of confounding the righteousness of faith with self-righteousness, is not strange to those who are the subjects of it; nor, as to the second, is the temptation to seek a ground of peace in relation to God's law,--thinking only of the lawgiver, and not thinking of the Father of spirits, what any one can have difficulty in understanding, who knows how much religious earnestness exists which has no deeper root than the sense of our dependence on God as our sovereign Lord, the judge of all the earth. But whether judging the spirits of those who preach the true gospel of peace to them, or withholding from judging, the feeling of awakened sinners "that the ground taken is too high for them," 211 is altogether a misconception on their part. We beseech men by the meekness and gentleness of Christ; we are ambassadors for Him who would not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax: but our word, the word which He has put into our mouth is, "Be ye reconciled to God." Is this a hard saying, too high a demand to make on the awakened, self-condemned spirit? It is not made but in connexion with that which God has done to make such a demand reasonable,--yea hopeful, as addressed to the chief of sinners, viz. the peace for man in his relation to God which is in the blood of Christ: but in connexion with this prepared and revealed peace it is made, and we may not change or modify this demand, or in any way accommodate ourselves to a state of mind in which alienation from God is not felt to be the great, the all-embracing evil of our state as sinners, and reconciliation to God the very first dawn of light, and breathing of the breath of a new life.

So that however awful our sense of all secondary evils that come in the train of men's alienation, or high our conception of the secondary good that will follow on their being reconciled to God, we must forbid all direct dealing with wrath and judgment as if these might be first disposed of, and then attention turned to other considerations. We have here to do with PERSONS,--the Father of spirits and His offspring. These are to each other more than all things and all circumstances. We know that the desire of the Father's heart is toward His offspring,--that it goes forth to them directly,--that it is not a simple mercy pitying their misery,--that it seeks to possess them as dear children. We know that to be restored to Him, and to possess Him as their Father, is to these alienated children themselves not merely a great thing, but every

14--2 212 thing. He, the Father, has done all towards their reconciliation in perfect fatherliness, and all the provisions of His love have been dictated, and have had their character determined by His fatherliness. They therefore must hear nothing, be occupied with nothing, but what pertains to their charter as His offspring. They must see His grace as that outcoming of fatherliness which it is,--they must see its provisions for them as what belong to the adoption of sons which He contemplates for them. And so they must hear the call addressed to them in the words, "Be ye reconciled to God," as not only a reasonable call in respect of the grace manifested, but as, indeed, the gracious invitation to the benefit of that grace,--as equivalent to, "Be saved, receive salvation." As to wrath--terror--these they have not directly to do with; they are to think of them as connected with the region of distance from God, of alienation from God, back from which they are called:--they will cease as to them in their being reconciled to God. They belong to that which is without: but the invitation to be reconciled to God is the invitation to return and enter into their Father's house, into their Father's heart. This is what is put before them, freely, unconditionally. Does the word "unconditionally" cause difficulty? Is it said--"Is not to be reconciled to comply with a condition?" Yes, such a condition as drinking of the water of life is in relation to living. Not in any other sense a condition,--not assuredly as giving the right to drink, for that is the grace revealed, the grace wherein we stand. But as to wrath, and safety from wrath, if questions arise, it is a proof that what is presented is not understood. "He that believeth shall not come into condemnation, but hath passed from death unto life."

The peace-speaking power of the blood of Christ 213 is to be conceived of as a direct power on the spirit in its personal relation to the Father of spirits, revealing at once the heart of the Father, and the way into the heart of the Father, even the Son. The blood that reveals this much imparts peace, makes perfect as pertains to the conscience,--yea, purges it from dead works to serve the living God. Indeed, that the relation of that blood to God's law, and the honour it rendered to that law, have had, as we have seen, a direct reference to our receiving the adoption of sons, implies that it has not come directly between man and judgment, or taken him, by the fact of its being shed, from beneath the righteous rule of God; and, therefore, that it ministers no peace, being rejected--but, on the contrary, only a fearful looking for of judgment, so assuredly giving no place for the direct confidence, "He suffered, therefore I shall not suffer."

But, apart from the fact that the shedding of the blood of Christ had its direct reference to the perfecting of the conscience, and the reconciling us to God truly and spiritually as the Father of our spirits, is not the idea of a direct immunity from judgment, the idea of a ground of peace in the thought of judgment which may be contemplated by us as ours, so to speak, antecedent to our being reconciled,--a legal reconciliation to be rested on antecedent to a spiritual reconciliation,--inconsistent with giving our alienation from God its true place as the great evil and what must be directly dealt with?--And is there not, however terrible the thought, yet is there not in the very sense of gratitude for the mercy which is believed to be in such a direct deliverance from wrath to come, a source of delusion as to our true interest, our true well-being? Does it not tend to confirm in us the tendency to lose the Father of our spirits in the moral governor, and so to misunderstand, 214 as in that case we must do, the ends of His moral government? Does it not tend to smother in us the cry of the orphan spirit for its long lost Father? Does it not take from God the attribute that life lies in His favour,--making Him important to us because of what He has to bestow, and not because of what He feels towards us viewed in itself, and as the feeling of the Father to His offspring?

Nor is there any room for feeling as if some lower ground should be taken at first, and in tenderness to newly-awakened sinners. We cannot too soon present the Father to them. We cannot too soon lay their weakness on the everlasting arms of the Eternal Love. To furnish them, in accommodation to their darkness, with any ground of confidence towards God, other than what the Son has revealed as the heart of the Father, would be to seal them in that darkness, and to counter act the end of that revelation. No doubt the words, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me," which reveal that fixed constitution of things to which our vague hope of salvation must conform, or cease, were spoken to the chosen companions of our Lord's path, and towards the close of His personal ministry, but they express the manner of Gospel which had breathed from His life all along. And so these gracious words to all the "weary and heavy laden"--"Come unto me, and I will give you rest," are both spoken in immediate reference to what He had just declared, "No man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal Him,"--clearly teaching that the promised rest would be found in knowledge of the Father; and, more, are followed by the clear intimation that in their participation of Himself as their life, participating in what He was, was the Son to be to men the channel of this rest-giving knowledge of the Father

215

--"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

The nature of that hope which was in God for man, and which the atonement has brought within the reach of our spirits, has indeed been necessarily determined by our ultimate and primary relation to God as the Father of our spirits. And we must take all our preconceptions to this light, and more especially those thoughts of God as the moral governor of the universe, in which the divine fatherliness has been left out of account, and to which is to be referred men's listening to the gospel simply as those who were under the law, and not as God's offspring. When the Apostle argues, Gal. 3:17, that "the covenant which was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul," he deals with the legalism with which he was contending on a principle which may guide us here. If we recognise in the words, "by the deeds of the law shall no flesh living be justified," a reference to that universal law under which all men are, and in relation to which God has concluded both Jew and Gentile alike as all under sin; if we take this universal ground in teaching justification by faith, then must we in vindicating the superiority of the gospel ascend to our original relation to the Father of our spirits, whose law it is that we have broken, and see that gospel in the Father's heart--that promise for man--that hope abiding for man in God--which the law could not disannul. Is it not thus that we are to understand the Apostle Peter when in the full light of redeeming love he says, "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator"? We are justified in the ground we take in 216 teaching justification by faith, only because in faith the hope which remained in God for man is apprehended, and, being apprehended, becomes in man a living hope towards God.

I formerly complained of a subordinating of the gospel to the law. I am now contending for the due subordinating of the law to the gospel. When the Apostle says, "If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have, been by the law," it seems to me that he is speaking in the light of the subordination of the law to the gospel, for he is recognising the giving of life as what must be
the end of God
; and, therefore, that our being taken from under the law, and placed under grace, has been in order that we should be alive to God. Therefore righteousness would not have been by faith any more than by the deeds of the law, had it not been because of the life which in faith is quickened in us. "He that believeth hath passed from death unto life." It is in this view of faith that God the Father of spirits is just in justifying the ungodly who believe. These words I have considered before; but, at the point at which we now stand, it seems to me that we are contemplating, as the justifying element in faith, not only not an imputation, but that which is the most absolute opposite of an imputation, viz., life from the dead.

Although the expression "justification by faith" be associated in our mind with all preaching of the atonement, the teaching of Luther is that alone of all the forms of thought on this subject considered above with which that expression really harmonises, for he alone have we found teaching that it is faith itself which God recognises as righteousness: and how excellent a manner of righteousness faith is in Luther's apprehension, and how righteous it is in God to count it righteousness, 217 has been sufficiently illustrated, even by the quotations to which I have limited myself. In what he so writes, the words of the Apostle, "was strong in faith, giving glory to God," are the text--the axiom, I should rather say--from which Luther reasons. That condition of the human spirit in which most glory is given to God he regards as self-evidently the highest righteousness, and that condition is faith.

But the glory given to God in faith must be in proportion to the depth and fulness of the apprehension of what God is which faith embraces, and to which it responds. In proportion, therefore, as God is revealed by the atonement, and as, in consequence, he that believes is in the light of what God is, and by his faith trusts and glorifies God as He is, in that proportion is the righteousness of faith enhanced and exalted. "No man hath seen God at any time. The only-begotten Son, who dwelleth in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." He that hath seen the Son hath seen the Father, and he who, seeing the Father in the revelation of Him by the Son, hath faith in Him as the Father, attains the highest form of faith,--a faith which is the fellowship of the Son's apprehension of the Father--indeed, is sonship,--and utters itself in the cry, Abba, Father. This is its nature; this, whatever its measure.

But, when the subject of justification by faith takes this form in our thoughts, we have no longer any difficulty in recognising faith as ''the highest righteousness;" for how can we otherwise conceive of that which is the fellowship of Christ's own righteousness, the righteousness given to us in the gift of Christ, who is "made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption"?

I have intentionally kept before the reader's mind 218 longer than was necessary for the simple expression of it, the distinction between contemplating the blood of Christ as shed with direct reference to the purging of our consciences from dead works to serve the living God, and contemplating it as shed with direct reference to our deliverance from the punishment of sin. In addition to the character of the whole Epistle to the Hebrews, as setting forth the well-being of man as standing in his being an accepted worshipper, and, therefore, the atonement for sin needed as the shedding of blood that would make perfect as pertains to the conscience, I may recall to the reader the relation to righteous judgment in which the typical and the antitypical shedding of blood are both represented in the words, "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" But in dwelling as I have done upon the distinction between a man's not coming into condemnation, because the blood of Christ is known by him as a living way into the holiest, and, through the faith of it, he has passed from death unto life; and a man's not coming into condemnation because the blood of Christ was shed for him, and the punishment of his sins borne by Christ,--my great anxiety has been to get to the right point of view in considering man's well-being,--that point from which God is seen as the fountain of life, in whose favour is life; and, therefore, the question of salvation is seen to be simply the question of participation in that favour as it is the outgoing of a living love, the love of the Father's heart, and not as the mere favourable sentence of a judge and 219 ruler, setting the mind at ease in reference to the demands of the law of His moral government.

With this same purpose have I above entered as I have done into the questions connected with justification; and if I have appeared to forget, as I have not for a moment done, the distinction made between justification and sanctification, it is that I have hoped that the real spiritual truth that is in justification being once seen, the subject would take its right form in the mind of itself. That "righteousness" as a part of what Christ is said to be "made of God unto us," has come to be dealt with on a principle entirely distinct from that on which men have dealt with "wisdom," and "sanctification," and "redemption," has been owing to the exigencies of a legal system; but such an error has been possible only because it has not been seen that these are all alike elements of the eternal life which we have in Christ. For Christ is all these to us just in that He is our life, nor otherwise than as living by Him are we "righteous" any more than we can otherwise be "wise," "holy," "redeemed," that is, free men,--free with the liberty wherewith the Son of God maketh free.

Nothing, indeed, has done more to confirm the mind in that tendency to seek in the atonement what will come directly between us and the punishment of sin, instead of seeking in it the secret and the power of returning to God,--recognising sin and all misery as what are together left behind in returning to God,--than the distinction made between justification and sanctification, when justification is connected with a demand in the mind of our judge which may be met in an arbitrary way, as by imputation or imagined transferred fruits of righteousness, while sanctification is recognised as having its necessity in the truth of things, in that without holiness no man shall see God: as if righteousness 220 in man had no such relation to righteousness in God, as holiness in man has to holiness in God.

As to the supposed necessity for God's imputing righteousness, that He may see us as perfectly righteous, why must our participation in Christ's righteousness be the meeting of a demand for perfection, any more than our participation in His holiness, or His wisdom, or the freedom that is in Him? All is perfect in Him, and He, and His perfection, belong to us; but all in the same sense. But, when the righteousness contemplated is understood to be the righteousness of faith, of faith in the Father's heart as revealed by the Son,--of the faith, therefore, by which the life of sonship is quickened and sustained,--this demand for a legal perfection is seen to be altogether foreign to that with which we are occupied. The feeblest cry of the spirit of sonship is sure of a response in the Father's heart, being welcome from its own very nature, as well as for that of which it is the promise, as it is also the fruit: for it both comes from and grows into the perfect sonship which is in Christ. Confidence is of the essence of this cry,--hope in the fatherliness towards which is its outgoing. Reader, say, does it not jar with this cry, does it not mar its simplicity, its truth, to be required to pause and say, "I would cry to my Father,--I see His heart towards me, the Son reveals it, but I must remember that, to be justified in drawing near with confidence, I must think of myself as clothed by imputation with a perfect righteousness, because the Father of my spirit must see me as so clothed in order that He may be justified in receiving me to His fatherly heart?" Would not this thought mar the simplicity of the child's cry--would it not indeed altogether change the essence of the confidence cherished? But the thought of the righteousness which God has 221 accepted in accepting Christ, the righteousness to which the words, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him," turn the mind, altogether encourages the child's cry in us,--indeed, is its source; for to cherish, to utter that cry, is the spiritual obedience of the word, "hear ye Him." But I almost repeat what I said before. Only, I hope that, in that light of the elements of the atonement in which justification is now before us, the oneness of the confidence which the faith of Christ's work quickens in us with the confidence in which He went before us in that path of life which He has opened up for us, and which He Himself is to us, will be more clearly recognised.

I have now asked, why should the divine demand for righteousness in men, which God has Himself met and provided for by the gift of Christ, giving us in Him all things pertaining to life and to godliness, making us complete in Him,--why should this demand of the divine mind for righteousness be seen as met on another principle than that on which the demand for holiness is met? All these demands are truly, fully met. Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil. But if, in connexion with all that varied perfection in humanity which is in the Son of God, all humanity may be dealt with, and is dealt with, by God, the preciousness of that perfection shedding its own glory over all humanity, and being ever to the heart of the Father a promise for all humanity, and if the heart of the Father waits in hope for our "growing up into Him in all things, which is the head even Christ," (Ephesians iv.15,) why should a fiction be introduced to give a character of perfection to our individual righteousness before God, which has no place in relation to our part in the other elements of the perfection that is in Christ? I have already expressed my conviction that that in us 222 which in full light welcomes this ordination of a kingdom in the hands of a mediator, is what has, in part at least, made the reception of this doctrine of the imputation of Christ's perfection to those who believe, possible. But in the light of the atonement the heart feels no need of any fiction for its peace. The confidence in the Father, which the revelation of the Father by the Son quickens, has its witness in itself,--its sanction in its own nature. Its spiritual relation to that in God towards which it goes forth, justifies it to the conscience. For, in truth, it is but the due response to the Father testifying to us that He has given to us eternal life in the Son,--that testimony of God in the spirit, which being heard by us in the spirit, effectually calls us to the confidence of sonship. Therefore does one Apostle say, "if our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God," and another Apostle, "the Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God." And such expressions accord with what I have urged above, viz., that our knowledge that we are justified should be of the same spiritual nature with the true knowledge that we are sinners, and not be sought in that way of inference from the fact that we believe, combined with the doctrine that those that believe are justified, to which men have had recourse, and on which, indeed, they have necessarily been thrown when artificial conceptions of justification by faith have been adopted.

That nothing artificial, but something the deep reality of which is proved in the consciousness of the individual justified, is contemplated in the beginning of the 8th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, it is impossible to doubt. The misery recorded in the close of the 7th chapter is not more real, more a matter of consciousness, than the salvation for which thanks are 223 rendered; nor is the law of sin in the members causing that misery more a thing known by the individual than "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ, which makes free from the law of sin and death." Therefore, the freedom from condemnation, in other words, the justification through being in Christ Jesus, spoken of, is clearly one with that cleansing by the blood of Christ, that purging of the conscience, on which I have dwelt so much; nor can it be at all separated from that "fulfilment of the righteousness of the law" in those "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," which the Apostle goes on to mention as the direct end which God has contemplated in sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and as a sacrifice for sin, and so condemning sin in the flesh. The subjective character of this passage,--that is to say, the relation between freedom from condemnation and the condition of a man's own spirit which it recognises,-and the place which it ascribes to the law of the Spirit of the life that is in Christ in connexion with this freedom, that is, in connexion with justification, is too broadly marked to permit its being quoted in favour of the doctrine of justification by an imputation of righteousness.

But the conditions of true peace of conscience must always be the same; and therefore, although the first verse of the fifth chapter is so quoted, we must believe that that in Christ, in respect of which thanks are rendered that "there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus," is present to the mind of the Apostle when he speaks of "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" in connexion with "being justified by faith." This language, indeed, occurs in immediate connexion with that reference to the glory given to God in the faith of Abraham, which sheds such clear light on the righteousness of God in recognising faith 224 as righteousness: while, in saying that faith shall be imputed to us for righteousness, "if we believe on Him that raised up our Lord Jesus from the dead, who was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification,'' the Apostle has brought before us that in God which the faith by which we are to glorify God must apprehend and trust. For justifying faith, in trusting God, does so in response to that mind of God in relation to man which is revealed to us in our being, by the grace of God, embraced in Christ's expiatory confession of our sins, when, by the grace of God, He tasted death for every man; and embraced in that perfect righteousness of sonship in humanity which Christ presented to the Father on behalf of all humanity as the true righteousness of man, and which, in raising Him from the dead, the Father has sealed to us as our true righteousness. This gracious mind of God in relation to us it is that our faith accepts and responds to; for our faith is, in truth, the Amen of our individual spirits to that deep, multiform, all-embracing, harmonious Amen of humanity, in the person of the Son of God, to the mind and heart of the Father in relation to man,--the divine wrath and the divine mercy, which is the atonement. This Amen of the individual, in which faith utters itself towards God, gives glory to God according to the glory which He has in Christ; therefore does faith justify: and this justification is not only pronounced in the mind of God, who accepts the confidence towards Himself, which the faith of His grace in Christ has quickened in us, imputing it to us as righteousness, but is also testified to by the Spirit of truth in the conscience of him in whom this Amen is a living voice--a spiritual mind--the fellowship of that mind in the Son of God by the faith of which it is quickened. The Amen of the individual human spirit to the Amen of 225 the Son to the mind of the Father in relation to man, is saving faith--true righteousness,--being the living action, and true and right movement of the spirit of the individual man in the light of eternal life. And the certainty that God has accepted that perfect and divine Amen as uttered by Christ in humanity, is necessarily accompanied by the peaceful assurance that in uttering, in whatever feebleness, a true Amen to that high Amen, the individual who is yielding himself to the spirit of Christ to have it uttered in him, is accepted of God. This Amen in man is the due response to that word, "Be ye reconciled to God;" for the gracious and gospel character of which word, as the tenderest pleading that can be addressed to the most sin-burdened spirit, I have contended above. This Amen is sonship; for the gospel-call, ''Be ye reconciled to God," when heard in the light of the knowledge that ''God made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him," is understood to be the call to each one of us on the part of the Father of our spirits,--"My son, give me thine heart,"--addressed to us on the ground of that work by which the Son has declared the Father's Name, that the love wherewith the Father hath loved Him may be in us, and He in us. In the light itself of that Amen to the mind of the Father in relation to man which shines to us in the atonement, we see the righteousness of God in accepting the atonement, and in that same light the Amen of the individual human spirit to that divine Amen of the Son of God, is seen to be what the divine righteousness will necessarily acknowledge as the end of the atonement accomplished.

I have illustrated above the distinction between the righteousness of faith and self-righteousness, and the way in which faith excludes boasting, while introducing 226 us into the light of God's favour, and have anticipated what would have been urged with advantage here as the justification of God in accounting faith righteousness. I only add now, that, as in illustrating the elements of the atonement, I have desired that the reader should see by its own light the suitableness and adequacy of the moral and spiritual expiation for sin which Christ has made, and should see all such expressions as "A way into the holiest,"--"Propitiation,"--"Reconciliation,"--"Peace with God,"--in that light of our spiritual relation to the Father of our spirits which demands for them a spiritual, as distinguished from a mere legal meaning;--so, now, I have sought for "Justification by faith," also, a spiritual and self-evidencing character, and that the attitude towards God of a human spirit in the light of that will of God which the Son of God came to do and has done, and cherishing a confidence towards God in harmony with that light, shall be felt to be the right attitude towards God of the spirit of man,--that in which are combined, God's glory in man and man's salvation in God.

I have sought for justification by faith this self-evidencing character, not fearing by this to open the door for a self-righteous and presumptuous confidence,--believing that the true confidence alone can preclude the false in all its measures and forms. The Amen of faith,--the being reconciled to God,--peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,--these, in meekness and lowliness, are known in the light of the atonement. For that light of eternal life harmonises us with itself, and so with God,--and in it, it is impossible to trust in self,--it is impossible not to trust in God,--it is impossible to doubt that this trust in God is true righteousness,--it is impossible to doubt that God is just in being the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.

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