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Now God cannot do that. He never insults any of his creatures. Perhaps one of the finest and most irresistible arguments for the Inspiration and thorough Divineness of the Scriptures might be based on the fact, that much as they have to say to guilty sinful men, they never insult even the chief of sinners. Much as God speaks to me in his word, and terrible as some of his utterances are, he never insults me. He is too honourable to do that. If he re-proves, he first proves.

Proof irresistible precedes his re-proof. As even grammatically it ought to be, his reproof is true reduplication on his proof. He “proves you," before he reproves you. And if you only suffer him thus to prove you,“ he will do you good in your latter end.”—In particular, in the reproving work of the Spirit, eminently he will do you good :

(1.) He reproves you of sin-the sin of unbelief ; --the proof being, that the object of faith is worthy of all acceptation, and that you are bound by Divine authority to receive the gift of God.

(2.) He reproves you of righteousness ; —the proof being that Jesus has

gone to the Father, and we see him no more. For no more do we need to see him here below, his work of atoning righteousness being perfected on earth and accepted in heaven; and him the heavens, therefore, must righteously retain till the righteous restitution of all things.

(3.) He reproves of judgment ;-the proof being that the prince of this world is judged ; not merely that Satan personally is judged ; that to me is but a small matter, however solemn, and exemplary, and instructive, and impressive it may be. But, as the “prince of this world”—the leader of this evil and apostate state of things in which I am immersed, and which has such paralysing hold upon me-in that character or capacity Satan is judged. In other words, the very lifecentre and nerve-centre of the evil and apostate world-power that paralysed me, and made my return to God hopeless and, indeed, impossible, is itself smitten with paralysis, insomuch that I am this moment absolutely and wholly free, simply if I will; and, escaping from the judgment, like Lot from the cities of the plain, and taking hold by faith of the righteousness and victory of this conqueror of the world-power and its prince, I may stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ makes me free.

This is the Holy Spirit's convincing or reproving work, all

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built on proof preceding the reproof. Let me only accept honestly the proof, and it reappears as re-proof; it appears now in the very depths of my inner man as a repetition, a reduplication, a re-presentation of the very transaction in that cross of Christ which, (1.) so loudly calling for faith, condemns unbelief; which, (2.) so clearly revealing righteousness, calls to holy reconciliation with the Father, and justification of life eternal: which, (3.) so terrifically spoiling the spoiler, sets every captive free who simply will. All this is re-provedproved a second time; reproduced—when I accept the Spirit's proof and reproof. And in this very acceptance of his proof I prove him and see. I get experimental proof that his reproof is an excellent oil which does not break my head, but heartan unction from the Holy One : and being once willing, giving up my will to God's will, I prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. But this is the will of God, that every one that seeth the Son, the glorious object of faith, the Lord our righteousness, now with the Father, the conqueror of the world's power and the world's prince, should have everlasting life, and Christ shall raise him up at the last day.

There is enlightenment, therefore, in the Spirit's work of gracious conviction and reproof.

But when it is successful, the Spirit goes on to give more and more light. Enlightenment now becomes pre-eminently of the very essence of what the Spirit now goes on to do. For when contritely accepted in his reproving work as an excellent oil, this “unction of the Holy One,” this anointing that ye have received of him will abide in you, and the same anointing will teach you all things, for it is truth (personally and essentially truth) and no lie, even as it hath taught you, as it hath already taught you-taught you the enormous guilt implied in not believing on so glorious an object of faith--taught you to apprehend by faith the perfect righteousness, taught you to defy in faith the sin-power, the world-power, the devil-power, all the power of him who is the author of sin and the prince of the world. There is, indeed, no limit now to what the good Spirit of God will show unto you. “When he,

“ the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all truth ; for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear that shall he speak; and he shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you."

" He

We are chargeable with great ingratitude to the good Spirit of truth, the Comforter. The very faithfulness with which he executes his office lays him open through our infirmity to be ungratefully dealt with. He is, if I may reverentially say so, so unobtrusive of himself, so wholly replenished, in his teachings and revelations, with the Son, and with the all things which being the Father's are the Son's also. His own equally divine and glorious personality is kept all the while in the background. “He does not speak of himself."

” “ He does not testify of himself." "He does not glorify himself.” glorifies Christ," "testifies of Christ,” “ speaks what he hath heard the Father speak with Christ, and Christ with the Father;" “ he takes of the things of Christ and shows them to

All the while he keeps himself in the background, not presenting his own personality-simply doing his work, and that work to make Christ glorious in our eyes; to glorify the Son, and the Father in the Son. And therefore, alas ! having the provocation, the temptation, the opportunity, the scope for being ungrateful, we embrace it; with fatal certainty we turn the risk into a reality; we forget our obligations to him, and because he does not protrude himself and his claims, but Christ and Christ's glory, therefore, alas! therefore we are unthankful. We are taken up, or think we are taken up,

with the Christ of whom he testifies, the Christ whom he glorifies, and we forget that Christ without the Spirit would be no anointed One, no Christ at all to us. We forget him without whom we would never see Christ nor the Father; never hear Christ's voice nor the Father's word; never have that word abiding in us. How base is this ingratitude ! How darkhearted is this requital! Ah! we will never glorify our Lord till we deal more righteously with his promised Spirit. " He shall glorify me,” saith Jesus. And only in the communion of the Holy Ghost, whose office alone it is to glorify Christ, and who alone hath competence and power to glorify him—only by being led to fall into the concert and communion of the Spirit, as he glorifies the Son by taking of the things that are his and showing them to our souls-only thus shall we ever glorify our Lord himself, or the Father in whom the Son is glorified, and who is glorified in the Son.

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The New Christianity.

93

ART. VI.The latest Outcome of Free Thought in those who

still cling to the name of Christian."

MR. FARRAR, in his able Bampton Lectures entitled “A

Critical History of Free Thought in reference to the Christian Religion,” thus defines Free Thought—“The revolt of the human mind against the pressure of external authority." It is a good definition, and I accept it, but my present range is much narrower than Mr. Farrar's.

I mean to deal exclusively with those in our own country who, in the exercise of this Free Thought, have at length announced as their present landing-place the rejection of all external authority in religion, and yet, in a sense to be afterwards explained, still call themselves Christians. The programme of this new Christianity is the recent Lecture of one of the most eminent living thinkers and beautiful writers of our day—Dr. James Martineau—whom to know personally, as I can testify, is to esteem and love in no common degree. Though now retired from the exercise of a long ministry, he still continues, as Principal of the Manchester New College in London, to superintend the studies of those who are in training there for the Unitarian ministry ; and the Lecture to which I now refer, and since published, was delivered a few months ago, at the request of a large number of his former pupils, some of whom occupy no mean position in theological literature. The lecture is entitled, “Loss and Gain in Recent Theology.” The “losses ” mean the views of his own body, formerly held, but now renounced, while the " gains” are the advantages arising from their new positions. And my present purpose is to state what those positions are which have had to be given up, and what are the gains believed to result from this surrender. In doing this I hope

say some things which to students here should not be without their use.

At the era of the Reformation there was one position on which the opposing parties were perfectly at one. All alike regarded the Scriptures as of Divine authority, the record of direct communications from God to men as to what they were to believe and how to live. Even the Polish

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Being the substance of a Lecture delivered at the opening of the Free Church College, Aberdeen (for Session 1881-82), on 2nd Nov., 1881.

and Transylvanian Unitarians—though disowned both by Protestants and Romanists—took the same view of the Scriptures as their opponents. As for the Protestants, particularly those of our own country, their great object was to lay open in the vulgar tongue the precious treasure so long withheld from them. And so eager was the popular thirst for this that long before Luther came on the stage Wiclif's translation from the Latin Vulgate was read in secret meetings, held in the dead of night, to crowds of eager listeners, and a man was known to give a load of hay for a single leaf of it. At length Tyndale's noble Version, made from the sacred originals, came into circulation, and Revision after Revision of it was hailed as helping towards a more perfect knowledge of God's Word. But this morning freshness of a new life began to fade, religious warmth to cool, secularity to creep in, and spiritual life to wane. Spiritual apprehension now gave place to a purely human way of looking at Divine things, and new principles began to be applied to the interpretation of the Bible. The distinctive features of Revealed Religion began to look harsh and stumbling to rational views of Divine things. One class kept all difficulties out of view, dealing both in pulpit and press with the mere general principles of religion and morality which no one would question. Such was the Hoadly school of able divines of the Church of England about the close of the seventeenth and up to the middle of last century. Among the Nonconformists, and especially the Presbyterians, during that period of religious decline, there were many who sympathised with this Hoadly school, who were on terms of intimacy with several of them, and whose own productions, though not wanting in ability, were frigid in the extreme. But others faced the difficulties by putting on the passages that contained them constructions more consonant, as they held, with sound reason than the usual orthodox interpretations, yet cautiously, not to create alarm ; semi-Pelagian views of the Doctrine of Grace came creeping in, while the atoning character of the sufferings of Christ was only not explicitly denied. One of the best, however, of such productions was Locke's Paraphrase and Notes on several of the Epistles, devout in tone, and explicit in holding the recognition of Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah to be the proper designation of a Christian. Of Nonconformist productions

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