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my unqualified disapproval of the whole tendency of a series of observations contained in the “ Defence," and which have reference to the same subject.
I feel that this is also due to those truly evangelical labours of love so successfully prosecuting by Christians of almost every name, and which have been so eminently blessed by the conversion of multitudes, as seals to the efficacy of the preached Gospel.
In p. 51 Dr. Hancock says: " In accordance with what has been said, it is clear to my view, that there is a powerful influence arrayed in the present day, to assert and to support the notion of the superior efficacy of what man has power to do, above that which Christ, the supreme Head of the church, is conceived to be willing to do, for the enlargement of his own kingdom. Because, if the principle, that Christ can and will teach his true followers Himself, were generally allowed, and His Spirit in the heart were more universally obeyed, the efforts of man, in so far as they are supported by unhallowed motives and means, and are not under the appointment of Christ himself, would be found grievously wanting, and therefore would be set aside,” &c.
What does Dr. Hancock mean by this uncharitable insinuation ? All Evangelical Christians acknowledge that no preaching of the Gospel is likely to convert sinners to God, but that which is delivered under the authority and influence of the Holy Spirit; and have we not proof, in the success of Missionary labours, that they have been sanctioned and blessed by Him, and are therefore manifestly “under the appointment of Christ himself? "
INTIMATELY connected with Barclay's Platonic hypothesis of the “ seed and birth of God in the soul,” as a distinct being or “substance," "vehiculum Dei," and indeed but too naturally arising out of it, are his equally unscriptural views on the all-important point of Justification; as will be seen by the following quotation from “ The Apology." The succeeding passages from Penn will shew that he adopted the same unscriptural view.
Barclay (Prop. vii. § 3):-“It is this inward birth in us, bringing forth righteousness and holiness in us, that doth justify us.”
“ And by this nearness we come to have a sense of His" (Christ's) " sufferings, and to suffer with His seed, that yet lies pressed and crucified in the hearts of the ungodly; and so travail with it, and for its” (the seed's) “ redemption, and for the repentance of those souls that in it are crucifying, as yet, the Lord of Glory.”
$ 6: “And, indeed, it may be thought strange how some men have made this ” (imputative righteousness) “so fundamental an article of their faith, which is so contrary to the whole strain of the Gospel ;a thing which Christ, in none of all his sermons and gracious speeches, ever willed any to rely upon;
always recommending to us works as instrumental in our justification."
§ 7 : “ It is by this inward birth, or Christ formed within, that we are (so to speak) formally justified in the sight of God.”
§ 3 : *** “ Yet we believe that such works as naturally proceed from this spiritual birth, and formation of Christ in us, are pure and holy, even as the root from which they come ; and therefore God accepts them, justifies us in them, and rewards us for them, of his own free grace.”
From Penn's Christian Quaker.-Chap. xvii. : “The light of Christ within, is the efficient cause of salvation completely taken."
Chap. xiv. : “Christ indeed fulfils the law for us ; but how? The light in us, as we are subject to it, and led by it, administers an holy power, by which we are enabled to do that which is good and acceptable in the sight of the Lord; and so, obeying the light, we fulfil the law. Thus He works his works in us and for us.'
Chap. xviii.: "I say, this" (the light) " is the efficient cause of salvation ; and all other exterior visitations and ministries of assistance, though from the same light, are, in respect of the light in every single man or woman, but instrumental and secondary.” (!)
From “ A Serious Apology” (Penn's Works, Ed. 1726, vol. ii. p. 66). — "Justification by the righteousness which Christ hath fulfilled in his own person for us, wholly without us....this, we deny, and boldly affirm it, in the name of the Lord, to be the doctrine of devils, and an arm of the sea of corruption, which does now deluge the whole world.” (!!)
I feel that these passages will carry conviction of their unscriptural character to the mind of every Christian. It will be seen by them, and more clearly and fully by a reference to the works from whence they are taken, that “as many as resist not this light, but receive the same, it becomes in them” a holy birth, by the minding of which we are to be accepted, sanctified, and justified in the sight of God; the same "principle” having first “mediated and atoned." These are the doctrines of Barclay and Penn, springing from their unscriptural notions of “ Universal and Saving Light." The doctrine of Christ and his Apostles is—that Christ “is the One Mediator between God and man”-that by Him "we have now received the atonement”-that we are " accepted” in Him, “ the beloved”-that we are justified by faith in Him, and sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
We are told by these authors, that it is by attend. ing to the Light, and by obedience to it, that justification is to be accomplished; and therefore it is evident, that those who adopt this scheme place themselves voluntarily under the covenant of works. Now, since there are but two covenants—the one of faith, the other of works—such can have no claim to “all joy and peace in believing ;" for it is undeniable that, in their view, joy and peace are to be obtained, not by the Apostolic mode of “believing*," but by “ obedience" to the “inward light” or “ birth; "not by a willing renunciation of all self-righteous
* It is very striking, that the terms “faith,” “believe,”
believing,” &c., which so frequently occur in the Bible, are very rarely to be found in the works either of Barclay or Penn.
ness, and a thankful acceptance of the "righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ,” but by a preparation and purification of heart by obedience to this “light,” whereby, as a consequence, sanctification and justification are to proceed "pari passû." And Barclay further says, that he “ will not affirm that a state is not attainable in this life, in which to do righteousness may be so natural to the regenerate soul, that in the stability of that condition he cannot sin" (Barclay, Prop. viii. $ 2).
Those who desire thus to live under the covenant of works—that is to say, to be debtors to do the whole law_ought seriously to consider, that, according to the Apostle James, “ he who offends in one point is guilty of all;" and that the Apostle Paul says, “ Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal. iii. 10). They ought also to reflect on the awful consequences of thus setting at nought the very purpose for which our blessed Saviour died-namely, that he might redeem" from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" (Gal. iii. 13); thereby "blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” (Col. ii. 14).
According to the Scripture, "all" are “concluded under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe" (Gal. iii. 22); whereby God "might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. iii. 26).
What shall we think of Barclay's unsupported assumption, that this “so fundamental an article of