« ForrigeFortsett »
for heaven; that is, having, for the sanctu- fof God never can make out for us a ary above, to struggle with all the imper- I judicial 'right for heaven, yet that this fection of our carnal nature below, we obedience, and this alone makes out our must, by a life of prayer and pains-taking, personal meetness for heaven. We can make way through the frailties and temp- separate, in idea, the judicial from the pertations of our sinful state in time, to a sonal meetness for heaven, and while we meetness for the sinless inheritance which lay an entire stress on the former, we is beyond it. To be meet in law, we also count the latter indispensable. Now, must be invested with faith through the what helps us to do this, is the arbitrary righteousness of Christ, to be meet in connection which obtains between a puncharacter, we must be invested with the ishment and a crime in civil society. A graces of our own personal righteousness. violent temper is its own punishment, and
Let me now, then, expound more par- the misery which it inflicts may be reticularly the uses to which our observance garded as the necessary effect of the of the law may be turned, in giving us temper itself; but it may farther urge a not a right to heaven, but the indispensable man under its power to the commission character without which heaven never of an assault upon his neighbour, for will be entered by us. If, after having which, by the law of the country, he laid hold of the righteousness of Christ, shall be put into confinement. Being as your alone meritorious plea for the thus detached from society, he is certainly kingdom of heaven, you look to the law restrained from a similar act against as in fact a transcript of the image of the another; and when sent back from imGodhead, and by your assiduous keeping prisonment, the fear of its recurrence may of this law, endeavour more and more to prevent him from committing a similar become like to God in Christ, this is the outrage again. The object of peace and legitimate and proper use of the law, and protection to the community is gained by making this use, you use it lawfully. by this proceeding, but nothing is done You must not discard the law as being a by it to mollify the man's temper-something that has no place in the system of thing perhaps to repress the outgoings of the gospel. · The great end of the gospel mischief, but nothing to purify or dry up is to work in you a life and law of God; its source. The man may still continue to and by impressing the traits of that law foster in his soul the miseries of fierce on your character, to make you more and internal war; so that if the civil punishmore like the Lawgiver, and fit you for ment were remitted, and if he obtained a his companionship. Therefore, although full discharge of the penalties of the law, you discard the law in one capacity, that there are other penalties formed by nature is not to say that you are to discard it from the mere infirmities of his character, altogether; for there remains this other from which the law can give him no capacity-the law is that to which you deliverance whatever. It cannot save him must conform yourselves, in order to ren- from the misery of his own restless and der you meet for the inheritance of the ungovernable temper—from the wretchedsaints. The society of heaven will be a ness of being driven, and pursued, and congenial society-there will be a family agonised by the fury and disorder of his likeness reigning through all its members, own passions, after releasing him from or, in other words, you must be like unto every legal chastisement, after it has prothe spirits of just men made perfect--you nounced upon him in such a way that in must be like the angels—you must be like the eye of the law he is a righteous perGod himself, or you are altogether upmeet son-after it has snatcbed him from the for admittance there. And therefore, I hand of its own executioner, there may say, though you cannot by the law pur- be the vengeance of an executioner within. chase heaven as your right, you, through In fact, there is distress which the law its medium, prepare yourselves for the lays on, but there is a natural and necessary enjoyment of this heaven-you acquire distress by a law which will prevail so that family likeness which renders you long as the character remains, arising fit for your admittance there. And be from the heat and violence of an anger assured, that without this, you never will / which the strength of the law can never obtain entrance. We see, then, that extinguish—from the conflict and fermenthough this obedience of ours to the law tation of passions which breed within the man's own heart-from the affronted, meet for the inheritance of the saints; so proud, unquelled resentment, ready to that this use of the law is an indispensable burst forth in fancied' provocation from thing, although the law has failed, or his fellow men,—this unhappy criminal, set rather you have failed, in making out free from all the penalties of the law, still your right to heaven by your obedience feels a punishment heavier than he can to its precepts. bear.
! I have endeavoured to illustrate this I trust you see the relation of this to by showing you the distinction between our present subject. One part of the law what is arbitrary and natural in the of God is, that we should be forbearing punishments which await certain kinds and forgiving one with another. The of wickedness in this life; but we have circumstance which leads us to transgress every reason to believe in an arbitrary that law is just the natural heat and vio- and a natural misery in the punishments lence of our temper. Suppose a man set of hell. There is no natural connection out on the enterprise of seeking to esta- between moral guilt and the application blish a right to heaven by his obedience of intense heat to the material part of our to the law, then it is his duty to restrain constitution. Now it is the heat, the all the outbreakings of a furious temper; flame, the fire and brimstone, the everbut he sees he never can succeed in mak- lasting burnings, which chiefly appal the ing out the right by his obedience to the fancy, and increase the fears of the inner law, and, transgressing in one particular, man when he thinks of the place of conhe has failed in all. Now, some thinking demnation. Now it is true that by a that they have discarded the law, in as bare act of justification he may be defar as its power to obtain for them a right livered from all that is gross and carnal to heaven is concerned, and that, in dis- in these torments, the fire may cease to carding it, they have gone to Christ, are burn and the body to be agonised; but if apt to think they are quit of the law alto- the character remains, the misery that it gether. But we say they are not, because entails on the moral constitution will also there still remains another end--another remain. A mere deed of acquittal will important capacity in which they are still never work out a deliverance from this to use the law, even after they have misery. An arrangement has been made united themselves to Christ. What is known to us in the gospel, by which God this capacity ? and of what use is the law has dissolved the alliance between love after this step has been taken? Here is and enjoyment on the one hand, and hatred the use of the law, All that you have and wretchedness on the other. It has gotten by your faith in Christ is a right made no change in the character or tento the kingdom of heaven. But the king- dency of what is right and wrong. "The dom of heaven is peace, and righteousness, economy made known to us in the New and joy. The kingdom of heaven is Testament has no more broken up the within you, and the essential joy of association between benevolence and pleaheaven is that joy which springs from the sure, and malignity and pain, in a man's exercise of good, and kind, and virtuous heart, than broken up the connection affections. You have obtained a right of between the sight of beauty and emotions entering heaven, and a release from the of pleasure, and the sight of deformity punishment of hell. But if the temper and emotions of disgust. If a believer which prompted you to those transgres- could be delivered from the fear of hell, sions of the law still remains within you, and were to remain in character and then the essential misery of hell remains effect, just what he was, a portion of the within you. You are still exposed to all misery of hell would still adhere to him. the misery that is incurred by the exer- His mind, in respect of all these paincise of furious and malignant passions. ful sensations, may be as unrelenting as You must have a rightness of character- ever All this hell may still be attached you must get quit of all those immoral, to his person without mitigation. Let vile, and wretched things which by nature disdain, meeting with equal disdain, and adhere to you, and your salvation is begun hatred, exchanging its mutual coldness, here by a gradual process of deliverance of one unregenerate being to another, and from the wickedness of your hearts and remorse, and suspicion, and 'envy, and lives, and which, perfected, renders you discontent rankle in the hearts of crea
tures that vie in hostility towards God pressing this scene of confinement on earth. and each other; if this were permitted, to call it a hell. Well then, in this jail, their bodies are enough to make a hell although there is no bodily pain, there out of any habitation of assembled crimi- is the wretchedness of a hell-mutual nals, from the sharpest infliction of the rage and mutual revenge, revenge unworm that dieth not, and the fiercest satiated, or venting itself in ferocitymaterial of fire that is not quenched. the prayer of bacchanalian levity mingThe man that has this unsanctified feeling ling with all that is unhallowed in his heart, carries hell about with him. desire, passion raising a tempest in the In respect of the material ingredients of soul before its gratification, or leaving torture, it is conceivable that he may be after it the bitterness of remorse. There saved by being justified; but in respect may be the unbridled selfishness of beings, of the moral ingredients, to be saved be each clamouring for his own object, and must be sanctified.
united only in one career of daring against Therefore we see that though the law heaven's law-stamp immortality on these is of no use, it is just by obeying this creatures that have a hell within them; law that you make out your sanctification, and though you open the prison doors and the one is just as indispensable as the and set them loose from confinement, other. The thing I want is, that you each would carry with him his own porwill not put asunder what God has tion of hell. Travel with them from one joined. Although the law is of no use to end of the world to another, yet they justification, it is just as essential to your would not escape from what is mainly enjoyment of heaven as your justification hell. Even transport their persons into is. It is not enough, then, to obtain a what is locally heaven, they would still mere translation from what is locally continue to be haunted by the substantial hell to what is locally heaven. The wretchedness of hell. These are ills from misery of hell consists in the sufferings which they cannot be saved by a mere which, by the unrepealed law, are at- act of transference from one abode to tached to vicious propensities; and a another. There must be an act of transgreat part of the happiness of heaven con- formation from one character to another. sists in enjoyments which, by the same Or, if faith is to save them, they must be law, are attached to kind, good, and holy sanctified by faith ; and if it is not by the affections; so that to have the full ad- law that they are to obtain their right of vantage of an inheritance among the entering into heaven, most assuredly it is saints, there must be a meetness of char- by their obedience to the law that they acter. On that truth, I stand, and I crave have obtained that heaven shall be to your attention for a little longer to the them a place of enjoyment, for without it first of these statements : and however heaven itself would be turned into a hell. painful the imagery that is associated And without going for illustration to with such a contemplation, the importance the outcasts of exile and imprisonment, of the lesson must be held as our apology. the very same thing may be exemplified We are not to overlook the penal charac- in the bosom of families. It is not neces. ter of these sufferings which are endured sary that pain be inflicted on bodies by in the prison-house of the damned; and acts of violence, in order to make it a we have every reason to believe that in- wretched family. It is enough that pain tense bodily pain forms one ingredient of be made to rankle within every heart, their bitter and ever-enduring agony. from the elements of suspicion, hatred, But there are other ingredients; and to and disgust, an abode of enjoyment may prove how these are fitted to bring a be turned into an abode of the intensest heavy load, we ask you to conceive of the misery. The first ingredient of the place horrors of an ill regulated dungeon, where of torment may breed and break out in the wretched inmates are restrained only the dwelling places of the unregenerate by the terrors of discipline from acts of in this world, so as that if the element of violence upon each other. Let corporal fire were altogether expunged in the punishments be withdrawn,-still their future arrangement of nature and provi. enormities, working on their hearts, may dence; yet God has other elements which beget such a mental wretchedness as may he can wield to the eternal wretchedness make it the most expressive way of ex- I of those who disobey him he has other
agents than that lake which burneth with because heaven is the abode of love-hell fire and brimstone. Our own passions is the abode of misery. It is a mere conwill be to us the ministers of heaviest tradiction in terms to speak of salvation condemnation; and to save from these, without a virtuous and good character, there must be a meetness impressed on because the very essence of your salvation our characters; for it is not enough that is that character. It begins here, and we have that which the law cannot give you perfect it hereafter. I want you to us, even a right to the kingdom of heaven; understand that the salvation of the gosbut on the other hand, we must, in addition pel mainly and essentially is moral salvato this, have that which the law alone tion; and that heaven consists essentially gives us, even that meetness of character in the happiness that attaches to the exwithout which we are altogether unquali- ercise and reciprocation of right moral fied for heaven's exercises and heaven's feeling and conduct, one to another. joys.
It were of incalculable use, were Having thus endeavoured to make we to be familiarised with this view. palpable to you that the hell of the New Were men led to pursue an enlightened Testament consists mainly in the wretch- notion of the real character of heaven's edness which attaches naturally and ne- enjoyments on the one side, and of hell's cessarily to character, let me touch on the sufferings on the other, it would lead opposite and more pleasing side of the them to perceive what was actually meant picture—the heaven of the New Testa- by the term salvation. People often ment, as consisting mainly in the happi- speak of salvation without meaning. If ness which attaches, naturally and neces- they understood the precise import of sarily, to character. I have no idea of a this term, they would see Antinomianism man carrying in life with him the security with such a right understanding of salvathat he is a justified person, and at the tion, as would in fact make Antinomiansame time being a bad member of society, ism become a contradiction in terms. It making his whole family miserable. If would appear the same absurdity, as a he perseveringly and presumptuously go heaven of splendour given as a reward on with his disobedience to the law, that to a man that is blind. Conceive a man man is not in the way of salvation at all. blind and heaven promised to him, and Were it real, the first doing of faith in this heaven to consist in the beauty and Christ would be to work love in his splendour of its sights, what is that to a heart. It would show itself in all sorts of man that is blind ?" Just so; heaven to a ways in the walk and conversation. Peo- man who continues wicked is equally ple are apt to think that heaven is a place absurd, as a heaven of sights, as a reof great splendour and spaciousness, and ward to a man who is blind, or a heaven that there is music going on there, and of melody to a man who is deaf, or a the exhibition of all goodness,-that it is a heaven of philosophy as a reward to a most delicious and most regaling place, man who has no power to comprehend and suited to all the physical wants of the true simplicity of its principles. We our nature. But the main happiness of have only to think of the character of the heaven is just the bappiness that springs heaven of the New Testament, that it is from righteousness, peace, and joy in the the land of uprightness, and then to reHoly Ghost. And though you have the flect how utterly vain it is to hold up this right of entering there, if you have not as a reward to a man whose heart was these things, you have no heaven at all. still occupied with the love of sin, or who If your life has in it the character of hell, remained' a slave to those lusts which taking you out of one place and putting war against the soul. To enjoy a brilliant you into another will not make you and picturesque heaven, a man must be happy. The kingdom of God is not in endowed with a seeing eye; to enjoy a you. Heaven is more a thing of charac- musical heaven, he must be endowed with ter than of local condition; so that your a hearing ear; to enjoy an intellectual heaven may begin now,—and the great heaven, he must be endowed with a clear thing is your having heaven's purity—and able understanding; and to enjoy the heaven's love for the brethren.
actual heaven of the New Testament, into Well then, this is one sample of how which all who are meet on earth are soon much happier a thing heaven is than hell; to be transported, he must be endowed
with a moral heart. So that the very you, do you not see that there is something essence of salvation shall consist in the in feeling kindly to one another ? You personal salvation by which man is ren- must be sensible how much enjoyment it dered capable of being a happy and con- is. Well, when carried up to heaven all genial inmate of heaven. It shall consist people are loving one anotheras themselves. in restoring to him the character he had Conceive how much happier a neighbourlost, by the possession of which, and by hood is when all are well effected towards renewal of which, through the power of one another, to what it is when there is the second Adam, he was capable then, discord, jealousy, envy, and backbiting. and will again be, of the communion of This gives you a symbol of the difference God and of enjoyment the most pure and that there is between heaven and hell, and exalted, in the presence of a good, and it makes for my argument, which is, that righteous, and holy God. It consists in although the law be set aside in as far as a endowing him with what may be called right, you must not set it aside altogether, a spiritual relish, and confering on him but it is just by obedience that you work the faculty of spiritual perception, and yourselves up to the right character. making his character concord with that There is a heaven without and another of God. And this is what is called in the within you, and the whole effect of justiBible renewing him in knowledge after fication is to give a heaven without you. the image of him who created him; and But, then, you will not be happy with a it is this change and temper of soul by heaven without you, unless there was which alone a soul becomes suited to a within you the character of heaven, the celestial element-it is this regeneration affection and good feeling of heaven. by which it is made capable of breathing I appeal to your own experience, if even with comfort and rapture in an atmos- in the most abject abodes of poverty, let phere of holiness. This is the change but kindness operate, and there will arise which begins on earth; and thus it is a moral sunshine, wherein all the families that the kingdom of God shall be set up may rejoice. We understand not human on earth. The establishment of that love and good will but apart from all juskingdom is a personal operation, going tice, and from all that ministers in this on in the hearts and characters of people world, we can see, how, out of a moral here below. The man the object of it is economy alone, by mind acting on mind, born again, and from being an alien,a sinner, there are materials enough out of which he becomes an aspiring saint: he breathes an Elysium might be formed; and as goodin à new element of godliness; and it is will and its corresponding affections oftenonly by his breathing this element, that times are multiplied on earth, in that proheaven can be a blessing, a reward, or an portion will we be assimilated in its joys enjoyment. In a word, the salvation by to the paradise that is above. Christ Jesus consists in being restored Now it is equally true of the bad affecto the perfection of his moral and spiri- tions, that they have power to make you tual nature, and thus made fit for the miserable. It is not necessary that one, converse of those who cease not day and under the principle of injustice, should night in glorifying Him who is the foun- entail on you a very heavy loss to make tain of all spiritual excellence, unto whom you wretched. Simply to have to do heaven is a paradise, not because of groves, with unjust and dishonest people makes rivers, and palaces, but because of glories, you wretched, independent of all lossadorations, and its holy services,
the very circumstance of breathing the This might be made obvious to you, in air that they breathe, or of having to do the lessons of your own experience with with them at all, gives a misery which is man-the connection between the charac- mainly, I think, the wretchedness of hell; ter and the happiness of man. It is evi- therefore we have the counterpart of the dently verified in human life, and I should good affections of our nature in the wrong like to have your own experience to de- affections of our nature: and by adverting pone to the truth of what I am saying. to these, we can illustrate still farther the If you live in a neighbourhood where all distinction between moral and physical. is civil, cordial, and kind, do you not If there is an essential delight in the insee that there is a great deal of happiness terchange of good feelings, there is an esthere? Independent of all kindness to sential misery in the interchange of bad