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“ wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." “My righteousness is in heaven," said Bunyan, on discovering that Christ was his “Life." In sympathy with Bunyan, every soul that has consciously found Christ, can likewise sing, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,” &c. (Isa. lxi. 10.)
The attempt to seek justification in anything connected with the human, in anything outside of Christ, is selfrighteousness. Many who would be greatly astonished at being charged with the sin of self-righteousness, are, nevertheless, guilty of it. In the most unlikely persons, to outward sight, and in things least suspected, the evil may be traced. There are Christians who have been for years making their religious history a mournful dirge instead of a song of gladness, ever repeating the sad lament:
“ 'Tis a point I long to know,
Oft it causes anxious thought,” &c.
The reason of this is, that-self, in some way or other, is mixed up with the soul's ground of peace. The eye is looking at the “rents” in the “old garment,” at the flaws in the “old bottle," and failing to find an argument, in favour of the possession of spiritual life, in the fact that were it not for the strength of the “new” the “old” would not be “rent," nori the old vessel broken but for the energy of the “
new wine." Soul-peace and joy will never be found as a permanent possession till Christ fully supplants self—in the complete renunciation of all “confidence in the flesh,” knowing that “the nero agreeth not with the old,” and that however much the “old garment” may be patched, and mended, and improved by outward acts of morality, or inward control, it can by no means be ever made presentable to the eye of infinite purity, that can look only on that which is “ without spot, and blameless ; " and that although by these means we may, so to speak, stick together the broken earthenware, and
varnish, paint, and gild it, which, to outside observers shall be hardly distinguishable from that which is pure, and of finest material ; it will, notwithstanding, never be made fit for the king's table." There being no
agreement” between the “old” and the "new," "rents” and breakages follow. This is particularly the case with those who have not received Christ, whose religion is mere morality. With all such, the evil propensities are stronger than the good. Human goodness is less strong than satanic evil. "The strength of sin is the law." The law forbids, but sin craves; and the natural taste is for the evil, for the “old wine."
We are thus furnished with an explanation of the shortlived piety of those who “endure but for a season," and then “fall away.” Theirs is a human religion-mere reformation and improvement of outward character. A new piece is put on to the old garment, new wine put into old bottles, but “the strength of sin” is soon made manifest; the power of some strong temptation assails, and there is "rending” and “ breaking.” The man's religion is built on a human foundation. He is labouring after good fruit of its kind, but he is sticking it on to a bad tree; consequently, the first strong wind of temptation blows it off. The house is beautiful to superficial observers, but it is built on sand, and is therefore insecure. A religion not based on Christ must come to nought.
II. THE OLD AND NEW WINE. The second parable corrects the prevailing error among Christians, already referred to. Whenever they become conscious of having offended God by some sin of omission, or commission, they lose their peace. And why? Because their peace was based on self, not on Christ. They have soiled and torn their garments, and are ashamed; and so they ought to be, but their garment is not Chrisť s—that remains intact; it cannot be defiled; it is a righteousness that cannot sin. (1 John iii. 9.) The wine of the Spirit does not flow through their impure and leaky
vessels, but through Christ; it is not lost, therefore, although its influence on them has been for a while exhaled amidst a worldly atmosphere. Thus more fully are the words of the parable illustrated—“ both are preserved”—the vessel and the “wine"-Christ and the Spirit.
We learn, moreover, that as Christ Jesus is the divinely chosen vessel for the communications of the Spirit, the measure of our abiding in Him will be the measure of our being filled with the Spirit; while the measure of our being partakers of the Spirit will determine our spiritual power. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh."
This is the only power that can enable us to “keep our garments unspotted by the world,” so walking as to reveal as little as possible of our “nakedness and shame.” (Rev. iii. 18.) To this end we must do practically what God has done judicially-disoun the “old garment," and bring the old vessel into disuse, saying, whensoever temptation meets us, “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on ?” (Canticles v. 3.) Then concerning our life others will be constrained to acknow. ledge, “These men are full of new wine !” Thus our joy and practical holiness, our peace within and power without, will “ both be preserved.”
G. HUNT JACKSON.
Thinkings by a Broad-Bibleman.
(No. V.) SUBJECT : Geology no part of Theology. E are not going to reconcile Geology with the Bible.
Geology belongs to one age, the Bible to another. Geology deals with one era, one class, one system of facts, and the Bible with a totally different and distinct class. This is the key-note of our theory, for which we claim only the credit of common sense, without insisting on the novelty or
originality of our views, though we hope to put them more, strongly and more plainly than we believe them to have been put before.
As well might we attempt to “reconcile” the histories of Greece or Rome with the history of the late disastrous war in America, or the disclosures of astronomy with the topography of modern London, as to reconcile the repeated destructions and renovations of our earth before man was placed upon it -the investigation of which forms the proper business of geology-with the subsequent history of that earth and its inhabitants. Geology was, in fact, dead and buried ages before the Fall of man necessitated that very Revelation, the opening chapters of which so many of our timid commentators and apologists insist on regarding as a retrospective. review of this bygone period in the history of the universe.
The Bible is not to be warped to any such purpose. God has revealed Himself to us in more ways than one.
He has given us the majestic volume of Creation, the visible world; He has given us his Word, and He has given us the direct witnessings of his Spirit. A large portion of the first of these volumes, though still pregnant with instruction, has come down to us in so mutilated a form-its earlier leaves, as has been well remarked, having been scorched with fire, some of its characters obliterated, and others so materially damagedthat we might perhaps, but for the beautiful lessons it teaches, feel justified in regarding it as laid aside from further service. We might indeed argue à priori that the Bible would not carry us back to the period embraced by geology and palæontology, but maintain, as we think it does, a sublime silence upon the subject. After informing us that "in the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth”.
-a truth so vitally practical that it could not have been dispensed with—the inspired writer comes at once to the origin and history of the present constitution of things, taking up the marvellous story of creation just where geology had dropped it.
Without insisting unduly on the critical meaning of the first verse of Genesis, translated by Parkhurst, long before geology became a science, “the very heavens and the very earth," or paraphrastically, “ the substance of the heavens, and the substance of the earth," it must strike every unsophisticated reader that after this opening paragraph, nothing whatever is said of an absolute creation--of the making of something out of nothing. The earth “was," the.
darkness “was,” the deep “was,” the waters were “divided”. and gathered together, and the dry land was called upon to appear-to “stand," as St. Peter says “out of the water and in the water.” In all this there is nothing more than collocation and arrangement-no act of creative energy—the sacred writer reposing on the great fact already stated, that in the Beginning—whenever that was—all things were made by God, and without Him was not anything made that was mnade.
When we look at the scope and purpose of the Bible, is there any reason for supposing that the Holy Spirit would introduce the question of geology at all ? Considering how very much the Bible has left unsaid, relative to the history and destinies of humanity, the rise and fall of empires, and the thousand collateral questions that come so very much nearer to us, wby should we suppose that it would travel back to pre-Adamite times, and discuss events which took place “before the mountains were settled ; before the hills ? "
To us this appears to be so natural and easy a solution of all the difficulties which beset the vexed question of the mineral and Mosaic cosmogonies, that we are surprised to find any writers of talent engaging in so fruitless a controversy. The inveterate pugnacity of science fulsely so called,” is notorious. It deals in “oppositions, and refuses every path that is not bristling with difficulties. Too often, indeed, in true science, the direct and simple is neglected for the abstruse and roundaboutso little store seems to be set on opinions that cost little. But not unfrequently it is much better to cut the Gordian knot at once, than to waste time and talent in unravelling it. This seems to be pre-eminently the case here, for notwithstanding all that has been done to reconcile geologists and the Bible, the case is as far as ever from any satisfactory adjustment.
Let us then look the facts of geology fairly in the face, and instead of attempting to shape them to our impressions derived from the Bible, see rather if we cannot take them altogether out of the range of Revelation and interleave the whole of their immense ages and multitudinous disclosures between the first and second verses of the inspired record.
Our earth has evidently been cradled in fire. Its earliest rocks have been, beyond all reasonable question, crystallized by intense heat, and even at the present day its internal regions retain a temperature so much greater than that which