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our benefiting by the covenant of life depends, Lev. xxvi. 41, 42.
And it is because men, by the conditions of their being, thus touch heaven and earth, flesh and spirit, and are endowed with the capacity of living to either of them, that it is reasonable and righteous to say to them, “ If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” We can choose, and necessarily do choose, between these two natures, in every movement of our minds, whether we consider it or not.
It appears to me that we are distinctly taught by this symbol, that we have not to wait for the appearance of spiritual life in a man before we can venture to determine that the germ of life is in him, and that we ought not to take its non-appearance as any sign that it is not there. It is there, like the germ
in the wheat, whether it appears or not; and if it is not appearing, it is because the man is refusing to die unto his own will, and to acquiesce in God's plan of breaking down his flesh. So also a man's own unconsciousness of its presence within him, is no proof that it is not there; for it is written in Rom. ii. 4, “Despisest thou the riches of his good
ness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God is leading thee to repentance.” And it is also written of the true light which lighteth every man, that “it shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not ;" now the flesh is the darkness, and whilst the man lives to it, he comprehendeth not the light. “ Jesus was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and yet the world knew Him not.” He was "the light of the world,” and yet the world was unconscious of His pres
And every man, in like manner, is a little world, where Jesus, the true Light, the quickening Spirit, is, though unknown. There He stands at the door, and knocks; and thus He fulfils that word, “where sin
, abounded, grace did much more abound.” Surely this is the only hope of glory for any man, and, blessed be God, it is a hope which God is watching over in every man, and ordering all His dealings with him to accomplish. Col. i. 27.
Thus, besides his own individual personality, we see two powers in every man—the one, the power of this world and of its prince; and the other, the power of the world to come, and of its Prince. These are the flesh and the Spirit, the seeds or principles of the first and second vessels. The man is not either the flesh or the Spirit, he is separate from both, but they are seeds sown in him, and his capacity of acting is merely his capacity of choosing to which of these two active principles he will yield himself up. They are, as it were, two cords attached to every heart, the one held by the hand of Satan, the other held by the hand of God. And they are continually drawing the heart in opposite directions, the one towards the things of self, the other towards the things of God—the one being the reprobation, and the other the election. Thus man, in all his actings, never has to originate any thing; he has only to follow something already commenced within him; he has only to choose to which of these two powers he will join himself. Here, then, I found that which I had approved in Calvinism, and which I required as an element of every explanation of the doctrine which should be set up in opposition to Calvinism, namely, a recognition that there is no self-quickening power in man, and that there is no good in man but what is of the direct acting of the Spirit of God. (See page 12.)
I believe that it is the fear of attributing glory to man in his own salvation, and of taking glory from God, that attaches many people to the doctrines of Calvinism ; but they would do well to consider whether they are not, in fact, withholding from God the glory which He desires in man, and seeking to force upon Him a kind of glory which He does not desire. God receives a glory to His power in all the other works of His hands in this world, but they give Him no glory which they can keep back from Him. When He made man, He made a creature that might give Him a higher glory—a glory to His love, a free-will offering, a glory which it could keep back, but would not, because it loved Him.
Is it to give glory to man, to say, that once he followed his own wisdom and leant on his own strength, and that then he was always wrong, and always wretched, but that he has at last learned to know the folly of his own wisdom, and the weakness of his own strength, and has believed God's assurance that He is the true guide and portion of man, and so has been persuaded to give up all confidence in himself or any creature, and to commit himself to the Lord, and that now he knows righteousness and peace? I ask, is this to give glory to man? Or, is it not rather a true description of the glory which God desires from man?
When we see the two natures, of flesh and spirit, so in every man that he may join himself to either of them, and thus become either reprobate or elect, we see the root of the doctrine of election. And when we see rightly the gift of Christ, we shall see that as He is the true light which lighteth every man, so also there is in Him a communication of life to every man.
For “ in him was life, and the life was the light of men;" and thus, the light which lighteth every man is a living light—a light whereby he may live.
And thus by the entrance of the word into our flesh, not only has God been brought near to us, as an object of trust and love, but also His living Spirit, the divine nature, has been communicated to us subjectively as a capacity of embracing God, whether we exercise it or not.
I do not mean that the divine nature is in a man to his profit, unless he joins himself to it; but there it is,—in him; “ The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” The man himself is no