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merely earthly, but heavenly artillery? Or, in the words of David to Goliath, may we not say, “thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied ?"
All this is the more necessary to be noticed, and guarded against, as not only Members, but Office-bearers of the Church have been heard saying, “The Gospel! what has the Gospel done, or what can the Gospel do, for intemperance ?” and also adding, “the old way
has been long enough tried, and has not done for the Church and the world what it ought to have done;" “ the Gospel remedy is weak and fictitious; if we trust to it, we may give up in despair;" “ without the pledge there can be no moral reformation.” Bad as all this is, as implying that the word of God, preceptively as well as doctrinally, is defective, how much worse is it, on the part of a Minister of Christ, to declare, in the most public manner, that “the Gospel can neither cure, nor prevent, intemperance; that it has no more to do with the curing of intemperance in a bodily sense, than it has to do with the curing of fevers; and that it is neither fitted nor designed to form a cure for the bodily habit, or disease of intemperance."* How libellous are these statements upon Christianity as a system of morals, as well as upon
power of its Divine Author ! How contradictory are they to such precepts of Scripture as these, “mortify the deeds of the body; crucify the flesh, with the lusts thereof; put off the old man, or old nature, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and put on the new man, or new nature, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness ?' ” How contrary, even to the nature of “the pledge," as a moral means, for the suppression of drunkenness, which is a composite evil, partly moral and partly physical ? How opposed, likewise, to the experience of all “that are Christ's," who, without the aid of any instrumentality of human device, are enabled to “crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts ;” and consequently, not merely drunkenness, but all “the lusts of the flesh ?” How improper, therefore, and unbecoming, and dishonouring, is it, in any, to attempt to exalt a human pledge above the preceptive part of the divine word, or to
* These were the ipsissima verba of a Minister of the Established Church, when preaching in Glasgow City Hall, on the evening of Sabbath, September 10, 1854. If they were not, I'll most willingly retract the same, and apologize.
ignore that part of the word in so important a sense!
For such reasons, as well as because “ the taking of the pledge” is known to have been substituted for Church discipline, is it not imperative upon all who name the name of Christ not only “not to be conformed to the world” in its drunkenness, in its drinking customs, in its drink-making, and drink-selling pursuits, but also to “hold forth,” as well as to “hold fast," the means of divine appointment as the only true means for subduing the bodily craving for intoxicating drink, and for curing the sin of drunkenness, as well as all other sins ? Should we not act so, for the honour of that Saviour in whom we believe; of that religion of which he is the Author; and of the Church of which we are members; as well as for our own true welfare, and that of others, bodily and temporally, spiritually and externally ? For, unlike the best of moral means of a human nature, as well as the most stringent civil enactments, is it not undeniable that divine means alone can eradicate the strongest physical appetite, as well as the most intense spiritual desire, for intoxicating drink; and also excite an abhorrence of every thing like drunkenness, or what leads to it?
SUFFICIENCY OF THE DIVINE PLAN,
PRECEPTIVELY AND OTHERWISE.
In opposition, therefore, to all such opinions as those alluded to above, the glorious doctrines of the word of God, and especially the grand doctrine of “Christ crucified,” must be held forth in private and in public, more fully, if possible, than ever. For, did not Christ “bear our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins”. sins of every kind, both great and small “should live unto righteousness ?” Accordingly, if we could become truly dead to any sin by human or created means, would not Christ have died in vain ? Did he not, also, “give himself for our sins, to deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God, and our Father;" and, consequently, not merely from some, but from all the evils, and evil customs, that are in the world? Thus, too, we must guard against the infidel dogma of one of the so called grandees of the world, that “ Christianity has become obsolete and effete, and that the great Apostle, in glorying solely in the cross of Christ, assumed too much."
Faith, also, in the word as the divine record, and particularly in the cross of Christ, must still be held forth as the internal instrument on our part, by which, through the operation of the Spirit, the great moral as well as spiritual ends contemplated by Christ's death can alone be accomplished. For, as to every sin which besets us in the world, does not the Apostle John declare, “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith ;” and again ask, “who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God ?"-clearly implying, that without faith in our blessed Saviour, no true victory can be obtained over the snares and seductions, any more than over the troubles and trials, of the world; but that, by faith in him, a perfect victory may be achieved in these and in all other moral and spiritual senses.
The precepts, likewise, of the word, as being exactly adapted to our circumstances at all times, must be held forth, far more prominently than ever, as the external means in the hands of the Spirit, by which alone believers can be truly preserved from drunkenness, and from every other vice, and constrained to the practice of