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rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Matt. v. 48. Christ saith, be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect, i. e. for a man in our sphere, as perfect as God is for God in his sphere. Again, be ye holy, for I am holy. Again, the commantiment is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, body, mind, and strength, and our neighbour as ourself, &e. And blessed be God the promise is equal to the commandments; for God hath bound himself by a promise, Ezek. xxxvi. 25. then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean ; from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you, a new heart also will I give you, &c. Again, Plalm cxxx. 8. the promise is, that Israel shall be redeemed from her iniqui. ties: John viji. 12. Christ saith, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. And again, God hath promised by the hand of Moses, thus, 6 I will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord with all thy heart,” &c. and thy neighbour as thyself. And Paul speaking of the oath and promise of God, two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie. Now if God cannot lie, then he cannot do all things, especially that which is contrary to his nature: if so, then the above mentioned promises are equal to the commandments, and God is bound by the law of his nature to perform the same. This is the truth, and you cannot deny it.
Objec. David saith, “There is none righteous, no, not one." Answer. True, yet we read about righteous Abel, and Lot's righteous soul, (2 Pet. ii. 8. Matt. xxiii. 35.) Objec. Solomon saith, 6 there is no man that sinneth not."-Ans. True, but John saith, “ he that is born of God doth not commit sin." Objec. Paul saith, “I am
carnal, sold under sin ;" yet he was a saint. Ans. Paul addeth elsewhere, " that the carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to his law, neither indeed can be, and to be carnally minded is death.” Again, “ Christ came to save sinners, &c. of whom I am chief.” Now to take these expressions together just as they stand, you might prove that Paul was one of the worst of men, in the way to death, and at the same time one of the best apostles in the way to life. &c.Though Paul saith, I am carnal, sold under sin, yet it cannot be that he was speaking of himself, as a holy apostle; but was describing or rehearsing the language of one under the law, as you may see, Rom. vii. i. “ I speak to them that know the law," &c. but chap. viii. 1, 2. Paul saith, there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the fleshi, but after the Spirit, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death,” And now, if Paul was made free he could not be groaning under bondage at the same time, unless you can reconcile liberty and slavery together. Paul saith in one place, “ I robbed other churches." Now to take this passage just as it stands, you might prove that Paul was a robber; if so, would not the gorernment hang him if he was here, as they lang robbers, &c. .
And to take any particular passage you may prove almost any doctrine, if it be not taken in connexion with the context, or general tenor of scripture. But as the Bible in general deth not plead for sin, but condemneth it, commanding us to be holy in heart and life, &c. therefore we should not plead for sin as though we loved it, and rolled it under our tongue as a sweet morsel, but should be scripturians or Bible men; for Paul telleth the Romans, to whom some think Paul made al
lowance for a little sin, inferring it from the 7th chapter; but, by the by, they should remember that Paul talketh thus, “ being justified by faith, we have peace with God, chap. v. 1. vi. 18, 22. he saith, being made free from sin," &c. and being now made free from sin, &c. Well, says one, what next! Ans. Any person by reading the epistles of John may find a sufficiency of proof to convince any candid mind that the doctrine of Christian perfection in love, is a Bible doctrine. Query. How far can a man be perfect in this life?
Ans. A man may be a perfeet sinner by the help of Satan, D and you cannot deny it. Now if a man can be a perfect sinner, why not a perfect saint? Shall we not allow as much power to God to perfect his children in his own nature,
which is love, as the devil has power to perfect :his in sin ? &c. But, says one, answer the former
question, and likewise, who ever attained what you are talking about. Very well..I'll tell you ; I think a man cannot be perfect as God, except it be for men in our sphere, as God is for God in his sphere; for absolute perfection belongs to God alone; neither as perfect as angels or even Adum before he fell, because I feel the effect of Adam's fall; my body being mortal is a clog tomy soul, and frequently tends to weigh down my mind, which infirmity I do not expect to get rid of until my spirit returns to God; yet I do believe that it is the privilege of every saint, to drink in the spirit or nature of God; so far as to live without committing wilful, or known, or malicious sins against God, but to have love the ruling principle within; and what we say and do, to flow from that divine principle of love within, from a sense of duty, though subject to trials, temptations and mistakes at the same time; and a mistake in judgment may occasion a mistake in practice-I may
think a man more pious than he is, and put too much confidence in him, and thereby be brought into trouble. Now such a mistake as this and many other similar ones I might mention, you cannot term sin with propriety; for when Eldad and Medad prophesied in the camp, Joshua mistaking in his judgment, thinking they did wrong, occa. sioned a practical mistake, requesting Moses to stop them, &c. which was not granted. Observe, one sin shut Moses out of Canaan, of course one sin must have shut Joshua out; but as God said, « Joshua wholly followed him," and wholly pot being partly, and as he entered Canaan, from that circumstance, I argue that a mistake following from love is not imputed as a sin. Again, as we are informed, that Christ was tempted in all respects like as we are, Heb. iv. 15. yet without sin, and can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, &e. Again, as we are commanded, James i. 2. to count it all joy when we fall (not give way) into divers temptations. And if the devil, or wicked men, tempt me, and I rejeot and repel the temptation with all my heart, bow can it be said that I sin ? Am I to blame for the devil's conduct? I can no more prevent my thoughts than I can prevent the birds from flying over my head; but I can prevent them from making nests in my hair. . .
Some people expect purgatory to deliver them from sin; but this would, methinks, make discord in heaven. Others think that death will do it. If death will deliver one from the last of sin, why not two, why not all the world by the same rule ? So universalism will be true, and death have the praise, and Jesus Christ be out of the question! But death is not called a friend, but is styled an enemy, and it does not change the disposition of the mind. All that death does is to separate the soul from the body, therefore, as we must get rid of the last of sin, either here or kereafter, and as but few in America allow of purgatory, I sup. pose it must be here If so, then it is before the soul leaves the body,consequently it is in time, of course before death. Now the query arises how long first? Why, says one, perhaps a minute be. fore the soul leaves the body. Well, if a minute before, why not two minutes, or an hour; yea, a day, a week, a month, or a year, or even ten years before death or even now ?. Is there not power sufficient with God, or efficacy enough in the blood of Christ! Certainly the scripture saith, all things are now ready; now is the accepted time, and behold now (not to-morrow) is the day of sal. vation. To-day if you will hear his voice. Re. member now thy Creator in the days, &c. and there being no encouragement in the Bible for tomorrow, now is God's time, and you cannot deny it, &c. Observe examplesm-by faith Enoch walked with God (not with sin) three hundred years, and had the testimony that he pleased God
Gen. v. 22. Heb. xi. 5. Caleb and Joshua, wholly (not partly) followed the Lord-Numbers xxxii, 11, 12. Job likewise, God said was a perfect man, and you must not contradict him; and though Satan had as much power to kill Job's wife, as to destroy the other things; as all except Job's life was in his hands, but he thought he would spare her for an instrument, or a torment: Job i. 12, 22. and ii. 9, 10. David was a man after God's own heart, when feeding his father's sheep, not when he was committing adul. tery-1 Sam. xii. 14. and xvi. 7, 11.-2 Samuel Xüi. 13. Zacharias and Elizabeth were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments, &c. blameless-Luke i. 5. 6. Nathaniel was an Israelite indeed, in whom there was no guile, &c. John i. 47. John speaking of himself, and those to whom he wrote, “ herein is our love made perfect, and perfeet love casteth out fear."