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PROGRESSIVE HOLINESS.

PROGRESSIVE HOLINESS.

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Published by glennpease

'' But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith,

pray-
ing in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for
the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." JUDE 20, 21.


'' But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith,

pray-
ing in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for
the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." JUDE 20, 21.

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 02, 2013
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PROGRESSIVE HOLINESS.
BY EDWARD GARBETT, M.A.,'' But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, pray-ing in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking forthe mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." JUDE 20, 21.THE mode in which warning is mixed up with- promise in the word, and the revelation of God'struth and justice blended with that of His tendernessand love, ought to excite our warmest praise andadoration. We shall much mistake the fact, if wesuppose that these severer parts of the Divine cha-racter are intended for the unbeliever alone, or merelyto arouse, by the terror of the Lord, the slumberingconscience from its dangerous repose. They do work these effects, indeed, but they are likewise neededfor us all, and are closely united to the sweetest joysand most assured peace of the devout saint of Christ.The revelation of them is needed to complete ourknowledge of the character of God, and to set Himbefore the soul in all the perfections of His Divinenature. For this purpose we must see Him as He is,not in one alone, but in all His attributes. It is mostcertain that if God were such as the world woulddescribe Him to be, all tenderness alone without anyother qualities, it would be impossible for the soul topay Him either reverence or love.Measure this, as we can more easily do, in regard306 THE SOUL'S LIFE.to one of our fellow-men. Suppose a man, whosecharacter consisted of yielding gentleness alone, in-capable of forming an independent will or of adheringto that will ; unable to feel indignation against whatis wrong, or to distinguish in his mode of treatmentbetween good and evil; but exercising to all alike,and under all circumstances, the same undistinguish-ing good- will ; and would not such a character appearto us as a mass of weakness, which we should despiseand scorn ? Yet just such we should suppose God tobe, if we describe Him as all love and mercy, andtake away from Him His holiness, truth, and justice.Such a God we could not reverence, and withoutreverence we could not love. The knowledge of theseverer parts of God's character is, therefore, neededto illustrate to us by contrast the glorious beauty of the rest, and to present His kindness, not merely asan unalterable habitude of the Divine mind, but as afree exercise of His will.
 
This knowledge is further needed to enable thebeliever to estimate the danger in which he stoodbefore converting grace rescued him; the heinous-ness of his sin in the sight of God, and the weight of indignation righteously due to it. Without this, weshall not measure half the grateful love we owe toChrist for the salvation purchased by His intolerablesufferings and death. We shall gain no insight with-out it into the nature of these sufferings, and intothe reason why they were necessary, before Godcould "be just, and yet the justifier of him whichbelieveth in Jesus." Here are two twin wonderswhich claim our adoration ; the wonder of the lovewhich gave the Son to die for us, and the wonder of PEOGEESSIVE HOLINESS. 307the justice which did not spare that Son one pang, asHe hung upon the cross the voluntary representativeof human guilt.It is further needed to excite in the soul a holyvigilance, that it may make " its calling and electionsure/' and walk worthily of the inheritance to whichit is called. Not to drive God from us, or to grievethat " Holy Spirit whereby we are sealed unto theday of redemption/' is the great ruling object of thebelieving heart. Our estimate of duty will rise orsink according to our estimate of Him to whom it isto be paid. An increasing sense of the justice andholiness of God will be seen in a stricter watch, anda more sensitive jealousy over ourselves and the world.And thus the very attributes of truth and justice inGod are connected, link by link, with the sweetesthopes of the soul, and do but make His grace moregracious, and His love more lovely.Thus it is that St. Jude argues in this short, butstirring Epistle. He first sets before the believer afearful warning against carnal confidence, and warnshim that no height of outward privilege can screenthe guilty soul from God's searching severity. Letus not trust in our knowledge of His will, nor in thegreatness of our calling, to keep us safe ; but in Himwho is as gracious to sustain as He is powerful topunish. Let none say, " I am a Christian, and surelyGod, who has given me so much, will not cast me off after all." If thou lovest Him, Ho will not ; but if thou dost not love Him, be sure that thy privilegeswill not save thee. Think of the angels, beingshigher and mightier than thou art, who once stoodnear the throne as the radiant messengers of heaven.x2
 
308 THE SOUL'S LIFE.Yet, great as they were, God spared them not whenthey sinned, but smote them headlong down to hell,and there reserves them ' ' in everlasting chains underdarkness unto the judgment of the great day." Think of the armies of His ransomed people, whom Godbrought out of Egypt with a mighty hand and witha stretched-out arm, working in their behalf signsand wonders upon Pharaoh and all his host. Yetwhen these men sinned, He afterwards destroyedthem that believed not ; and their bones were whiten-ing in the wilderness, and another generation hadentered into their place, before the promised inherit-ance was reached. Think of Sodom and Gomorrha,and the cities about them in like manner, large andpopulous, rich and powerful. Yet in the day of Hisanger the Lord smote them for their sin, and hath" set them forth for an example, suffering the ven-geance of eternal fire." If God spared not these,why should He spare us " if we sin after the sameexample of unbelief "?Such is the warning which the conscience drawsat once, but it is not all which St. Jude derives fromit. No ; he uses these instances of Divine wrath butas the background of his argument, to throw intothe greater prominence the beauty of the love of Godand the excellency of the believer's hope. Howstriking is the change in the persons addressed, whenturning from God's wrath towards the wicked henow describes the progress of the believer's innerlife and the effectual strength on which he rests." But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on yourmost holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keepPROGRESSIVE HOLINESS. 309yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercyof our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."These words present to -us,I. The thing to be done, " Keep yourselves in thelove of God."II. The means to be used, "Building up your-selves on your most holy faith, praying in the HolyGhost."III. The result to be expected, " Looking for themercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."I. Consider the thing to be done. The text calls

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