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Work Out Your Own Salvation.

Work Out Your Own Salvation.

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Published by glennpease
REV. THOMAS SOMERVILLE, A.M.,



''Work out your own salvation wllh fear and trembling

FOR it is God which worketh in you, both to will and

TO DO of His good pleasure. — Phil. U. 12, 13.
REV. THOMAS SOMERVILLE, A.M.,



''Work out your own salvation wllh fear and trembling

FOR it is God which worketh in you, both to will and

TO DO of His good pleasure. — Phil. U. 12, 13.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 16, 2013
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WORK OUT YOUR OW SALVATIO.REV. THOMAS SOMERVILLE, A.M.,''Work out your own salvation wllh fear and tremblingFOR it is God which worketh in you, both to will andTO DO of His good pleasure. — Phil. U. 12, 13.This passage affirms the union of the Divine and humanagencies in the work of sah'ation, and varied are ihe difficul-ties which have been gathered around it. Controversialtheology has found in this a favourite field ; and many, tiredof controversy, have found expression of their belief on thispoint in the words of Dr. Johnson, when questioned on thedoctrine of necessity — " All theory is for it ; all experienceagainst it ; we reason that we are bound by necessity ; wefeel that we are free."The subject has not only severed friends, but rentchurches asunder. Wesley and Whitfield, after many yearsof peaceful intercourse, differed so much about it that theypreached publicly against each other, and divided theirfollowers into the two branches of Calvinistic and WesleyanMethodists. In 1618 the Synod of Holland met in Dort forthe final determination of this doctrine. It occupied theirdeliberations for months, and when Arminius and his dis-ciples were excommunicated, it almost led to a civil war. InScotland it has led to various schisms, and received moreimportance than it really deserves. Instead of receivingboth — God's sovereignty and man's free agency — as they are36 WORK OUT YOUR OW SALVATIO.
 
presented together in His Word, different parties haveseized upon one or the other and placed them in opposition ;the one wresting God's sceptre from His hand, lest manshould seem a slave; the other binding man with an ironfetter, lest God should not seem a sovereign ; and thus thestrength of Christian thought has been wasted. Godpresents them both as truths, and as harmonious truths,both being part of the one great unity of truth ; but man,unsatisfied, seeks to reconcile them in his own mind, steeringaway from the plain paths into the dizzy heights of profitlessspeculation, and there flutters*' Like adventurous bird, that hath outflownIts strength upon the sea — ambition wrecked — A thing the thrush might pity as she sitsBrooding in quiet upon her lowly nest."ow, this passage is not given by the Apostle as the basis-of controversy, but as an encouragement to work. "Work,"says the Apostle, "for it is God which worketh in you."We find analogies to this in nature. Man is a worker inother fields, just because God's laws bind him and all things-around him. Without God he cannot turn himself to anygood work. Because God's winds blow, he spreads hiscanvas to the breeze. Because God's planets revolve inundeviating constancy, he sows in spring and reaps inautumn. Take a case in mechanics, as perhaps the mostsimple. A man sets himself to the construction of a ship ora house. He first conceives its plan or form. The mindwhich conceives it is a ray of the Eternal ; the faculties of imagination, abstraction, memory, and judgment are allderivations from the Supreme Intelligence. In gatheringhis materials, he again draws from the stores of the Almighty-All through the ages God has been preparing these. Fireand flood have burst forth to melt and mould them. He
 
WORK OUT YOUR OW SALVATIO. 37thus reaps the result of agencies at work long before hecame into conscious existence. In transporting the materialshe takes advantage of the winds and waves that are theswift messengers of the Almighty. He raises them to theirplaces by machines that do not create power, but merelytransmit and direct it. In all this he is aided by laws, of which he knows little more than that they serve his purpose.Trusting himself to God's laws, he yet acts freely. Heworks, yet God meets him at every turn. He builds, yet itis God which buildeth in him. The great act of creation isso far renewed through the instrumentality of man made inthe image of God. In like manner the disciple, in lovingand trusting and doing good, is bound by moral laws andaided by them, as the builder is bound by laws in mechanics.and aided by them. The influences which regeneratehuman nature and renew our earth-bound souls are of God.It is God working in us to will and to do. It is working just because God has given us power to work, the materialsto work with, the motives to work, the laws by which wework ; nay, the very joy of our work is part of the joy of God. We perceive God's agencies everywhere, as well as inthe soul of man. We readily acknowledge these agencies of God in perfecting the produce of the field, which to-day isand to-morrow passes away; and how much more is suchagency required to unfold and educate the moral life whichnever dies. We may call it in the one case a process of nature; in the other, an operation of the Spirit. "Thereare diversities of operations; but it is the same God thatworketh all in all."We have seen in an orrery one motion carrying all theparts around a central sun, whilst within there were manyseparate motions. Here the globe, representing the earth,moving in one direction ; there is Jupiter, revolving from

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