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Grace and Reward

Grace and Reward

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Phil. n. 12.

Phil. n. 12.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 09, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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GRACE AD REWARDBY ALEXADER PEROSE FORBES, D.C.L.,Phil. n. 12."WOBK OUT TOUB OW SALVATIO WITH EBAB ADTBEMBUa, TOB IT IB GtOT> THAT WOBEBTH I TOUBOTH TO WILL AD TO DO OP HiB GOOD PEKASUBE."The recondliation of the two apparently con-trariant truths of the necessity and gratuitous-ness of the grace of Gk)D on the one hand^ andthe freedom of the will of man on the other^has been the aim of every school of theology^as well as the mental discipline of every sincereChristian soul. The maintainers of such extremeviews as have absolutely denied the existence of one or other of these truths have been compa-ratively few. They who have attributed most todivine agency have seldom pushed their truth sofar as to annihilate man's responsibility^ (eventhe Lutherans here emancipated themselves38 Grace and Reward.from the authority of Luther), while the mostself-reliant advocates of the human will havegenerally recognized some influence from above,some operation of the divine power, if not toenable the soul to work at all, at least torender its operation more easy, (as we find inthe case of Pelagius himself) . But within theseextremes, there lies on both sides sufficientfield for exceeding error. In the history of thehuman mind both truths have been so exclu-sively put forward, that the one has over-shadowed the other — a result which has alteredthe proportions of the faith, and produced acorresponding evil effect upon the practice andreligious life.On the one hand, undue predominance given
to the truth of the freedom of the human will,has led to a self-reliant spirit, most entirelyalien from the genius of the Gospel. It hasexhibited itself in a cold Socinian morality,and in a self-righteous Pharisaism. It hastended to lower the sense of man^s dependanceupon God. It has almost advocated '' an over-ruling of God on the part of man to impartsanctifying and saving grace,^'^ and thus struck a mighty blow to the chief motives of our loveto God, by diminishing the sense of gratitudedue to Him, Who to the rest of His great» Mohler.Grace and Reward. 39mercies^ adds this special one^ that it is Heand He alone Who orders our goings in Hispaths^ that so no unrighteousness may havedominion over us. It has opened the door tothe admission of the greatest of all sins^ spi*ritual pride, and has caused the very virtuesand gifts bestowed by God to become theactual snares of the Evil one, just as the ephod,hung up in the Israelitish judge's house, incommemoration of God's victories over theenemies of His people, became a snare anda scandal as an incentive to idolatry. This isthe infirmity of noble minds. It is the shoalon which the finest and highest natures are aptto make shipwreck. It is a long and a tediousdiscipline before such are broken down andconvinced of their own nothingness in them-selves. It takes many a trial and merciftdchastisement from God, before such as thesecan say, in deed and in truth, from the con-victions of their bruised hearts," othing in my hand I bring,Simply to Thy Cross I chng."On the other hand, undue predominancegiven to the thought of God's work within thesoul, has also its dangers : and here we must
speak cautiously, for it is a cardinal truth inreligion, that our whole salvation from first tolast is the work of God. In one sense, there-40 Grace and Reward.fore^ no predominance of the thought of thegrace of Ood can be undue^ seeing that ittranscends the aim of the highest angel toenumerate the ways^ or to estimate the strengthof the mighty powers brought by God to bearupon the soul of the humblest charity child;but the question is one of the proportion of faith. In stricter language^ then^ it would besafe to say^ that to the thought of what Goddoes for us^ we must never fail to associatewhat we have to do to Him^ and we mustnever for one moment suppose that any opera-tion of the grace of God can take one feather-weight oflP our responsibility, or remove a singlemotive from the necessity of watchfulness andof the performance of certain definite dutiesenjoined upon us by God Almighty. We mustnever suppose that by God^s grace there is anysuch over-ruling of man on His part as todo this or that.And yet there is one class of minds which isvery apt to reason practically, that becausesalvation depends entirely upon God, men neednot be so very particular. " Christ hath doneall for us,^' say they, and so they take theirease in this life. They avoid actual sin, butthey take no pains with their infirmities. Theylive on pleasant terms with the wicked world,which they have renounced in their baptism.Grace and Reward, 41They combat temptation if it openly assaultsthem^ but they never think of preparing againstor ranning irom the foe. They take so muchof religion as pleases and edifies themselves^

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