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class-meeting, and to whose instructions he was afterwards greatly indebted, was the Rev. John James. These two and Dr. Clarke, and a member who had been the most intimate of his “class" companions, all died within a few weeks of each other, - & coincidence which deeply affected him.
Earnestness of spirit, resoluteness of will, energy of character, were all elements of Mr. Edwards' original nature; and when " the powers of the world to come” laid hold on his heart, they directed and sanctified them all, enduing him with rightness of motive, and engaging his whole service for God. He unhesi. tatingly testified for his Saviour everywhere, and held forth the righteousness as well as the grace of the Gospel. Arrangements having been made, soon after the termination of his apprenticeship, for his entering into business on his own account, he proceeded to make the requisite preparations with the full purpose of glorifying God in all things. At that time the fiscal customs were oppressive, temptations to smuggling numerous and strong, and commercial morality generally so low that trading with uncustomed goods had become almost universal. On this understanding were the principal profits calculated ; and men excused themselves by saying, “ They must live." But Mr. Edwards' soul could not live, and do this; and he resolved to be an honest tradesman in the fear of God, “ rendering unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and unto God the things that are God's." On the eve of opening his establishment he made a close inspection of the premises and fittings, and was soon surprised by the discovery of a departuro from his plans, and still more by the explanation from the principal person he had engaged to execute them,-that it had been done under his instructions, and in order to the safe transaction of the illegal usages of the trade. He immediately repudiated the act, and ordered a return to the original plan, declaring that, whatever might be the cost, he would never violate his conscience by the wages of unrighteousness; and on this principle he acted, a witness of the righteousness inculcated by the Gospel, and ready to suffer for it to his temporal damage. A year's experience made known to him that, as things then were, it would not "pay;" and so the business was honourably resigned, his liabilities discharged, and he went forth with his conscience unscathed and his heart all the better for the discipline. A wealthy firm, in which honour reigned, and the members of which stood high in Liverpool Methodism, had witnessed the high-toned principle of the young man, and at once offered him a place in their establishmont, which he gladly accepted, and in which he remained until a higher vocation claimed him.
IIe entered the ministry in 1808, and continued in its full work
until the Conference of 1852. In 1825 he succeeded the Rev. Valentine Ward in the office of Superintendent of the Irish Schools; and for five years, as the Minutes of the several Conferences testify, fulfilled his duties “ with eminent faithfulness, uniting the wisdom of experience with active zeal and steady perseverance," abounding in labours, and “endearing" himself to all concerned by the parental” character of his attention to the schools, and by his " fidelity and wisdom,” calling forth an eulogium declaring him to have been to the Irish ministers “ a brother, a fellow-labourer, and a blessing.” What he witnessed of the arduous nature of the work of his Irish brethren, and of the noble spirit of endurance and of self-denying zeal which they almost universally showed, excited his admiration, and was ever after the subject of high praise. On his return to England he succeeded the Rev. George Morley as resident secretary to the Wesleyan Missionary Society, and occupied the then well-known house and office, “77, Hatton Garden.” Mission-House work, however, was not suited to him; and at the end of a year, at his own request, he was appointed to a Circuit; and returning to this more congenial sphere, he entered on a course of indefatigable industry, uncompromising fidelity, and loving zeal.
The few memoranda relating to himself which he has left indi. cate a deep and whole-hearted religiousness,-an unceasing aim at rightness of principle and life as before God and man, and at faithfulness and usefulness in his ministerial work. For several years he fasted once a week, consecrating the day to special devotional exercises. It was truly a means of grace to him. When about engaging a servant, soon after his marriage, he makes the following entry :-“Began to feel the obligation we are laid under to give ourselves to prayer, and to feel for the girl's salvation." He frequently refers to his struggles with his inner nature, and his endeavours to altogether lay aside his besetting sin, and every other evil within him. On December 31st, 1810, he writes, “May I possess a greater degree of zeal and love! May my perseverance to the end be marked with more self-denial, circum. spection, and watchfulness ; so that I may finish my course with joy, die well, and reign with God through a glorious eternity! Now, Lord, again wash me in Thy atoning blood, and seal me by Thy Spirit unto the day of eternal redemption.” February 8th, 1837. - Disturbed "--by the unkindness of others : " when in prayer, called to mind the turning of Job's captivity, and his praying for his friends. Determined I would pray for — My mind, I thought, greatly relieved.” May 6th, 1837, having been annoyed by the offensive conduct of another, and having spoken warmly to him, he says, “ Was sorry that I should have felt so much, and
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perhaps espressed myself too warmly; but I humbled myself before the Lord, and determined by the grace of God to get the victory. Lord, let me not forget my vows.” January 1st, 1858.“Preached last evening at · Wesley,' and closed the old year and commenced the new in a comfortable state of mind. Renewed my covenant with God. O, how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day. At this time I begin to be very sensible of the decay of my natural powers,—memory, hearing, sight, etc.; but more assured that I have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. The word of God is more precious than ever, 'sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.'” 1861.“ Began my old plan of reading the Scriptures, four chapters each day. Directed and encouraged by the following passages :-I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified;' Whatsoever is not of faith is sin ;' • There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass ; ' . For me to live is Christ.' Also, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God;' Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you;' • Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.'”
The regard for truth and righteousness tested and found strong at the beginning continued in power within him, and became “stronger and stronger.” Convinced that the great object of proclaiming and hearing all Gospel truth is righteousness and goodness, he sought to ever experience the Christian life in himself, and to persuade and exhort all others to the same. He abhorred untruthfulness, unfairness, and meanness in any one, but especially in the professor of religion ; and high was his indignation, and severe his rebuke, wherever he discovered it. Accustomed in his youth to the exercise of self-denying charity, he continued to give ungrudgingly, and was still found devising liberal things for the benefit of others when his last sickness seized him. That sickness was a prolonged one. It was a gradual decay of nature, which brought down the physical and the mental powers together. In the course of it he read the Bible very frequently, saying that “the Word of God was more precious to him than ever; and that he was treasuring it up before his sight should fail, that he might have it within him, and meditate on it day and night." To Ireland his mind frequently wandered, and he spoke of it in language of loving and earnest interest. To an aged friend he answered the inquiry, “Is all well ?” by replying, “ It is well; it is well ; God is my salvation !" On his last day he was in the spirit of prayer, and frequently said, “ May my last end be peace.” The word "children” was heard, as if he was interceding for the salvation of his family. And with this spirit of grace and suppli. cations on him, he passed away to the perfected bliss and righteousness of heaven,-to the holy redeeming God to whom he had dedicated, and for whose glory he had spent, his regenerated life. He died in Walsall, Monday, October 12th, 1868,
THE CHRISTIAN LIBERTY ACHIEVED:
OR, THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE MAKING FREE FROM THE LAW
OF SIN AND DEATH. AN EXPOSITION OF ROMANS VIII. 1-4.
* There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, [who walk not after the flesh, 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. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
It is manifest that the " therefore now” (āpa vùv) of the text does not introduce an inference from the immediately preceding argument, -which would not warrant any such conclusion,-but one grounded on the previously affirmed effectiveness of the Gospel to accom. plish that for believers which the law never could accomplish for its hearers. The justifying ground of this discharge from condemnation had been set forth in the third chapter. (Verses 21–26.) The principle upon which it proceeds had been illustrated in the fifth chapter. (Verses 12-21.) The persons to whom it is extended, and the new life of which they become the participators, had been specified in the sixth chapter. (Verses 1-11.) The reason why the law could not accomplish for its hearers that which this new life in Christ does achieve for believers, had been stated in the assurance that "sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Rom. vi. 14.) The impotence of the law to liberate from sin, which had been stated in the fifth verse of the seventh chapter, had supplied the theme for illustration down to the end of that chapter; and the power of the Gospel to effect this very thing, which had been distinctly stated in a parallel proposition in the sixth verse, and with an eye to which the Apostle had penned the joyful exclamation, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord," (verse 25,) is now resumed in the statement that “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus."
It may be well also to note that the “ for" (rap) of the second verse does not direct attention to that which is the ground of the believer's freedom from condemnation, as some have supposed, but the proof. The fact that Jesus had been raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, was in proof that He had com. pletely expiated sin, and been fully “justified" from it; (Rom. iv. 25; vi. 7;) and the fact that we also have been raised up from the death of sin by His quickening Spirit is equally in proof that we have been fully justified in Him. If the condemnation had remained, the regenerating Spirit could not have come. But the regenerating Spirit has come; therefore, it is clear, the condemnation has been removed. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus: for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
Let us notice, more particularly,
I. This law of sin and death from the power of which Christian believers obtain deliverance in Christ.
It will be observed that the Apostle does not speak of two laws, one of sin, and another of death, but of the one law of sin and death. Not that the two things are one, but that the one “ law" pervades them both, and binds them together by a naturally invincible bond. By the one man “sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” (Rom. v. 12.) “The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezek. xviii. 4.) - Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death," (James i. 15.) “Sin hath reigned unto death." (Rom. v. 21;) and by death is its dark dominion sustained. (Eph. ii. 1-5; iv. 17-19.) The one law, which pertains equally to both, is that of mutual perpetuation : & law which renders it for ever impossible that the sinner can of himself so recede from his fallen position as to regain the possession of innocence and peace; and which evermore impels him onwards and downwards in the fearful descending circle of transgression and punishment. It is a law such as that neither sin nor death can ever terminate it, or transform either its fellow or itself; and under the power of which fallen man, if no aid from without be afforded him, must be an everlasting sinner, enduring everlasting punishment, or death.
For, let it be remembered, that a man in the very act of sinning dies; or, being already dead, plunges into a still deeper death. It is true indeed that our first parents did not die, as to their bodies, in the day they sinned, and that they did not then
• Alford, Hodge, and others. "
7 Or rather, in death, to Cavita. Death is not simply a dark, destructive shadow which closely follows in the track of sin, but the terrible atmosphere in which it for ever moves, and by which its fearful power is sustained.