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CONVERSATIONS AT THE CARLTON HOUSE-No. XV.
ROMANS VIII., 1-17. “There is, thei), no condemnation, now, to those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of Life by Christ Jesus, has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For what the law could not accomplish in that it was weak through the fush, God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful fiesh, accomplished; and by an offering for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled by us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Now, they who live according to the flesh, mind the things of the flesh; and they who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. But the mind of the flesh is death; and the mind of the Spirit is life and peace: because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; sor, to the law of God it is not subject, neither indeed can be. Those, then, who are in the flesh, cannot please God. Now, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit; because the Spirit of God dwells in you. But, if any one have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body, indeed, is dead, with respect to sin; but the Spirit is life, with respect to righteousness. For, if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you, he who raised up Christ from the dead will make even your mortal bodies alive, through his Spirit who dwells in you. Well, then, brethren, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. Wherefore, if you live according to the flesh, you shall die; but if, through the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. Because, as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage, again, to fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption, by which we cry, Abba, Father. Also the Spirit itself bears witness, together with our spirit, that we are children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs, indeed, of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if, indeed, we suffer with him, that with him, also, we may be glorified.”
Olympas.--There is more force and directness in reading the first verse of this chapter, as Prof. Stuart renders it, than in any version of it that we have considered. It naturally connects with the thanks of deliverance from condemnation, expressed in the conclusion of the seventh chapter. " I thank Gød, through Jesus Christ," I am “delivered from this body of death,” or “this body that causeth death.” Consequently, “Now there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus;" or, as he renders it, “But now there is no condemnation” to such. The following clause is, most probably, spurious. It is repudiated by our best critics. It appears to have been taken out of the fourth verse, where it is properly found. What think you, Aquila ?
Aquila.—The clause to which you allude is, “Who'walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” It appears to me, that if we read this clause in the first verse, it would make our justification from SERIES IV.--VOL. I.
sin, or freedom from condemnation, depend upon our not simply being in Christ, but upon our manner of life, or conjointly on both; sup. posing that a man might be in Christ, and yet not walk according to the Spirit. And this would contradict the apostle in another passage, which affirms, that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature."
I, therefore, concur with Knapp, Mil}, and Griesbach, i:a regarding it as an interpolation.
Olympas.-So I conclude. But as the children present are not much interested in our criticisms, we shall look at this passage rather practically than critically. It is a joyful conelusion to which our apostle leads us, after his exclamation in the preceding chapter. There, in one view of himself, he exclaims, “O wretched man that I am;" while, in this view of the gospel, he exclaims, “ I thank God I am delivered by it from condemnation ; for in Christ there is, to me, now no condemnation;" the new law of grace, or of the “Spirit of Life,” by the interposition of Christ, has freed me from condemnation.
Aquila.—What cause of exultation in Christ, in this view of the subject! For since the law could not justify any man, because of its weakness in the case of sin, none but the innocent and unoffend. ing being capable of legal justification, God, by the mission of his Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, becoming one of us in nature, only without sin, and yet making himself a sin-offering for us, condemned sin, dethroning it and divesting it of all power to condemn the believing sinner, relying upon Christ's oblation, or sin-offering for us, to free us forever from its curse.
But, may I ask you in return, Should we understand the apostle as stating that the righteousness of the law is to be fulfilled by us, or only in us?
Olympas.- If only in us, it would indicate simply a conformity of our spirit to him; but if by us, it would be equivalent to our being 90 renewed as in the inner man doing, in our aims and volitions, the things which the law requires. In the latter view, the new man virtually does the things which the law requires; though through the weakness of the flesh, or old man, he does them not. If, as our Lord taught, a man may commit a crime bý cherishing an im. pure desire, or a sinful passion, why should it be thought strange that by cherishing a pure desire, or a good intention, he may be regarded as performing that act of righteousness or of holiness, which the law demands. I, therefore, prefer, of the two meanings of the Greek preposition in and by, the latter to the former, as being not only true in itself, but necessary to the context, as the sequel
may show; for the apostle immediately adds, Who walk not after, or according to, the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Aquila.-To this agrees the description following: “ They who live according to the Spirit, mind the things of the Spirit;" just as they who live according to the flesh, or old man, mind the things of the flesh.
Olympas.-What think you, Bro. Clement, is indicated by the “mind of the flesh,” and “the mind of the Spirit?"
Clement.--Mind, in this connexion, as it seems to me, must inti. mate what we call minding, or bent of the mind; that is, the minding of the flesh is equivalent to the carnal mind, and terminates in death; while the minding of the Spirit, terminates in life and peace. To this the apostle, as a reason, adds, “ Because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God," and cannot be otherwise.
Aquila.--The inference, then, is, the fleshly mind, or the minding of the flesh, yielding to the impulses of our animal and fallen nature, is enmily, hatred, or rebellion against God, and never can be otherwise than opposed to him.
Olympas.--Yes; and the fearful consequence is, that “they who are in," or under the flesh, “cannot please God.”
Clement.--Consequently, the phrase, “ being in the flesh,” does not simply mean being in the body, but being under the influence of its passions and lusts.
Olympas.-And is it not, therefore, a fearful thing to allow ourself to be under the dictation or control of the flesh, or old man! Christians, thank God, are not in the flesh, (though in the body,) but in the Spirit, or under its influence; and the reason of all this is, that the Spirit of God dwells in them. Again: the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ; hence the inference of its equality in nature, both to the Father and to the Son.
Aquila.--And hence, also, the inference, that the Spirit of God truly dwells or resides in the Christian man, as in a le. Hence, Christians are exhorted so to walk as not to “grieve the Holy Spirit,” by which they are sealed to the day of redemption.
Clement.--Of this fact we find a beautiful illustration and evidence in the fact, that when the Jewish tabernacle was reared and consecrated to God, the glory of the Lord, sensible and visible, filled that ancient and venerable type of the Church of Christ, in this present wilderness of sin. And to this effect the promise is, “I will dwell among them, and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be to me a people."
Olympas.-S. Paul quotes a Jewish oracle--2 Cor. vi. 16; and
to the same effect says here, “ Now you, Romans, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, because the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any one have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
Clement.-What stronger proof of the personality and divinity of the Holy Guest, or Holy Spirit, than this interchange of the Spirit of God with the Spirit of Christ !
Olympas.--And what stronger incidental proof that Christ and the Holy Spirit are equally divine; since the apostle immediately adds, in the same breath, “And if Christ be in you,” as must be the case if the Holy Spirit be in you, according to the argument.
James read this passage again, marking emphatically, with your voice, the indications of this great truth. I mean the interchange, or substitution, of " Christ,” “the Spirit of Christ,” and the “Spirit of God," for one another.
James. Which verses?
James." Now, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, because the SPIRIT OF God dwells in you; but if any one have not the SPIRIT OF CHRIST, he is none of his; and if CHRIST be in you, the body is, indeed, dead with respect to sin, but the spirit is life, with respect to righteousness.”
Olympas.--You did well not to emphasize the term spirit, in the clause which uses it in antithesis with the body, inasmuch as the spirit there is the human, and not the divine spirit. By whom, Susan, is the resurrection from the dead to be effected? Susan.--By God. It is God who will raise the dead.
Olympas.- True. But in what personality? In his own proper person, or in the person of his Son?
Clement.--That question is too deep for Susan. It is but lately that I, myself, thought upon the subject.
Olympas.--And, Bro. Clement, what have you thought upon this subject ?
Clement.--It was forcibly impressed upon my mind, when, not long since, reading the history of man's original creation with the fact, that the Spirit of God was the immediate agent in inspiring man with spiritual life. We would infer this from the 2d chapter of Genesis. God created the heavens and the earth--the Spirit af God moved upon the face of the waters. So God wrought by his Spirit in the drama of creation. An older than Moses has said, " The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty has given me life.” Job uses the sublime name Almighty, more frequently than all the inspired men of both Testaments. He drew
nothing from Moses; for of him he knew nothing at all. He alludes not to the Exodus of Israel, and, in recounting the works and the ways of the Almighty, he would, had he heard of it, certainly have alluded to it, living, as he did, in Idumea. Nor does he even allude to the judgments on Sodom and Gomorrah; all of which would have suited the design and the contents of his book.
But even Moses represents a special agency, in animating Adam. “He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," after he had raised his body out of the dust of the ground. And here the apostle assigns to the Holy Spirit the re-animation of the dead; even the self-same Spirit that dwells in the Christian temple; the “habitation of God through the Spirit,” will be the immediate agent in raising the dead at the commencement of the new creation. God will again say, “Let there be light,” and light shall break forth out of the darkness of the grave. The Holy Spirit that now dwells in the Christian's heart, his true and only earthly sanctuary, will raise to lise again the fallen tabernacles of his saints. This Paul here
“God,” says he, “who raised up Jésus from the dead, shall make alive your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwells in you.
Olympas.--We thank you for these beautiful and refreshing reminiscences. They are as the dew of God's grace upon Israel, according to the Spirit. We may, then, conclude this lesson with the reflections which occurred to our apostle from this point, from this Mount Pisgah, which so beautifully overlooks the promised land. “Well, then, brethren,” says he, "we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh”—the animal promptings of our fallen humanity. For if refusing to be led by the Spirit, and following the bent of the flesh in all its deflections from the standard of Christian holiness, he assures us, though on the way to Canaan, we shall die in the wilderness of sin, and never reach the Holy Land. But if, through the Spirit, we mortify and subdue the flesh, we shall live in the presence of God, and enjoy the eternal sunshine of his love.
Aquila.--Theorists of all schools have occasionally to make a strong, or an ungenerous effort, to harmonize their systems, their perpendicular and rectangular theories, with the oracles of God and the patterns of things sent down from heaven. There is none of that systematic stiffness in Paul, none of that squaring and plumbing on the part of the great apostle to the Gentiles. He, therefore, speaks as one that had a mature and infallible mind, and assures the Roman church that, with all their prosessed zeal and devotion, if they would live after the flesh they should die; but if they would SERIES IV.-VOL. I.