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quirements. During this course, however, I got little satisfaction, and felt no repose. I remember that somewhere about the year 1811, I had Wilberforce's View put into my hands, and, as I got on in reading it, felt myself on the eve of a great revolution in all my opinions about Christianity. I am now most thoroughly of opinion, and it is an opinion founded on experience, that on the system of-Do this and live, no peace, and even no true and worthy obedience, can ever be attained. It is, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. When this belief enters the heart, joy and confidence enter along with it. The righteousness which we try to work out for ourselves eludes our impotent grasp, and never can a soul arrive at true or permanent rest in the pursuit of this object. The righteousness which, by faith, we put on, secures our acceptance with God, and secures our interest in His promises, and gives us a part in those sanctifying influences by which we are enabled to do with aid from on high what we never can do without it. We look to God in a new light—we see Him as a reconciled Father; that love to Him which terror scares away re-enters the heart, and, with a new principle and a new power, we become new creatures in Jesus Christ our Lord."
"ST. ANDREWs, June 9, 1825.
"MY DEAR ALEXANDER,-When I meet with an inquirer, (and I have met with many such,) who, under the impulse of a new feeling, has set himself in good earnest to the business of his eternity, I have been very much in the habit of recommending Wilberforce. This perhaps is owing to the circumstance, that I myself, now about fifteen years ago, experienced a very great transition of sentiment in consequence of reading his work. The deep views he gives of the depravity of our nature, of our need of an atonement, of the great doctrine of acceptance through that atonement, of the sanctifying in
fluences of the Spirit,-these all give a new aspect to a man's religion; and I am sure that, in as far as they are really and honestly proceeded upon, they will give a new direction to his habits and his history. But there are other books which might be as effectually instrumental in working the desirable change; and, in defect of them all, there is the Bible, whose doctrines I well remember I then saw in an altogether new light, and could feel a power and a preciousness in passages which I formerly read with heedlessness, and even with disgust. I do think that, without disparagement to human authorship, which in many instances is in the highest degree helpful to the inquirer, still the main road to light and comfort, and a solid establishment in the way that leadeth to life everlasting, is the reading of the Scriptures, with prayer."
The critical condition of the reader lent power to Mr. Wilberforce's volume. A prolonged but abortive effort had prepared Mr. Chalmers to welcome the truth of a gratuitous justification before God through the merits of Christ. For upwards of a year he had striven with all his might to meet the high requirements of the Divine law; but that law rose in its demands as he rose in his endeavours, and, continuing our narrative here in his own descriptive words, "it still kept ahead of him with a kind of overmatching superiority to all his efforts. His attempt to scale the heights of perfection, to quell the remonstrances of a challenging and not yet appeased commandment, was like the laborious ascent of him who, having so wasted his strength that he can do no more, finds that some precipice still remains to be overcome, some mountain-brow that scorns his enterprise and threatens to overwhelm him." He struggled hard to recover his immeasurable distance from that high and heavenly morality which the law required, and, after all, he found himself " a helpless defaulter from the
first and greatest of its commandments." He repaired to the atonement to eke out his deficiencies, and as the ground of assurance that God would look upon him with a propitious eye; but, notwithstanding, an unappeasable disquietude hung heavy upon his heart, and "he walked among the elements of uncertainty and distrust," till at last he came to see that the Saviour had already and completely done for him what, with so much strenuousness, but with so little success, he had been striving to do for himself. The felt insecurities of his position he had been in vain endeavouring to strengthen, by mixing up the merits of Christ with the sincerity of his repentance, and the painstaking of his obedience, to form together the ingredients of his hope and security before God. But the conviction was now wrought in him that he had been attempting an impossibility; that he had been trying to compound elements which would not amalgamate; that it must be either on his own merits wholly, or on Christ's merits wholly that he must lean; and that, by introducing to any extent his own righteousness into the ground of his meritorious acceptance with God, "he had been inserting a flaw, he had been importing a falsehood into the very principle of his justification." In the Journal of the following Chapter, we shall see him stepping from the treacherous ground of-Do and live, to place his feet upon the firm foundation of " Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
But I cannot close this Chapter without alluding to the comparison naturally suggested between the spiritual struggle which it records, and that through which, at a like period of their lives, Ignatius Loyola and Martin Luther passed. Loyola's great effort was to tread the world beneath his feet, and to rise into a mystic region of rapt idealism, where high spiritual intercourse with the unseen world might be enjoyed. The main stress of his struggle was to mortify the desires of
the flesh and of the mind-to spiritualize the carnal nature. Luther's great effort, prompted by an urgent sense of guilt, was to reconcile himself to an offended Deity; and the main stress of his struggle was to bring into a state of right adjustment his personal and immediate relationship with God. Dr. Chalmers' great effort was to prepare for an eternity felt to be at hand, by discharging aright the duties of time; and the main stress of his struggle was to bring his dispositions and conduct towards all around him up to the requirements of the Divine law. Loyola busied himself mainly with fastening aright the ties, and sustaining the communion, which bound him to the spiritual world, as that world was conceived of and believed in. Luther busied himself mainly with his legal standing before the High Judge of all the earth, and was still trying over and over again the question of his acceptance or his condemnation before the bar of eternal justice. Dr. Chalmers busied himself mainly with the state of his affections and behaviour towards his fellow-men, with all of whom he tried to be on terms of perfect and cordial amity ere he passed into eternity. The devotional element predominated with the first, the legal with the second, the moral and social with the third. Out of his severe and prolonged struggle, Loyola found his exit by casting himself into the bosom of his Church, and giving himself up to the devotions which she prescribed, and the services which she demanded. Out of their struggle, Luther and Dr. Chalmers alike found their exit by casting themselves into the bosom of their Saviour, and giving themselves up to all the duties of life, spiritual and social, as those who had been freely and fully reconciled unto God through Jesus Christ their Lord.
GAS-TUBES-GARDEN BEDS-HOSPITALITY OF THE MANSE_SUPREMACY OF THE IMAGINATION OVER THE SENSES-PREPARATIONS FOR THE ARTICLE CHRISTIANITY CORRESPONDENCE WITH DR. ANDREW THOMSON-CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTOR-JOURNAL OF 1811.
Ir was fortunate that during the summers of 1810 and 1811, when so much lost bodily vigour was to be regained, and the hurtful effects of so much mental agitation was to be counteracted, that there were those healthful walks from Fincraigs to Kilmany to view the "progress of affairs," and afterwards, when the manse was occupied, those forenoons devoted to planting trees, and measuring grass-plots, and laying down garden walks. Over one of the preceding entries in the Journal the reader has perhaps paused a moment,-" Walked to Kilmany, and gave directions about my gas-tubes." The conviction which he felt when he heard the London lecturer, he had now carried so far as to believe that in a very few years all private dwellings would be lighted by gas, and by now laying these tubes through the manse, he would have it all ready for the new epoch when it arrived. Should the anticipated epoch ever come, these tubes may be there to testify to the prophetic sagacity of Mr. Chalmers; and whether it come or not, they not only tell us of his own strong scientific faith, but of the persuasive energy which he had exerted over his heritors, affording, as he himself might have described it, visible and emphatic demonstration how thoroughly he had inspired them with confidence in his chemistry. It was not
* See Journal, p. 115.