While Christianity reveals the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life through the mediation of Christ, it also professes to point out means for the present improvement of our moral nature itself. This improvement, we know, is referred in Scripture to the Holy Spirit, as a first cause; and, as coming from Him, both the influence itself upon the mind and the moral character formed under that influence are each in turn called "the spirit." Thus, St. Paul speaks of the law of "the spirit of life in Christ Jesus," [Rom. viii. 2.] and contrasts it with that character and conduct which are sin and death. He speaks too of receiving "the spirit of faith," [2 Cor. iv. 13.] or the temper of which faith is the essence; and in the text, which is found in the Epistle for this Sunday, he refers to the outward manifestation or fruit of the same spirit, "goodness, righteousness, and truth." "Light" is another word, used as in the text—to express the same moral change which the Gospel offers us; but this title is proper to our Lord, who is the true Light of men. Christians are said to be "called into His marvellous light," to "walk as children of light," to "abide in the light," to "put on the armour of light." [1 Pet. ii. 9. 1 John i. 7; ii. 10. Rom. xiii. 12.] Another similar term is newness or renewal of mind. Indeed, it is quite obvious that the phraseology of the New Testament is grounded in such views of the immediate inward benefits to be conferred upon the Church on the coming of Christ.

Comment