IN his letter on the first page of this number, brother Mitchell has desired us to express our views on 2 Peter i. 9, “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” “These things” mentioned in the text, are the same as in the context, namely, faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. He that lacketh these things, the exercise of them in his deportment, walk, and conversation, is represented as barren, and unfruitful, and blind, or, at least, unable to see afar off. These things belong to the life of a christian; they are spoken of by Paul as the fruits of the Spirit; they grow out of, or are produced by the spirit that is born of God, and which unites to Christ. as the spiritual Head of his spiritual body. That child of God, in whom they richly abound, is fruitful; for these fruits of the Spirit in him make him so; hut he that lacketh them, (and alas! how many of us do,) is subjected to darkness of mind, unfruitfulness, and a forgetfulness of what the Lord has done in purging us from our old sins. The apostle invokes grace and peace unto his brethren through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, &c. These things therefore which are to make the christian fruitful, and to give assurance of his calling and election, are gifts of God’s divine power, and belong to life and godliness, must appear in our walk and conversation in order to give evidence of our calling and election of God; and being and abiding in us, they shall stir up our minds by way of remembrance of what God has done for us in purging away our sins. We cannot understand that the apostle would intimate that the spirit of Christ can dwell in us, disconnected with these things; virtue, knowledge, &c., are inseparably connected with the Spirit by which we are born of God, and called to glory and virtue; but while in principle they lay latent in the heart, and the child of grace is left to a careless indifference as to the spiritual exercise of his mind, he becomes blinded in regard to the evidence of his adoption by grace, and as he in such a state or frame of mind is unable to display these things in his external walk, he also fails to give evidence to his brethren that he has been purged.
Hence the admonition of the apostle, to give diligence, to make their calling and election sure; or, in other words, to make the evidence of calling and election to appear, in confirmation of the same.
“But he that lacketh these things,” if in principle and practice, cannot be one that is born again. And even the soul born of the Spirit, who fails to be exercised in and by these things, is in darkness in regard to his interest in Christ. Therefore the importance of diligence on the part of God’s children, that, having faith, they add to it virtue; genuine faith dictates a virtuous course, obedience to the laws of Christ our King, and virtue in practice is to be added to our faith, that we may show our faith by our works, so as to give evidence of our calling and election. And to virtue knowledge, as we are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord. It becomes us as pupils in the Old School of Christ, to learn of him, for he is meek and lowly, and we shall find rest to our souls; and to knowledge all other things which are named in the context, and requiring diligence on the part of the disciples of our Lord.
Who that has traveled far in the divine life, has not learned that the things urged by Peter are essential to their peace, happiness, fruitfulness, confidence, and assurance? Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to them, and may the gracious Lord in the fullness of his grace enable us to walk worthy of the high and holy vocation wherewith he has called us.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
December 15, 1845
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 604 – 606