« הקודםהמשך »
what a Christian City is this!It is time for tice, Lord, to lay to thine hand!”
11. For, indeed, what probability, what possibility rather, (speaking after the manner of men,) is there that Christianity, Scriptural Christianity, should be again the religion of this place ? That all orders of men among us should speak and live as men “ filled with the Holy Ghost ? ” By whom should this Christianity be restored ? By those of you that are in authority? Are you convinced then that this is Scriptural Christianity? Are you desirous it should be restored ? And do ye not count your fortune, liberty, life, dcar unto yourselves, so ye may be instrumental in the restoring of it? But, suppose ye have this desirc, who hath any power proportioned to the effect ? Perhaps some of you have made a few faint attempts, but with how small success! Shall Christianity then be restored by young, unknown, inconsiderable men ? I know not whether ye yourselves could suffer it. Would not some of you cry out, “ Young man, in so doing thou reproachest us?” But there is vo danger of your being put to the proof; so hath iniquity overspread us like a flood. Whom then shall God send? The famine, the pestilence, (the last messengers of God to a guilty land,) or the sword ? The armies of the Romish Aliens to reform uis into our first love? Nay, “ rather let us fall into thy hand, O Lord, and let us not fall into the hand of man.”
Lord, save, or we perish! Take us out of the mire that we sink not! O help us against thesc enemies ! for vain is the help of man. Unto thee all things are possible. According to the greatness of thy power, preserve thou those that are appointed to die; and preserve us in the manner that seemeth to thee good; not as we will, but as thou wilt!
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH.
« To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth
the ungodly, his faith is counted to him for righteousness." Rom. iv. 5.
1. How a sinner may be justified before God, the Lord and Judge of all, is a question of no common importance to every child of man. It contains the foundation of all our hope, inasmuch as while we are at enmity with God, there can be no true peace, no solid joy, either in time or in eternity. What peace can there be, while our own heart condemns us; and much more, He that is greater than our heart and knoweth all things ? ” What solid joy, either in this world or that to come, while “ the wrath of God abideth on us ? "
2. And yet how little hath this important question been understood! What confused notions have many had concerning it! Indeed, not only confused, but often utterly false ; contrary to the truth, as light to darkness; notions absolutely inconsistent with the Oracles of God, and with the whole Analogy of Faith. And hence, erring concerning the very foundation, they could not possibly build thereon ; at least, not “ gold, silver, or precious stones,” which would endure when tried as by fire ; but only " hay and stubble,” neither acceptable to God, vor profitable to man.
3. In order to do justice, as far as in me lies, to the vast importance of the subject, to save those that seek the truth in sincerity from “vain jangling and strife of words,” to clear the confusedness of thought into which so many have already been led thereby, and to give them true and just conceptions of this great mystery of godliness, I shall cndeavour to show,
First, What is the general Ground of this whole doctrine of Justification :
Secondly, What Justification is :
I. I am first to show, What is the general Ground of this wholc doctrine of Justification.
1. In the image of God was man made, holy as he that created him is holy; merciful as the Author of all is merciful; perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect. As God is love, so man dwelling in love, dweit in God, and God in hini. God made him to be an “image of his own cternity,” an incorruptible picture of the God of glory. He was accordingly pure, as God is pure, from every spot of sin. He knew not evil in any kind or degree, but was inwardly and outwardly sinless and undefiled. He “ loved the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his mind, and soul, and strength.”
2. To man thus upright and perfect, God gave a perfect law, to which he required full and perfect obedience. He required full obedience in every point, and this to be performed without any intermission, from the moment man became a living soul, till the time of his trial should be ended. No allowance was made for any falling short. As, indeed, there was no need of any; man being altogether equal to the task assigned, and thoroughly furnished for every good word and work.
3. To the entire law of love which was written in his heart, (against which, perhaps, he could not sin directly,) it seemed good to the sovereign wisdom of God to superadd one positive law: “Thou shalt not eat of the fruit of the tree that groweth in the midst of the garden ;” annexing that penalty thereto, “ In the day that thou catest thercof, thou shalt surely die.”
4. Such then was the state of man in Paradise. By the free, unmerited love of God, he was holy and happy: he knew, loved, enjoyed God, which is, in substance, life everlasting. And in this life of love he was to continue for ever, if he continued to obey God in all things; but, if he disobeyed in any, he was to forfeit all. “ In that day,” said God, “thou shalt surely die.”
5. Man did disobey God. He “ate of the tree, of which God commanded him, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it.” And, in that day he was condemned by the righteous judgment of God. Then also the sentence, whereof he was warned before, began to take place upon him. For the moment he tasted that fruit, he died. His soul died, was separated from God; separate from whom the soul has no more life than the body has when separate from the soul. His body, likewise, became corruptible and mortal ; so that death then took hold on this also. And being alrcady dcad in spirit, dcad to God, dead
in sin, he bastened on to death everlasting; to the destruction both of body and soul, in the fire nerer to be quenched.
6. Thus“ by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin. And so death passed upon all men,” as being contained in him who was the common Father and Representative of us all. Thus, “ through the offence of one,” all are dead, dead to God, dead in sin, dwelling in a corruptible, mortal body, shortly to be dissolved, and under the sentence of death eternal. For as, “ by one man's disobediènce,” all “ were made sioners; ” so, by that offence of one, “ judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” (Rom. v. 12, &c.)
7. In this state we were, even all mankind, when “ God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, to the end we might not perish, but have everlasting life.” In the fulness of time he was made Man, another common Head of mankind, a second general Parent and Representative of the whole human race. And as such it was that “ he bore our griefs,” “ the Lord laying upon him the iniquities of us all.” Then was he “ wounded for our transgressions, and bruiscd for our iniquities.” “ He made his soul an offering for sin :" he poured out his blood for the transgressors : he « bare our sias in his own body on the tree,” that by his stripes we might be healed : and by that one oblation of himself, once offered, he hath redeemed me and all mankind; having thereby “made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.”
8. In consideration of this, that the Son of God hath “ tasted death for every man,” God hath now “reconciled the world to himself, not imputing to them their former trespasses.” And thus, “as, by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification.” So that, for the sake of his well-beloved Son, of what he bath done and suffered for us, God now youchsafes, on one only condition, (which himself also enables us to perform,) both to remit the punishment due to our sips, to reinstate us in his favour, and to restore our dead souls to spiritual life, as the earnest of life eternal.
9. This, therefore, is the general ground of the whole doctripe of Justification. By the sin of the first Adam, wlio was pot only the Father, but likewise the Representative, of us all, ire all fell short of the favour of God; we all became children
VOL. J. No. 2.
of wrath; or, as the Apostle expresses it, “ Judgment came mpon all men to condemnation.” Even so, by the sacrifice for sin made by the Second Adam, as the Representative of us all, God is so far reconciled to all the world, that he hath given them a new Covenant; the plain condition whereof being once fulfilled, "there is no more coudemuation” for 115, but “we are justified freely by his grace, tirrough the redempiion that is in Jesus Christ.”
II. 1. But what is it to be Justified ? What is Justification ? This was the second thing which I proposed to show. And it is evident, from what has been already observed, that it is not the being made actually just and righteous. This is Sanctification; which is, indeeri, in some degree the immediate fruit of justification ; but, neverthcless, is a distinct gift of God, and of a totally different nature. The one implies, what God“ does for us” through his Son; the other, what he “ works in us” by liis Spirit. So that, although some rare instances may be found, wherein the term Justified or Justification is used in so wide a sense as to include Sanctification also ; yet, in general use, they are sufficiently distinguished from cach other, both by St. Paul and the other Inspired Writers.
2. Neither is that far-fetched conceit, that justification is the clearing us from accusation, particularly that of Satan, easily proveable from any clear text of Iloly Writ. In the whole scriptural account of this matter, as above laid down, neither that Accuser, vor his accusation, appears to be at all taken in. It cannot indeed be denied, that he is the “ ACcuser" of me!, emphatically so called. But it does in nowise appear, that the great Apostle bath any reference to this, !More or less, in all that lie hath written touching Justification, cither to the Romans or the Galatians.
3. It is also far easier to take for granted, than to prove from any clear scripture testimony, that Justification is the clearing us from the accusation brought against us by the Lan: At least, if this forcerl, natural way of speaking mean cither more or less thau this, that whereas we have transgresseel the Law of God, and thereby deserved the damnation of hell, Gol does noi intlict on those who are justitie!, the posisiment which they bad deserved.
1. Lint of all olies starien inply, that God is deceived in those liliom hoc justifies ; 111 he thinks them to be what,