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capable of recovering it; it must be concluded, that the benefit to be derived from that gracious work, must depend, on a compliance with the conditions annexed to it.
To this end, the words of the text must be taken in their full extent. Jesus Christ must be made unto us not only wisdom and righteousness, but sanctification and redemption. He must not only be the fountain of all true wisdom, and righteousness; but the sanctifier, as well as the Redeemer of his fallen creatures. For though he has in a sense redeemed all mankind from the consequences of the fall; having “ given himself a Ransom for all; yet will he prove a compleat Redeemer to none but those, who receive him in the fulness of his divine character and office. By one of fering of himself (says the Apostle) he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Heb. x. 14.—These are important words. The obvious conclusion from them is ; that, on the authority of Scripture, none must expect to be perfecly redeemed by the blood of Christ, who are
not previously sanctified by his spirit. And unto them who in faith look for their Redeemer in that salvable condition; and unto them only, “ shall he appear, the second time, without sin, unto Salvation."
Heb. ix. 28,
ROM. VI. 23.
The Wages of Sin is Death ; but the Gift of
God is eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
THESE words furnish a compendious summary of Divine Revelation; so far as it respects the state of man previous to the fall, and his present state in consequence of that important event. The first position in the text, by reminding us of the condition on which the happiness of man originally depended, and the forfeiture which took place on that head; is calculated to prevent our adopting that plan of Salvation, which has already so notoriously miscarried. Whilst the 'concluding position in the text, points out in mercy the only plan on which eternal life is now
to be obtained. The words of the text then, taken together, describe the nature of the Gospel Dispensation, connected with the reason for its gracious institution.“ The wages of sin is death.” In conformity with this unequivocal position, whoever seeks eternal life as the reward due to service, must in reason expect to receive the
wages which his service has earned. Adam made a trial on this plan of judicial probation; and was condemned.
The consequence then of this decided position, that “ death is the wages of sin,”—and that these wages had actually become due to fallen man, constituted the ground on which the Evangelical Covenant was built. Nothing indeed can be more conclusive on the subjects to which they point, than the words of the text: which seem purposely opposed to each other, with the view of preventing all possibility of mistake on a matter of this primary importance: that, considering on what ground fallen man is to expect eternal life, he might not appear in the character of a presumptuous claimant demanding wages for service performed; but in that of an hum
ble, penitent, and grateful Receiver of a free and undeserved gift.
“ 'The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
That the doctrine contained in this compendious summary of Revelation, is in substance to be found in every part of Scripture, as constituting the essence of the great mediatorial scheme; and the only doctrine, that, by harmonizing with that scheme, can make the Bible a consistent and intelligible book, it has been the design of some former discourses to prove.
And it is in explaining this essential doctrine of Christianity in such a way, that the wages of sin shall become compatible with the gift of eternal life; the justice of the law, with the mercy of the lawgiver, that the important office of rightly dividing the word of truth chiefly consists. Such, in conformity with the words of the text, will be the object of the following discourse.
“ In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”-Or as it may
be translated, “dying thou shalt die.” Such