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The voice of inspiration calls him," the great God and our Savioure.
He speaks of himself in terms of similar import
Nor can any thing be more glorious than the description given of him by the prophets-]
He is also great in respect of the salvation he has wrought out for us
[Who can count the number of the sins from which he has delivered us?
Or estimate the misery from which he has redeemed us?— Through our whole lives we have been heaping up treasures of wrathh
Yet there is no condemnation to us if we be interested in him'
Besides, he has purchased for us an eternal inheritance in heaven
We must know all the glories of heaven and the horrors of hell, before we can fully appreciate the greatness of his salvation-]
But before we speak peace to ourselves it becomes us to enquire
II. For whose deliverance he is sent
Great as his mercy is, it will not indiscriminately ex
tend to all
They, for whose relief he comes, are oppressed"
with the burthen of sin
[The generality, alas! are well contented with their bondage
If he should offer to deliver them they would thrust him from them
But there are some who mourn like the saints of old'
They desire nothing so much as to be delivered from their corruptions
For these Jesus came down from heaven, and died upon the
Nor, though they be lawful captives, will he leave them in the hand of their enemies"-]
They at the same time " deliverance
[There are some, it must be confessed, who are uneasy in
cry earnestly to the Lord" for
Isai. ix. 6.
k Acts vii. 37, 39.
m Isai. xlix. 24, 25.
their sins, yet do not with fervour and constancy implore his mercy
Such therefore, notwithstanding their uneasiness, obtain no help from him
His mercy is promised to those alone who seek it with importunity"
But humble and believing suppliants shall never be rejected by him
They shall find him a great, compassionate, and all-sufficient Saviour-]
[Let those who are unconcerned about their sins reflect on their state
Would God have sent them such a Saviour if their condition had not required it?—
Or, will they take occasion from this grace to live more securely in their sins?
Let them consider that their cries, however available now, will soon be of no effect°
Let those who are conflicting with sin and satan lift up their heads with joy
However desperate their state may seem, their redemption draweth nigh
Nor shall all the powers of darkness rescue them from their Redeemer's handsP
Let those who have experienced deliverance adore their Lord
Let them still go on, Jesus"
strong in the
grace that is in Christ
And soon they shall join in eternal Hallelujahs to God and to the Lamb
* Matt. vii. 7. Ezek. xxxvi. 37.
o Luke xvi. 24, 25.
CLXXII. THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Jer. xxiii. 6. This is his name, whereby he shall be called THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
THE writings of the prophets no less than of the apostles testify of Christ: nor can we any where find a fuller exhibition of his character than in the words before usAs to his origin, he is "a branch from the root of David;" and, in his character, "a righteous" branch. His
office is that of "a King;" and, as to the manner in which he executes that office," he executes righteousness and judgment in the land." Look we for the effects of his administration? "In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely." Lastly, Would we know in what light he is to be regarded?" This is his name, whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness."
In these words the prophet sets forth
I. The dignity of Christ
The inspired writers never seem afraid of speaking of Christ in too exalted terms-The prophet, in this very place, declares
1. His essential dignity
[There is frequent occasion to observe that, wherever the word LORD is printed in large characters, it is in the original, JEHOVAH. Now Jehovah denotes the self-existence of the Deity, and is a name incommunicable to any creature: yet is it here assigned to Christ-By comparing similar declarations in the Old Testament with the expositions given of them in the New, we know assuredly that this name belongs to Christ; and that therefore he is and must be "God over all blessed for ever"]
2. His official dignity
[The title of Jehovah belongs equally to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; but the additional title of "Our Righteousness" is peculiar to Christ alone-It imports that Christ has by his own obedience unto death wrought out a righteousness for guilty man; and that "this righteousness shall be unto all and upon all them that believe in him"-It is in this sense that St. Paul speaks of him as "made unto us righteousness"_
The connexion between the different parts of this comprehensive name deserves particular notices for, if He were not Jehovah, he could not be our Righteousness; seeing that as a creature, he could merit nothing; because he would owe to God all that he could do; and, " after he had done all, he would be only an unprofitable servant:" but as he is God, all which he does is voluntary; and his divinity stamps an infinite value upon his work; so that it may well merit, not for himself only, but for a ruined world
a Isai. vi. 5. with John xii. 41. or Isai. xlv. 22, 23. with Rom. xiv. 10, 11. or Joel ii. 32. with Rom. x. 13, 14. or Mal. iii. 1. with Luke i. 76. b1 Cor. i. 30.
Such is the dignity of our blessed Lord: He is Jehovah, one with the Father, in glory equal, in majesty co-eternal: nor is there one ransomed soul in heaven, who does not ascribe his salvation to the blood and righteousness of this our incarnate God-]
While the prophet thus expatiates on the glory of Christ, he intimates also
II. The duty of man
Our duty as sinners, and as redeemed sinners, has especial respect to Christ: and it is summarily comprehended in the ascribing to Christ the honour due unto his name-But this must be done
1. In faith
[To compliment Christ with any titles which we do not believe due to him, would be to insult him, like those who arrayed him in mock majesty, and cried, Hail, King of the Jews
-We must fully believe him to be God: we must be persuaded that we neither have nor can have any righteousness of our own and we must be assured that "He is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth"-If we entertain any idea of meriting any thing at God's hands by our own obedience, or of adding any thing of our own to his perfect righteousness, we dishonour and degrade him; and, instead of performing our duty towards him, we violate it in the most flagrant manner: and, though we may be actuated by a blind zeal for the Father's honour, or for the interest of morality, we are indeed rebels against God, since he has commanded that "all men should honour the Son as they honour the Father," and that they should call him in faith, The Lord our Righteousness-]
2. In sincerity
[As, to give him a title which we do not believe due to him would be mockery, so, to give it without a correspondent regard to him would be hypocrisy-Do we believe him to be Jehovah? we must regard him with reverential awe, and yield ourselves up to him in unreserved obedience-Do we believe him to be the only Righteousness of the redeemed? we must renounce entirely our own righteousness, and depend on him with our whole hearts-Do we view him in his complex character as Jehovah our Righteousness? We must rejoice in having such an almighty friend, such a sure foundation-We must glory in him as "all our salvation, and all our desire"A less regard to him than this, not only falls below our duty,
e Rom. x. 4.
but it is absolutely inconsistent with any scriptural hope, any prospect of salvation-]
From this subject we may LEARN
1. The way of salvation
[There are but three ways in which we can conceive it possible for any man to be saved; namely, by works, by faith and works, or by faith without works; and the subject before us plainly declares which is the true one-Are we to be saved by our works? No: for God would never have sent his Son to be our Righteousness, if we ever could have wrought out a sufficient righteousness of our own-Besides, our own works would then have been our righteousness, and the name here ascribed to Christ would not have belonged to him-Moreover, even in heaven itself, instead of ascribing "Salvation to God and to the Lamb," we must ascribe it to God and to ourselves
Are we then to be saved by faith and works? We still answer, No: for in whatever degree w trust in our own works, in that degree do we rob Christ of his official dignity; and assume to ourselves the honour due to him alone-As far as our own merits are united with his as a joint ground of our acceptance with God, so far shall we have to all eternity a ground of glorying in ourselves; yea, so far salvation will cease to be of grace; whereas "it is of faith that it may be by grace, and that boasting may be for ever excluded"d
Salvation must then be by faith without works; we must not endeavour either in whole or in part to “establish a righteousness of our own," but seek to be clothed in the unspotted robe of Christ's righteousness-This is the declaration of God himself; nor did the apostles themselves know any other way of salvation-We must all therefore desire, with St. Paul, to be found in Christ, not having our own righteousness but his]
2. The excellency of that way
[What can be conceived more comfortable to man than to hear of such a salvation as this? Were we told that we must work out a righteousness of our own that should be commensurate with the demands of God's law, who could entertain a hope of ever affecting it?-If we were required to do something that should be worthy to be joined with the Saviour's merits in order to render them more effectual for our acceptance, where should we find one single work of ours that we could present to God as perfect, and as deserving of so great a re
d Rom. iv. 16. Eph. ii. 8, 9.
e Rom. iv. 5.
& Phil. iii. 9.