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·Therefore, 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 of life,' Rom.
'By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.' All have sinned. In what sense? In the same sense in which Adam sinned? that is, actually? No, not in every instance: 'Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression. In what sense then have all sinned? All have sinned in Adam as their federal head: 'By one man's disobedience many were made sinners;' and, By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.' 'In Adam all die.'-As to the extent of the penalty, it is worthy of special notice that it is called 'condemnation,'—not natural death only, but condemnation. It is not only said, 'Through the offence of one many be dead; but, The judgment was by one to condemnation.'
Such is the result of our headship in Adam. But Adam is the figure of him that was to come; that is, as Adam was our federal head bringing us into condemnation, he was a figure or type of Christ our federal head, bringing us into a state of righteousness and salvation-Christ, 'the second man,' the last Adam.' As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.'
But is the headship in both co-extensive? The text implies that it is. But in what sense? It cannot be supposed that upon every one condemned in Adam, the justification of life will so come, as that he shall be justified and saved, whatever may be his personal faith and character, whether believing or unbelieving, saint or impenitent sinner. Such a supposition would contradict the plainest dictates both of reason and scripture. The free gift,' says Calvin on this text, 'is made common to all, inasmuch as it is offered to all; not because it is actually bestowed upon all. For, although Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and is offered to all without distinction, yet all do not lay hold upon him.' But a more complete and consistent sense is found by keeping the federal headship in view. Through Adam condemnation has come upon all of whom he is the head. Through Christ, the free gift unto justification of life has come upon all of whom he is the head, namely, his body the
church. This interpretation accounts for the 'all' of the text, being spoken of as 'the many,' in verses 15 and 19; and it accounts for the restriction contained in the 17th verse, where those who shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ, are described as they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness.'
Let not, however, anxiety to establish particular interpretations of controverted words or clauses in this or any text, tempt us to overlook the undoubted and apparent truth which it contains. Judgment is here declared to have come upon all men to condemnation. Sad truth! yet certain. It is judgment to condemnation by the righteous God: And shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?' And if it originally came by the offence of one; it has been a thousand times incurred and confirmed anew 'by many personal offences.' But the sadness needs not be the sadness of discontent or despair: for, '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 to justification of life.' Here we have justification sufficient to meet and answer all the wants implied in condemnation,— justification free and universal in offer; free, universal, and sure in effectual application to every one that believeth. If we are condemned in Adam, and on account of personal guilt, along with Adam; "There is now no condemnation,' there is justification of life-a life-giving justification, to them that are in Christ Jesus.' abounded, grace did much more abound.' Wonder, O heavens, and give ear, O earth!' God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.'
If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins,' John viii. 24.
THE command to believe, is sometimes so understood as greatly to obscure the specific duty implied in it. Considered in itself, to believe is an act of the mind by which we embrace and rely upon as true, all that the Bible says respecting Christ. Considered in connection with its fruits, it comprehends, along with the act of the mind technically called faith, the whole of what is usually denominated obedience. In themselves, however, faith and obedience are perfectly distinct. Yet they are sometimes so confounded and lost the one in the other, that there is no correct conception of either. The result of this is, either that the command, believe, is considered
and speculation, if not of positive denial. Let us a listen to his words in their specific, strictest sense, ‘If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.'
If any man be disposed to say that he has no power over his belief; the inveterate drunkard or libertine urges the same excuse; he says he has no power over his practice. No man can bid A to the away his evil propensities by a mere effort of the as being will; and it is equally admitted, that no man can, the turning by a mere effort of the will, bid away his unbeour Lord put lief. Means must be employed. Means will be Share, Believe ye effectual in both cases. And the first means is, d when he said to cease cherishing, either by thought or deed, the que, Be not afraid, only evil which is desired to be eradicated. Ceasing had no reference to to do evil is a preparatory, and the most imporwica our Lord said to Peter, tant step in learning to do well, in matters of , wherefore dost thou doubt?' speculation as well as in matters of practice. If Have faith in God; for faith in the gospel be desired—and who would not you, that whosoever shall say desire to have a firm faith in its sanctifying truths kli, Be thou removed, and be thou and glorious promises?—avoid every thing that is ase, and shall not doubt in his heart, hostile to it, and welcome every thing that is hove those things which he saith shall friendly. she shall have whatsoever he saith;'1 » 4x 4 state of mind and heart alone which was tusk Now, the faith which justifies and sex is as specific in its nature, and as much an of the mind and heart alone, as was the faith which miracles were wrought or received. When the apostle says, "They have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God,' Rom.
3, he evidently speaks of a mental, and not of a moral act; for these words stand opposed to gnorance of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness. And says ho elsewhere, To him that worketh not, but believeth, his faith is counted for righteousness.' Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,'-not worketh, nor worketh and believeth taken conjunctively, but believeth taken distinctively.' Hence the prominence and importance given to faith in the word of God. It is called 'the work,' and 'God's commandment' by way of eminence. This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.' This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ. Let us then beware of confounding what the apostle calls the 'obedience of faith,' that is, of believing-of yielding assent unto the truth, with the obedience of works. Let us not suppose that we are obedient to the truth as it is in Jesus, merely because we are doing our little utmost to be obedient to the moral law; which little utmost we may try to do, while Christ is not in all our thoughts, or there, only as a subject of doubt
As another preparatory means, let us examine the heart whether it be right toward God, and willing to receive truth from whatever quarter, and however humbling. The heart and not the understanding is the stronghold of unbelief. Therefore, let pride and prejudice, and above all, the love and practice of sin, be renounced; let humility, piety, love of truth, and a sacred regard to the dictates of conscience, become the cherished inmates of the breast; after, or along with this preparatory process, let the understanding be directed to the investigation of the truth of scripture, and to the study of scripture truth, under a solemn impression of the momentous importance of the inquiry, and with earnest prayer to the God of truth, that he would aid, direct, and bless our inquiries. Let these means be employed, and then let us say whether it be true that we have no power over our belief. A modification, or an entire change of our former creed, will be inevitable. We have not, it is true, such a command over our belief, as to be able to determine, beforehand, what will be its precise complexion;—and yet what a command have even sceptics over their belief, and with what facility and certainty can they mould it to their prejudices and passions, when they allow themselves to be led by these! We may not be able to determine, beforehand, what will be the precise result as to our belief; but surely we would be no more entitled, on this account, to say that we have no power over it, than the merchant would be entitled to say that he
has no power over his lot in life, because he cannot predict what will be the precise issue of his speculations in business. We may not be able to determine, beforehand, the truths which our creed will contain; but one truth we may predict that it will contain, namely, that we are
sinners. If we are sinners, and if Christ be no Saviour, we shall die in our sins, for there is none other name under heaven laying claim to such a character. If Christ be a divinely appointed Saviour, he says, "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.'
'Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,' Gal. ii. 16. It is objected against the doctrine of justification by faith, that it is inconsistent with rational views of God's moral government. Is not God, it is asked, a God of justice, and is it not essential to his character as such, to reward virtue and punish vice? What therefore, it is concluded, but personal obedience or disobedience can be the ground of our acceptance or rejection by God? The truth of the premises is undeniable; and we proceed upon this admission to show the inadmissibility of the conclusion. God, it is said, is a God of justice, and must reward virtue and punish vice. This we admit; but so far from concluding as the objector does, we argue to the very contrary. That the argument may be the better understood let the following distinction be attended to, namely, the distinction between obedience considered in itself, and obedience as found in the person of a responsible agent. If it be asked, will not God reward obedience? We answer, most certainly. But if it be asked, will not every one in whom obedience is found be finally approven of and rewarded by God? We cannot give an immediate or unqualified answer to such a question. We must first know whether it be a complete, or only a partial and imperfect obedience. Bring before a just king a man who has been for many years a loyal and blameless subject, but during all these years has been an undetected murderer, and will it not become a question, whether his blamelessness, since the murder was committed, entitles him to the life and privileges which his life has already forfeited?— not to speak of the reward to which the uniformly
obedient are entitled; to that he can have no imaginable claim. Is obedience entitled to a reward? is one question. Is man's obedience entitled to a reward? is another and very different question. That God will reward the obedience of a race of innocents is certain. That he will reward the obedience of a race of sinners;
that is, that he will overlook their sins, and deal with them only for their obedience, our very reason tells us is by no means certain. Nay, if reason gives us any certainty at all in the matter, it is that the sinner must be reckoned with as well for his sins as for his partial obedience, for it is as essential a part of justice to punish as to reward. The conclusion to which we are hereby driven is, that if we have already forfeited our life by sin, we cannot claim its restoration at the hand of justice, and that the inevitable result of our trial on the ground of obedience and disobedience must be our condemnation.
But it will be said, that while the justice of God rewards our good deeds, the mercy of God will forgive our bad ones. In reply we observe, 1. That if it be as essential a part of justice to punish as to reward, then if mercy be extended, it comes not as a matter of right, but wholly as a matter of grace. 2. That if a man, by transgression, incur the penalty of a broken law, the utmost that his subsequent good conduct can claim at the hand of justice is a mitigation of the punishment, not its remission, far less a positive reward. But what we need, as sinners, is not a mitigation of the punishment proportioned to the number of our good deeds. That the justice of God will grant even to the finally condemned. What we need, as sinners, is the entire forgiveness of our sins, and complete restoration to the divine favour. And shall we go to justice for such a gift as this? And if we go to mercy, shall we insist on mercy bestowing as a matter of right what it can give only as a matter of favour. If we go to justice we must take what alone justice can give-a complete reward for a complete
Has the gospel only made provision for the forgiveness of the past, and left us to work out and merit anew the salvation of the soul? On such a supposition salvation would be impossible. For let God enter into judgment with us after our belief of such a gospel, and who could stand the scrutiny of his righteous judgment? We must inevitably be condemned and perish, just as before the proclamation of such a gospel.
But it may perhaps be thought, that while such a gospel provides for the forgiveness of the sins that are past, it provides also for the relaxing of God's severity of justice in judging for the time to come, makes him less strict in entering into judgment with us, nay, makes an imperfect obedience meritorious If this be supposed,
obedience, an unmitigated punishment for unmiti- | But in what does this salvation consist, and what gated disobedience, or a mitigated punishment, yet must we do in order to become partakers of it? still a punishment, for an imperfect obedience. If we go to mercy for remission either of an unmitigated or mitigated punishment, we must go renouncing all claim of right, and receive, as a free and unmerited favour, whatever mercy is willing to bestow. So that for a sinner to speak of personal merit as the ground of his acceptance with God, is the grossest folly, not to say impiety. To speak thus, argues a state of heart utterly unbecoming the transgressor-a state of heart which is the essential element of impenitence. If then there must be the exercise of mercy in our acceptance by God, is it any dishonour done to justice to consult and answer its claims in the method by which the mercy is vouchsafed? Yet this is precisely what justification by faith does. It is a method of acceptance devised and prescribed it follows that the effect of the death of Christ by God, for the express purpose that he might has been to prove, that God must have been be a just God, and at the same time a Saviour. too strict before, and convicts him of injustice It does honour to justice, by inflicting its penalty in originally exacting from us more than an on an altogether willing and all-meritorious sub-imperfect obedience. If God has entered into stitute; and by requiring an humble and ador- judgment with us on the principles of strict ing acknowledgment by faith on our part, that such a vindication of the claims of justice was indispensable to our salvation. Far, therefore, from justification by faith being derogatory to the justice of God in the moral government of the world, it is the only way in which we can be saved in consistency with that attribute; and so far are we from being able to be justified by the works of the law, that we have already been condemned by them. We will never have views of the moral government of the universe consistent in themselves, honouring to God, and comforting to our souls, till we can say with the apostle, 'Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.'
unbending justice, and on these principles, has declared that condemnation hath passed upon all men, for that all have sinned; and if he afterwards departs from such a strictness, lets down the demands of his law, and enters into judgment with us, and justifies us on less strict principles; then, one of two things must follow; either he was unjust to us in pronouncing condemnation in the first instance, or he was unjust to his own law in pronouncing justification in the second instance; that is, he must either be an unrighteous Governor exacting more than he can justly demand, or a fickle and inconsistent governor, beginning his government on one principle, and unable on account of its severity to carry it out, ending it with another and less stringent principle. One or other of these conclusions must be arrived at if we entertain the idea that the gospel provides for the relaxing of the strictness of God's justice in judging us for the time to come. The impiety of both conclusions should make us turn with horror from the premises.
But how are these conclusions to be escaped? By being found in Christ, not having our own righteousness which is of the law, but that which which is of God by faith. Found in him,' we is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness are able to meet the strictest demands of justice. In him we have suffered the penalty of the law, and obtain remission for the past. In him we have a perfect righteousness sufficient to meet all, even the highest demands for the future. And it
is no relaxing of justice to deal with us as found in | or suffering, but not a self-loathing culprit. But such a substitute. His death is more demonstra- let him be renewed in the spirit of his mind, and tive of the unchangeableness of the law, and more what formerly seemed to him a mere scripture honouring to its prerogatives, than the death of the hyperbole, or perhaps a calumny against our actual transgressor. His righteousness is infin-nature, will be seen and felt to be a certain and itely more meritorious as a ground of acceptance humbling truth. Let his eyes be opened to the than that of any creature, even the most innocent holiness of God, and like Job, too much a selfand exalted. It is the righteousness which is approver before the appearing of the Holy One, he of God. Found therefore in Christ, 'not having will be brought to exclaim, 'I have heard of thee our own righteousness which is of the law, but that by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye which is through the faith of Christ,' the justice seeth thee, wherefore I abhor myself, and repent of God, instead of being relaxed or impaired, is in dust and ashes. Let him by faith be brought confirmed and magnified in our salvation. What to the great High Priest of our profession, to an emphasis does this view of salvation by the have his character, as a sinner, judicially progospel, give to the words of Paul! And, O God, nounced, and like the leper with his clothes rent, grant that I through faith may be enabled to appro- his head bare, and a covering upon his upper lip, he priate them.' 'We have no confidence in the shall be constrained to cry out, Unclean, Unclean. flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.'
'But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our
1. Self-loathing. We are all as an unclean thing.' It is of the nature of uncleanness to be insensible to its own defilement. The swine is not only an unclean, but an unconsciously unclean beast. It has a sense of its own, but that sense seems to find gratification equally in the unclean and the clean. So is it with the impenitent. He is insensible to spiritual defilement, either in himself, or in his sinful enjoyments. He has a sense of right and wrong, of happiness and misery; but by that sense he can know only, and that but partially, the punishment of sin, or at most, its worthiness of punishment. He cannot, while impenitent, feel its offensiveness as a self-polluting uncleanness. Consciousness of guilt may make him a fearful
2. Nor will it be uncleanness of person only, but uncleanness of covering, that will then be discovered and confessed. All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,' tainted with the leprosy of sin.-It would seem that it is possible to form too low an estimate of the value of our righteousnesses in the sight of God. Let a man form ever so low an estimate of his benefactions towards his fellow-men, and he will be commended not less for his humility than for his beneficence. He may be thought more humble than necessary; yet his very excess of humility will command reverence; while a self-complacency, less even than an exact estimate of his benefactions would warrant, will provoke envy and detraction. But it is, and if we are to be taught by the wise in this world, it ought to be otherwise, when we speak of righteousness in the sight of God. We must not, it seems, suppose that the humility and self-renunciation which commend us to our fellow-men are acceptable and well-pleasing in the sight of God. Let us speak of the worthlessness of our good deeds done to our neighbour, and the stronger our language, and the greater our sincerity in using it, the greater will be our commendation. But let us speak of the worthlessness of our good deeds as done to the holy heart-searching God, and the stronger our language, and the deeper our sincerity, the greater will be our reprobation— the stronger our language, the more will we be deemed hypocrites; the deeper our sincerity, the more will we be deemed fools and fanatics. But, O my God! be mine the sincerity of such hypocrisy! be mine the wisdom of such folly! Enter not into judgment with thy servant. innocence I have worn to rags. My moralities, my charities, my prayers, my love, my zeal, my holiest, heavenliest frames of mind and heart have been leavened, leprosied, and polluted by