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thing; and if the view of sin and its deadly conse- | been previously imparted! It is the reception of quences humbles and grieves us, we shall be the abundance of grace' which entitles to and prebetter prepared to welcome and embrace the pares for the 'exceeding and eternal weight of message which proclaims the reign of life by glory.' The God who is rich in mercy, and abunone, Jesus Christ.' dant in goodness and truth, gives to his people to enjoy all spiritual blessings in rich abundance, and overflowing fullness. Does he pardon sin? He ' abundantly pardons.' Does he bestow the renewing influence of the Holy Ghost? He sheds it down abundantly.' Does he bless Zion's provi-sion? He blesses it 'abundantly. Did his Son come that believers might have life? It was 'that they might have it more abundantly,' when to all of them an entrance shall have been ministered abundantly into his everlasting kingdom.' And oh what a scene of grateful rejoicing shall then be witnessed, when this mystery of God's grace shall be finished in God's glory. Think of the myriads who shall shine in brightness and beauty before the throne. Reckon up, if you can, the amount of real good that shall have been bestowed upon each through grace; and estimate also the imag

• For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ,' Rom. v. 17. We have seen the reign of death by Adam; let us now contemplate the reign of life by Christ. If misery follows naturally in the one case, much more will happiness follow in the other. If pollution has been communicated, much more will purity; if wrath has been transmitted, much more will love; if the condemnation of many has been the result of one offence, much more will the justification of many be the result of one atonement; if by one man's disobedience we be-inary good, but real evil, that through the same came sinners, much more by the obedience of another shall we be made righteous; if death reigned by the sin of man, much more shall life reign by the grace of God.

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Mark the grand source whence this life emanates:-it is the free gift of the grace of God. That is a point which seems to require little proof. For if we are all sinners against God, and lie under his deadly curse, how can life ever come to us but as a favour gratuitously bestowed, because wholly undeserved? Where is the merit to purchase it? Where is our atonement for past guilt-where our security for future obedience? Where is the willingness to save ourselves from sin if we could-where the ability to save ourselves if we would? By grace are ye saved!' is a principle which lies at the very basis of the Christian scheme. It is involved in every scriptural account of man's natural condition; it is revealed in every proclamation of the glorious gospel; it accords with the uniform experience of every humble Christian; it is the implied sentiment of every devout prayer, and the sweet burden of every spiritual song; it is that which animates the praises of the sanctuary below, and will form the exhaustless theme of rejoicing in the temple above, where as the foundation has been laid, so the head-stone shall be brought forth with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.'

But in order to that glorious consummation, think what a large measure of grace must have

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grace shall have been withheld. Endeavour to conceive of all the means and appliances in providence and redemption that shall have been successfully put in operation for their benefit. And say, is not the grace that shall in ways so mysterious have effected a result so blessed, well termed abundant grace?' And when the many who have received, who are receiving, and who shall yet receive this grace shall meet, and mingle, and rejoice together, will not that be a noble anthem that shall rise from all heaven's borders, when this abundant grace shall, through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God.'

The apostle, however, specifies one particular gift of grace, which, of all others, may be described as the one thing needful, inasmuch as it constitutes at once the title to heaven, and the meetness for heaven's enjoyment. It is the gift of righteousness. Now what is righteousness, but just that conformity to God's law, which He, as the Lawgiver, Governor, and Judge of the moral universe, can never fail to require? Even a human magistrate, if he allows a delinquent to escape with impunity, is held to be virtually conniving at the crime, and to be in spirit a partaker with the criminal. And shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Shall not He visit for sin? Or shall it be proclaimed through all the worlds of his wide dominion, that allegiance and rebellion, obedience and disobedience, virtue and vice, are regarded by him with equal indifference? Is there

unrighteousness with God? God forbid! Then might the Deity as well cease to reign, as promulgate a law guarded by no penalties, enforced by no sanctions. But blessed be his name! in his dealings with us sinners, he announces a method by which his justice and mercy, his holiness and love, are made to harmonise gloriously, and in which he exhibits himself as a just God, yet a Saviour; as just, and yet the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus. In the finished work, the obedience unto death of his incarnate Son, we discover how he made him who knew no sin to be a sin-offering for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Hence that gift of righteousness which is given unto and put upon all them that believe even the righteousness which is called the righteousness of God,' because by him devised, provided, accepted,-his law being thereby fulfilled, his justice satisfied, his government vindicated, and the high honours of his throne maintained.

But while this is the only righteousness that can furnish a title to eternal life, there is another righteousness, the gift of the same grace, which is no less indispensable as a qualification for heaven's bliss. The one is that righteousness which having been wrought out and brought in by another, is imputed and received by faith; the other is that personal righteousness, that inherent holiness which is wrought in every believer by the Spirit of promise, who is a Spirit of purity, and without which 'no man shall see the Lord.' Did the gospel indeed assure a man that grace will abound to him though he continue in sin; did it profess to save him in his sins, and not from them; had it nothing to do with the heart, the will, the life, then you might conceive of a sinner delivered from the fire of hell, and yet as much resembling as ever, in spirit and temper, the devil and his angels. But this holy word of life knows no such characters. In providing for our peace, it secures our purity; in redeeming the soul from death, it renews the heart unto a new life; in justifying the person, it sanctifies the character; in changing the condition, it transforms the man; in exhibiting Jesus as a substitute in order to righteousness imputed, it also reveals him as a purifier in order to holiness implanted. And out of the fullness of grace which it hath pleased the Father should dwell in him, his people receive, even grace for grace; wisdom, peace, love, joy, strength, patience, grace in time of need, grace sufficient, yea 'abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness.'

Come we now to the glorious issue of all in another world. Shall reign in life.' There is roy


alty, and there is immortality. Immortal royalty!
that is the gift by grace which shall so abound
unto many, in order that where sin abounded grace
may much more abound. As sin had reigned
unto death, and death had reigned over the sinner,
so now grace reigns through righteousness unto
eternal life, that the sinner, deemed righteous and
made righteous, may reign in glory. Under no
figure is the happiness of heaven more frequently
set forth, than under the idea of a kingdom, to
denote the high degree of perfection and power
to which Christians shall with their forerunner
Christ be exalted. This reign is the subject of
assured promise. I appoint unto you a king-
dom, even as my Father hath appointed unto
me.' It is the object of believing expectation.
'If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.' It
is the theme of grateful praise. • Unto him
that hath made us kings to God!' Hence the
crown of righteousness laid up by the righteous
Judge; hence the crown of glory to be be-
stowed by the chief Shepherd; hence the
crown of life which the Lord hath promised
to them that love him. And that may indeed
be termed the crown of crowns, which is incor-
ruptible, unfading, eternal. Doth the crown,'
asks Solomon, endure to every generation?'
Earthly sovereigns, though enjoying the most
vigorous health, and the most prosperous reign,
may nevertheless be said to reign in death. Never
are they secure from the attempts of open vio-
lence, or the inroads of insidious disease; and one
or other of these things will one day terminate
their life and their reign together. But the
reign of saints in glory will emphatically be the
reign of life,' the conscious reign of life; and it will
doubtless form one of the sweetest and purest
ingredients in their cup of enjoyment to know
that nothing can possibly happen to interrupt or
disturb it from without or from within, no sickness,
no sorrow, no separation, no death. Theirs will
be the life worth the living for, consisting of an
immortality, not of being only, but of bliss,-
higher than the delights of Eden, equal to the
joys of angels.


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'Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that are corrupters!' Isaiah i. 4.

Or whom speaketh the prophet this? Of a nation of idolatrous heathens? No, but of God's chosen Israel, whom he had sought out as a peo

ple for himself, to be to him a name and a of the foot, even unto the head, there is no soundpraise. How deep were their obligations! how ness.' Sin is the plague-spot of creation; it distinguished their advantages! Them he had perverts all our faculties, and paralyses all our brought forth with a high hand from the house powers; it is the corrupt tree yielding corrupt of bondage. He had led them safe through the fruit; it affects and influences, yea, it moulds at depths of the sea and the dangers of the wilder- the root all our principles, aims, motives; our ness. He had subdued their enemies before feelings, affections, and desires; our temper, conthem, and given them secure and peaceful posses - | versation, and conduct. And O let us never for sion of the delightsome land—had fenced them about with covenant-privileges, and blessed them abundantly with covenant-blessings. Theirs was the only country where Jehovah, the one God, living and true, fixed his gracious residence, vouchsafed his special presence, recorded his great name, revealed his holy will, established his pure worship, and manifested his excelling glory. Yet see how unsuitable and ungrateful were their returns! Instead of seeking to fulfil their high destiny, of the Rock that begat them they are unmindful,' and they have forgotten the God who had chosen them to receive such peculiar and exclusive honours. While the surrounding nations pertinaciously adhere to their respective delusions, each one walking in the name of their god, the only people who enjoyed the light of revealed truth, constantly endeavour to extinguish or obscure it, and change their God and glory for lying vanities. And so darkened and degraded do they at length become, that their indulgent, but incensed, Father must here make to heaven and earth the touching appeal, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.' He then charges them with their accumulated guilt as a nation. They were not merely ، sinful, but laden with iniquity ;' not merely ، evil-doers, as to the outward act, but | polluted in their hearts; deceivers and being deceived-corrupted themselves, and the 'corrupt

ers' of others.

Here then is a melancholy proof of the innate depravity and desperate wickedness of the human heart, in that a whole nation persisted with one accord in departing from the living God, though they enjoyed every advantage for seeking his favour, and securing his blessing. This is the very inference which the prophet himself drew from the mournful fact of his country's apostacy. If they had forsaken the Lord, and provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, and gone away backward,' or as the margin reads, had become alienated,' the cause of all this was to be sought for in the mental and moral disease of which they were the victims. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole

get, that it was nothing but this leaven of depravity, spreading wider and deeper through the Jewish nation, and pervading the whole mass, that led them, at last, to fill up the measure of national guilt and national punishment, by the rejection and crucifixion of the promised and expected Messiah. In the history of God's chosen people we see exemplified this eternal truth, that as with righteous men, and righteous bodies of men, it shall be well, so with unrighteous men, and unrighteous bodies of men, it shall be ill; and as their corporate capacity ceases with this life, so it is in this life that the Judge of all deals with them. The deed of the Jewish rulers, confirmed as it was by the cries of the infuriated populace, and the continued unbelief of the great bulk of the nation, drew down upon them, as a people, the fearful judgments which had been denounced. God took away both their place and nation; their beloved house was left unto them desolate; they were scattered throughout all lands, without a country or a home; and to this day they remain an astonishment, and a bye-word, and a hissing, and a reproach-testifying to the remotest corners of the globe at once the depravity and the degradation of the people laden with iniquity.'

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But are we, as a nation, verily better than they ? Are not all men, Gentiles as well as Jews, under sin? We call ourselves a Christian people, but is the grand fundamental truth of religion, namely, the supremacy of God, generally admitted, and practically acted upon in our national affairs? Is God in all or in any of our national thoughts, feelings, aims? Is he duly acknowledged in our national counsels, or our national acts? Is he gratefully owned in public mercies? Is he humbly adored under public calamities? Is there a distinct and devout recognition of the Supreme Being, either by the governors or the governed? On the contrary, have not too many of our national deeds shown contempt of his high authority, and disregard of his holy law? And when the majority of a country manifestly acquiesce in the iniquitous acts of its rulers, then, in the sight of other nations, and in the sight of the King of nations, the guilt contracted becomes that of the country at large.

But in endeavouring to estimate the degree of our national depravity, we are bound to mark, not only the deeds of our rulers, and the grosser vices that abound among the people, but to conceive, as we best can, of the aggregate amount of in committed by the entire community. Let each man isolate himself from the mass; let him search his own heart, and try his own ways; and if he engage in the scrutiny in a faithful and honest spirit, he will discover not only that he is a sinner, but that, considering all his advantages in this highly favoured country, he is a sinner before God exceedingly. Now if the sum of individual trespass be so great, what must be the amount of national transgression? Is it not manifest, that to us, no less than to Israel, does the description apply, that we are 'a sinful nation, a seed of evil doers.'

The sins of others we cannot, indeed, repent of, but we may well be filled with shame and confusion of face on account of the humbling proof they afford of the depravity of our common nature; and we ought also to feel deep contrition, that we have not used all the endeavours we might have done to arrest the progress of abounding iniquity. But if our own personal sins have greatly swelled the amount of national trespass, of them we may repent-of them we ought to repent. Let reformation begin at home. Let every man study the secret plagues of his own heart, and the besetting sins of his own character, and be found mourning apart as in dust and ashes. The same God who here spake to Israel, now speaks to us, saying, 'Wash ye, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes. Cease to do evil; learn to do well. Seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge the fatherless; plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.'


mates that they do evil, much evil, and that continually; yea, that in all the good they do, there wanteth not sin. It thus explodes the absurd idea of moral perfection being found to exist here below; it even precludes the supposition of its ever being attained in this life. "There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good,' and even in the good that he doeth, 'sinneth not.' There is not a just man upon earth, who, along with the good that he doeth, doeth not much evil also.

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Nor does this assertion stand alone in the bible; it is confirmed by other passages no less explicit. There is none righteous, (i. e. absolutely or perfectly just ;) no not one. There is none that doeth good, (without sin) no not one. There is no man that liveth, and sinneth not. In many things we offend all; in all things we fail and come short of the glory of God.'

This testimony of scripture is confirmed by universal observation; for where, with the exception of one who was more than man, was there ever seen in our world a perfectly spotless life, a completely sinless character? Had such a man appeared, he could not fail to have attracted the admiring wonder of his cotemporaries, who would have transmitted with honour to posterity the memory of so rare a prodigy. But though the earth has existed for several thousand years, and during that period millions of men have been born, yet in no age and no country has there been found among those born in Adam's likeness, a single example of one who did no sin.'

And from universal universal experience. Every man is, in a greater or less degree, conscious of guilt; is persuaded that he has left undone those things which he ought to have done, and that he has done those things which he ought not to have done. Every man is, on account of this conviction of present guilt, at some time or other apprehensive of future punishment. Every man who makes the attempt to abstain from all evil in thought, word, and deed, and to do his whole duty perfectly, finds the endeavour accompanied with great and insurmountable difficulties. Yea, who dare pronounce any one good work of man absolutely perfect, and without sin?

observation let us pass to

'There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth Who will be bold enough to maintain, that his good, and sinneth not,' Eccl. vii. 20.

THIS is a clear and authoritative declaration of the sinful character of all men, and of the imperfect obedience of the best. It does not deny that there are, on the earth, those who, in contradistinction to the great mass of mankind, may be described as comparatively 'just,' pious, holy. It admits that these do good, much good, but it likewise inti

obedience, in any one instance, meets and answers the demands of that law which is spiritual, and reacheth unto the thoughts and intents of the heart? Who will presume to affirm, that in his best service there is no admixture of infirmity and imperfection? Who is there among the sons of men, who, in the review of any single transaction of his life, can lay his hand upon his heart

and declare, that not only was the outward deed | O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me blameless, but that all the motives and feelings from the body of this death?' connected with it, both as to the matter and manner of the performance, were blameless too, and were such as would, in every respect, be regarded as perfect, not only in the superficial estimate of his erring fellow-creatures, but in the sight of the holy and heart-searching Judge, with whom we have to do?

But in farther confirmation of the truth here stated, we appeal to the universal confession of sin, (for by all it is acknowledged in words,) and to the peculiar emphasis and deep feeling with which it has always been confessed by the truly pious of every age. The more enlarged the acquaintance they have obtained with the extent and spirituality of the divine law, and the more they have studied in contrast with this, their individual dispositions and character, the more clearly have they perceived, and the more bitterly have they lamented their many short-comings and transgressions. Go back to the Old Testament saints, and witness holy Jacob. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life.' Witness Job: If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me. If I say I am perfect, it also shall prove me perverse. I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.' Witness Moses: Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.' Witness David: Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions.' Witness Isaiah: "Woe is me, for I am undone, for I am a man of unclean lips.' Witness Jeremiah: 'Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try our ways.' Witness Daniel: O Lord, righteousnesses belong unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, because we have sinned against thee.' Witness Nehemiah, in a prayer, too, uttered in reference to his good deeds: Remember me, O my God, concerning this also; and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.'


Turn we to New Testament saints, and we find the same humble and ingenuous acknowledgment. Simon Peter, overawed by the presence and power of the holy Jesus, exclaimed: 'Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.' The beloved disciple John testifies: 'If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Even Paul, when distinguished by the highest measure of spiritual attainment by mortal ever possesssed, is nevertheless heard groaning out the complaint: I find a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me.

Yea, it is worthy of remark, that as if to place the fact of man's sinfulness beyond all doubt and controversy, the word of God, in recording the errors and faults of the saints of old, exhibits them as at times failing most in the exercise of that particular grace or virtue by which, in general, they were most eminently characterised. Abraham, the father of believers, gave way once and again to unbelieving fears. The man Moses was very meek above all the men upon the face of the earth,' yet even he was overtaken by sinful anger, and spoke unadvisedly with his lips. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, but it was Job who cursed the day of his birth. Solomon was wiser than all men, yet how egregiously did he play the fool! No disciple more tender and loving than John, yet it was he who joined with his brother in proposing to call down fire from heaven to consume an entire village of Samaritans. No disciple so bold and undaunted as Peter, yet Peter alone denied his Master. Lord, what is man!

Do not all these considerations lead to the conclusion, that if corruption and depravity were merely of occasional and accidental occurrence, there would surely be some exceptions; but as no exceptions have ever appeared within the knowledge or the memory of man, we must infer, that the corruption is corruption of nature, that the depravity is depravity of heart. Seeing then, that the perfect law of a perfect God demands a sinless righteousness, which is not to be found in sinful man, let us renounce all dependence on our own doings, in whole, or in part. Like a humble Christian of former times, let us ‘lay all our good works and all our bad works in a heap together, and let us flee from it to Christ the Saviour, that in him we may find sweet peace.' And let us rejoice in knowing that these imperfections of the 'just man' are found only upon earth!' In heaven the spirits of the just are 'made perfect.' There the people are all righte• The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity.'



'The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?' Jer. xvii.


THAT is not the language of figure, but of fact. It is not a hasty complaint uttered by some sullen misanthropist, nor a charge brought against

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