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to the warrant as issued by the sovereign, world, or as elevate them to a certain deand take the boon or fulfil the conditions, gree above the level of the world's populajust as it is there presented to us. The question. These are the materials of the soundtion is between us and God; and in the ad-ation on which they build. It is upon the justment of this question, we must look possession of virtues which in truth have singly to the expression of his will, and feel not God for their object, that they propose that it is with him, and with his authority, to support in the presence of God the attithat we have exclusively to do. In one tude of fearlessness. It is upon the testiword, we must wait his own revelation, and mony of fellow rebels that they brave the learn from his own mouth how it is that he judgment of the Being, who has pronounced would have us to come nigh unto him. of them all, that they have deeply revolted
Let us go then to the record. “No man against him. And all this in the face of cometh unto the Father but through the God's high prerogative, to make and to pubSon.” “There is no other name given un- lish his own overtures. All this in contempt der heaven, but the name of Jesus, whereby of that Mediator whom he has appointed. we can be saved.” “Without the shedding All this in resistance to the authentic deed of blood there is no remission of sin;" and of grace and of forgiveness, which has been "God hath set forth Christ to be a propitia- sent to our world, and from which we gather tion through faith in his blood." "He was the full assurance of God's willingness to be once ofiered to bear the sins of many,”—and reconciled; but, at the same time, are ex" became sin for us, though he knew no sin, pressly bound down to that particular way that we might be made the righteousness of in which he has chosen to dispense reconGod in him." "God is in Christ reconciling ciliation. Who does not see, that, in these the world unto himself, and not imputing circumstances, the guilt of sin is fearfully unto them their trespasses.” “Justified by aggravated on the part of sinners, by their faith, we have peace with God through rejection of the Gospel ? Who does not 'Jesus Christ our Lord ;?? _“and we become see, that thus to refuse the grant of everlastthe children of God, through the faith that is ing life in the terms of the grant, is just to m Christ Jesus." We are “reconciled to God set an irretrievable seal upon their own conby the death of his Son,"_" and by his demnation? Who does not see, that, in the obedience are many made righteous,"--and act of declining to take the shelter which is "where sin abounded, grace did much more held out to them, they vainly imagine, abound." These verses sound foolishness that God will let down his approbation to to many; but the cross of Christ is foolish- such performances as are utterly devoid of ness to those that perish. They appear to any spirit of devout or dutiful allegiance to them invested with all the mysteriousness the Lawgiver ? This is, in fact, a deliberate of a dark and hidden saying ; but is this p sting of themselves, and that more firmly Gospel be bid, it is hid to them which are and more obstinately than ever, on the lost. They have eyes that they cannot see ground of their rebellion-and let us no the wondrous things contained in this book longer wonder, then, at the terms of that of God's communication ; but they have alternative of which we read so often in the minds which believe not, because they are Bible. We there read, that if we believe, we blinded by the god of this world, lost the shall be saved; but we also read, that if we light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who believe not, we shall be damned. Wcare there is the image of God, should shine into them. I told of the great salvation ; but how shall
And here we cannot but insist on the utter we escape if we neglect it? We are there hopelessness of their circumstances, who invited to lay hold of the Gospel, as the hear these overtures of reconciliation, but savour of life unto lise: but, if we refuse will not listen to them. Theirs is just the case the invitation, it shall be to us the savour of rebels turning their back on a deed of of death unto death. The gospel is there grace and of ainnesty. We are quite confi- | freely proclaimed to us, for our acceptance: dent in stating it to the stubborn experience but if we will not obey the Gospel, we shall bé of human nature, that all who reject Christ, punished with everlasting destruction from 28 he is offered in the Gospel, persist in that the presence of the Saviour's power. We are radical ungodliness of character on which / asked to kiss the Son while he is in the wav: the condemnation of our world mainly and but if we do not, the alternative is that he wilí Essentially rests. And as they thus refuse be angry,and that his wrath will burn against to build their security on the foundation of us. He is revealed to us a sure rock, on bis merits --what, we would ask, is the which if we lean we shall not be confounded; other foundation on which they build it? but if weshist our dependence away from it, II ever they think seriously of the matter, it will fall upon us and grind us to powder. or feel any concern about a foundation on And this alternative, so far from a matter Which they might rest their confidence be- to be wondered at, appears resolvable into fore God, they conceive it to lie in such a principle that might be easily compreleelings, and such humanities, and such hended. God is the party sinned against: honesties, as make them even with the land if he have the will to be reconciled, it
is surely for him to prescribe the way of Ito God in the highest ; and for this purpose it: and this he has actually done in the re- did the eternal Son pour out his soul an ofvelation of the New Testament: and whether fering for sin, and by his obedience unto he give a reason for the way or not, certain death, bring in an everlasting righteousness. it is, that in order to give it accomplish- It is through the channel of this great exment, he sent his eternal Son into our world; piation that the guilt of every believer is and this descent was accompanied with washed away; and it is through the imsuch circumstances of humiliation, and con- puted merits of him with whom the Father flict, and deep suffering, that heaven looked was well pleased, that every believer is adon with astonishment, and earth was bid- mitted to the rewards of a perfect obedience. den to rejoice, because of her great salva-Conceive any man of this world to reject tion. It is enough for us to know that God the offers of reward and forgiveness in this lavished on this plan the riches of a wisdom way, and to look for them in another. Conthat is unsearchable; that, in the hearing ceive him to challenge the direct approbaof sinful men, he has proclaimed its import- tion of his Judge, on the measure of his ance and its efficacy; that every Gospel own worth, and his own performances, and messenger felt himself charged with tidings to put away from him that righteousness of pregnant of joy, and of mighty deliverance Christ, in the measure of which there is no to the world. And we ask you just to con- short coming. Is he not, by this attitude, ceive, in these circumstances, what effect holding out against God, and that too, on a it should have on the mind of the insulted question in which the justice of God stands Sovereign, if the world, instead of respond committed against him? Is not the poor ing, with grateful and delighted welcome, to sinner of a day entering into a fearful conthe message, shall either nauseate its terms, troversy, with all the plans, and all the peror, feeling in them no significancy, shall | fections of the Eternal ? Might not you turn with indifference away from it? Are conceive every attribute of the Divinity, we at all to wonder if the King, very wroth gathering into a frown of deeper indignawith the men of such a world shall at length tion against the daringness of him, who send his armies to destroy it? Do you think thus demands the favour of the Almighty it likely that the same God, who after we on some plea of his own, and resolutely had broken his commandment, was willing declines it on that only plea, under which to pass by our transgressions, will be equally the acceptance of the sinner can be in harwilling to pass them by after we have thus mony with the glories of God's holy and despised the proclamation of his mercy; inviolable character ? Surely, if we have after his forbearance and his long-suffering fallen short of the obedience of his law, and have been resisted; and that scheme of par- so short as to have renounced altogether don, with the weight and the magnitude of that godliness which imparts to obedience which angels appear to labour in amaze-its spiritual and substantial quality, then ment, is received by the very men for whom do we aggravate the enormity of our sin, it was devised, as a thing of no estimation? | by building our hope before God on a founSurely, if there had been justice in the sim-dation of sin? To sin is to defy God: but ple and immediate punishment of sin-this the very presumption that he will smile justice will be discharged in still brighter complacency upon it, involves in it another, manifestation on him, who, in the face of and a still more deliberate attack upon his such an embassy, holds out in his determi- government; and all its sanctions, and all nation to brave it. And, if it be a righteous its severities, are let loose upon us in greater thing in God to avenge every violation of force and abundance than before, if we his law, how clearly and how irresistibly either rest upon our own virtue, or mix up righteous will it appear, when, on the great this polluted ingredient with the righteousday of his wrath, he taketh vengeance on ness of Christ, and refuse our single, entire, those who have added to the violation of and undivided reliance on him who alone his law, the rejection of the Gospel! has magnified the law and made it honour
But what is more than this-God hathable. condescended to make known to us a rea- But such, if we may be allowed the expresson, for that peculiar way of reconciliation, sion, is the constitution of the Gospel of Jesus which he hath set before us. It is, that he Christ, that, in proportion to the terror which might be just while the justifier of those it holds out to those who neglect it, is the who believe in Jesus. In the dispensation security that it provides to all who flee for of his mercy, he had to provide for the dig- refuge to the hope which is set before them. nity of his throne. He had to guard the / Paul understood this well, when, though he stability of his truth and of his righteous-profited over many of his equals in his own ness. He had to pour the lustre of a high nation,-when, though had he measured and awful vindication, over the attributes himself by them, he might have gathered of a nature that is holy and unchangeable. from the comparison a feeling of proud suHe had to make peace on earth and good periority,-when, though in all that was will to men meet, and be at one with glory counted righteous among his fellows, he
signalized himself in general estimation, the personal accomplishments of character
Thus much for what may be called the profligate. But if the one and the other Judicial righteousness with which every are both dead to a sense of their Lawgiver believer is invested by having the merits of l in heaven,—then both need to be made alive Christ imputed to himn through faith. But unto him. With both there must be the this faith is something more than a name. power and the reality of a spiritual resurIt takes up a positive residence in the mindrection. And after this great transition has as a principle. It has locality and opera- been made, it will be found that the virtues won there, and has either no existence at I of the new state, and those of the old state all, or by its purifying and reforming in- cannot be brought to any common standard fluence on the holder of it, does it invest of measurement at all. The one distances him also with a personal righteousness. the other by a wide and impassable inter
Now, to apply the conception of our text val. There is all the difference in point of to this personal righteousness, the first thing principle between a man of the world and we would say of it is, that it admits of no a new creature in Christ, that there is bemeasurement whatever with the socialtween him who has the Spirit of God, and worth, or the moral virtue, or any other of him who has it not,--and all the difference
in point of performance, that there is be- that all old things are done away, and that tween him who is without Christ, and can all things have become new. therefore do nothing, and him who can! Thus it is, that while none of the Christian do all things through Christ strengthening virtues can be made to come into measurehim. There is a new principle now, which ment with any of what may be called the formerly had no operation, even that of constitutional virtues, in respect of their godliness and a new influence now, even principle, because the principle of the one that of the Holy Ghost, given to the prayers set differs from that of the other set, in kind of the believer ;--and under these provi- as well as in degree, yet there are certain sions will he attain a splendour and an en-corresponding virtues in each of the classes, ergy of character, with which, the better which might be brought together into meaand the best of this world can no more be surement, in respect of visible and external brought into comparison, than earth will performance. And it is a high point of compare with heaven, or the passions and obligation with every disciple of the faith, the frivolities of time, with the pure ambi- so to sustain his part in this competition, tion and the lofty principles of eternity, as to show forth the honour of Christianity;
And let it not be said, that the transforma-to prove by his own personal history in tion of which we are now speaking, in the world, how much the morality of grace stead of being thus entire and universal, outsirips the morality of nature; 10 evince consists only with a good man of the world the superior lustre and steadiness of the in the addition of one virtue, to his previous one, when compared with the frail, and stock of many virtues. We admit that he fluctuating, and desultory character of the had justice before, and humanity before, other; and to make it clear to the eye of and courteousness before, and that the god-experience, that it is only under the peculiness which he had not before, is only one liar government of the doctrine of Christ, virtue. But the station which it asserts, that all which is amiable in human worth, among the other virtues, is a station of becomes most lovely, and all which is justly supreme authority. It no sooner takes held in human admiration, becomes most its place among them, than it animates great, and lofty, and venerable. The Bible them all, and subordinates them all. It sends tells us to provide things honest in the sight forth among them a new and pervading of men, as well as of God. It tells us, that quality, which makes them essentially upon the person of every Christian, the different from what they were before. I features of excellence should stand so legimay take daily exercise from a regard to bly engraven, that, as a living epistle, he my health, and by so doing I may deserve might be seen and read of all men. It is the character of a man of prudence; or I true, there is much in the character of a may take daily exercise apart from this genuine believer which the world cannot consideration altogether, and because it is see, and cannot sympathize with. There the accidental wish of my parents that I is the rapture of faith, when in lively exershould do so ; and thus may I deserve the cise. There is the ecstacy of devotion. character of a man of filial piety. The ex-) There is a calm and settled serenity amid ternal habit is the same; but under the one all the vicissitudes of life. There is the principle, the moral character of this habit habit of having no confidence in the fiesh, is totally and essentially different from and of rejoicing in the Lord Jesus. There what it is under the other principle. Yet is a holding fast of our hope in the prothe difference here, is, most assuredly, not mises of the Gospel. · There is a cherishing greater than is the difference between the of the Spirit of adoption. There is the justice of a good man of society, and the work of a believing fellowship with the justice of a Christian disciple. In the Father and with the Son. There is a moveformer case, it is done unto others, or done ment of affection towards the things which unto himself. In the latter case, it is done, are above. There is a building up of ourunto God. The frame-work of his outer selves on our most holy faith. There is a doings is animated by another spirit alto- praying in the Holy Ghost. There is a gether. There is the breath of another life watching for his influence with all persein it. The inscription of Holiness to God verance. In a word, there is all which stands engraven on the action of the be- the Christian knows to be real, and which liever; and if this character of holiness be the world hates, and denounccs as visionary, utterly effaced from the corresponding in the secret, but sublime and substantial action of the good man of society, then, processes of experimental religion. surely, in character, in worth, in spiritual! But, on the other hand, there is also and intelligent estimation, there is the ut- much in the doings of an altogether Chrismost possible diversity between the two tian of that palpable virtue which forces actions. So that, should the most upright itself upon general observation; and he is and amiable man upon earth embrace the most grievously untrue to his master's Gospel faith, and become the subject of the cause, if he do not, on this ground, so outGospel regeneration,-it is true of him, too, run the world, as to force from the men of it, an approving testimony. The eye of, of nature,--and if any believer amongst the world cannot enter within the spiritual you be led by it not to despise these accomrecesses of his heart; but let him ever re-plishments, but to put them on, and to animember that it is fastened, and that too mate them all'with the spirit of religiouswith keen and scrutinizing jealousy, on the ness--if any hearer amongst you, beginning path of his visible history. It will offer no to perceive his own nothingness in the sight homage to the mere sanctity of his com- of God, be prompted to inquire, Wherewithal plexion; nor, unless there be shed over it shall I appear before him? and not to rest the expression of what is mild in domestic, from the inquiry, till he flee from his hidingor honourable in public virtue, will it ever place, to that everlasting righteousness look upon him in any other light, than as which the Saviour hath brought in: and if an object of the most unmingled disgust. any believer amongst you, rightly dividing And therefore it is, that he must enter on the word of truth, shall act on the principle, the field of ostensible accomplishment, and that though nothing but the doctrine of there bear away the palm of superiority, Christ crucified, can avail him for acceptand be the most eminent of his fellows in ance with God, yet he is bound to adorn all those recognized virtues, that can bless this doctrine in all things. And knowing or embellish the condition of society; the that one may acquiesce in the whole of most untainted in honour, and the most dis- such a demonstration, without carrying it interested in justice, and the most alert in personally home, we leave off with the sinbeneficence, and the most unwearied in all gle remark, that every conviction not prosethese graces, under every discouragement | cuted, every movement of conscience not and every provocation.
followed up, every ray of light or of truth We have now only time to say, that we not turned to individual application, will shall not regret the length of this discourse, aggravate the reckoning of the great day, or even the recurrence of some of its argu- / and that in proportion to the degree of urments, if any hearer amongst you, not in gency which has been brought to bear upon the faith, be led by it, to withdraw his con- you, and been resisted, will be the weight fidence from the mere accomplishments and the justness of your final condemnation.
“Keep yourselves in the love of God.”—Jude 21.