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in proportion to its demerits, and of exhibit ing an awful warning tothe whole creation, He would have exacted the full penalty which we had incurred? These are the dreadful forebodings with which our breasts might naturally have been filled. And if we had endeavoured to console ourselves with the reflection that God delighteth in inercy, and had ventured on that ground to hope for forgiveness ; how reasonably might we have feared, that no mer thod was to be devised, in which the Judge of the Universe, could exercise mercy towards man consistently with his holiness and his justice! After all our inquiries, our pleadings, and our hopes, there still lay open bec fore us the gulf of eternal death. 5. · IV. Such was by nature the miserable state of man.. So truly did the law work wrath. So truly was the commandment, which was ordained to be unto life, found to be, unto death. So plainly by the law was the knows ledge of sin imparted and diffused; the knowledge of its heinous guilt, of its universal and deadly influence. So effe&tually did limi taking cacasion by the commandment, deceive using and Liay us. So fatally, was the lawr wbich is boly, and the commandment which is boly and juft and good, made by our corruption and
tranfgressions death unto every man (s). Thus condemned, thus helpless, thus destitute of all claim to mercy, thus ignorant whether to human guilt mercy could be extended confiftently with the other attributes of God, was the whole race of Adam. But God is infinite in mercy, goodness, and wisdom. He saw what man could not difeern. He perceived the means of reconciling the offer of forgiveness to fallen man, with the demands of his own righteous and violated law. O wretched man that I am! cried St. Paul; who fill deliver me from the body of this death (t)? A saviour was at hånd. There was one in heaven able to make an atonement : able to make a full, perfect, and fufficient facrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the fins of the whole world; and such a fatisfaction as it would be consistent with the righteousness and the jura tice of God to accept. But was this saviour wille ing as well as able to make the atonement? He was willing. He was aware what must be the price of man's falvation; and that price he freely offered, and took upon himself to pay, And who was this faviour? What being was it that undertook this most astonishing office of mercy? It was thre eternal Son of the eterwho's D o Marconi: 537 (1) Rum, die 20. iv. 15, vii. 10^-13. (1) Rom. vii. 24. nal God. It was one of the persons of the incomprehensible godhead. It was Jesus Christ, who was one with the father. It was Jesus Christ, who in the beginning had made the world, and now engaged to redeem it. He became surety for man. The humiliation, the sufferings, which he faw that as man's furety he must undergo, dismayed him not. He knew that the iniquity of the human race was to be laid upon him ; that with his stripes mankind were to be healed. He knew that he must himself become the sacrifice in the place of man. He knew that he must leave the glory, in which he had reigned with the Fa. ther from eternity ; that he must come down to dwell on earth; that he must himself become man, and sustain all the infirmities and evils of human nature, fin only excepted, which could not approach to him. He knew that he must be a man of sorrows' and acquainted with grief; that he should be despised and rejected by the world which he came to save'; that of the followers whom he should particularly felect to be his companions and friends, he should be betrayed by one, denied by another, forsaken by all. He knew that he should be delivered up to his bitterest enemies ; that he should be exposed as a mark to the shafts of scorn, insult, and cruelty;
and Vindicated. . 43 and that he must make atonement by his blood; that he must suffer a painful and ignominious death, crucified between two malefactors; himself condemned as a malefactor, though he was the Lord of Glory. All this abasement, all this anguish he foresaw to be necessary, if he would purchase redemption for mankind. All this abasement and anguish he foresaw; but it shook not the purpose of his love. Though he was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God; he made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a fervant, and was made in the likeness of men ; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himfelf, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (u). By this his obedience unto death the great atonement was made. The gate of heaven was thrown open to man. Pardon through the blood of Christ, fanctification through the Holy Ghost, and everlasting happiness in the world to come were offerred, as purchased by the sacrifice of Christ, to all who should fly for salvation to him.
How then may we acquire an interest in these blessings ? By faith: by faith only.. us Pin . (2) Philipp. ii. 6-8. ... !
Faith is ordained of God to be the instrument, the only instrument, by which we may receive and apply to ourselves the mercy of God, the atonement of our Redeemer. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be faved. A man is justified by faith. The law worketh wrath : therefore it is of faiib, that it might be by grace. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with Go ! through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand. The righteousness of God (the method of justification which God hath ordained) without the works of the law (without our works being required to do that which they never could do, to pay an atom of the price of falvation) is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe : for there is no difference ; for all have finned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by bis grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God bath fet forth to be a propitiation througò faith in his blood (w). Justification by faith alone, through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the grand doctrine of both testaments. Under
(w) Acts, xvi.zi. Rom. iii. 28. Gal. ii. 16. Rom. iv. * 15, 16. v. 1, 2. iii. 21–25.