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orders to set bounds about the mount, lest amongst men,--not what have you done at the people should draw near, and God the mere impulse of sensibilities however should break forth upon them.
amiable, or of native principles however upBut we have an evidence to our state of right, and elevated, and manly,-but what banishment from God, which is nearer have you done unto me? how much of home. We have it in our own hearts. The God, and of God's will, was there in the habitual attitude of the inner man is not an principle of your doings? This is the heaattitude of subordination to God. The feel- venly measure, and it will set aside all your ing of allegiance to him is practically and earthly measures and comparisons, li will almost constantly away from us. All that sweep away all these refuges of lies. The can give value to our obedience, in the sight man whose accomplishments of character, of an enlightened Spirit who looks to mo- however lively, were all social, and worldly, tive, and sentiment, and principle, has con- and relative, will hang his head in confcstitutionally no place, and no residence in sion when the utter wickedness of his preour characters. We are engrossed by other tensions is thus laid open-when the God anxieties than anxiety to do the will, and who gave him every breath, endowed him to promote the honour, of him who formed with every faculty, enquires after his share us. We are animated by other affections of reverence and acknowledgment,-when altogether, than love to him, whose right he tells him from the judgment-seat, I was hand preserves us continually. That Being the Being with whom you had to do, and by whom we are so fearfully and wonder- yet in the vast multiplicity of your doings, fully made; whose upholding presence it I was seldom or never thought of,-when is that keeps us in life, and in movement, he convicts him of habitual forgetfulness and in the exercise of all our faculties; 1 of God, and setting aside all the paltry who has placed us on the theatre of all our measurements which men apply in their enjoyments, and claims over his own crea- estimates of one another, he brings the high tures the ascendency of a most rightful au- standard of Heaven's law, and Heaven's althority ;-that surely is the Being with legiance to bear upon them. whom we have to do. And yet, when we It must be quite palpable to any man who take account of our thoughts and of our has seen much of life, and still more if he doings, how little of God is there? In the has travelled extensively, and witnessed the random play and exhibition of such feelings varied complexions of morality that obtain as instinctively belong to us, we may gather in distant societies,-it must be quite obaround us the admiration of our fellows,- vious to such a man, how readily the moral and so it is in a colony of exiled criminals. feeling, in each of them, accommodates itself But as much wanting there, as is the ho to the general state of practice and observamage of loyalty to the government of their tion,--that the practices of one country, for native land; so much wanting here, is the which there is a most complacent tolerahomage of any deference or inward regard, tion, would be shuddered at as so many to the government of Heaven. And yet this atrocities in another country,--that in every is the very principle of all that obedience given neighbourhood, the sense of right which Heaven can look upon. If it be true and of wrong, becomes just as fine or as that obedience is rewardable by God, but obtuse as to square with its average purity, that which has respect unto God, then this and its average humanity, and its average must be the essential point on which hinges uprightness, that what would revolt the the difference between a rebel, and a loyal public feeling of a retired parish in Scotsubject to the supreme Lawgiver. The re- land as gross licentiousness or outrageous quirement we live under is to do all things cruelty, might attach no disgrace whatever to his glory; and this is the measure of to a residenter in some colonial settlement, principle and of performance that will be set -that, nevertheless, in the more corrupt over you,--and tell us, ye men of civil and and degraded of the two communites, there relative propriety, who, by exemplifying in is a scale of differences, a range of characthe eye of your fellows such virtue, as may ter, along which are placed the comparabe exemplified by the outcasts of banish- tive stations of the disreputable, and the ment, have shed around your persons the passible, and the respectable, and the supertiny lustre of this world's moralities ; tell excellent; and yet it is a very possible us how you will be able to stand such a thing, that if a man in the last of these severe and righteous application? The stations were to import all his habits and measure by which we compare ourselves all his profligacies into his native land, with ourselves, is not the measure of the superexcellent as he may be abroad, at sanctuary. When the judge comes to take home he would be banished from the geneaccount of us, he will come fraught with ral association of virtuous and well-ordered the maxims of a celestial jurisprudence, and families. Now, all we ask of you is, to his question will be, not, what have you transfer this consideration to the matter done at the shrine of popularity,--not, what before us,-to think how possible a thing have you done to sustain a character it is, that the moral principle of the world at large, may have sunk to a peaceable, we gather these principles from the book of and approving acquiescence, in the existing God's revelation, when we are told that the practice of the world at large,-that the law of the two great commandments is, to security which is inspired by the habit of love the Lord our God with all our strength, measuring ourselves by ourselves, and com- and heart, and mind, and to bear the same paring ourselves amongst ourselves, may love to our neighbour that we do to ourtherefore be a delusion altogether,—that the selves,--the argument advances from a convery best member of society upon earth, jecture to a certainty, that every inhabitant may be utterly unfit for the society of hea- of earth when brought to the bar of Heaven's ven, -that the morality which is current judicature, is altogether wanting ; and that here, may depend upon totally another set unless some great moral renovation take effect of principles from the morality which is upon him, he can never be admitted within held to be indispensable there;- and when the limits of the empire of righteousness.
Christ the Wisdom of God.
“Christ the Wisdom of God.”—1 Corinthians i. 24.
We cannot but remark of the Bible, how i pose, are thus driven in, where in the whole uniformly and how decisively it announces compass of nature or revelation can any itself in all its descriptions of the state and effectual security be found ? It may be character of man,-how, without offering easy to find our way amongst all the comto palliate the matter, it brings before us the plexional varieties of our nature, to its ratotality of our alienation, how it represents dical and pervading ungodliness; and thus us to be altogether broken off from our alle- to carry the acquiescence of the judgment giance to God, and how it fears not, in the in some extended demonstration about the face of those undoubted diversities of cha- utter sinfulness of the species. But it is not racter which exist in the world, to assert so easy to point this demonstration towards of the whole world, that it is guilty before the bosom of any individual,-to gather it him. And if we would only seize on what up, as it were, from its state of diffusion may be called the elementary principle of over the whole field of humanity, and send guilt,-if we would only take it along with it with all its energies concentered to a us, that guilt, in reference to God, must single heart, in the form of a sharp, and consist in the defection of our regard and humbling, and terrifying conviction,-to our reverence from him,-if we would only make it enter the conscience of some one open our eyes to the undoubted fact, that listener, like an arrow sticking fast,-or, there may be such an utter defection, and when the appalling picture of a whole world yet there may be many an amiable, and lying in wickedness, is thus presented to the many a graceful exhibition, hoth of feeling understanding of a general audience, to make and of conduct, in reference to those who each of that audience mourn apart over his are around us,—then should we recognize, own wickedness; just as when, on the day in the statements of the Bible, a vigorous, of judgment, though all that is visible be discerning, and intelligent view of human shaking, and dissolving, and giving way, nature,-an unfaltering announcement of each despairing eye-witness shall mourn what that nature essentially is, under all the apart over the recollection of his own guilt, plausibilities which serve to disguise it, over the prospect of his own rueful and and such an insight, in fact, into the secre- undone eternity. And yet, if this be not cies of our inner man, as if carried hume done, nothing is done. The lesson of the by that Spirit, whose office it is to apply the text has come to you in word only and not word with power into the conscience, is in power. To look to the truth in its geneenough, of itself, to stamp upon this book, rality, is one thing; to look to your own the evidence of the Divinity which in- separate concern in it, is another. What we spired it.
want is that each of you shall turn his eye But it is easier far to put an end to the homewards; that each shall purify his own resistance of the understanding, than to heart from the influence of a delusion which alarm the fears, or to make the heart soft we pronounce to be ruinous; that each and tender, under a sense of its guiltiness, or shall beware of leaning a satisfaction, or a to prompt the inquiry,-if all those secu- triumph, on the comparison of himself with rities, within the entrenchment of which I corrupt and exiled men, whom sin has dewant to take my quiet and complacent re-l graded into outcasts from the presence of God, and the joys of paradise; that each of time in all the tranquillity of death. We you shall look to the measure of God's law, say peace, when there is no peace. Though so that when the commandment comes upon in a state of disruption from God, we live you, in the sense of its exceeding broad- as securely and as inconsiderately as if ness, à sense of your sin, and of your death there were no question and no controversy in sin, may come along with it. “Without betwixt us. About this whole matter, there the commandment I was alive," says the is within us a spirit of heaviness and of Apostle; “but when the commandment deep slumber. We lie fast asleep on the came, sin revived, and I died.” Be assured, brink of an unprovided eternity, and, if that if the utterance of such truth in your possible to awaken you, let us urge you to hearing, impress no personal earnestness, compare, not your own conduct with that and lead to no personal measures, and be of acquaintances and neighbours, but to followed up by no personal movements, compare your own finding of the ungodlithen to you it is as a sounding brass and asness that is in your heart with the doctrine a tinkling cymbal. The preacher has been of God's word about it, -to bring down the beating the air. That great Agent, whose loftiness of your spirit to its humbling derevealed office it is to convince of sin, has clarations-io receive it as a faithful saying, refused to go along with him. Another in- that man is lost by nature, and that unless fluence altogether, than that which is salu- there be some mighty transition, in his his tary and saving, has been sent into your tory, from a state of nature to a state of bosom; and the glow of the truth universal salvation, the wrath of God abideth on him. has deafened or intercepted the application of The next inquiry comes to be, What is thetruth personal, and of the truth particular. this transition ? Tell me the step I should
This leads us to the second thing proposed take, and I will take it. It is not enough, in our last discourse, under which we shall at then, that you exalt upon your own person tempt to explain the wisdom opposite to that the degree of those virtues, by which you folly of measuring ourselves by ourselves, have obtained a credit and a distinction and comparing ourselves among ourselves, among men. It is not enough, that you which we have already attempted to expose. throw a brighter and a lovelier hue over
The first step is to give up all satisfac- your social accomplishments. It is not tion with yourselves, on the bare ground, enough, that you multiply the offerings of that your conduct comes up to the measure your charity, or observe a more rigid comof human character, and human reputation pliance, than heretofore, with all the requiaround you. This consideration may be sitions of justice. All this you may do, of importance to your place in society; but, and yet the great point, on which your as to your place in the favour of God, it is controversy with God essentially hinges, utterly insignificant. The moral differences may not be so much as entered upon. Al which obtain in a community of exiles, are this you may do, and yet obtain no nearer all quite consistent with the entire oblitera- approximation to Him who sitteth on the tion amongst them, of the allegiance that throne, than the outlaws of an offended is due to the government of their native government for their fidelities to each other. land. And the moral differences which To the eye of man you may be fairer than obtain in the world, may, in every way, before,and in civil estimation be greatly more be as consistent with the fact, that one and righteous than before,--and yet, with the unall of us, in our state of nature, are alienated quelled spirit of impiety within you, and as from God by wicked works. And, in like habitual an indifference as ever to all the submanner, as convicts may be all alive to a ordinating claims of the divine will over your sense of their reciprocal obligations, while heart and your conduct, you may stand at dead, in feeling and in principle, to the su- as wide a distance from God as before. And preme obligation under which they lie to besides, how are we to dispose of the whole the sovereign,-so may we, in reference to guilt of your past iniquities? Whether, is our fellow-men, have a sense of rectitude, it the malefactor or the Lawgiver who is to and honour, and compassion, while, in re- arbitrate this question ? God may remit ference to God, we may labour under the our sins, but it is for him to proclaim this entire extinction of every moral sensibili-God may pass them over ; but it is for him ty,--so that the virtues which signalize us, to issue the deed of amnesty. God may may, in the language of some of our old have found out a way whereby, in consisdivines, be neither more nor less than / tency with his own character, and with the splendid sins. With the possession of these stability of his august government, he may virtues, we may not merely be incurring | take sinners into reconciliation; but it is for every day the guilt of trespassing and sin-him both to devise and to publish this way; ning against our Maker in heaven; but de- -and we must just do what convicts do, void as we are of all apprehension of the when they obtain a mitigation or a cancel. enormity of this, we may strikingly realize ment of the legal sentence under which the assertion of the Bible, that we are dead they lie -we must passively accept of it, in trespasses and sins. And we pass our on the terms of the deed, we must look
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 foundtion 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 exelusively 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 offered 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 in 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 if 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, lest 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. Weare there is the image of God, should shine into them. 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 life: 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 amnesty. 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 be of human nature, that all who reject Christ, punished with everlasting destruction from as 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 way; the condemnation of our world mainly and but if we do not, the alternative is that he will 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 his merits,--what, we would ask, is the which if we lean weshall not be confounded; other foundation on which they build it? but if we shift our dependence away from it, If 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 comprefeelings, 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 to 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 elment, 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 sections 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 lengih 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 aster 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 barwilling 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 hath | condescended to make known to us a rea- But such, if we may be allowed the express son, 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