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signalized himself in general estimation, the personal accomplishments of character yet he willingly renounced a dependence which may belong to those who have not upon all, that he might win Christ, and be the faith of the Gospel. Faith accepts of found in him, not having his own righ- the offered reconciliation, and moves away teousness, which was of the law, but that from the alienated heart those suspicions, righteousness which is through the faith of and aversions, and fears, which kept man Christ, even the righteousness which is of asunder from his God. We would not say, God by faith. He felt the force of the al- then, of the personal righteousness of a beternative, between the former and the latter liever, that it consisted in a higher degree righteousness. He knew that the one ad- of that virtue which may exist in a lower mitted of no measurement with the other; degree with him who is not a believer. It and that whatever appearance of worth it consists in the dawn, and the progress, and had in the eyes of men, when brought to the perfecting of a virtue, which, before he their relative and earthly standard, it was was a believer, had no existence whatever. reduced to nothing, and worse than nothing, It consists in the possession of a character when brought to the standard of Heaven's of which, previous to his acceptance of holy and unalterable law. Jesus Christ has Christ, he had not the smallest feature of in our nature fulfilled this law; and it is in reality; though to the external eye, there the righteousness which he thus wrought, may have been some features of resemthat we are invited to stand before God. blance. The principle of Christian sanctiYou do not then take in a full impression fication, which, if we were to express it by of Gospel security, if you only believe that another name, we would call devotedness God is merciful, and has forgiven you. You to God, is no more to be found in the unare called farther to believe, that God is believing world, than the principle of an righteous, and has justified you. You have allegiance to their rightful sovereign, is to a warrant to put on the righteousness of be found among the outcasts of banishment. Christ as a robe and a diadem, and to go It is not by any stretching out of the meato the throne of grace with the petition of sure of your former virtues, then, that you Look upon me in the face of him who hath can attain this principle. There needs to fulfilled all righteousness. You are furnished be originated within you a new virtue alwith such a measure of righteousness as together. It is not by the fostering of that God can accept, without letting down a which is old,-it is by the creation of somesingle attribute which belongs to him. The thing new, that a man comes to have the truth, and the justice, and the holiness, personal righteousness of a disciple of the which stand in such threatening array New Testament. It is by giving existence against the sinner who is out of Christ, to that which formerly had no existence. now form into a shield and a hiding-place And let us no longer wonder, then, at the around him. And while he who trusts in magnitude of the terms which are employed the general mercy of God does so at the in the Bible, to denote the change, the perexpense of his whole character, he who sonal change, which in point of character, trusts in the mercy of God, which hath ap- and affection, and principle, takes place on peared unto all men through the Saviour, all who become meet for the inheritance offers in that act of confidence an homage of the saints. It is there called life from to every perfection of the Divinity, and has the dead, and a new birth, and a total renoevery perfection of the Divinity upon his vation,--all old things are said to be done side. And thus it is, that under the economy away, and all things to become new. With of redemption, we now read, not merely of many it is a wonder how a change of such God being merciful, but of God being just totality and of such magnitude, should be and faithful in forgiving our sins, and in accounted as indispensable to the good and cleansing us from all our unrighteousness. creditable man of society, as the sunken
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 in heaven,—then both need to be made alive Christ imputed to him 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 mind rection. And after this great transition has as a principle. It has locality and opera been made, it will be found that the virtues tion there, and has either no existence at 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 social tween 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; to 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 eve 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 flesh, 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 denounces 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 Chris most 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 noto 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. It is not easy to give the definition of a rests, and finds a complacent gratification, term, which is currently and immediately and to assign the circumstances, which are understood without one. But, should not either favourable or unfavourable to its exthis ready understanding of the term super-citement. All this may call forth an exersede the definition of it, what can we tell cise of discrimination. But instead of dwellof love in the way of explanation, but by a ing any more on the significancy of the substitution of terms, not more simple and term love, which is the term of my text, let more intelligible than itself ? Can this affec us forthwith take it unto use, and be confition of the soul be made clearer to you by dent that, in itself, it carries no ambiguity words, than it is already clear to you by along with it. your own consciousness? Are we to at- ! The term love, indeed, admits of a real tempt the elucidation of a term, which, and intelligible application to inanimate obwithout any feeling of darkness or of mys-jects. There is a beauty in sights, and a tery, you make familiar use of every day? beauty in sounds, and I may bear a posiYou say with the utmost promptitude, and tive love to the mute and unconscious inyou have just as ready an apprehension of dividuals in which this beauty hath taken the meaning of what you say, that I love up its residence. I may love a flower, or this man, and bear a still higher regard to a murmuring stream, or a sunny bank, or a another, but have my chief and my best humble cottage peeping forth from its conHiking directed to a third. We will not at-cealment,-or in fine, a whole landscape tempt to go in search of a more luminous may teem with such varied graces, that I or expressive term, for this simple affection, may say of it, this is the scene I most love than the one that is commonly employed to behold, this is the prospect over which But it is a different thing to throw light upon my eye and my imagination most fondly the workings of this affection,--to point expatiate. your attention to the objects on which it! The term love admits of an equally real, and equally intelligible application to our | when this cordiality is turned in one stream fellow-men. They, too, are the frequent of kindliness, towards myself; when the and familiar objects of this affection, and eye of friendship has singled out me, and they often are so, because they possess cer- looks at me with a peculiar graciousness; tain accomplishments of person and of cha- when the man of tenderness has pointed racter, by which it is excited. I love the his way to the abode of my suffering family, man whose every glance speaks an effusive and there shed in secrecy over them his cordiality towards those who are around liberalities, and his tears; when he has forhim. I love the man whose heart and given me the debt that I was unable to diswhose hand are ever open to the represen-charge; and when, oppressed as I am, by the tations of distress. I love the man who consciousness of having injured or reviled possesses such a softness of nature, that the him, he has nobly forgotten or overlooked imploring look of a brother in want, or of the whole provocation, and persists in a rea brother in pain, disarms him of all his gard that knows no abatement, in a wellselfishiness, and draws him out to some large doing that is never weary and willing surrender of generosity. I love There is an element, then, in the love I the man who carries on his aspect, not bear to a fellow man, which does not exist merely the expression of worth, but of in the love I bear to an inanimate object; worth maintained in the exercise of all its and which may serve, perhaps, to darken graces, under every variety of temptation the character of the affection I feel towards and discouragement; who, in the midst of the former. We most readily concede it, calumny, can act the warm and enlightened that the love of another, on account of the philanthropist; who, when beset with many virtues which adorn him, changes its moral provocations, can weather them all in calm character altogether, if it be a love to him, and settled endurance; who can be kind solely on account of the benefit which I de even to the unthankful and the evil; and rive from the exercise of these virtues. I who, if he possess the awful virtues of truth should love compassion on its own account, and of justice, only heightens our attach-, as well as on the account that it is I who ment the more, that he possesses goodness, have been the object of it. I should love and tenderness, and benignity along with justice on its own account, as well as on them,
the account that my grievances have been Now, we would have you to advert to redressed by the dispensation of it. On one capital distinction between the former looking at goodness, I should feel an affecand the latter class of objects. The inani- tion resting on this object, and finding there mate reflect no love upon us back again. its full and its terminating gratification; They do not single out any one of their ad- and that, though I had never stood in the mirers, and, by an act of preference, either way of any one of its beneficent operations. minister to his selfish appetite for esteem, How is it, then, that the special direction or minister to his selfish appetite for enjoy- of a moral virtue in another, towards the ment, by affording to him a larger share object of my personal benefit, operates in than to others, of their presence, and of all enhancing both the sensation which it imthe delights which their presence inspires. parts to my heart, and the estimate which I They remain motionless in their places, form of it? What is the peculiar quality comwithout will and without sensibility; and municated to my admiration of another's the homage they receive, is from the dis- friendship, and another's goodness, by the interested affection which men bear to their circumstance of myself being the individual loveliness. They are loved, and that purely, towards whom that friendship is cherished, because they are lovely. There is no mix- and in favour of whom, that goodness puts ture of selfishness in the affection that is of-itself forth into active exertion? At the fered to them. They do not put on a sight of a benevolent man, there arises in sweeter smile to one man than to another; my bosom an instantaneous homage of rebut all the features of that beauty in which gard and of reverence;—but should that they are arrayed, stand inflexibly the same homage take a pointed direction towards to every beholder; and he, without any con- myself,--should it realize its fruits on the scious mingling whatever of self-love, in comfort, and the security of my own perthe emotion with which he gazes at the son,-should it be employed in gladdening charms of some external scenery, is actu- my home, and spreading enjoyment over ated by a love towards it, which rests and my family, oppressed with want and pining which terminates on the objects that he is in sickness, there is, you will allow, by employed in contemplating.
| these circumstances, a heightening of the But this is not always the case when our love and the admiration that I formerly fellow men are objects of this affection. I rendered him. And, we should like to know should love cordiality, and benevolence, and what is the precise character of the addition compassion for their own sakes; but let that has thus been given to my regard for your own experience tell how far more the virtue of benevolence. We should like sweetly and more intensely the love is felt, to know, if it be altogether a pure and a praise-worthy accession that has thus come/words, it may enhance my affection for upon the sentiment with which I now look worth, without any change whatever in at my benefactor,-or, if, by contracting the moral character of that affection. any taint of selfishness, it has lost the high Now, before we proceed to consider those rank that formerly belonged to it, as a dis-peculiar emotions which are excited within interested affection, towards the goodness me, by being the individual, in whose fawhich beautifies and adorns his character. vour certain virtues are exercised, and which
There is one way, however, in which emotions are, all of them, different in kind this special direction of a moral virtue to- from the affection that I bear for these virwards my particular interest, may increase tues,-let us farther observe, that the term my affection for it, and without changing love, when applied to sentient beings conthe moral character of my affection. It sidered as the object of it, may denote an gives me a nearer view of the virtue in / affection, different in the principle of its exquestion. It is true, that the virtue may just citement, from any that we have been yet be as lovely when exercised in behalf of my considering. My love to another may lie neighbour, as when exercised in behalf of l in the liking I have for the moral qualities myself. But, in the former case, I am not which belong to him; and this, by way of an eye-witness to the display and the evo-distinctness, may be called the love of moral lution of its loveliness. I am a limited be-esteem or approbation. Or, my love to aning, who cannot take in so full. and so dis- other may consist in the desire I have for tinct an impression of the character of what his happiness; and this may be called the is distant, as of the character of what is love of kindness. These two are often alimmediately beside me. It is true, that all lied to each other in fact, but there is a real the circumstances may be reported. But difference in their nature. The love of you know very well, that a much livelier kindness which I bear to my infant child representation is obtained of any object, may have no reference to its moral qualities by the seeing of it, than by the hearing of whatever. This love finds its terminating it. To be told of kindness, does not bring gratification in obtaining, for the object of this attribute of character so forcibly, or so it, exemption from pain, or in ministering clearly home to my observation, as to re- to its enjoyments. It is very true, that the ceive a visit from kindness, and to take it sight of what is odious or revolting in the by the hand, and to see its benignant mien, character of another, tends, in point of fact, and to hear its gentle and complacent voice, to dissipate all the love of kindness I may and to witness the solicitude of its inquiries, have ever borne to him. But it does not and to behold its tender and honest anxiety always do so, and one instance of this for my interest, and to share daily and proves a real distinction, in point of nature, weekly in the liberalities which it has be-between the love of kindness, and the love stowed upon me. When all this goes on of moral esteem. And the highest and around my own person, and within the most affecting instance which can be given limits of my own dwelling-place, it is very of this distinction, is in the love wherewith true that self is gratified, and that this cir- God hath loved the world; is in that kindcumstance may give rise to sensations, ness towards us, through Christ Jesus, which are altogether distinct from the love which he hath made known to men in the I bear to moral worth, or to moral excel-Gospel; is in that longing regard to his lence. But this does not hinder, that along fallen creatures, whereby he was not willwith these sensations, a disinterested love ing that any should perish, but rather that for the moral virtue of which I have been all should live. There was the love of kindthe object, may, at the same time, have its ness standing out, in marked and separate room and its residence within my bosom. display, from the love of moral esteem; for, I may love goodness more than ever, on alas! in the degraded race of mankind, there its own account, since it has taken its spe- was not one quality which could call forth cific way to my habitation, and that, just such an affection in the breast of the Godbecause I have obtained a nearer acquaint-head. It was, when we were hateful to him ance with it. I may love it better, because in character, that in person and in interest I know it better. My affection for it may we were the objects of his most unbounded have become more intense, and more de- tenderness. It was, when we were enemies voted than before, because its beauty is now by wicked works, that God looked on with more fully unfolded to the eye of my ob- pity, and stretched forth, to his guilty chilservation than before. And thus, while we dren, the arms of offered reconciliation. It admit that the goodness of which I am the was when we had wandered far in the paths object, originates within me certain feelings of worthlessness and alienation, that he dedifferent in kind from that which is excited vised a message of love, and sent his Son by goodness in the general, yet it may into our world, to seek and to save us. heighten the degree of this latter feeling And this, by the way, may serve to ilalso. It may kindle or augment the love Illustrate the kind of love which we are rebear to moral virtue in itself; or, in other quired to bear to our enemies. We are re