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How important for every reader to ascertain to the darkness, that men were not ashamed to fall which of the two he belongs! down before the works of their own hands, and converted that earth which the Creator God had formed to show forth his praise, into one vast temple of idols. Great is the power of darkness in encouraging and concealing vice. 'He that doeth evil cometh not to the light.' Need we wonder then that the heathen of ancient times, like the heathen of our own day, not retaining God in their knowledge, should have given themselves over to the vilest abominations, which are fitly represented as 'deeds of darkness'—' the unfruitful works of darkness? So thoroughly was the pagan world pervaded by this character, that they are spoken of as the darkness itself; 'Ye were sometimes darkness.'

Here is the kingdom of darkness, the domain of satan, who is pre-eminently the power of darkness,' that is, the prince or sovereign who possesses the power. When Jesus was betrayed by a false friend, and seized by the hands of violence at the dead of night, he said to those who sought his life, 'This is your hour, and the power of darkness-a deed of darkness, befitting the season you have chosen for its perpetration, and emanating from him who is the ruler of darkness. What was the object of Paul's commission to the Gentiles? It was 'to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan unto God.' Before we can be made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, we must be delivered from the power of darkness. Christians are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that they may show forth the praises of him who hath called them out of 'darkness' into his marvellous light. The apostle, in describing the conflict they have to maintain in standing against the wiles of the devil, says, 'We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness, (or wicked spirits) in high places.'

Now under this dominion of darkness all men are by nature. Ever since the apostacy in Eden, satan, the prince of this world, has swayed his iron sceptre over blinded, deluded man. As light is the emblem of knowledge and joy, so darkness is the emblem of ignorance and wretchedness. As darkness wraps up visible objects from our bodily eyes, so ignorance hides the true nature of things from the eyes of the mind. Light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun; but there is nothing more unpleasant in itself, or more commonly associated with the idea of terror, than the gloom of night, and so the term darkness came likewise to be used to denote the feeling of horror and misery. In this sense, therefore, the power of darkness is nothing else than the tyranny which the devil exercises over his wretched and captive slaves, filling their understandings with error, and their consciences at one time with insensibility, and at another time with affright. The depth of his abyss vomits forth, as it were, a black and dense vapour, which conceals from them heaven and its blessed brightness. It was thus that he turned all the heathen nations from the service of their Maker; first obscuring, and then extinguishing those sparks of divine knowledge they yet retained-until so gross was

Yet why limit the description to pagans? Though Paul had been a well-instructed Israelite of the straitest sect, and touching the outward righteousness of the law was blameless, he yet here includes himself among those who had been under the 'power of darkness.' And not to speak of the many heathens at home-adulterers, profane swearers, drunkards, sabbath-breakers, persons given to covetousness, which is idolatry—are there not thousands and tens of thousands who, though nominally Christian, are as much under the power of darkness as was Paul before his conversion? for they have not the knowledge of God, and the love of God is not in them.

Professing Christian! if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! and how great too its power in misleading you into error, and exposing you to danger! Yes, and unless removed by divine illumination, it will surely end in the horror of great darkness hereafter-the blackness of darkness for ever-the outer darkness, so called because it consists in perpetual banishment from Him who is the light and life of men.

But from this power of darkness true Christians are delivered-the original word denoting that exertion of power which is put forth in snatching a person from imminent peril. God, by the illumination of his truth, and the energy of his grace, rescues them from the darkness and chains of the spiritual Egypt, and gently leading them by the hand, introduces them into the kingdom of his well-beloved Son.

What a contrast between these two kingdoms! The one of darkness, the other of light; the one of pollution, the other of purity; the one of discord, the other of peace; the one of death, the other of life. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.'

Here then is another distinguished privilege in

the covenant of redemption, namely, the being made the honoured and happy subjects of the King of Zion. For God might have been pleased, in the exercise of his sovereignty, to have delivered the sinner from the dominion of satan, and then left him in possession of a liberty like Adam's, and like him liable to be again entangled with the yoke of bondage. But no!—if the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed.' This kingdom is called that of God's Son, because he is at once its divine Founder and its glorious Head; he alone can procure for us a meritorious title to the inheritance of the saints in light, and he alone can produce in us an adequate meetness for its enjoyment. None can become heirs of God, but by being first made, through a soul-uniting faith, joint-heirs with Christ; and then all things are theirs, for they are Christ's and Christ is God's. He is his dear Son, in whom he is ever well-pleased,-his eternal delight; and, therefore, he will withhold nothing from him or from his. 'The Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me.' 'Father! I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am to behold the glory which thou hast given me.' 'Fear not little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' Who is it that effects this marvellous and blissIt is none other than God himself, for none other than He could accomplish it. If we then have reason to hope that we are the subjects of it, unto Him let us give all the glory, and let us be careful to live worthy of so high a calling, and so noble a destiny. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.' 'Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Walk honestly as in the day, putting off the works of darkness, and putting on the armour of light.' As the subjects and servants of the Lord Christ, be valiant for his truth and his cause on the earth, in opposition to all the powers of darkness. The Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, and his followers war the same good warfare. Each one of us must, in the end, present himself as fresh from the conflict, or be denied to mingle in the eternal joys and triumphs of the conquerors in the world of light and glory.


For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them, Gal. iii. 10.

WHAT is the law that bears a sanction so terrible? It is the law of God, the moral Governor of the universe. He has formed us rational and responsible beings. Breathing into us the 'breath of lives,' he has made us spirits, endued with reason, conscience, immortality. He has given to us, in that character, a law to observe as the rule of our conduct towards him, our fellow-creatures, and ourselves. That law, being a bright transcript of his own moral perfections, is, like himself, holy, and just, and good. We are bound to observe it by every consideration of duty, gratitude, and interest, for it is the will of our wise Creator, our mighty Preserver, our kind and unwearied Benefactor; and obedience to it is identified with our real happiness, here and hereafter.

Mark we then, the wide extent of the law's demand, and the awful nature of the law's penalty.


Its demand is obedience in all things, obedience always; that is, obedience perfect and perpetual. It requires the strict and unfailing performance of all things written in the book of the law'— meaning by that, the moral law summed up in the ten commandments, as unfolded in all their spirituality by the Son of God, the Lawgiver, Incarnate. With respect to our duty to God, it tells us, that he will endure no idol in our hands or hearts; that he will not give his glory to another, nor his praise to graven images; that as holy and reverend is his name, so we must ever think and speak of Him with that solemn awe and deep veneration which his character is so well fitted to inspire; and that, claiming as his own, yet blessing for our good, the seventh portion of our time, he will have us duly to hallow it, and greatly to delight in it. But along with piety to God, his law prescribes righteousness and peace, mercy and truth towards our fellow-men. It calls upon us, in the various relations of domestic, social, and public life, to cherish and display respect to superiors, condescension to inferiors, kindness to equals, honour and love to all. Forbidding all violence and impurity in action, word, or thought, it intimates, that causeless anger is of the nature of murder, and that a lascivious glance is of the essence of adultery. Condemning all dishonesty and fraud, either in deed or in desire, it enjoins the most stedfast uprightness,


tion or inducement to violate. But it is at our peril that we bring down the high standard of obligation from the strict requirements of the commandment which is spiritual and exceeding broad-the claims of which are founded on divine. unchangeable righteousness, and which is stable as the pillars of Jehovah's throne, immutable and eternal as Jehovah's existence. Sooner shall hea ven and earth pass away, than one jot or one tittle pass from his holy law; sooner shall the Deity cease to be than cease to demand a perfect obedience to that perfect law, by which satan is as much bound in moral duty to-day, as at his first crea

the most unbending integrity. It bids us lay aside all malice, and guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and evil speakings, and all lying, holding our neighbour's reputation as dear to us as our Finally, it requires of us that our conversation be without covetousness, and that we be content with such things as we have. And in all these things it requires us to continue always, with constant, unremittting, persevering diligence. It demands of us, that this perfect obedience be perpetual, reaching from the beginning of life to its close,―the same in youth, in manhood, and in old age-the same under all circumstances of temptation, difficulty, and danger-the same in tion-however disinclined he may be to attend our days of sickness and poverty, as in our days of health and wealth; and in addition to all this, it utters, with stern rigour, the announcement, 'He that once offendeth in one point is guilty of all;' because by that one act of offence he shows that he is destitute of that love to God, 'with all the heart, and soul, and strength, and mind,' which is the fulfilling of the law.'

Now be it carefully noted, that this statement of the extent of the law's demand, cannot be at all affected by the question of the creature's inclination or disinclination, or his consequent ability or disability to fulfil what it requires. The provisions of the law are one thing-the character of those who may be under it is another; and be that character what it may, it cannot, in the least, impair the law's integrity, detract from its authority, nor relax its obligations. If their character be good, the law requires nothing more than obedience—if bad, it will be satisfied with nothing

In matters of human legislation, shall we
propose to ascertain what is legal or illegal by
consulting, not the statute-book of the realm, but
the diversified opinions and feelings, inclinations
and conduct, of those for whose government the
law is designed? The laws of inan, indeed, are
constantly undergoing change, and frequently
prove inoperative in consequence of human im-
perfection; but as the Deity is perfect, we cannot
suppose Him to promulgate an imperfect law, nor
to be satisfied with imperfect or temporary obedi-
ence. Nor is there any part of his word, which
gives the least countenance to the idea, that since
the fall, or by reason of the death of Christ, the law
is relaxed in its requirements, so as to be accom-
modated to the weakness of man. Had such an
intimation been given, it is evident, that every
man would have interpreted the latitude to which
he might indulge in sin, according to his peculiar
and besetting propensities; and the only thing
which would have remained as law, would have
simply been what nobody felt any strong disposi-

to any one of its injunctions.

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Such being the law's demand, let us now look at the penalty it threatens in the event o disobedience. It is a curse, even the curs which stands written at the end of the sam book; Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them; and all the peopl shall say, Amen.' The curse is opposed to the blessing; and as a blessing implies the enjoymen of good, so a curse implies, not only the privation of good, but the endurance of evil. When I who is the Source and Bestower of all happines blesses a man, that man cannot fail to be happy and when He curses a man, even by simply with holding his blessing, that man cannot fail to b miserable. For the malediction of God is not mere imprecation of evil, which, in the mouth a creature, might be only a vain and impoter wish. As his curse is never causeless, so it never fruitless. It always carries its effects alon with it, and ensures every misery which it de nounces or foretells.

Among the Hebrews, however, this wor curse would call up certain more definite ideas punishment, which took their rise in the irrevoca ble nature of votive offerings. When a gift w presented to the Lord by any worshipper, n only was the thing offered separated from a con mon to a sacred use, but it was pronounced to l irredeemable, and thus became as really lost the offerer as if it had been actually destroye Hence arose the two ideas of separation and d struction, as connected with the word devoted accursed; and both are included in the curse of t broken law. There is the curse of separation—t] being excommunicated from God's holy and happ creation-the being expelled, like the first mu derer, from the presence, and deprived of t friendship of God himself. "Your iniquiti have separated between you and your God.' A is there no curse in that?—to have him, who w our kindest Father, for our greatest foe-to be d


prived of a parent's blessing, driven from his by having been himself made a curse upon the door, and left to wander as disinherited outcasts far from our native home-to hear the dread words, 'Depart, ye cursed!' and to see a great and impassable gulf fixed, cutting us off for ever from the society and the bliss of heaven-in a vrd, to be banished with everlasting destructhan from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.'

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The allusion here is obviously to the kind of death which Jesus died, when he hung a selfdevoted victim upon the cross. Nothing had, at one time, been more unlikely, than that the people would allow him to be put to death at all; nor could it well have been anticipated, that, in the event of his being cut off by an oppressive judgment, he would suffer a punishment which was scarcely known among the Jews, but was peculiar

For there is the curse of destruction as well as f separation. A thing devoted was irrecoverably lost; and to prevent even the possibility of redemp-to the Romans, and was by them inflicted only tion, if it was a living thing, it was surely to be on robbers, rebels, and such like notorious put to death.' It is even so here. The man who criminals. It was a death held by the Jews in frfeits the favour of the God of happiness, is the greatest possible execration, being reckoned devoted to certain destruction. They who are not merely ignominious, but for a special reason far from God shall perish.' Not, however, that accursed. That reason is to be found in a proviwe are to understand by this the annihilation of sion of their criminal code, which, while it inflicted the sinner's being. No; but the annihilation of no punishments that would stamp perpetual diss happiness, the destruction of that which alone grace upon the living, yet allowed in certain cases deserves the name of life, that which alone is a brand of infamy to be affixed to the bodies of with the living for, namely, peace and enjoy- those who had been punished with death. One Rent. Hence it is called the 'being lost,' the of these was the suspension of the corpse upon a ng the second death.' The exact quality of gallows or tree; and the person thus suspended the punishment we may be unable fully to under- was called 'the curse of God,' or the accursed of and; its undefined nature invests it with un- God, being deemed an abomination in his sight. known horrors; but the plainest testimonies of In this the vilest class of infamous punishments God's word leave us no room to doubt, that it the Jews reckoned death by crucifixion, inasmuch will consist in inconceivable anguish both of soul as, after the body was dead, it 'hung upon a and body. And it will be coeval with the hap- tree.' piness of the righteous, for the self-same word is ployed to describe the duration of both; that word is everlasting.

To beings so circumstanced, how cheering ought be the announcement, that there is one who ems from the curse of the law, by being made urse for them.'

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How may we escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin? Can we deliver our own souls by any works of our own performing? No! we can hope for no redemption from the curse by our own doings, because we cannot obey perfectly and perpetually in the future, any more than we have done in the past; and even though we could, still our future obedience could no more atone for past sin, than the ceasing to increase a debt will cancel a debt already contracted. Nor can we hope for redemption from the curse by our sufferings, alty of one transgression is eternal death. Nor any more than our doings, seeing that the pencould the most exalted seraph, the highest archangel, have redeemed us from the curse, for if he could have done so, God needed not to have sent his Son. None but Christ was sufficient for this great work, but he has proved all-sufficient. He assumed our nature, occupied our place, met all the claims of law, satisfied all the demands of justice. Did the law insist on complete obedience? He has yielded it, by working out and bringing in an everlasting righteousness. Did justice threaten us with the law's penalty, the curse? Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.'

Here is an assertion no less clear than authori- | expiation for sin; so that while in the one we tative, of the grand doctrine of substitution, im- see the curse of separation into an uninhabited putation, redemption by suffering and sacrifice. desert, in the other we see the curse of being de That we might live Christ died; that we might voted to destruction. Now, in both these respects be happy he became miserable; that we might Christ was made a curse for his people. H inherit the blessing, he submitted to the curse. his own self bare our sins in his own body or He was our Redeemer by becoming our Surety- the tree.' 'God made him to be sin for us wh acting, enduring, dying for us, and that not merely knew no sin, that we might be made the righte in a general way as our Benefactor, but in our ousness of God in him.' 'As the bodies of thos room and stead. beasts, whose blood was brought into the sanc tuary by the high-priest for sin, were burnt with out the camp, so Jesus also, that he might sanctif the people with his own blood, suffered withou the gate.' As the scape-goat was sent forth into the wilderness, far from the commonwealt of Israel, so Christ, our substitute, was expelle from Jerusalem, the type of the congregation the living, and was led forth to Golgotha, 'th place of a skull;' to Calvary, a hill of infamy, desert of death. He was treated as one lyin under the heaviest excommunication-as one wh was accursed to the death-as not only unfit live, but as unworthy to die within the precinc of the holy city, unworthy even to look with h closing eyes toward's God's holy temple.

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'He that is hanged is the curse of God.' We found that the curse to which we are exposed as transgressors, includes separation from God, and destruction from his presence. To both these horrible evils was the innocent Lamb of God subjected on behalf of sinners. He was emphatically called the Nazarene, the isolated one,' the Joseph separated from his brethren. He left the seat of glory, his Father's house, his eternal home, and dragging himself away from its holy joys and high communions, became an exiled outcast in this world of misery. How often was he a solitary wanderer, spending whole nights alone upon the mountains, far from the busy haunts of men, who 'hid, as it were, their faces from him!' How few companions had he here below! and at the last, even they all forsook him and fled. And when the closing scene of his agony and death arrived, he looked for comforters, and there was none.' Not only was he driven forth from the holy city, and excommunicated from the congregation of Israel, but as he hung upon the accursed tree, severed at once from earth and heaven, he was excluded from the gracious presence and blissful fellowship of his Father, God; and while the surrounding dark-famy and death, in order that you might esca ness was a fit emblem of the state of his own soul, deprived of heaven's light, bereaved of heaven's comfort, he exclaimed, out of the depth of his forlorn desolation: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'

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His, too, was the curse of destruction,' inasmuch as he was devoted to death, as well as to suffering. 'The Messiah was cut off, but not for himself;' he was cut off, not out of the congregation only, but 'out of the land of the living;' for the transgression of the people was he stricken. This grand truth had been typically represented under the ceremonial law, by what was done on the day of atonement. The high-priest took two goats; over one of them, called the scape-goat, he confessed all the sins of the people, putting them upon the head of the goat,' and sent him away into the wilderness; and the goat bore upon him all their iniquities into a land not inhabited. The other goat was sacrificed to make


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Learn from this, Christian soul, that if th Christ was made a separated, devoted curse, was for you; that voluntarily, and from th love he bore to you, he consented to be cut from the communion of the blessed. He le Jerusalem, the city of peace, in order that y might enter in, and find there safety and establis ment for ever. He went forth to Golgotha, t place of public execution, the spot where w raised the accursed tree, the dismal abode of i

eternal death and endless infamy, and be rais to life and honour everlasting. Yes! and it even there, when surrounded with all deat hideous memorials, and when enduring deat severest pangs and most degrading ignominy, th he redeems his church from death's sting, whi is sin, and from the curse of the 'strength sin,' which is the law. Even then and the with the cold dews of death upon his brow, raises the standard of the once accursed but n honoured cross; for the very shame of the pu ishment serves but to evince the love and ex the glory of Him who submitted to it-enduri the cross, despising the shame.

The enjoyment of this redemption, howev is not co-extensive with exposure to the cur He only that believeth shall be saved. D thou believe on the Son of God?' If any m love not the Lord Jesus, he shall be Anathe Maran-atha'-accursed at his coming!'

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