« AnteriorContinuar »
him the only foundation on which his hope can warrantably rest. While the most popular modern sermons entirely fail of the propa er object of Gospel preaching, these most successfully obtain it. The reader is compelled to think ; and e feels evidence. Obligation arrests him, with a sensibility of which he was never conscious before, and he realizes, with astonishmen
his past stupidity, the awful and everlasting scenes which await him. Fearfulne88 surprizes the hypocrite, and the sincere Christian only is comforted.
The Sermons are not divided as they were in the preaching of them, and as they have appeared in former publications. It was thought best to put all those together which were drawn from one text, 80 that they may stand in the form of a single cona tinued discourse. If the reader wishes to make a pause, he will meet with no difficulty in finding the proper place for it.
The doctrine of justification by faith alone is handled, in the first sermon, with the care and ingenuity which mark all the write ings of this great divine. Yet he was not infallible. And the statement which he gives of this doctrine, though in the main certainly correct, should not be received in every part of it with implicit credit. It deserves to be considered carefully whether the believer, besides receiving the complete remission of his sins, can be a subject imputatively of such an obedience to the law as exactly meets its demands, and as entitles him in justice to glory. It is a serious question whether such obedience and forgiveness are reconcileable, as meeting in the same person.
The views 'which the author sometimes gives of the propriety and necessity of the sinner's strivings, while impenitent, to obtain converting grace, are probably to be admitted also with some diffidence.
WORCESTER, MARCH, 1809.
Justification by Faith alone.
ROMANS IV. 5.
BUT TO HIM THAT WORKETH NOT, BUT BELIEVETH ON
HIM THAT JUSTIFIETH THE UNGODLY, HIS FAITH IS COUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
THE following things may be noted in this verse: 1. That justification respects a man as ungodly : This is evi. dent by those words.....that justifieth the ungodly : Which words cannot imply less, than that God, in the act of justification has no regard to any thing in the person justified, as godliness, or any goodness in him ; but that nextly or immediately before this act, God beholds him only as an ungodly or wicked creature ; so that godliness in the person to be justi. fied is not so antecedent to his justification as to be the ground of it. When it is said that God justifies the ungodly, it is as absurd to suppose that our godliness, taken as some goodness in us, is the ground of our justification, as when it is said that Christ gave sight to the blind, to suppose that sight was prior Vol. VII.