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ture made on your part to make reparation for your offence) take up the matter seriously, and proceed to hale you with him to the judge, that sentence may be given against you, the advice given you by your teachers is wise, and for your advantage, namely, persist in your obstinacy and folly no longer, but acknowledge your offence, and seek at once terms of agreement with him, that you may not suffer the extremity of the law; which, in the event of your not coming to terms of peace with him, you will have to do. For should you still dare the matter with him, and the charge be proved against you, you will assuredly not be released from the grasp of the law, till full vengeance be taken upon you for your offence.

"If then, for an offence committed against your brother, punishment (according to your own customs) is certain, unless, by repentance and the obtaining of the pardon of your offended brother, you become delivered from the penalty to which you have subjected yourself, how emphatically are you pointed out by it, the wisdom of seeking to become freed from that punishment from God, to which any one may have become exposed by a violation of the command to which I have just referred. You may not have committed actual murder; but the divine command is so broad and spiritual, that if you have indulged anger without cause in your heart against any one, you have done that which in the sight of God is a violation of his command; and that violation subjects you (unless, by true repentance on account of it, you be come forgiven by God) to his just indignation and wrath. In your civil and political communications with one another, custom and law teach you to fear him who is vested with power to kill the body, to punish for offences committed against one another, as well as point out the prudence of taking due and timely steps to become delivered from the danger to which you have exposed yourselves. In the position then in which you stand with God, accountable to him as you are, and intimately acquainted with you as he is, searching the heart and trying the reins of every one of you, how infinitely important is it for you (if you value your happiness in time or in eternity), to repent you truly of your sins, and mourn before God on account of them; since he, in his sovereignty, has not only power to kill the body whenever it shall please him, but has power also, when he hath killed, to cast both body and soul into hell. Bear then in mind, not only that he who actually takes away the life of a fellow creature is guilty of breaking the sixth commandment, but he also who is angry with his brother without a cause; and that, if you would finally have a place at God's right hand in the mansions of everlasting glory, you must seek previously unto him for pardon, and that with all your heart."

Now the divine law, which Christ thus illustrated to the Jews, and in the illustration of which he declared that anger cherished in the heart was a violation of the sixth command equally with that of actual murder, and from thence deduced the necessity of repentance towards God on the partof those who had been the subjects of anger in the heart, as forcibly applies to us as it did to the Jews; inasmuch as it is not less spiritual and binding than it was, nor yet less fatal in its consequences when broken. If anger without cause was murder in the sight of God to the Jews, so it is with If anger exposed the soul of a Jew to the punishment of God's eternal wrath, without deep repentance on account of it, so it does the soul of any one of us. Mark the language of an inspired apostle (1 John iii. 15): "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."


We learn then from this subject

1. The spirituality of the law of God. God's government is a moral one: he looketh to the state of a

man's heart, and not merely to his outward conduct. This we are too apt to lose sight of: we are too much inclined to look upon the laws of God as we look upon the laws of our country, which have reference only to the regulation of the outward conduct. If we only avoid doing that which they forbid, then we are safe in that case we avoid the penalty threatened upon a transgression. At the same time we may desire to do what they forbid-we may even plan and scheme in our hearts to accomplish what they forbid; and yet, though we desire and plan and scheme to effect it, and even declare our desire to violate the law, we are safe if we do not actually transgress: the law in that case cannot lay hold of us. It is not so, however, with the law of God. The desiring to do a thing which the law of God forbids, is as if it were actually done. The intention, motive, desire of the soul may be as sinful in the sight of God as the outward act. Hence with him anger is as murder; impure desire as adultery. And, while he punishes, or will punish, in the world to come for actual unrepented murder, and actual unrepented adultery, he will also punish for anger, and for indulged impurity of mind. Man, and the laws of man, can only look upon, and have respect unto, the outward conduct; but the infinite and almighty Jehovah looks not only to the outward life, but to the heart which is in man. He fathoms its desires, he proves its motives, he ascertains its intentions! How important then is the scripture exhortation-" Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

We learn also from the subject 2. The danger of anger. Perhaps some one is disposed to inquire, How far-to what extent, may I be angry with any one without danger? The infinite and almighty God can determine this point, but I cannot. I read in the 22nd verse-"Whosoever is angry with his brother without cause, shall be in danger of the judgment;" but when I examine the word in the original, which is rendered in our translation" without cause," I find it comes from a verb which signifies to yield, to give way to; and therefore the sentence in the 22nd verse may mean, that he who yieldsrashly, hastily-to anger, is subject to the danger pointed out. And if a rash, hasty yielding to angry feelings is sinful, how much more certain is the guilt and danger of him or her, who indulges and cherishes and carries out a feeling of resentment against another! It ought not then to be an enquiry with us how far we may go in anger, and yet be guiltless; but we ought ever to strive against the first rising of any feeling that is likely to lead to anger. We ought to aim at having our tempers so imbued with the calm and hallowing influence of the spirit of holiness, that the very first tendency or inclination of the soul to anger may be subdued; so that, by the grace of God, we may rise superior to that which, by satanic influence, would bring our souls, if indulged, under condemnation. And not only ought we to strive and pray against anger, but to watch against it. It is in this way we gather spiritual strength-strength to conquer those foes which rise up against us, both inwardly and outwardly. And, if we strive and watch and pray against any thing which may endanger our soul's present and eternal happiness, and look to God through Christ Jesus for help in our spiritual conflicts, we shall undoubtedly be made more than conquerors through him that hath loved us and given himself for us.

We learn further from this subject

3. The wisdom of timely repentance. Our Lord desired the Jews, as we have already seen, to learn the necessity of an immediate reconciliation with God for transgression, from the certainty with which civil or social transgression might be punished among themselves, unless a timely reconciliation was obtained with the offended party: and the same ar

gument will apply with us. Let us commit an offence against an individual, which the law of the land for

bids; and unless we can come to terms of reconciliation with the party whom we may have injured, we are completely at his mercy. If he choose to proceed against us, and prove the offence against us, we must suffer the penalty which the law adjudges to the offence. And if imperfect human laws attach certain penalties and punishment to individuals for offences, where they can be laid hold of, how much more certain is it that offences against the laws of God (who knows the very intents and motives and purposes of the heart) will be punished, unless the offender, by true and timely repentance for his transgression, and by a change of heart and life, obtain through Christ, the Lord our righteousness, the forgiveness of his transgressions, the doing away of his iniquity. And what an unspeakable blessing it is, that, to the Lord our God belong mercies and for givenesses, though we have rebelled against him: that if we confess our sins, and acknowledge our transgressions, and seek to put away the evil of our

doings, he will forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

It is our wisdom then, as well as our privilege, to seek for this free forgiveness from the Lord our God; and in the way which he hath appointed, namely, by

true repentance towards himself, and faith in Christ

Jesus, together with seeking to bring forth fruits meet for repentance, in exhibition of the sincerity of that repentance; and as we know not what a day may bring forth—as, though we may be in health and strength to-day, we may be in eternity to-morrow-to come to terms of immediate peace and reconciliation with God, so that whether we live or die, to live with us may be Christ, and to die with us may be gain.


A Sermon,


BY THE REV. M. M. PRESTON, M.A., Vicar of Cheshunt, and late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. ROMANS viii. 1.

"There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

THIS is the conclusion at which the apostle arrives after a course of close reasoning, in which he has proved that Jews and Gentiles -those who have had the advantage of the light of revelation, and those who have notare all under sin; and that none can be justified in that way in which all men naturally look for justification, by certain observances and performances supposed to be meritorious in the sight of God. Having convicted all mankind as transgressors of a divine law to which all owe obedience, and consequently as all needing deliverance from condemnation to eternal misery, he proceeds to set forth the method of righteousness or justification which is appointed by God, viz., that which is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the propitiation for sin, and declares that no other righteousness will be accepted. He shows that it was by a faith which had respect to

Christ, the promised Saviour, and not by the deeds of the law, that Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, was accounted righteous; and that righteousness will in like manner be imputed or reckoned to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as delivered for their offences, and raised again for their justification. He then vindicates the efficacy and sufficiency of this faith, not only for the complete justification, but for the progressive sanctification of all who partake of it; showing that it delivers not only from the guilt of past transgressions, but from the dominion of sin in the heart; that it subdues that love of sin which is natural to the heart of man, and implants in its stead a prevailing principle of love to God as reconciled by Jesus Christ, a principle which renders obedience to his commandments no longer a reluctant servitude, but the cheerful, thankful tribute of an affectionate child.

the 7th chapter, that, notwithstanding the He had proceeded however to show, in subjugation of the former principle of the old nature the love of sin-to the prevailing love of God produced by faith in Christ, there still exists, even in true believers, a natural repugnance to the holy law of God, a repugnance not completely subdued; so that, though they delight in the law of God after the inner man, i.e., in their settled purpose and affections, still they find another law in their members (a fleshly principle of evil) warring against the law of their mind, and endeavouring to bring them back into captivity to sin.

Feeling himself this conflict between two opposite principles, he exclaims-"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"-from this clog of a corrupt nature?-but, knowing also that the salvation which he was recommending to others was sufficient for himself, he adds immediately-" I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord: so then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." And then follow the words of our text-"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Let us, Christian brethren, contemplate the security from condemnation of the persons spoken of in the text, "who are in Christ Jesus." The view of their security, defined as their character is in the words which follow, will not, I trust, render negligent of their duties any that are really Christ's, but rather stir them up to make it manifest to themselves as well as to others that they do indeed belong to Christ. And it may lead some who have been over confident of their


own security, to examine afresh the foundation of their hope, and to seek, while yet it may be found, an interest in the only Saviour. I. The text leads us to consider, first, who they are that are "in Christ Jesus."

The meaning of this expression might be shown from other parts of scripture, but it is especially manifest from the preceding chapters of this epistle. From these we learn that it denotes those who have renounced every other ground of justification or righteousness before God, to depend on that which God himself has appointed, viz., that which he reckons to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the propitiation for their sins "the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ."

It is commonly long before men are brought to a simple dependance on Jesus Christ as the propitiation for their sins. If you were to go round and ask a number of persons in this Christian country, "For what purpose did Jesus Christ come into the world?" many would reply, " to save sinners." But, if you proceeded to inquire of them whether they expected to be saved, and if so, why they expected it, their reply would probably for the most part be, that they had done no great harm to any one, and therefore saw no reason to fear falling short of heaven. Now this notion that they may expect to go to heaven because they have done nobody any harm, or if they have, that they have done more good than harm-is decidedly at variance with that dependance upon the Lord Jesus which is necessary to salvation; and yet it is the notion, or something like it, of very many who are called Christians.

It is very important that you should not rest satisfied with the vague notions on this subject, I might call them the vulgar notions which prevail too generally amongst persons both of high and low station; for, howsoever little it may appear to you to matter what a man thinks, or on what he grounds his hope of acceptance with God, so long as he is in your view harmless and inoffensive, and especially if he be a useful member of society, it really makes all the difference possible, if the word of God declares that his present state is one of condemnation, so that if he were to die in it he would pass into eternal torment. Now whosoever is trusting for acceptance with God, either avowedly or secretly, to his exemption from gross sin, or to the excess of his good deeds above the evil, or even to the mercy of God irrespectively of the atonement which has been made for sin, is, according to the declarations of scripture, in a state of condemnation. He is guilty before God: he is exposed to the curse of his broken law; for

God will not accept as righteousness that which he has declared to be unrighteousness. Men may call evil good, and good evil, but there is a woe pronounced against those who do so: God looks with abhorrence on the very things-those dispositions and that conduct-which men of the world have agreed to commend, and to substitute for the only righteousness which he will accept. God sees, especially, aggravated pride and unbelief in a man's continuing to advance his own claim of merit in opposition to his word, which exposes the worthlessness and sinfulness of that in which he makes his boast. Many who think that they are rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, know not that in the sight of God they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. O my brethren, beware, lest this be the case with any of you. You should not too soon conclude that it is not; for there is in all men, by nature, a strong disposition to justify themselves before God. This often keeps fast hold on the mind of a man who has lost all character in the world; and much more is it strong in those whose good opinion of themselves is sustained by the concurrent approbation of misjudging men, who set themselves to oppose the testimony of the word of God. Beware, I say, lest you seal your own condemnation by holding out against the sentence of guilt and coudemnation which God has pronounced against you, and so render void, as to yourself, the deliverance which he has mercifully provided for mankind.


But there are many, and I trust there are some of my present hearers, who have renounced every other confidence to trust in the promises made by God through Christ Jesus to repenting sinners. You have hunbled yourselves before the law of God which condemned you: you have not determinately lowered its requirements to your own practice, but have taken it as a standard by which to judge of your real state before God. You have applied it not only to your actions, but to your words and thoughts: by the light which it has poured into your mind, you have seen numberless sins, and numberless vations of your sins, of which once perhaps you had no conception. You have seen too, by the same light, the defectiveness, yea, the positive sinfulness, of the very things to which you were trusting as a counterpoise to your acknowledged transgressions. You have learnt, not in word only, but you have felt, that in you, i. e., in your flesh, dwelleth no good thing; that you are not able of yourselves even to think a good thought; so that of yourselves you are utterly unable to make atonement for one, even the least sin, and


are therefore, if left to yourselves, in a state of helpless condemnation.

But, having learnt your own helplessness, you have learnt further, that God has laid help upon one that is mighty to save: you have believed the gospel record, that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." You have looked by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, as wounded for your transgressions and bruised for your iniquities: you have laid your hand, as it were, on his sacred head, and confessed over it your desert of punishment; and in the punishment endured by him you have seen your own sins expiated, your own debt paid. And thus, believing in him, you are justified: for his sake God treats you as just, though you are not really so he imputes to you a righteousness which is of God by faith: he reverses the sentence of condemnation which was recorded against you: he "blots out," as it is expressed, "the hand-writing which was against" you, and records in its stead a title to everlasting life: he receives you as his adopted children, and, along with the name, gives you the Spirit, and promises you the inheritance of children: he makes you heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, through whom he has adopted


They who are thus "in Christ Jesus," are the happy persons spoken of in the text, for whom there is no condemnation." They have entered in the appointed way, by the door, into the fold of God: they are numbered by Christ, the good shepherd, amongst the sheep of his pasture; of whom he says, "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one."

Hear what the apostle Paul saith on this subject: "If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." That sincere believers may and do sometimes feel doubts, I am not at all disposed to deny. But these doubts have commonly respect, not to the faithfulness of God in performing his own promises made through Jesus Christ, but to the reality of their own faith-whether they are really "in Christ" or not: and these very doubts are mercifully over-ruled to produce in them that watchfulness and jealousy over themselves, by which they are kept stedfast in the faith. Is there then, it may be asked, any test by which they who are in Christ may be known?

Not only are they delivered from condemnation, but they are heirs of the kingdom -not because they have deserved at the hands of God such great benefits, but because they have sought and thankfully accepted them in the way in which they are freely offered to all, but in which many will not accept them. All boasting is for ever excluded by the manner of their admission to their privileges, and by the tenure by which they hold them. Should they boast as if they had merited them, they would thereby renounce that dependence upon Christ on which alone the validity of their title rests. They are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; "and if of grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace."

Yes; there is a test given in the text, by which they who are in Christ are discriminated, and by which true believers do try themselves. "They walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit;" i. e., not after the dictates of corrupt nature, which is called "flesh," but after the opposite influences of regenerating grace, which is called "spirit."

The direct tendency of faith in Christ is to produce such a walk as this: for faith unites a man to Christ, makes him one with Christ, as the branch is one with the vine. He will therefore necessarily bear the fruit of the vine; i. e., he will in his measure be made like to Christ, who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. True faith in Christ implies that a man has received him, and has attached himself to him, in the whole of the character in which he is proposed to us in scripture.

Now it is quite as much a part of Christ's office to deliver us from the dominion of sin, and to reign in us, as it is to deliver us from the guilt of sin, quite as much a part of his office by his Spirit to make us holy, as to pardon our sins. "Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, gave himself for us, that he might

redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto | righteousness and holiness those who are himself a peculiar people, zealous of good trusting, in part at least, to their own works works." If any man live in wilful and for justification. I shall not at present athabitual sin of any kind, he frustrates the tempt the explanation of this mystery farther purpose of God in sending his Son, and the than by observing briefly, that believers are ultimate object of the Lord Jesus in giving not without law to God, but under the law to himself to die for us; and therefore cannot Christ; and that by real faith in Christ they have any part in the salvation of the gospel. are furnished with new motives as well as Such a one is not "in Christ:" he has not with new powers for obeying the law of God, "the Spirit of Christ:" whatever his outward such as are not possessed by any other persons: privileges, and whatever his knowledge or but I appeal to the fact as a decisive proof his professions be, as certainly as a tree is that the doctrine of justification by faith only known by its fruit, so certainly is he not a is a doctrine according to godliness. If any believer in Christ. He may have a dead who are living not after the Spirit, but after faith, such as the devils have, who believe the flesh, i. e., if any who are living in any that Jesus is the Son of God, and tremble allowed sin, pretend to have faith by which before him; he may make a boast of be- they are justified, we can only say that it is no longing to an orthodox and apostolical more than a pretence: they have not the branch of the church of Christ; but he has faith which justifies before God the righte not that faith which will be of any avail to ousness which is of faith, but are under consave him from condemnation; but rather his demnation. faith, such as it is, will aggravate his condemnation.

The true believer, tried by this test, is not faultless, and certainly he will be the last to pretend that he is; but he walks not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. In the habitual course and tenor of his life, he refrains from and avoids sin of every kind, and practices and follows after holiness. His profession of faith in Christ obliges him to cease from sin, that he may no longer live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. His profession is to follow the example of his Saviour Christ, that, as he died and rose again, so should all his followers die unto sin, and rise again unto righteousness; continually mortifying all evil and corrupt affections, and daily proceeding in all virtue and godliness of living. The love of Christ constrains him, because he thus judges, that, "if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again."

That faith in Christ (I mean the faith of those who really trust in him as their only Saviour, who have fled to him as their only refuge from the merited wrath of God, and are resting all their hope upon him) does produce a spirit and conduct decidedly different from, and superior to, the spirit and conduct of any other men, is not a matter of theory only: it is a fact which is manifest to all who will open their eyes to behold: it is a fact manifest, though unintelligible, to those who have not the true faith, that it does produce effects the very opposite to what they would have expected. It is apparent that they who profess to be looking for justification to faith only far exceed in the fruits of

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The doctrine of our truly scriptural church on this subject, as contained in the 11th article, is as follows:-"We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the homily of justification."

Christian brethren, ye who rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh, you know that this is a comfortable doctrine: it has ministered peace and consolation to you when nothing else could have taken away the sting of sin, and have healed your wounded conscience. You have seen in this doctrine a sufficient provision for your most urgent wants-those wants in comparison with which you regard all others as unworthy of a thought-a provision for the free pardon of all your sins, and for your restoration to the image of God. You find in it a never-failing resource under the lamented weaknesses and failings and sins which still cleave to you in spite of your best endeavours. It is a fountain ever open, in which you may wash and be made clean. You feel it to be as necessary to your peace as ever it was, to believe that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. you may believe it, and take the comfort of believing that that precious blood which was shed once for all, and which cannot be again offered, is presented continually in your be half. He who shed his blood for you, and rose again, ever lives to present it for you before the throne of his Father, and it will and must prevail for you. While you are interested in that intercession, there is no condemnation for you. Satan may accuse;

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