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pression ? Because the word which Felix heard, and the word which you now hear, is not the word of man, but the word of the living God, the sword of the Holy Ghost, which is quick and powerful, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. If man had not fallen, or if such a law had been given as fallen man could have obeyed, then righteousness might have been by the law: but the Scripture hath concluded all under sin ; for a law has been given such as no man living can obey, and therefore by the deeds of the law no man living can be justified: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now, “ hear and wonder at the unbounded mercy of our God !”
of our God !” God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Jesus Christ hath magnified the law, and made it honourable ; and for his righteousness' sake, the Father is well pleased. And now the righteousness of God, without the law, is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe : for there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness, for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the “justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." *
How blood can make satisfaction for sin, so as to vindicate the justice of Jehovah in its own intrinsic requirements, and in the eyes of principalities and powers in heavenly places, we will not now stop to examine ; neither how it was equitable to punish an innocent person for the guilty, even though that punishment were voluntarily endured. But this we declare, and can prove to a demonstration in many ways, that the contents of this book were given to us by inspiration of God: and it is perfectly clear, that pardon and peace freely bestowed upon the vilest transgressors," in consideration of the blood shedding of Jesus Christ, and in declared consistency with the spotless justice of God the Father, is the Alpha and the Omega of this book.
By this great truth, God not only secures hiş own glory in the exercise of his mercy, but also transforms the characters of unrighteous men.
• Gal. iv. 4, 5, 6. Isa. xlii. 21. Rom. iii. 10-19.
All the threatened penalties of unrighteousness and intemperance, and all the appalling terrors of a judgment to come, cannot make a sinner love God. They may make him tremble, as Felix trembled; they may make him reform, as Herod reformed; but they can never convey to his heart one particle of that holy love which constitutes obedience to the first and greatest commandment of the law, and without which no man can see the Lord. Nay, rather, (as it has been inimitably expressed,) " under such applications as these, we can conceive the creature gathering a new energy from despair, and mustering up a stouter defiance than ever, to the God who threatens him.” *
In the cross of Christ alone is lodged the precious secret which has power to effect the twofold reconciliation; reconciling God by the value of its vicarious offering, and reconciling man by the motive of its unbounded love. The true disciple in Jesus crucified, and he alone, loves God, because he alone knows and believes the love that God has to him : and at the same moment that he enters into a place of conscious safety, he takes his first, his very first step, upon the narrow way of holiness. He then walks with God, and does good to man. No weapon that is formed against him shall prosper, and every tongue which shall rise up in judgment against him he shall condemn: this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
* Chalmers’s Sermons in the Tron Church, p. 431.
This is the scriptural way of salvation, and there is no other. “ Salvation belongeth unto God,” and he confers it upon whom he will, freely and absolutely, in his Son. To the wise and learned of the world, this branch of divine revelation appears weakness and foolishness. It has always done so : yet it is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. If any man among you, my brethren, consider himself too wise to receive it, he must “ become a fool, that he may be wise" indeed, or he cannot be saved.
NATIONAL DECLENSION FROM GOD, AND
JEREMIAH ii. 19.
“ Know therefore and see, that it is an evil
thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of Hosts."
All power is of God. The powers established upon earth are ordained of God; they are appointed by his sovereign will, upheld by his superintending providence, and removed at his good pleasure. They are all instruments in his hands to do among nations and individuals such things as he had before determined should be done. It is their bounden duty, therefore, to acknowledge this their true condition; to avow, not merely in their private characters as men, but in their public capacities also, as kings, princes, and governors, their entire dependance upon God. This is their wisdom too, as well as their duty, their strength, their true security, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth, and