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ment in their minds to that way of salvation which He had devised for the recovery of a guilty world— even the transference of man's sins to the person of Christ, and the transference of Christ's righteousness to the persons of all who believe in Him. It is the part which the will has in it that makes ignorance the proper object of a vindictive retribution; and so when Christ cometh, He will take vengeance on those who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ. The will has to do with the want of obedience; and so far as the want of knowledge is punishable, the will has to do with that want also. There is a wilful resistance to the light-though a resistance this it must be admitted which the light itself may overcome by the greater force of its evidence, by the greater brightness and intensity of its own manifestation-just as Paul's ignorance and unbelief were overpowered by the light that shone upon him near Damascus; and as the faith of converts in the present day is carried, when God is pleased to reveal Christ in them, by commanding the light to shine out of darkness, or by calling them out of darkness into the marvellous light of the gospel.

Ver. 4. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.'


is one obvious sense in which Christ is the end of the law; and that is when the law viewed as a schoolmaster brings us to the conclusion, as to its last lesson, that Christ is our only refuge our only righteousness—thereby shutting us up unto the

faith. But this is not the sort of end which is meant here. We should have a more precise understanding of the verse by taking the word end as equivalent to purpose-and that a purpose too which the law was fitted to serve not merely after it was broken; but at the time of its original institution, and when it was first set up for the moral government of men. Now that the law has been violated, and we are the outcasts of its rightful condemnation, it is good to be schooled by it into the lesson that Christ is our only hiding-place, in whom there is no condemnation; and thus to make Christ the end or the final landing-place of that educational process through which we are conducted, when studying the high precepts and authority of the law, and our own immeasurable distance and deficiency therefrom. It is not thus however that this verse is to be understood; and for the right determination of what it signifies, we should go back to one of the purposes for which the law was given at the time of its first ordination-a purpose to be gained, not after the breaking of it, but which would have been gained by the keeping of it. One of these purposes was to secure the moral rightness of man's character and conduct. But another of these purposes was to secure for him a legal right to eternal life. The one was the end of the law for his personal holiness. The other was the end of the law for his judicial righteousness; and this is what we hold to be precisely the end of the law for righteousness' in our text. Its direct and


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primary object was that man should be justified by his obedience thereto; but man falling short of this object or end by falling short of perfect obedience, can only now obtain it in Christ, in whom alone we have righteousness, even a part and an interest in that everlasting righteousness which He hath brought in, by His obedience-which righteousness, with all its associated privileges and rewards, is unto all and upon all who believe. It is the merit of His obedience imputed unto us and made ours by faith, which forms our right or titledeed of entry into the kingdom of heaven. He is the Lord our righteousness; and in receiving Him we receive that righteousness which it was the end of the law to have secured for us had it been by us fulfilled; but which we in vain seek by the law, now that it has been broken.1

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Ver. 5. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doth those things shall live by them.' One expedient by which men have attempted to dilute or do away the substance of the gospel, is to represent the insufficiency of the law for salvation as attaching only to the ceremonial law of Moses. In the passage now before us however, the righteousness which is of the law is said to be superseded by the righteousness which is of faith; and the former righteousness, or that which is laid aside, attaches to the

1 For a fuller elucidation of this verse, see our Sermon on Romans, x, 4, in vol. iii of our Congregational Sermons, being vol. x of the Series.

law whereof Moses said that the man which doeth

those things shall live by them. This surely must include the moral as well as the ceremonial.


great lawgiver of the Jews nowhere represents the doing of the things of the ceremonial law as enough for life. "Cursed is every one," he saith, “who continueth not in all the words of the book to do them." And so far is any sufficiency of this sort from being awarded to the ceremonial alone-there is many a prophetic remonstrance founded on the insignificance of the ceremonial, when compared with the worth and lasting obligation of the moral. "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Put away the evil of Put away the evil of your doings and learn to do well." It is not, if a man do the things of the ceremonial—it is if he do the things of the whole law, that he shall live. It is our sufficiency for the righteousness of the whole law which is here brought to the trial; and if found wanting, which eventually it will be in every instance, we must infer that man can no more attain to everlasting life by his most strenuous observation of moral righteousness, than by his most faithful and laborious discharge of the Mosaic ritual.

It is on the ground of the moral law and of it alone, that this trial for eternity now rests. We of the present day stand delivered from the obligations of the Jewish ritual, and of its burdensome services. Should we decline the gospel, we shall be dealt with purely and exclusively as the subjects of the moral law; and still it holds true that the man who

doeth these things shall reach everlasting life without a gospel and without a Saviour. If the law, the moral law, be sufficient to any man for this object-then to him the gospel is uncalled for. It is thus that the economy of grace may be brought to the trial of its worth and its importance; and to this very law the man who yields a perfect moral obedience may challenge for himself the right of neglecting its offers-the claim to an inheritance in heaven without the need of a passport from Him who is represented to us as the Author of a great salvation.

The two ways to eternal life here brought into comparison are clearly and distinctly contrasted. The one is by doing-The other is by believing-The one by doing a full and finished righteousness for ourselves the other by believing that Christ has done a full and sufficient righteousness for us; and makes each and all of us as welcome to its rewards

as if they had been earned in our own person, by the merit of our own services. It is either in the one or other of these ways that heaven is at all accessible-so that should we both fall short of the first, and refuse to enter upon the second, we are hopelessly and helplessly barred from the paradise of God.

There are two places, as it were, at which these respective ways may be compared with each other -either at the entrance of them before we set out; or anywhere, after that we have set out, along the pathway of each-whether cheered on by the en

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