Imágenes de páginas

to protest against the share that has been assigned to him in the doom of Adam's disobedience, when, wilfully as he has aggravated that doom upon himself, there is a grace held out to him, and a gift by grace, which so nobly overpasses all the misery of man's unregenerate nature, and all its condemnation.

Perhaps there is a great deal more in this passage than we have been able to bring out of it. It is likely enough that the apostle may have had in his mind, the state of the redeemed when they are made to reign in life by Jesus Christ—as contrasted with what the state of man would have been had Adam persisted in innocency, and bequeathed all the privileges of innocence to a pure and untainted posterity. In this latter case, our species would have kept their place in God's unfallen creation, and maintained that position in the scale of order and dignity which was at first assigned to them; and, though lower than the angels, would at least have shone with an unpolluted though a humbler glory, and have either remained upon earth, or perhaps have been transplanted to heaven, with the insignia of all those virtues which they had kept untainted and entire upon their own characters. Now certain it is, that the redeemed in heaven will be made to recover all that personal worth and accomplishment which was lost by the fall, and, in point of moral lustre, will shine forth at least with all that original brightness in which humanity was formed; and, in the songs of their joyful eternity,

will there be ingredients of transport and of grateful emotion, which, but for a Redeemer to wash them from their sins in his blood, could never have been felt; and, what perhaps is more than all, they are invested with an order of merit which no prowess of archangel could ever win-they are clothed with a righteousness, purer than those heavens which are not clean in the sight of infinite and unspotted holiness-they are seen in the face of Him who takes precedency over all that is created; and, besides being admitted into the honour of that more special and intimate relationship which subsists between the divine Messiah, and those who are the fruit and travail of his soul, it is indeed a wondrous distinction, that the Son of God, by descending to the fellowship of our nature, has ennobled and brought up the nature of man to a preeminence so singularly glorious.

Verses 18, 19. "Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."

The three last verses state the disparity between the two Adams, in respect of the amount of good and evil conveyed by them. The two before us state the similarity between them, in respect of the mode of conveyance of this good and this evil. They contain in fact the strength of the argument for the imputation of Adam's sin. As the con

demnation of Adam comes to us, even so does the justification by Christ come to us. Now we know that the merit of the Saviour is ascribed to uselse no atonement for the past, and no renovation of heart or of life that is ever exemplified in this world for the future, will suffice for our acceptance with God. Even so then must the demerit of Adam have been ascribed to us. The analogy affirmed in these verses leads irresistibly to this conclusion. The judgment that we are guilty, is transferred to us from the actual guilt of the one representative-even as the judgment that we are righteous, is transferred to us from the actual righteousness of the other representative. We are sinners in virtue of one man's disobedience, independently of our own personal sins; and we are righteous in virtue of another's obedience, independently of our own personal qualifications. We do not say but that through Adam we become personally sinful-inheriting as we do his corrupt nature. Neither do we say but that through Christ we become personally holy-deriving out of His fulness, the very graces which adorned His own character. But, as it is at best a tainted holiness that we have on this side of death, we must have something more than it in which to appear before God; and the righteousness of Christ reckoned unto us and rewarded in us, is that something. The something which corresponds to this in Adam, is his guilt reckoned unto us and punished in us— so that, to complete the analogy, as from him we

get the infusion of his depravity, so from him also do we get the imputation of his demerit.

One may suppose from the 18th verse, that the number who are justified in Christ is equal to the number who are condemned in Adam; and that this comprehends the whole human race. But by the term 'all,' we are merely to understand, all on the one hand who are in that relation to Adam, which infers the descent of his guilt upon themand that is certainly the whole family of mankind; and thus 'all' on the other hand, who are in that relation to Christ which infers the descent of His righteousness upon them-and that is only the family of believers.

As in Adam, it is said, all die-even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But the all does not refer to the same body of people. The first who die in Adam, evidently refer to the whole human race. But the second who live in Christ are restricted by the apostle to those who are Christ's, and will be made alive by Him at His coming. All men have not faith, and all men therefore will not reign in life by Christ Jesus.

For any thing we know, the mediation of Christ may have affected, in a most essential way, the general state of humanity; and, by some mode unexplained and inexplicable, may it have bettered the condition of those who die in infancy, or who die in unreached heathenism; and aggravated the condition of none, but those who bring upon themselves the curse and the severity of a rejected gospel. But the matter which concerns you is, that,

unless you receive Christ in time, you will never reign with Him in eternity. You will not be admitted into the number of those all, who, though they comprehend the entire family of believers, do not comprehend any that obey not the gospel; and it is at your peril, if, when the offer of an interest in the righteousness of Christ is placed within your reach, you turn in indifference away from it.

And it is of vital importance for you to know, that the free gift, though it comes not upon you all in the way of absolute conveyance, it at least comes upon you all in the way of offer. It is yours if you will. The offer is unto all and upon all who now hear us -though the thing offered is only unto all and upon all who believe. We ask each individual among you to isolate himself from the rest of the species to conceive for a moment that he is the only sinner upon the face of the earth, that none but he stands in need of an atoning sacificre, and none but he of an everlasting righteousness brought in by another and that might avail for his justification before God. Let him imagine, that for him the one and solitary offender, Christ came on the express errand to seek and to save-that for him He poured out His soul unto the death-that for him the costly apparatus of redemption was raised -that for him and for him alone, the Bible was written; and a messenger from heaven sent to entreat that he will enter into reconciliation with God, through that way of mediatorship which God in His love had devised, for the express accommo

« AnteriorContinuar »