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walk, in the midst of all the adverse and corrupt tendencies of his will. "I will make my grace sufficient for thee," was the Lord's answer to him. It was not that he did not still feel how in himself he was weak. The weakness of nature remained; but in that weakness I will perfect my strength, says the Saviour. And so it is we believe to the end of our days. There is a felt distinction between the weakness that is in ourselves, and the strength that cometh upon us from the upper sanctuary. Even Paul was doomed to the consciousness that he had both a flesh and a mind-the one of which would have inclined him wholly to the love and to the law of sin; and with the other of which he kept the corrupt tendency that still abode with him in check, and so maintained a conduct agreeable to the law of God. Like him, my brethren, let us have no confidence in the flesh, and like him let us rejoice in the Lord Jesus; and so shall we be enabled to serve God in the Spiritrealising that comprehensive description which he gives of a Christian when he says, "We are of the circumcision, who serve God in the Spirit, and rejoice in the Lord Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

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LECTURE XLIV.

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."

THE term 'now,' may be understood in two senses -one of them a more general, and the other a more special. It may be understood as it respects the present economy of the gospel. Now, since that economy has been instituted-now, since the first covenant has passed away, and the second has been substituted in its place—now, that Christ hath borne the vengeance of the law upon his own person, and, having thus disposed of its threatenings against the guilty, can now address the guilty with the overtures of a free pardon and a finished and entire reconciliation-Now is it competent for sinners to embrace these overtures; and there is now no condemnation to those, who, having so complied with them, are in Christ Jesus. It is thus that the term now may be made to respect the current period in the history of God's administration-the reign of grace under which we at present are, in contradistinction to the former regimen of the law which has been superseded.

Or it may be understood more specially, asreferring to the present moment in the history of an

individual believer.

He is now freed from condemnation-not as if the sentence of acquittal were still in dependence, but as if that sentence had already passed not as if he had to look, perhaps doubtfully and ambiguously, forward to some future day, when a verdict of exculpation shall be pronounced upon him; but as if he stood exculpated before God even now, and even now might rejoice in the forgiveness of all his trespasses.

We think that, in the clause before us, the term now reaches the full extent of this signification. When a sinner closes with Christ, God takes him on the instant into reconciliation; and from that time are his sins washed out in the blood of the Lamb. I will remember them no more. I will make no more mention of them; and they are among the things that are behind, and which ought to be forgotten. The believer should feel his conscience to be relieved from the guilt and from the dread of them; and, instead of being any longer burdened with them as so many debts subject to a count and reckoning on some future day, he has a most legitimate warrant for looking on the account as closed, and that there is a full settlement and discharge because of them between him and God. We have heard that it is wrong in a believer to live beneath his privileges, and we fully agree in so thinking. We know not how the spirit of bondage is ever to be done away, or the joy of the gospel ever made to spring up in the heart, if, still beset with the entanglement of his scruples and of his

fears, he shall suspend the remission of his sins on any thing else than on the blood of Jesus. Now all that is told of that blood should assure him of a present justification; and this should send an instant peace into his bosom; and, like the jailor of old, should he on hearing of the power and property thereof, forthwith and from that moment rejoice. Be translated then into the sense of God being at peace with you. Receive the forgiveness of your sins, through Him whom God hath set forth as a propitiation. Look unto Christ lifted up for the offences of the world; and be encouraged in the thought, that the whole weight of your offences has indeed been borne away from yourself, and indeed been laid upon another. It is on the strength of this simple exhibition, that I should like to assure you of pardon; nor would I embarrass the matter with any conditions, or hang it on any dark and uncertain futurities that may lie before you. Christ hath made atonement, and with it God is satisfied; and if so, well may you be satisfied-delighting yourselves greatly in the abundance of peace, and going forth even now in the light and the liberty of your present enlarge

ment.

But the verse further proceeds to inform us, who they are that have this inestimable privilege, and the first circumstance of description which it brings forward respecting them, is, that they are in Christ. There are some, who actuated by the distaste of nature towards gospel truth in all its

depth and all its peculiarity, understand this phrase in a way that is but vaguely and feebly expressive of its real meaning. They have no tolerance for the doctrine of a vital and mystical union between Christ as the head, and Christians as the members who receive from Him both their guidance and their nourishment; and they fear lest fanaticism should betray them into some of her illusions, by carrying too far the analogy between a vine and its branches; and so they get over the phrase of being in Christ, and get quit of all that special intimacy of alliance with the Saviour which it is fitted to convey, by the very general interpretation that to be in Christ is just tantamount to being a Christian. And so it is, if you understand a Christian in the full sense and significancy of that high denomination: But then we must not shut our eyes against the closeness of that personal and substantial attachment, which we every where read of, as subsisting between the Redeemer and those who are the fruit of the travail of His own soul; nor are we jealously to exclude from our minds the impression of that very near relationship, which is suggested by the following passages-"But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption." "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature." The dead in Christ shall rise first." "We are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ." Blessed are the dead which die in the He that abideth in me and I in him the

Lord." 66

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