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Christianity, than what he may easily and familiarly show-and in sporting such sentiments, even among the most giddy and unthinking of this world's generations he will neither disgrace himself by singularity nor be resisted as the author of any invasion whatever on the general style and spirit of this world's companies. But should he pass from this condition, which is neither more nor less than that of a Pharisce in disguise; and, struck by a sense of spiritual nakedness, flee for refuge to another righteousness than his own; and seek for justification by faith, a privilege which is rendered to faith; and profess now, that he hopes to get to heaven by the obedience unto death which has been rendered for him by their great Mediator-such a style of utterance as this, would serve greatly more to peculiarize a man among the conversations of society--these are the words of Christ of which he is greatly apt to be more ashamed. A temptation meets him here, which no doubt met the apostle, when his Christianity first came to be known among those fellow-students who had been trained along with him at the feet of Gamaliel; and it is at that point when, for the Jewish principle of self-righteousness he adopts the evangelical principle of justification by faith--it is then that he becomes more an outcast than before, from the toleration and sympathy of unconverted men.

And here let us remark the whole import of the term salvation. The power of God in the achievement of it was put forth in something more than in bowing down the Divinity upon our world, and there causing it to sustain the burden of the world's atonement-in something more than the conflicts of the garden or the agonies of the cross-in something more than the resurrection of the crucified Saviour from His tomb-in something more than the consequent expunging of every believer's name from the book of condemnation, and the inscribing of it in the book of life. There is a power put forth on the person of believers. There is the working of a mighty power to usward who believe. There is the achievement of a spiritual resurrection upon every one of them. By the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, the power of which is applied to every soul that has faith, there is a cleansing of that soul from its moral and spiritual leprosy. And hence a connection between two things, which to the world's eye looks incomprehensible—a connection between faith, which it might be feared would have led to indolent security on the one hand, and a most thorough substantial pervading reformation of heart and conduct on the other. The expedient does not appear a likely one to the eye of nature.. But the power of God stamps an efficacy upon it; and He has multiplied in all ages of the church the living examples of marked and illustrious virtue in the person of believers; and has held them forth to the world as trophies of the power of the gospel ; and has put to silence the gainsayers; and afforded matter of glory to the friends of the truth; and upheld them in the principle and purpose not to be ashamed of it.

We conclude with that awful denunciation of the Saviour. “He who is ashamed of me before this evil and adulterous generation-of him will I be ashamed before my holy angels."

Let the same consideration uphold such that upheld the mind of the apostle. All that you possibly can do, for the purpose of substantiating a claim upon Heaven, is but the weakness of man, idly straining after a salvation which he will miss. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; and, however simple the expedient, the power and the promise of God are on the side of your obtaining salvation which will certainly be accomplished. The Syrian was affronted when told to dip himself in Jordan for the cure of his leprosy; and to many in like manner is it a subject of offence, when told to wash out their sins In the last clause "the just shall live in the blood of the atonement-calling on by faith"-we are apt to conceive of justhe name of the Lord. But the same tice as a personal and inherent attribute. power which gave efficacy to the one In the original, the term for just has the expedient, gives efficacy to the other; and same root with the term for righteousness in such a way too, as to invest that—and this strengthens our impression of method of salvation which looks mean- the true meaning here, which is, that they ness and foolishness to the natural eyeto invest it with the solemn venerable imposing character of God's asserted majesty, of God's proclaimed and vindicated righteousness.

who are righteous with the righteousness of God, mentioned in the same verse, and who in virtue of being so have a title and a security for life, hold that life by faith.


ROMANS i, 18-24.

For the wrath of God is revealed from Hea ren against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold t truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them: for God hath showed i unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse; because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imagina tions, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of the.r own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves."

eousness. They have the truth-they are in possession of it. But they keep it down. They chain it, as it were, in the prisonhold of their own corruptions. They throw the troublesome adviser into a dungeon-just like a man who has a conscience to inform him of what is right, but who stifles its voice, and brings it under bondage to the domineering ascendancy of passion and selfishness and all the lawless appetites of his nature. Thus it is with men who restrain the truth, or suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

V. 19. "That which is knowable of God, is manifest among them."

THE word translated here to hold,' signifies not merely to hold, but to hold fast. Now this may be done for the purpose of keeping in secure possession that which you wish to retain. And so this is the word in that place where they who receive the word are said to "keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience;"* and where the Corinthians are praised by Paul because they observed "to remember him in all things, and to keep the ordinances which he had delivered them;" and where he tells them, that they are saved if they "keep in memory, that which he had preached unto them ;" and where he bids the Thessalonians "hold fast that which is good ;" and where he informs the Hebrews, that Christ dwelleth in them, if they "hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end ;"|| and also that we are made partakers of The following then is the paraphrase Christ, if "we hold the beginning of our of this passage. For the wrath of God confidence steadfast unto the end;"T and is revealed from Heaven against all unfinally, where he encourages them to godliness and unrighteousness of men, "hold fast the profession of their faith who stifle the truth in unrighteousness. without wavering."** It is not in the Because that which might be known of sense of the word in any of these passages | God is manifest among them-for God that we are to understand it here. They who hold the truth in unrighteousness, do not hold it for the sake of keeping it in possession, as an article which they valued; and therefore were desirous of retaining in safe and cherished custody.

V. 20. "For ever since the creation of the world, that great manifestation of God's power and Godhead, these invisible things of Him are clearly seen.

V. 21. “In their reasonings."

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hath shown it to them. For the invisible things respecting Him, even His eternal power and Godhead, are clearly seenbeing discernible from the things that are made, so as to render them inexcusable. Because when they did know God, they Or one may hold fast for the pupose of did not do Him glory as to God, neither confining or keeping down, so as to im- were they thankful to Him; but departpede and repress that which is thus con- ing from the grave and solemn and simfined, from the putting forth of its ener-ple reliance that was due to the Creator, gies. And accordingly this is the very they went into vain reasonings about word which Paul uses, when he says to Him, and so changed the truth into a dethe Thessalonians, "And now ye know ceitful imagination, and their foolish heart what withholdeth that he might be revealed was darkened. In the profession, and in in his time. For the mystery of iniquity the prosecution of wisdom, they became doth already work; only he who now fools: And changed the glory of the inletteth will let until he be taken out of the corruptible God into an image made like way." He alludes to something that so to corruptible man, and to birds, and four. confined Antichrist, as to keep him back-footed beasts and creeping things.' so that he came not out into full and immediate manifestation. It is in this second sense that men hold the truth in unright

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Our first remark on the subject matter of this passage, is founded on the way, in which the revelation of the righteousness of God unto faith, stands as a counterpart to the revelation of the wrath of God unto all ungodliness and unrighteousness of

men. The wrath is not an element framed | magnified that law and made it nc nouraor fermented upon earth. It is conceived ble. And all this apart from any obediin Heaven; and thence it cometh down ence of ours. All this the produce of a on the unrighteousness of men, as the sub-transaction in which we had no share. ject of it. And as with the wrath of God, | All this a treasure existing in the reposiso it is with the righteousness of God. It tories of that place, where the Father and too cometh down from Heaven in the the Son hold their ineffable communionshape of a descending ministration. It is a righteousness not rendered by us, but no more the righteousness of man in the rendered to us; and which is the only ɔne case, than it is the wrath of man in one that God can look unto with compiathe other. It is affirmed here, and most cency. This is the righteousness of God, prominently referred to in other parts of standing altogether aloof and separable the epistle, as the righteousness of God. from the righteousness of man; and which The wrath has its origin in the breast of He offers to administer to us all, in place the Divinity; and it goeth forth from an of that wrath which, upon our refusal of upper store-house, from a quarter above His better offer, He will administer. And our world and foreign to our world; and the way in which both the wrath and the all that the world furnishes is the reser-righteousness are set before us in this voir into which it is poured-the unrighteousness and the ungodliness of men, which form the fit subjects for its application. And there is not an individual man who is not a fit subject of it. The wrath is unto all unrighteousness; and there is none who has not fallen into some unrighteousness. All who do these things are worthy of death; and there is not a human creature who has not done one or more of these things.

But there is a way, it would appear, in which they who are thought worthy of death and are under the wrath of God, may nevertheless be made to live. They die by the wrath of God being inflicted on them. They live by the righteousness of God being administered to them. The one is just as much the rendering of a foreign application as the other. In the one case there is a displacency at sin on the part of the Godhead; and this bodies itself into a purpose of vengeance against the sinner; and the infliction of it is sent forth from God's remote and lofty sanctuary, originating there, and coming down from thence upon the unrighteousness of man. And as with the wrath of God ministered unto the world, so it is with the righteousness of God which is ministered unto the world. It has all a separate existence in the upper courts of Heaven. It is no more man's righteousness in the one case, than it is man's wrath in the other. There was a ransom found out by God. There was a surety accepted by God. There was a satisfaction which that surety rendered. There was an obedience undertaken for us by one who inhabited eternity; and with this obedience God was well pleased. There was a righteousness which He could acknowledge. There was a duteous and devoted offering, which to Him was the incense of a sweet-smelling savour. There was a virtue which shone in spotless lustre even to His pure and penetrating eye; and a merit which not only met the demand of His holy law, but

passage, as being each of them a descending ministration-the one of them being as purely a dispensation from Heaven as the other-should prepare us for the still more pointed asseverations of the apostle, when he tells us that the righteousness upon which we are accepted is altogether of God, and borrows not one particle of its worth from the obedience of man; that it comes upon us in the shape of a previous and a prepared grant, which we are simply to lay hold of; that we are not the authors of it, but simply the subjects of it: And much is to be gathered from the information, that, like as the wrath of God is unto man's unrighteousness, so the righteousness of God is unto man's faith.

The question is, Whether that thing on which we are justified is the righteousness of Christ alone accepted by God, and therefore called the righteousness of God, and rendered ours upon our receiving it by faith-or, Whether it be the righteousness of man as alone or in part the plea of man's justification. It will be found in the sequel, how strenuously and how unreservedly the apostle cleaves to the former term of this alternative; and in this opening passage of his Epistle, does he afford us no obscure or unsatisfying glimpse of that doctrine, on which lie suspended the firmest securities of our peace in this world, and the dearest hopes of our eternity.

The next thing to which we direct your attention, is the precise reason that is intimated to us here, of God's provocation with man. There is something in the principle of His anger, which accords with what we experience of the movement of anger in our own bosoms. An infant or an animal may do an action which is materially wrong, without calling forth our resentment. It is the knowing it to be wrong, on the part of the doer, which is indispensable to our anger against him being a rightful emotion; and it is neither the acting nor the thinking erroneously

will not feel an echo in his own conscience to the righteousness of the sentence under which he has falien; and who, though living in the midst of thickest heathenism, will not remember the visitations of a light which he ought to have followed, and by resisting which he has personally deserved the displeasure of God that shall then be over him, the doom of the eternity that shall then be before him.

In the 19th and following verses, the apostle, aware that to establish the guilt of the world's unrighteousness it was necessary to prove that it was unrighteousness committed in the face of knowledge,

on the part of man, which in itself brings an outcast of condemnation there, who down upon them the wrath of God. It is their doing so intelligently. It is their stifling the remonstrances of truth in the work of unrighteousness. It is that they voluntarily bid it into silence; and, bent on the iniquity that they love, do, in the wilful prosecution of it, drown its inward voice-just as they would deafen the friendly warning of any monitor who is standing beside them; and whose advice they guess would be on the side of what is right, and against the side of their own inclinations. Were there no light present to their minds, there would be no culpability. On the other hand, should it shine clearly upon them, this makes them re-affirms what it was that man knew origisponsible for every act of disobedience to nally, and how it was that the light which its lessons. But more, should it shine but was at one time in them became darkness. dimly, and it be a dimness of their own That which it was competent to know bringing on-should they land in a state about God, was manifest among men. of darkness, and that not because any God himself had showed it unto men. outward luminary has been extinguished; He had either done so by the wisdom that but because, in hatred of its beams and shone in creation, making it plain to loving the darkness, they have shut their man's natural discernment that it was the eyes or should it be a candle within product of a supreme and eternal intelliwhich has waned and withered to the very gence; and this is one way in which we border of extinction, under their own de- may understand how the invisible propersirous endeavours to mar the brilliancy ties of the Godhead are clearly seen, even of its flame-should there be a law of our from the impress of them, stamped and nature, in virtue of which every deed of evident to the reflecting eye on the face opposition to the conscience causes it to of creation itself. Or He had expressly speak more faintly than before, and to revealed the fact to man that the world shine more feebly than before, and should was created, and that He was the Author this be the law which has conducted every of it. Instead of leaving them to find this human being on the face of our earth to out, He had made it known to them by the uttermost depths, both of moral blind- actual communication. It is not necessary ness and moral apathy-Still he is what to conceive from these verses, that the he is because he willed against the light, doctrines of the existence and perfections and wrought against the light. It is this of God are the achievements of man's which brings a direct criminality upon unaided discovery at first. In that age of his person. It is this which constitutes a extraordinary manifestations, when God clear principle for his condemnation to put forth the arm of a creator, He may rest upon; and it is enough to fasten also have put forth the voice of a revealer; blame-worthiness upon his doings, that and simply announced to men that the they were either done in despite of the world they lived in was a piece of workconvictions which he had, or done in de-manship, and that He Himself was the spite of the convictions which but for his own wilful depravity he might have had.

The Bible, in charging any individual with actual sin, always presupposes a knowledge, either presently possessed or anworthily lost or still attainable on his part, of some rightful authority, against which he hath done some act of wilful defiance. The contact of light with the mind of the transgressor, and that too in such sufficiency as, if he had followed it, would have guided him to an action different from the one he has performed, is essential to the sinfulness of that action -insomuch that on the day of reckoning, when the men of all nations and all ages shall stand around the judgment-seat, here is not one who will be pronounced

builder and the maker of it. With the simple information that the world made not itself, but had a beginning, they could rise to the perception of Him who had no beginning. They could infer the eternity of that Being who Himself was uncreated. They could infer the magnitude of His power, seeing it to be commensurate to the production of that stupendous me chanism which lay visibly around them. They could infer his Godhead, or in other words His supremacy-the subordination of all that existed to His purpose and will

His right of property in this universe, and in all those manifold riches which fill and which adorn it-and more particularly that He originated all their faculties; tha He provided them with all their enjoy. ments; that every secondary source and

agent of gratification to them, was a mere | diately good, was sought after for itself, channel of conveyance for His liberality; was valued on its own account, was en that, behind all which was visible, there joyed without any thankful reference to were a power and a Godhead invisible which had been from eternity, and were now put forth in bright and beautiful development on a created expanse, where everything was that could regale the senses, and be exuberant of delight and blessedness to the living creatures by whom it was occupied.

Him who granted all and originated all; and this too in the face of a distinct know. ledge, that every thing was held of God— in the face of an authoritative voice, claiming what was due to God-in the face of a conscience powerful at the outset of man's history, however much it may have been darkened and overborne in the subsequent process of his alienation. And thus the tenure of his earthly enjoy

It is not necessary to enter into a contest about the powers or the limits of the human faculties-though we shall after-ments was gradually lost sight of altowards attempt to make it evident, that, gether; and the urgencies of sense and debased and darkened as we are by sin, of the world got the better of all impresthere is enough of light in the human con- sions of the Deity; and man at length science to render inexcusable human un- felt his portion and his security and his godliness. But let us at present confine all to be, not in the Author of creation, ourselves to the circumstances adverted but in the creation itself with all its gay to by the apostle, according to the histori- and goodly and fascinating varieties. His cal truth of them. He is evidently des- mind lost its hold of a great and subordicribing the historical progress of human nating principle, by which he could have degeneracy; and begins with the state of assigned its right place, and viewed acmatters at the commencement of a dark-cording to its just relationship, all that ening and deteriorating process, which was around him. The world in fact, by took place on the character of man. And, a mighty deed of usurpation, dethroned without resolving the metaphysical ques- the Deity from the ascendancy which betion How far man without a direct com- longed to him; and thus the rule of estimunication from Heaven could have found mation was subverted within him, and his his way to the Being and attributes of the foolish heart was darkened. This disorder Divinity, let us just take up with the com- in the state of his affections, while it mencement of matters as it actually stood. clouded and subverted his discerning faIt was a period of extraordinary manifes-culties, did not at the same time restrain tations; and God made Himself directly the exercise of them. The first ages of and personally known, as the one Creator the world, as is evident from the history of all things; and men had only to look of Babel, were ages of ambitious specuwith the eye of their senses to these things, lation; and man, with his love strongly and to conclude how much of power, how devoted to the things of sense, still dreammuch of wisdom, how much of rightful|ed and imagined and theorized about hidsovereignty and ownership, belonged to Him that framed all and upholds all. We may not be sure, in how far man could, on the strength of his own unborrowed resources, have steered his ascending way to the knowledge of a God. But the communicated fact that God did exist, and that He was the framer and the architect of all, put him on high vantage groundfrom which might be clearly seen the eternal power of the Supreme, and His eternal Godhead.

We have only time to advert, shortly, to the way in which the truth respecting God was changed into a lie. The creature became more loved and more depended on, than the Creator. He was not glorified as the giver, and the maker of all created good. But what was sensibly and imme

den principles; and, with his sense of the one presiding Divinity nearly as good as obliterated, he began to fancy a distinct agency in each distinct element and department of nature; and, to make use of the strong phrases of God giving them up and giving them over, we may infer a law of connection between a distempered state of the heart, and a distempered state of the understanding; and thus their very wisdom was turned into folly; and to their perverted eye, the world was turned into one vast theatre of idolatry; and they personified all that they loved and all that they feared-till by the affections and the judgment acting and reacting, the one upon the other, they sank down into the degrading fooleries of Paganism.

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