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humanity, and there, on the review of their doings in this world, will have such a place and such a portion assigned to them in the next, as shall be in fullest harmony with the saying that all the ways of God are in truth and in righteousness.

know them not, and practise them not. But, on the other hand, if these latter do oy nature the things which by the light of nature they know to be lawful, and so keep righteousness as far as they are informed of it-though they have not practised the literal and outward ordinances, they shall be dealt with as if they had It were repeating over here what we kept them. And what is more, they will have already more than once and on vaeven have such a superiority, as to sit in | rious occasions endeavoured to argument, judgment over you, who, notwithstanding did we again enter upon the question, your written law and your ordinances, How this can be? The Heathen will not are in fact transgressors of the law. For be judged by the written law of Judaism, he is not a right Jew who is only one out- neither will they be judged out of the wardly. Neither is that the circumcision things that are written in the Scriptures that is regarded by God, which is out- of Christianity. God will not, in their wardly in the flesh. But he is a Jew who case, charge them with the guilt of a sin, is one inwardly; and the genuine circum- for that which they were not taught and cision is that of a heart subject to the could not know to be sinful. It is not spirit of the law, and therefore crucified their helpless ignorance, and it is not the as to its carnal affections, and not that of fatality of their birth, and it is not the a mere outward conformity to its visible thick moral envelopment that has settled observations. And the praise of this real itself over the face of their country which circumcision is not of man, who can judge will condemn them. It will be their sin, only according to appearances; but of and that coupled with the circumstances God, who weigheth the secrets of the of their knowing it to be sin, which will spirit, and who can alone judge righte- condemn them. And we have already reously.' marked in one lecture, that there do exist, even in the remotest tracks of Paganism, such vestiges of light, as, when collected together, form a code or directory of moral conduct that there are still to be found among them the fragments of a law, which they never follow but with an ap proving conscience; and never violate but with the check of an opposing remonstrance, that by their own wilfulness and their own obstinacy is overborne-in other words, that they are a law unto themselves, and that their own conscience vests it with an authority, by bearing witness to the rightness and obligation of its requirements-So that, among the secret things which will be brought to light in the great day of revelation, will it be seen, that all the sin for which a Heathen shall be made to suffer, was sin committed in the face of an inward monitor, which warned him through time, and will condemn him at his outset upon eternity.

Let us now pass onward to a few practical observations, founded on the passage which we have attempted to explain.

You can readily enough perceive, how, both with Jews and Christians, there are materials enough for such an examination, as renders them the fit subjects both of a reckoning and of a sentence on the great day of account. But this is not so immediately seen in regard to rude and uninformed Paganism. To be without the pale of a written revelation, is held by many, as tantamount, to being without the pale of all moral and judicial cognizance. And yet, we have many intimations, that the Heathen will also be brought to the bar of the gencral judgment—that, though perhaps more gently dealt with, yet they will be dealt with as the responsible subjects of God's moral administration-that there is a principle of judgment which reaches even unto them, and upon which it will be a righteous thing for God to pass upon them a condemnatory sentence. Sodom and Gomorrah, we are informed, being to be sisted before the tribunal of that day; and a punishment awarded them, which will only be more tolerable than the vengeance that awaits those, who have sinned in the face of clearer light, and better opportunities. Insomuch, that we know not of any age, however far back it may lie removed in the darkness of antiquity; nor do we know of any wandering tribe, however secluded from all the communications of light and knowledge with the rest of the species-the men of which will not be called before the great tribunal of

In another lecture we observed, that what brought the conscience of Paganism palpably out from its hiding place, was the undeniable fact of the charges and the recriminations and the defences, of which the most unenlightened Pagans were can-the pable in their controversies with each other. This capacity of accusing and of excusing proved a sense and a standard of morality to be amongst them. With the feeling of provocation after injury, was there mixed the judgment of a difference between the right and the wrongand even in the rude outcry of savage resentment and the fierce onset of savage warfare, may we detect their perception

of what is honest and what is unfair in | the dealings of man with man. And just grant of any individual amongst them, that he is keenly alive to the injustice of others to himself, while, under the hurrying instigations of selfishness and passion, he works the very same injustice against them; and you make that individual a moral and an accountable being. We grant him to be sensible of what he ought to do, and thus make him the rightful subject of condemnation if he does it not. "For thinkest thou, O man, that judgest them who do these things, and doest them thyself, that thou wilt escape the judgment of God?" Even we therefore, unknowing as we are of the inward machinery of another's heart, can trace as it were an avenue by which the most unlettered barbarian might be approached in the way of judgment and retribution. And much more may we be sure, that God, who judgeth all things, will find a clear and open path to the fulfilment of the process that is here laid before us-summoning all to their account, without exception; and, from the farthest limits of the human territory, calling heathens to His jurisdiction, as well as Christian and Jews, and, under a law appropriate to each, dealing out the distributions of equity among the various families and denominations of the world.

fact have been entitled to sit in ju gmert and superiority over him.

It is observable, that, in this work of convincing the Jews of sin, the apostle fastens, in the first instance, on the more glaring and visible delinquencies from the law of righteousness-as theft and adultery and sacrilege. He brings forth that which is fitted to strike conviction into the mind of a notorious transgressor; who, just because the evidence of his guilt is more palpable than that of others-just because the materials of his condemnation more immediately meet the eye of his own conscience--is, on that very account, often more easily induced to take the first steps of that process which leads to reconciliation with the offended Lawgiver. And this is the reason, why it is said of publican and profligate persons, that they enter the kingdom of Heaven, before the Scribes and the Pharisees. But the apostle is not satisfied with convincing them only. Before he is done with his demonstration about the law, he enters into the very depths of it-even as the Saviour, in his sermon on the mount, did before him. It is possible to undergo the outward rite of circumcision, and not be circumcised in the spirit of our minds. And it is possible to maintain a conformity with all those requirements which bear on the external conduct, without having a heart touched by the love of God, or in any way animated by the principle of godliness. He does not end his demonstration of sinfulness, till he has completed it; and, while the first attack of his expostulation is directed against those who do the covert acts and wear the visible insignia of rebellion, he sends it with a penetrating force into the recesses of a more plausible and pleasing character-where, with nothing to deform or to shed a disgrace over the outward history, there may be a heart still uncircumcised out of all its affections to the creature, and utterly alive unto the world, and utterly dead unto God.

In this passage, the apostle, after the gradual and skilful approaches which he had made for the purpose of finding his way to the Jewish understanding, at length breaks out into the warfare of open and proclaimed argument. He throws out his express challenge, and closes with his adversary-thus entering upon the main business of his Epistle, the great object of, which was to bring over his own countrymen to the obedience of the faith. After affirming of the two great classes of mankind, that each was subject to a law of its own acknowledging; and after, upon this principle, having convicted the Gentile world of its being under sin-he addresses himself to the Israelite, and dexterously lays open the egregious folly of his confidence-a confidence resting, it would appear, not on his practice of the law, but barely on his possession of it-a satisfaction with himself, not for following the light, but simply for having the light -an arrogant sense of superiority to others, not in having obeyed the commandment, but just in having had the Now it is not merely true that your commandment delivered to him-thus sabbaths and your sacraments may be as turning into a matter of vanity, that which useless to you, as the rite of circumcision ought in fact to have aggravated his shame ever was to the Jews. It is not merely and condemnation; and bearing it proud-true that the whole ceremonial of Chrisly over others, who, had they acted up to tianity may be duly and regularly destheir more slender advantages, would incribed on your part, without praise or

We conclude with two remarks, in the way of home and personal application, founded on the two senses given to the word letter as contrasted with the word spirit.

The first sense that is given to the word letter, is the outward conformity to the law, which may be rendered apart from the inward principle of reverence regard for it.


a transformation, when he is made the workmanship of God in Christ Jesus, that the true image of moral excellence which was obliterated from our species at the fall, comes to be restored to him, or that he is put in the way of attaining a resemblance to his Maker in righteousness and in true holiness.

without acceptance on the part of God. | to the righteousness of Christ, as tha! It is not merely true that worship may be alone which is commensurate to the de. held every day in your own houses, and mands, and congenial with the holy cha your families be mustered at every recur-racter of the Lawgiver-not till, in the ring opportunity to close and unfailing attitude of one whose breast is humbled attendance on the house of God. But it out of all its proud complacencies, he is also true, that all the moral honesties receives the atonement of the gospel, and of life may be rendered; and, in the along with it receives a clean heart and walks of honourable merchandise, there a right spirit from the hand of his accepted ever be attached to your name, the respect | Mediator-it is not till the period of such and confidence of all the righteous; and, foremost in the lists of philanthropy, every scheme connected with its cause may draw out from you the largest and most liberal ministrations: and even all this, so far from the mere facing of an outward exhibition, may emanate upon your visible doings, from the internal operation of a native regard for your brethren of the same species, and of a high-minded integrity in all your transactions with them. And yet one thing may be lacking. The circumcision of the heart may be that which you have no part in. All its longings may be towards the affairs and the enjoyments and the interests of mortality. Your taste is not to what is sordid, but to what is splendid in character; but still it is but an earthly and a perishable splendour. Your very virtues are but the virtues of the world. They have not upon them the impress of that saintliness which will bear to be transplanted into heaven. The present and the peopled region of sense on which you expatiate, you deck, it is true, with the lustre of many fine accomplishments; but they have neither the stamp nor the endurance of eternity: And, difficult as it was to convict the Hebrew of sin, robed in the sanctities of a revered and imposing ceremonial, it is at least a task of as great strenuousness to lay the humiliation of the gospel spirit upon him, who lives surrounded by the smiles and the applauses of society-or so to awaken the blindness, and circumcise the vanity of his heart, as to bring him down a humble supplicant at the footstool of mercy.

What turns the virtues of earth into splendid sins, is that nothing of God is there. It is the want of this animating breath, which impresses upon them all the worthlessness of materialism. It is this which makes all the native loveliness of our moral world of as little account, in the pure and spiritual reckoning of the upper sanctuary, as is a mere efflorescence of beauty on the face of the vegetable creation. It serves to adorn and even to sustain the interests of a fleeting generation. Verily it hath its reward. But not till, under a sense of nothingness and of guilt, man hies him to the cross of expiation—not till, renouncing all righteousness of his own, he flees for shelter

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We meant to have added another remark founded on another sense of the word letter, which is the word of God as opposed to the Spirit of God. But we have no time to expatiate any further. Let us only observe that the apostle speaks both of the letter and Spirit of the New Testament. And certain it is, that, were we asked to fix on a living counterpart in the present day to the Jew of the passage now under consideration-it would be on him, who, thoroughly versant in all the phrases and dexterous in all the arguments of orthodoxy, is, without one affection of the old man circumcised and without one sanctified affection to mark him the new man in Christ Jesus our Lord, withal, a zealous and staunch and sturdy controversialist. He too rests in the form of sound words, and is confident that he is a light of the blind, and founds a complacency on knowledge though it be knowledge without love and without regeneration-nor can we think of any delusion more hazardous, and at the same time more humbling, than that by which a literal acquaintance with the gospel, and a literal adherence on the part of the understanding to all its truths and all its articles, may be confounded with the faith which is unto salvation. Faith is an inlet to holy affections. Its primary office is to admit truth into the mind, but it is truth which impresses as well as informs, The kingdom of God is neither in word alone, nor in argument alone-it is also in power; and while we bid you look unto Jesus and be saved, it is such a look as will cause you to mourn and to be in heaviness-it is such a look as will liken you to His image, and import into your own character the graces and the affections which adorn His. It is here that man finds himself at the limits of his helplessness. He cannot summon into his breast that influence which will either circumcise its old tendencies, or plant new ones in its room. But the doctrine

of Jesus Christ and of him crucified is the grand instrument for such a renovation; and he is at his post, and on the likely way of obtaining the clean heart and the right spirit, when, looking humbly and

desirously to Jesus as all his salvation he may at length experience the operation of faith working by love and yielding al manner of obedience.


ROMANS iii, 1, 2.

What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."

OUR reason for stopping at this part of reject it, because to them the savour of our ordinary course, and coming forward | death unto death-whether should a nawith a dissertation on these verses, is that tion now sitting in the darkness of Paganthe subject of them seems to guide us to a ism, be approached with the overtures of decision, in a matter that has been some- the gospel? This is a doubt which has what obscured with the difficulties of a often been advanced, for the purpose of hidden speculation. You are aware that throwing discouragement and discredit on to whom much is given, of them much will the enterprise of the missionaries; and be required; and the question then comes though not on exactly the same principle, to be, whether is it better that that thing are there many still, who hesitate on the shall be given or withheld. The Jew, measure of spreading education among who sinned against the light of his reve- the peasantry. Altogether, it were delation, will have a severer measure of sirable, in this age of benevolent enterretribution dealt out to him-than the prise, to know whether it is the part of Gentile who only sinned against the light benevolence to move in this matter, or to of his own conscience; and the nations sit still and let the world remain stationaof Christendom who have been plied with ry-leaving it to that milder treatment, the offers of the gospel, and put them and those gentler chastisements, which needlessly and contemptuously away, will the guilt of man, when associated with the incur a darker doom throughout eternity ignorance of man, will call down on the -than the native of China, whose remote- great day from the hand of Him who both ness, while it shelters him from the light judgeth and administers righteously. of the New Testament in this world, shel- We think it must be obvious, to those ters him from the pain of its fulfilled de- whose minds have been at all disciplined nunciations in another; and he who sits a into the soberness of wisdom and true hearer under the most pure and faithful philosophy, that, without an authoritative ministrations of the word of God, has solution of this question from God Himmore to answer for-than he who lan-self, we are really not in circumstances to guishes under the lack either of arousing determine it. We have not all the mateWe know sermons, or of solemn and impressive or- rials of the question before us. dinances; and neither will a righteous not how to state with the precision of God deal so hardly with the members of arithmetic, what the addition is which a population, where reading is unknown, knowledge confers upon the sufferings of and the Bible remains an inaccessible disobedience; or how far an accepted gosrarity among the families—as of a popu- pel exalts the condition of him, who was lation where schools have been multiplied before a stranger to it. We cannot balfor the behoof of all, and scholarship has ance the one against the other, or render descended and is diffused among the to you any computation of the difference poorest of the commonwealth. And with that there is between them. We cannot these considerations, a shade of uncer- descend into hell; and there take the tainty appears to pass over the question- dimensions of that fiercer wrath and tribuwhether the Christianization of a people lation and anguish, which are laid on ought at all to be meddled with. If the those who have incurred the guilt of a regospel of Jesus Christ only serve to exalt jected Christianity-and neither can we the moral and everlasting condition of the ascend to heaven; and there calculate the few who receive it, because to them it is heights of blessedness and joy, to which the savour of life unto life; but serve also Christianity has raised the condition of to aggravate the condition of those who those who have embraced it. It is all a

matter of revelation on which side the difference lies; and he who is satisfied to be wise up to that which is written, and feels no wayward restlessness of ambition after the wisdom that is beyond it, will quietly repose upon the deliverance of Scripture on this subject; and never will the surmises or the speculations of an uninformed world, lay an obstacle on him, as he moves along the path of his plainly bidden obedience · nor will all the hazards and uncertainties, which the human imagination shall conjure up from the brooding abyss of human ignorance, embarrass him in the execution of an obviously prescribed task. So that if in any way Christ must be preached; and if in the face of consequences, known or unknown, the knowledge of Him must be spread abroad to the uttermost; and if he be required, at this employment, to be instant in season and out of season, declaring unto all the way of salvation as he has opportunity-if these be the positive requirements of the Bible, then, whatever be the proportion which the blessings bear to the curses that he is the instrument of scattering on every side of him, enough for him that the authority of Heaven is the warrant of his exertions; and that, in making manifest the savour of the knowledge of the gospel in every place, he is unto God a sweet savour of Christ, both in them that are saved and in them that perish.

"Go and preach the gospel to every creature under heaven," and "go unto all the world, and teach all nations." These parting words of our Saviour, ere He ascended to His Father, may not be enough to quell the anxieties of the speculative Christian; but they are quite enough to decide the course and the conduct of the practical Christian. To his mind, it sets the question of missions abroad, and also the question of schools and bibles and christianizing processes at home, most thoroughly at rest. And though the revelation of the New Testament had not advanced one step farther, on that else untrodden field, where all that misery and all that enjoyment which are the attendant results upon a declared gospel in the world might be surveyed and confronted together-yet would he count it his obligation simply to do the bidding of the word, though it had not met the whole of his appetite for information. But in the verses before us, we think it does advance this one step farther. It does appear to us, to enter on the question of profit and loss attendant on the possession of the oracles of God; and to decide, on the part of the former, that the advantage was much every way. And it is not for those individuals alone who reaped the benefit,

that the apostle makes the calculation. He makes an abatement for the unbelief of all the others; and, balancing the difference, does he land us in a computation of clear gain to the whole people. And it bears importantly on this question, when we are thus told of a nation with whom we are historically acquainted, that it was better for them on the whole that they possessed the oracles of God. We may well venture to circulate these precious words among all people, when told of the most stiff-necked and rebellious people on earth, that, with all the abuse they made of their scriptures, these scriptures conferred not merely a glory, but a positive advantage on their nation. And yet what a fearful deduction from this advantage must have been made, by the wickedness that grew and gathered, and was handed down from one generation to another. If it be true of the majority of their kings, that they did evil in the sight of the Lord exceedingly; and if it be true that, with the light of revelation and amongst the warnings of prophecy, they often rioted amongst the abominations of idolatry be yond even all the nations that were around them; and if it be true that the page of Jewish history is far more blackened by the recorded atrocity and guilt of the nation, than ever it is illumed by the memorials of worth or of piety; and if it be true that, throughout the series of many centuries which rolled over the heads of the children of Israel, while they kept the name and existence of a community, there was an almost incessant combat between the anger of an offended God and the perverseness of a stout-hearted and rebellious people-insomuch that, after the varied discipline of famine and invasion and captivity had been tried for ages and found to be fruitless, the whole fabric of the Hebrew commonwealth had by one tremendous discharge of fury to be utterly swept away-It were hard to tell, what is the amount of aggravation upon all this sin, in that it was sin against the light of the oracles of God; but the apostle in the text has told us, that, let the amount be what it may, it was more than countervailed by the positive good done through these oracles: and comparatively few as the righteous men were who walked in the ordinances and commandments of the Lord blameless; and however thinly sown were those worthies of old dispensation, on whom the light that beamed from Heaven shed the exalting influences of faith and godliness; and though the upright of the land were counted but in minorities and in remnants, throughout almost every period of the nation's progress from its beginning to its overthrow

yet it serves to guide our estimate of

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