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of the whole man to sin, viewed as an ob- obtain an interview with the people of hi ject of full and formal approbation. This own nation; and that, as his practice was is a reprobacy of the mind, to which the in other places, he began his explanation old are sometimes given over, after they of the gospel in the hearing of the Jews have run their course of dissipation. At and then turned himself also unto the the outset, even of this lawless history, Gentiles. Certain it is, that in this written was there a struggling principle within communication, the main purport of the them, which debated, and, for a time, par- argument, is to conciliate the Jews to the ried off the question of indulgence; and faith of the gospel. It is to make them after they entered on the transgressor's understand, that, in respect of their need path, did they taste the bitterness of many of salvation, they were on a footing just a compunctious visitation. But under that as helpless as that of the Gentiles; that a hardening process, which we have already like sentence of wrath had gone out explained, the conscience at length lost its against both; and a like process of recotenderness, and all its pangs and all its very was indispensable to both. For the remonstrances were forgotten; and, from accomplishment of this object, he makes, one year to another, can the voluptuary, we apprehend, a very skilful approach to more abandoned than before, lift a louder the Jewish understanding. Throughout and a louder defiance to the authority the whole of his wrings, in fact, do we which at one time overawed him. But see that he abounded in wise but honournever, perhaps, does he betray such a able devices, for the purpose of giving fatal symptom of one who is indeed given weight and acceptance to his reasonings. over, as when age, with all its ailing help. He was all things to all men, not to the lessness, has at length overtaken him; extent of surrendering any particle of and he can now only smile at the remem- truth to their prejudices, but to the extent brance of joys which he can no longer of doing all that might be fairly or inno realize; and the young who assemble at cently done, for the purpose of softening his festive board, are by him cheered for- and surprising them out of their prejudi ward on that way of destruction, to the ces. The picture which he draws in the end of which he is so fast hastening; and first chapter, is a picture of the Gentile the poison of his own indelicacy spreads world; and its most conspicuous linea. its vitiating influence over the unpractised ments are those of Gentile profligacy; guests who are around him. Depravity and in laying it before the eye of a Jewish so unfeeling as this, which goes to aug-observer, he in fact deals with him even ment its own votaries and its own victims, as Nathan did with David, when he offerand to perpetuate a legacy in hell from one rebellious generation to another, was daily and currently exemplified in the manners of an age which has now passed by. And if, in the progress of an external or fashionable reformation, it now be nearly unknown, let the record of it at least serve to mark, how even an individual conscience can wither in its possessor's bosom to the very margin of extinction; and how ere he leaves the world he can bequeath to it an increase of degeneracy, adding his own seductive testimony to all the other engines of corruption which are already at work in it-thus serving to explain, not merely how guilt is ever growing in power and ascendancy over the habits of a single man, but how it deepens and accumulates and rises into magnitude more appalling, along the line of the advancing history of our species.

Before entering upon the exposition of the verses which have now been read in your hearing, let it be remarked, that the special design of the writer of this epistle begins to open into clearer manifestation. The fact is, that it was written to the believers in Rome, before he ever had made a personal appearance in that city. We know from the book of Acts, that, upon his arrival there, it was his first care to

ed him a disguised representation of his own character, and turned the indignation which he had prevously kindled in the bosom of the monarch upon his own head. For you will observe that though the most prominent features of the apostolic sketch, are drawn from the abominations and the excesses of Heathenism, there are others which are descriptive, not of any special, but of that universal corruption, which may be read and recognised on the person of every member of the human family. The common depravities of our race are made to enter into the enumeration, along with those which are more monstrous and unnatural; and the vices which are chargeable upon all, are mixed up in the same catalogue with the vices which are chargeable upon some; and the Jew, heedless of those traits of the description which may be fastened on himself, is thus caught, as it were, into an indignation which may be retorted back again upon his own character. It is thus that the apostle begins this second chapter, much in the way in which the prophet of the Old Testament prosecuted the advantage that he had won over David, whose resentment he had kindled against an act of oppression, which he himself had both imitated and outdone. "Thou art the

man," is reiterated upon the Jew, through- | inferior animals, of affection for your out the whole of the second and the Father who is in heaven. The man who greater part of the third chapter-it being has thrown off the allegiance of loyalty, the main object of our apostle to assail may feel no inclination to walk the whole the opposition in that quarter where it round of disobedience to the laws; and looked to be most impregnable-to extend yet upon the temptation of one single opthe conviction of sin from the Gentile portunity, and by the breaking forth of whom he had laid prostrate before him, one single expression, may he bring down to the Jew who still kept a boastful atti- the whole vengeance of Government upon tude, on the ground of that self-sufficiency his person. The man who has thrown off which the apostle labours to cut away- the allegiance of Religion, may neither o prove, in short, that all were under sin, have the occasion nor the wish to commit and all were in need of a Saviour; that all the offences which it prohibits, or to all were partakers of the same guilt, and utter all the blasphemies which may be must be partakers of the same grace, ere vented forth in the spirit of defiance they could be restored to acceptance with against the Almighty's throne. And yet that God whom in common they had all the principle of defiance may have taken offended. full possession of his heart; and irreligion may be the element in which he breathes. And in every instance, when his will comes into competition with the will of God, may the creature lift himself above the Creator; and though, according to the varieties of natural temperament these instances may be more manifold and various with one man than with another-yet that which essentially constitutes the character of moral and spiritual guilt may be of equal strength and inveteracy with both-Making it as true of a reputable member of society in our day, as it was of the formal and observant Pharisee, that he only conformed to the law of God, when, though walking all the while in the counsel of his own heart, conformity is that which he would; and always trampled upon this law, whenever, walking in the same counsel, conformity is a thing which he would not. Ungodliness, in short, is not a thing of tale and measure. It is a thing of weight and of quality. It may be as thoroughly infused through the character of him who is observant of all the civilized decencies of life, as of him whose enormities have rendered him an outcast from all the common regards of society. Heaven's sanctuary is alike scorned and alike neglected by both; and on the head of each, will there be the same descending burden of Heaven's righteous indignation.

In order that you feel the force of the apostle's demonstration, there is one principle which is held to be sound in human law, and which in all equity ought to be extended to the law of God. The principle is this-that, however manifold the enactments of the law may be, it is possible, by one act or one kind of disobedience, to incur the guilt of an entire defiance to the authority which framed it; and therefore to bring rightfully down upon the head of the transgressor, the whole weight of the severities which it denounces against the children of iniquity. To be worthy of death, it is not necessary to commit all the things which are included in the sad enumeration of human vicesany more than it is necessary for a criminal, to add depredation to forgery, or murder to both, ere a capital sentence go out against him, from the administrators of the law upon which he has trampled. You may as effectually cut with a friend by one hostile or insolent expression, as if you had employed a thousand; and your disownal of an authority may be as intelligibly announced, by one deed of defiance as by many; and your contempt of Heaven's court be as strongly manifested, by your wilful violation of one of the commandments, as if you had thwarted every requirement of its prescribed and published ceremonial. It is true that there are gradations of punishments; but these are measured, not according to the multiplicity of outward offences, but according to the intensity of the rebellious principle that is within. In virtue of an honourable feeling, you may never steal; and this is the deduction of one external iniquity from the history of the doings of the outer man. But it is not on that account an alleviation of the ungodliness of the inner man. You may have natural affection, and never abandon either a child to the exposure of its infancy, or a parent to the helplessness of his age; and yet your heart be as destitute as that of any of the

Among the varieties both of taste and of habit which obtain with the different individuals of our species, there are modifications of disobedience agreeable to one class and disgustful to another class. The careful and calculating economist may never join in any of the excesses of dissipation; and the man of regardless expenditure may never send an unrelieved petitioner from his door; and the religious formalist may never omit either sermon or sacrament, that is held throughout the year in the place of his attendance; and the honourable merchant may never flinch or falsify, in any one of the transactions

of business. Each has such points of conformity as suits him, and each has such other points of non-conformity as suits him; and thus the one may despise or even execrate the other, for that particular style of disobedience by which he indulges his own partialities; and the things which they respectively do, differ there can be no doubt as to the matter of them-but as to the mind of unconcern about God which all of them express, they are virtually and essentially the same. So that amid the censure and contempt which so currently pass between men of various classes and characters in society, there is one pervading quality of ungodliness which they hold in common; and in virtue of which the condemnation that one pronounces upon another, may righteously be turned upon himself; and it be said of him in the language of the apostle, therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest dost the same things.'

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Romans ii, 1-12. This passage requires almost nothing in the way of verbal criticism. The term for despise' in the 4th verse needed not to have been so rendered as to denote an active contempt -but rather a mere disregard and negligence of the opportunity, which God in His forbearance had afforded to sinners, for returning and making their peace with Him. The term 'patient' again, in the 7th verse, signifies, both here and in other places of Scripture, something more active than the mere patience under suffering. They who bring forth fruits with patience, are they who do so with perseverance. They who run their race with patience, are they who persevere in so running. They who maintain a patient continuance, are they who maintain a persevering continuance in well-doing.

The whole passage is so plain, that it scarcely admits of elucidation even from a paraphrase. But let the following be offered to you.


up to yourselves wrath against the day of wrath, and against the day when the righteousness of God's judgments shall be rendered manifest! God will render to every man according to his deeds-to them who by a course of perseverance in well-doing seek for glory, honour, and immortality, eternal life; but unto them who of contention and obstinacy do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, will be rendered indignation and wrath: tribulation and anguish, upon every son of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good; to the Jew first and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God on that day, whatever apparent preference he may make of one man over another, and of one people over another in the present stage of His administrations. He will then judge every man according to the light that was in his mind, according to the law which spake its authority to his conscience, and which he himself recognizes to be of rightful obligation.'

It may be remarked that tribulation' simply denotes affliction; and is the same here in the original, as in the passage, 'we are troubled on every side'-and that anguish' signifies the affliction from which there is no hope of our being extricated; and is the same in the original, as in the passage, that though troubled on every side we are not distressed.'*

At the outset of this chapter, the apostle appeals to a principle which is vigourously at work in every bosom; and, from its felt and conscious existence within us, would he press upon our belief the reality of the same principle, as residing in the Godhead-as applied by him to every creature who is capable of exercising it in his own mind; and leading to a result, that will be verified on the great day of the winding up of this world's administration. By nature we are slow to self-condemnation; and, beset with the engrossments of our passion and our own interest, we see not in ourselves the criminality of Therefore, O man, thou art without the same things which we reprobate in excuse, whosoever thou art, that judgest; others; and conscience either passes no for, in judging another, thou condemnest verdict at all, or in such a faint and thyself seeing that thou who judgest gentle whisper that it is not heard, when doest the same things. And we are sure, it takes a rare and a feeble cognizance of that God's judgment is according to truth, our own character. But the self-love, against those who commit these things. which deafens the voice of conscience in And dost thou think, O man, who judgest its application to our own case, lays no them that do such things, and doest the such barrier in its way when it pronounces same, that thou shalt escape God's judg- on the case of others. And hence the ment? Or do you despise His goodness familiar spectacle, of, not merely an end forbearance and long-suffering, inad-adverse judgment, but even of a wrath vertent of this, that it is His goodness and an indignation in the mind of one which affords to you a season of repent- man against the vanity or the dishonesty ance? But, instead of this, do you, after your hard and impenitent heart, treasure

⚫ 2 Cor. iv, 8.

or the calumnies of another, to the evil of which he is blind or insensible when exemplified in an equal degree upon his own person.

you see them simply capable of being alive to the injustice of others, while in the wild and untamed rapacity of their natures, they experience no check from the sense and conviction of their ownthen be assured, that, on the great day of account, will it be found, that there is a law which can reach even unto them; and a retribution of equity which can be rendered unto them; and a vengeance which, in despite of every plea and every palliation that can be offered for these darkest and most degraded of our brethren, can be righteously inflicted-Making it manifest, that a judgment-seat may be set up on the last day of our world; and that around it, from its remotest corners, all the men of all its generations may be assembled; and that not one of them will be found to have lived without the scope and limits of a jurisdiction, on the principles of which he may rightfully be triedso as that yet the triumph of God's justice shall be signalized upon every individual; nor will there be a single doom pronounced upon any creature, in any one department of the great moral territory, that is not strictly accordant with this song of Revelation-"Even so, Lord God Almighty! true and righteous are thy judgments; just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints."

Now this very judging of others, proves that there is in him a capacity for this exercise. It shows that there is a moral light and a moral sense still residing in his bosom. It proves a sense of the difference between right and wrong; and that when a certain veil is lifted away from the materials of the examination, so as to bring his mind into a more unclouded discernment of them--then, there is in that mind a conscience, which can operate and pronounce aright, upon what is meritorious and what is blameworthy in the character of man. Should that man be himself, and should this circumstance throw a darkening shroud over the field of examination, it surely is no palliation of his sinfulness, nor does it render him less amenable to the judgment of God, if this shroud which hides his own character from his own eyes be drawn over it by his own selfishness, You cannot allege his blindness in mitigation of the sentence that is to go forth against him, if it be a blindness which has no place in reference to the faults of other men; and only gathers again over the organs of his moral discernment, when the hand of his own partiality sets up a screen between But let us look nearer home. There is the eye of his conscience and the equal not an exercise more familiar to your own or perhaps surpassing faults of his own hearts, than that by which you feel the character. The mere fact that he can demerits of others, and judge of them and does judge of others, proves that a accordingly. The very movements of law of right and wrong is present with anger within you are connected with a him. The fact that he does not so judge sense of right and wrong-such a sense of himself, only proves, not that he is as evinces you to be in possession of a without the light of moral truth like the law, which you can bring to bear in exabeasts that perish-but that he keeps mination and condemnation upon the down that truth by unrighteousness; that doings of man; and should this law be when its voice is so stifled as to be un- evaded through the duplicities and the heard, it is he himself who stifles it; that deceits of selfishness, in its application to his blindness is not the natural incapacity yourself-then know that a principle so of an animal, but the wilful and chosen universal among mankind, in reference and much-loved blindness of a depraved to their judgments the one of the other, man. If you see one of our species judg- is of unfailing operation in the mind of ing certain things in the conduct of another, the Deity, and will be applied by Him to infer from this that he knows of a code to all who by the mere possession of a moral which by his own voice he awards a moral faculty prove themselves to be the fitting authority. If you see him not judging in subjects of His moral cognizance. If in the same way of the same things in him- the whole course of your existence, you self, consider this as a wilful suppression ever judged another; this renders you at of the truth, which does not extenuate, but that one time a right and proper subject which in every way heightens his guilt, of judgment yourself; and if this be your and turns his moral insensibility, not into daily and habitual exercise, insomuch a plea, but into an aggravation. And if that any development of vanity or selthere be not a country in the world, where fishness or unfairness in another is sure this twofold exhibition is not to be wit- to call out from you a feeling of condemnessed-if, even among the rudest wander-nation, then this proves that you are ers of the desert, there is the tact of a moral discernment between what is fair and what is injurious in the character of man-if in the fierce contests of savages,

hourly and habitually the rightful subjects of a moral guardianship and a moral jurisdiction. The faculty you have, is but a secondary impress of that superior

and pervading faculty which belongs | it also. The truth is, that a want of beto God, as the judge of all and the lief in God as a Judge, is nearly as prevalawgiver of all. Be assured that there lent as the want of belief in Christ as a is a presiding justice in His administra-Saviour. tion; that there is a moral government founded on a righteousness, the lessons of which are more or less known by all, and the sanctions of which will be accordingly fulfilled upon all. Your very power of judging others, proves that its lessons are in some degree known to you. And think not, O man which judgest those who do such and such things, and doest the same, that thou wilt escape the judgment of God.

Could the one be established within you, it would create an inquiry and a restlessness and an alarm, which might soon issue in the attainment of the other. But the general habit of the world proves, that, in reference to God as a God of judgment, there is a profound and a prevailing sleep among its generations. The children of alienated and degenerate Nature, are no more awake to the law in all the unchangeableness of its present authority, and in all the certainty of its God, in the day of final account, will coming terrors-than they are awake to find out in the case of every human Being the gospel in the freedom of its offers, and whom He does condemn, the materials of in the sureness of its redemption, and in his valid condemnation. These materials the exceeding greatness and preciousness may in a great measure be hidden from of all its promises. There is just as little us now; and yet the palpable fact of each sense of the disease as there is little of being able morally to judge another, and esteem for the remedy. Theologians acto pass his moral opinion upon another, cordingly tell us of the faith of the law, however little he may be disposed to scru- and of the faith of the gospel. By the one tinize himself, forms a very palpable dis- we believe what the law reveals, in reclosure of the fact, that there is in our gard to its own requirements and its own hearts the sense of a moral law-a moni-sanctions. By the other we believe what tor who, if we do not follow him as our the gospel reveals, in regard to its own guide here, will be our accusing witness proposals and its own invitations and its hereafter. And from every feeling of re- own privileges. Faith attaches itself to probation, if not from every feeling of re-the law as well as to the gospel; and obesentment towards others of which we are dience to the gospel as well as to the law. capable, we may gather assurance of the The apostle here speaks of our not obeyfact, that there does exist within us such a ing the truth-and the psalmist sayssense of the distinction between right and " Lord, I have believed thy commandwrong, as, if not acted on in our own con-ments." The truth is, that, among the duct, will be enough to convict us of a latent iniquity, and to call down upon us a rightful sentence of condemnation.

men of our listless and secure species, there is no realizing sense of their being under the law-or of their being under the So long as self is the subject of its over- haunting control and inspection of a seership, the moral sense may be partial Lawgiver. Their habit is that of walking or reluctant or altogether negligent of its in the counsel of their own hearts and in testimonies. But if it can give those tes- the sight of their own eyes-nor do they timonies clearly enough and feelingly feel, in the waywardness of their self-orienough, when it casts a superintending ginating movements, that they are the eye over the conduct of others, this proves servants of another and amenable to the that an inward witness could speak also judgment of another. Let a man just atto us, but does not, because we have tend to the current of his thoughts and bribed him into silence. In other words, purposes and desires, throughout the it will be found on the last day, that we course of a whole day's business; and he had light enough to conduct us if we will find how lamentably the impression would have followed, and to condemn us of a divine superintendence, and the sense if we have either refused or wilfully dark- of a heavenly and unseen witness, are ened its intimations. So that God will be away from his heart. This will not exclear when He speaketh and justified cuse his habitual ungodliness-due, as when He judgeth. He will wipe His hands we have often affirmed it to be, to the wilof every outcast on that great and solemn ful smothering of convictions, which, but occasion; and make it evident that the for wilful depravity, he might have had. guilt of all the iniquities for which he is But such being the real insensibility of punished is at his own door-that there is man to his own condition as a responsible no unrighteousness of severity with God, and an amenable creature, it is well that but that His judgment is indeed accord-by such strenuous affirmations as those ing to truth when it is against them who commit such things.'

The apostle affirms his own sureness of this, and with a view to make us sure of

of the apostle, he should be reminded of the sureness wherewith God will appoint a day in righteousness; and institute a judgment over the quick and the dead.

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